Stoltenberg Address and What It Means for World Peace

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has just finished his address and virtual press conference on NATO and the U.S. State Department separately presenting their written responses to Russia’s security demands of the past couple months.

The Russian demands include a pledge for NATO not to admit Georgia and Ukraine, both which border Russia, into the military alliance, to guarantee that the US and NATO not base missiles in Ukraine within a few minutes’ striking distance of Moscow, and to withdraw forces and military equipment from some of the fourteen Eastern European nations brought into NATO since 1999. Those are reported to have been Russia’s demands. But there has been a disturbing lack of transparency on both sides.

The State Department has insisted that Russia not release or divulge the contents of the response it delivered to Russia within the past two hours, and today Russian government news media report that Russia has agreed to that stipulation.

It is highly significant that the American ambassador to Russia delivered the US response to the Kremlin late at night Russian time (the delivery wasn’t confirmed until that time at least), as it is that the NATO secretary general was the first Western official to publicly speak about the US and NATO responses, although he spoke at night Belgium time, whereas it was the middle of the workday for Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden.

Stoltenberg began his talk by, rather than addressing Russia’s concerns over the steady US and military buildup all along its western flank, increasing by the day (the US has just delivered 300 more Javelin missile systems to Ukraine), insisting Russia withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. What he was referring to was Crimea (and possibly the Donbass), the independent political entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Transnistria. There are 1,500 Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria and Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (reinforced since the Georgian-Russian war of 2008). Crimea has been part of Russia since 2014. The sole consolation he offered was more talk in several formats. Not a single compromise on anything specific.

What Stoltenberg did by not mentioning them but the NATO partners who claim them as “occupied territories” (the exact terms used by the US and NATO), is to cast Russia as the aggressor in all four cases, a military occupier. In plain language he, on behalf of the collective West, gave Russia an ultimatum to retreat from the above four locations. Most ominously, he laid stress on NATO’s Article 5 collective military response mechanism. He also highlighted the fact that President Biden recently announced the activation of the first tranche of 8,500 US troops for service with the 40,000-troop NATO Response Force, a combat-ready, rapidly deployable strike force.

The sole consolation he offered was more talk in several formats. Not a single compromise on anything specific. Far from attempting to even symbolically assuage any of Russia’s concrete security concerns, the US and NATO are issuing diktats to Russia as above.

By delivering the two responses to the Russian government at night, the West has assured its narrative reaches the world several hours before Russia can respond.

The prognosis for peace is as dire as it can be.

Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.

7 thoughts on “Stoltenberg Address and What It Means for World Peace”

  1. Agreed. The one caveat is that Stoltenberg is known to be anti-Russian and is considered a non-entity by most observers of the crisis. He’s supposedly on his way out from his job in any event.

    What is going to matter is what Russia says after they’ve examined the US response. The expectation is that the response will be more of the same crap the US has been babbling since the start. What matters is whether Russia will discern any reason for continuing to talk.

    1. A friendly suggestion: “The one caveat is that Stoltenberg is known to be anti-Russian evil clown and is considered a non-entity by most observers of the crisis.” There, I fixed it. The math works out much better this way. Otherwise, how would you explain such lust for the total destruction of humanity?

  2. “I promise to hold hands with you if you promise not to tell anyone”?
    What a bunch of jackasses.

    1. That, of course, is what made me prick up my ears. Apparently, the State Department is agreeing to something significant, and the Russians are sufficiently pleased with this to agree to keep it to themselves. Nothing wrong with quiet diplomacy, although I, for one, will be highly entertained when the US abrogates said agreement and Russia leaks it.

  3. Rumors of wars are fake news.
    Wars then a rumor of a big one.
    Then peace, then betrayal of it and
    3 days of thermonuclear war.
    Days it says in scripture. That the days ate shortened for the survivors, a small Venn called the Bride of Christ. 144,000 total.
    The rest is burnt cinders.
    The fake news is ginning up war lies and Belkin is a P.O.S.
    Russia and China will not respond with sanctions, it is extortion.

  4. What’s interesting about Stoltenberg’s remarks as presented here (full disclosure, I haven’t listened to the evil clown’s speech) is that none of the instances of Russian occupation he mentioned are in NATO counties, therefore the discussion of Article 5 is a non sequitur., having nothing to do with it. Therefore this can be dismissed not as the ravings of a lunatic, but simply as a restatement of the obvious.

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