In NATO, there is a real hysteria about the alleged Russian and Chinese threats, RISS expert Sergey Yermakov comments on a recent video conference of EU defense ministers.
The defense ministers of the European Union’s member states also discussed the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. During the event, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that only national armies could help curb the spread of the disease and provide all the necessary aid to citizens.
Meeting participants pointed out that defense and military spending would find themselves at the forefront of the agenda, so it would be wrong to cut military spending. “Whether they cut military spending or not is a big question. We should wait until the European Union leaders present the new long-term budget next week,” Yermakov said.
RISS expert drew attention to the fact that panelists also had considered the issue of deterring geopolitical opponents such as Russia and China. NATO accuses Moscow and Beijing of allegedly launching an information war. But Russia has nothing to do with coronavirus, and the US conspiracy theory that the virus may have originated in a Chinese laboratory is just groundless and unjustified, Yermakov says.
“According to NATO Secretary General J.Stoltenberg, the European allies need to pay additional attention to the issue of deterring Russia and China. Moscow and Beijing were accused of spreading misinformation. This was surprising as the agenda didn’t include this matter. However, at the meeting of the NATO Military Committee on May 14, extra attention may be paid to those issues as the Euro-Atlantic security plan must be approved. All these issues will be considered in the context of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of NATO member countries. As a result, military spending is unlikely to increase,” RISS expert concluded.