NATO Marks 75 Years In Face Of Ukraine War

NATO celebrates its 75th anniversary on Thursday, with the Western alliance facing an urgent need to do more to help Ukraine win a conflict that is currently shaking Europe.

Foreign ministers from NATO’s 32 member countries will attend a ceremony at the organization’s Brussels headquarters to honor the organization that styles itself as the “most powerful and successful alliance in history”.

However, amid the cake-cutting and speeches, NATO is facing one of its most critical crises since emerging from the ashes of World War II in 1949 to fight the Soviet Union.

“As we celebrate NATO’s achievements, we do not rest upon them,” alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

“Europe now faces war on a scale we thought was resigned to history.”

Since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine two years ago, a reenergized NATO has recruited Finland and Sweden to its ranks, bolstering its forces in Eastern Europe.

Alliance members have also thrown their weight behind Kyiv’s desire to join NATO, providing Ukraine weapons worth tens of billions of euros.

However, those supplies have diminished as support from the United States, the dominant NATO power, remains stalled due to political squabbling. On the front lines, Ukraine’s outnumbered forces have been forced back.

In the face of increasing Russian missile strikes on its infrastructure, Kyiv is asking with its Western allies to provide as many Patriot defense systems as they can spare.

Stoltenberg, meantime, has proposed a five-year fund worth 100 billion euros ($108 billion) to secure Ukraine’s long-term support.

He is also pushing for NATO to become more directly involved in coordinating delivery, which the alliance has hitherto declined to do out of fear of escalating the conflict with Russia.

Trump threat

Officials claim that part of the urgency of the strategy is to try to insulate support for Ukraine from Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House following the November elections in the US.

But many concerns remain about how any finance would function and how far NATO is willing to go.

The volatile former US president has alarmed friends by questioning support for Kyiv, and he has sparked a political maelstrom by stating that he will “encourage” Russia to go after NATO partners who do not pay enough on defense.

That comment threatened to weaken NATO’s mutual defense clause, which has supported European security for three-quarters of a century.

In response to Trump’s ultimatum, the alliance has rushed to highlight increasing investment by European members.

This year, 20 NATO members are likely to meet the aim of spending two percent of their GDP on defence, up from three in 2014.

“The most important thing we can do to make sure that this alliance continues to grow, and continues to strengthen, is to ensure that we all spend over two percent of our GDP on defence,” said Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

“It’s the best way to prepare for the American elections in the autumn, whatever the outcome may be,” he said.

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