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Friday, July 15, 2016

Making the Most of a NATO Summit

Making the Most of a NATO Summit

By Reva Goujon
NATO members gathered in Warsaw over the weekend to broadcast their plans to increase the alliance's presence along Europe's eastern flank with Russia. As expected, the 28-member bloc agreed to station four battalions of as many as 1,000 soldiers each (the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom will each lead a battalion) in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia on a rotational basis starting in 2017. The rotational deployments by themselves will not fundamentally upset the military balance between NATO and Russia, and they lack the permanency that Poland and the Baltic states were hoping for. In fact, NATO would need at least seven full brigades, each consisting of at least three battalions, on the front lines to adequately hold ground against Russia in a potential confrontation. Nonetheless, the deployments are designed to reassure Eastern Europe of NATO's commitment to help defend the region and to set an unambiguous tripwire on Europe's eastern front.
Russia scoffed at the affair in Warsaw, accusing NATO of creating more instability over an "imaginary" and "nonexistent" threat. With legislative elections approaching in September, the Kremlin wants to avoid looking weak at home as NATO pushes deeper into the former Soviet sphere. Still, Russia can try to make the most of it

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