The Politics of NATO

NATO does not want Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Latvia

As it is well known, the NATO summit is to take place in Prague on November 21st. Seven countries are expected to become new NATO members: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia.

This event affects Russia in a very direct way. The alliance is expanding eastwards, which cannot but affect Russia’s national interests. It seems that Moscow does not have any energy (or even wish) to stand up against this process. However, there is the possibility that something might go wrong, something not according to plan.

Pentagon military specialists released an unexpected statement that was meant for US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. According to the information from the newspaper Financial Times, they called upon the head of the American Defense Department to reconsider the USA’s position regarding the membership of three countries: Latvia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia.

What did these three countries do that displeased the American defense officials? As it turned out, Latvia and Bulgaria did not take tough measures to provide security. Security for whom, for NATO? Slovenia is even worse: this country has not provided a sufficient increase in its defense spending. Furthermore, Slovenia has not restructured its armed forces. To crown it all, over 50% of Slovenia’s citizens do not support the idea to joining NATO. As if the Pentagon did not know about this before.

If Donald Rumsfeld listens to the opinion of his subordinates, this might mean that Latvia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia will not be able to join the alliance. Those plans are not likely to become real, as the USA would like it. Of course, there is the chance that they will become NATO members. Nevertheless, it is a matter for the distant future.

If Slovenia, Latvia, Bulgaria are not going to be accepted into the alliance, the governments of those countries might experience lamentable consequences. They counted on becoming NATO members as soon as possible. If they are turned down, then they will have nothing to boast of in front of their people. Furthermore, the majority of those electors do not wish to see their countries become members of NATO at all.

Well, ok. It seems that Washington does not really care much about the problems of local governments. As a matter of fact, the USA does not really need NATO, although this does not mean that the alliance is living its last days. Europe still needs this organization. However, why did these claims come up now, on the threshold of the Prague summit?

The blame can be definitely shifted onto military bureaucrats. The fact of having new members in the alliance is not important for them. The only thing they want is to follow NATO standards. On the other hand, it is a very good example for other candidates to follow. NATO membership is not to be sneezed at.

Anyway, most likely, the summit in Prague will go off without a hitch. Who wishes to blacken such a solemn event? If they turn down Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Latvia, it will become an international scandal with lots of unpredictable consequences. It seems that these three countries do not have to worry much. Probably, it is just a game of intimidation.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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