BRUSSELS, Jan. 18 (Sputnik) - A Dutch admiral claimed the West faces “the most dangerous world in decades” and urged countries to enhance cooperation.

The head of NATO’s committee of military chiefs urged the alliance’s members to “expect the unexpected” and warned “the tectonic plates of power are shifting,” at a meeting in Brussels Wednesday.

“In order to strengthen our collective defense… we need a whole of society approach,” said Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer.

“We need public and private actors to change their mindset from an era in which everything was plannable, foreseeable, controllable, focused on efficiency to an era in which anything can happen at any time… An era in which we need to focus on effectiveness.”

Russia’s special military operation in the Donbass played a key part in Bauer’s address. “Today is the 693rd day,” of the conflict he noted, adding, “Ukraine will have our support for every day that is to come.”

Bauer portrayed the length of the military operation as a sign of Ukraine’s effectiveness, even as the country’s vaunted spring counteroffensive last year failed to reverse Kiev’s declining fortunes on the battlefield.

Russia has also surprised Western observers with its economic resilience; the country’s economy has continued to grow despite US-led sanctions that President Joe Biden claimed would deliver a “crushing blow to the Russian economy.”

Meanwhile, European economies have faltered under the strain of skyrocketing energy prices resulting from the Western sanctions.

Bauer nevertheless insisted European countries should devote more funds to military spending, saying, “we need a warfighting transformation of NATO.”

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană agreed, noting “at last year’s NATO Summit in Vilnius [Lithuania], our leaders agreed a new defense spending target of at least 2% of GDP.”

“We will strengthen our collective defense, especially our air and missile defense. We will boost our support for Ukraine,” added Geoană. The remark comes as observers prepare for a potential second Trump term as US president, planning for the eventuality that Europe may be forced to take over the provision of aid to Kiev as Trump cuts support or even seeks a peace deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But internal divisions among European leaders are also threatening the continued shipment of lethal aid to the Zelensky regime. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico announced his opposition to the sending of weapons to Ukraine last year. Disputes have emerged among Central European countries over the EU’s free trade policy towards Kiev, which Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently complained was causing hardship for local farmers.

Bauer insisted it was NATO’s task to spread the continent’s values around the world, by force if necessary.

“Together, we have to make sure that political will is matched with military capabilities,” he declared. “And with the rules-based international order being under immense pressure, the importance of this cannot be overstated.”

“Together, more than 3 million service men and women uphold NATO’s defensive shield,” the admiral warned.

Despite NATO’s frequent portrayal as a “defensive” alliance, the coalition played a key role in recent wars in Afghanistan, Libya, and Yugoslavia. NATO also collaborated with the US Central Intelligence Agency in a clandestine program known as Operation Gladio, which trained fascist and neo-Nazi fighters in an ostensible effort to prepare for a Soviet invasion of Europe. Some of these extremist groups would go on to carry out deadly terrorist attacks throughout the continent.

Even with the fear of Soviet military might throughout the Cold War, Russia never invaded any NATO member. On the contrary, it was the United States that invaded Russia shortly after the October Revolution in an effort to attempt to defeat the country’s popular government.

Photo from AP