International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 2, 2004

April 2, 2004





**  With the addition of seven new members, Europe is "united under NATO's umbrella."

**  The "new NATO" faces new challenges, particularly global terrorism.

**  The newest members will resist attempts to make Europe "strategically independent" of U.S.

**  Most Russian reaction is muted; Eastern Europeans view NATO as "life insurance."




'From today, everything is different'--  The addition of seven formerly communist countries to NATO is an "historic" event and the "most significant change" in Europe's security architecture since the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to European commentators.  NATO "has finally overcome its Cold War structure," noted Germany's right-of-center Muenchener Merkur.  With the inclusion of the seven, NATO "has gained much more than security."  It has anchored the "identity and stability" these countries have long sought in the West and its shared values.


New NATO faces 'new challenges'--  The newly enlarged NATO, noted an Italian writer, is now "set to pursue new missions, particularly anti-terrorism ones."  The formerly "concrete enemy" has been replaced by an "invisible" one of global terror.  Sweden's liberal Dagens Nyheter judged that while NATO's future role "is not totally chiseled out," the alliance had adapted to this "changed world" where "the threats are new, and old means are no longer applicable."  A centrist German outlet demurred, stating that while NATO had "theoretically reached the zenith of its power," it was in fact ill-equipped for the "global missions" some envisaged for it.


Expansion is 'an all-American victory'--  Some Euro and Japanese dailies saw a "victory for the U.S." in the admission of "welcome allies" who, unlike "Old Europe," do not want NATO to be a "security policy counterweight" to the U.S.  Expansion "is a defeat" for those wishing Europe to be "strategically independent" of the U.S., declared Hungary's liberal Magyar Hirlap.  A Bulgarian daily warned against "anti-Americanism" that would lead to a "strategic divorce" from the U.S.  Papers in Belgium and Germany, though, complained that the U.S. "acts alone when it deems it necessary" and that the European allies "feel hired by the U.S. president" to confront "a never-ending series of villains" decreed by the U.S.


Russian reaction:  'no need for hysteria'--  Russian papers were mixed in their views.  Most reformist dailies held that Russians "do not share their leaders' concern" over NATO's growth and that it "poses no immediate threat."  Official Rossiyskaya Gazeta said enlargement was "not any kind of threat," though the Kremlin was "keeping an eye on the situation."  Youth-oriented Komsomol'skaya Pravda, however, complained about "Texan boys staking out" new pastures and held "it is clear to all" against whom expansion is "ultimately directed."  Czech, Slovak and Belgian dailies maintained that NATO remains "critically important" for security in Eastern Europe, because Moscow is still capable of "unexpected somersaults" in its policy, making its former satellites opt for NATO's "protective shield."


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 39 reports from 21 countries March 29-April 2, 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




GERMANY:   "A Different NATO"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger penned the following in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/2):  "It is the historic, security, and geo-political dimension that gives this enlargement its significance....  And the reaction of the leadership in Moscow has this time not been characterized by the high state of alert with which it tried to foil Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic's accession to NATO.  An explanation is less the effect that Russia has got used to expansion but on the realistic assessment that NATO is an alliance that finds its purpose not in a militarily based suspicion of Russia.  On the contrary.  But this does not change the fact that the new members, at least their majority, have sought membership in NATO because they consider NATO an alliance that promises security to them....  The new members must answer the question whether the things they will now get--and what is expected from them--are the things they wanted and which they hoped for.  It is a fundamental difference whether one is a member of an alliance whose military mission is based on the defense of a territory or whether they acceded to an alliance whose military everyday life is determined by intervention ranging from the Balkans to the Hindu Kush....  NATO will have a future if it takes seriously the security interests of all--of old and new members, of large and small ones; if it does not reject them, but offers its services to all its members; if it finds common answers to security policy tasks.  Political cohesion and the value as a military instrument are the results of investments of all its members."


"NATO's Triumph"


Gerhard Gnauck editorialized in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/2):  "Ten years ago, it seemed that the EU's enlargement would be very easy for the 'old Europe,' while NATO's expansion would be a play with fire.  The opposite was right.  The EU will have to 'swallow' its enlargement for a long time to come, there will be social and economic distortions in Poland and the Slovak Republic in particular, and there will be the rise of radical populists.  But NATO, born on the logic to prepare war if it wants to create peace, has gained much more than security.  It makes a comprehensive contribution to integrating and stabilizing potentially unstable societies.  Without this stabilization...the common fight against terrorism cannot be won."


