How NATO Sparked World War III?

The author presents a forward-looking vision, that starts from NATO's excess expansion eastward, up to such expansion's implications represented in the Russian-Ukrainian war. Concluding this war's outcome will lead to the emergence of a new Sino-Russian world order, that brings the America's unipolar hegemony to an end, and reshapes Europe's security structure.

by Hasan Ismaik
  • Publisher – STRATEGIECS
  • Release Date – Feb 28, 2022

The Second Cold War came to an end, and World War III began. When the last bullet is fired and the smoke recedes, history will judge NATO, if not for being the main cause of the war, certainly for any of the most prominent three most causes. And then. They only would blame NATO itself.

This month, 15 years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced at the International Security Conference that NATO's positioned "its forces on the front lines on our borders ... representing a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. We have the right to ask: Whom is this expansion is against"?

Why am I referring to this speech now? Because I see in it the historical moment, when Putin declared his country's absolute rejection of NATO, and his personal quest to restore the strategic depth and dominance of the former Soviet Union. That speech, rightly, marked the start of the NATO-Russia expansion race.

Never did Putin wanted to be a part of the current international system, rather, he wanted to undermined it. NATO ignited the fuse.

After its formation in 1949 to enable its 12 original members to mutually defend in responding to any attack by any external party -Russia and East Germany in particular- NATO admitted Greece and Turkey in 1952, West Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982. In spite of the massive Russian opposition, the NATO again, in 1999, admitted three former Warsaw Pact countries; Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Then in 2004, NATO opened its doors to seven new countries from Central and Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Five years later, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and finally Macedonia joined NATO.

Furthermore, the United States built an air base in Kyrgyzstan, which has historical and economic ties with Russia. the pretext is that such base was interim post September 11, where such base was used to launch the US its invasion of Iraq. In 2004 and 2005, the revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan brought pro-Western governments to power, in countries Putin considered to be Soviet-ruled, the matter that inflamed anger more and more.

When Putin start in flattering Ukraine was lighting another match, where a new cold war started. From a historical perspective through history, the World War III exploded few seconds later, but in a slow-motion.

Putin opposed the Western rapprochement with Ukraine at all levels; militarily in terms of its accession to NATO, politically and economically in terms of Kiev's development of ties with the European Union. A "democratic" Ukraine, which receives official Atlantic support at those three levels, poses a threat to Russia. This was a reason, enough for Putin in 2008, to draw a deep red line in the sand, following promises by NATO leaders to Ukraine, that it could one day join NATO.

Putin's choice of this particular time, to announce the invasion of Kiev, stems mostly from his insight that he senses NATO's vulnerability today, given the Biden administration's decision to focus its political, economic, and military resources on Asia, not Europe or the Middle East. This timing was perfect for Putin, too, because he knew that the U.S. president did not have the full support, not even from his own party, in defending Ukraine.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, president of the Democratic Progressive Wing, warned Biden in January y saying "We have great concerns that new forces deployments, comprehensive and indiscriminate sanctions, and the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in deadly weapons, will increase tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation".

But what is the most important in all of this, is Putin's realization of Ukraine's significance by itself. in addition to the benefit of NATO's expansion is a matter that has not been agreed within the Organization itself, whose European members rely almost entirely on the Russian oil, gas, steel, and coal. Therefore, the NATO member were reluctant to unnecessarily anger Russia.

And then, instead of the "mother of all sanctions" that would destroy the Russian economy, after it was isolated from the international economic system, the United States and its allies settled on weak sanctions -targeting only two Russian banks, three of Putin's closest friends on the U.S. sanctions list, and freezing future purchases of Russian sovereign debt, instead of all its purchases. These weak sanctions are expected to have no impact, given the Russian-Chinese alliance, signed in Beijing on the eve of the Ukraine crisis.

This reminds us with the verse said by the great Arab poet, al-Mutanabbi:

Then when arrows hit me……blades would break on other blades

The Russian-Chinese alliance already came into force. Replying the questions about NATO during Munich Conference last week, the Chinese Minister of Defense, Wany Yi clearly answered "would the NATO's continuous expansion eastwards lead to achieve permeant peace and stability in Europe? Such Question required the European friends to seriously consider it". The question's core which China asked NATO "is Ukraine worthy for a WWIII to start for"?

The NATO was aware of what is truly on the stake in the issue of Ukraine. The NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg, responded Yi's question later, when he described the Russian invasion to Ukraine as "the most hazardous moment in the European security over a whole generation".

The result of the war on Ukraine will be the emergence of a new Chinese-Russian world order, that brings the US unipolar hegemony to an end. Russia's ability to expand the entire security structure of Europe will be proven, guaranteeing, thereby, expanding and deepening Russia's hegemony and strategic depth.

The NATO may not blame but itself. it launched inferno's hounds when it started expanding eastwards. A similar idea is for Robert Kagan, who composed an insightful article in Foreign Policy Magazine, entitled "Backing into World War III", he recently wrote in another article "as Poland and five other NATO members are sharing borders with new and expanded Russia, the US and the NATO capability to defend the easter wing of NATO will greatly wane".

The global division of today is not only ideological, it is political, technological, and cyber as well. This means that such division will be on a wider scope, with more costly confrontations that predicting them is more difficult, thus, its conflicts will be more catastrophic".

Should NATO exit the current crisis of Ukraine with the least losses possible – which is not an easy task at all, then such exit will urgently necessitate making a comprehensive assessment for the NATO's prestige, role, and position in the world. especially that the recently formed China-Russian alliance is ready, writing, and hungry for any weakness, with no hesitation.

Hasan Ismaik