Defensa y Seguridad (Continuación)

Air raid sirens were part of my childhood.

Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., their eerie howl permeated the East German town of Strausberg where I grew up. The purpose of these weekly drills was to keep us alert, to remind us that no matter how peaceful things appeared, nuclear war was always just one bad decision away. Germans — in the East and the West — knew that the fault line of the Cold War was right underneath their feet.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, our collective tensions fizzled out, and most of the sirens were dismantled.…  Seguir leyendo »

War with Russia? Finland has a plan for that

If the worst fears of Europe are realised and the conflict in Ukraine spreads across the continent to other neighbours of Russia, then Finland will be ready.

It has supplies. At least six months of all major fuels and grains sit in strategic stockpiles, while pharmaceutical companies are obliged to have 3-10 months’ worth of all imported drugs on hand.

It has civilian defences. All buildings above a certain size have to have their own bomb shelters, and the rest of the population can use underground car parks, ice rinks, and swimming pools which stand ready to be converted into evacuation centres.…  Seguir leyendo »

“No to war!” declares an emotional online appeal signed by 600 German public figures, influential people spanning politics, culture, religion and science. They begin by stating their solidarity with Ukraine — and then go on to denounce the dramatic upgrade in Germany’s defense capabilities recently announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Their protest illustrates the scale of the opposition that Scholz will confront as he attempts to reshape the country’s foreign policy.

Last month, when Scholz told parliament that the government was embarking on nothing less than the biggest and fastest rearmament program in the country’s postwar history, he received standing ovations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algunas son brutales, sangrientas, como la de Ucrania. Una invasión precedida de desinformación, de mentiras. De injerencias, sin duda. Un ataque que en pleno siglo XXI nos devuelve a escenas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial: agresiones a civiles, oleadas de refugiados, la crueldad de la maquinaria de una dictadura aplastando a un pueblo que quiere tomar sus propias decisiones, que quiere ser libre.

Otras proceden también de Rusia o de regímenes autoritarios -la lista es la que ustedes se imaginan: China, Venezuela, Irán, Arabia Saudí- y son invasiones sin carros de combate ni misiles, pero con desinformación, mentiras y manipulaciones. Estas injerencias financian de manera encubierta actividades políticas y persiguen la desestabilización de las democracias contra las que actúan.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Consejo Europeo reunido informalmente en Versalles el pasado 10 y 11 de marzo confirmó el compromiso de la Unión con la defensa de todos sus Estados a través de la solidaridad que refleja la cláusula de asistencia mutua. No se pudo buscar mejor emplazamiento para escenificar lo que ya estaba previsto en el artículo 42.7 del Tratado de la Unión Europea, pero pocos conocían y casi nadie creía necesario recordar ante la vigencia del mecanismo equivalente en el ámbito de la OTAN. Sin embargo, la agresión rusa a la soberanía territorial y política de Ucrania y la amenaza a la seguridad de los europeos han roto los viejos paradigmas de una Unión cuyos Estados no encontraban hasta la fecha demasiados incentivos para fortalecer las estructuras de defensa europea invirtiendo más y mejor con el fin de responsabilizarse así de su propia seguridad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mientras la guerra continúa en Ucrania, los apóstoles del "fin de la historia" quedan definitivamente desacreditados. De repente, los pueblos toman conciencia de que no se puede dar nada por sentado eternamente. Ni la democracia como régimen político inamovible, ni la diplomacia como forma privilegiada de resolver los conflictos. Ni siquiera la integridad territorial como derecho incontestable.

Tras un largo paréntesis, la guerra ha vuelto a Europa. Uno de los países en disputa, incluso, asume el apocalipsis nuclear como posible amenaza. Y el riesgo de utilizar armas químicas es tangible. Lo peor que podríamos imaginar ha resultado ser posible.

Más allá de la conmoción y de la legítima emoción que surge ante el drama humanitario, más allá de nuestra admiración por el valiente pueblo ucraniano y la condena total al régimen de Moscú, la responsabilidad de los poderes públicos es considerar la guerra de Ucrania como lo que es: un punto de inflexión geoestratégico de primer nivel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pareciera imposible pero, una vez más, la guerra estremece Europa. La invasión rusa de Ucrania amenaza con amputar del viejo continente una nación soberana. El desequilibrio de fuerzas es tan grande que pocos creen en la posibilidad de resistir del pueblo ucraniano que clama ayuda al resto del mundo para poder defender su libertad.

