Newspaper article International New York Times

NATO Walks a Finer Line with Russia

Newspaper article International New York Times

NATO Walks a Finer Line with Russia

Article excerpt

A decision by the United States and its allies to proceed with ballistic missile defense is an important stage in the alliance's new stance toward Moscow.

NATO's European missile defense system is to go live on Thursday when a base in Romania becomes operational. The next day, Poland is scheduled to break ground on its NATO missile-defense base.

The decision by the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe to proceed with ballistic missile defense in the face of increasingly loud Russian criticism is an important stage in the alliance's new stance toward Moscow.

Those deployments will be coupled this spring with major military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, with significant American participation, and a beefed-up rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops.

Altogether, said Derek Chollet, a former United States assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, "There will be a quite robust display of military power in Europe and allied resolve, and hopefully Moscow will see it for what it is, an alliance improving its capabilities."

At the biannual NATO summit meeting in Warsaw in early July, the main issues are expected to be east-west (read Russia) and north- south -- how to deal with threats to members like Turkey and Greece from the chaos of Syria, Iraq, Libya and the Islamic State. The phrase "arc of instability" has re-emerged in NATO-speak.

There is confusion about what useful purpose NATO can serve in the south. But there is more clarity on Russia, after its annexation of Crimea and armed involvement in eastern Ukraine, its threats to the Baltic region and intervention in Syria.

Talk of "strategic partnership" is gone; instead, there are calls to abandon the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997. There is less emphasis on finding "common ground" with Russia than on setting clear limits.

The intention in Warsaw is to move from "reassurance" of eastern NATO allies to "deterrence" of Russia. That means more troops and equipment, longer deployments, bigger exercises and a "persistent" presence of NATO and American troops in countries like Poland and the Baltics.

At the 2014 NATO summit meeting in Wales, the alliance decided to rotate small numbers of troops through the Baltic region; now NATO is planning to deploy four combat battalions of roughly 1,000 troops each in Poland and the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.