Writing about NATO’s recent meeting at the Warsaw Summit, Emma Ashford of Cato at Liberty, comments on the fundamental conflict between the goals of simultaneously reassuring NATO’s Eastern members and preventing further military buildup by Russia.
In fact, Ashford observes, “The expected announcement of the deployment of four battalions of additional troops to the Baltics has already produced heated rhetoric from Russia.” This will likely create a “security spiral” of increasing buildup on both sides, but not change the “fact that Russia could likely conquer the Baltics quickly if it so chose.”
Ashford rightly adds that it is also unclear why NATO leaders do not consider NATO’s mutual defense pledge sufficient to deter Russian aggression against member countries. Many at the summit will also wish to reaffirm the alliance’s “open-door policy,” but creating new NATO allies on the Russian border will increase tension in the region.
Furthermore, Ashford also reflects that the alliance’s defensive function is at odds with its modern practice of spreading Western values.
The next Warsaw Summit could be a forum to address these larger concerns, but no one should hold their breath.