Thursday June 18, 2020
On June 8 Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the US-NATO military alliance, gave a speech at NATO’s new billion dollar headquarters in Brussels. It was followed by a selection of patsy questions, but in spite of the trite predictability of Stoltenberg’s statements and the eager friendliness of the questioners, enough was said to indicate that NATO is still on the lookout for enemies to attempt to justify its continuing shaky existence.
New on the Stoltenberg list is China, which is a long way from the North Atlantic. He was reported as declaring that “the rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power, heating up the race for economic and technological supremacy, multiplying the threats to open societies and individual freedoms and increasing the competition over our values and our way of life.” He wants NATO to become involved with the US in confronting China which has a population of 1.4 billion, the longest land border in the world (22,117 km) and a coastline of 14,500 km (the US coastline is 19,924 km), which enormous numbers are ample justification for maintenance of a large defence force.
But he complained that China “already has the second largest defence budget. They are investing heavily in modern military capabilities, including missiles that can reach all NATO Allied countries. They’re coming closer to us in cyberspace. We see them in the Arctic, in Africa. We see them investing in our critical infrastructure. And they are working more and more together with Russia. All of this has a security consequence for NATO Allies. And therefore, we need to be able to respond to that, to address that.”