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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau goes over his notes prior to a working session at the NATO Summit in Madrid, on June 29.Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

This was NATO’s week, not the G7′s. The NATO summit changed the world, much to the chagrin – and possibly alarm – of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whereas the G7 summit delivered mostly hot air in the cool heights of the Bavarian Alps.

The two events, set against the backdrop of a war that is not going well for Ukraine, were held in immediate succession. Six of the G7 countries are NATO members – Japan is the exception. Their leaders travelled from Bavaria to Madrid so they could greet NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning and get the collective defence show rolling.

The short list of NATO accomplishments leading up to or announced at the Madrid summit is impressive, though somewhat short of details: boosting the number of combat-ready troops on NATO’s vulnerable eastern flank to more than 300,000 from 40,000; Turkey dropping its objection to Sweden’s and Finland’s admission to the military alliance; and a huge increase in U.S. military deployments throughout Europe, from the Atlantic to the very borders of Russia, as if the Cold War had been reignited.

In Bavaria, there were admirable efforts to invent ways of depriving the Kremlin of the revenue it needs to pay for the war. But the headline plan – imposing price caps on Russian energy exports – was punted down the road and, in its vaguely outlined form, seems deeply flawed. It was as curious as the “Russian salad” spotted on the menu at a NATO summit café.

The plan is certainly attractive at first glance. A price cap would diminish the revenue stream to Russia, the biggest supplier of oil to Europe, and cut Europe’s energy bills, putting downward pressure on crippling inflation rates.

Canada to emerge from the NATO summit with two goodies – military alliance, climate and tech centres

But the price would have to remain high enough to give Russia the incentive to keep producing oil – in other words, high enough for Russia to keep making a profit to fund the war. If the price is too low, Mr. Putin might be tempted to turn off the taps, deepening Europe’s energy crisis and virtually guaranteeing a recession. The price-cap idea seems destined to die a quiet death.

Still, the leaders of the G7 and the 30 NATO countries did not break ranks and, crucially, even convinced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare that he is, in effect, fully anchored in the West, not stranded in some ideological wilderness between the West and Russia (Turkey buys Russian weapons and has not placed economic sanctions on Moscow).

They did so through a vigorous lobbying effort led by U.S. President Joe Biden and by insisting on regular meetings among Mr. Erdogan and his Swedish and Finnish counterparts ahead of the Madrid summit. Mr. Erdogan had accused the two traditionally neutral Nordic countries of harbouring members of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

What ultimately convinced him to drop his opposition to NATO expansion is not known, though it is almost certain that Sweden and Finland at least partly met his demands to crack down on the PKK. Whatever happened, it was enough for NATO to formally invite Sweden and Finland into the alliance Wednesday.

Path to NATO Membership

NATO members have agreed to invite Sweden and Finland

to join the military alliance, reinforcing its eastern front with

Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to the Nordic

countries’ bids

NATO members

Russia

Iceland

Finland plans to

build barrier

along 1,300km

frontier with

Russia

Canada

Sweden

U.S.

Finland

Norway

Estonia

Denmark

Latvia

Ireland

Lithuania

Ned.

Kaliningrad

(Russia)

Britain

Belarus

Poland

Germany

Czech

Rep.

Ukraine

Lux.

Belgium

Slovakia

Portugal

Aus.

Hungary

Switz.

France

Romania

Slovenia

Crimea

Annexed

in 2014

Croatia

Bulgaria

Italy

Spain

Turkey

Albania

Montenegro

N. Macedonia

Greece

graphic news, source; nato; bloomberg

Path to NATO Membership

NATO members have agreed to invite Sweden and Finland

to join the military alliance, reinforcing its eastern front with

Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to the Nordic

countries’ bids

NATO members

Russia

Iceland

Finland plans to

build barrier

along 1,300km

frontier with

Russia

Canada

Sweden

U.S.

Finland

Norway

Estonia

Denmark

Latvia

Ireland

Lithuania

Ned.

