NATO weak in the face of the Russian threat and the Chinese challenge

"Against Russia, we live worse", according to Colonel Santayana
 Combinaison d'images d'archives du président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan et du président français Emmanuel Macron

PHOTO/OTAN  -   El Secretario General de la OTAN, Jens Stoltenberg

"As an alliance, we are faced with different threats: a Russia that feels fragile, capable of creating synergies in chaos, and an excellent political leader, Vladimir Putin, who is a formidable enemy. Against Russia, we are living worse". This is how Colonel José Pardo de Santayana of the IEEE began his speech, for whom now is the ideal moment to reflect and rethink the dialogue. It seems to be difficult to manage with the President of the Russian Federation and the degree of trust has been lost, although we can redirect the situation and regain other mechanisms of mutual trust. "Russia is playing with a complex collective psychology and we in the West need to articulate the situation we have lost control of".

It seems that Russia, in the military operations in which it has recently participated, has been able to create synergies in the chaos, combining elements of its armed forces, as well as local militias, the civilian population, private military companies and criminal networks. "A total mastery in creating harmony in the midst of disorder," notes Santayana. 

At an event sponsored by the Ministry of Defence on "NATO and the Russian threat and the challenge of China", held at the Madrid Press Association, Santayana, a graduate of the General Staff and research coordinator and senior analyst at the IEEE (Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies),  wanted to be optimistic and make it clear that in order to face the great challenges of our time we must rely on Russia, which wants to send a message to the West that "against Russia we are living worse", without avoiding the idea of seeking a formula for coexistence and joint effort that respects all points of view. "There is an urgent need to strengthen dialogue to prevent the current tension from continuing to grow, but this must be done in unity, in the firmness of NATO", said Colonel Santayana.

In this sense, in order to make progress on the international stage, while awaiting the results of the US elections, and after a hard day of riots and unrest in various Spanish cities, "a Spain plunged into crisis will throw frustrated and losers out onto the streets, looking for culprits against whom to channel their anger", the IEEE analyst warned that the key to the security of the countries that make up the Alliance is the strength of our own systems, without forgetting that Russia is a great nuclear and energy power and has a significant presence in space.

Fotografia de archivo, elpresidente ruso Vladimir Putin, , y el presidentechino Xi Jinping
PHOTO/Archive photograph, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping 

It should not be forgotten that, at the last meeting of heads of state and government in London in December 2019, it was stated that Russia's aggressive actions are a threat to Euro-Atlantic security and that, in this scenario of building a new world order, the Alliance is more necessary now than ever, bearing in mind that we need to be more willing to show restraint and engage in dialogue than in confrontation, in order to move towards the direction we are heading in which we are immersed in a collision. "Aggressiveness is palpable and relations are what they are, a difficult and worrying NATO-Russia relationship.

For Nicolas de Pedro, a senior fellow at the Institute for Statecraft in London (another keynote speaker at the NATO seminar), the Russian and Chinese approaches go beyond the operational conceptual framework and both play on the threshold of deterrence and rapid response. These authoritarian rivals concentrate all executive power and disinformation campaigns use the following conceptual framework: continuous struggle, constant conflict, weakening of cohesion, erosion of the economic and social, in short: winning without going to war. "Today's world is decomposing at an accelerated pace, events are rapidly overtaking us and we are faced with a hybrid threat, a grey area, in the midst of a pandemic that is clearly transferring itself".

What is clear is the maximum relevance of both powers for the Alliance. It is therefore necessary to abandon meaningful language, "HOT" level, as the "trench" attitude generates more trenches. Georgina Higueras, director of the Asia Forum at the Forum Forum Foundation and vice-president of the China Chair, therefore announced the message that China is willing and willing to engage in a dialogue as an equal, to the benefit of both sides, but never under Western parameters and with the Chinese empire pulling the strings of the world economy. Being the world's leading economic, technological and, why not, military power is what is called "The Chinese Dream" and, for Higueras, Turkey is a fundamental ally that Brussels needs to "pamper" and prevent it from throwing itself into the arms of Russia and China, because that would mean: the death of the European Union.

Carmen Chamorro García is a director of the CIP/ACPE, with a diploma in International Relations and Global Terrorism from the SEI