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The NATO Stalemate! Are We Heading To World War 3
What just happened?
The NATO secretary-general ruled out the possibility of establishing "second-rate" members of a military alliance to appease Moscow before a week of adventurous diplomacy between the Kremlin and Western powers to prevent Russia's dangerous invasion of Russia. (1)
What does this mean?
In 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel assured the Baltic States during a recent visit to Latvia that Germany and NATO would unite in the face of a potential armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia. (2) Like President Obama, Merkel assured her audience that NATO's promise of "only on paper" does not exist. She is expected to reiterate this promise when she appeared in Kiev later that month. (3)
Any confidence that something claimed ‘orally’ as a verbal promise is indeed binding reflects the existence of doubt. In this case, the uncertainty rests on the absence of NATO soldiers in the new member states of the alliance, including Poland and the Baltic states, which feel threatened by observing Russia's destructive actions in the region. (4)
The absence is a long-standing concession to Russia, which fears a NATO invasion, one of the few remaining forms of controlling Russia exercises over its former satellite. Over time, this logical concession to geopolitics has become increasingly incomprehensible. (5)
Next week, Russia will hold talks with the U.S. and NATO to discuss Moscow's security proposals, including a ban on Ukraine from a U.S.-led military alliance and a Kremlin's veto of military deployments in member states with close ties to Russia. (6) NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the two proposals were unacceptable after a special meeting of alliance foreign ministers to discuss upcoming talks with Russia. (7)
"We cannot find ourselves in a situation where we have second-rate NATO members, where NATO as an alliance is not empowered to defend them," he said at a press conference. (8) In recent months, Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, and the United States believes these forces could attack the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any plans for an invasion but warned that Moscow could take military action if its security proposals are ignored. Stoltenberg suggested that arms control measures and possible confidence-building initiatives between NATO and Moscow are possible areas of agreement. Putin's proposal will require NATO to abandon a fundamental part of its founding treaty. The organization can invite any European country to join if it promotes security in the North Atlantic region. (9)
How will this affect the legal sector?
Any of these points of separation can be used by strategic competitors as a platform to destabilize individual allies or NATO as a whole. As highlighted in the 2020 NATO Panel of Experts report, "the shift towards NATO disunity should be viewed as a strategic issue, not just tactical or optical." (10) Despite the importance of preserving NATO's core values and, in turn, its political cohesion, Allies continued to lack the political will or legal instruments to address internal tensions and divisions effectively. Unlike the European Union, which is arguably in a better position to address democratic consequences through its rule of law machinery, NATO has no legal provisions to exclude or exclude an ally that violates the fundamental principles of the alliance. In addition, the fact that NATO is acting by consensus means that any retaliation against an offending ally risks retaliation in other NATO cases. (11)
As difficult as it may be, NATO can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to these internal tensions. Since its inception, it has been more than just a military alliance. NATO has taken on a political role based on a common democratic identity. As the alliance seeks to make fuller use of the power of this political dimension, strengthening its values is vital to realizing the full benefits of collective security. (12)
NATO's lack of response to these issues will ultimately undermine its reputation and credibility, especially candidates and partners. Now that NATO is in the midst of an adjustment process and the new U.S. administration is committed to protecting democratic values and rebuilding the transatlantic alliance, it's time to tackle this issue. (13) Washington has the political power to act as "first among equals" in NATO and push allies to take this challenge seriously. (14)
No need to pretend: those members who do not have NATO bases are just a grey area of second-rate membership. It became clear that not all NATO members are the same. The members of the first class - Great Britain, Germany, Italy - are those who, as everyone knows, will immediately be protected by NATO forces in the event of an attack. Second-class members like Poland and the Baltic states are likely devastated weeks or months before NATO forces arrive. (15)
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15 https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/nato-s-second-class-members/and https://www.csis.org/analysis/lifting-our-values-home-how-revitalize-natos-political-cohesion