TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (Press Shia Agency) – Referring to China’s influence in eastern Europe, Filip Kovacevic, professor of geopolitics says at this particular time NATO is a paper tiger because of member states’ internal divisions and Putin’s acts to end Russia’s geopolitical humiliation.
Since the crisis in east of Ukraine began, Russian officials accuse NATO of a series of provocations, threats and hostile actions stretching back over 25 years. Under some pretexts The NATO tries to get closer to Russia’s borders and have stationed hundreds of troops and equipment in East Europe.
Moscow accuses NATO of violating an important part of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act related to new permanent stationing of forces. It’s called the “Substantial Combat Forces” pledge. That pledge stated that in the “current and foreseeable security environment” NATO would “carry out its collective defense by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.”
Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will remain in the area “as long as necessary” to protect its allies.
Mr. Stoltenberg said, “We are stepping up, we are increasing the readiness of our forces. We are deploying for the first time in our history forces in the eastern part of the alliance. We are also strengthening our ability to move forces across Europe, but also across the North Atlantic.”
The recent remarks by the NATO chief risks angering Russia, while from the other side there are reports about differences between NATO key member states like differences between Germany and US after Trump took office and between the US and Turkey and so on.
About the NATO capabilities and abilities to defend the member states, Payman Yazdani from Mehr News agency discussed the issue with Filip Kovacevic, professor of geopolitics, University of San Francisco, California
Here is the text of the interview:
German magazine Der Spiegel has recently cited a confidential NATO report questioning the alliance’s ability to defend against a Russian attack; however, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu declined to comment on the issue. What is your opinion about NATO’s real ability and readiness?
In my opinion, at this particular time, NATO is a paper tiger. There are so many disagreements among NATO governments, which are carefully hidden from the public eye, that it is very difficult to see how they could get their act together in the moment of crisis. However, NATO has had tremendous support from the mainstream media, academic think tanks, NGOs, and covert intelligence networks in Europe and the US and so the public perception has been created that NATO is a durable, efficient and even invincible military alliance.
There are so many disagreements among NATO governments, which are carefully hidden from the public eye.Nothing is further from truth. NATO has been bogged down in one of the poorest countries on earth, Afghanistan, for more than 15 years and made no progress whatsoever. They can’t even come up with anything else to do now except to send in a few thousand soldiers. As if that will make any difference on the ground! The only difference it will make will be in the bank accounts of those who own the military-industrial corporations in the US and Europe.
Shall we think of the report as an effort to spread Russiophobia or a warning that Mr. Trump should be cautious about weakening NATO?
From its founding in 1949, NATO has been the last refuge of the most aggressive Cold War hawks and Russia-haters. It should not be forgotten that its leadership in the 1950s and 1960s included former Nazi officers. Just like any other NATO produced report in the last seventy years, this report reflects the same cast of mind, the same stereotypical group think, and the same Kremlinoia (my term: it means paranoia about the Kremlin). NATO amplifies the Russian threat in order to get more funding for its war-mongering projects. In fact, I think that this was not a bona-fide leak, but something purposefully passed on to the media by the NATO leadership to get the attention of the US and European ruling circles.
The report includes the NATO’s command structure since the end of the Cold War, the NATO Response Force and of course the alliance’s weak points. In your opinion, what are the most important NATO’s setbacks?
The expansion of NATO seriously destabilized Europe. It destroyed the fragile balance of power that kept the continent at peace for a long time. NATO never took seriously the Russian offer of long-term cooperation which the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called “Europe – our common home.” No, NATO wanted to capitalize on the Soviet masochistic self-destruction. Well, the Russian president Vladimir Putin put an end to Russia’s geopolitical humiliation and now, faced with a firm resistance, the NATO leadership lost its collective head.
The expansion of NATO seriously destabilized Europe and destroyed the fragile balance of power that kept the continent at peace for a long time.They do not know what to do except of course to create the atmosphere of fear and anxiety in Eastern Europe by falsely amplifying the Russian threat. NATO is also trying to subvert Russia from within using the mass media and agents of influence in various spheres of social life. In addition, it wants to drag Russia directly into the Ukrainian civil war and instigate a catastrophic inter-Slavic conflict. The private email correspondence of the former NATO Supreme Commander Europe Philip Breedlove leaked in July 2016 testifies to that. Now that was a real leak and not this latest report!
Is NATO basically capable of responding the threats such as the new world terrorism?
NATO is a military alliance and dealing with the terrorist threat is something that the police and domestic intelligence agencies are trained and equipped to do, not the military. As far as the fight against global terrorism goes, it has to be coordinated at the level of the United Nations. All states must be involved in this effort and all veto-holding members of the UN Security Council have to be on the same side. Without cooperating and sharing Intel with Russia and China, extremely destructive, rogue terrorist groups cannot be stopped. The recently established UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) led by the experienced Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov is a step in the right direction.
With regard to NATO’s expansion to the east, how do you evaluate the future of NATO-Russia relationship?
The positive qualities of this relationship do not exist anymore. NATO expansion destroyed the potential for peace and prosperity in Eastern Europe. However, the NATO-friendly political elites in many Eastern European countries are increasingly losing public trust and legitimacy. The change of elites is imminent. The Atlanticist elites will rapidly be replaced by
The Chinese influence is also being felt through various infrastructure projects in Eastern Europe. The Chinese initiatives bring the promise of employment and a better life, whereas NATO relies on deception and brute force to push its agenda forward.those who are geo-strategically oriented toward Eurasia. The Chinese influence is also being felt through various infrastructure projects in Eastern Europe. The Chinese initiatives bring the promise of employment and a better life, whereas NATO relies on deception and brute force to push its agenda forward. The critics of NATO have been openly discriminated against in various East European states.
Will the recent tensions between Ankara and the US and some Turkey’s NATO allies over a wide range of issues from the US and some Turkey’s NATO partners support to SDF and PKK to the purchase of Russian made S400 missile system affect the Turkey and NATO cooperation?
These disagreements have already radically transformed the relations between Turkey on one side and the US and various EU member states on the other. There is no return to the previous cozy relations while Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the president of Turkey. That is why we are witnessing a well-financed media and intelligence effort to demonize Erdogan in the West as much as possible. I would not be surprised to hear that some academic and NGO circles tied to the Atlanticist political interests are preparing an indictment against Erdogan for war crimes. We will see what happens, but I am concerned that those who oppose the present Turkish Eurasianist geopolitical orientation will push Turkey into a serious political and economic crisis and try to turn it into a failed state.
Filip Kovacevic is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Politics, specializing in geopolitics, US foreign policy, and East-Central European / Eurasian affairs. He is on leave from the University of Montenegro where he has taught since 2005 and has been appointed to the position of Associate Professor.
Interview by Payman Yazdani