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NATO Secretary General Jens StoltenbergGints Ivuskans / Shutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) –– With the NATO summit having concluded with no new guarantees to Ukraine, a fresh perspective is emerging in the West on the nature and purpose of the alliance.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in the wake of the Second World War. Ostensibly created solely to counter the Soviet threat of invasion into Western Europe, its true purpose was stated by its first secretary general, the British Lord Ismay, appointed in 1952. 

NATO was founded  “…to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out.”

What this phrase means, and how its significance plays out today, does much to explain the background to the ruinous proxy war in Ukraine.  

Promises, promises

The eastward expansion of NATO has caused serious consternation in Russia, along with accusations that promises have been broken. As the Soviet Union crumbled, its then leader Mikhail Gorbachev was assured by U.S. and European leaders that the Western military bloc would not encroach on the Russian sphere of influence. 

Report from the National Security Archive at George Washington University, December 2017

The recent NATO summit took place in one of the three Baltic republics immediately neighboring Russia. Yet this obvious sign of its expansion is not the only cause for concern.  

A July 2023 report in the New York Times may help readers to understand why the issue of NATO membership is so fraught for the Russians

As The New York Times explained:

But NATO, from its origins, was never primarily concerned with aggregating military power. Fielding 100 divisions at its Cold War height, a small fraction of Warsaw Pact manpower, the organization could not be counted on to repel a Soviet invasion and even the continent’s nuclear weapons were under Washington’s control. Rather, it set out to bind Western Europe to a far vaster project of a U.S.-led world order, in which American protection served as a lever to obtain concessions on other issues, like trade and monetary policy. In that mission, it has proved remarkably successful.

War and peace

The The New York Times report states plainly that NATO is a means to the end of securing American dominance in Europe. 

It notes that the alliance has never been realistically capable of repelling a Soviet land based assault on Europe. The tiny British nuclear deterrent cannot be maintained without American help. 

On the issue of nuclear war, it was a long held U.S. position that Europe and its capital cities could be sacrificed in a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia. The thinking was that it was therefore “safe” to provoke the outbreak of nuclear war, as the Russians would reason that attacking the U.S. would result in the U.S. destroying every Russian city. 

Source: Defense Priorities

For this reason, it was held, the Russians would restrict themselves to the nuclear annihilation of Europe. Such a legacy of insanity helps to explain the cavalier attitude to escalation and brinkmanship displayed by the neoconservative Biden administration. This is a cult which was born out of the anti-Soviet policies of the 1980s.  

Yet this is not the 1980s anymore. The notion that a limited nuclear exchange can be managed with Russia is another hangover from the Cold War. As with the other delusions which guide the neoconservative policy platform, it is based on a dangerous worldview with no connection to reality. 

This example is discussed at length in Defense Priorities’ examination of the nuclear postures of East and West since World War Two. 

The preceding example highlights another challenge for deterrence in Europe now as opposed to during the Cold War era. Whereas Russia can target NATO territory without directly striking the U.S. homeland, a reverse option is not available to the alliance. When the Warsaw Pact existed, its territory provided something of a strategic neutral zone where NATO could conceivably employ nuclear forces to demonstrate resolve in an effort to halt or deter Soviet aggression.

There is no longer any reason to believe a nuclear exchange with Russia can be limited. Yet the aggressive replacement for diplomacy which guides NATO completely ignores this basic fact. 

It is directed by a neoconservative cult which was over forty years in the making. 

A blueprint for domination

It was this cult which saw its opportunity in the collapse of the Soviet Union to create a permanent war from a potential for peace. 

Using the “information apparatus” of NATO, a political and economic program was pursued, leading to former Soviet nations being “locked in” to the Liberal – and neoliberal – consensus which ruled the West.

As The New York Times continued:

Many observers expected NATO to close shop after the collapse of its Cold War rival. But in the decade after 1989, the organization truly came into its own. NATO acted as a ratings agency for the European Union in Eastern Europe, declaring countries secure for development and investment. The organization pushed would-be partners to adhere to a liberal, pro-market creed, according to which – as President Bill Clinton’s national security adviser put it – ‘the pursuit of democratic institutions, the expansion of free markets’ and ‘the promotion of collective security’ marched in lock step. European military professionals and reform-minded elites formed a willing constituency, their campaigns boosted by NATO’s information apparatus.