"Stability In Freedom"


Ernst Hebeker noted in right-of-center Muenchener Merkur (3/31):  "With the accession of seven new members...the Western defensive alliance has finally overcome its Cold War structure....  The new members give NATO a totally different character.  Much more than in the past, the former alliance created to defend against an external threat has now turned into a community that shares the same values, based on freedom and the rule of law.  It is certainly true that the new members are seeking the protective U.S. umbrella, with a fearful glance to Russia, but with their membership of NATO they anchor the identity and stability they have long sought in the West.  That is why the acceding countries in the East consider NATO membership a milestone on the path to their real destination:  the EU....  Security, stability, prosperity:  when moving into the house of free democracies, the increase in military strength plays only a subordinate role.  In the era of terrorism, other things are more important:  with the consensus principle, NATO can now meet a unique task by forcing the West, including the United States, to demonstrate, at least in principle, a common position on security policy.  The Alliance will have to define its future role in the world and its limits.  With the enlargement, security has now been increased.  But for the North Atlantic community that shares the same values, this means much more."


"NATO Does Not Protect Eastern European Nations From Real Dangers"


Christian Semler argued in leftist die tageszeitung of Berlin (3/31):  "It is strange, but NATO, in its current situation, is totally unable to satisfy the security needs of the new members, at least on a symbolic level.  Instead, on the occasion of their solemn acceptance in NATO, they feel hired by the U.S. president for American domestic policy.  But it is exactly this Bush doctrine of the 'international war against terror,' that has dissolved the meshes of NATO as a security alliance net with its superpower chauvinism, its high-handed determination of war goals and the methods used in the fight.  The United States does not convey security to the new members but confrontation with a never-ending series of villains appointed by the United States, without having a chance to stand aside, let alone present their own interests....  The real security problems, which are linked to today's Russian security forces, will remain unresolved.  Since the 90s we have known that real military threats do not emanate from efficient but disintegrating Russian war instruments.  The deteriorating Russian nuclear fleet is a real threat, as are sunken nuclear ships.  But how serious are ecological problems in view of the joy of safety on the U.S. bosom?"


"People Already Declared Dead Live Longer"


Christoph von Marschall judged in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (3/30):  "In the first years after the Cold War, many people thought that NATO would not survive the transformation period, like the Warsaw Pact that was dissolved in 1991.  But today the Alliance is basking in the glow of its attractiveness.  Seven new countries acceded yesterday and it did not hurt  the U.S. that feared of NATO's combat power in 1999, nor Russia, that threatened a new confrontation once the Alliance crossed the 'red line.'   Now the flags of the three Baltic states are billowing with the wind of change together with the blue NATO Star--and everything remains peaceful....  But this change did not turn NATO into an alliance for global intervention; its structure is too democratic to act as a willing U.S. instrument.  In Kosovo, 19 nations wanted to decide on targets; now there are 26 members....  NATO has mutated into a 'soft power,' whose political stabilization power seems to be more valuable than its military arm.  Even in peace-spoiled Europe there are hardly any groups that want to do without NATO."




Centrist Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of Essen editorialized (3/30):  "Following the accession of seven new members, NATO has theoretically reached the zenith of its power, but one thing cannot be ignored during the diverse ceremonies this week:  NATO has lost influence; it is ill-equipped for the global missions envisaged.  Such missions would even be too much for the Alliance.  President Bush planned and carried out his Iraq campaign without NATO.  In Afghanistan, the forces of the Alliance sometimes look as helpless as the forces in Kosovo already are.  A pacification of the region is pure wishful thinking.  Real military and political strengthening of these missions, as the United Nations wants, will become expensive but that is money that most of the governments in Europe do not have, or prefer to invest in something other than advanced weaponry."


ITALY:  "Europe United Under NATO’s Umbrella"


Adriana Cerretelli commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (4/2):  “NATO is projecting its shadow on the entire continent, with very few exceptions (Balkans, Belorus, Moldova and Ukraine).  No one could have imagined a similar success....  This organization is set to pursue new missions, particularly anti-terrorism ones, and is ever more committed to...stabilization operations in Afghanistan and Iraq....  NATO has not only changed in terms of who its enemy is, the military doctrine and the instruments required for its implementation, but in its slow and radical metamorphosis the Alliance has also changed its appearance and internal balances....  NATO has become an exporter of security worldwide--naturally on behalf of ‘pax Americana,’ which is contested and criticized, but that for the moment has no credible alternatives.  The UN does not seem capable of doing much more than offering a weak soldier....  The ten new members...boast much loyalty to America and little to Europe.  Their arrival seems destined to weaken the voice of the European variable of the Alliance and in the long run to erode its credibility....  The triumph of NATO, which could have coincided with a great European and transatlantic celebration, has taken on a bitter flavor:  that of a moral and political defeat for the Union with an all- American victory in the background.”


