In the News June 22
NATO Madrid Summit and War Exercises in Asia Pacific
NATO Defence Ministers Make Final Preparations for Madrid Summit, June 29-30
NATO defence ministers wrapped up two days of discussions on June 16, just a fortnight ahead of the NATO Strategic Concept Summit scheduled for June 29 and 30 in Madrid. Not a word was heard about finding a negotiated settlement to end hostilities in Ukraine or ways to lower the level of hostilities directed against Russia and China. Responsibility for elaborating that direction and for averting a wider war thus falls to the peoples of the world, especially those of NATO member countries. NATO must be stopped and disbanded for there to be peace and security.
War preparations was the only agenda of the defence ministers. They pledged to come to the Madrid Summit with a plan to equip Ukraine with more heavy weapons and new hardware. It is widely reported that NATO members have already shipped much of their stockpiles of old obsolete weaponry to Ukraine. General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said the arms to be sent include “much needed heavy weapons and long-range systems.” He highlighted that NATO “is preparing a comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine, to help improve interoperability with NATO, transition from Soviet-era to modern NATO equipment, and further strengthen security institutions.” The huge sums of money which NATO countries are spending and loans incurred to cover the payments to war profiteers all come at the expense of much needed investments in social programs at a time poverty rates are increasing at a rapid rate.
The defence ministers also discussed strengthening “NATO forward deployed combat formations” including battlegroups stationed in NATO member countries bordering Russia; more air, sea and cyber defences; and stockpiling weapons and pre-positioned equipment. They also discussed plans for “a new force model, with more forces at higher readiness, and specific forces pre-assigned to the defence of specific Allies, to enable much faster reinforcement,” according to Stoltenberg.
Expansion of NATO both in Europe as well as in the Asia Pacific was also discussed. Even if NATO is not able to admit Sweden and Finland at the Madrid Summit, they will participate in the Summit. Ukraine is also invited. Participation by the heads of state of New Zealand, Australia, Japan and south Korea confirm that NATO is indeed expanding its presence into the Asia Pacific region.
More military spending by member states was discussed as well. Stoltenberg was given his marching orders at a recent meeting in Washington, DC with U.S. President Joe Biden and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. Even while there have been seven consecutive years of increases in military spending, it is not enough, they said. The two per cent of GDP military spending demanded by NATO of its members is a floor, not a ceiling, they said. Stoltenberg delivered that message to the defence ministers: “Now is the time to keep up the momentum. So we can continue to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people,” he said.
Even as the NATO defence ministers were meeting, on June 15 the U.S. announced another $1 billion in weapons to be shipped to Ukraine. “I am authorizing our 12th drawdown of arms and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories for Ukraine’s defence since August 2021, valued at up to $350 million,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced. “This authorization, combined with $650 million in additional assistance also announced today under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will bring total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to over $5.6 billion since Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.”
The New Strategic Concept to be adopted in Madrid and all measures to enforce it are further endangering the peace in Europe and the world.
TML Daily, posted June 22, 2022.