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    NATO: Discussion and News


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    NATO: Discussion and News - Page 8 Empty Re: NATO: Discussion and News

    Post  Kiko Wed May 29, 2024 12:47 am

    How Russia influences the election of the new head of NATO, by Evgeny Krutikov for VZGLYAD. 05.28.2024.

    For the first time in history, NATO has formed an entire coalition of states opposing the candidate for the post of head of the organization nominated by the United States of America. What countries are we talking about, why are they against the American candidacy, and how has Russia already been able to influence this competitive struggle?

    The current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already exhausted his term of office, but they were voluntarily extended due to the impossibility of agreeing on a new candidacy in 2022-2023. But this fall, the Norwegian will still be forced to leave the post of Secretary General, and there is still no clarity on the new candidacy. Moreover, there is still a dead end in sight.

    In particular, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said that Hungary will block the candidacy of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the post of NATO Secretary General. The Hungarians have an alternative candidate - Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

    Meanwhile, the main player in NATO, the United States, insists on the Dutchman’s candidacy. “The United States has made it clear to allies that we believe Rutte would be an excellent secretary general,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said . Earlier, rumors appeared in the media that Rutte’s candidacy would allegedly be supported by the main major countries of the alliance: Great Britain, Germany and France.

    But the NATO Secretary General is approved by the full consensus of all members. That is, Hungary and the alliance it has put together may well, if not completely block, then greatly complicate the passage of Rutte’s candidacy. And Rutte is extremely aggressive towards Russia and fully supports the transfer of Western weapons to Ukraine. It was Rutte’s government that led this process, ahead of even Germany and the United States in the transfer of weapons. Most likely, this position of the Dutch prime minister is the decisive factor on which Washington’s support for his candidacy is based.

    One may even get the impression that Hungary is unwittingly helping Russia by blocking the candidacy of an extremely Russophobic candidate for NATO Secretary General. However, the situation is deeper.

    In the last twenty years, the appointment of the NATO Secretary General has turned into something similar to the election of the Holy Roman Emperor in the 16th-17th centuries: a mass of applicants with their support groups from small principalities, bribery, intrigue and the final victory of a representative of a large dynasty such as the Habsburgs. The role of the Habsburgs is played by the United States, which successfully imposed its candidacy on the European allies after the departure of Javier Solana in 2009. As a rule, these were representatives of the “northern peoples” - Scandinavians and Dutch.

    But in the last few years, a very unexpected competition has arisen, in which self-nominated people have emerged and coalitions have begun to form, mainly from Eastern European countries, situationally composed in different configurations.

    In addition to purely regional confrontation between three stable clans (the USA, the “old” NATO countries and the “new”), new vectors of competition have emerged. There is, firstly, the so-called gender tolerance, no matter how you look at it. It was precisely this that Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas pressed on. Besides her, other ladies also applied for the post - Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen and even Ursula von der Leyen.

    For the very ambitious Callas, as for many similar figures from the Baltics and Eastern Europe, pan-European structures are a new career step. At some point, Estonia turned out to be too small for her, and Kallas became, in fact, a self-promoter, exploiting precisely two of the largest new factors in modern Western politics - gender and Russophobia.

    The attitude towards Ukraine and the Northern Military District within NATO is, of course, more important than gender tolerance. But Callas greatly overdid it. It became so immersed in Russophobia that it no longer met the diplomatic criterion of negotiability.

    Roughly speaking, in the position of the Secretary General, as in other key positions of the European bureaucracy, there must be a person with whom Moscow will still deal when the situation changes. Callas ended up saying that she was put on the wanted list by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Consequently, the Russian Federation can no longer negotiate with her, and Callas has lost the opportunity to apply for some first positions in the European bureaucracy.

    And so, in an amazing way, Russian investigators intervened in the behind-the-scenes struggle for the post of NATO Secretary General. It’s not a fact that this works universally with all candidates, but it worked with Callas. And now she is offended by “old” Europe for not appreciating her Russophobia.

    At the same time, there is no evidence that Callas has put together any kind of support group, even from her Baltic neighbors. Usually these three act together, but now both Latvia and Lithuania have their own candidates for positions in the European bureaucracy, and there is no visible coordination here.

    But the Hungarians were able to put together a small group, starting with their historical neighbors and even opponents - the Romanians. Orban and Szijjarto are now lobbying Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for the position of NATO Secretary General. Budapest's idea is precisely that a representative of Eastern Europe has never been NATO Secretary General.

    At the same time, Budapest would not like to see, say, a Pole or a Czech in this position, who could easily become instruments of the policy of the United States or “old” Europe. Johannis seems, among other things, to be a convenient figure for Germany: he is not Romanian by nationality, but a Transylvanian Saxon (German) with a native German language and studies in Germany. In theory, Iohannis’s candidacy should be supported, in addition to the Hungarian-Romanian alliance, by Bulgaria and Slovakia.