"NATO Welcomes Seven New Countries"


Marco Valsania opined in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (3/30):  “NATO is expanding to strengthen the international security network. The U.S. Administration celebrated the new borders of the Atlantic Alliance with the entry of seven countries from Eastern Europe and former Soviet satellite states. President Bush received at the White House the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Rumania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. NATO expansion--from 19 to 26 members--has caused concern in Russia, who in the past had threatened to adopt new defense measures....  But Bush, as well as Powell...seemed to minimize the tensions. He instead underscored the need for growing partnerships to aid global stability....  But the achieved NATO enlargement, however, cannot hide the difficult time the White House is experiencing in matters of foreign policy and national security.”


RUSSIA:  "Russians Don't Share Leaders' Concern"


Veniamin Ginodman stated on the front page of reformist Gazeta (3/31):  "Many Russians do not share their leaders' concern over 'North Atlantic expansion,' thinking that, in view of a permanent terrorist threat, Russia should work harder toward acceding to NATO."


"Spring Draft"


Andrey Zlobin noted in reformist Vremya Novostey (3/31):  "The rookies count on the Alliance's vigilance, as their fears have never left them since independence.  It is only on the south lawn of the White House that they were able to take a breath.  For that collective relief, they have had to pay with unanimous support for the United States in Iraq.  Bush appreciates it."


"Texan Boys Stake Out Land In Eastern Europe"


Oleg Shevtsov commented in reformist youth-oriented Komsomol'skaya Pravda (3/31):  "No matter how much is being said about friendship with Russia, it is clear to all against whom NATO enlargement is ultimately directed.  Texan boys are staking out new areas in Eastern Europe, getting hold of rich pastures and hedging them from the still dangerous 'redskins' in the NIS reservation.  The seven former inmates of the communist empire gladly pledged allegiance to another, more promising military hierarchy.  They have pinned their hopes on the 'democratic West,' no longer afraid of backward Russia, which is ever ready to relapse into its communist past.  With the collapse of the 'evil empire' complete, Russia's role in the 'civilized world' led by the only surviving superpower is quite clear.  Gone are the blissful days and stupid ideas about America heeding our interests, as well as our illusions about NATO membership (in return for forsaking our foreign policy interests).  We are going to have to secure our own defensive capacity, wary of NATO's doors open for all....  As it imports the former satellites of the USSR, NATO gets all their problems and grievances, adding to the cost of Atlantic solidarity, with no guarantee of continued effectiveness."


"New Members To Pitch In"


Aleksandr Danilchuk said in reformist Gazeta (3/31):  "Enlarged, the North Atlantic Alliance has 26 states that have pooled their efforts in a war on those who 'hate its ideals and values.'  True, the combined force of its seven new members is only 200,000, far less than the armed forces of Germany alone.  Still, NATO speaks of a possibility to use Romanian rangers, Estonian divers, Bulgarian civil engineers, and Slovenian mountain troops in combat operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.  It is unclear, though, whom the Romanian rangers are going to scare or pacify, and where exactly NATO will use the Estonian divers in Afghanistan or Kosovo.  What is clear is that cooperation has already started, as four Danish jet fighters have been guarding the air space in the Baltics since March 29."


"No Need For Hysteria"


Official state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta declared (3/30):  "While the Kremlin is keeping an eye on the situation...the new enlargement is not any kind of military threat....  One the one hand...NATO expansion can be seen as Western policy gaining the upper hand, but on the other, it is a failure of our policy....  We were not able to oppose it, and we were powerless to prevent it."


"Moving Further East Would Take NATO To Moscow"


Andrey Zlobin stated in reformist Vremya Novostey (3/29):  "Try as Moscow did for many years to stop it, NATO has completed its enlargement eastward.   NATO's troops are now right on the Russian border.  Moving further east would take it directly to Moscow....  Analysts say NATO enlargement poses no immediate threat to Russia, and the Kremlin is quite justified in not seeing it as a catastrophe.  In the time that we have been fighting NATO enlargement we have drawn considerably closer together with the West. There is an understanding that after September 11, 2001, the ability to come out en force against terrorism is coming to the fore, and not the outward attributes of being with one bloc or another.   Without Russia, that seems impossible."


