The times of utopian dreams are over

Russian missiles have ruptured the Western world’s sweet pacifist dream, political scientist Valentin Naumescu comments in Spotmedia:

“The West has woken up from the belief that from now on there can only be ad-hoc intellectual and technological progress, perpetual peace and politically correct discussions about cancelling traditional culture and Wokeism, melting glaciers and dying bees, gender equality in lists of parliamentary candidates and how outdated handcuffs and prisons are. … A wonderful progressive agenda has suddenly collapsed, shattered by the old-fashioned cannonade of the invading Russian army.”

Deterrence won’t work from afar

The Baltic States can only be secured by setting up military bases there, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung stresses, criticising Berlin’s stance:


“On the surface, Germany is participating in strengthening Nato’s eastern flank: 3,500 additional Bundeswehr soldiers will soon be made available for Lithuania. However these soldiers will not be stationed in Lithuania but remain where they are, in Germany. In the event that they are needed for defence, they would be swiftly deployed. … This shows that after four months of war, Germany’s defence policy still hasn’t arrived in the age of a new confrontation with Russia. The German government is not taking the decisive steps to their logical conclusion.”

Build up strategic autonomy now!

Europeans need to focus on the future in the area of defence policy, urges François Heisbourg, advisor at the think tank Foundation for Strategic Reasearch, in Ouest France:

“Nato is back in the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean that the European Union has lost its clout. Without it, tough sanctions would not be possible, and in the long term there would be no lasting, stable political order in Europe. Yes, right now Nato is especially useful. But what will things look like on the American side with the possibility of a Trump comeback and the likelihood that the US’s attention and resources will be focused on its great rival China? Rather than advocating strategic autonomy at every opportunity, it’s time for this autonomy to finally be implemented.”


Realpolitik a threat to environmentalism and pacifism

La Vanguardia sees left-wing values becoming less important:

“The reality is that the agreement announced this week between the US and Spain on the expansion of the Rota base [in southern Spain] has provoked hardly any protests. The days of demonstrations under the slogan ‘No Nato, bases out’ appear to be a thing of the past. … At the same time, another great value of the left, environmental protection, is also suffering from the consequences of the war. … Compliance with international agreements aimed at combating the climate crisis will become increasingly difficult. … Environmentalism and pacifism are threatened by realpolitik. Increasingly, the main objectives are that the economy is not crippled and the military is strong.”

Nato connects Turkey with the West

In Hürriyet’s view the Madrid summit has once again shown that “no matter how you look at it, Nato is the most important organisation in the Western world, in which Turkey can block the decision-making processes if necessary thanks to the consensus principle, and ultimately have a say in important decisions affecting the security of the West. From this point of view, in addition to the security deterrence it provides, in 2022 Nato is also the most important bridge connecting Turkey to the Western world.”


Poland becoming a frontline state

Gazeta Wyborcza sees this as the start of a new era: “Vladimir Putin had threatened Europe with turning off the gas tap and using Russian nuclear weapons to force recognition of his spheres of influence. The war in Ukraine has shattered the myth of a strong Russian military. Nato enlargement has shown that Putin’s threats were empty. It has also shown that we can get by without Russian gas. But that is not the end of the matter. The conflict in Ukraine is likely to continue for many months and take the form of a war of attrition. In Poland, we are returning to the Cold War era and our country will henceforth play the role of a frontline state, as West Germany once did.”

The new cold war will be costly

Jornal de Notícias points to the high military spending that the new Nato plans entail:

“Among the decisions taken at the Madrid summit is a commitment to increase the number of troops ready for action from 40,000 to 300,000 – with all that entails in terms of training and equipment and costs to the taxpayer. A change that will also affect Portugal. To boost our contingent sevenfold at Nato’s orders (which would require 12,000 well-armed soldiers, fifty aircraft, seven warships and more than 2,000 tactical vehicles, which the country does not have) means an even bigger bill in the coming years. … The cold war will be costly.”


Supplying more weapons was not possible 

The West hasn’t been able to supply Ukraine with more weapons so far, The Insider explains: “Firstly, there was the post-Cold War refusal of the Nato states to stockpile as part of their defence policy. They simply don’t have hundreds and thousands of howitzers, rocket launchers and tanks in their depots. Moreover, Ukraine has no qualified soldiers who could be sent en masse to be trained in the use of these weapons while others fight Russia. Secondly, the Alliance’s own defence plan imposes constraints. It wasn’t possible to take large quantities of modern weaponry from one member army without risking a serious reduction in the collective defence capability of all allies.”

Moscow the arch-enemy once more

The Aargauer Zeitung feels like the clock has been turned back:

“The new reality is really just the old reality of the Cold War we thought had been left behind since the 1990s. Once again it is Russia and its despotic leadership that is threatening the open societies of the West with its imperial power policy. The world’s most powerful defence alliance is reacting to this and defining Moscow once more again as the number one enemy, which is only logical. If the war in Ukraine can teach us anything, it is this: Nato is by no means ‘superfluous‘, as former US President Donald Trump claimed.”


New strategy on the eastern flank needed

Threats are useless, Wprost stresses:

“The war in Ukraine requires a change in the strategy the Alliance has used so far, which has been based on trying to deter Moscow with the mere prospect that it might be punished for an attempt at aggression. … Only Nato troops stationed on the Alliance’s borders can put a stop to its aggressive intentions. … And the announcement that Russia has been recognised as a strategic threat to the Alliance is no reason to rejoice. We all knew that. If this declaration is not followed by concrete action, nothing will change except the rhetoric.”

Do everything to reduce hunger and suffering

Novi list underlines the importance of the decisions to be taken in the coming days:

“No one can predict what the world will look like by the end of the year. Will we be hungry and unemployed this winter? Will we freeze? Will the war in Ukraine escalate? The summit in Madrid will not answer any of these questions. But the decisions taken there will certainly influence the outcome of the greatest geopolitical destabilisation since World War II. It is to be hoped that all those involved – especially in Moscow, but elsewhere too – will have the prudence and wisdom to bring these events to an end as soon and as amicably as possible.”


Convince Putin that guarantees apply

Nato must clearly show that it is serious about defending its eastern flank, the Financial Times demands:

“Nine Nato states now meet the target of spending 2 per cent of economic output on defence; 19 more have ‘clear plans’ to do so by 2024. Yet Western allies have made too many declarations since Russia seized Crimea and parts of east Ukraine in 2014, without proper implementation. The priority is to convince Putin – who some officials fear does not think Nato’s defence of the Baltics is credible – that the alliance’s security guarantees apply equally across all members.”

We can’t wait for the next summit before taking action

Postimees explains why there is no time to lose when it comes to securing Estonia’s border with Russia:

“When Russia is finished with Ukraine, its army will need two to three years to lick its wounds. Then they will be ready to put Article 5 of the Nato treaty to the test. That’s the time frame those responsible for Estonia’s defence are counting on. … The clock of Mordor is ticking against Estonia. Nato summits take place every one and a half to two years. Decisions are followed by long months in which the politicians’ agreements are implemented through the construction of barracks and the redeployment of technology and soldiers. We don’t have time to wait for the next summit.”

Time is running out for Ukraine

Nato members should not just make promises to Ukraine but also work quickly to fulfil them, Diena urges:

“For Latvia and our region, the issue of providing additional assistance to Ukraine, which needs it now more than ever, will be important. It is very likely that positive decisions will be taken in this regard. However, the issue of honouring commitments and deadlines will remain relevant, especially in the case of some of the ‘old’ European countries. Past experience has shown that Germany in particular has been in no hurry to make good on its promises of delivering arms.”

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