The decision to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) at its last meeting in the Spanish capital of Madrid targets China to a large extent.
This new approach by NATO towards Beijing can be described as a strategic shift in relations, especially in light of the continuing American desire to confront Chinese influence and stop its expansion, as well as limit its cooperation with Russia.
This is the first time that this number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region have been invited to a summit for NATO, which was established in 1949 in order to confront the former Soviet Union in Europe.
Although NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that “China is not an adversary, but we must take into account the consequences for our security when we see it investing huge sums in new military equipment.”
However, the leaders participating in the meeting denounced the “deep strategic partnership” between Moscow and Beijing “and their mutual attempts to undermine the rules-based international order.”
It seems that US President Joe Biden’s new strategy aims to convince his allies that resisting Moscow and confronting Beijing are complementary goals that do not conflict. Thus, Biden relies heavily on exaggerating the alleged Chinese threat.
Recently, the US began to rely in the Indo-Pacific region on regional alliances, such as the Ocos alliance, which was established in 2021 with Australia and the UK and angered France, due to which it lost a huge contract to deliver French submarines to Canberra.
NATO’s view that China poses a “challenge to the interests and security of the alliance’s countries” has drawn increasing international attention since the unveiling of the new strategic roadmap, which was adopted at the last Madrid summit.
Furthermore, NATO included China in the new Strategic Concept Document it adopted in Madrid, which sets the guiding principles of the alliance’s policy, and was last updated in 2010. According to the document, “China’s stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security, values, and increasing international influence… It remains ambiguous about its strategy, intentions, and military build-up.”
For the first time, NATO included China in its “strategic concept”, which means that it will work to develop its strategy to curb Beijing’s ambitions for hegemony. This process of restraint will range from economic and political measures to the development of a cooperative strategic approach to confront the information war in China, and all other economic, intelligence, and military moves, along with assessing the reach and great capabilities of China… Thus, Beijing has been placed in the same box as Russia as a potential aggressor to the Western-American alliance.
But the question arises, is this step, which is led by the US through NATO, signalling that Washington is beginning to realise that it is on the verge of losing its global hegemony, and that it finds it necessary to regain its leadership by creating new enemies? Or does this step confirm that Washington Indeed has lost its role, and it is only seeking to maintain its role before it disappears historically in light of political and intelligence reports and studies confirming that the unipolar world is a dying concept?
* Hatem Sadek is a Professor at Helwan University