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World Politics

Transatlantic Security Relations: NATO Relevance Issues

Sosnitskaia Viktoriia

Student, Chair of Global politics, Moscow State Institute of International Relations

76B Prospekt Vernadskogo str., Moscow, 119454, Russia










Abstract: This article focuses on the crisis of transatlantic relations, which seriously affect the formation of the European security architecture. The author examines the system of interaction between European countries in a historical perspective in order to find the prerequisites for the existing ties within the Alliance. The analysis of NATO's transformation after the Cold War also reveals the relationship between the goals of unification and the realization of their interests mainly under the guise of universal security, which is quite clearly seen in the relations between the United States and NATO. The high uncertainty of the Alliance in the distribution of priorities, the difference in positions regarding the regional focus of the association and often the impossibility of consolidation in the mobilization of available resources have been corroding the unity of the union for many years, which makes it a rather controversial instrument of global governance to maintain peaceful coexistence of states. The main conclusion of the study is that the main challenge NATO cannot cope with is the internal crisis caused by the inconsistency of the actions of the participating countries, the American dominance in decision-making process, the dependence of European economies on the United States. Acting as a provider of international security, in reality, the alliance is rather an instrument for the realization of the national interests of individual states participating in the military-political bloc. Despite the fact that the question of the relevance of NATO has been raised more than once in the history of its existence, the Alliance continues to gravitate towards expansion. However, this will hardly save it from internal contradictions, which with each new challenge from the outside are exposed more and more clearly and cause more and more concern among the codependent members of the Alliance.


NATO, world politics, international security, NATO challenges, Europe, Cold War, NATO expansion, the United States, collective security, foreign policy

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Since the middle of the last century, the problem of ensuring European security has become inextricably linked with the existence of the North Atlantic Alliance. The NATO military-political bloc, created on April 9, 1949 by ten European states, Canada and the United States, designated as its goal the reflection of all threats to which members of the Alliance may be exposed from the outside.[1] Throughout its existence, NATO has repeatedly faced new challenges, to which it had to adapt anew, adopting new concepts of the bloc's strategy and forming new goals. But one way or another, the Alliance has always adhered to its basic principle of collective defense, enshrined in Article No. 5 of the Washington Treaty, obliging all signatories to protect each other in case the national security of at least one of them is threatened. NATO connects the two continents, being an alliance of states from Europe to North America and thereby provides an opportunity for their direct cooperation and consultations on security issues.

The latest Strategic Concept, which reflects the updated values and goals of the Alliance, was developed in 2022 during the Madrid summit. [2] The new goals are formulated taking into account the current political situation and are based on the same three basic principles as the 2010 Concept, which have not lost their relevance during all this time: collective defense, security through cooperation and crisis management. The agreements reached at the Brussels Summit of 2021 and recommendations on the 2030 agenda are also taken as a basis. [3]

Nevertheless, despite the regular updating of the agenda, the Alliance could not avoid challenges from within related to the relationship between the United States and Europe. In different periods of history, the American administration and the leaders of European countries saw different goals in the existence of NATO, which inevitably led to crises and internal destabilization of the association. The author of this article aims to identify the NATO crises that the Alliance eventually failed to cope with or is not coping with at the moment, which could serve as a weighty argument in support of the thesis of reducing the relevance of NATO as an association that really performs its primary function ensuring security in the transatlantic region and, mainly, in Europe.

European security system

The foundations of the modern system of European security were laid by the Peace of Westphalia concluded in 1648, which ended the difficult period of the Thirty Years' War. It reflected such basic provisions as mutual respect for sovereignty, recognition by countries of each other and non-interference in internal affairs. However, this caused contradictions between the protection of their own national interests, ensuring the security of countries and compliance with these provisions. The next attempt at geopolitical reconstruction occurred at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The Vienna Congress of 1815 did not bring the desired peace to the European continent, and against the background of the decisions of the congress, new contradictions arose between the victorious states, which reshaped the political image of Europe. Especially these processes were facilitated by the unification of Italy and Germany into single states and the Belgian revolution. The end of the First World War was consolidated by the Versailles Peace Treaty and a number of other treaties that created a new geopolitical order. The basis for it was still the Westphalian system of international relations, which, although it served as a stabilizer of the fixed relationship between the winners and the losers, but at the same time had already repeatedly managed to prove the inefficiency of existing institutions. Firstly, the search for new ways to resolve the issue of the security of the European space was facilitated by the solid establishment of democratic values. European society could no longer be coordinated only by the will of the political elite; in the post-war period, the demand for the democratization of the international political system became especially acute. Secondly, the mass awareness of the catastrophic consequences of the First World War stirred up society and pushed for the creation of a more reliable institution to ensure universal security.[4]

