NATO: new challenges for Moscow
Today the North Atlantic Alliance marks its 70th anniversary. Right now NATO includes 29 states, but there are quite a few contradictions between the allies, and the alliance’s center of gravity has shifted from Germany and France to Poland and Eastern Europe in recent years. The participants of the Moscow-Washington-Tallinn video conference titled "70 years of NATO: results and plans" tried to answer the questions of what is the strength and weakness of NATO today, what further actions to expect from the alliance, what role Poland and Eastern Europe will play at the new stage, what Russia can do to counteract new challenges posed by NATO.
The director of the Russian-Polish Cooperation Institute, Dmitri Bunevich, said that after 1991, Eastern Europeans consciously accepted the concept of Euro-Atlantism proposed by Washington, in which European integration and integration into NATO are considered two parallel and complementary processes, according to which, there is a single West, led by the United States. "The concept of Euro-Atlanticism is completely artificial, because it implies the existence of a single transatlantic West led by the United States. After the failure of negotiations to create a free trade zone between the United States and the European Union, when the EU managed to show that these agreements, which would fix the U.S. dominance, are not acceptable for it, the transatlantic split has intensified. We saw its first signs in 2003, when the Iraq campaign began, which was opposed by France and Germany, and the Eastern European countries proved themselves to be more Atlanticists than the U.S. Their military units participated in the operation against Iraq, secret CIA prisons were located in some Eastern European countries, where unacceptable methods of inquiry - tortures - were used, which would be impossible in France," Dmitry Bunevich recalled.
In his opinion, 2003 was the first stage of the transatlantic split, which has deepened in recent years: "The more active the French-German core of the EU says that Europe needs to have its own voice, that European integration should be not wider, but deeper, that Europe should pursue a coordinated, responsible and independent security policy in the field of international relations, the more voices are heard in Europe, particularly in Germany and in France, about the need to normalize the dialogue with Russia, to build the Nord Stream 2, the more actively the U.S. plays on the Eastern European field, the more actively they use that part of the Eastern European elites, which due to certain historical events has a serious Russophobic component in its understanding of international relations, its place in history and Europe. The more Western Europe makes efforts to consolidate the European Union, the louder the voices about the need to find a compromise for the normalization of relations with Russia, the more actively the U.S. acts in Eastern Europe - a region that is ready to play up to Washington. So, an anti-Iranian summit was recently held in Warsaw. It couldn't be held in some other place. The final statement was signed only by the United States and Poland. The Baltic states are ready to provide their territory for the deployment of weapons. I think, construction of the base in Poland will be started. Under these conditions, the interests of Western Europeans and Russia largely coincide," Bunevich said.
The vice-president of the Russian Council on International Affairs, vice president of the Center for Political Studies, Lieutenant-General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, who is convinced that there is no split in NATO, since the United States occupies leading positions in the alliance, does not agree with Bunevich.
In military terms, the general doesn’t care about either the three NATO battalions in the Baltic States or the rapid deployment force: “Three battalions are not such a big force to defend the Baltic States, and the use of rapid deployment force requires a political decision at the NATO Council. Former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove tried to get the right to use a rapid deployment force, but received only the right to put on red-alert the part of rapid deployment force in places of permanent encampment. That is the whistle is pulled, there goes the whistle and...all are waiting with their rifles."
The real danger for Russia, according to Buzhinsky, is the actions of the United States, which is creating the reinforcement infrastructure: "Recently, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. moved 1500 troops, a battalion, to the territory of Poland. Until 1989, the U.S. conducted Reforger maneuvers, deployed an armored division using military transport aircraft, partly civil aviation, naval vessels, civilian ships, Now they are moving towards resuming the Reforger reinforcement exercise. We need to beware of it. This reminds of preparations for carrying out force actions. If you read all the doctrines, especially of the current administration, it is clear that they are ready for war with Russia. But somewhere in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, not in the territory of the United States. This is the reason for our leadership's statements that we will fire missiles not against the places from where rockets are sent to us, but against the decision-making places. It is absolutely clear what it means."