    In addition, Hungarians have personal grievances against Rutte. Szijjártó regularly recalls that Rutte previously threatened to “bring Hungary to its knees.” “It is very difficult to imagine that a person who formulates and defends such a position will be elected head of an organization where one hundred percent trust is of fundamental importance... And if someone still believes that Hungary must be brought to its knees, it is difficult for us to trust such a person.” “Szijjarto said at a press conference in Tirgu Mures, Romania.

    The complaint against Stoltenberg in Budapest is different. Hungarians call the outgoing NATO Secretary General ineffective, since he was never able to force the countries of “old” Europe to increase military spending to 4-6% of GDP.

    This is the first time in NATO history that a stable coalition has emerged against a US candidate for the post of Secretary General.

    Previously, intrigues were also woven, but still within the framework of personal career stories, and candidates were not always willing to occupy this post. The same Stoltenberg has long been eager to leave his chair.

    Of course, Hungary is not going to promote Russia’s interests in this way. But the situation developed so that the competition for the position of NATO Secretary General suddenly found itself embedded in the pan-European context. As a result, situational alliances within Europe and NATO may also affect relations between Moscow and Brussels. Moscow, albeit indirectly, influences the competitive struggle within NATO, even if the competing parties themselves did not have this in mind.

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    NATO: Discussion and News - Page 8 Empty Re: NATO: Discussion and News

    Post  GarryB Wed May 29, 2024 8:18 am

    I don't think there is any room for discussion.... whomever gets the position will remain a mouthpiece for the US MIC and after spending all this money and time and effort demonising Russia and Putin and trying to murder Russian and pro Russian Ukrainian citizens... what is there to talk about?

    Cut trade, cut economic and political ties, and cut the gas supplies eventually when the EU is sick of giving good money to Russia.

    Russia does not need European money because European trade is biased in favour of Europe. Russia is better off selling its goods and resources elsewhere and making not just money but also friends and trade partners.

    Would you go to a supermarket if the manager kept telling you your religion is wrong and the rules at your house are not to his standard and that you have to pay extra for some things and some specials are not for you.

    Europe thinks it is the only supermarket in town, but there are new supermarkets everywhere with bright new shops and smiling friendly staff...

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    NATO: Discussion and News - Page 8 Empty Re: NATO: Discussion and News

    Post  Kiko Thu Jul 11, 2024 5:03 pm

    NATO summit became a test for both Biden and the US, by Gevorg Mirzayan for VZGLYAD. 07.11.2024.

    The NATO summit in Washington resulted not only in promises to the Kyiv regime and not only in a declaration by the alliance, which spoke of a “comprehensive threat from Russia.” The United States itself and its President Joe Biden took their own exams before their NATO allies. What is it all about and what are the results of the exams?

    A NATO summit was held in Washington. From the outside, it looks like Ukraine was the main topic. The Kiev regime is demanding weapons from NATO and a clear plan for joining the alliance. Some assistance was indeed given to Ukraine in the West – they promised air defense, as well as the delivery of a couple dozen F-16 aircraft in the very near future.

    But Zelensky was not the main actor on stage this time. As CNN wrote , the NATO summit was set to turn into a “public test of the health and cognitive abilities of 81-year-old Joe Biden.” According to the publication, “his every move, every gesture, every word will be subject to scrutiny — especially after the image of an aging and sometimes deranged commander in chief was hammered into the heads of 50 million viewers of the debate in Atlanta last month.”

    This is what happened, and there were at least two groups of examiners. The first group included the Americans themselves – the elite of the Democratic Party, as well as ordinary voters who in less than three months need to determine the name of the next US president.

    The Democratic Party is split. Some insist that Biden needs to be replaced immediately, since his health condition will not allow him to campaign and compete with Republican candidate Donald Trump. Others say that Biden should be kept – if only because the Democrats have no viable alternative, and Biden himself does not want to leave.

    It was believed that if the US President performed very poorly at the summit, then all the party bosses would come to him in a consolidated manner and confront him with the fact of the need for a dignified departure – including under the threat of invoking Article 25 of the Constitution (which allows the early termination of the president’s powers with the consent of Congress) and an unworthy departure. And one of the arguments would be a further decline in the President’s rating among Americans, who would once again be convinced of his incompetence.

    Biden failed this first test, which took place at the NATO summit. During his speeches, the US president sounded unconvincing and became the hero of new embarrassing situations – in particular, when speaking about the wife of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he said words in such a way that it sounded like he had an intimate relationship with her.

    It is not surprising that immediately after the end of the summit, bookmakers' chances of the president winning the election fell by almost a quarter (from 20 to 15%), and the influx of funds into his election campaign fell sharply. A number of sponsorship events to raise money were cancelled altogether.

    On the other hand, Biden continues to refuse to leave the election race and even attacks his critics. In his letter to congressmen on July 8 (which was leaked to the American media), Biden effectively blackmailed them with the electorate. He said that the primaries were over, that those who tried to challenge him in these primaries lost, and that Biden had enough votes to be automatically elected at the Democratic Party convention.