Thus, taking into account the proposal of Great Britain to create an international organization, put forward back in 1915, in the name of preserving peace and ensuring security, on January 10, 1920, the Versailles Treaty secured the creation of the first world organization the League of Nations. More than 50 States were members of the League, so we can say that this system provided global security and responsibility for its maintenance. Despite the fact that the very idea of creating the League of Nations belonged to American President Woodrow Wilson, as a result, the United States did not ratify the Versailles Peace Treaty, one of the provisions of which was the implementation of the League. After the First World War, the European security system was heavily influenced by the United States, so the refusal of the American administration to participate in the organization greatly shook the established order.Basically, America's refusal is due to the fact that the draft treaty proposed by Woodrow Wilson was not mutually beneficial and rather reflected the desire of the United States to play a dominant role and extend its influence deeper into the European region and economically bind Europe. In addition, America's plans were to include Germany in the organization, which the European states, whose residents still had a clear picture of the recent war, could not accept in any way. Strangely enough, the American public also opposed this project, which believed that the new treaty could become a factor limiting the freedom and independence of the United States. Thus, ignoring the efforts of the President, the Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles.[5]

The League of Nations did not last long, having survived the Second World War, it was replaced by the United Nations (hereinafter the UN), which initially included 50 countries plus Poland, which could not attend the conference in San Francisco in 1945. Now there are 193 participating countries in the organization. However, due to the bipolar system of international relations formed after the Second World War, such a global and universal organization was unable to solve the problem of ensuring European security. Now, after the world was divided into two ideologically and politically different camps, it was the Soviet Union, which emerged victorious from the Second World War, that began to pose the greatest danger to Europe. Thus, in response to the creation of the Warsaw Pact Organization, the formation of the Comintern and the active ideological expansion of the USSR around the world, in 1946, the countries of Europe and the North Atlantic came to the need to create an alternative organization that could protect the most geographically vulnerable countries of Europe. [6] 2 years later, the American Secretary of State George K. Marshall already proposed and began to implement the Marshall Plan, which finally tied the economies of European states to the United States. The States affected by the consequences of the Second World War willingly accepted assistance to restore their economies, which, in fact, was an obligation for the recipient to apply programs to restart political and economic processes under the direct control of the investor. In addition, European countries could spend credit money only on goods from the United States. At the same time, the gold reserves of the countries that the American administration physically exported to its territory became a guarantee of fulfillment of obligations. Subsequently, only France, under the leadership of De Gaulle, managed to buy back its own reserve, depriving the States of another lever of pressure. Nevertheless, the remaining 16 countries have retained this dependence and continue to cooperate with the United States in this format already within the framework of NATO. [4]

NATO and its transformation after the Cold War

The North Atlantic Alliance is the only militarypolitical bloc that has existed for such a long time. For almost a century, from 1946 to the present, NATO continues to adapt to modern challenges and develop, expanding geographical boundaries and spreading its influence. Other allied blocs that have ever existed, such as the Entente, were created only for a time while their members were in danger. Unlike them, NATO members had a treaty, the purpose of which was not to confront any particular threat, but to collectively ensure the security of each member of the bloc. The existence of the treaty and the updated Strategic Concepts allowed NATO to undergo more than one transformation, while maintaining the integrity of the union. [7] Of course, during this time there have been many contradictions between the participating countries, starting with the conditions for the creation of the bloc. As when discussing the founding of the League of Nations, the entire American society opposed the existence of the Alliance, fearing that such a policy would impose additional restrictions on the country, besides, it was difficult for citizens to explain the expediency of financing the security of other continents. Then the countries formed a concept according to which only the countries of Europe and the Atlantic were considered members of the organization, and the treaty extended exclusively to the geographical territory of these states, not taking into account the colonies. Of course, Poland, Portugal, France, Belgium, and England were worried about the fate of their colonies, but they were much more concerned about the expansion of the USSR to the West, so they agreed to the conditions put forward by the United States, for which, in turn, the main goal was to counter communist influence and spread their own. The years of existence during the Cold War were considered quite effective for the Alliance. The confrontation of the bipolar system justified their cooperation, NATO had a permanent goal, and it was economically convenient for Europe to obey the United States. In addition, in the event of a full-scale conflict with the USSR, the main theater of operations would be the territory of the European continent, where the United States pledged to transfer its military forces within five days.[8]

