A day before the annual NATO summit that started last Friday (8 July) in Warsaw, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed a new dialogue with Russia. Berlin wants to ease the tensions between the West and, as some say, revisionist Russia by building a constructive relationship between the Alliance and Moscow. “This means deterrence and dialogue, the clear commitment to solidarity with our partners in the Alliance and an outstretched hand for dialogue,” Mrs Merkel said.
The two-day NATO summit in Warsaw came at a defining moment for the security of North Atlantic Alliance given the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine, as well as Russia’s military build-up from the Barents Sea to the Baltic, and from the Black Sea to the eastern Mediterranean; turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa, fuelling the biggest migrant and refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two; brutal attacks by ISIL and other terrorist groups, as well as cyber attacks, nuclear proliferation and ballistic missile threats.
The conflict in Ukraine, which has led to Western imposition of economic sanctions on Russia and the loss of more than 9,000 lives, dominated the agenda of the summit. Russia says that it is the Alliance that exacerbates the risk of a broader conflict in Europe, citing the US missile defense shield and NATO’s biggest modernization since the Cold War. The United States is planning to hand over the command of the shield to the Alliance during the summit and Angela Merkel reassured Moscow that the system was positioned to protect against Iranian missiles. “It is not directed against Russia,” she said and added that “it does not influence the strategic balance between NATO and Russia.”