Former U.S. NATO Ambassador Admits the Alliance Is Disjointed, Calls To Postpone June Summit
June 21, 2022 (EIRNS)—Robert Hunter, U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1993-1998, wrote in the Quincy Institute’s publication, Responsible Statecraft, “This Year’s NATO Summit Should Be Postponed,” before its failure further discredits NATO. Hunter is a long-time diplomat, with a thoroughly Establishment pedigree, and it is likely that he is speaking for more than just himself here.
Hunter discusses the obvious tensions: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán refusing to condemn Russia, France’s President Emmanuel Macron saying the West should not “humiliate” Russia, and the doublespeak in the U.S. about whether we want to “weaken” Russia or whether we actually want to encourage negotiations. Further, many countries are uneasy about supplying weapons to Ukraine, as they know they then become co-belligerents in a war against Russia. And, of course, the economic blowback from the sanctions is wreaking havoc in Europe. In addition, the Sweden-Finland-Turkey debacle, where it’s not clear that Sweden and Finland’s applications to join NATO will be accepted anytime soon, is further eroding confidence and unity in the alliance.
And then, very carefully, he even mentions that “it has always been clear that Ukraine could never get unanimity among the allies to be given the NATO Treaty’s Article 5 commitment to declare war if it were invaded.” NATO should have learned its lesson after promising membership to Georgia in 2008, which then precipitated Georgia’s war on South Ossetia, in which Russia intervened. This “should have sent a signal to NATO that agreeing to push NATO’s borders right up against Russia in Ukraine, on the classic invasion route to and from Central Europe, could not be tolerated by any government in the Kremlin.”
Hunter concludes: “Biden can continue trying to manage all these disparate elements in gossamer-thin NATO understandings about what to do about Russia and Ukraine. But getting everyone in the alliance together in the same room for two days is guaranteed to expose all the cleavages and could produce even more. The media will highlight them all. The summit would thus risk major failure, with negative longer-term impact on both NATO and America’s reputation for reliable leadership. It would be far better to postpone the summit rather than risk seeing it fail, as is now likely.”
While Hunter is not yet willing to admit the reality—that the West’s unipolar world order is finished and other nations are not quite so eager to march off the cliff—his comments demonstrated that it is getting harder and harder to avoid it.