The NATO military left Afghanistan in ruins, says Russian Ambassador Alexander

As NATO turned 75 on April 4, 2024 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Alexander Mantytskiy accorded an exclusive interview to me, where he has answered several questions related to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and how after twenty-year long campaign in Afghanistan, which ended in shameful retreat of the coalition forces thus leaving the country in ruins. Here are the excerpts of the interview:

Question: NATO turned 75 on April 4, 2024. This organization played a key role in bloc confrontation during the Cold War. After the end of the Cold War, it has long sought new challenges. The Alliance was engaged in “peacekeeping” in the Balkans, “fighting terrorism” in Afghanistan. The forces of the international coalition, the majority of which were NATO members, carried out a “humanitarian” intervention in Libya. How does this fit in with West’s assertion that NATO is a purely defensive alliance?

Alexander Mantytskiy: This oft-used assertion by the NATO leadership is refuted, for one thing, as you correctly point out, by the involvement of the alliance and its member states in the aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 and Libya in 2011. In fact, the entire history of NATO is a history of armed conflicts.

NATO’s Strategic Concept, adopted at the Madrid Summit in June 2022, called Russia “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area”. NATO is countering our country offensively across all geographic areas and in all operational domains – land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

The North Atlantic Alliance, with its confrontational rhetoric, unjustified build-up of military forces and infrastructure on its “Eastern and Northern flanks”, and aggressive militarization of Europe, leaves no doubt that its tasks are much broader than the mere “collective defense” of its allies. The main goal of the collective West, led by the United States, is to maintain global superiority by force, despite the irreversible and objective trend of multipolarity.

Question: Is there any truth in the NATO leadership’s claims that the measures taken by the alliance countries on the “Eastern flank” are caused by the events in Ukraine and Crimea in 2014?

Alexander Mantytskiy: The Western course on breaking the international legal order and dismantling the system of checks and balances in the area of global and regional security had been taken long before the early signs of the internal Ukrainian crisis. I am referring to numerous violations of international law, few waves of NATO advancement towards Russia’s borders, expansion of military infrastructure on the territory of new members, new forms of military activities, the creation of the European segment of the US global missile defense system, and the participation of non-nuclear-weapon states in exercises in the format of NATO’s “joint nuclear missions”.
The North Atlantic bloc began hyping up the perceived Russian threat to consolidate the alliance unity before the 2014 events in Ukraine. At the request of the bloc’s Eastern European members, the elements of collective defense against an “attack from the East” were included in military training scenarios in 2013. The image of Russia as an enemy was being molded at an accelerated pace.

The NATO member-states did not support any of Russia’s initiatives aimed at creating a common and indivisible security space in Europe and reducing the role of the power factor. The Alliance refused to ratify the adopted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and to provide guarantees that the missile defense system will not be directed against Russian strategic nuclear forces. By the way, the United States denounced the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty well before the Ukrainian crisis and the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia in August 2008.

The crisis in Ukraine and anti-Russian “scare stories” are used only as justification for the destructive course of militarizing Europe at the expense of European taxpayers.

Question: Mr. Ambassador, how would you comment on Finland and Sweden joining NATO?

Alexander Mantytskiy: NATO has long sought to get Stockholm and Helsinki into its ranks. Over the past decades, both countries have closely interacted with the alliance by participating in exercises and operating in the bloc’s various structures. The “Russian threat” has been used as a pretext to pressure Finland and Sweden to join NATO. The speed with which Helsinki and Stockholm made the decision to join the North Atlantic Organization, suggests that it was important for the local officialdom to do so without broad public discussion, so that the people of these countries would not ask unnecessary questions.
The latest phase of expansion has by no means increased the security of these countries and more broadly of the Northern Europe. Sadly, NATO has turned this previously peaceful region into a staging area for geopolitical confrontation. This is not Russia’s fault, but a strategic miscalculation done by Brussels, Stockholm and Helsinki.

Question: To conclude, Excellency, how could you respond to those who consider NATO as the most successful organization in the history of mankind?

Alexander Mantytskiy: All NATO successes come down to numerous civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure as a result of Alliance operations and missions. Its “achievements” also include the destruction of state foundations and economies of the countries that fell the victims of the Bloc’s aggressive actions. Deeply engaged into military adventurism, the United States and its allies have dealt a heavy blow to the fundamental principles of international law, which they are trying to replace with a so-called order based on the rules invented by the collective West.
Look at the twenty-year-long NATO campaign in Afghanistan, which ended in the shameful pull-out of the coalition forces. The NATO military left that country in ruins. The special investigative commission of the German Bundestag stated that “the mission in Afghanistan ended in strategic defeat” and was “the most costly and sacrificial” operation of Western countries in modern times.

It was the inability to find a more worthy use for the alliance after the end of the Cold War and the failure of the “era of major operations” that led Western countries to the decision to return the North Atlantic bloc “to its roots” – consolidation around confronting an imaginary common threat from Russia.

However, even NATO’s “achievements” in this sphere, namely militarization of Europe, escalation of tensions, complicity in the collapse of the foundations of strategic stability, do not contribute in any way to the fulfillment of the main task of any military association – to ensure the security of the population of its member countries.

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