"Tactical Nuclear Weapons May Become Strategic"


Nikolai Poroskov commented in reformist Vremya Novostey (3/29):  "Control over air space in the Baltics is a noticeable result of NATO enlargement.   But it is far from the main one.   The opinion among Russian experts is that the focus of NATO planning will now shift to the east.  Thus, nearly half the U.S. troops in Germany are scheduled to move to Bulgaria and Romania.   NATO's keeping silent on tactical nuclear weaponsin Europe is the biggest worry here.   As they come closer to the Russian border, tactical weapons increasingly become strategic as far as we are concerned."




Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn opined in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/1):  "NATO is no longer playing a significant role.  That is the consequence of two developments.  After the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact the old enemy disappeared and, with that, (NATO's) original reason to exist disappeared as well.  With the first enlargement towards the East and the war in the former Yugoslavia, NATO received a new impetus, but a new reason to exist with a genuine strategic concept has not been found yet.  The second development is more recent, but it is complementary to the first:  George W. Bush's presidency....  America is so strong that, militarily speaking, it no longer needs allies....  Bush and his entourage think completely different about the world.  In the past NATO was the cornerstone of Washington's foreign policy.  It was the instrument to contain the Soviet Union and the ideal means to defend its own interests in cooperation with the European allies....  This administration has abandoned that view.  It no longer needs international cooperation.  It acts alone when it deems that necessary....  Will NATO become redundant?  Certainly not.  As the sole alliance with an integrated military command it is in a position to carry out useful tasks....  The principle of collective defense also remains very important--especially now that a new common enemy has surfaced:  terrorism.  The only problem is that NATO's strategists are not ready to redesign the Alliance to fight that.  That will be a long process."


"NATO Enlargement"


Foreign editor Frank Schloemer commented in independent De Morgen (3/31):  "Bush referred to the upcoming enlargement of the EU...and said that the expanded EU must give priority to the struggle against terrorism in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.  That was one more veiled warning to those who did not rally blindly behind him when he invaded Iraq under the pretext of a search for--hitherto untraceable--weapons of mass destruction.  Bush and his neo-conservative hawks divided the European continent into an old segment--Germany, France and also Belgium--and a new segment--all the countries that supported the invasion of Iraq--and simply want to make it clear with their message that, while the EU may an expand as much as it wants, the U.S. influence will continue to exist after May 1, 2004 and that Europe has to take that into account.  In the view of the hardliners in the White House it is good that even Russia is impressed by a U.S.-dominated NATO.  At this moment, 40 percent of the NATO countries are former Communist states and in Bush's view, they are a kind of counterweight against the 'old Europe.'  For the first time, NATO territory borders on Russia and Moscow is not at all happy with that....  Moscow is not convinced by the reassuring words from NATO headquarters in Brussels.  The Kremlin is concerned that the anti-Russian mood in NATO may swell if the influence of the countries that suffered under the Russian yoke grows.  The three Baltic states do not at all make it a secret that they joined NATO only because they fear their Russian neighbor.  The fact that Russia is totally 'encircled' by NATO in the west and the south is causing even more concern in Moscow--which is very understandable."


 "Why The East Europeans Love NATO So Much"


Mia Doornaert wrote in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (3/29):  "For the East Europeans NATO membership is more than a genuine security guarantee.  The ruthless dirty war of Boris Yeltsin's and Vladimir Putin's 'democratic' Russia in Chechnya and Russia's meddling in former Soviet republics like Georgia is making the former allies or republics of the Soviet Union opt for a protective shield.  Developments in Russia remain unpredictable and, for that reason, they want to protect themselves against potential adventures.  Their only guarantee is an alliance with America.  In the former Yugoslavia, the EU did not perform very well and, in the end, it had to call on the U.S. for help.  In the eyes of many Central and East Europeans, America is the only country that demonstrated that it actually helps its allies--and, consequently, that it is the only country for which Russia has respect....  That does not mean that the new member states are not critical of the Alliance--especially about the cost that the modernization of the armed forces involves.  At the same time polls show that there is a lot of protest against the U.S. war in Iraq in those countries.  However, given their gratitude because the U.S.  stood firm during the Cold War and the fact that (the U.S.) was the main promoter of German and European reunification that criticism does not harm their conviction that an alliance with the United States is a good thing."


BULGARIA:  "In NATO And Face To Face With America"


Center-right Dnevnik observed (3/30):  "Bulgaria is acceding to NATO at a time when the organization, deemed by the U.S. as the most important alliance and a measure for foreign policy skills of every president, faces the most serious crisis it its history.  Faced with a declaration of its position every time Brussels must decide on an argument between the U.S. and Europe, Sofia must at all costs understand America, know the values it stands by in the Alliance and know what it is prepared to sacrifice for these values....  So it is of extremely great importance to appreciate the fact that NATO is the only place in the world, where the U.S. has accepted to discuss strategic issues with its partners and to achieve consensus on joint action.  Revamping the Alliance requires the U.S. and Europe to agree on the common strategic meaning of NATO despite their difference on how to handle threats, the type of threats and prioritizing of threats....  'Old Europe' should stop living with the delusion that by distancing itself from America, it will limit Washington's unilateral actions in the world.  Anti-Americanism is bound to spilt the continent and leads to a strategic divorce with the U.S., because no American politician will accept transatlantic relations whose main goal is to build a counterweight to the only superpower."


