NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a speech prior to the start of the historic summit of NATO Heads of State and Government, which will be held on Thursday. These are typically boring events that are designed to provide journalists the opportunity to build relationships and increase the expenses on their accounts. Most of the time, however, they aren’t held within the context of a nuclear-armed Russia that has gone off the rails, invaded a non-offensive neighbor, and threatened to throw nukes across a variety of nations.
The Ukraine attack took place while the exercise Saber Strike 22 (an annual international military exercise held in Europe with US forces participating) began wrapping up, and Exercise Cold Response 22 (another U.S.-European military exercise) was ramping up. These exercises involve the deployment of troops across the United States as well as returning US forces to Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
If there was no need for NATO’s eastward expansion a month ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin has created one. Anyone who read the novel by Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, now realizes the book's predictions of globalization, liberal democracy, and peace around the globe as the ultimate world ideal were premature at best and, more likely, not to be true. Putin's slow-moving assault on Ukraine has brought global security to the top of the agenda in Europe and worldwide.
CNN's Natasha “Fusion” Bertrand, in trying to clarify the meaning of what Stoltenberg was discussing, was correct in saying that Russia has in fact violated the NATO-Russia Founding Act with its invasion of Ukraine. Many of Putin's statements cast NATO as an enemy of Russia in violation of the stated intent of the Act. Whatever the outcome of the war in Ukraine is, NATO should make Putin pay a hefty diplomatic price for his mishap by increasing the number of permanent bases of NATO troops in countries that are not part of NATO.
If you had any doubts that NATO was considering Russia's threats to use nuclear or chemical weapons seriously, be assured that NATO is taking these threats seriously. Stoltenberg answered a direct query regarding Russia's threats to make use of the nuclear weapon (“People who are close to the Kremlin have been talking in very clear and stern phrases about the possibility of a nuclear attack. What is the best way to help NATO protect itself from an attack from nuclear weapons?”). Mike Miller addresses this particular issue in-depth in his article “NATO Warns China About ‘Blatant Lies,’ Tells Russia to end the “Nuclear Saber Rattling”.
In response to a question at the press conference, Stoltenberg discussed the possibility of a nuclear or chemical attack from Russia. But to date, both parties have been vigilant about not increasing the conflict. In spite of warnings, Russia has yet to directly confront any arms movements coming from NATO towards Ukraine.
It's wrong to describe the forthcoming meeting as one of a cohesive and focused NATO, as it will not be. If a coalition is to be successful, it needs to have competent leaders. In the past, historically, the United States has provided the leadership NATO has required for its success, partly due to the fact that it is the largest member and also because it isn't part of Europe, which means that the Europeans are able to accept US leadership without any arguing.
But the U.S. is no longer able to offer that leadership. President Joe Biden is an empty shell of a human being who could never be more than a mere rumor of an actual man. Vice President Kamala Harris is a joke and national embarrassment. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives the impression of an inbred dog, and the lack of progress made through the State Department so far indicates an influx of knowledge bubbling up to help Blinken. The current NATO representative, Julianne Smith, is a Blinken protégé and a typical Democrat apparatchik. Therefore, leadership must originate through the ranks of Europe. But Europe isn't uniting. The Poles as well as those from the Baltic States are out on their skis, while the Hungarians are extremely reluctant to support sanctions or military assistance for Ukraine, due to the fact that they depend on Russian natural gas.
That said, NATO is coming together with a genuine feeling of urgency. It is doing what it has to do to maintain Ukraine’s fighting forces. However, most important, it is adjusting to the changing security situation caused by Russia's aggressiveness and is ready to take the necessary measures to ensure it stops.