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NATO turns 75 amidst rising uncertainty


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 75th anniversary summit is underway in Washington today. Many a toast will be raised to the military alliance’s long list of accomplishments, deterrence might, increased military budgets, and continued relevance to the security of the European continent, especially in light of the Ukraine War.

The very war that has invigorated NATO over the past two years and enabled it to bring Finland and Sweden into its fold will undoubtedly cast its shadow and raise pertinent questions about the organization’s role and future course.

Kyiv’s demand for a full-fledged membership (which has once again been put off for a later date) is unlikely to be the biggest point of contention at this Summit. NATO members are being forced to address the shifting political headwinds on the continent and the potential shift in Washington.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

The growing support for the right-wing parties in Europe, many of whom are less averse to Moscow and equally unwilling to support the “as long as it takes” war, does not bode well for a unified NATO front. The prospect of former President Trump’s return to the White House also gives the alliance some jitters. A harsh critique of “freeloading” European nations who had not coughed up 2% of the GDP as committed, he had threatened to pull America out of the organization. While 23 of the 32 member states are expected to spend their promised 2% on defense this year, Trump’s “America First” slogan and recent ambiguous responses about the issue do not augur well for deterrence and defense missions across The Pond.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Despite global defense spending reaching a record $2.2 trillion last year, 77% of citizens in NATO countries believe their nations should increase or maintain defense spending—up from 70% in 2021.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

The newly appointed NATO Secretary General, former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has taken a pragmatic approach, saying, “I’m not an American; I cannot vote in the U.S. We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”

The military alliance was initially meant to get Europeans “back on their military feet” after the two devastating World Wars and counter the threat and influence of the mighty USSR. A neutral party was also necessary to gloss over the hatred and suspicion among various nations.

But, the role was meant to be temporary. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, NATO’s first supreme allied commander, envisioned that American troops would soon return home and not be permanently stationed on the continent. Today, some 90,000 U.S. troops are stationed in various parts of Europe, and about two-thirds of the European Union member’s military purchases were from the U.S. The defense contracts feeding the American military-industrial complex are so lucrative that Washington has, on multiple occasions, shot down initiatives to set up a European security system and defense pacts capable of acting independently.

Despite America’s substantial influence over the military alliance, the unified front glosses over cracks caused by nationalist agendas, opposing views, conflicting alliances, and geopolitical considerations. NATO’s relevance has been questioned since the USSR’s breakup and the Cold War’s end. The organization’s missions beyond the Euro-Atlantic region since have gotten lukewarm support at best and, often, open opposition, as in the case of the Iraq invasion. But, it cannot be forgotten that after the 9/11 attacks, NATO members rallied behind the U.S. and invoked Article 5 – the first and only instance in its 75-year existence.

Just as the winds of change are blowing through Europe, with the war having shattered decades-long peace and the rise of nationalist sentiment alongside a wave of anti-immigration anger, there is a marked shift on the other side of the world. The rise of China and Beijing’s pronounced hegemonic intentions is demanding attention. It has become impossible to ignore America’s “strategic competitor” that is steadily creating a nexus between Tehran, Pyongyang, and “no limits” partner Moscow. The recently formed Quad and AUKUS are indicators of what is to come. The emerging theatre will command more of Washington’s attention in the coming years, and rightly so.

As the Asian giant rises, European allies will have to give up economic, financial, and military resources to build new bridges and strengthen existing ones. For now, NATO represents the world’s economy and, with America’s backing, half of its military might—collectively defending each other.

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TIPP Takes

Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, And More

1. Hamas Accuses Netanyahu Of Obstructing Gaza Truce, Hostage Negotiations – AFP

In a statement, Hamas said the Israeli prime minister “continues to place more obstacles in front of the negotiations.”

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

The movement accused Netanyahu of escalating “his aggression and crimes against our people” in what it said were “attempts to forcibly displace them to thwart all efforts to reach an agreement.”

Netanyahu’s office reiterated in a statement on Sunday that “any deal will allow Israel to return and fight until all the goals of the war are achieved.” According to officials, mediators Egypt and Qatar would host new meetings this week.

2. IDF Says It Struck Hamas, PIJ Operatives Gathered At School In Central Gaza – The Times Of Israel

According to the military, the operatives were carrying out “terror activity” from within the school and “using it as a shield for terror.”

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

3. At Least 37 Ukrainians Killed In Deadliest Russian Missile Strikes In Months – UPI

At least 37 people were killed and more than 170 injured as dozens of Russian missiles slammed into cities across Eastern and Central Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, where the country’s largest children’s hospital was badly damaged, authorities said.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Zelensky condemned the attack on the hospital as well as residential buildings and infrastructure, saying Russia could not claim ignorance of where its missiles are flying and must be held to account.

4. Zelenskiy Says Orban Cannot Be Mediator As Hungarian Leader’s ‘Peace Mission’ Wraps Up In Beijing – RFE/RL

Speaking at a news conference in Poland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said only powerful countries with armed forces much stronger than Russia’s could manage to arrange peace talks.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

In a letter to European Council President Charles Michel, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that, based on his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he believes there is now a “greater chance for a positive reception on all possible proposals for a cease-fire and for a road map to peace talks.”

4. Yoon Says Russia Should Choose Whether South Korea Or North Korea Is More Important – Yonhap

In a written interview, south Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said that he will address the threat that military cooperation between Russia and the North poses to the Korean Peninsula and Europe at the upcoming NATO summit.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

South Korea has said it would consider arms supplies to Ukraine in protest of the mutual defense pact signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month. In response, Putin warned South Korea would be making “a big mistake” if it decided to supply arms to Ukraine.

