Comment by the Information and Press Department on the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
The North Atlantic Treaty, which led to the establishment of NATO, was signed on April 4 seventy years ago. On this occasion, the North Atlantic Council held a meeting of the member states’ foreign ministers in Washington on April 3−4.
The agenda of the meeting and the decisions taken at it by the North Atlantic Council show that the alliance is not going to stop building up its military and political confrontation with Russia. The bloc’s key goal – to rally its allies for containing “the threat from the East” – has not changed since its establishment in 1949.
Although NATO has officially declared its readiness for dialogue with Russia, no practical steps towards this goal have been made. The bloc continues to rely on ultimatums and is not ready to seriously talk about the key European security topics within the framework of result-oriented discussions. Russia remains open for interaction aimed at de-escalating tension, restoring mutual trust, preventing any misinterpretation of one another’s intentions, and reducing the risk of dangerous incidents. However, NATO has not advanced any constructive initiatives in this respect. The channels of dialogue between the sides’ military remain blocked.
The alliance continues to strengthen its coalition capability and to improve its military infrastructure stationed on the Russian border for expediting the eastward deployment of its troops and equipment. Additional funds are allocated for the development of the BMD systems, UAVs and new-generation aircraft.
At the same time, bilateral efforts taken by the NATO member states, in particular the United States, are played down. The potential deployment of a new large military base or group of forces in Eastern Europe, which is being discussed, runs contrary to the bloc’s obligations under the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which is one of the few agreements that are designed to maintain stability in Europe.
Having militarised north-eastern Europe, which used to be a tranquil region militarily, NATO has decided to increase its military presence in the Black Sea. It has launched the overall strengthening of the air, land and sea components. The US Permanent Representative to NATO, who has said that this is being done to guarantee the safe passage of Ukrainian ships, is thereby enticing Kiev to undertake new provocations.
NATO has reaffirmed its policy of strengthening Georgia’s military capability. The bloc’s condoning with Georgia’s militarist aspirations in 2008 has resulted in a tragedy that must not be repeated. The intensity and scale of NATO-led military exercises are growing. These wargames provide for training not only in defensive but also in offensive operations in all spheres, including in cyberspace.
We see all of this as yet another step towards destabilisation and an attempt to apply military pressure. However, we hope that common sense will prevail and that the NATO states will refrain from any actions that can lead to a dangerous escalation of tension and the risk of military incidents.
It is alarming that the consistent growth of the NATO states’ defence spending can provoke a new arms race. Their overall defence spending amounted to some $1 trillion in 2018, which is more than half of the world’s defence spending and 20 times more than Russia spends on its defence.
The US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, which the NATO countries have supported in keeping with the bloc’s discipline, has seriously destabilised the world. Russia’s unprecedentedly transparent proposals in this sphere have been disregarded.
These are the realities of today.
The 70th anniversary is an opportunity to assess NATO’s role in European security. Some see NATO as “the most successful alliance in history.” There is no doubt about this, considering its contribution to ensuring the US military and political domination in Europe and the Euro-Atlantic region.
There is also no doubt that NATO-centrism has prevented the creation of a truly comprehensive and democratic system of indivisible security without dividing lines and zones of influence.
The bloc’s custom of using military force outside the framework of collective defence, without due regard for the other members of the international community and often in violation of the norms and principles of international law, has led to deplorable results.
The bloc’s operations in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya have brought chaos and destruction to these countries and have claimed a great many civilian lives. These operations have also dealt a heavy blow to the foundations of international law. The attempts to replace international law with a “rules-based order” have led to the current security crisis in Europe.
Seventy years is an age when wisdom must take priority over ambitions and phobias. It is time the NATO states stopped reviving “the threat from the East.” The world needs to de-escalate military and political tension in the interests of peace and prosperity for all nations.