NATO is therefore best understood as a vehicle for the political ambitions of a small sect of ideologues, dedicated to global domination and utterly convinced of their right to do so. 

This frank appraisal of the nature and purpose of NATO is one which will help audiences in the West to understand why the Russians are so incensed by the idea of Ukrainian membership.  

It would mean the border of Russia would be shared by a U.S. satellite state. Imagine the response in the United States if Canada were to become a colony of China, or Mexico to be populated with Russian missiles and corporations. 

It is for this reason that the U.S. has decided – through NATO – to quell talk of Ukrainian membership.  

Whilst the Ukrainian defense minister remains characteristically upbeat, the reality-based community realizes that the war has not gone well for the West. 

NATO’s military inventory is seriously depleted. It had a tiny force to begin with.

Reznikov predicted a victory for Ukraine ahead of the next NATO summit in 2024, at which he expects Ukraine’s membership to be accepted.

NATO declined to provide any timescale for Ukrainian entry to the alliance at the recent summit in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius – a move described as “absurd” by a visibly angry Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Yet the division between NATO and the Zelensky regime is only one point of contention. The dominance of the alliance by the U.S., and its purpose, has led to the deindustrialization of Germany. This measure followed the destruction of its major gas pipelines from Russia, whose detonation remains an official mystery despite its resemblance to a plan created in 1987 by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

In his book Ally Versus Ally: America, Europe, and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis, Blinken argued that the U.S. must be prepared to undermine its European allies in order to retain its dominance. How, specifically, should it do this? By destroying Russian gas supplies to Europe. 

As Foreign Policy noted in 2020:

When Europe started laying pipe against U.S. objections, Washington the sanctioned European companies involved.

European governments pushed ahead anyway. A foreign-policy disagreement was becoming a commercial crisis. And the alliance that had held the West together since World War II risked fracturing.

It was ‘the beginning of the end of the Atlantic Alliance,’ France’s foreign minister declared.

This was written two years before the “trans-Siberian” Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged in September 2022. Other predictions such as the economic blow-back of sanctions on the European economy were seemingly ignored. In hindsight, the damage to Europe appears to have been intentional. 

With Hungary calling controversially for peace, and Poland now stating outright that it may break with the West and implement a total trade embargo on Ukraine over forced grain imports, more obvious fissures in NATO may well give way to wider disaffection. 

The project to secure influence has almost certainly reached its limits in the battlefield of Ukraine. The cost of NATO membership is surging with economic decline complicated by the mass migration propelled by regime change. 

Home rule for Europe 

The governments of the West which agreed to this alliance represent a Liberal consensus which increasingly struggles to win elections at home. 

Breitbart News report on record support for the populist AfD in Germany, at 22% now more popular than the ruling parties. 23rd July 2023

The future for NATO may well be decided no longer in Washington, but in the nations of its long-suffering allies, who look set to call for a return to home rule. With the political landscape changing in response to the crisis management of its leadership, the Europe which sees the next NATO summit in 2024 will probably have a very different outlook. 

Unless America changes course, the price of friendship may prove to be too high for most friendly governments to survive.  

Shielded from reality?

It is a view which has not penetrated the armor of Ukrainian defense minister Alexei Reznikov. In fact, CNN’s quoting of Reznikov on July 25 should remind us how far from reality we may stray if we repeat the messaging from Kiev uncritically. 

[Reznikov] predicted that Ukraine’s membership bid will be accepted in July 2024, when the NATO summit is scheduled to take place in Washington to mark the 75th anniversary of the alliance

Asked if he thought the war would be over by next summer, he quickly answered, ‘Yes. We will win this war.’

Perhaps NATO’s greatest challenge will be in confronting a reality-based global community which prefers not to base its actions on wishful thinking.