NATO at a critical juncture

The foundations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were officially laid down on 4 April 1949 with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, more popularly known as the Washington Treaty. NATO has grown from 12 members in 1949 to 32 today as the era of superpower conflict has roared back. The Treaty derives its authority from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which reaffirms the inherent right of independent states to individual or collective defence. Collective defence is at the heart of the Treaty and is enshrined in Article 5. It commits members to protect each other and sets a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance. The Treaty is short – containing only 14 articles – and provides for in-built flexibility on all fronts.

It has deviated from its original charter and NATO has been used in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and many other conflicts against the original charter. It has unofficially included non-Eurpean countries like India and Japan, which also against its original charter. Establishing NATO office in Japan is open violation.

75th Anniversary of NATO

President Joe Biden and his aides planned the 75th anniversary of NATO, which opens Tuesday evening in Washington, it was intended to create an aura of confidence originally. The message to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and other potential adversaries would be that a larger, more powerful group of Western allies had emerged, after more than two years of war in Ukraine, more dedicated than ever to pushing back on aggression.

But as 38 world leaders began arriving Monday, that confidence seems at risk. Even before the summit formally begins, it has been overshadowed by the uncertainty about whether Biden will remain in the race for a second term, and the looming possibility of the return of former President Donald Trump.

Trump once declared NATO “obsolete,” threatened to exit the alliance and more recently said he would let the Russians do “whatever the hell they want” to any member country he deemed to be insufficiently contributing to the alliance. In recent days, as Trump has edged up in post-debate polls, key European allies have begun discussing what a second Trump term might mean for the alliance — and whether it could take on Russia without U.S. arms, money and intelligence-gathering at its center.

Biden will greet the leaders in the vast Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium a few blocks from the White House on Tuesday night — the same room where the treaty creating NATO was signed in 1949, in a ceremony presided over by President Harry S. Truman. Biden was 6 years old at the time, and the Cold War was in its infancy.

President Biden is now 81 and perhaps the most vocal advocate in Washington for an alliance that But as they gather Tuesday evening, the leaders will be watching Biden’s every move and listening to his every word for the same signals Americans are focused on — whether he can go the distance of another four years in office.

Biden knows that he has lost popularity and his policies met absolute failure, yet he said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC on Friday that he welcomed the scrutiny. “Who’s going to hold NATO together like me?” the president asked rhetorically. “I guess a good way to judge me,” he said, is to watch him at the summit — and to see how the allies react. “Come listen. See what they say.” After the debacle in Afghanistan and his support of genocide in Gaza, he has lost his credibility, yet, he is trying to advocate his presidency elections.

As guests arrived, NATO leaders acknowledged that the alliance was facing a test they did not anticipate: whether it could credibly maintain the momentum it has built-in supporting Ukraine when confidence in its most important player has never been more fragile.

And they know that Putin and Xi Jinping, China’s leader, are watching as well.

Months before the meeting, the alliance began hedging its bets in case of a second Trump presidency. It is setting up a new NATO command to ensure a long-term supply of arms and military aid to Ukraine even if the United States, under Trump, pulls back.

But in conversations with NATO leaders, it is clear that their plans to modernize their forces and prepare for an era that could be marked by decades of confrontation with Russia are not matched by commensurate increases in their military budgets.

Last year, as he headed to Vilnius, Lithuania, for the annual NATO meeting, Zelenskyy vented his displeasure at the lack of a timetable for Ukrainian entry into the alliance. “It’s unprecedented and absurd when a time frame is not set, neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership,” he wrote on social media at the time.

He was temporarily placated when he arrived, with a commitment from the alliance that Ukraine could skip some of the hoops other nations have had to jump through before they could join.

But for months now, NATO nations have been negotiating over language that would work around the problem, without risking allowing Ukraine’s entrance while it remains at war.

In recent weeks, negotiators began to settle on a new approach: It is expected that the alliance will declare Ukraine’s eventual inclusion in NATO “irreversible,” diplomats involved in the talks said.

While “irreversible” sounds definitive, it does nothing to solve Zelenskyy’s central demand — a date when his country would fall under the protection of the NATO umbrella.

Zelenskyy’s case is, obviously, the most dire. But it is hardly the only one.

Seventy-five years after NATO was created to deter threats posed by the Soviet Union at the dawn of the Cold War, a few current and potentially future leaders among the alliance’s member states appear sympathetic to Russia’s diplomatic entreaties despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary visited Russia the other day, and in public remarks alongside Putin he said nothing critical of its invasion, or continued attacks on civilians. He hinted at looking for an opening to peace negotiations on terms similar to Russia’s demands.

The White House criticized the visit Monday. John F. Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said Orban’s visit “certainly doesn’t seem to be productive in terms of trying to get things done in Ukraine,” adding, “It’s concerning.”

But to avoid any public split within NATO on the eve of the summit, Stoltenberg stopped short of criticizing Orban, noting that “NATO allies interact with Moscow in different ways, on different levels.”

It has been noted that while China is promoting peace and even, Russia also want a peaceful settlement of Ukraine, but, it is NATO who is pro-war and prolonging war in Ukraine. The dirtiest role is played by US and UK in prolonging war in Ukraine. Although the victim of the war is not only Russia and Ukraine, but entire Europe is facing Energy and Food crisis.

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