After the end of the Cold War, in the absence of a specific enemy, the Alliance was overtaken by an existential crisis that had to be overcome, because NATO was not just a bloc, but an international organization, whose participation in the unstable anarchic system of international relations provides states with a safe environment for further cooperation and development. Moreover, the countries of Europe are used to this type of cooperation and no longer remember how to exist peacefully without NATO, so they considered the union as an alternative option to guarantee security in the new emerging system. Moreover, it is much more profitable to invest in the union than to spend the budget on your own defense. [9]One of the catalysts for NATO's transformation was the Yugoslav crisis, in which the European states did not succeed, demonstrating the narrowness of the approach that does not take into account the national characteristics of the problem. During this critical period, many experts spoke out against the further development of the transatlantic alliance. For example, one of the representatives of the Bush administration, Robert Zoellick, admitted that despite the fact that Americans and Europeans often face the same challenges, their interests do not always have a common vector.[10] The Alliance needed a new large-scale goal, which the American administration saw in spreading democracy and liberal values on a global scale. However, two strategic concepts of the 1990s reflecting these new NATO guidelines turned out to be practically useless, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 completely changed the perception of the Alliance's security issue. Now it was not Europe that was under attack, but the United States. And this time the blow was so tangible that it forced us to resort to the first and so far the only implementation of Article No. 5 of the Washington Treaty. [11]

Against the background of these events, the process of globalization was gaining momentum, which determined the further functioning of the international security system. Now any regional conflict had an impact on global security, respectively, and regional security became impossible to maintain without controlling the situation in the international arena as a whole. Thus, NATO's strategy has shifted to going beyond the borders of the Euro-Atlantic region. That is, now the Alliance conditionally assumed responsibility for reforming the regimes of other countries in order to combat international terrorism, as well as to counter such new challenges as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, hybrid wars, and later cyber attacks.

NATO and Modern challenges

Back in the late 1990s, the United States began to talk about the infantilism of Europe and its excessive financial dependence on its colleagues overseas.[12] With the withdrawal from the world arena of the main enemy of the West - the Soviet Union, American society began to ask the government logical questions about why the United States is still forced to ensure the security of the entire European region, maintaining its membership in NATO. It has become difficult for countries to agree on further actions within the Alliance. Thus, the Iraqi operation was carried out by "coalitions of the willing", the idea of which was put forward by France and Germany, since the countries within the North Atlantic Alliance could not agree on whether NATO should take part in resolving the Iraqi crisis in the format that was eventually implemented by a coalition consisting of the United States, Italy and Spain. [10] Germany, for example, did not join the process. By the beginning of the 2000s, the European Union was formed by the countries of Europe. In addition, trying to avoid such direct dependence on the United States, European governments have initiated the process of forming their own security umbrella. In 2003, when the member states felt almost safe and without the constant support of the United States, the Security Strategy of the European Union was released, which successfully performed its functions until a series of terrorist attacks that swept the territories of the EU countries in 2004. Then, in addition to the new threat, the EU countries found themselves in a situation that, if the US refused to lead the transatlantic Alliance, Germany and France would take the main initiative, which absolutely did not suit the rest of the European countries. For the United States, the Alliance has now become not just a tool for implementing its policy, but also political and logistical support for American military operations. [13]

