Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating has expressed his belief that NATO should remain confined to Europe and the Atlantic and should not try to expand its influence into Asia. He argued that the military bloc should stick to its original focus, which is the security of the Transatlantic region, and warned against attempts to “circumscribe” China.
Keating’s statement, published on Sunday, appears to be a response to a report in Politico that claimed French President Emmanuel Macron had blocked NATO’s plans to establish a liaison office in Japan. Keating praised Macron for emphasizing the military bloc’s focus on Europe and the Atlantic, stating that he was “doing the world a service.”
According to Keating, NATO’s existence beyond the end of the Cold War has already denied peaceful unity to Europe. He believes that exporting NATO’s “malicious poison” to Asia would be detrimental to the region’s recent advances.
Keating went on to criticize NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, calling him the “supreme fool” on the international stage who is behaving like an “American agent.” He referred to a comment made by Stoltenberg in February, where he called for the West to work on containing China, comparing it to the “mistake” made in dealing with Russia.
The former Australian leader highlighted Stoltenberg’s disregard for the fact that China represents twenty percent of humanity and has the largest economy in the world. He also noted that unlike the United States, China has no record of attacking other states.
Politico reported over the weekend that Paris is against NATO expansion beyond the North Atlantic, citing an anonymous Elysee Palace official. The official emphasized that NATO means North Atlantic Treaty Organization, suggesting that the organization should not extend its influence outside its original scope.
In May, the Japanese ambassador to the US revealed plans to open a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, which would be the bloc’s first in Asia. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning advised NATO against extending its geopolitical reach, stating that the Asia-Pacific region does not welcome bloc confrontation or military blocs.
In summary, Paul Keating, the former Australian Prime Minister, has argued against NATO’s expansion into Asia and emphasized the organization’s focus on Europe and the Atlantic. He warned against attempts to limit China’s influence and criticized NATO’s Secretary General for his stance on containing China. The debate over NATO’s expansion and its role in different regions continues to generate discussions and opinions.