Pushing NATO to prepare for direct confrontation with Russia will hardly find echo in Europe
Published: Jan 30, 2023 08:34 PM
US' game of manipulation Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US' game of manipulation Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

In an exclusive interview with Portugal's RTP TV channel published on Saturday, Chair of the NATO Military Committee (NMC) Rob Bauer claimed that NATO is ready for direct confrontation with Russia. He pointed out that NATO's decision during the NATO summit in Madrid last year to establish four additional multinational battle groups in four member states is "an important signal for Russia… that we are prepared if they decide to go after NATO."

Bauer's remarks are intended to draw the red line for Russia to keep the military conflict in Ukraine from spilling over to NATO countries. Currently, it is unlikely that NATO will directly intervene in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

However, this doesn't mean that the organization is not making military preparations for a potential direct confrontation with Russia, especially when it thinks Russia might tread on NATO's so-called red line.

Yet, NATO member states are actually not ready to confront Russia directly. First of all, what Bauer said can only represent, at most, the military authority's opinion. But as an advisory body that provides advice on military policy and strategy to the North Atlantic Council and direction to NATO's Strategic Commanders, the NMC doesn't have actual decision-making power. Whether or not to go to a "direct confrontation" with Russia should be decided collectively by leaders of NATO members rather than Bauer or the NMC.

At the same time, NATO members have different opinions on this matter. Many NATO member states understand that once NATO is involved in a direct military conflict with Russia, this will lead to a European war, or even a world war III or a nuclear war, endangering global stability. Most countries in Europe are against a European war. The US also doesn't want a direct confrontation with Russia, worrying about losing the benefits it has gained from the current situation. 

Bauer also noted that rearmament is the transatlantic alliance's top priority, acknowledging that the organization has "lost its monopoly on military initiative." He then urged NATO countries to gear their civilian industrial production toward the defense industry. "These priorities should be debated on, partially, a war economy in peacetime," Bauer added. 

Such words are, in fact, encouraging NATO countries to get ready for a war with Russia, even at the expense of sacrificing their normal economic growth. But none of these countries is prepared for that. As a result, Bauer's proposal is very difficult to find an echo in most NATO member states.

Bauer's statement perfectly reflects Washington's mentality regarding the current turmoil in Europe. NATO's commitment to the principle of collective defense that an attack on one is an attack on all is a tranquilizer for NATO members, making them believe that the US-led organization is true to its word and Washington will definitely support NATO to protect them. But judging from the experience of history, whether the US will keep its oath is still a myth.

It will soon be one year since the military conflict between Moscow and Kiev broke out. During this period, the US made the conflict a proxy war with the support of NATO, which, in particular, played a crucial role in Washington's hybrid warfare with Moscow. The US will continue to push other NATO countries to enhance their support for Ukraine at its will.

Fighting a proxy war in Ukraine is more in line with Washington's interests to maintain Western collective hegemony with the US at the core. To achieve this end, Washington needs to support Kiev to counter and weaken Russia. In the short term, pushing for peace while Russia is not weakened is not in the interests of the US. Therefore, the US will inevitably push to continue the war in Ukraine. At the same time, it will also manipulate countries such as NATO and EU members to increase their support for Ukraine.

Europe now has no way to get rid of the influence of the US and NATO, while its peace is now subject to NATO. Washington has kidnapped the EU through NATO, and Europe has no choice but to follow the US' lead. 

It is evident that before reaching its political and military goals, Washington does not want to see signs of peace in Ukraine. Thus, it is challenging for Europe to maintain a peaceful situation.

The author is a Chinese military expert and TV commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn