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Stoltenberg Defines NATO ‘Core Principles’—Anyone Can Join NATO and Russia Be Damned

Jan. 27, 2022 (EIRNS)—In his remarks to the media in Brussels yesterday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg elaborated on three topics that NATO’s response to Russia’s Dec. 15, 2021 proposed agreement for security guarantees had touched on. Echoing U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Stoltenberg fervently proclaimed that “what we have made clear is that we will not compromise on some core principles”—that every nation has the right to choose its own path. “So NATO respects a country or a nation when they decide to apply for NATO membership, as for instance, Ukraine, or when they decide to not apply for a NATO membership as Finland and Sweden have done. So, this is about respecting the right to self-determination. We are standing by the core principles on which European security has been based for many years.”

(Of course, just because a nation decides to apply for NATO membership does not mean it will become a NATO member, since its application must be accepted by NATO.)

Of the three points he singled out, the first related to re-establishing diplomatic ties between NATO and Russia “which Russia severed,” he claimed, without mentioning that in October, NATO had expelled eight Russian diplomats, the last in a series of expulsions with no explanation. Second, NATO is ready to “engage in dialogue” and “listen to Russian concerns,” but of course always respecting each nation’s right to choose its own security alliances; and, Russia should cease “aggression” aimed at NATO allies and “withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.” Stoltenberg continued to insist that Russia is “illegally occupying Crimea.” Third, he proposed that risk reduction and transparency agreements on exercises plus arms control proposals should be pursued.

Stoltenberg repeated the same tired British Foreign Office/U.S. State Department gibberish, that “a political solution is still possible, but, of course, Russia has to engage in good faith.” Charging that Russia has used “aggression” against Ukraine since 2014, he repeated that NATO “cannot and will not compromise on principles.” He loudly insisted that all of NATO is united, everyone is on board, and “all our allies have agreed” with the written response submitted to Russia. Should Russia invade Ukraine, he warned, NATO has “plans in place we can activate on very short notice.”

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