April 2, 2004
A NEW ALLIANCE FOR 'NEW TIMES'
** 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enemy" has been replaced by an "invisible" one of global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"the threats are new, and old means are no longer applicable."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
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
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
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."
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
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.”
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
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
"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."
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."
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
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
"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.
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
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
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.”
Effect of Expanding NATO's Borders"
Ferenc Fejto observed in liberal Magyar Hirlap (3/30): "NATO's expansion with seven new
countries...is 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
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
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:
"NATO In The East"
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
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
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.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
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
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
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