CROATIA:   "New NATO For New Times"


Foreign Affairs Editor, Jurica Korbler held in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik (3/31):  "While until now a concrete enemy has always been known, NATO is, for the first time in its history, facing the threat of an ‘invisible enemy’:  the ever more powerful terrorist organizations which possess lethal weapons and power as if they represented powerful states and almost omnipotent state apparatus.  In a period when the Balkans are boiling again...further expansion of NATO becomes ever more urgent.  This is literally the last chance for Croatia to make amends for material which it should have mastered long time ago in order to become a NATO member."


"Tears And Champagne"


Bruno Lopandic also commented in Vjesnik (3/31):  “It has taken Croatia thirteen years to understand that it has missed a few integration waves, claiming that it was the most advanced of all.  The authorities in Croatia have only now, a month ago, truly reached an agreement on real reform cuts, [the lack of] which were causing the threat of a negative assessment from NATO.  Prime Minister Sanader expects the Istanbul summit to provide a clear determination that Croatia is next on the list of NATO’s expansion.  He also expects the European Union to make the decision on [Croatia’s] candidate status.  If reforms take hold, and the assessment of the ‘Gotovina case’ is a positive one, that’s what’s going to happen.  While some, like Croatia, need credibility in their relations with The Hague Tribunal, others need luck, either in the long-term, or in the short-term.  As American ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns put it:  ‘Karadzic needs luck every day, we only need it once.’  This applies to all ICTY fugitives.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Forgotten NATO And The Same Old World"


Jan Rybar held in mainstream MF Dnes (3/30):  "It might seem that NATO has ceased to be a world player.  The global war is waged against different enemies [than in the past]-- fanatics wanting to disrupt law and order.  And the power waging this war is not NATO but the U.S....  Nevertheless, NATO remains critically important for our security.  It is still too soon to stop being afraid of Russia, which is still a country that can perform unexpected somersaults....  The world has always been a dangerous place to live in.  Having NATO to back us up decreases the danger a bit."


"Bigger And Broader.  Mightier?"


Pavel Masa opined in center-right Lidove noviny (3/30):  "Some people speculate whether the new NATO members will finish off the deed of doom the Czechs, Poles and Hungarians have started....  However, the new members may facilitate the effort to seek answers to the current challenges of the globalized world.  This may not be such a difficult task.  If these countries manage to prove that activities of a specific group of states are not obstacles to allied cohesiveness, but may even be a suitable supplement to the mutual effort."


DENMARK:  "NATO Reforms Needed"


Christine Cordsen concluded in center-right Politiken (3/29):  "There is no money to deploy soldiers around the world while maintaining the old Cold War structure....  [Therefore] NATO and the U.S. are pushing for European countries to reform their military ahead of expansion.” 


FINLAND: "NATO Enlargement Changes Constellation In Europe"


Finland's leading, centrist Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (3/30):  “This week’s NATO enlargement to the East is the most significant change in terms of the security architecture in Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union....  It means a great change for Finland, because NATO will now also be in the vicinity of its southern border besides behind the border with Norway....  Russian authorities have referred to various vaguely defined countermeasures, but in fact the central goal of the Russian leadership is to raise the country from poverty.  This effort needs assistance by the West, so Russia is left with few chances for concrete measures.  For Finland and the EU’s other non-aligned countries NATO enlargement brings problems.  Of the 25 EU member states, 19 are also in NATO, and 95 percent of the EU population lives in them.  Two things follow.  The constantly developing defense cooperation in the EU is carried out in unison with NATO.  In addition, the security policy architecture of Europe is to be defined in this NATO core, which exists no matter how much Finnish leaders seek to deny it....  Decision makers will have to decide how Finnish interests are pursued by remaining outside the NATO decision making or by the kind of obstructive conduct seen last fall regarding the attempt to develop the EU’s foreign and security policy.  The difficulties of non-aligned Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden will be enhanced by the fact that developments to intensify cooperation even in matters related to security will proceed of itself.  At the same time, the debate in Finland threatens to shrink into an argument about whether or not Finland is militarily non-aligned.  In fact, Finland became aligned when she joined the EU on January 1, 1995.”


