NATO at Crossroads after 70th Anniversary Summit

Photo: Heads of State represent their respective countries at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit last week

By Mike Talavera

Today, French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Élysée Palace to discuss the imperialist proxy war in Eastern Ukraine. The absence of the US and other anti-Russian members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at these talks, happening less than a week after NATO’s lackluster 70th anniversary, is another sign of the growing uncertainty in the future of the US-dominated alliance.

Leading up to this meeting, Macron expressed optimism in working with Putin. “If we want to move forward in fostering stability in Europe, we need to move forward with that dialogue,” he said.

France’s attitude towards Russia appears to subvert the official foreign policy of US imperialism, which has aggressively contested Russia’s influence over Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe since the fall of the revisionist Soviet Union. Heads of state at the NATO 70th anniversary summit also seemed to show disrespect towards US leadership, as captured in the leaked video of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mocking US President Donald Trump.

Despite these small acts of disregard, the outcome of the NATO summit demonstrates the enduring US dominance of Europe, and it is in line with the Trump administration’s policy of shifting towards imposing US interests directly on individual European countries rather than coordinating with NATO allies as a whole.

“We, as an Alliance, are facing distinct threats and challenges emanating from all strategic directions,” NATO’s December 4 declaration reads. “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.”

France’s efforts to engage in dialogue with Russia did not stop it from uniting under this declaration’s targeting of the US adversary. Other attempts by member states to undermine US aggression towards Russia also failed. Turkey, which has developed closer ties to Russia through joint coordination in the imperialist proxy war in Syria as well as through arms deals, intended to block plans to militarily reinforce NATO members near Russia (the Baltic States and Poland) unless, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, NATO designated the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a terrorist organization. But Erdoğan dropped these demands after the summit began.

The US recently withdrew its troops from northern Syria, permitting Turkey to attack Kurdish forces in the region.

The NATO declaration also shows that the US was able to maintain the alliance’s anti-communist mandate, noting that the London summit also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the “Iron Curtain,” or the revisionist Soviet Union. The alliance was formed on an anti-communist basis to unite European countries, under the leadership of US imperialism, against Comrade Stalin’s Soviet Union, the first socialist state in the world.

Last month, the US State Department ranked Maoist forces among the top “terrorist” threats in the world. By following these US guidelines, NATO’s commitment to an anti-terrorist agenda, as stated in the recent declaration, can be viewed by extension as continuing its commitment to anti-communism.

US imperialism, while still leveraging NATO in its campaigns against Russia and Communist Parties, also managed to push the organization to pivot towards China as well and recognize it as a comparable threat. The December 4 declaration, while not outright naming China as a threat, did acknowledge that it posed “opportunities and challenges.”

“We have all 29 allies now committed to assessing and remaining watchful, watching and knowing what is happening in China,” US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told the bourgeois press.

The Trump administration has waged a relentless trade war against China since 2016, and one of the cornerstones of this ongoing dispute has been telecommunications. Chinese company Huawei, heavily subsidized by the government, has been making strides in spreading its 5G technology and infrastructure around the world, challenging the US surveillance apparatus.

“NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognizing the need to rely on secure and resilient systems,” the December 4 declaration reads.

While some members of NATO like Macron continue to resist US dominance of the alliance, NATO members are still compelled to advance US interests against Russia, China, and all its enemies due to its status as sole hegemonic superpower.