America First or America Global? The new administration has seemingly abandoned the former and embraced the latter. So far, the president’s foreign policy vision has been comparable to a Biden speech: vague allusions, language of hope and optimism, and ample gibberish. But Joe did not mince words when it came to a 70-year-old military alliance that is fading into obscurity: NATO. Former President Donald Trump exposed its dependency on American money, and since then the institution’s relevancy has continued to dilute. Is Biden trying to resuscitate a carcass to poke the Russian bear?
‘America Is Back’
On Feb. 19, President Biden delivered his first major address on the international stage to the Munich Security Conference. The online speech reaffirmed to world leaders that the United States is moving on from Donald Trump’s America First approach, informing the virtual audience that “America is back.”
Biden said that the United States will “earn back our position of trusted leadership” by repairing what he described as “strained” relationships with NATO partners and European allies. He added that the United States is fully committed to the NATO military alliance.
“I know, I know the past few years of strain have tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined to re-engage with Europe.
“Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values. They’re not transactional. They’re not extractive. They’re built on a vision of the future where every voice matters.
“An attack on one is an attack on all. That is our unshakeable vow.”
His remarks came soon after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin promised that Washington would remain devoted to the powerful military alliance and participate in an enhanced coordinated effort to ensure global security. Austin expressed America’s gratitude for increased defense spending pledges, but he stopped short of outlining U.S. commitment to the nation’s military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq – two nations that the Pentagon confirmed it would be reviewing. Austin reportedly identified China and Russia as critical threats to NATO.
Window Dressing for a Great Reset?
Are these comments window dressing for something far more militant and aggressive in Europe?
A peek behind the drapes points to hitting the reset button to rejuvenate the globalist organization’s relevancy, with Biden flipping the switch to revive a rotting corpse a la Frankenstein. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO’s existence has been called into question, and it was further amplified when Trump took other nations to task for leaning on the United States for most of the group’s financing. Like the broader neoconservative agenda, NATO is on the perpetual hunt for dragons to slay to reassure North America and Europe that the decades-old 30-nation pact must exist for the world’s protection.
In today’s climate, it appears that the treaty’s sole purpose is to poke the Russian bear, whether it is encroaching on borders or installing a significant number of troops across Europe.
In January, approximately 1,000 marines were shipped off to Norway for military training. The exercise was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the soldiers continue to be stationed in Scandinavia for “valuable arctic and mountain warfare training” until the end of spring. A “fuming” Moscow described it as a Cold War-style build-up near the Arctic Circle, and Russia’s ambassador to the Arctic Council, Nikolai Korchunov, told AFP that the militarization in the region “could turn us back decades to the days of the Cold War.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg aimed at Russia during a press conference, slamming the country’s enhanced presence in the Black Sea. This, Stoltenberg noted, “has triggered the largest and strongest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defenses since the end of the Cold War.” He also lamented the nation’s domestic affairs, calling the recent sentencing of Alexei Navalny “a perversion of justice.”
In perhaps the most goading statement of all, the NATO head campaigned for Ukraine to be invited into the Atlantic military alliance:
“NATO’s door remains open, and we work with countries like Ukraine. Ukraine is recognized as a candidate for NATO membership. NATO allies help and support Ukrainian efforts to join the Alliance. I feel certain that as part of the future project we have launched in NATO, NATO 2030, […] the enlargement policy will be part of that. And also when NATO leaders meet in Brussels later this year, enlargement and NATO’s open-door policy will be discussed and addressed.”
It is anybody’s guess if this would initiate a regional military conflict.
A Post-Trump NATO
According to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who served as NATO secretary-general from 2009 to 2014, the group is relieved that Trump is no longer president, telling Newsweek that he “is the worst president that the U.S. has ever had.” Considering how the allies were essentially bullied into increasing military spending to 2% of gross domestic product, it’s not too difficult to believe that world leaders wanted him gone. NATO has turned into a critical force to advance the neoconservative-leftist-globalist alliance’s objectives: reining in the rise of America’s adversaries, championing progressive ideology, and propping up the military-industrial complex – antitheses to Trumpism. But is it too late to accomplish these goals after Trump opened Pandora’s box and placed the spotlight on a treaty that is way past its expiration date?
The Aging Pugilist
Is NATO nothing more than an aging pugilist in the winter days of a fighting career? The parallels are uncanny. Both keep trying to emulate the glory days, cash in paychecks, and garner love from a nonexistent audience. But the fighter refuses to accept his irrelevance and realize that the world is moving on to new things. When French President Emmanuel Macron calls it “brain-dead,” much like a boxer who has taken too many blows to the head, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has, as the British say, lost the plot. Can Biden make NATO great again? The establishment press might cheerlead new wars, but the public might be tired of unending adventurism.
Read more from Andrew Moran.