Nato turns 75: how strong is the alliance?

At its summit in Washington, Nato has promised further support to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Kyiv is to receive 40 billion euros in military aid within the next year - including additional air defence systems and F-16 fighter jets. Commentators look to the alliance's future with concern.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Only God Almighty can help

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sees the defence alliance in a fragile state:

“Nato deterrence and the survival of Ukraine essentially depend on a single man who has just narrowed his own chances of election. That every inch of Nato territory will be defended, as Biden has now repeated, applies without qualification only in the event that the White House remains Democratic. ... The real tragedy is the fact that Europe's fate depends on the outcome of a US presidential election. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Europeans had enough time to prepare to defend themselves. Now it's too late and a third of Nato members still fall short of the two percent target. Biden is putting his faith in God Almighty, and there's not much more the Europeans can do.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Time to show its mettle

Hospodářské noviny calls for decisive action:

“One day before the summit and a few days after the 'peace mission' of Putin's ally Viktor Orbán to Moscow and Beijing, Russia is making it clear that it can do whatever it wants in Ukraine. On the agenda at the Nato summit is the long-term promise of annual military aid for Ukraine and support for its path towards membership of the alliance, but the reality is completely different. Whereas Russia is allowed to attack a children's hospital in the Ukrainian capital, Ukraine is not even allowed to attack the military bases on Russian territory from which planes loaded with missiles take off, as a result of a ban [relaxed in May] by Western countries.”

Dnevnik (BG) /

No cause for complaint

Nato can be proud of itself, writes Dnevnik:

“Until recently, the clause stipulating that member states should spend two percent of their gross domestic product on defence was problematic. Two thirds of the 32 states have now reached this target and next year that number will probably go up to three quarters. A comprehensive restructuring of Europe's defence capabilities is already underway. The Nato states now have almost 500,000 well-trained soldiers for defence missions. The defence industries of European countries are growing and modernising at a rapid pace.”

Kauppalehti (FI) /

Europe must manage on its own

The US will shift its focus in the future, Kauppalehti predicts:

“The United States is Nato's leading power, its biggest donor and a nuclear superpower on whose deterrent influence the other members rely. However, its attention is increasingly shifting to its main adversary, China. For the European Nato states, this means that they must take more responsibility not only for their own defence, but also for supporting Ukraine in its war and reconstruction. ... Whoever becomes the next US president, it is not in the interest of the US for Russia to destabilise Europe. But we must be better prepared to deal with Russia on our own.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Hopefully it won't end like in 1914

Le Courrier warns of a spiral of armament and war:

“This militaristic headlong rush is also symptomatic of 'armed globalisation', in which states compete for limited resources and markets, increasingly resorting to brute force. The brutal acceleration of this process and the antagonisms it entails are fraught with danger for the world's population: in many respects the situation is reminiscent of the tensions between imperialists that led to the First World War in 1914.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

An ever broader base

Jutarnji list looks back:

“The Russian attack on Ukraine has destroyed any illusion that the world had changed for the better since the fall of the Berlin Wall, that Russia is now a partner that the West needn't fear and that Nato is no longer needed. Moscow is now seen as the biggest of all threats, not as the capital of the communist bloc but as the capital of a country that attacks neighbouring sovereign states and believes it can conquer them quickly owing to its superiority. ... This is why Nato is also forging partnerships outside the Euro-Atlantic area with countries that share democratic and liberal laws, such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Definitely not brain-dead

The alliance is still going strong at 75, the Financial Times notes:

“Having been diagnosed 'brain-dead' in 2019 by no less an eminence than the president of France, Nato is now wider, in that Sweden and Finland have joined, and deeper, in that member states are spending more on defence. Some are even mulling the revival of conscription. Whatever is missing from the alliance that convenes in Washington this week - a vigorous US president, for example - it isn't a raison d'être. The Kremlin has seen to that.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

A "bridge" instead of accession for Ukraine

Ukrainska Pravda can't hide a certain sense of disappointment:

“In order to reaffirm Ukraine's readiness to become part of the alliance while avoiding the word 'invitation', which is a red line for Joe Biden personally, the US State Department proposed announcing something called a 'bridge to Nato'. ... So the final declaration of the North Atlantic Council will include a clause stating that the Alliance's policy towards Ukraine will create a 'bridge to membership' that is to eventually lead to our country joining the alliance. And this will be 'sold' at the summit as a success for Ukraine.”

Avvenire (IT) /

"Irreversible" is the key word

Decisive changes have taken place since last year's summit, Avvenire counters:

“Ukraine's path towards Nato membership is 'irreversible'. ... The final communiqué of the Nato summit is expected to confirm these words by outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. ... This represents a clear turning point and is a response to Vladimir Putin's increasingly desperate gestures, such as the bombing of a children's hospital. A turning point, especially in comparison to the Vilnius summit last year, when Nato made no effort to chart out a clear path for Ukraine's accession.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Putin already rubbing his hands with glee

Le Soir voices concern about political developments on both sides of the Atlantic:

“In the current toxic climate, Nato will be trying to secure its position and 'institutionalise' its support for Ukraine. But against this backdrop, the more or less pro-Russian sovereigntist and extremist movements are causing concern among Kyiv's steadfast supporters. A victory for Donald Trump on 5 November could drive a serious wedge into the European unity which our Ukrainian neighbours have so far been shown in the face of the Russian aggressor. Putin is already rubbing his hands with glee.”