A Predictable NATO Summit in an Unpredictable World
Valdai Club Conference Hall, Tsvetnoy Boulevard 16/1, Moscow, Russia
List of speakers

On July 1, the Valdai Club held an expert discussion on the results of the NATO summit and the new strategic concept of the alliance. The discussion was moderated by Andrey Sushentsov, Programme Director of the Valdai Club, Dean of the Faculty of International Relations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). The participants discussed the new strategic concept of the alliance, the change in its ideological underpinnings, as well as the  accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO and  Turkey’s response to this process.

Alexander Grushko,  Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation,  noted that the results of the NATO summit will still be subjected to a thorough analysis both from a political and military point of view. Speaking about his impressions, he called the Madrid summit "the most predictable in the history of the alliance", adding that in Madrid the organisation had "completed an evolutionary somersault in its development and returned to its roots, that is, to the military security schemes of the Cold War”. He also stressed that now the alliance is declaring a threat to the very existence of Russia as a state, and confrontation with Russia on all fronts using all tools is becoming a new NATO ideology. "The vector of NATO's military activity is predetermined - it is the threat from the east, it is the containment of Russia," the diplomat summed up.

Gregory Simons, author and researcher from Uppsala, Sweden, has analysed the situation surrounding Sweden and Finland joining NATO. He noted that in the 21st century, these countries have actually broken with their traditions of neutrality and non-alignment and switched to the idea of ​​integration with NATO. According to him, in order to achieve this, the political elite has to overcome public scepticism by tapping its fears. “Sweden and Finland have joined the ideological project based on a unipolar world, integrating ever deeper into Western-centric institutions,” Simons said. They want to be members of this exclusive club. As a result, these countries voluntarily give up the role of subjects in international relations and become objects, he added.

“What NATO has succeeded in is marketing itself,” said Igor Istomin, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems, and Senior Research Fellow at MGIMO's Center for Advanced American Studies. “The summit was actively advertised as a landmark, historic event, although almost all decisions were announced in advance,” even before the start of the military operation in Ukraine. He called the NATO Strategic Concept the most striking example of such "overrated advertising". In fact, according to Istomin, this is not so much a programme for the future as a codification of what was adopted at the previous summits of the alliance.

Hüseyin Bagci, Professor, Department of International Relations at Turkey's Middle East Technical University, noted that the consequences of what is happening now will be no less than those of the Second World War. If then there was a transition to a bipolar world, now the world is moving towards multipolarity. Describing the position of Turkey, the political scientist noted that it is important for Ankara to simultaneously have some points of influence within Western structures while maintaining good relations with Russia. Turkey's consent to the   accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is, in his words, more of a preliminary character. “In this case, Turkey has the opportunity to ‘choose from the menu' what advantages to take from the situation,” he stressed.