Frederick Kempe is the President and CEO of the Atlantic Council.
This is a story of evil and good.
It is the story of an autocrat’s ruthless attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine, compared with the historic rally, but still not enough, of democratic nations to save the country.
At midday on Monday, in the industrial city of Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, sitting serenely by the Dnipro river, about 1,000 men, women and children wandered the Amstor shopping center, trying to enjoy the feeling of common sense in the midst of a brutal war.
About 185 miles away and several thousand feet high, Russian bombers fly over Russia’s Kursk region Most likely the Tupolev Tu-22M3s, which launch at least two Kh-22, 2,000 lb medium-range nuclear-powered cruise missiles, were developed in the 1960s to destroy aircraft carriers. One air raid sirens Ukrainians mourned, and practiced well in the fifth month of the President of Russia By Vladimir Putin war, fighting for safety.
Meanwhile at the luxury resort of Schloss Elmau in the German Bavarian Alps, the Group of Seven, representing the world’s largest democracies, gathered around conference tables in an effort to supplement orders their far-reaching sanctions on Putin and Russia. Surname debated options to choke off the financing that fueled Putin’s warincluding placing a cap on the price of oil sold to Russia could reduce 1 million dollar dollars that the world pays Russia every day for energy.
As they were struggling to make progress, one of the rockets crashed into the mall. A CCTV video captured a sky day, with hazy clouds adorning the clear blue sky, and then the huge fireball of the explosion and the curling of a huge plume of black smoke. Broken glass and shards fly past the camera.
A day later, when Ukrainian officials counted the dead – at least 20 dead and 59 wounded in a war in which Putin’s army was killed. dozens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Ukrainians – The NATO leaders gathered for the summit brought me to Madrid. They buzzed about the timing of Putin’s shopping mall attack, knowing that the attack targeted them no less than Ukraine.
“Talk as much as you want,” Putin seemed to be telling them. “Sign any document you like. I will outlast you and your corrupt societies with my war of attrition, restore imperial Russia and mark my place on the calendar history even as your decadent West continues to decline.”
Putin can be confident that although historic agree in Madrid this week and although deliveries of weapons from the United States and its partners are increasing in quantity and quality, no one is ready to provide heavier, longer range, precision weapon that could prevent a mall strike and many other attacks, and could allow for a much needed emergency counterattack.
Even so, NATO has reached a level of unification not seen in more than 30 years.
At the end of the hour-long negotiation session with the participation of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, the parties reached an agreement. was agreed to pave the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO and to end, in Sweden’s case, two centuries of neutrality.
The next day NATO leaders will sign a New strategic concept, emphasizing Russia as their most current danger but including China for the first time is an issue of mutual concern. The leaders of Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand attended the NATO summit for the first time as partners and guests.
NATO’s Chinese Language signals that the alliance understands it is facing a relevant and global challenge. Consider that 30 countries required to sign in on textmany of them still consider China their number one trading partner, which is a powerful article.
“The stated ambitions and coercive policies of the People’s Republic of China challenge our interests, security and values,” it said. It then continued, “China seeks to control key industrial and technology sectors, critical infrastructure, strategic minerals, and supply chains. It uses economic leverage to create out strategic dependence and enhance its influence. It strives to disrupt the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains.”
There was a lot of celebratory talk among the allies about their growing solidarity and deep purpose, including the President. Joe Biden’s declaration that NATO is sending an “unmistakable message” to Putin.
Among other arrangements, NATO has acted to strengthen its eastern and southern flanks, and the US Army will send a corps headquarters to Poland and more troops to the Baltics and Romania. NATO is committed to increasing its combat readiness force from 40,000 to 300,000, even as Sweden and Finland bring in significant new military forces.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares forewarned potentially important summits like Yalta (heaven help us) or the fall of the Berlin Wall.
At a NATO Public Forum co-hosted by the Atlantic Council on the sidelines of the summit, I ask How does French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna evaluate the historical moment?
“History will tell,” she said.
No one should miss Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s message to the G-7 leaders this week that they must provide him with the means to counter-attack to repel the Russian army before winter begins and the Ukraine’s allies lost interest in the face of growing economic difficulties.
“Russia is waging two wars right now,” Greg Ip writes in the Wall Street Journal. “A hot war with Ukraine at the cost of death and destruction, and a cold war with the West at the expense of economic hardship and inflation.”
According to Ip, Putin will likely rush in the face of a more resolute West and better-armed Ukraine, but he is betting that he can “cause enough short-term cost to consumers.” in the West that political support for Ukraine will collapse.”
I left Madrid emboldened by the growing consensus among European and Asian democracies that a defeat in Ukraine would be catastrophic for Europe and the world order as other cowards calculate their own chance.
However, I’m also frustrated that for all of this week’s progress, military support and sanctions still don’t equal historic stakes.
In this contest between an autocracy and these determined rallying democracies, the forces of interest had an outstanding week. If they don’t build on it and fast, it won’t be enough.