Kaliningrad

(Russia)

Britain

Belarus

Poland

Germany

Czech

Rep.

Ukraine

Lux.

Belgium

Slovakia

Portugal

Aus.

Hungary

Switz.

France

Romania

Slovenia

Crimea

Annexed

in 2014

Croatia

Bulgaria

Italy

Spain

Turkey

Albania

Montenegro

N. Macedonia

Greece

graphic news, source; nato; bloomberg

Path to NATO Membership

NATO members have agreed to invite Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance, reinforcing

its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to the Nordic countries’ bids

NATO members

Russia

Iceland

Finland plans to

build barrier

along 1,300km

frontier with

Russia

Canada

U.S.

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Estonia

Denmark

Latvia

Ireland

Lithuania

Ned.

Kaliningrad

(Russia)

Britain

Belarus

Poland

Germany

Czech

Rep.

Ukraine

Lux.

Belgium

Slovakia

Portugal

Aus.

Hungary

Switz.

France

Romania

Slovenia

Crimea

Annexed

in 2014

Croatia

Bulgaria

Italy

Spain

Turkey

Montenegro

Albania

N. Macedonia

Greece

graphic news, source; nato; bloomberg

What is known is that Russia was the big loser in the high-stakes, pre-summit escapade. The war was in good part triggered by Mr. Putin’s anger about NATO expanding eastward to Russia’s borders, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desire to join the military alliance. Instead of stopping NATO expansion, Mr. Putin guaranteed it.

He also guaranteed that NATO would up its military game in Europe. In the decades after the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO seemed to lose its purpose, and defence spending among most of its member states, including Canada, declined. Now, with a few exceptions (Canada among them), it is rising and boots are multiplying on the ground.

On Wednesday morning in Madrid, Mr. Biden vowed to use an enhanced military presence “to defend every inch of allied territory.” The big moves are establishing a permanent headquarters for the U.S. 5th Army Corps in Poland; adding two squadrons of F-35 fighters to the U.K.; boosting the number of U.S. destroyers at Spain’s Rota naval base to six from four; and increasing the number of U.S. troops stationed across Europe by 20,000, to 100,000.

Later in the day, Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s vow to back Ukraine to the hilt. The G7 leaders had done the same. NATO’s new 10-year strategic concept identifies Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and stability.” Mr. Stoltenberg used a news conference to say: “Ukraine can count on us for as long as it takes.”

The strategic concept also identifies China for the first time as a “systemic” challenge, noting that it “seeks to control key industrial and technological sectors” and “strives to subvert the rules-based international order.” But China was not identified as a military threat. NATO is clearly obsessed with Russia, not China.

How does Canada fit into an invigorated, enlarged NATO?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to help boost NATO’s military presence in the Baltic states, where Canada leads a 2,000-soldier battlegroup in Latvia (almost 700 Canadians are part of it). But how many of the extra troops will come from Canada, if any, is not known. Nor has he said when defence spending might reach the 2 per cent of GDP goal encouraged by NATO. The alliance estimated that Canada will spend 1.27 per cent of GDP on defence this year, down from 1.36 per cent last year.

Overall, the NATO countries and the G7 leaders used their summits to keep Ukraine alive and able to defend itself from Russia. NATO member states will keep sending weapons, fuel and medical supplies. The Ukrainian military will be upgraded to NATO-standard equipment as the country’s old Soviet weapons prove incapable of stopping the Russian onslaught. “Its brutal and unlawful invasion and repeated atrocities have caused unspeakable suffering and destruction,” NATO’s new strategic concept says. “A strong, independent Ukraine is vital for stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.”

The danger, of course, is that the NATO countries will provide just enough weapons to keep Ukraine from outright defeat – and Russia from outright victory. Which raises the question: Is the goal to create Mr. Putin’s Afghanistan? If so, this war could grind on for a long, long time, with horrendous losses on both sides.

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