NATO dressing up, raring to go
– Indian Punchline - By M K Bhadrakumar – September 2, 2014
The summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] in Wales, Britain, on Thursday promises to be an exciting event for the alliance. A tortuous journey that began over 23 years ago is about to end. It was on February 25, 1991 that the foreign and defence ministers of the erstwhile Warsaw Pact met in Hungary and declared that the military alliance was disbanded. Ever since then, NATO has been a tormented soul. That existential angst over its identity in a brave new world without an adversary is getting over.
The LA Times reports that the crisis in Ukraine has solved the NATO’s ‘identity crisis’. Afghanistan has been tossed around up until lately as the leitmotif of the summit in Wales, but that was never a smart thing to do in the first instance, since there is no clarity still as to the political transition in that country and NATO’s future role in the Hindu Kush may well be in jeopardy.
Then, there is the islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But then, the ISIL is a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma and the US thinks that the coalition of the willing that it is assembling is best drawn from the Muslim world with a couple of Anglo-Saxon countries thrown in. The Obama administration is not contemplating a role for NATO in the hunt for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Of course, things may change overnight if King Abdullah’s prophecy comes true, but then, it can happen not before a month or two lapses after the NATO’s summit concludes in Wales.
Indeed, there is always Libya where oil mixes with democracy, Islam and terrorism, but then, that is a huge embarrassment for NATO. Operation Dawn, launched by the Libyan jihadists, has met with stunning success as Tripoli has fallen into their hands just a week before the summit in Wales. But NATO has no desire to go back to the war front. Some things are best forgotten in life.
So, it is Ukraine, the great metaphor for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which is going to be the core agenda for what the alliance’ secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called “a crucial summit in NATO’s history”. He disclosed at the customary pre-summit media briefing at NATO Hqs in Brussels on Monday how Russia’s emergence as the alliance’s adversary galvanizes the alliance, gives it a raison d’etre, enables it to acquire new robes and, most important, persuades its cash-strapped members to loosen purse strings and indulge in spending for ‘collective security’.