Whilst the European Union has continued to show a distinct lack of action on Coronavirus, and has instead used this as an opportunity to try and push through its poorly thought out ‘European Green New Deal’ – NATO has been doing the heavy lifting.
Throughout the entirety of this crisis military planes, that would otherwise be moving troops and provisions around the continent, have shifted to moving medicine and personal protective equipment. The logistical routes that would otherwise be moved for keeping us safe from Russia, are now be used to keep us safe from a virus.
NATO’s Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), “a multinational programme that provides assured access to strategic military airlift capability for its 12 member nations,” was leveraged for pandemic response. Examples include cargo flights from Europe to South Korea to collect essential medical supplies for the Czech Republic, and other central European countries.
The Trans-Atlantic Alliance has shown more initiative and leadership than the European Union. Whilst the European Parliament has been wasting time talking about promoting a Green Deal – real work is being done by member states and NATO to support their citizens. The Director-General of the WHO has warned that the worst of COVID-19’s impact is still to come and the IMF is currently projecting that GDP in the Eurozone will contract by 7.5% in 2020.
Equally, NATO has been far more active in countering disinformation from the Russians and Chinese. Throughout the course of this crisis, there has been a sharp increase in fake news and propaganda from our enemies. They try to claim that NATO is weak and disunited. They have tried to spread fear about the virus or in some cases denied that it even existed.
All of this propaganda is nothing new – it is the same as the lies that were told by the Communist Parties of Eastern Europe throughout the Cold War. Claiming that life in the west is somehow worse than in the East – despite the fact that we live in freedom. But more to the point – this kind of anti-NATO and anti-American rhetoric plays to the political left who want to cut all ties between Europe and our trans-Atlantic allies.
The officers at NATO know this fact – and that is why perhaps more than the Commission, they are taking the threat of Russian and Chinese propaganda seriously. They know that those in the Commission, European Parliament and national legislatures across Europe, who sit on the left want to find any excuse to claim that NATO is out of date and should be scrapped.
This crisis has, to the annoyance of those on the left, proven just the opposite. NATO has made clear that it is as relevant as ever. That it is defending us from the psychological warfare of Russia as well as the risk posed to us by the virus itself.
Those of us who want to defend a Europe of Sovereign nations know that we can only do this if we have strong national security, and work together to protect our Allies who share the same values. NATO is the only tool through which we can be assured that democracy, freedom and the rule of law are not whipped out in Europe.