Pero Ucrania no se rinde, ha decidido luchar, combatir al invasor, pelear por su soberanía e independencia, consciente del sacrifico que ello implica. Miles de civiles ucranianos han sido movilizados para unirse a su ejército e intentar frenar las ambiciones de Putin. Otros muchos compatriotas, que habían emigrado a otros países en busca de un futuro mejor, vuelven, sin dudarlo, a defender su patria, abandonando las comodidades de las que disfrutan para ir a la guerra.…  Seguir leyendo »

Are Finland and Sweden moving toward applying for membership in NATO after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine?

There is no clear answer yet. NATO membership would be a fundamental change for both countries and must be carefully considered. ”Not hesitating, but with care”, as Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has said. Public opinion in both countries has swung heavily in favor of applying for membership of NATO, and the situation in the respective parliaments seems to be moving in the same direction.

The question is tied to a lengthy history. For Finland, which came out of World War II under the heavy shadow of Stalin’s Soviet Union, NATO membership was never an option during the decades of the Cold War.…  Seguir leyendo »

War in Ukraine: will the Baltics become the ‘new West Berlin’?

The three Baltic states have been trampled over by everyone from the Russians and Soviets to the Germans, Swedes and even Ottomans in the past few centuries. But, even as the world wonders whether they will be next on Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion list after Ukraine, there is a counterintuitive sense in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that they are as safe as they ever have been.

“If you look at the past 800 to 900 years of history, an argument could be made that we have never been so secure. Because we have so many very powerful allies, we’re an independent country with our own standing army, a free and open and flourishing trade and investment environment”, says Krisjanis Karins, Latvia’s prime minister.…  Seguir leyendo »

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, center, holds a news conference Feb. 24 in Berlin. (Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg News)

Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, but one thing is already clear. Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved — albeit inadvertently — what nobody else could: a revolution in German security and defense policy.

In a remarkable session of the Bundestag on Feb. 27, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced measures that many believed impossible only days earlier. These include a $113 billion defense fund to modernize the German military — anchored in Germany’s Basic Law so that it cannot be used for any other purpose in the future — and an increase in annual defense spending to more than 2 percent of gross domestic product.…  Seguir leyendo »

Democracia, pero sin líos

A Europa le sigue pesando la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Los europeos hemos sido incapaces de frenar una agresión militar a las puertas del viejo continente. Hemos visto como día tras día las amenazas rusas sobre Ucrania crecían y queríamos negar la posibilidad de una guerra. El legendario estratega militar chino Sun Tzu afirmaba que la guerra que seguro que se gana es la que no libra batallas. Entonces, ¿cómo se frena una guerra entre dos naciones? Con diplomacia, pero Sun Tzu también reconocía que se negocia mejor cuando se tiene un poderoso ejército detrás.

Europa sigue avergonzada de su pasado reciente y debe seguir estándolo por el terror, dolor y muertes causadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

One doesn’t often think of Germans as Churchillian — for obvious reasons. Yet the term applies to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s extraordinary address to the Bundestag in Berlin on Sunday.

Declaring that “Russian President Putin has started a war of aggression in cold blood”, Scholz said Germany must limit economic interdependence with Russia and must bolster its badly neglected military defenses.

What Germans are already calling a “revolution” in their security policy represents a strategic defeat for Vladimir Putin — and a strategic victory for the United States and its European allies. Putin might yet conquer Ukraine, but he has clearly repelled and galvanized the European Union’s richest, most populous country, failing in his long-term effort to co-opt Germany via energy and commercial ties, such as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.…  Seguir leyendo »

La seguridad en Europa se ha vuelto a situar en el centro de la agenda geopolítica mundial. A pesar de los continuos esfuerzos diplomáticos por destensar la crisis en Ucrania, la escalada de tensión y desconfianza entre Rusia y la Alianza Atlántica no tienen precedentes desde la Guerra Fría, obligándonos a replantear el orden de seguridad paneuropeo que construimos en base a sus tres pilares fundamentales: Estados Unidos, Rusia y Europa.

Para abordar el reto de la seguridad europea, los líderes políticos y expertos en relaciones internacionales a ambos lados del Atlántico se reunirán este fin de semana en la Conferencia de Seguridad de Múnich, el foro de referencia para el intercambio y el debate sobre la seguridad internacional.…  Seguir leyendo »

A military handout photo shows a Leopard 2a6 main battle tank firing during a joint German and Dutch exercise held in Latvia as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania on Oct. 20, 2021. Andy Meier/NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania

French President Emmanuel Macron recently proposed a new European security pact, which joins his long-standing proposal for a European army. Other countries, trying to show European military muscle of a different kind, are sending weapons to Ukraine and troops to neighboring NATO countries.

