Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Ahead of the NATO summit, which is scheduled to be held in Lithuania from Tuesday to Wednesday, US President Joe Biden has visited the UK, a key ally of Washington, and held a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with Chinese analysts saying that the US and the UK are trying to coordinate on how to further dominate and retain their dominance of NATO, and they will try to make their strategy of “preventing the Ukraine crisis from ending” the “consensus” of the military organization.
President Biden arrived in London late on Sunday for the start of a three-nation tour that includes meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and “a discussion on climate change with King Charles at Windsor Castle” on Monday, Reuters reported.
Analysts said the diplomatic activities ahead of the NATO summit will focus on strengthening coordination on handling the Ukraine crisis, as NATO is a key platform for the US-UK cooperation to influence the development of the ongoing geopolitical crisis that is affecting the whole of Europe.
The US and UK, which are geographically far from the battlefield, are being impacted less by the conflict than those in continental Europe, so Washington and London are both encouraging Kiev to keep fighting rather than making mediation efforts for a ceasefire, and this will make the whole continent continue to suffer, experts said.
Song Luzheng, a Paris-based expert on European politics and a research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Monday that “Eastern European countries like Poland and the Baltic countries always welcome the US’ presence in the region and firmly support Ukraine to continue fighting, even though some Western European countries are getting tired of this conflict and want to find a solution by seeking strategic autonomy and getting rid of US interference.”
This means that by influencing the Eastern European nations, Washington and London are able to transform their will into the consensus of the whole of NATO, and use this to force major EU members like France and Germany to stay in line with them, and it will be hard to change this situation, Song noted.
However, the unity of the West is still facing challenges. The Associated Press said in a report on Monday that as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues “with no end in sight,” NATO’s “much-celebrated unity” faces fresh strains when leaders gather for their annual summit this week in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The world’s biggest military organization is “struggling to reach an agreement on admitting Sweden as its 32nd member. Military spending by member nations lags behind long-standing goals. An inability to compromise over who should serve as NATO’s next leader forced an extension of the current secretary-general’s term for an extra year,” said the AP report on Sunday.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that although Biden and Sunak will coordinate and try to strengthen their dominance over NATO, the upcoming summit will expose differences among the members in at least three fields – providing cluster munitions to Ukraine, Kiev’s request for NATO membership, and NATO expansion to the Asia-Pacific region.
“For Paris and Berlin, as well as many other EU members, they care more about the security of Europe, which has already caused a huge headache, and are not interested in security issues in other regions that are far away from them, but Washington wants to make NATO more international, and replicate the bloc confrontation, which has caused a huge crisis in Europe, in the Asia-Pacific region. This risky move will definitely receive opposition from some other NATO members,” the expert noted.