How NATO and G-7 are Polarising the World By Dr Moonis Ahmar
On June 29, NATO held its landmark summit in Madrid in which Finland and Sweden, the two neutral countries of Europe, were invited to join the Atlantic alliance. Prior to that, on June 28, G-7 concluded its three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps of Germany in which Ukraine was assured humanitarian and economic assistance while other matters like climate change, food and energy security, health, gender rights and counter terrorism were also discussed.
Back to back summits held in the month of June reflects growing assertiveness of the US-led Western bloc to not only exert maximum pressure on Russia following its attack on Ukraine but to also deal with the growing influence of China in the Asia-Pacific region. Likewise, Russia is facing a two-pronged threat in the shape of NATO and G-7, whereas, it seems that both alliances are over-stretching their mandate from the Transatlantic to the Asia-Pacific region.
Does this mean that NATO and G-7 are pursuing a confrontationist path? Will armed conflicts and polarisation get a boost as a result of the West’s anti-Russian and anti-Chinese rhetoric? How will the prevailing crisis, which got an impetus as a result of the Russo-Ukrainian war, be managed? These are the questions that are raised by the concerned circles who are expecting world disorder following the enlargement of NATO and the escalation of the Ukrainian war. Provoking Russia by issuing harsh statements in NATO and G-7 summits will further compound an already polarised world order.
For instance, US President Joe Biden stated that “Putin was looking for the ‘Finlandization’ of Europe. He’s going to get the ‘NATO-ization’ of Europe. And that’s exactly what he didn’t want, but exactly what 7needs to be done to guarantee security for Europe.” After holding trilateral meetings NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made this clear by saying, “We will agree on a new Strategic Concept, the blueprint for NATO into the future.” Reacting to the so-called strategic concept of NATO, Russian State Duma’s international affairs committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky has said, “NATO’s strategic concept is a blind alley.
The Madrid summit’s decisions jeopardize security on the continent and elsewhere.” Furthermore, on June 30, during the NATO summit, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated, “They [NATO] expect unconditional obedience from all states to their will, which reflects their egoistic interests — primarily, the US interests.” With the intensification of the psychological tug of war between the Western alliance and Russia, it seems that the world will be plunged into another dangerous phase of cold war with lethal ramifications.
In the July issue of The Economist (London), an article titled ‘NATO meets in Madrid’ states, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upturned European security. In response, NATO is growing bigger and beefier, adopting what Mr. Stoltenberg described as the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the cold war.” On the issuance of a “strategic concept”, The Economist argues that it was “a shorter version statement for NATO, and the alliance’s first such document in over a decade. It warned unsurprisingly, that Russia was the most significant and direct threat to allies and that the possibility of attack could not be excluded. Russia and China are developing a strategic partnership and are at the forefront of an authoritarian pushback against the rules-based international order.”
A century after the end of World War I, it seems that another phase of alliances with conflicting interests is in offing in which on the one hand the US-led coalition composed of NATO, G-7 and Quad while on the other hand the Sino-Russo strategic partnership will determine the shape of things in the days to come. But how exactly will the neo-containment policy of NATO impact the world order, and will China along with Russia form strategic alliances to cope with the growing encirclement led by NATO, G-7 and Quad are all important questions to consider.
With 750 billion dollars of defence budget, the US, despite its poor economy and a debt of 20 trillion dollars, is not mindful of the dangerous consequences of its anti-Russian and anti-Chinese strategic alliances. The “strategic concept” of NATO announced in the June summit will now try to approach Austria and Switzerland, the two remaining neutral states of Europe, to join the Atlantic alliance so as to pit the whole of Europe against Russia. Will this strategy yield positive results?
The imposition of sanctions has failed to cause a dent in Putin’s nationalistic mindset. Sanctions are unable to severely hurt Russia’s economy and, in retaliation, Moscow has suspended the Nord Stream 1 gas supply to Europe. Is the Transatlantic alliance prepared to cope and manage with this crisis? G-7 announced $2.3 billion in humanitarian assistance and $29.5 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine along with $600 billion in global infrastructure program in the coming five years in order to give a message that the richest countries of the world can exert pressure on Moscow and Beijing.
In this backdrop, there are three things that need to be considered in order to maintain global balance.
First, influential world actors like the UN, India, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia need to act as mediators to de-escalate tensions between the Transatlantic Alliance and Russia and China. Before it is too late and the world is plunged into a dangerous phase of a new cold war, it is time that NATO and G-7 along with the EU also rethink their strategy to contain Russia and China by admitting new members into the Atlantic Alliance and by launching a global infrastructure program of $600 billion to counter Beijing’s One Belt One Road project.
Second, Russia must withdraw from Ukraine as it is accused of attacking and occupying parts of a sovereign country. Moscow’s expansionist designs provided an opportunity to the Atlantic Alliance to respond by augmenting military supplies to Ukraine and admitting Sweden and Finland into NATO. Russian withdrawal from Ukraine as a result of a quid pro quo will diffuse the situation in Europe.
Third, the world is facing a grave food, fuel, water and environmental crisis. This provides an opportunity to powerful world actors including Russia, China, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil and Argentina to give sanity a chance and pull the world from the surge of a new cold war. It is late but not too late to prevent a similar situation that led to the outbreak of World War I.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2022.
How NATO and G-7 are Polarising the World By Dr Moonis Ahmar