Nato in Vilnius: Deep Cracks in the “values based” Alliance

The USA is sending Ukraine the globally outlawed cluster munitions. At the same time, Washington is blocking the country’s rapid accession to Nato. In doing so, US president Biden is putting Secretary General Stoltenberg in an impossible position – and dividing even their closest allies.

Stoltenberg had only recently spoken out AGAINST the deployment of cluster munitions. He was even the founder of the so-called “Oslo Convention”, which wanted to bring about a worldwide ban on cluster munitions!

The USA never joined the Convention, nor did Ukraine. But all signatories – including Germany and Spain, which currently holds the EU Presidency – have committed themselves to outlawing the use of cluster munitions.

Now Stoltenberg has to justify the controversial proliferation – the Americans are putting him in an impossible position! And this just a few days after they had praised him to the skies and urged him to extend…

But it is not only Stoltenberg who has a problem. Chancellor Scholz and President Macron are also in for some trouble. And not only because of cluster munitions – but also and above all because of Ukraine’s accession to Nato.

US President Biden is against it and does not want to give Kiev a “shortcut” on its way into the US-led alliance. Scholz sees it similarly. As long as there is still war, Berlin says, NATO accession is unthinkable.

But Macron, who has always sought to stand shoulder to shoulder with Scholz on Ukraine policy, has changed his mind. He is suddenly in favour of rapid accession and demands not only a “roadmap” but also security guarantees until day X.

This means that Berlin and Paris are at cross purposes on this strategically important and highly explosive issue. Nor is there any sign of a common European position. The EU members in Nato are also divided.

But it is not only the “European pillar” of Nato that is tottering. Washington looks quite isolated – because Poland and many other EU states are desperate to get Ukraine into Nato.

The summit in Vilnius, which begins on Tuesday, is overshadowed by deep transatlantic rifts. With the US going it alone on cluster munitions, the “values-based alliance” is now also losing its (alleged) moral superiority …

P.S. Macron is also causing trouble on another issue: he is blocking the opening of Nato liaison offices in Asia. The Atlantic Alliance has no business in the Pacific, he says – I agree with him!

Translated with (free version)