The fragility of Europe's energy supply has once again been on display in recent months. Gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany, were reduced to 40 percent of capacity in June, a cut that Moscow said was due to delays in the servicing of a turbine by the German firm Siemens.
Shortly thereafter, on July 11, the pipeline was taken offline for 10 days for annual routine maintenance. Despite receiving assurances from Moscow that the supply would resume as scheduled, European leaders expressed fear that the shutdown would continue indefinitely in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
On July 21, the flow of Russian gas into Europe resumed. Klaus Muller, the head Germany's energy regulator, said that gas flows through Nord Stream 1 were below pre-maintenance levels during the first few hours of resumption, though they have now returned to 40 percent capacity.
European anxieties related to energy supply are linked to fears amongst the region's governments of further instability in the Eurozone.
On the same day that Nord Stream 1 resumed operations, Italy's Mario Draghi resigned as prime minister, the latest in a dramatic series of resignations by heads of government in Bulgaria, Estonia and the United Kingdom. Resistance from Europe to a peace agreement with Russia comes alongside recognition that trade with Russia is inevitable.
At No Cold War, an international platform seeking to bring sanity to international relations, we have been closely observing the shifting tenor of the war in Ukraine and the U.S.-driven pressure campaign against China.
We have published three previous briefings from this platform in our newsletters; below, you will find briefing No. 4, The World Does Not Want a Global NATO, which details the emerging clarity in the Global South regarding the U.S.-European attempt to drive a belligerent agenda around the world.
This new clarity relates not only to the militarisation of the planet, but also to the deepening conflicts in trade and development, as evidenced by the G7's new initiative, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Development, which clearly targets China's Belt and Road Initiative.
In June, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) gathered in Madrid for their annual summit. At the meeting, NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. In it, NATO names Russia as its "most significant and direct threat" and singles out China as a "challenge [to] our interests." In the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this guiding document represents a "fundamental shift" for the military alliance, its "biggest overhaul" since the Cold War."
Monroe Doctrine for the 21st Century?
Although NATO purports to be a "defensive" alliance, this claim is contradicted by its destructive legacy - such as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Libya (2011) - and its ever-expanding global footprint.
At the summit, NATO made it clear that it intends to continue its global expansion to confront Russia and China. Seemingly oblivious to the immense human suffering produced by the war in Ukraine, NATO declared that its "enlargement has been a historic success" and contributed to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area," and extended official membership invitations to Finland and Sweden.
However, NATO's sights extend far beyond the "Euro-Atlantic" to the Global South. Seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, NATO welcomed Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as summit participants for the first time and stated that "the Indo-Pacific is important for NATO."
On top of this, echoing the Monroe Doctrine (1823) of two hundred years ago, the Strategic Concept named "Africa and the Middle East" as "NATO's southern neighbourhood," and Stoltenberg made an ominous reference to "Russia and China's increasing influence in [the Alliance's] southern neighbourhood" as presenting a "challenge."
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