Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), told the Guardian that the world is at a dangerous point. Stoltenberg is a former prime minister of Norway. Stoltenberg spoke of the current dangers facing the world, as he stated, “It is more unpredictable, and it’s more difficult because we have so many challenges at the same time.”
Stoltenberg delivered his analysis of the current state of the world as Russia prepares to participate in its largest military exercise since the Cold War. Russia and Belarus will mobilize upwards to 100,000 military personnel in eastern Europe to participate in the military exercise.
Adding to the perils facing the world is the deteriorating military standoff on the Korean peninsula between South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and the United States. Stoltenberg expressed his hopes for resolving the tensions in Southeast Asia. Stoltenberg stated, “I think the important thing now is to look into how we can create a situation where we can find a political solution to the crisis.”
Stoltenberg described the multifaceted global web of threats stating, “We have proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, we have terrorists, instability, and we have a more assertive Russia. It is a more dangerous world.”
Stoltenberg’s remarks came as he was visiting the Tapa army base located in Estonia. The Tapa military installation is located approximately 75 miles from the border of Russia. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are strategic defense locations for NATO forces in eastern Europe, near Russia’s border.
Stoltenberg criticized the openness of his Russian counterparts about their military exercises in the region. Stoltenberg said, “Russia has not opened any exercise to open observation since the end of the cold war.” Stoltenberg viewed the lack of Russian transparency as a violation of international obligations for military exercises involving 13,000 military personnel or more.
Required overflights and observations will not be allowed by Russia and Belarus in their upcoming exercises.
Addressing the Korean missile crisis, Stoltenberg told Reuters, “I will not speculate about whether Article 5 will be applied in such a situation.” Stoltenberg made the statement regarding a North Korean attack on the U.S. territory of Guam. Article 5 requires NATO alliance members to come to the military defense of fellow member states.
[Featured Image by Efrem Lukatsky/AP Images]