In 1949, four years after the end of World War II, the United States, Canada and ten Western European countries founded NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Their task was clear: common defense in the event of an attack by the Soviet Union. In 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined. And on 9 May 1955, three years later, West Germany joined NATO. It was only now that the Soviet Union and the nine Central and Eastern European states under its influence reacted and founded the Warsaw Pact on 14 May 1955, five days later.
The purpose of NATO was clearly defined in Article 5 of the Founding Charter:
“The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against them all; they agree, therefore, that in the event of such an armed attack, each of them shall, in the exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized in Article 51 of the Statute of the United Nations, assist the party or parties under attack by taking without delay, for itself and in cooperation with the other parties, such measures, including the use of force of arms, as it deems necessary to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Prior to any armed attack and any subsequent countermeasures, the Security Council must be notified immediately. Measures shall be suspended as soon as the Security Council has taken the necessary steps to restore and maintain international peace and security.”
For the purposes of Article 5, any armed attack on one or more of the parties shall be deemed to be an armed attack
– on the territory of these States, in Europe or North America, on the Algerian departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the territorial jurisdiction of the parties under-lying Islands in the North Atlantic area North of the tropic of cancer;
- to the Armed Forces, ships or aircraft of any of the parties, if they are in or over such territories or any other European territory in which one of the parties has a crew when the Treaty enters into force, or if they are in the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer."
The short version of these provisions: when an armed attack takes place on a member of NATO, it is like an armed attack on several or all NATO states, which is why all NATO members together repel the armed attack.
Now everything is different …
On 25 March 2021, the US" University South Florida " in Tampa Florida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a one-hour online conference. The lecturers and students had the opportunity to ask Stoltenberg questions, Stoltenberg was ready to answer. Stoltenberg explained the following (from minute 24): It used to be easy, there was either peace or war. That is why Article 5 of the Founding Treaty states that NATO must respond to armed attacks. Today, this is quite different: there is the disinformation, the cyber attacks, the hybrid war. That is why NATO must reformulate Article 5: NATO should also be allowed to react to such attacks, i.e. not armed attacks in the original sense of the word. And Jens Stoltenberg also stressed that NATO was not only a military alliance, but above all a political one.
With this new understanding of the “armed attack” propagated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO is giving itself the free pass to preemptively attack another country. Because disinformation, cyber attacks and hybrid war, all this already exists, for years and in all directions. And there is nothing clear about this: for example, if a member of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad from a hotel in Moscow hacks the IT system of the Swiss technology group RUAG, then this can easily be “identified” as a Russian cyber attack.
Stoltenberg also twists the story
Not surprisingly in this online conference was also that the NATO Secretary General once again stressed that NATO’s eastward expansion was not a provocation against Russia and not a threat to Russia. NATO General Stoltenberg also knows that in February 1997, a few days after Bill Clinton’s second inauguration, the highly acclaimed American historian and US diplomat specialising in Russia George F. Kennan explicitly warned in the “New York Times” against expanding NATO to the east in Europe. Kennan 1997: “Our view is, frankly, that a NATO expansion would be the most fatal mistake of American politics in all the time since the Cold War.“But US President Bill Clinton was not impressed and gave the green light for the eastward enlargement. With exactly the consequences predicted by George F. Kennan.
And what does climate change mean for NATO?
Of course, one USF student also wanted to know how NATO would face climate change. Stoltenberg confirmed that climate change is also a “challenge” for NATO. For example, according to Stoltenberg, the sea ports used by NATO warships would have to be rebuilt because of the rise in sea level. And what about the millions of people whose current habitat is submerged due to sea level rise? Not an issue for NATO.
NATO’s strategy changes are called “NATO 2030” (see picture above). Question: Who has the competence to approve these serious changes? The war and defence Ministers of the member States? The governments of the Member States? Or will the parliaments of the Member States have a say in this, which would be urgently needed?
It is worth listening carefully when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in conversation with politicians, media representatives or students. However, you can not sleep better afterwards.