What a paradox that the debate on NATO is reopened in Spain just when it will be 40 years since our entry into the organization. It reopens, in that way, because the arguments that seek to protect themselves in the “no to war” are nothing more than ideological slogans that go back to past times, and it seemed that they were forgotten.
It is inevitable to remember the journey between “NATO, from the outset, no” and the arrival of Javier Solana to the general secretariat of the organization. In the middle, a referendum in which the PSOE had no choice but to accept that modernity and the normalization of democratic Spain meant remaining in the Western security structure.
Anniversary aside, these days you will hear a lot about NATO, thanks to Russia. President Vladimir Putin intends to prevent, by mobilizing military troops, his neighbor from entering the Alliance -something quite unlikely, by the way- and, incidentally, to set the pace for the defense of the West. A controversy that comes from afar and that responds to past humiliations, according to him, and power games in a changing world.
This state of alert catches NATO in full reflection on its future. In addition to the instability in Eastern Europe, there are other such transcendental issues as its role in the midst of the United States-China competition, cyber risks, non-military threats, such as hybrid warfare, how much each contributes in money and in capabilities or the transatlantic relationship. And here he faces another crossroads, knowing that the United States is vital, but without forgetting the attacks and the trauma of Donald Trump’s presidency.
This idea of the future must be reflected in a new Strategic Concept that will be approved in Madrid at the end of June. You will hear a lot about this in the coming months as well.
In addition to the parade of leaders, it is an opportunity to put Spain in the international spotlight. Also to open, yes, a serious debate in our country about our collective security: that of Spain and that of the Atlantic partners. It’s often off the media radar, but we’re the fifth-largest contributor to the Alliance’s operations. It is the occasion to continue arguing that in the 21st century brute force can never be the way to achieve objectives, but that good speeches are not enough to support the principles and values of democracy. It is time to defend an international legality that is continually violated, to show that we are up to our commitments. If that means reinforcing our defensive presence in the countries bordering the EU, so be it. It should also happen by pushing issues that affect us directly, such as the instability in the southern Mediterranean.
Isolationism is not a possible solution today and everyone who is in politics knows it; empty proclamations and slogans are useless.
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