‘Russian Threat’ on Hold as Battle With COVID-19 Sets New Priorities for NATO, West

The coronavirus outbreak, which has so far claimed over 60,000 lives and left over 1 million people infected across the globe in less than four months, has shown that the biggest menace to mankind is not some country but a tiny virus. Thus, Russia is now becoming less a “threat” for NATO and the Western world in the current security environment, according to Iztok Prezelj, the chair of Defence Studies and a member of Defence Research Centre at the University of Ljubljana.

The expert distinguished two dimensions of the current situation. The first deals with the “imminent threat” – COVID-19, while the second dimension is Russia, which is becoming a second priority for the US and the West.

Chance to Identify Common Enemy – COVID-19

According to Prezelj, the current crisis can be a chance for both NATO and its allies on the one side and Russia on the other to identify a common enemy which is COVID-19 and finally start cooperating against the virus. It is also the opportunity for “melting relations” between the West and Russia”, he added.

Prezelj compared the whole situation to the Islamist threat after the deadly 9/11 attacks on the United States. Back then, Moscow and Washington identified the common enemy – terrorism – and started cooperation which resulted in the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002. 

The bloc and Moscow discussed such issues as fighting terrorism, cooperation on Afghanistan as well as weapons non-proliferation. The cooperation was…

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