    In the coming days, the Democrats must decide: either increase pressure on the president (and try to find a viable alternative, which does not yet exist), or resign themselves to his nomination. And there is no time to waste – in the first half of August, all sorts of deadlines for candidate registration expire in a number of states.

    Biden's second group of examiners were the allies. According to former US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, the leaders of the alliance's member countries came to Washington to make sure that the US is ready to continue leading the organization. And not only Biden personally (in whose victory fewer and fewer Western leaders believe), but also the US itself. "The president's dubious political prospects have heightened fears among alliance countries about the return of NATO-bashing Donald Trump to the White House, and what that return would mean for the alliance and the entire transatlantic relationship," the Christian Science Monitor writes .

    These fears are not surprising: NATO is thriving under Biden. “Biden has done much to revitalize the Atlantic alliance after the disdain and hostility it suffered during Donald Trump’s four years in office… Biden has seen alliances as a key tool of his foreign policy and has proclaimed NATO as the centerpiece of those alliances, without which American interests and values ​​could not survive for long in a turbulent world,” writes Slate.

    Moreover, the EU is now taking a much more hawkish line on events in Ukraine than even the Biden administration. And this position will only be beneficial if the US presidential elections leave a president and/or team in the White House who are ready to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. Who will adhere to the same “crusader” approach to Moscow as Europe.

    However, if the pragmatist Trump (who has already stated more than once his readiness to negotiate with Moscow) returns to the White House, Europe may find itself on the sidelines of both the conflict and the negotiation process.

    Moreover, the EU fears that Trump will need Europe and see it as important only as a supplier of resources to counter China. That Trump will leave Europe alone with Russia. If only because America is no longer needed in this matter.

    “When NATO was created in 1949, the European nations were recovering from World War II, and the USSR posed a threat that Europe could not cope with without the United States. Europe itself was one of the key centers of industrial development and therefore represented a significant strategic prize,” writes American political scientist Stephen Walt. “But now everything is different. The USSR and the Warsaw Pact no longer exist, and Russia does not have the capacity to conquer and subjugate the European continent.”

    Europe still represents a prize, but the US gets it in a different way – by pumping resources out of European economies.

    So why should the US bear the costs of NATO's existence? According to experts, Trump will ask this question - and shift a significant portion of NATO's funding to other countries of the alliance. Trump will force Europe to defend itself independently, something its leaders have long since forgotten how to do. The US will finally demonstrate the result of this test based on the results of the country's presidential elections.

    Yes, a number of media outlets (in particular, the Economist) indicate that one of the options for NATO's "Trump defense" would be to include Ukraine in the alliance. This could fix the high level of conflict in the region and prevent Donald Trump from reaching an agreement with Moscow. However, as the NATO summit showed, the probability of such inclusion before the US elections is close to zero. For this, consensus is needed among NATO countries, and now most members of the alliance are not at all ready to risk a direct military clash with Russia. Including the US itself.

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    NATO: Discussion and News - Page 8 Empty Re: NATO: Discussion and News

    Post  Kiko Thu Jul 11, 2024 8:37 pm

    NATO more nervous about Biden than Trump – Politico, 07.11.2024.
    Bloc members are reportedly fretting over the US president’s gaffes while ignoring the implications of a Republican win.

    The frail state of US President Joe Biden seems to have worried NATO officials at the key Washington summit far more than how the bloc could be drastically changed if Republican frontrunner Donald Trump retakes the White House, Politico reported on Thursday, citing sources.

    Long-running concerns about the 81-year-old president’s mental state were exacerbated by his shaky debate performance against Trump two weeks ago. Numerous media outlets have described Biden – who often confused words and failed to finish sentences – as “fumbling” and “incoherent.” The debate disaster reportedly left some Democrats scrambling to find a replacement candidate, although Biden himself has categorically stated he has no plans to drop out of the race.

    According to Politico, several European nations have been “alarmed” by the president’s apparent decline and increasingly concerned by or even resigned to the fact that he could lose the November election to Trump, who harbors much more “hostile” feelings towards NATO.

    Some NATO officials were upset that concerns about Biden had distracted the public from what was supposed to be a celebratory summit, according to the report. “It’s a very weird feeling to be in Europe listening to the president of the United States, and you’re more stressed about whether he will go off script than being excited to listen to the leader of the free world,” one Western official told the magazine.

    A Politico source noted that “everyone’s focusing on Biden’s appearance” rather than on Trump’s statements about NATO, recalling that the GOP candidate is not much younger than his rival. “We would prefer a more stable situation in the US,” the official added.

    While Biden has championed NATO as “the bulwark of global security,” Trump has been much more critical of the bloc. The ex-president has repeatedly blasted NATO allies for failing to pay what he considers a “fair share” of common defense spending. In February, Trump claimed to have told fellow Western leaders that, unless they invest more in defense, when he was in office he “would encourage” the Russians “to do whatever the hell they want.” This prompted rebukes from both the Biden administration and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    Earlier this month, Politico also reported that Trump was considering a deal with Russia not to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia if he is reelected.

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