NATO unity in Ukraine was in doubt: the first cracks
Will the internal dissatisfaction built by the West withstand economic failures
At the NATO summit in Madrid, the alliance demonstrated unprecedented unity in the face of one of the most serious problems in the history of this Western military-political bloc. Now the question is how long this unity will last. And Politico is asking this question.
The unity of NATO demonstrated at the Madrid summit looks impressive, but is this unity forever? From the point of view of US President Joe Biden, it will last indefinitely. “We are going to stay with Ukraine and the whole alliance will stay with Ukraine for as long as it takes to actually make sure they don’t get defeated… by Russia,” he told reporters in Madrid on Thursday at a press conference.
It's certainly a widely held view after NATO agreed to significantly bolster its defenses, paving the way for Sweden and Finland to join the “club,” notes Politico, adding: “But there are already cracks in the wall the West has built.”
First, world leaders fear that their publics will soon not be ready to fight. Conflict fatigue is setting in everywhere, says Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. “This has been going on for four months. And there is high inflation, there is an energy crisis. Covid isn't going anywhere. So it becomes more and more problematic,” although she added: “We can’t get tired, because we have to help Ukraine defend its country.”
It is precisely on fatigue, Politico claims, that the Russian leadership is counting on hoping that Western voters will punish their leaders for worrying more about events in Ukraine than about the pressing issues that are already creeping up on the house.
For US President Biden, the bad news has already arrived in the form of a survey commissioned by restraintists and right-wing Concerned Veterans of America (CVA). When YouGov asked, “Of the following questions, what should be President Biden's top priority?” only 8% of 1000 respondents answered: “Ensure Russia's defeat in Ukraine”.
But the most popular answer (38%): “Reduce or eliminate inflation.” In fact, “solving the energy crisis”, “reducing the cost and improving access to healthcare” and “something else” received more responses than defeating Russia in Ukraine.
“Given the historical economic problems at home, it is not surprising that the American people are afraid to take on new security responsibilities abroad and start wars with a nuclear-armed Russia,” said Dan Caldwell, CVA senior adviser.
Biden, he said, “must note that the American people would prefer that they focus their attention here at home on issues that are directly related to the well-being of the American people.”
It doesn't help that the US midterm elections are fast approaching. It is domestic issues that will take center stage, and Republicans will be forced to criticize Biden for economic failures and refrain from ardently supporting the Ukrainian resistance, we are told, precisely because of pressure from conservative media figures such as Tucker Carlson.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, another country opposed to Russia, politics continues to seethe after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was challenged last month. He persevered, but “rebels” from his own Conservative party have not given up this year in their attempt to overthrow the British prime minister.
Four months after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, the West's resolve remains firm, states Politico. But how strong – and how long – will depend on whether those who insist on continued support for Ukraine can convince their people that more is needed.