What NATO 2030 is about: Confronting China’s and Russia’s “Authoritarian Pushback against Rules-Based International Order”

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by Rick Rozoff

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference today, February 15, at the military bloc’s headquarters in Brussels ahead of the February 17-18 meeting of NATO defense chiefs.

As has been its wont for the past decade or more, NATO arrogates to itself the right to address most every issue on the planet; these include, in Stoltenberg’s comments today, such non-military topics as climate change (“NATO should set the gold standard on reducing emissions”).

As Stoltenberg reiterated in his talk, NATO is a political as well as military bloc, and its politics inevitably align with those of the Pentagon, the U.S. State Department, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Union, the World Economic Forum – in short, the conglomerate that is the post-Cold War neoliberal global order.

Even the title of NATO’s current decade-long project, NATO 2030, is an echo of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. The globalist institutions work in tandem, march in lockstep; NATO’s unique role in the arrangement is providing the bombs, missiles, warships, strategic aircraft and submarines for the advancement of the joint project.

NATO’s current Strategic Concept, adopted in 2010, identifies – among many other issues it feels both qualified and entitled to respond to – piracy, cyber security, climate change and global warming, storms and flooding, rising sea levels, water shortages and drought, cross-border migration, diminished food production, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, dependence on “foreign sources of fuel energy” and supplies emanating from nations NATO desires to drive out of regional and world markets, carbon dioxide emissions, “factories or energy stations or transmission lines or ports” that require protection, the melting of the Arctic ice cap and, residually, international terrorism – though the latter more in Eastern Ukraine than in the Levant where NATO is aligned with active practitioners thereof.

Today the NATO chief advocated upgrading the Strategic Concept, presumably to include yet more pretexts for intervention around the world.

One doesn’t have to look far for a causus belli with such a wide-sweeping panorama of reasons for the world’s oldest and history’s largest military alliance to intervene with its customary array of fighter jets, cruise missiles, drones, depleted uranium ordnance and cluster bombs.

Stoltenberg’s comments came ahead of not only this week’s meeting of defense chiefs but also of this year’s NATO summit in Brussels.

He also alluded to several distinct NATO activities in this single sentence: “We will also address burden-sharing, and our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will meet with our partners Finland, Sweden, as well as EU High Representative Borrell.”

NATO and the EU are two sides of the same multinational coin, sharing as they do military assets and commanders under Berlin Plus arrangements. Burden-sharing is NATO’s term for among other matters the stationing of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

NATO has been involved in the war in Afghanistan since 2001 (“While no Ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, we will not leave before the time is right”) and that in Iraq since 2004 (“I expect Ministers will agree to launch an expanded mission, with more Allied personnel training and advising in more security institutions across the country”). There is no indication that it plans to leave either nation; quite the contrary, NATO has bristled whenever the former Trump administration mooted the point of doing so.

A withdrawal of American and NATO troops from the Middle East and South Asia would be a “violation of Euro-Atlantic trust.” NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan (and in neighboring Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan), where it commanded a 55-nation force that dwarfs any other wartime coalition in history, was an obligation it assumed by the only activation to date of its Article 5 collective military assistance provision, which Stoltenberg also alluded to today (“Spending more together would demonstrate the strength of our commitment to Article 5, our promise to defend each other”).

His most revealing, and surely most alarming, comment was this: “We need to take a more global approach to deal with global challenges….China and Russia are at the forefront of an authoritarian pushback against rules-based international order.”

This is the sort of Manichean rhetoric not heard since the very depth of the Cold War or the World War II fight against the Axis powers.

An authoritarian threat to the international order would seem to demand not only a response, but the most drastic of responses. Notwithstanding NATO’s dubious characterization of the “threat” in question, the bloc is not hesitant to disclose some of the measures it’s resorted to in combating this unprecedented threat.

Stoltenberg mentioned, for example, “Allied deployments in our battlegroups in the eastern part of our Alliance, air policing, maritime deployments and exercises.” NATO multinational battlegroups have been stationed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (all bordering Russia) since 2014, with an equivalent now also in Romania; NATO warplanes have been in Lithuania since 2004 and Estonia since 2014.

He also listed the need to “adopt clearer and more measurable national resilience targets to ensure a minimum standard of shared resilience among Allies,” to address problems “stemming from foreign ownership and influence.” NATO interoperability mandates purchasing arms and equipment only from other NATO members and partners, alleged security concerns aside.

Indeed he added: “To preserve our technological edge, I will propose a NATO defence innovation initiative. To promote interoperability and boost transatlantic cooperation on defence innovation.”

To sustain the announced confrontation with Russia and China, Stoltenberg ended his address by reminding listeners that:

2021 will be the seventh consecutive year of increased defence spending.

Since 2014, European Allies and Canada have contributed a cumulative extra of 190 billion US dollars.

Nine Allies are expected to spend 2 % of GDP on defence.

Twenty-four Allies are expected to spend at least 20 % of investment in equipment.
Conflict with China and Russia doesn’t come cheap. Not in financial terms. Not in diplomatic terms. Nor in economic. Nor, if NATO’s strategy advances in the direction it’s headed toward, in human terms either.

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