However, for its part, the EU has increasingly begun to advocate "soft" methods of international regulation and the development of long-term conflict resolution programs that do not involve interference in the internal affairs of states in order to change regimes and establish democracy. [14] The desire to combine its "soft" leadership with the advantages of direct cooperation with the United States through allied relations within NATO inevitably generates disagreements in transatlantic relations. Most European countries are unable to replace or replenish the American resources necessary for conducting combat operations, or they most often express criticism of openly unilateral US military actions. At the same time, the US administration does not approve of the long-term perspective of the European approach, considering it insufficiently effective for resolving hot conflicts or implementing the so-called preventive policy that NATO adheres to in addressing the proliferation of terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction.In 2019, the President of France, as the only EU country that is a member of the Security Council and is the founder of the Union, said that NATO simply needs to reconsider the formats of interaction, since the existing ones have repeatedly proved their inefficiency. [15] Another important factor is the inability of the participating countries to competently share the financial burden of allied obligations. By 2022, out of thirty NATO members, the agreed 2% of the RUNWAY is paid to the general budget by only 10 countries, and these are not necessarily the most economically developed countries Germany and Italy, for example, are not among them. [16] For many countries of the European continent, the orientation towards Atlanticism has become a kind of litmus test, a test of the "normality" of the foreign policy course, even if it contradicts the interests of a particular country.

For example, the history of Italy and France knows cases when politicians, holding high office, abandoned their pre-election beliefs that contradicted the main line of policy pursued by NATO. One of the Italian Prime Ministers in his memoirs recalls his failed desire to prevent NATO intervention in the Balkans, where the Alliance showed its complete failure as a bloc ensuring the security of the region, going far beyond the UN mandate with its open military actions and exceeding all permissible limits of a peacekeeping operation.[17] His idea had support, and he openly promoted it, however, when he became prime minister, he had to face the need to agree on this issue with the Atlantic military-political bloc in order to show that Italy is still focused on Atlanticism and Europeanism.

The pandemic has become another challenge that highlighted the internal contradictions of the Alliance, which most often consist in the confrontation of the national interests of the European member states of the bloc and the apparent security of the region. NATO's relations with such a new threat to the modern world community as COVID-19 can be viewed from two points of view: as the emergence of a deadly virus, as an actor in the international arena, it acts on the Alliance and as an Alliance acts in conditions of its widespread spread. The main mechanism of NATO's response to civil emergencies in the Euro-Atlantic region is the Euro-Atlantic Coordination Center for Disaster Response. It is he who coordinates assistance to counter the spread of COVID-19 to the member countries of the Alliance and non-member countries. [18] The Center operates around the clock and generally functions as an information exchange system for requests and offers of assistance in the event of natural and man-made disasters. Since the beginning of 2020, the NATO assistance plan in the fight against COVID-19 has been implemented in 13 countries.On the one hand, the organization has shown itself capable of taking urgent measures in time to counteract the new threat, but at the same time, the pandemic has greatly affected the health of the Alliance itself and once again highlighted the problems described above in internal coordination between the participating countries. The coronavirus pandemic has become a large-scale catastrophe that damages not only the health sector and the human resource of the planet itself, but also the international economy. In such circumstances, it is difficult for any politician, and in our case for an entire organization, to convince people to continue supporting the idea of increasing defense spending at the expense of their taxes and the resources of countries. [19] It was even proposed to classify the spread of the virus as an armed attack, which would justify these costs and provide more active support for the Alliance's joint actions to develop a collective response. Even before the virus appeared inside NATO, as already mentioned, there were disagreements on the distribution of the financial burden. Despite the continued growth in spending on the Alliance's defense industry after the so-called annexation of Crimea, the United States has been trying to reduce its percentage in financing the organization for the past few years, although it initially put itself in the position of the main contributors. Thus, in such a difficult time for the European Union, the United States, within the framework of NATO cooperation, leaves its allies with minimal support. [20] In addition, migrant flows, which previously created many problems, increasing the crime rate in European countries and creating an additional tax burden for citizens, have become an almost deadly threat, becoming the main sources of the spread of coronavirus. The initial ineffectiveness of NATO's actions in the field of combating the new threat marked the beginning of a disastrous trend for unification to redistribute the budget and resources of individual countries from the military needs of the Alliance to internal ones. [21] The United Kingdom has defined this trend globally and for a long time, withdrawing its troops from the Iraqi training mission and transferring them to service inside the country. In addition, returning to the pandemic crisis, the initially low effectiveness of NATO's actions can be determined by the fact that assistance to European countries has been provided from the outside more than once. For example, the humanitarian aid sent by the Russian side to Italy in the form of medical specialists and equipment necessary for the country.

