New unity after the Nato summit?

The US at loggerheads with Europe, diagnoses of brain death and an unruly Turkey - there was little expectation that this week's Nato summit would be a success. Now that the meeting is over the key problem is no longer internal discord, commentators note.

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La Stampa (IT) /

Conflict was avoided

The Atlantic alliance is in better shape after the London summit, Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian Nato representative, writes in La Stampa:

“Even if they don't agree on everything, the leaders did their best to avoid a conflict that would only have done harm. The differences are obvious, but so is the desire to remain together. The sparse closing statement - brevity is a virtue - identifies the challenges that continue to make Nato indispensable. ... China is not classed as a threat, to say nothing of an enemy. But the document does classify 5G as an enemy if it falls into the wrong hands. ... 5G technology is a question of security, not just of trade. It brings Beijing into the game. Who else, given that no one else has this technology?”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Take Chinese threat seriously

It's high time for Nato to take the growing threat posed by China seriously, The Daily Telegraph stresses:

“Beijing has global ambitions, and its reach and clout are far greater than anything Russia can muster. Over recent years, China has targeted Nato allies through the theft of their military and dual-use technology, and intellectual property; espionage of cyber and human resources. ... All of these pose real and tangible dangers to the alliance. ... While allies do not appear to be ready to label China a potential adversary, or even a strategic competitor, the increasing threat posed by Beijing requires a full-fronted response by Nato.” (PL) /

Europe's eastern flank is being strengthened is delighted that the Nato summit was a success from the Polish point of view:

“A threat to Nato's common policy was the announcement by Turkish President Erdoğan that he would veto a plan to strengthen the eastern flank [Poland and the Baltic states] if the alliance refused to recognise the Kurdish groups operating on the Turkish-Syrian border as terrorist organisations. After talks with President Duda and President Trump, the leaders of the Baltic states and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Erdoğan finally decided against a veto. ... Here, without doubt, an agreement has been reached with Ankara the content of which we don't yet know, but which is advantageous for us regardless. On the one hand, the eastern flank is being strengthened as planned, on the other, no further dissolution of NATO is taking place.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Turkey needs this connection to the West

The pro-government columnist Nagehan Alçı stands up for Nato in Habertürk:

“The photo showing the four leaders [Macron, Johnson, Erdoğan and Merkel] indicates the direction this country must take. We mustn't kid ourselves: no matter how many faults the West can be criticised for, it is the only anchor for the rule of law and free democracy. Of course we must build up diverse relationships, starting with Russia. As far as the S-400 [Russian missile defence system] is concerned, we're in the right. If we'd been given Patriot missiles we wouldn't have needed it in the first place. But as part of the Western Alliance we must adopt an independent stance, and that's precisely what we'll do.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Europe too divided for a joint army

The Irish Examiner sees the idea of an independent EU defence policy without the participation of the US as unrealistic:

“The nations in what is now the EU still care about their sovereignty, which is expressed above all in the decision to send young soldiers into harm's way. They also have different interests. The French are busy in their former African colonies. The Poles and Baltic people feel most threatened by Russia. Germany, caring not a whit about all that, is merrily building itself a second gas pipeline to Russia, circumventing the eastern EU. Member states also have dissonant historical traditions, which make integration into one command hierarchy almost impossible.”

Mérce (HU) /

Power politics no longer needs a fig leaf

Nato is no longer needed as an instrument for legitimising military presence across the globe, writes the left-wing news website Mérce:

“Just as it was 70 years ago, the US is still the biggest military and economic power in the world. And its strategic interests remain the same to this day. However, nowadays there are other instruments that better serve these interests. ... In our times power politics has far less need of the fig leaf [of multilateral cooperation]. Trump understands that much better than the US's foreign policy establishment, which continues to insist that this fig leaf remain in place. In France, Macron is no more sceptical of Nato than Charles de Gaulle was in his day. ... But today Macron has much more room to veer from the 'discourse on cooperation' than de Gaulle did.”

Kurier (AT) /

70th anniversary with recalcitrant guests

Three troublemakers could mess up the Nato party, Kurier explains:

“First on the list is US President Donald Trump. The partners still aren't paying enough into the alliance in his view. ... Then there's France's President Emmanuel Macron. He's taken up the rhetorical sledgehammer to attack Nato, diagnosing the Alliance as 'brain dead'. ... And last but not least there's Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan, who does whatever he likes without caring about his allies. ... So there's plenty of explosives at the Nato party. But it looks like the 70-year-old birthday child will get a little older. For despite all the criticism and internal crises the Western alliance has not lost any of its clout on the terrain of military reality. In other words - or to paraphrase Macron: Nato isn't plagued by brain death but by a slipped disc.”

Azonnali (HU) /

Europe void of ideas

Europe hasn't achieved peace without the help of the US since 1918, Azonnali points out:

“The brain death is not in Washington, but in Europe, which for the time being clearly lacks ideas when it comes to the question of how to create peace on the continent without the help of the US for the first time since 1918. Europe is just as incapable of doing this today as it was back then. ... When Trump puts pressure on the European Nato members to finally increase their contributions to the military alliance, he points out that without the US Europe is still defenceless - against itself and against external enemies. With the European era of world history slowly coming to an end, the US no longer has such a strong interest in keeping things in order in Europe as it did in 1918, 1945 or after 1989 - either in the geopolitical or in the moral sense.”

Kommersant (RU) /

The indispensable Russian threat

Nato's sticking to its eternal image of Russia as the big enemy is a sign of senile dementia, says Kommersant:

“Russia is among the five countries with the largest military budgets. Before the London summit, it even proposed a moratorium on the installation of short- and medium-range missiles in Europe. Moscow is making every effort not to give the Nato states an excuse to suspect it of being aggressive. ... Of course, 'the Russian threat' remains an important catchphrase for Nato officials. ... Even if no one seriously believes it anymore. ... During its long association with the Russian issue the Alliance has become increasingly like a sclerotic old gentleman who keeps coming back to his lover but has forgotten why.”

Politiken (DK) /

A strong EU for a strong Nato

A committed Europe can only be a good thing for Nato, Politiken argues:

“Doubts about the US's commitment can't be reduced to Trump alone. Future US presidents will also demand that Europe increase its contribution. Nato functions militarily, but it meets with doubt politically. On this anniversary celebration the partners - including the Turkish government - should agree to continue defending and maintaining the free democratic society. At the same time the EU must also gradually take on more responsibility for its own security. That's easier said than done. It's considerably more expensive and demands huge commitments. Less dependence on the US and Turkey is a tempting prospect at the moment. Showing strength on security policy would be the best contribution the EU could make to ensure that Nato remains strong in the future.”