war in Ukraine, new partners and strategic concept

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The NATO summit that will take place in Madrid on June 29 and 30 is being held more than four months after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and at a time when Finland and Sweden await the go-ahead of the 30 members of the Alliance to your application for membership.

One of the main objectives of this meeting, which will be attended by 44 international delegations, is approve the new strategic concept of the Atlantic Alliance. For all these reasons, analysts agree that this summit is one of the most important carried out by this military alliance in recent decades.

“Since the 2010 summit, it is perhaps one of the most important, precisely because we are in a turning point in which the global order is being reconfigured that it already began to do so before COVID-19, it was accentuated during the pandemic with the decoupling process from China and that the war in Ukraine has broken the camel’s back”, the professor of Political Science at the Complutense University of Madrid tells RTVE.es. Madrid, Ruth Ferrero. “The war in Ukraine has already shown the gateway to the international order created after World War II“, Add.

What is NATO?

In 1949, 12 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Iceland and Denmark – created what is known as North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His goal was to offer a collective security to Europe in the face of the threat of Soviet expansion used after World War II.

In response, the Soviet Union six years later created its own military alliance with Eastern European countries, which became known as Warsaw pact. However, after the end of the USSR in 1991, several countries of that military bloc became part of NATO.

The Atlantic Alliance has currently with 30 members and the last country to join was North Macedonia in 2020. According to NATO, accession to the Alliance is open to “any other European State willing to support the principles of this Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area”. Sweden and Finland have been the latest countries to apply to become members of the Alliance.

In addition, one of the most relevant points of the NATO Treaty is its article 5, by which its members agree that any attack on one of them represents a attack all nations of the organization. In this sense, NATO countries agree to come to each other’s aid in the event of an armed attack.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Western countries are using the Atlantic Alliance to surround Russia and has called for NATO to cease its activities in Eastern Europe.

Has NATO been resurrected with the war in Ukraine?

At the end of 2019, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, went so far as to state that the Atlantic Alliance was “brain dead”. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, came to question during his mandate the usefulness and meaning of the existence of NATO, and even threatened to withdraw his country from the Alliance.

Donald’s Mandate What Trump basically did was weaken NATO. What Trump put on the table to Europe was that the United States was maintaining the security structure and that perhaps it was time for Europe to also launch this military reinforcement and give more money than it was giving to the maintenance of that military structure. Ferrero explains.

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army at the end of February has made NATO form a united front, something that has encouraged countries like Finland and Sweden, traditionally neutral, to apply to join the Alliance.

“Since the internal crisis that it suffered with the attack on Iraq in 2003, there was a fracture in NATO between the main European countries and the United States and this rupture was not restored even with the Obama presidency”, affirms the professor of Contemporary History of the UNED, Isidro Sepúlveda. “What was missing was an essential motive, a center of responsibility, a setting that would allow a unity of action. and this has been given by Putin with the invasion of Ukraine”, he adds.

“NATO has found a new reason for being”

In this sense, Ferrero assures that with the war in Ukraine “NATO has found a new reason for being”. “It has given meaning to an organization that should have disappeared at the time its rival disappeared during the Cold War,” he says.

What issues are going to be discussed at the Madrid summit?

At the next NATO summit, to be held in Madrid and with the participation of 44 international delegations, one of the main objectives is the approval of the new strategic concept of the Alliancesince the last one was agreed upon more than a decade ago, in 2010.

“The priorities are fundamentally going to be to elaborate a new strategic doctrine in which a totally new geopolitical scenario is already contemplated,” says Professor Sepúlveda. “Unfortunately, that scenario is much more worrying and much more compromised for the whole of the West than the one we had until recently,” he says.

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Decisions will also be made about hybrid threats, cybersecurity or the south flanksuch as stepping up the effort to combat terrorism, and a new initiative to boost cooperation on critical technologies, to be called the North Atlantic Defense Innovation Accelerator (DIANA), will be launched.

NATO summit will focus on Ukraine and transatlantic security

The military spending of NATO countries and climate change These will be other issues that will be discussed at the Madrid summit, where the Alliance is expected to establish a new emission mapping methodology.

For Professor Ferrero, one of the questions of the meeting will be “how to continue working on arming Ukraine to continue defending the territory and what type of weapons are going to be sent”. “But this is a tactical question, because the final objective will have to be determined. What is NATO going to want? End the war, weaken Russia, annihilate Russia?” she wonders.

What tangible results are expected from this meeting?

Experts agree that the next NATO summit is one of the most important of the last decades. “We are facing a truly historic summit. Not only because two partners are going to start joining, but because very substantially changes the doctrinal basis of NATO and its strategic objectives”, says Sepúlveda.

“It was already important because the approval of the new strategic concept was planned, but after the invasion of Ukraine its importance has increased,” says García Encina, who adds that “everyone hopes that there will be something tangible in terms of what is happening in Ukraine. “Strengthen deterrence defense, self-diagnosis of the security environment, identify threats very clearly and, therefore, also to Russia as a threat that will be persistent throughout this decade”, he indicates.

The researcher believes that there will also be tangible results on “China, hybrid wars and the resilience capacity of the societies of the allied countries” and points out that we will see “more or less officially how Finland and Sweden are invited and the start of that process for the accession protocol”. “Finland and Sweden will also be protagonists of this summit”, he stresses.

For its part, Ferrero defends that after the summit there will be a “greater commitment in terms of economic investment, an increase in security and defense, an attempt at greater coordination between the different States of the European Union”. “We are moving towards European societies that are much more militarized and much more oriented to issues that have to do with security and less with the rule of law and democracy,” he asserts.

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What guarantees has the Alliance given to Finland and Sweden?

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have been forced to reassess their traditionally neutral position after feeling threatened by Russia and have applied to join NATO. The 30 countries that are part of the Alliance must unanimously support its entrybut the accession of the two Nordic nations has been complicated by concerns from Turkey, which accuses Stockholm and Helsinki of maintaining a policy of welcoming Kurdish militants.

While Russia has warned against Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Russia itself Alliance has increased its exercises and presence in the region and the two Nordic nations have received security guarantees from several Alliance countriesincluding the United Kingdom. London has pledged to support the armed forces of both countries in the event they are attacked.

“We already know that (Sweden and Finland) are not under the umbrella of NATO and until their entry becomes official there may be certain Russian interference, such as hybrid attacks,” explains the researcher at the Elcano Royal Institute, Carlota García Holm oak. “NATO has already told them that it is going to give them all kinds of security guarantees in this transition period and there are individual countries, such as the United Kingdom, that have given them guarantees in the event that there is some kind of threat or attack. by Russia. There is no doubt that the allies will support these two countries in that period.”, he stresses.

For his part, Sepúlveda believes that both Finland and Sweden seek to feel more secure in asking to join NATO. “You have to keep in mind that his declaration of neutrality was to preserve his security and his identity. Now your request is looking for the exact same thing. Seeks to maintain your safety and maintain your identity”, he stresses.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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