HUNGARY:  "International Effect of Expanding NATO's Borders"


Ferenc Fejto observed in liberal Magyar Hirlap (3/30):  "NATO's expansion with seven new also a historic date because it refutes the opinion of those who cast doubt on the justification for the Euro-Atlantic alliance's existence after the Warsaw Pact, which had been the main reason for its establishment, had ceased to exist.  The latest Kosovo hostilities have proved that NATO is needed especially because the European countries, which are trying to become independent of the United States, are still unable to effectively intervene in suddenly erupting, although historically not completely unexpected, conflicts in Europe.  The fact that seven countries...have entrusted the defense of their security and democratic political system to NATO is yet another victory for the United States, which has been a leading and driving force of NATO in the past, too.  At the same time, it means a defeat for all those who are determined to make Europe also strategically independent of North America....  NATO's expansion to 26 members precedes the European Union's expansion to 25 members by just a few weeks, which is also important because most of the new NATO members are aspiring to EU membership, too.  This is undoubtedly a good mark for Europe--not as America's possible competitor, but as its most important and powerful partner.  Shifting the borders toward the Balkans and the Baltics is another assurance against the possible reawakening of Russian imperialism.  At the same time, it has to be emphasized that it will also do a favor for strengthening friendly cooperation with Putin's Russia.  Russia can expect the new EU member states and, at the same time, NATO members to be well-meaning neighbors and that will support Moscow's efforts--if perfectly honest--for friendship with the European Union and the United States. Europe and the United States both need a new, democratic, and strong Russia as a pillar of the new world balance."


POLAND:  "New NATO, New Challenges"


Krzysztof Gottesman wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (4/2):  “The expanded NATO of today is different from that we joined five years ago. Not only did the September 11 terrorist attack on World Trade Center not cement the Alliance, but it caused cracks in its unity....   The difference of opinions on the intervention in Iraq does not have to mean the beginning of the end for the North Atlantic Alliance.  NATO is still needed, by Europe in particular.  Undoubtedly, however, it means that the Alliance is no longer the only Western military body ready for military intervention.  Ad hoc coalitions may play a growing role in the future, with the U.S. having a dominant position.  Therefore, it is good that we are in Iraq today.  It is in the interest in Poland not only to stay in NATO, but also to have close relations with America.”


"Welcome To NATO"


Waclaw Radziwinowicz maintained in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (3/30):  “By admitting seven new members yesterday--including Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia--NATO broke old Soviet borders.  This marks the symbolic end of the tragedy for our brothers, the Balts...the symbolic end of their exiles, their Katyns, their occupations.  They are secure now. They are on this side [of the line].  On our side.  But let us not rejoice in this against the Russians. Because the boundaries of the former communist empire are also being torn apart within Russia itself....  When the old generals leave in time, the young Russians who think differently will move in--they may still be distrustful of the Alliance, but they no longer regard NATO as enemy number one.  They don’t see Europe as an enemy.  So here’s hoping that Russia may also find itself on this side some day.  On our side.”




Belgrade independent daily Danas commented (3/30):  "Seven post-communist countries have become NATO members.  The world experienced tectonic changes at the end of 20th century and everyone should face the new reality.  Some experts do not approve of this NATO expansion.  They have emphasized that the main problems of the modern world--from Bosnia and Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan--are civil problems.  For conflict resolution, what is needed are multinational police forces, reconstruction of infrastructure and financial support, and NATO is not an organization capable of dealing with such challenges....  However, accession to NATO is giant leap for transitional countries.  Many believe that after this step there is no turning back.  NATO admission can be gained only after deep reforms and serious moves towards democratic structures that can be incorporated in a collective security system.  Therefore, NATO is a goal of all transitional countries, regardless of unclear views on the organization's future global concept and strategy."


SLOVAKIA:  "We Are There And It Is Good"


Andrej Matisak commented in centrist Narodna Obroda (3/30):  “Slovakia is a member of NATO.  It cannot be expected that the Slovaks will spontaneously celebrate.  However, it is still one of the most significant moments of the country’s history.  NATO is different now from the way it was when we were applying for entry.  It spread its operational space, the priority became the fight against terrorism, and it went through a crisis in Iraq.  However, it still remains the best bridge between two shores.  Its potential disintegration predicted by few analysts would be a catastrophe."


"NATO Is A Life Insurance Policy"


Miroslav Caplovic contended in left-of-center Pravda (3/30):  “NATO is a value added, it’s safety.  It’s like having life insurance.....  Membership in NATO is not only about a threat that could appear in the next five years.  It’s long-term insurance....  Entry into the alliance pushes the little Slovak soldier to an important place on the international chess-board....  NATO is a consensus.  It means no country can be outvoted, even if the rest of countries would agree to it.”