5. China’s Central Bank Tweaks Liquidity Operations Amid Strong Bond Demand – Reuters

China’s central bank said it would start conducting temporary bond repurchase agreements or reverse repos to make open market operations more efficient and maintain ample banking system liquidity.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Market participants and analysts believe the move paves the way for a new interest rate corridor. The seven-day reverse repo rate will serve as a central guide, giving the bank more leeway to manage cash conditions and interest rates amid hot demand for bonds.

6. China Extends Crackdown On Rights Lawyers To Hong Kong – RFA

Nine years after the mass arrest of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers in a nationwide police operation, the authorities are now including lawyers in Hong Kong in their politically motivated prosecutions, according to a statement from dozens of rights groups.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

“We are … concerned that the Hong Kong authorities are following a similar path,” the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group said, citing the cases of rights lawyers Chow Hang-tung, Albert Ho, and Margaret Ng, who are all behind bars awaiting trial on “national security” charges.

7. Chinese Student Pleads Guilty To Violating U.S. Espionage Act – Nikkei Asia

A Chinese student pleaded guilty to misdemeanor espionage charges at a federal courthouse in Virginia for taking photographs of U.S. military infrastructure using a drone.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Shi Fengyun, a 26-year-old graduate student from the University of Minnesota, is accused of violating rarely used provisions of the Espionage Act.

8. Chinese Government Approves Official Purchases Of Tesla’s Model Y – RFA

The Jiangsu Provincial Government Procurement website has listed Tesla’s Model-Y rear-wheel drive version as a model approved for government purchase in a list of permitted green vehicles for 2024-2025.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

The model quotes a price of 249,900 yuan (US$34,250) in the list and classifies it as a “Chinese-made” vehicle.

The provincial government later confirmed the car’s inclusion on the list, saying there are “no relevant documents prohibiting its inclusion,” according to a report from Red Star news service. The move comes after restrictions indicating that Teslas was previously viewed as a security risk.

9. China’s BYD To Invest $1bn In Turkey For EV Plant – Nikkei Asia

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD will set up an EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle factory with an annual capacity of 150,000 units, creating a second European production and export hub after the one it is building in Hungary.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu and Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir signed an investment deal on Monday. Ankara exempts companies from an additional 40% tariff if they set up local production.

10. Iran’s Pezeshkian Assures Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah Of Continued Support – Al Arabiya

Iran’s support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other Tehran-backed militias in the region will “continue with strength,” Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian said in a letter to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, state media reported.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Iran provides financial and military support to Hezbollah, a key member of the “axis of resistance” – an alliance of pro-Iran armed groups opposing Israel and the  U.S.. The alliance also includes Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and various militias in Syria and Iraq.

11. Satellite Photos Show Iran Expanding Missile Production, Sources Say – Reuters

Recent satellite imagery shows major expansions at two key Iranian ballistic missile facilities that two American researchers assessed are for boosting missile production, a conclusion confirmed by three senior Iranian officials.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty
A satellite photo shows suspected tunnel expansion (in the upper-right quadrant of the picture) at Shahid Modarres Garrison, near Tehran, Iran, in this handout image obtained by Reuters on July 5, 2024. (Reuters)

The enlargement of the sites follows an October 2022 deal in which Iran agreed to provide missiles to Russia, which has been seeking them for its war against Ukraine. Tehran also supplies missiles to Yemen’s Houthi militia and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, both members of the Iran-backed Axis of Resistance against Israel, according to  U.S. officials.

12. Pentagon Says  U.S. Nuclear Missile Program Faces Years Of Delay, Cost Overrun – Reuters

The U.S. military said that a Pentagon program to replace some of its aging intercontinental ballistic missiles will be years behind schedule and 81 percent over budget.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

The project, now named the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program, is designed and managed by Northrop Grumman and aims to replace aging Minuteman III missiles. The program is estimated to cost $140.9 billion, up 81 percent from a cost estimate in September 2020.

13. Cuba Claims To Have Foiled  U.S.-Based ‘Terrorist’ Plot, Arrests Mastermind – AFP

Cuba’s interior ministry announced in state mouthpiece Granma that a Cuban citizen who had been residing in the  U.S. was arrested as he entered Cuba “illegally” by sea, with firearms and ammunition and “as part of a new recruitment plan to carry out violent actions in our country.”

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

It did not say how many people were detained, or when, in an operation based on information received in December of a plan “to execute violent actions in our country.”

14. WTO Chief Warns Against Global Trade Breakdown – BBC

Global trade “is not having the best times at the moment.” That is the admission of the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

“We are seeing increasing protectionism, some undermining of the WTO rules, and some of this is leading to fragmentation,” she told the BBC. “We’re seeing that trade between like-minded blocks is growing faster than trade across such blocks.” She warns that “it will be costly for the world” to continue down this path.

15. Taliban Authorities Slash Government Salaries Of Afghan Women – AFP

Afghan authorities have slashed the salaries of women government workers who have been forced to stay at home since the Taliban seized power, the Taliban-led government’s Finance Ministry said.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

After coming back to power in 2021, the Taliban administration stopped most women employed in the public sector from attending their offices while continuing to pay them. “Women who are at home and do not go to the office… their salaries are 5,000 afghanis ($70) a month,” Ahmad Wali Haqmal, the ministry spokesman, told AFP.

16. Study: Mediterranean Diet Helps Cancer Survivors Live Longer – HealthDay News

Specifically, cancer patients following the Mediterranean diet had a 32% lower overall risk of premature death and a 60% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers found.

NATO Turns 75 Amidst Rising Uncertainty

Researchers said the Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and olive oil. Fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice a week, and dairy and lean proteins should be eaten daily in smaller portions. The diet encourages minimal consumption of red meats and processed foods and cutting out sugary beverages.

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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights

1 Comment

  1. Our usurper “president” isn’t the only thing age has rendered useless.

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