US President Joe Biden’s Russia obsession seems likely to throw the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) into chaos. Biden is making a serious miscalculation on the Russia-Ukraine front and his misadventures are likely to play up the fissures within the NATO.
To put it in brief, Biden’s Russia-focused rhetoric led to an uptick in tensions between Russia and Ukraine. In view of the entire situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded with a major military build-up on the Russia-Ukraine border. In order to make matters worse, the Biden administration has been speaking in terms of “costs” and “consequences”. France and Germany, on the other hand, are looking to diffuse tensions causing a sense of chaos within the NATO itself.
Biden’s misadventures are particularly dangerous for Ukraine. The US President is picking up an issue that had got erased from public memory during the Trump era. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, said, “President Biden’s been very clear about this. If Russia acts recklessly, or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences.”
A Russia-Ukraine conflict is a perfect situation for the Biden administration to make tough remarks against Moscow. But what are the costs for Ukraine? Well, as per a senior Kremlin official, any significant escalation in Ukraine’s conflict with separatists centred along the Russian border will result in Ukraine ‘ceasing to exist’ as the world knows it.
The problem for Ukraine is that it has to handle pro-Russian separatists in its eastern Donbas region. Russia says it does not want to fight a war with Ukraine, but it has also made it clear that it “will not remain indifferent” towards the Russian speaking population in the Donbas region. In this sense, the Russian troops build up along the Ukraine border suggest that Moscow is ready to back the pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine’s Eastern region.
Russia is also speaking of a broader war if growing violence within Ukraine does not abate. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The escalation of tensions in the southeast of Ukraine justifies the measures Russia is taking.”
Peskov added, “The trend in the behavior of the Ukrainian side creates the risk of a resumption of full-scale military action.”
So, for Ukraine, the situation is particularly delicate. And every time, the Biden administration tries to cash in on the growing Russia-Ukraine tensions, Moscow comes closer to putting more pressure on Kiev.
But France and Germany- the two main European NATO powers, do understand the crisis that the region is facing. They are more concerned about finding diplomatic solutions rather than making irresponsible remarks against Russia in order to deteriorate the situation further.
Germany and France have been calling for the exercise of restraint. A joint statement by the German Foreign Office and the French Foreign Ministry read, “We are closely monitoring the situation, especially the movements of Russian troops, and call on all parties to exercise restraint and work toward the immediate de-escalation of tensions.”
France and Germany too are critical of Russia. But they do understand that if there is any surge in violence between Ukraine and Russia, then Europe will be the first one to suffer its consequences. So, France and Germany are looking at diplomatic channels in order to avoid any imminent aggression.
In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called up Vladimir Putin in reference to the increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. According to Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, she told Putin that Russia must reverse the huge build-up of troops on the Ukraine border in order to enable “a de-escalation of the situation.”
In fact, France and Germany are encouraging Russia to move towards a diplomatic solution. Even in their joint statement at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), they said, “We would like to encourage Russia to make use of the consultation mechanisms provided for in the OSCE and the Vienna Document, which also Russia agreed to, and to work constructively and in the spirit of Helsinki with the OSCE participating States concerned.”
NATO is in disagreement over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. For Biden, it is an opportunity, which he cannot afford to miss. Biden always wanted to play up his anti-Russia rhetoric and therefore the Russia-Ukraine conflict is something that he wants to bank upon.
But for Europe, any escalation will be nothing less than a major security threat and therefore it wants a diplomatic solution. In conclusion, NATO is looking at a split between the US on one side, and France and Germany on the other.