News / Europe

Ukraine, Iraq Conflicts Reinvigorate NATO Alliance

Ukraine, Iraq Conflicts Reinvigorate NATO Alliancei
Henry Ridgwell
June 17, 2014 7:20 PM
The role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] in the 21st century is in sharp focus now with the conflicts underway on the bloc's eastern and southern borders. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the alliance born at the outset of the Cold War is in resurgence as new threats emerge around the globe.
Henry Ridgwell
The role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] in the 21st century is in sharp focus now with the conflicts underway on the bloc's eastern and southern borders. The alliance born at the outset of the Cold War is in resurgence as new threats emerge around the globe.
NATO's long campaign in Afghanistan is coming to an end.

The end of this mission, however, does not herald the slow demise of NATO as once thought, according to Professor Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute.

"Interestingly, NATO is now more relevant than it has been for probably a decade," said Eyal.

Eastern Europe

That relevance, said Eyal, is largely because of Russia. NATO published satellite images this week that appear to show tanks crossing from Russia into the east of Ukraine. It follows Moscow's tacit support for Ukrainian separatists and forceful takeover of Crimea in March .

Eyal said former Soviet-controlled states in Europe are getting nervous.

"The east Europeans used to be dismissed up to now as being neurotic, as being too frightened about Russia that supposedly is no longer an enemy," he said. "Well, the east Europeans were right and we were wrong about Russia. So in many respects this is the moment where the alliance will have to reassure its members."

NATO is doing that through the bolstering of troops and sea and air defenses along member states' borders in the east.

Russia can no longer be considered a strategic partner -- and that means a strategic shift in deployment, said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO operations in Europe.

"We've seen a nation cross an internationally-recognized sovereign border, and annex by force a portion of a sovereign nation. That changes the way we do business," said Breedlove. "And so we are now re-evaluating how we do these things as it relates to force readiness, responsiveness and positioning."

Defense spending

A NATO-commissioned report into the future of the alliance calls for a reaffirmation of its core objective of collective defense. The authors say European members should halt defense spending cuts.

But Europe is divided over how to best respond to Russia, said Eyal.

"Countries like Germany, or France, or the UK, who believe that we should not make too much out of the current Ukrainian crisis, and countries such as Poland or Romania, the big former Communist countries on the borders with Ukraine, who believe that Ukraine is a sign of a fundamentally different Europe from the one that we knew," he said.

Eyal said NATO also must confront the conflicts brewing on NATO's southern borders. "Turkey, for instance, asked for a NATO meeting to discuss the crisis it sees at its borders."

That crisis in Syria and Iraq is escalating, with extremist Islamist militants in control of large swathes of both countries.

NATO's secretary general already has said he sees no role for the alliance in  Iraq. But Western security chiefs say the lawlessness is a haven for terrorists -- and NATO should continue to play a key role in collective defense.

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Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
June 17, 2014 6:31 PM
MY OPINION? -- NATO was formed as a defense to counter the threat of the communist Warsaw Pact Countries in the cold war -- (BUT NOW?) -- the communist Warsaw Pact countries have dissolved, and there's no further need for a NATO organization now.....

MY OPINION? -- NATO has now become a heavily armed attacking/offensive group of (28) nations, that attack and politically interfere in other countries like Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and now Ukraine, (bringing nothing but violence, killings, destruction and wars, and it continues on to this day), -- (AND?) -- and NATO has never ever come to the defensive aid of any of their member states, -- (FACTUAL FACTS?) -- NATO has never ever won any of the conflicts or wars they started or that they took part in. -- (AND?) -- NATO has never ever brought peace of any kind to the countries they attacked, or politically interfered in.... CRAZY isn't it?

by: James McQuaid from: Michigan
June 17, 2014 6:08 PM
Recent Russian propaganda content repeats several false narratives:

1) NATO is responsible for violence in Ukraine,
2) the Ukrainian government lacks broad support in the population,
3) Ukraine does not exist as a country, and
4) support for Ukraine is support for Nazism.

The language of the Russian propaganda is calculated to dehumanize:
the Ukrainian government and its supporters are called "a junta", "swine", "Nazis", "Bandits", etc.

The underpinning ideology of the Russian propaganda is articulated by Alexander Dugin, a fascist political thinker who has captured Putin’s imagination.

Dugin insists that Ukraine does not exist, and that it has never existed. Dugin calls upon Russia to complete its invasion of Ukraine.

This Eurasian neo-Fascism is a blend of fascism and Stalinism that calls for a revived Russian empire to extend its borders and to challenge the US and EU. It has become Moscow’s bedrock ideology.

Documents Show How Russia Attacked American Social Media:,russia-creates-social-media-propaganda-systems.aspx
In Response

by: John from: NYC
June 18, 2014 5:52 PM
Take a fresh look at the US propaganda.
Freedom fighters in Afghanistan
Syria freedom fighters
Do not forget that every post or conversation is recorded by government.

In Response

by: great ukrop from: Ukropia
June 18, 2014 4:57 AM
James McQuaid: Have you tried own head treated? Or trolls is not to be treated?

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