What vision do NATO and Europe need concerning Russia?

  • 2023-07-11

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is facing its most serious crisis since its founding in 1949. The policy of the Alliance turned out to be decisive and consistent (although not lightning-fast) in the matter of the protection of Eastern Europe and military-technical assistance to Ukraine, which has been waging a defensive war against the Russian Federation. The key issue in the question of the place and role of the Alliance is not the position in the Russian-Ukrainian war, but the strategic perspective and readiness of NATO as a geopolitical bloc to intervene in deep socio-political processes on the territory of contemporary Russia.

But the test of NATO's normative and political readiness will not be the continuation of the policy of military support or the quantitative increase of battalion-tactical groups of international composition on the eastern flank, but the further integration of candidates for membership and the approval of expansion to the post-Soviet countries space (except the Baltic states, which are already in).

The next summit will emphasize the main visions of the bloc either as a reactive force (which reacts only to mature stimuli) or as a founding actor of a new security architecture. The issue of Ukraine, Moldova, or Georgia joining the alliance should get rid of the annoying background of the threat of a new military confrontation with Moscow and instead be transformed into a force guarantee of stability for NATO itself. And there is no point in looking for precedents in the form of Russian aggression against the sovereign states of Moldova, Georgia, or Ukraine - in the international political dimension, the Kremlin behaved like a serial killer, which from now on must at least be neutralized in the interests of the world community. Therefore, such a decision should be the invitation of Ukraine to NATO or the invention of a new legal mechanism for voting by the national legislatures of the Organization's member-states to accept Ukraine as a member immediately after the legal end of the war, which will become a litmus test for the vision of the fate of Europe in the coming decades. Actually, such a vote can be held even next month, politically consolidating both the right and the guarantee of Kyiv regarding its place in the Euro-Atlantic security system, without wasting time after the end of the war, representing a hard blow to the Russian regime, which is still inclined to live in illusions.

Loud criticism of military supplies to Ukraine at the beginning of the full-scale invasion appealed to the fact that the bloc's intervention in the war would cause either a wider regional conflict involving the member countries of the Organization, or lead to the defeat of Russia at the front, which, however, would mean critical threats not only to the architecture of the Eurasian security but also for nuclear security and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is the last thesis that causes the most fear for the cohort of skeptics, who warn against the essentially unprecedented fact of the dismantling of a nuclear state in recent history.

Similar analogies with the events of 30 years ago with the collapse of the USSR cannot be drawn - after all, the restoration of the independence of the republics and their automatic acquisition of nuclear status occurred with their awareness of themselves as subjects of international relations, which was facilitated, among other things, by a centralized bureaucratic component. If, hypothetically, something happens in Russia tomorrow, the actions will, with a high probability, be chaotic, and this is a noticeable concern for Western strategists.

The problem lies in the dilemma of whether NATO as a bloc and bloc member countries individually, will agree to establish a military security zone over the newly established ethnic-political or military-administrative formations when the political vacuum of the higher echelon in Russia de facto will lead to the loss of the obligatory attribute of the state (power) and will immediately start the disintegrative process? But if NATO is partially or fully, implicitly or openly ready to do this to guarantee nuclear security (after all, mobile nuclear installations, mine-based nuclear weapons, etc. are scattered throughout the territory of Russia), then will the Western leadership be able to conduct a balanced and consistent disintegration policy? Will the leadership be able to deliberately and professionally prevent any form of political consolidation of the former Russia, while at the same time seeking denuclearization of the new authority formations?

This is the main political and geostrategic task - to convince the entire composition of NATO in the scenario of the development of events, where only the Organization in its integrity can technically, politically, and militarily ensure the deprivation of the nuclear potential of the former parts of Russia and to create such a regulatory and legal system with a management axis that would be made it impossible to restore the integrity of Russia with the enslaved peoples and separate authority formations.

At the same time, any danger of a nuclear war is eliminated, because NATO as a block should take such actions (which are very resource-intensive in terms of personnel, information and technical support, counterintelligence activities and specialists, and means of disposal of nuclear weapons) only after radical internal destabilization of Russia, with the disappearance of the axis of political power and the same vacuum of the establishment. It is in this short and decisive historical time that the Alliance must implement a policy of transnational stability and security, which will preserve the leading role of the Organization in global processes and provide guarantees for member countries for decades, realizing the post-war vision of pacification of malicious violators of the international order.

Not only the victory in the war against Russia should be the goal for the community of free peoples, but also the readiness to implement the plan to preserve peace, through the denuclearization of new political entities and the policy of preventing the restoration of Russian integrity in the borders of 1991, in which the prison of nations did not disappear, but simply decreased in its scope.