NATO chief’s remarks risk pushing Ukraine crisis to deteriorating abyss
Published: Oct 12, 2022 09:47 PM
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference ahead of the alliance's Defence Ministers' meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 15, 2022. Photo: AFP

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference ahead of the alliance's Defence Ministers' meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 15, 2022. Photo: AFP

Security situation on the European continent is shaking. Yet NATO, a vital player in Europe's security architecture, still unabashedly makes more effort to turn the Russia-Ukraine conflict into a life and death struggle. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested on Tuesday that Russia's victory would be NATO's defeat. It sounds as if he was making a pledge and even a war mobilization on the goal that Russia must be defeated. 

At a press conference ahead of the meetings of NATO Defense Ministers, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, Stoltenberg said, "If Putin wins, that is not only a big defeat for Ukrainians, but it will be a defeat and dangerous for all of us, because it will make the world more dangerous." He noted the following meetings will discuss NATO's future support to Ukraine, including "lethal weapons, artillery, armored vehicles, air defense systems and many other anti-tank weapons," and also announced that NATO will hold its regular annual nuclear deterrence exercises next week. 

What does he mean by saying NATO will "ensure" Ukraine wins? The hidden meaning in the statement leaves an impression as if NATO is ready to send its troops to the battlefield to make sure Russia will be defeated, even if the price is turning the continent into ruins. 

Yet NATO does not even consider accepting Ukraine's application for fast-track NATO membership. Neither the US side nor Stoltenberg replied with a clear and direct "yes." This made it clear that NATO is not ready for a direct confrontation with Russia. Then how to win? By exploiting Ukraine of course. 

Observers said Stoltenberg was actually sending a message to Ukrainians - go charging forward, NATO got your back. NATO will not only offer more weapons, but will also boost Ukraine's courage via nuclear deterrence drills. In other words, NATO will be a good cheering squad. The problem is, when a rival is a power with the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world, what does it mean by "defeating" it? NATO is not helping Ukraine, but leading Ukraine to self-destruction, observers noted. Once again, NATO pushes the conflict to a bottomless deteriorating abyss. 

Right after the Kerch Bridge, which connects the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia, was hit by a deadly explosion, and Russia's following retaliation, NATO cannot wait to throw another log on the fire. 

Thanks to Stoltenberg and his likes, there is little room in NATO for relatively rational and moderate voices when it comes to Russia. They have narrowed down their choices in the conflict, until there is only one path left - further heating up the tension, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

Meanwhile, some also feel a sense of "fear" in Stoltenberg's remarks - fearing appearing weak if NATO does not beat its chest in front of Russia. When Stoltenberg said the nuclear exercises "is the best way to prevent escalation," he was trying so hard to display that NATO's morale is through the roof. 

The war will be prolonged and enlarged in the foreseeable future, as it is growingly difficult to catch sight of diplomatic and political solution. The Russia- Ukraine conflict is fundamentally determined by the contradiction between Russia and the US. If the structural contradiction between them remains unchanged, the mutually uncompromising hostility will continue. There won't be the lowest ebb in the tension, but only a lower ebb.