NATO position in the first year of the war in Ukraine “European defense is NATO”. Last Minute GERMANY, BERLIN, France, Russia headlines and events



“I decided on a special military operation”… With these words, Russian leader Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Exactly one year after its announcement, this war marked the beginning of a new order and balance of power throughout the world.

The continued support given to Ukraine by NATO countries, especially the United States, has created a new balance.

The poor results of the American military intervention in Iraq, the failure of the Franco-American-British operation in Libya, the refusal of Barack Obama to intervene in Syria after a new chemical attack in Damascus in August 2013, the chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. His withdrawal undermined the power of NATO and the West generally.

In fact, French President Emmanuel Macron described the situation with the words “Europe must create its own defense against NATO’s brain death.”

Seeing this gap, Russian leader Vladimir Putin decided to enter Ukraine on 24 February. However, at the end of the year, NATO, having made a definite and strong return to the European continent, was stronger than it had been since its inception.

The Alliance has strengthened its eastern flank and is preparing for further expansion through the addition of Sweden and Finland. European countries, on the other hand, have chosen to join NATO and fight together rather than race for power with NATO.

General Dominique Trinquan, President Macron’s former defense adviser and former head of the French mission to NATO, attributes the shift to “a change in conditions.”

General Trinkvand, who was interviewed by the Turkish Voice of America, said that the war, which has been going on for a year, has caused great changes in Europe and NATO, and defines this change with the words “Today European defense is NATO.”

General Dominic Trinquan

During the first year of the war, General Trinquan and I spoke about the changes in NATO and their geopolitical implications:

Voice of America in English: In the first year of the war in Ukraine, what do you think is the biggest change the war has made to NATO?

General Dominic Trinquan: NATO has become the target of criticism, which Macron called “brain death.” In a year there will no longer be a race of power between European defense and NATO. “European defense today is NATO.” In addition, the European part of NATO is recovering significantly. However, it is still not enough for self-defense, it is fully integrated into NATO.

Voice of America in English: But is it good for Europe, especially militarily?

General Dominic Trinquan: I don’t know if this is good or bad. There used to be debates on European defense. It was discussed that Europe should create its own defense of its own sovereignty and independence. NATO is in the spotlight today. But European countries and NATO need to expand their defense capabilities and better coordinate their actions. The natural result of this is that Europe strengthens its own defense by cooperating with NATO.

Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers

VOA English: You were a military adviser to French President Macron. Macron returns to his promise that “NATO is brain dead” and goes for a lasting alliance with NATO. How would you explain it?

General Dominic Trinkwan: Remember the evacuation of Kabul in Afghanistan, it was a disaster. That’s when the explanation for “brain death” came about. However, this war, which we did not expect in Europe, led us to the truth. Mr. Putin also led to the revival of NATO. Hence Macron’s transformation. It stems from newly formed realities. For many years the questions have been asked: “What is NATO doing?”. This war in Europe made it very clear to everyone what NATO is doing.

VOA Turkish: Macron’s statement “Russia cannot be crushed” also provoked a reaction. Germany, which was crushed and defeated in the First World War, is shown as an example to bring the world to the Second World War. Do you agree?

General Trinkvan: Macron today says that the Russian army must be defeated in Ukraine. This does not mean defeating Russia in Russia. Compared to World War II, there is a very important difference today; Nuclear weapon. Russian territory is protected by nuclear weapons. Therefore, we cannot make a historical comparison with the Second World War. Coalition forces reached Berlin in 1945. But today they cannot reach Moscow, because the nuclear weapons will work before they leave. That is why the Russian army defends the point of view that it must be defeated in Ukraine.

“Putin lost this war”

VOA English: Well, a year has passed, how do you foresee the immediate history of the war, taking into account the nuclear threat?

General Trinkvan: For me, the nuclear reality is the reality that everyone thinks about. Therefore, the war does not escalate, because not everyone has nuclear weapons. But one thing is certain: President Putin has lost this war. Another thing is how much he lost; To Crimea, Donbass or the border with Russia? We don’t know… But one thing is certain, President Putin lost his war. Today I see that Russia is engaged in long-term cooperation. The Russians are playing a long-term strategy with the resources they have, but they can’t make any headway. It’s real. No one could have imagined that the Ukrainians would be able to take Kharkiv in September-October. Under these conditions, I think no one can predict what will happen in the next 6 months.

