Meetings between President Joe Biden and the leaders of the Western Alliance on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, made two things clear.
First, the post-Cold War period ended on February 24 Russia illegally occupied UkraineAnd the new strategic imperative for NATO member states to adapt to the new realities of the Second Cold War.
The governments of the North Atlantic Coalition and the states of the former Soviet Union met this month thirty years ago to build a new defense framework for the “post-Cold War” world. Western leaders They held a series of extraordinary meetings in which they collaborated In the development of “a new, lasting peace process in Europe through dialogue, partnership and cooperation”.
Instead, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Opened the summit The Coalition in Brussels has now announced that it will “respond to a new security reality in Europe.”
Jack Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, described one of the meeting’s goals as establishing a “long-term game plan” to station NATO forces on the coalition’s eastern borders. U.S. officials have told me that this will be a central part of the discussions NATO’s “New Strategic Concept” It is scheduled to take place at the NATO summit in Madrid in June. It was also announced that Stoltenberg will continue as NATO secretary general for another year In order to help the coalition overcome the current crisis.
The emergency meetings this week were also meant to define ways in which the federation could provide additional support to Ukraine.
President Biden has indicated that the United States will do so by providing additional military assistance. The president said in a written statement“We are committed to identifying additional equipment, including air defense systems, to assist Ukraine.”
The last point regarding air security is a painful point in NATO’s strong support for Ukraine – as made clear by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky during a live video address to Western leaders. In his comments, Zelenskyy made an emotional appeal to even a small fraction of Western resources to assist his country’s hitherto significant efforts to defend itself. “1 percent on all your planes, 1 percent on all your tanks,” he called for anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons.
The United States also announced its intention to provide $ 1 billion in aid to Europe to help with refugee relief, and to pledge 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into the United States to help alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis.
It is noteworthy that Zelenskyy’s past calls were not repeated to the NATO-implemented non-flying zone.
Clearly, Zelenskyy is reluctant to support NATO’s support for Ukraine, but is determined to halt NATO forces that could provoke a wider escalation of the war and thereby stop providing anything that could provoke it. Beginning of World War III.
“The emerging situation in Ukraine and the big questions unanswered at this week’s emergency summit suggest that NATO is testing it in seldom (if ever) ways.
The Brussels debates have made it clear that Western leaders are deeply concerned that Putin may soon use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine. (This is only after Putin had already been denounced as a “war criminal” by the United States and many allies.) In fact, Zhelensky insisted that there was more evidence that Putin’s brutality has no limits. Reports that he used phosphorus weapons against civilian targets in his country– This is against international law.
For their part, Biden and European leaders decided to strengthen security against the WMDs on Europe’s borders with Russia. They also warned Russia that it would retaliate strongly against any attack using weapons such as chemical weapons. (Although US officials have indicated that such an attack is possible, it is not clear what the answer will be.)
In fact, the level of response to Russian expansion appears to be the next “big question” in this effort to balance Ukraine’s desire to avoid escalating.
The three-pronged approach of the United States, Europe and its allies is to increase pressure through military aid, humanitarian aid and sanctions. But there are clear limits to each of those attempts.
NATO forces will not be sent directly to Ukraine. There will be no non-flying zone or it looks like the plane is deploying now. More than 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees will receive substantial assistance, but when it comes to accepting refugees, that will vary from country to country. When it comes to sanctions, the United States today announced new sanctions against an additional 400 Russian elites and corporations.
One point of focus at the summit is to find ways to reduce Russia’s dependence on energy. EU President Ursula van der Leyn set a goal Russian resources can unnecessarily endure for up to two years. This, too, can be seen not only as a preparation for a protracted war in Ukraine, but also for the realities of the new Cold War II era into which we are entering.
But if Russia uses WMDs, the West will have to change its position on military support (or energy sanctions) in order to be able to respond by force. It is going to make the process of balancing between managing the needs of the current war, preparing for a new Cold War and trying to avoid a broader, more dangerous global conflict even more dangerous.
Support for Ukraine and the unity of the coalition are the public announcements that dominate the agendas of leaders in Europe this week, and the behind-the-scenes questions about what will happen if Putin unleashes a new wave of barbarism are very subtle. And for the people of Ukraine and the world this could have far-reaching consequences.
In Brussels, President Biden declared NATO “stronger and more united than ever.” All the evidence claims to be true. But the growing situation in Ukraine and the big questions that remain unanswered at this week’s emergency summit suggest that NATO has rarely (ever) been tested.
The month of war in Ukraine now and the most difficult and dangerous challenges associated with the new era we have entered are still ahead.
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