NATO in Cold War dream undermines global peace, stability

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By Huan Yuping, People’s Daily

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit, which was held on July 11 and 12, once again revealed the organization’s Cold War mentality. It issued a communique that distorted China’s position and policies and deliberately smeared China, exposing NATO’s dangerous attempt to meddle in affairs beyond its geographical scope, create division, and foment confrontation.

This proved that NATO has never reflected on the troubles and disasters it has brought around the world, which plunged many of its member countries into security dilemmas. However, it is still in its Cold War dream, seeking further expansion and creating new troubles around the globe.

As a so-called defensive alliance, NATO “defends” itself by waging wars. After the end of the Cold War, it has repeatedly lit the fuse of confrontation and created wars around the world, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Kosovo, from Afghanistan to Iraq, and from Libya to Syria.

According to incomplete statistics, the wars launched or participated in by NATO after 2001 have killed hundreds of thousands and displaced tens of millions of people.

The root cause for the current warfare and security dilemmas in Europe is NATO’s long-term addiction to expansion and confrontation. George Kennan, the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union noted that expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.

NATO has unshirkable responsibilities for the Ukraine crisis. Before the crisis escalated, the Minsk Agreements reached by relevant parties and the efforts made by the international community could have had the opportunity to maintain peace. However, NATO kept provoking conflicts, which once again brought the European continent to warfare.

Since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis, NATO took advantage of the situation and tried to expand and perpetuate the crisis, which made it more difficult to resolve the crisis through political means. Facts prove that the so-called defensive alliance is exactly a saboteur of global peace and stability.

Again, the NATO summit this time invited a few Asia-Pacific countries, with an aim to enhance its collusion with the latter. It even blatantly claimed that the “Indo-Pacific is important for NATO.”

However, NATO’s intention to move eastward to the Asia-Pacific region is all too clear. The claim that it remains a regional alliance and does not seek a geopolitical breakthrough is just weakly stated.

The scope of NATO’s activities is far beyond the North Atlantic region. Over the years, the organization has taken great pains to expand its so-called partnership network.

It meddles in the affairs of Eurasia with its Partnership for Peace program, interferes in the affairs of the Middle East and North Africa with the Mediterranean Dialogue, plans to enter the Gulf with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and expands toward the Asia-Pacific region with a global partnership program.

A trick frequently used by NATO to seek expansion is fanning up the so-called “security threat” and provoking value confrontation. At the NATO summit this time, the alliance arbitrarily sold the “China threat” theory and groundlessly claimed that China is a “systemic challenge.” Its true intention was to peddle security fear and seek excuses for its expansion into the Asia-Pacific.

To maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific, regional countries need to respect each other, carry out open and win-win cooperation and properly handle their disputes. NATO’s eastward foray into the Asia-Pacific would only intensify regional tension and trigger bloc confrontation and even a new Cold War.

Asia-Pacific countries do not welcome NATO’s expansion to the region, and even many NATO states do not approve of it. The Asia-Pacific does not need an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO.”

Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO, noted that “global NATO” or “NATO plus” could divide the world into adversarial blocs.

The hot and cold wars of the last century indicated that expanding military blocs and creating bloc confrontation can never bring peace and security, but only lead to wars and conflicts.

NATO seemingly follows the principle of consensus-based decision-making, but it prioritizes the interests of the United States and its actions mirror American wills. The theory of the so-called “China threat” hyped at this NATO summit is highly identical to the false information about China spread by the United States, which fully revealed the intention of Washington to transform NATO into a hegemonic tool oppressing China.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once stated at the end of the 1990s that U.S. support for greater European efforts would be contingent on avoiding “three D’s:” discrimination against non-EU NATO members, decoupling of European and North American security, and duplication of NATO’s operational planning system or its command structure.

In other words, it’s a must for the United States to keep its control over European security via NATO, and Europe’s goal of strengthening strategic independence and defense construction must make way for American hegemony.

Over the past more than three decades, NATO has shifted its strategic focus for times, from pushing for expansion in Central and Eastern Europe to interfering in other countries’ internal affairs around the world, and to buckling down to anti-terrorism after the war in Afghanistan.

Today, it refocuses on major-country rivalry and accelerates its eastward foray into the Asia-Pacific. These changes are highly consistent with the United States foreign policy adjustment.

However, a “NATO under the rein of the United States” is not consistent with European interests. Just as French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated, European countries need to develop more strategic autonomy lest the continent become a “vassal” in the event of a great-power confrontation. The top priority of Europe is not cooperating with other countries on agendas around the world, and Europe should not fall into bloc confrontation.

The world today is different from the one that was trapped in the Cold War. NATO should immediately stop smearing China and fabricating lies about China, abandon the outdated philosophies of the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, give up its erroneous addiction to military expansion, stop seeking so-called absolute security, and stop troubling Europe and the Asia-Pacific. It must quit seeking excuses for its expansion and play a constructive role in maintaining world peace and stability.