SLOVENIA:  "Now It Is For Real"


Danijel Cek commented in Primorske Novice (Internet version, 3/30):  "Compared with the six other countries, Slovenia has entered NATO with the least pain.  Without the enormous, clumsy armies that the former Warsaw Pact members had to cut down to modern army units without the costly and almost useless ironware, without enormous abandoned military training grounds...even without our own air force, which means that we have been without physical supervision of our own air space for the last 13 years.  From today everything will be different.  Under the wing of NATO, Italian fighter aircraft will be overflying our skies and our soldiers will be fighting far from home under the NATO flag:  for peace and world order in line with NATO and clearly for a wage.  It is true that shortly we will have to increase our defense spending because of NATO, but still not as much as if we had had to establish our own squadron of fighter aircraft.  From an egoistic point of view, Slovenia has gained a kind of security with NATO that it could never have ensured by itself.  And not only with the Italian aircraft, but also because of the very membership of the Alliance.  One of its fundamental safeguards is that its members do not attack one another....  Opponents of Slovenia's NATO membership have equated the Alliance with the United States, that is, they considered [NATO] its servant.  Events during the attack on Iraq, when NATO member Turkey did not allow the Americans to use their bases, show that the Alliance and Europe still have the power of decisionmaking in their hands despite U.S. supremacy.  But the fact remains that NATO, just like the U.S. Army, is turning into a world policeman.  After the attacks in Madrid, this kind of role will only be strengthened.  Luckily [for us], Slovenia is [still] an exception in this.  Of the seven new members it is still the only one that has not [yet] sent troops to Iraq.  But if NATO officially enters Iraq, then Slovenia will also find itself there sooner or later."


SWEDEN:  "A New And Growing NATO"


Independent, liberal Stockholm-based Dagens Nyheter editorialized (3/30):  "On Monday NATO aircraft began patrolling the airspace of the Baltic States. The Belgian pilots were the first visible sign that the Alliance the same day had been enlarged by seven new member states....  The fact that NATO aircraft are patrolling the Baltic States is remarkable and something no one could have imagined fifteen years ago. But the world has changed, the threats are new, and old means are no longer applicable. And NATO, which has been declared dead many times after the end of the Cold War, has managed to adapt to today’s realities. Still the future role of the Alliance is not totally chiseled out, but great and important steps have been taken....  NATO has quite simply developed into a broad security policy actor with a ‘far out of area’ mission. This can be noticed not least in the fight against terrorism...and it is obvious that this is what NATO should do in the future.  However, the airspace patrols that have begun demonstrate clearly that the Article 5 collective defense guarantee still is playing a role....  It was what made NATO so attractive to the former East Bloc states.  Only as NATO members they would have the much sought after security, which they have longed for after the liberation from the Soviet Union. On Monday they got the first concrete evidence of this, both in Washington and in the Baltic airspace.”


TURKEY:  "The Dilemma Of Changing NATO"


Etyen Mahcupyan commented in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman (4/2):  “It was obvious that the U.S. would not sit and watch the demise of NATO in the rapidly changing world.  There has been a search for a new threat for NATO to address, and recent developments have served to shape that new threat--terrorism.  The terrorism concept, however, is not enough to justify NATO’s mission for decades on end.  But now the meaning of terrorism has been expanded to include all sorts of violence.  NATO is now ready to act as the global policeman to prevent any act of violence that might threaten the world order....  The demise of the Soviet Union and the acceleration of globalization led the U.S. to try to legitimize its hegemony over a vast geographical area.  This brings us to NATO’s expansion project.  The upcoming NATO summit in Istanbul will make official the fact that NATO will now function on a broader international basis.  Yet there seems to be a dilemma:  NATO’s new mission requires rapid action and a fast decision mechanism.  It remains to be seen how this will be achieved with the participation of new members in a NATO organization that has become more cumbersome.”




CHINA:  "Why Did NATO Expand Eastward Again?"


Li Xuejiang commented in the official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (3/31):  "First, NATO, led by the U.S., has not seen the disappearance of threats after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.  It did not relax its vigilance against Russia’s eventual revival.  Therefore NATO's collective defense still serves an important function.  Meanwhile those 'New European' countries...always have sought a strong protector....  Another reason driving NATO to expand eastward is, after the Kosovo and Afghanistan wars, NATO finally has found a new mission, to conduct 'humanitarian interference' and post-war peacekeeping....  Moreover, urged by the U.S., NATO has set the War on Terror and non-proliferation of WMD as its new global missions.  NATO has expanded its area of defense globally to fulfill its new missions....  The U.S. is inclined to reform NATO into a tool constricting the rise of a new Russia, preventing an independent Europe and maintaining its global interests.  However the increase of the independence and influence of 'old European' countries in NATO will place certain controls on U.S. unilateralism."


