The Guardian – Thomas Meaney / How Putin’s invasion returned NATO to the centre stage
- Nato is back. With the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has single-handedly revived the fortunes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, returning it to the top of the foreign policy agenda.
- Scandinavian states that once prided themselves on independence from the organisation are now eager to join. The German government has pledged an unprecedented increase in defence spending, which means increasing its contribution to Nato.
- US military strategists dream anew of opening a Nato franchise for the Pacific, while EU bureaucrats plan a new Nato for the internet. Former liberal holdouts and sceptics of the alliance have learned to love Nato in much the same way they learned to love the CIA and the FBI during the Trump years.
- The old sheriff of the cold war has regained its focus, and, to the surprise of many, has proved itself to be a remarkably spry and capable force in the fight against Russia.
- Financial Times – Anne-Marie Slaughter / Expanding NATO will deepen east-west fissure
- The European Union’s new sanctions package against Russia, including an embargo on crude oil imports, would cause more harm to Hungary than Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, news website index.hu reported on Thursday.
- In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Orban said the EU’s latest sanctions package risked undermining the bloc’s unity and its approval would be a historic failure.
- The European Union’s executive on Wednesday proposed the toughest package of sanctions yet against Moscow for its war in Ukraine, but several countries worried about the impact of cutting off Russia oil imports stood in the way of agreement.
- A handful of eastern EU countries are concerned that the halt would not allow them enough time to adapt, even though diplomats said Hungary and Slovakia would be given until the end of 2023.
- Project Syndicate – Peter Singer / Should Europe stop paying for Putin’s war?
Financial Times – Neri Zilber and Nastassia Astrsheuskaya / Israel says Putin has apologized over anti-semitism row
- Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has apologised to Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett for remarks widely viewed as anti-Semitic by Moscow’s foreign minister this week, according to Israeli officials.
- The apparent bid to mend a growing diplomatic rift between the two states comes after Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Italian television on Sunday that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky being Jewish did not negate the “Nazi elements” inside Ukraine since “[Adolf] Hitler also had Jewish blood . . . The most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”
- The Putin-Bennett call was made amid Israel’s Independence Day celebrations. According to a statement by the Israeli prime minister’s office, Bennett “accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying the president’s attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust”.
- Lavrov’s words had triggered an escalating row between the two governments. Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid had called the comments an “unforgivable and outrageous statement and a terrible historical error”.
- Haaretz – Jonathan Lis / How Putin’s apology to Israeli PM Bennett unfolded
Financial Times – Robert Wright and Demetri Sevastopulo / ‘Resolute’ Ukraine response vital to deter China on Taiwan, Japan PM says
- Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida has used a visit to London to stress the importance of a resolute international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in deterring potential future Chinese action against Taiwan.
- Kishida issued the warning following a meeting with UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who on Thursday also insisted there was a “direct read across” from recent events in Europe to East Asia.
- The comments from the two prime ministers highlight international concerns about Chinese intentions towards Taiwan and come after talks in early March between UK and US officials over how best to deter any use of force against the island.
- They will also fuel concerns in China that the war in Ukraine is promoting a more robust and united stance by US allies towards Beijing.
- Foreign Policy – Bonny Lin and John Culver / China’s Taiwan invasion plans may get faster and deadlier
Our longer reads for the weekend:
- Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / Why Washington should take Russia nuclear threats seriously
- Project Syndicate – Joschka Fischer / What the war in Ukraine means for Europe
- Project Syndicate – Barry Eichengreen, Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan, Paola Subacchi and Yu Yongding / Is the US dollar’s global hegemony at risk?
- Financial Times – Martin Sandbu / The effect of sanctions on the Russian economy