The immediate and solid unity imposed on NATO by US President Joe Biden when he launched the Western campaign against Russian President Vladimir Putin is beginning to show some cracks. This does not mean, however, that there is a direct questioning of the US leadership, but it creates an unpleasant distraction in the Presidency and in the staff of President Joe Biden.
1. The major problem facing the US is that Turkey fully links its consent to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO by lifting the support provided by these two candidate countries to the Kurdish PKK and the Gulenists who attempted to overthrow it. President of Turkey Recep Tayip Erdogan in 2016. Of course, it is well known that there are two main axes of Turkish diplomacy. Never give something in return and make absolutely sure the threats that you are ready to leave.
It seems that Turkey still believes that there are only national interests, but not permanent alliances. Other countries, of course, have a different perception of this.
2. In Italy, there is an unorthodox convergence of Right and Left – Matteo Salvini’s “Lega” and Giuseppe Conte’s “5 Stars”. Mr Salvini has spoken out against Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Others oppose further equipping the Ukrainians with advanced weapons systems. Objections to US policy are not expressed exclusively by extremist “parties”. Pope Francis’s statement that the West provoked Russia by “barking” at its door caused particular annoyance. The climate in Italy was conveyed to the US by former Prime Minister Mario Draghi when he met with US President Joe Biden, to whom he seems to have pointed out that “Europe wants peace”.
3. In France, President Emmanuel Macron said it was appropriate to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin “should not be humiliated” by provoking an angry reaction from Ukrainian President Zelensky, who began to be the target of internal criticism.
4. In Germany, Volkswagen is calling for a return to business as usual in Germany’s relations with Russia as soon as possible.
5. The German government is blocking in the background the concession of Leopard 2 armoured battle tanks that Spain is said to be willing to give to Ukraine. Interesting conclusions can be drawn from the attitude of the Germans. The first interpretation focuses on Germany’s traditional special relationship with Russia. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, combined with the existence of a Social Democrat and Green government in Berlin, has cast a heavy shadow over Russian-German relations. However, the Russian “diversion” does not change the geopolitical view of the Germans towards Russia. The invasion would happen someday, as NATO did not close its door to Ukraine.
The first interpretation, then, focuses on the non-shipment of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, on an indirect message from Berlin to Moscow that gradually, the day after the war, their contacts-relations should be restored. Despite the clear American attempt to reintegrate Europe into a purely Atlantic-anti-Russian foreign policy, the passage of time will “distort” the current rigidity on both sides.
The second interpretation is perhaps more interesting. The conflict in Syria has kept fresh memories of damaged armoured battle tanks of all kinds. Among them was a Leopard 2A4 of the Turkish Army. The prevailing trend in the military analysis calls for a re-examination and re-determination of the role of armoured battle tanks and armour in general on the modern battlefield.
On the one hand, Germans are making a gesture towards Russia, on the other hand, they are protecting the German defense industry. This is because damaged Leopards on the battlefields of Ukraine would disprove the German narrative that the armour battle tanks market is being reborn as a result of the resurgence of war in the Old Continent.
They are the first obvious “cracks” and we do have to wait for the sequel.