"Troubles Amid Triumph As NATO Expands Eastward"


The official English-language China Daily averred (3/30):  “Expect triumphant rhetoric this week as NATO expands deep behind the old Iron Curtain....  And scant mention of the fact that the seven new allies from Eastern Europe are joining an organization mired in self-doubt, as the range of new enemies and challenges make its rationale of military action by consensus look increasingly outmoded....  The entry of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into an alliance forged to fight the Cold War is unquestionably a remarkable turn in history:  40 per cent of NATO's 26 members are now from the former Soviet bloc.  It will shift the U.S.-dominated alliance's center of gravity eastwards, bringing it nearer to the Balkans, the south Caucasus, the Middle East and Central Asia, all potential breeding grounds for NATO's post-September 11 enemies:  terrorism and the spread of WMD....  To transform itself for security crises of the 21st century, NATO is creating a rapid response force to fight wars....  However, the rule of decision-making by consensus may hamper the timely deployment of this force, because a rejection by even one ally would keep it in the barracks.  Last year's month-long tussle over whether to bolster Turkey's defenses ahead of the Iraq war is an example of how action can be blocked by a few....  The Kremlin, however, is leery of the expansion of NATO.  And it is particularly angry over the alliance's inclusion of the three neighboring Baltic States, saying they should have been a no-go area for NATO.  Over the centuries, the Baltic states have been sucked into one power bloc or another.  Their formal acceptance into NATO...marked the first time in modern history that they have freely joined a military alliance.  Moscow has long considered the Baltics as Russia's backyard and doesn't welcome the advance of NATO forces next door....  The strong Russian opposition to Baltic membership was one reason their entry once seemed so unlikely.”


JAPAN:  "NATO's Expansion Key To Creating Stability In Europe"


The liberal Mainichi editorialized (3/31):  "Seven former communist nations, including three Baltic states, formally joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a ceremony held at the White House on Monday.  NATO's expansion to 26 members was celebrated as a landmark event that paves the way for creating a new comprehensive security framework in Europe.  NATO's eastward expansion, which started almost simultaneously with the EU's eastward expansion, has been instrumental in democratizing most former communist nations in east Europe.  Although the Russian leadership has recognized NATO as a 'non-hostile' organization and accepted NATO's eastward expansion, there are concerns that future Russia-NATO ties will likely be difficult and problem-prone.  NATO should exercise its utmost caution in preventing ethnic conflicts in the two new NATO members--Estonia and Latvia--from emerging as a new source of tension that Moscow will attribute to NATO expansion.  As the NATO leader, the U.S. could use the organization's expansion to increase its influence in Europe.  Japan and other Asian nations should keep a close watch to see if the expanded NATO will play a central role in creating a comprehensive European security framework."


VIETNAM:  "A Defense Alliance Or A Global Instrument?"


Manh Tuong wrote in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, a daily run by the Vietnam People's Army (4/2):  "The 55th anniversary of NATO will be marked by the recruitment of 7 new members which are East European and Baltic countries....  It is hardly convincing that the massive 'eastward expansion' and NATO's plan to open military bases close to Russian border are just for defensive purposes....  It is obvious that NATO's goal is to expand its influence throughout the globe rather than remaining confined to geographical borders of its member countries....  NATO is  being gradually developed into a global instrument rather than just a bloc dealing with its own security issues.  What will happen if NATO's might continues to grow while there is no mechanism as well as no counterweight to contain that?  Many are certain that this process will lead to more ambitions for influence and interests.  NATO may be turned into an instrument for global intervention to serve those unpredictable ambitions."




BRAZIL:  "A Role For NATO"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (4/1):  "The entry of seven Eastern European nations into NATO has symbolic significance but does not obviate the crisis of identity in which the organization has found itself since the end of the Cold War....  Dealing with the terrorist threat hovering over the West is the closest thing to a common goal, especially after the March 11 attacks in Madrid.  The convergence of interests is more apparent than real.  While the White House prefers to use military interventions to fight terrorism, many European nations have put more emphasis on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  Although unlikely, it is not impossible that the U.S. and the major European powers will reach an accord to define NATO's mission in regards to terrorism....  Despite the pomp and circumstance, NATO's expansion is a far cry from resolving the organization's crisis of identity."


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