After formally signing the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson into the Russian Federation, Putin promised that strikes on Russia’s new territories would be viewed as acts of aggression.
NATO expansion into the Nordic region of Europe could unnecessarily escalate tensions with Russia. In doing so, the expansion could cause a conflict which would not be in the interest of the United States.
With the U.S.’ thumbs up, 22 NATO members have now given their approval. Should all 30 members ratify before the end of the year, the military alliance would have achieved one of its most significant—and quickly executed—expansions.
Russia supports Serbian claims that the existence of an independent Kosovo would have no historical validity—a parallel being easily drawn with Russian claims over Crimea in 2014 and now over Ukraine as a whole.
Strong U.S.-Moroccan relations make it difficult for Spain to gain clear assurances from NATO concerning the security of its north African territories. Insofar as these continue to be treated as a bargaining chip, subject to Morocco’s discretion, Spanish political elites are likely to offer concessions in other areas.
One indication as to which way the negotiations are moving relies on whether or not the Swedish and Finnish representatives will be allowed to participate in the NATO proceedings without the right to vote, or be forced to wait outside.
The demand from Ankara for Hultqvist’s resignation comes at the same time as the center-right opposition in the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament, has demanded a vote of no confidence for Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson.
The prime minister expressed confidence in the Swedish people’s support for the membership application, however that confidence will not be put to the test. The NATO application will neither be the subject of a vote in the Riksdag—the Swedish Parliament—nor a referendum.
There are a few things that the West can do. One is to follow the Latin motto “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” or “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This certainly applies to the Benelux, Germany, and Sweden, whose armed forces have been severely weakened over the past three decades.
With my direct experience and decades-long analysis of Swedish politics, I question whether the Swedish Parliament can sustainably fund a NATO membership. However, even if they do, there is another, more controversial aspect: the rise of radical Islamism.
Russia bears the full moral and economic burden for the war, but it is also clear that America’s neoconservative doctrine is one of the losers in that conflict. It is time for the foreign-policy elite in Washington to accept that neoconservatism served America well during the Cold War, but should now be gracefully retired.
The outbreak of war in Ukraine has caused an identity crisis in Europe. Yesterday’s pacifism turned into today’s belligerence in a heartbeat, all the while avoiding the geopolitical elephant in the room in favor of moral indignation. This should be a wake-up call.
Foreign minister Bisera Turkovic said that the Ukraine war “is causing fear and concern in our region that this might now be the beginning of a larger trend in Eastern Europe,” and that “the Balkans is Europe’s Achilles heel.”
Those who said NATO, Biden, and Zelensky were, at least in part, responsible for the war stood at 68%, 62%, and 57%, respectively, contradicting the establishment press’s grossly reductive explanation of the conflict’s inception.
Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya took to Twitter upon hearing the outcome. She called it a “shame” and a “sham,” adding that “there can’t be any recognition of the ‘referendum’ and its outcomes.”
Russia has sensed opportunity, and will not let go easily now. The noose it has placed on Ukraine’s neck, which has been tightened as a result of Western actions, has now made it very difficult for that country to free itself.
As the Russia-NATO standoff preoccupied Western leaders in late 2021, the worrying development did not receive the care it merited. At a meeting of EU foreign ministers last Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell at last presented their response.
For the first time in two years, the presidents of China and Russia met in person and used the occasion to reaffirm their shared vision of the future in a joint statement covering multilateralism, restriction of NATO expansion, and moving away from the U.S. dollar.
According to Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks those countries further to the west have the luxury of focusing on “gas, exports, and cooperation” with Russia, but for Latvia and other countries of eastern Europe, relations with Russia are “existential.”
Over the past couple of days, a deluge of events, press releases, and commentary touching on the Russia-NATO issue has buried news desks. It proved, however, highly revealing of the alliance’s internal cracks.
While Finland has already declared that it is not pursuing a NATO membership, Sweden still remains open to the idea. So long as the possibility remains open in the current international political climate, it undeservedly transplants the Ukrainian struggle for independence onto the Nordic scene.
“I want to make it clear: Bulgaria is a sovereign state and we have long since made our choice by becoming a member of NATO,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Petkov said in a special statement during a parliamentary session.
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, expressed hope for a diplomatic solution to the current unrest in the region. Yet, should efforts fail and Moscow attacks Kyiv, it would pay a “high price.”
While committed to a diplomatic solution, Western officials’ projections were grim. To reporters, U.S. Ambassador Michael Carpenter said that escalation is not impossible, and that “the drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill.”
Mounting tensions between East and West have been a fixture in news reporting for the past few weeks, with the U.S. and Ukraine claiming Russia may be preparing an invasion of its neighbor. Russia has emphatically denied planning such a course of action and says it is Ukraine’s dalliance with NATO that is to be blamed for the escalation.
EU leaders discussed their response to a pandemic situation that’s quickly evolving. “Urgent administration of booster shots” and “overcoming vaccine hesitancy,” which also entails “addressing disinformation,” remained primary goals, though it was agreed to “take forward the implementation of COVID-19 therapeutics via joint procurement.”
President Macron wants the EU to reform budget rules to increase public-sector investments, which, he hopes, would lead to stronger economic growth and higher levels of employment. Macron’s vision is understandable, but his reforms are likely to defeat their own purpose.
As a sovereign country, Ukraine is in its full right to make whatever constitutional reforms it sees fit. Their right to independence is as strong as is Russia’s right to national security. If one is weighed against the other, national sovereignty always wins.
Should the Kremlin act as the aggressor, sanctions would be imposed, Jens Stoltenberg said. These would likely be limited to economic sanctions and additional defensive deployments to NATO’s eastern flank.