Today the leaders of 29 countries gather in London at the NATO meeting. It is the 70th anniversary of the military alliance and its future looks indeed not so clear.
The eve of the NATO meeting was marked by the strong-worded and insulting comments made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron. The latter had said in an interview with the Economist that “We are currently experiencing the brain death of NATO”, adding that “strategically and politically, we need to recognize that we have a problem.”
Erdogan didn’t lose the opportunity to show his arrogance once more. “Maybe it should be Macron to check whether he is nearing brain death”, the Turkish president snorted. Macron had been one of the strongest critics of Erdogan’s brutal attack on Northern and Easter Syria. Indeed it was US President Donald Trump to clear the way for Turkey to assault Northern and Eastern Syria, a move which angered Macron because, among other things, Trump had refused to notify NATO members of his decision before acting on it. The French president also thought it had been very bad for the US to turn their backs on the SDF, after the sacrifice made by them in the fight against ISIS.
Trump has said the US is paying too much to keep NATO and and has suggested he could pull out of the alliance unless other members begin to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.
As for Turkey, clearly president Erdogan thinks he can make whatever he wants, and so far, that’s exactly what has happened. So much for the criticism of his unilateral action against Northern and Eastern Syria, all other members have fallen shorter of taking a serious stand against Ankara.
Officials including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and German foreign minister Heiko Maas have signaled support for holding “brainstorming” talks on how to survive the coming years, in response to criticisms.
On Dec. 12, just a week after the NATO summit, Brits will go to the polls to decide whether to keep Boris Johnson as prime minister.
Asked in a tv programme what was the message to NATO leaders, opposition candidate, Labour secretary Jeremy Corbyn said: “I hope they’re able to bring about peace in Syria and Turkey. I hope they’re able to put pressure on the Turkish government on its treatment of Kurdish people in Northern Syria and I hope that they will have a developing and serious relationship with Russia in which they question Russia’s human rights record and behaviour, but they also build a relationship in order to reduce the tensions that exist on the borders of NATO and Russia.”
The full list of NATO members is: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.