How the NATO summit really ended?

Trump…the US President… Many people all over the world hate him, are scared of him, admire, o does not understand him. More recently he has been the main newsmaker for the leading world’s mass media. As a true businessman, he tries to suppress junior partners, but at the same time he engages in an equal dialogue with those who are not weaker, or even stronger than him. His method of government is not similar to any of his predecessors in the White House. And it is getting interesting…

And now, it should be noted that he cares about his own image among Americans and the national treasury enrichment. He is ready to destroy the order that was set until he came to power to achieve high results in this matter. He is very aggressive towards European partners. He is introducing new import duties. He does not care about someone from Brussels, Paris and Berlin. At the same time, he sits at the table to negotiate with North Korean dictator, hoping for the Nobel Peace Prize, and then, passes to the Russian president.

Another place, where he showed his aggressive behavior was the NATO summit. Even before the beginning of this event, he attacked some European partners by sending letters. In them he stated the need to increase defense spending to 2 % of GDP. This theme was the main one during his speech at the summit. Trump stated again that his country did not have to pay for the security of Europe. The US President tries to meet the expectations of electorate, as well as the Congress, through this pressure because one of his pre-election promises was to force Europe to increase defense spending that it could defend itself.

It seemed that the European politicians did not have any answer to the US President. However, it only seemed… But later it turned out, that the leaders of Denmark expressed the loudest disagreement with the demand of Trump. The Prime Minister of this small country, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said that his country was nothing to be embarrassed about NATO partnership, and added that not everything was measured in money. The Prime Minister cited the example of human losses of Denmark in Iraq and Afghanistan that are compatible with US losses, given the ratio of the size of both countries. The Danish media also reported that after such a statement, Donald Trump approached him, saying ‘a nice point’.

It turns out that Trump understands only strength. And unfortunately, Rasmussen does not find support among the other European leaders. Or it’s just for now?

What can we expect from the NATO summit 2018?

Between 11 and 12 July 2018, a meeting of the heads of state and government of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) will be held in Brussels, Belgium. However, the European members of the alliance do not expect much this event. The reason lies in a person, like the US President Donald Trump. According to some observers of The New York Times, the US’ Atlantic allies are not quiet sure what to expect from the head of the White House on this summit. “No one knows in what mood Trump will arrive: aggressive, or insulted the allies for inadequate defense spending, or as a boaster, who brags of the recent cost increase”, notes journalist Steven Erlanger.

The EU allies are very concerned that they will face Trump what he was at the G7 leaders meeting in June. The present members described him as angry, sarcastic and rude, especially concerning Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel. According to the former US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, the focus of the meeting “should be Russian deterrent by the forces of the alliance in Eastern Europe, but Trump can ruin everything for Putin”. If Trump “arrives to enhance the dialogue with Russia and there is no clearity what Moscow will do in return, it will cause confusion in the North Atlantic alliance”, he said.

According to the president of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, François Heisbourg, “Trump can act instinctively, trying to arrange a bilateral deal with Putin and sacrifice the interests of NATO. He can lift sanctions imposed because of Crimea, put off maneuvers or withdraw US troops from the Baltic countries. We have seen it with Kim Jong-un”.
It is possible that Donald Trump can increase the expenses in common defense up to 2% of the GDP to the American allies of the NATO, that do not fulfill the condition. According to Defense News, Trump has already sent letters to some of his NATO allies in which he complained that they have not contributed enough to the Atlantic Alliance. In addition, the US leader has warned that this problem will be a key issue at the summit in Brussels.

The only document in this regard was published in Norway’s most important newspaper, VG, in which a letter was published to Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg on June 19. However, there is information that some NATO member states have received similar letters, and Foreign Policy magazine confirmed it.

The Norwegian letter says: “Norway however, remains the only NATO Ally sharing a border with Russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense…I understand domestic political pressures, as I myself have expended considerable political capital to increase our own defense spending. It will, however increasingly difficult to justify to US citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments.

But there is an opposite version that lies in the fact that everyone needs the success at this forum. And the US side can make some efforts to soften the negative impression of the previous G7 meeting, in which the United States clashed with its European allies and Canada.

In any case, the next summit of the North Atlantic alliance promises to become one of the most interesting and unpredictable in recent years. And the United States will play a fundamental role there.

However, in the realities of modern world, it does not guarantee the strengthening of the European security.


