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NATO Summit Talks - Narrative Intelligence

July 7, 2022Evan Robert
Photo by Marek Studzinski

On June 29th, President Joe Biden and other world leaders attended the NATO Summit in Madrid. With the ongoing war in Ukraine and two potential countries joining the alliance, many topics were on the docket. One of the main talking points that was echoed by numerous leaders was “unity”.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden has focused a vast majority of his foreign relations policies on strengthening and expanding NATO. With formal invitations coming two days ago for Sweden and Finland to join NATO, many are worried that Putin’s response may be aggressive toward the Scandinavian nations. Putin issued warnings to both countries stating that if a military response begins building at either one of the borders, he would be forced to mirror their response with his own forces.

In President Biden’s speech, he vowed to increase the already large U.S military presence in Europe. With over 100,000 troops already in Europe, Biden is sending warships to Spain and F-35 squadrons to the U.K. He also plans to increase defensive measures in Italy and Germany.

EdgeTheory’s narrative intelligence briefs break down narratives driven by U.S. media outlets. Briefs on NATO and Finland and NATO reveal how U.S. media is perceiving the alliance and the ongoing conflict in Europe.

“NATO” and “Finland and NATO”

In the past 30 days, 225 different sources in U.S. media drove 943 unique narratives. The vast majority of the narratives were picked up from June 27th-July 1st, which are the days that the NATO summit took place. All eyes were focused on the newest potential members, Finland and Sweden, which combined accounted for 2280 mentions.

The single most amplified article was titled: “US to boost military presence in Europe for Russia threat”. With a historic decision by the White House, the military is positioning its first permanent base in Poland– at the far eastern edge of NATO’s influence.

The adjacent trends illustrate that the Russian invasion still dominated talks at the Madrid Summit. Much of the surfaced keywords had a large focus on ongoing crisis in Ukraine. U.S. media outlets mentioned “invasion of Ukraine” 753 times in the last week. Mainstream media outlets covered the Summit narratives the most, with Reuters, CNN, The Hill, Washington Times, and more topping the charts.

Many of the other terms focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and several mentions President Joe Biden, but one outlier was the “Supreme Court” narrative. In the NATO brief there are 1097 mentions of the Supreme Court, making it the third most popular trend.

In the NATO and Finland brief, the Supreme Court was the number one talking point with 1086 mentions. When taking a look at a few of the headlines, it is clear that the overturning of Roe v. Wade takes precedent to any NATO-related narratives.

The sources amplifying the Supreme Court subtopic were local outlets. This suggests that while the larger networks covered the bigger topic of Russia and new NATO countries, the smaller ones still focused on the underlying narrative of abortion that many Americans are still focused on.

The addition of Sweden and Finland is far from finalized and the NATO brief will continue to be relevant for many weeks to come. The world also awaits Vladimir Putin’s response to NATO’s invitations, and the increased military presence on the eastern borders. Both of these briefs will track the media’s response as this narrative unfolds. To stay updated with this narrative, make sure to check these briefs:

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