Consequences of Ukraine War on NATO Approach towards East Europe

2022/03/31 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online – Interview: Having stated that after Ukraine war, NATO has reached to its highest level of integration within the past two decades, a member of Scientific Board of Strategic Studies Research Center said:” paying more attention to the East Europe, increasing the allocated budget and stationing more military forces as well as helping sort out their challenges, the gap that existed among the European members of NATO has severely narrowed and their integration will further increase in future”.

Having referred to some disputes among NATO and the Eastern European countries and also their critiques on the Treaty’s positions as well as those of the EU, Mehdi Shapouri in an interview with the site of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations spelled out:” After breakaway of the former Soviet Union, NATO was facing a crisis in its raison d’etre and many believed that with restoration of competition among European countries, NATO would also suffer from division and collapse, and we would return to pre-cold war situation”.

Having stated that NATO member countries tried to define a new mission and philosophy for themselves and they have published documents so far, he further elaborated various NATO missions such as in Afghanistan, and September 11 related issues, and added:” Since George Bush presidency, and despite NATO expansion, we witnessed the emergence of some gaps and internal critiques within NATO, criticizing European countries on non-abidance of their financial obligations of those countries that created disputes to the level that Trump called NATO as an obsolete treaty.

Highest Level of Integration within NATO within the Last Two Decades

The expert of international issues called some international tensions and particularly Russian movements to annex Crimea as the cause to increase the military budgets of many European countries and fulfilment of their financial obligations versus the allocation of 2% of their GDP to NATO and said:” it seems that after the Ukraine war, the allocation of the figure will further increase and despite some conflict of interests, we witness a coordinated stance among European countries and the U.S.”.

Having stressed on the present situation when the integration level among NATO members has reached to its culmination within the past two decades, Shapouri continued:” Even during Biden and after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and signing of AKUS pact, NATO experienced new gaps and disputes; and all of the disputes were marginalized in the light of Ukraine war, many of internal gaps were remedied and NATO has now reached the culmination of its coordination and integration within the past two decades”.

Having said that raison d’etre of NATO has been revived again, he added:” it seems that we should witness further coordination and integration between the two sides of Atlantic. In addition to Russia, with Chinese position taken after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the coordination will further increase versus China as well, and Europe will upgrade the Chinese threat level”.

Gaps Narrow between NATO with Eastern European Countries

The Member of Scientific Board of Strategic Studies Research Center stated that the European members of NATO will reach greater integration and coordination with the U.S. in their approach towards China. He said:” in this situation, the Ukraine war has not only narrowed the gap among NATO members, but also has also narrowed these countries’ internal gaps; such as Hungary and Poland that had disputes with the EU and even the issue of their departure from the Union had been raised, after the War, we witness that Poland is making too much effort to promote integration among NATO members and puts stress on integration in its political positions”.

Shapouri emphasized:” Now, Poland and Hungary have a very different interpretation of threat comparing to the past. They used to have cooperation with Russia. Some analyses among the NATO countries were suggesting that many Polish and Hungarian authorities were gradually becoming the allies of Putin. But after the Ukraine war, the situation changed and NATO military presence in East Europe has been further strengthened”.

Having stated that the rise of cooperation in NATO will not be temporary, he continued:” the sense of menace from Russia will not be easily diminished among the European members of NATO and is considered as a long term threat. Therefore, with paying more attention to East Europe, increasing the allocated budget, and stationing more military personnel and also helping to sort out their challenges, the gap that existed among the European members of NATO will sharply be narrowed and their integration will boost in future too”.

The expert of international issues called the internal integration of these countries specially in East Europe and weakening of right-ism in the continent as other consequences of the War and said:” those who were supporting the weakness of the EU and NATO will lose their position because now there exists a strong wave of integration versus Russia and China and we should witness a strengthened NATO in the coming years”.

Shapouri added:” Germany has announced that as much as 100 billion euros will be spent in military field and it is going to increase its military budget; these are very large numbers. The country has a great industrial infrastructure and if it enters into militarism field, then it will turn to be a very powerful army. There are also other countries impressed under the new atmosphere and will step in the same direction”.

The Member of Scientific Board of Strategic Studies Research Center continued:” prior to the war, there used to be numerous disputes among the EU and NATO countries towards the Eastern European countries, and financial penalties under titles like human rights (violations) and non-abidance of regulations were imposed upon them. Even the EU was due to exclude the two countries from billions of euros of the EU member countries’ budget, but in present situation, it seems that a new issue has been replaced that has over-shadowed other issues”.

He said:” the two countries as well as other Eastern European countries are now trying to highlight their presence in NATO. Therefore, the former gaps will be filled. They will try to understand Europe’s demands, to sort out their disputes and to adjust themselves with the NATO plus the EU conditions. In general, new situations and sense of menace from both sides cause NATO and East Europe revise some of their previous policies”.

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