Merkel plays by the rules of Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to increase Germany’s defense spending in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Merkel said the challenges for NATO had changed drastically in recent years, following the Russian annexation of Crimea peninsula and Moscow’s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. It means that it is necessary for NATO to focus more on defending the alliance.
“To do that we have to make necessary arrangements, for example through a presence in central and Eastern European countries,” she said.
But I think that this decision was not made because of the situation in Ukraine which has not changed for several years. Earlier, US President Donald Trump had criticized Germany and other NATO allies for not spending enough on their own defense and called for an increase in NATO military budget.
And just a few days later, the Chancellor says that Germany will increase its military spending to 2 percent of GDP to show NATO allies that Germany remains a reliable country. And, first of all, it has to prove it to the United States.
Although in her statement to the Bundeswehr officials Merkel criticized again the unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, we see that Angela Merkel continues to depend on US military support and acts in accordance with the plans of the US leader.
I hope that Trump does not continue to rule Europe, imposing his point of view and will on the European allies.

Europe prepares for war

Last week in Brussels the European Commission and the High Representative presented an Action Plan to improve military mobility within and beyond the European Union. This would enable military personnel and equipment to be moved more quickly across Europe. It is noted that nowadays many types of military equipment can not be transported to the EU because of its heavy weight and large dimensions.
Therefore, the leadership of the European Union believes that European countries should seriously concern themselves with their military mobility and combat readiness in order to respond in time to possible crises. Thus, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “… by facilitating military mobility within the EU, we can be more effective in preventing crises, more efficient in deploying our missions, and quicker in reacting when challenges arise…”.
This large-scale programme let’s us believe that the European Union prepares for possible military operations with the use of conventional weapons on the territory of European states. And although the European officials haven’t said yet in which direction the troops transfer is planned, it is clear that we are likely talking about the eastern direction. And despite talks about the creation of transport corridors towards Britain, I think the eastern European direction will remain a priority.
Let me remind you that Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commander, proposed for the first time the creation of a so-called military Schengen zone in May 2017 at a conference in Tallin. The idea was to ensure the free movement of troops and military equipment, including NATO material, in the territory of EU countries.
It should be noted that the EU has recently tended to build its own military potential and extend military cooperation of European countries. This is due to the fact that NATO, in which the United States and Britain play the key role, causes more and more criticism in the countries of continental Europe. The European Union seeks to create joint forces that would be independent from the US and could be used exclusively in the interests of European states. But whatever opinion the EU leadership holds, European countries aren’t able to influence the situation, as well as deviate from the line set by the USA and Washington …

Olive branch: how the USA betrayed its Kurdish allies

On January 21, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the beginning of the military intervention in Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units ­(YPG) and the Women’s ProtectioNATn Units (YPJ) who are members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the Syrian Afrin. This military operation is called ‘Olive Branch’.
The decision of the Turkish leadership was made after the USA announced its intention to create a border unit of 30 thousand of the Syrian Kurds that are outside the Government’s control and that would control the tetrritories in the northern part of Syria. It gave the Kurds an added boost of confidence. And even there isn’t any reason for concern after the retraction of this information. The Kurdish Army has always received military and other assistance from the United States and was the main US ally in the region. That is why despite the contradictory statements they continued relaying on their trans-Atlantic allies.
At the same time, the Kurds had to make sure how the Americans kept their word but they are likely to get more lumps to take the right position in this conflict. The example of a flourishing Iraqi Kurdistan that now lost its territories and major part of the economic potential seems to have taught them nothing.
The Pentagon does not care about the interests of the Kurds. It pursues only its own interests in Syria. The Kurds won’t receive any assistance from it. It turns out that after declarations about the border unit the US side has provoked that Ankara begins hostilities against the Kurds. Maybe it was planned and the Kurds don’t need Washington?
Another important issue that the US and Turkey are NATO members, that is, from one military bloc, and that Turkey has the second-strength NATO Army. That is why, the USA don’t make sense to argue with strong ally because of the Kurds.
Russia that for a long time guaranteed the Kurds security and conducted joint operations with them against ISIS, could also stop Ankara but didn’t do it. The Kurds reacted extremely negatively to such actions affirming the Moscow’s betrayal. It’s interesting that on January 19, Gazprom received a permission to build the second line of the Turkish Stream. Maybe the Kurds had become a bargaining chip in the Russian and Turkish gas deal?
I think that during this military operation, the Kurds will finally be able to see whether they will be protected by US military advisers and whether they have an excuse to remain in the pro-American coalition. Let me remind you that I’ve already written in my article about the unreliability of the American side towards its allies. For example, the case at the airbase in Lithuania.
Do not forget that the Kurds can build an effective defense, which is very difficult to overcome. It was, for example, during an operation near the town of Tell Rifaat in October 2016: then the assault of Turkish troops and allied militias failed. In addition, the Kurds in Afrin have 10 thousand fighters. Making this huge grouping surrender is almost impossible, there have not been such precedents for the whole time of the civil war in Syria …