VOA English: Will Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO accelerate Ukraine’s resistance a year later?

General Trinkvand: Accession to the EU usually takes 10-15 years. Ukraine is making great efforts to meet the EU criteria. However, they cannot enter the EU while the war is going on, they can enter when the status quo is established.

VOA English: What about NATO membership? Sounds like a slightly more distant possibility?

General Trinkvand: The candidacies of Finland and Sweden have accelerated. Because these two countries have been working with NATO for a long time. No problem with criteria. Ukraine’s membership in NATO is a more complicated situation. Because Russia has security problems. The post-war security architecture and Ukraine’s neutrality make this requirement very difficult.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

VOA English: Is Poland, which unconditionally supports Ukraine, the shining star of NATO and the EU?

General Trinkvan: Poland, the country most affected by the war, refugees, neighborhood, etc. And Poland has some problems with the EU, you know, the rule of law, human rights, values. They will be discussed after the war. At the moment, Poland is the most reliable ally of the US, because it is the European country that has the closest relationship with the US. But after the war, these human rights issues will again confront the EU.

VOA English: The war in Ukraine also ignited a new world order. Yesterday Biden gave a message to the cameras with the eastern flank of NATO, Putin with Chinese officials? How are you reading this?

General Trinkvan: Yesterday Putin delivered a message “The end of the bipolar world.” I think so too. There was no China in the bipolar world, now there is China and this must be taken into account. Yesterday’s UN vote was important. The overwhelming majority wanted Russia to leave, there are those who abstained, there are countries that are against it. Countries that do not condemn the Russian attack are tired of being taught by the West. This answer should be taken into account. That is why the United States and France went on a big tour of Africa to establish a dialogue with these countries.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

VOA English: Has the military balance in the EU also changed? Do you agree with the conclusion that the EU, which is cutting defense spending, is “extremely hard to wake up from its naive dream”?

General Trinkwan: The British withdrawal from the EU was a cause for concern because of the withdrawal of the British army. Little is said about it today. However, this war also took into account the shortcomings of the EU’s own defense and accelerated their elimination. The crisis has become a serious catalyst for the EU. As for the abrupt awakening, I fully agree with this analysis, calling the European countries “shareholders of the world”; that is, for many years the countries that “ate” peace in Europe thought together that war was impossible. This war has shown us that Europe, too, can at any moment come face to face with war. This is a sharp return to reality.

“Putin is afraid of the Westernization of Russia, like Ukraine”

VOA English: Will there be more war next year? Or do you expect him to progress at a low level?

General Trinkvan: Russia has suffered a great defeat. His army was tired and it would be a long time before he could launch a major offensive again. Pay attention to Putin’s philosophical speech yesterday about the clash of two civilizations, two societies. It speaks of a war between West and East. However, this is a war of generations. Young people in Russia have either left the country or do not support Putin. The population supporting Putin is over 50 years old. If she fails to attract these young people again, it will create problems for Putin in the long run. Putin is very much afraid. Ukraine has come closer to Europe, today it is even closer. He fears the same will happen to Russian youth.

VOA English: What can we say about the position of the US, the most important actor in NATO, in the world and within NATO a few years later? Is the US getting stronger?

General Trinquan: This war strengthened America against the Europeans. Not in other parts of the world. NATO alliance is stronger with Europe, America, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. But there is a third group in the world that says “neither NATO, nor Russia.” It is necessary to convince the 3rd world. This is a long term job.

VOA English: In that case, will it be difficult to convince China that it supports Russia?

General Trinkwan: China looks after its economic interests, war is not good for China. In addition, he has excellent trade relations with the West. That is why they cannot break bridges with the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping

VOA English: China has made a peace proposal. Turkey is trying to heal the wounds inflicted by the earthquake, but can it become an actor in the world again in the medium term?

General Trinkwan: The Chinese offer is interesting, but the Americans don’t need it. Because this is the regime against America, the Chinese regime. Secondly, elections will be held in Turkey after the earthquake. The earthquake did not reduce the likelihood of President Erdogan being elected, but that does not mean that he will not be elected. Let’s see. I think the Americans want peace between Washington and Moscow. But China also wants to play its part.

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“European defense is NATO”
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