NATO is feeling quite good about itself right now.
Of course, no one at the soulless, concrete behemoth that is NATO HQ here in Brussels shows happiness about the present situation in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But they are eager to tell you how shocked, amazed, or encouraged they are and how “extremely” unified the coalition is.
And that, for example, has made transatlantic and EU-NATO cooperation on sanctions against Russia so simple. This is not always the case.
“If you had asked me in February, or even six months ago, there’s no way I could have predicted the unity we have now,” a US official in Brussels told me.
So, what is the glue that holds Western friends together?
Consider how many headlines we’ve all read forecasting a schism in Western support.
This summer, five months into the battle, “Ukraine weariness” was declared.
Then, as a result of Russia’s invasion, it was predicted that the cost of living crises and exorbitant energy costs would erode Western leaders’ support for Kyiv.
With Russia holding the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, it was anticipated that several nations would choose to stay away from Ukraine for fear of Moscow taking harsh action.
That, however, was not the case.
“Russian crimes—attacking people and civilian infrastructure—have aided the strong will to stand with Ukraine that we see now,” a senior NATO source told me on condition of anonymity. They, like many of the authorities I met with, would want to be allowed to express themselves more freely.
“Images of war atrocities are bombarding our screens on a daily basis. “That makes it difficult to turn away.”
Russia has denied committing war crimes on several occasions.