Nato summit: major changes and much work ahead

Europe's press is still discussing the results of the Nato summit in Madrid, which ended on 30 June. According to the Alliance's new Strategic Concept Russia is no longer considered a partner but a common threat. The members also agreed on expansion to the north, billions for rearmament and the strengthening of the eastern flank. What does this revival of Nato portend?

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Verslo žinios (LT) /

Make effective use of the waiting time

Strengthening the eastern flank will take time, so Lithuania should make its own provisions in the meantime, Verslo žinios demands:

“The published five-year deadline has dampened the euphoria of some Lithuanians who are relying on the Allies' increased numbers. This is hardly surprising, because we have two very aggressive neighbours. ... Therefore, the main task for all institutions and structures involved in strengthening Lithuania's defence force is not only to prepare as efficiently as possible for the swift deployment of the German brigade, but also to do everything they can do to guarantee their own security. ... The will to resist, the ability to use one's own means, as well as timely support from the Allies are decisive factors.”

Evrensel (TR) /

Nato adopting US focus on the Pacific

For Evrensel, one result of the summit is that the Alliance has aligned itself with the new priorities of the US:

“Nato, a Cold War institution, had to redefine itself as a global security institution in order to survive after the collapse of the USSR. ... Nato's geographical focus, however, remained Europe and its neighbouring states. But since the Obama era the focus of the US has shifted more and more towards the Asia-Pacific region. The new Strategic Concept published at the Madrid summit is an indication that Nato is in agreement with the US in this 'new cold war'.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Success for the Alliance

The Nato summit secured more for Ukraine than had been hoped for, writes Serhiy Sydorenko, editor at Ukrayinska Pravda:

“The summit of the North Atlantic Alliance was undoubtedly a historic one. These words were heard from all participants at the meeting of heads of state and government in Madrid, and they are no exaggeration. One can even say that the Nato summit in Madrid exceeded expectations. Few had expected that the Turkish veto against Sweden and Finland's accession bids would already be lifted at this meeting. However, this story is not over yet, because President Erdoğan has already indicated that the Turkish parliament has the option to veto the enlargement.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

A global security network

Nato has strengthened its position not only vis-à-vis Russia but also China by forming strategic alliances with other states, Jutarnji list points out:

“Indivisible security now stretches all the way from North America to Europe to the Russian border, and down to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. From there it bypasses Iran and continues to India and the rest of the Indo-Pacific region. ... The Nato members and Japan account for more than 50 percent of global GDP and have a military power that China cannot match. ... This pact will not be free of conflict or debate, but that's a characteristic of all democratic alliances. The People's Republic of China and Russia will stand virtually alone after the Ukraine war. Along with Iran. Too little for world domination.”

The Observer (GB) /

Consensus only on the surface

There is still no consensus within the alliance on how to deal with Russia, The Observer complains:

“Everyone agrees that it must not be allowed to succeed in its current aggression. But does this mean that it should be physically defeated on the battlefield in Ukraine, as Britain and most of the central and eastern Europeans are arguing, or would it be enough if the war ends without Moscow being able to make a plausible claim to victory, as Germany's leaders would prefer? ... The moment Moscow hints that it wants a ceasefire in Ukraine, all these differing opinions within Nato will come into the open.”

Gość Niedzielny (PL) /

Inexplicable strategic paralysis

Gość Niedzielny welcomes the steps taken, saying they go in the right direction, but criticises a lack of resolve:

“Although Nato is making quantum image leaps compared to just a few years ago, it is still affected by an inexplicable strategic paralysis. Because if it really wanted to defend Poland and the Baltic states and deter the aggressor to such an extent that no defence would be necessary, there would already be at least 200,000 Nato troops, mainly Americans, stationed in countries from Estonia and Poland to Bulgaria. Nato's declaration that Russia is the greatest threat must be followed by appropriate measures.”

T24 (TR) /

No more dancing at two weddings

The new Strategic Concept makes it virtually impossible for Turkey to continue its balancing act between the West and Russia, which is how President Erdoğan described his policy on his way back from the summit:

“Such statements are simply invalid. Impossible. After Madrid, Turkey, as a Nato member, will either have to withdraw its signature from the summit declaration and leave Nato. ... Or, in accordance with the Strategic Concept, it will regard Russia as the 'most significant and direct threat' to the security, peace and stability of Turkey and its allies in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and adjust its foreign policy accordingly.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

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.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

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.”

Ouest-France (FR) /

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.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

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.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

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.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

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.”

Jornal de Notícias (PT) /

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't have) means an even bigger bill in the coming years. ... The cold war will be costly.”

The Insider (RU) /

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.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

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.”

Wprost (PL) /

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.”

Novi list (HR) /

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.”

Wprost (PL) /

Keep the squeeze on Russia

Now is the time to exploit Moscow's vulnerability militarily, writes General Waldemar Skrzypczak in Wprost:

“Thanks to Ukraine, Nato now has an opportunity it must seize. The Russian economy and army are weaker now than they will be for a long time. Politically, Russia is already partially isolated. One by one its allies are refusing to support it militarily. The process of weakening Russia must be driven forward so that future generations of Europeans will never again have to live in the shadow of an impending war. ... This could be the result of the Madrid Summit.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Covince 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.”

Postimees (EE) /

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.” (ES) /

Warmongering instead of securing peace

Nato has failed because its strategy of deterrence does not create peace, writes

“The culture of warmongering, inspired by the belief that the use of force is the only way to secure peace, permeates Nato's every move. This makes it a collective threat that seeks to intimidate its hypothetical opponents through military hegemony, bleeds its members' economies dry and generates chaos, destruction, fear and resentment everywhere it goes. Nato has failed to provide security for Europe, and its current strategy in the war in Ukraine will leave a destroyed, wounded continent that sees no better way out than to fall into the arms of the US.”

Diena (LV) /

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.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Madrid should introduce a concept for the southern flank

La Vanguardia hopes that as host country Spain will also assert its own interests:

“The most important point will be the debate and ratification of Nato's new strategic concept for the next decade. ... The Spanish government also hopes that the concept will keep a specific focus on the southern flank and the dangers it can pose, such as the use of immigration as a political weapon. ... If the Spanish government manages to have the dangers of the southern flank included in the final document - which seems likely - it will be able to say that it has hosted a successful, highly complex summit.”