But away from the spotlights, the Dutch and German armies are pulling off spectacular integration. In a first anywhere in Europe, a binational unit consisting of Dutch and German soldiers is about to complete a NATO deployment. Other countries should learn from the Dutch-German integration. They’ll discover that it works, but they’ll also learn that it involves painstaking efforts even when just two like-minded countries are involved.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian servicemen with a Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) Swedish-British anti-aircraft missile launcher during a drill at Lviv, Ukraine. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

Britain’s relationship with Ukraine appears to be thriving, with Ukrainian defence journalist Illia Ponomarenko recently tweeting the ‘British are just unstoppable these days’ and that the UK finds itself ‘on the right side of history’ while one Ukrainian wine bar has started offering free drinks to British nationals.

Ponomarenko’s remarks and the wine bar offer – certainly one post-Brexit benefit of having a British passport – are down to the UK decision to send anti-tank weapons to support Ukraine’s forces against a potential Russian attack.

The UK’s quick response was praised by Ponomarenko as being ‘wise enough not to be lured into going the easiest way, which is always the fastest lane straight to hell’ and strikes a clear contrast with that of Germany, whose typically moderated approach to geopolitical tensions went down badly in Kyiv.…  Seguir leyendo »

UK prime minister Boris Johnson at a military briefing with Colonel James HF Thurstan, Commander of Operation Orbital in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo by PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

The concept of ‘European strategic autonomy’ has taken a hit as Europeans have been sidelined and the European Union (EU) has struggled to make itself relevant in the current standoff with Russia over Ukraine.

With NATO’s new Strategic Concept and the EU’s first Strategic Compass, 2022 was meant to be the year of European security strategies. But the conflict at the Ukrainian border has been a reality check about what role the EU can today play in European security.

Conversely, the Ukraine crisis has amplified the UK’s role as a security provider for Europe through NATO as well as bilateral and minilateral arrangements such as the new Ukraine-Poland-UK trilateral format or, beyond the current crisis, London’s leadership of the ten-nation Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).…  Seguir leyendo »

Civilians in combat training with the Kyiv Territorial Defence unit on Saturday. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Two points about the Ukraine crisis are crystal clear. First, Vladimir Putin wishes to reimpose Russian control over Ukraine, whatever the price. His political dream of restoring the Soviet sphere of influence is echoed in a wishlist of “security guarantees” presented to western governments by Russia in December 2021. Nato, he maintains, should return to the pre-1997 state of affairs; Russia, apparently, need not.

Second, whatever Putin decides in the current crisis, there are real fears in central and eastern Europe that settled borders are now under threat. These fears are grounded in reason. What seemed unrealistic in the immediate post-cold war years is now again a real possibility.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Europe and the Ukraine Crisis

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

President’s Take: Europe and the Ukraine Crisis

As we go to press, Russian troops are gathering in ever larger numbers at Ukraine’s border. If the crisis escalates, it could pose the gravest threat to European security in decades, which is why Ukraine topped our global rundown of the world‘s most pressing conflicts in 2022 and why I’m covering it here. One can only hope that the frantic diplomacy currently under way will avert what could be an enormously destructive war.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ninguna región del mundo posee un sistema de seguridad como el europeo, dotado de un complejo entramado de tratados, reglas e instituciones. Sin embargo, la sofisticación del sistema de seguridad europeo no puede llevarnos a concluir que se trate de una obra finalizada, sino una en constante revisión.

La seguridad en Europa se ha construido a lo largo de varias décadas de forma gradual. Las bases del sistema de seguridad europeo se asentaron con la Conferencia de Yalta de 1945, donde el presidente norteamericano Franklin D. Roosevelt, el primer ministro británico Winston Churchill y el líder soviético Josef Stalin dividieron Europa en esferas de influencia, garantizando al concierto europeo una cierta estabilidad y previsibilidad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rusia y el orden de seguridad europeo: del descontento pasivo al revisionismo activo

Tema

Las últimas propuestas de Rusia para cambiar el orden de seguridad europeo creado después de la Guerra Fría.

Resumen

Actualmente la seguridad en Europa es más precaria que en cualquier otro momento desde el final de la Guerra Fría. Aunque es obvio que el futuro del orden de seguridad europeo está en manos de la comunidad transatlántica, llama la atención que la UE  haya sido excluida de las reuniones entre Rusia y EEUU, tanto en su formato bilateral –el 10 y 21 de enero en Ginebra– como en el multilateral del marco del Consejo Atlántico-Rusia, en Bruselas el 12 de enero (coincidiendo con la reunión de 30 jefes de Estado Mayor de la OTAN), y el 13 de enero en Viena, en el marco de la Organización para la Seguridad y la Cooperación en Europa (OSCE).…  Seguir leyendo »