In the context of the Ukrainian crisis, the actions of the NATO member countries outwardly look more coordinated and purposeful, but do not forget at whose expense Ukraine is provided with all kinds of military equipment and ammunition. In addition, almost all sanctions imposed by the collective West play into the hands of the United States rather than help Europe "resist the Russian threat", while creating an economically distressing situation in most EU countries, due to severe inflation, rising energy prices, rising unemployment and a negative trade balance. [22] This article does not set out the task of considering the behavior of NATO countries in the context of the current crisis, since we are still at its very epicenter, but it can already be seen that the association continues its usual policy that has developed over the years of US dominance.

Conclusion Throughout its existence, the North Atlantic Alliance has repeatedly found itself in the center of contradictions.

And judging by the way he solves these contradictions, it can be concluded that, acting as a supplier of international security, in reality, the association is rather an instrument for the realization of the national interests of individual states participating in the military-political bloc. At the same time, we are mainly talking about the interests of the United States. The present crisis has clearly highlighted the difference existing in the Alliance between the position of the unconditionally dominant main contributor and the positions of the other member countries, which are in the grip of obligations to the bloc and internal economic and political crises. Thus, the main challenge that the Alliance cannot cope with is its internal crisis, which is expressed in the strict dependence of the member countries on the policy of the bloc, which often contradicts their national interests.

The high internal uncertainty of the Alliance in the distribution of priorities, the difference in positions regarding the regional focus of unification and the Alliance's entry into the global arena as the main supplier of international security, as well as the often inability to consolidate in the mobilization of available resources have been corroding the unity of the Alliance for many years. [23] Nevertheless, NATO positions itself as a confident alliance in its future, the only question is whether it will find effective mechanisms to solve its internal crises.

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First Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The article is devoted to the study of the relevance of NATO in the context of transatlantic security relations. Given the current realities of the growing confrontation between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance, the relevance of the topic seems obvious. The methodology of the study, which is not stated directly in the article, is more doubtful. I think the author should start by stating the goal what exactly does he/she want to find out? Based on the title of the manuscript, it can be assumed that the purpose of the article is to assess the relevance of NATO as a collective security community in modern conditions. But even so, it is worth writing about it directly in the text of the article. Next, you need to determine the way to achieve this goal, that is, the methodology. For example, the author can select several cases (for example, 1) NATO during the Bosnian crisis; 2) NATO during the Kosovo crisis; 3) NATO and the modern conflict in Ukraine) and analyze how the Alliance coped with its functions. Based on this, it will be possible to conclude how relevant NATO remains for transatlantic security today (compared to the situation in the 1990s). Surely other approaches to the study of the problem are possible, but the author should formulate this clearly and clearly. This, in turn, will make it clear what the scientific novelty of the work is. In the presented version of the manuscript, this moment is not indicated in any way. The author relies on already known data and rather states certain realities in which NATO exists today than comes to truly new conclusions. From the point of view of the structure of the article, I would recommend highlighting the section "conclusion". It is not in the current version of the text. At the same time, it seems to me that the title of the section "Problems of NATO relevance" is unfortunate, since it actually repeats the title of the manuscript. As for the bibliography, the main problem is that the author does not provide any (!) footnotes on NATO Strategic Doctrines. At the same time, the NATO concept adopted at the Alliance summit in Madrid (2022) is mentioned at the beginning, but there is no footnote on the document. There are also no footnotes to earlier concepts (for example, following the results of the Newport summit in 2014). As a result, the empirical base of the study turns out to be very weak. This disadvantage also prevents the author from coming to meaningful and well-founded conclusions that could be of interest to specialists on this topic. Finally, there are stylistic errors and factual errors in the text. For example, it is correct not "Robert Zellik", but Robert Zoellick, not "coalition of desire", but "coalition of the willing" ("coalition of the willing"). It is also unclear what the author means by "unclassified strategic concepts". The claim that at the beginning of the 21st century, "NATO's strategy shifted to the concept of a preemptive strike" is hardly true. Further, the author writes that "the Alliance has assumed responsibility for reformatting regimes in the Greater Middle East," but this applies only to the case of Afghanistan. Nowhere else in the Greater Middle East has NATO conducted military operations. Finally, the author writes that "two states of the European region Finland and Switzerland have applied to join the association." Actually, not Switzerland, but Sweden. And these are just some of the examples. Taking into account the above, I consider it necessary to significantly revise the text of the manuscript - to formulate the purpose, identify the methodology and novelty, include primary sources in the bibliography, add a section "conclusion", correct stylistic and factual errors.

