France on the ‘offensive’ against NATO


By Haider Abbas

The FIFA world cup is over. Ukraine is now plunged into darkness as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin strategy to ‘cut-the-power-structure’ of Ukraine during the winters is into force. Russia and Ukraine are at war since February with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), US and European Union (EU) supporting Ukraine against Russia. There have been series of economic sanctions against Russia by the West, but all such steps have boomeranged as Russia has remained unruffled by any such moves, and now as the world is ‘getting-into’ the Christmas mould, there have been protests inside NATO. In fact, reverse protests against France, which started first from Belgium, are reported from inside Paris. Protests are aimed against France to leave EU and NATO.


France has been the frontrunner against Russia, but there is no denying that the whole of Europe is overtly dependent on the energy-and-gas supplies from Russia, and since sanctions against Russia are in place, France, as a part of a dominant nation inside NATO, has to buy high-rise energy-and-gas from US , which has greatly benefitted from the Russia-Ukraine war. This high-cost of energy products, is taking its toll on the French people, as there have been mass protests against France President Emanuel Macron to walk-out of NATO. The protests are ironically led by right-wing politician Florian Philippot, the leader of The Patriots Party.  Philippot had long been demanding that France ought to push-off from NATO and EU, and now his voice is gaining momentum. His party has been very critical of Macron on his foreign and economic policies etc , particularly over Russia.

It may also be mentioned that there have been nine-rounds of sanctions but instead of Russia it is NATO which is feeling-the-heat. Hundreds of protesters thronged the streets of Paris to protests against France policies vis-e-vis Russia. There was an open denouncement of France anti-Russia sanctions as there were calls for France to leave US led NATO. On the same lines there were voices against Ursula Von der Leyen, the chief of EU, to ‘shut-up’ as there seem to be no immediate relief from the high-cost energy needs of France, the prices of which have gone exorbitant. There have been similar protests in Germany too.
It can easily be observed that the whole of Europe is grappling with the ‘high cost of living’ as Brussels resonated with the same protests is which around 16,500 people demonstrated against the rising cost of living. A gathering of such a large scale, in September last, which disrupted even the EU summit, speaks about the ground-zero situation inside Europe. The protests were organized by trade unions from public sector. The common demand was better wages and working conditions due to the high-end inflation IS probably everything across Europe particularly Belgium. There has been a stupendous rise in gas and electricity rates,  and particularly Belgium is reeling under around 10% of inflation!

Another development of equal importance has been the visit of Vladimir Putin to his friendly nation Belarus, on December 19, which obviously, has rattled Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as now there are speculations that Belarus might start to attack neighboring Ukraine, but such reports have been rubbished by Kremlin, that Russia might seek Belarus to get engaged more actively in the Ukraine war. Russia has called such assumptions as groundless and stupid, but then why would Putin visit Belarus, in such serious circumstances, that too, for the first time in the last three years? There had been already joint-military drills between Russia and Belarus in the last couple of months, which has forced Zelenskyy to beef its defence towards its northern border with Belarus. It is now anyone’s guess that sooner or later Belarus is now to enter the war-theatre from the Russian side. Zelenskyy has told that ‘no matter who or what tries to persuade Minsk ( Belarus capital) to do anything, it will not help them,’ reported Kyivindependent  . What matters here is also that Belarus has accused Kyiv to be planning to conduct strikes on Belarus. Belarus is also under EU and NATO sanctions.

In a countermove US and NATO has made Greece to make its open and hostile act against Russia as Greece has offered to send its S-400 air defense system to Ukraine against Russia, reported Forbes . This has prompted Putin to warn US President Joseph Biden, to not to ‘provoke’ amid the war.  Kremlin is angry as interestingly the S-400 air defence system is Russian made too! Moscow has issued an open warning to Greece to deter or be ready to face consequences if it plans to go ahead with arming Ukraine. Moscow has also called the Greece move as a violation of Moscow-Athens (Greece capital) treaties and technical co-operation, which had staked that under no circumstances Greece, is to re-export the military equipment supplied by Russia without Russian consent. Russia views Athens announcement as trampling of its earlier treaties.

How will Greece streamline itself in the wake of this latest conflagration is what times would tell, but the US support on the back of Greece is what alone is the guiding force . Russia nevertheless has also threatened that the Greece supply would be tracked and necessarily destroyed by Russia as Greece has sought US ‘Patriot Missile System’ supply to replace its S-400 stationed on its Crete Island, , which is a double snigger at Russia. What comes as next is for the world to see, but the move from Athens is getting considered as ‘going-back’ on its words, as in June last, Athens had announced to not to supply S-400 to Ukraine, owing to its treaties with Russia. If this is to happen, then US will aggressively enter the war zone, and which is all set to have disastrous consequences on the world. It would then  bring bring Moscow and Washington ( US capital) on a brink of an open confrontation.


The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international issues.




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