Ex-Nato head says Putin wanted to join alliance early on in his rule, theguardian.com

[…] George Robertson, a former Labour defence secretary who led Nato between 1999 and 2004, said Putin made it clear at their first meeting that he wanted Russia to be part of western Europe. “They wanted to be part of that secure, stable prosperous west that Russia was out of at the time,” he said. […]

Robertson also recalled how he became the first and only Nato secretary general to invoke Nato’s collective defence clause, known as article five, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Invoking article five was “a gamble” and it was far from a foregone conclusion that Nato members would reach for it after a terrorist attack, he said, noting it was “designed for an attack by the Soviet Union across the Fulda Gap in Germany”.

Some Nato allies were uneasy about invoking the collective defence clause to support the US, fearing it would give George W Bush’s administration a licence to invade Iraq. Robertson recalled one minister asking him: “‘Does this mean we’re giving them a blank check to invade Iraq?’ We said: ‘No, it’s not.’” Läs artikel