Second Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

Currently, not only various analysts - political scientists, sociologists, economists, philosophers - but also ordinary observers note the tension of the international situation, largely determined by the dynamic transformation of the monopolar world led by the United States into a multipolar world, in which, in addition to Washington, a number of actors, including Beijing, will occupy leading positions., Moscow, New Delhi, Tehran. Of course, only a multipolar world can take into account the interests of various actors, but the temporary complication of the international situation could not but lead to close attention to military-political blocs. These circumstances determine the relevance of the article submitted for review, the subject of which is the role of NATO in ensuring transatlantic security. The author sets out to analyze the European security system, to consider the changes in NATO during the Cold War and in the modern period, as well as to identify NATO crises that the Alliance eventually failed to cope with or is not coping with at the moment. The work is based on the principles of analysis and synthesis, reliability, objectivity, the methodological basis of the research is a systematic approach, which is based on the consideration of the object as an integral complex of interrelated elements. The scientific novelty of the article lies in the very formulation of the topic: the author seeks to characterize the ability of NATO to perform its main function - ensuring transatlantic security. Considering the bibliographic list of the article, as a positive point, we note its scale and versatility: in total, the list of references includes over 20 different sources and studies. The undoubted advantage of the reviewed article is the involvement of foreign English-language literature, which is determined by the very formulation of the topic. From the sources attracted by the author, we note the normative legal acts, as well as the materials of the NATO summits. Among the studies used, we will point to the works of I.A. Istomin and I.V. Bolgova, E.G. Ponomareva and A.V. Frolova, which focus on various aspects of NATO's activities in crisis resolution. Note that the bibliography is important both from a scientific and educational point of view: after reading the text of the article, readers can turn to other materials on its topic. In general, in our opinion, the integrated use of various sources and research contributed to the solution of the tasks facing the author. The style of writing the article can be attributed to scientific, at the same time understandable not only to specialists, but also to a wide readership, to anyone interested in both the military and political situation in the world in general and the NATO bloc in particular. The appeal to the opponents is presented at the level of the collected information received by the author during the work on the topic of the article. The structure of the work is characterized by a certain logic and consistency, it can be distinguished by an introduction, the main part, and conclusion. At the beginning, the author defines the relevance of the topic, shows that "despite the regular updating of the agenda, the Alliance could not avoid challenges from within related to the relationship between the United States and Europe." The author draws attention to the fact that NATO as a whole successfully finds common goals for the bloc's participants, so, after the Cold War, there was a reorientation to the fight against terrorism. The paper shows that "for many countries of the European continent, the orientation towards Atlanticism has become a kind of litmus test, a test of the "normality" of foreign policy, even if it contradicts the interests of a particular country." The main conclusion of the article is that the main "challenge that the Alliance cannot cope with is its internal crisis, which is expressed in the strict dependence of the member countries on the policy of the bloc, which often contradicts their national interests." The article submitted for review is devoted to an urgent topic, will arouse readers' interest, and its materials can be used both in training courses and as part of the formation of strategies for international relations. At the same time, there are comments on the article: 1) The author writes: "Poland, Portugal, France, Belgium, England were worried about the fate of their colonies." However, Poland had no colonies. This typo should be removed from the text. 2) The bibliography, in particular the 7th source, should be brought into line with the requirements. After correcting these comments, the article may be recommended for publication in the journal "World Politics".