From the Monkey’s Cage: Fear of Russia Inspires Call for NATO Support

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Conflict in Eastern Europe


 

Last week, NATO members Poland and Lithuania called on the United States and NATO to station troops in their territory to deter future Russian ambitions in Eastern Europe. Current pro-Russian protests in Eastern Ukraine, believed to be inspired by Moscow, worry policymakers in Vilnius and Warsaw that this may be part of a larger strategy to break NATO encirclement. Following the pattern of Georgia and Ukraine, we should be concerned about Russian boldness to reach out if not checked.

However, in concurrence with the Administration, it would be a bad idea to station U.S. troops in Poland and the Baltic States. We should not encourage a repeat of Russian intervention in Georgia. While the bellicosity of Republicans to respond with “reassessed” security priorities has calmed down, many in the United States believe we should act with harsher hand. Many forget that when Russia is pushed hard they can lash out in places like the Caucuses, Moldova, and, in the case of Europe, the energy markets.

Diplomatic engagement is the correct path and encouraging our allies to stand strong. Engaging NATO has always been a great achievement of U.S. foreign policy since 1948 and has been inherently stabilizing for Europe. Just as the eastern bloc collapsed, NATO provided a baseline to keep these countries from resorting to aggression, much like Poland and Russia did after World War I. We should not rush to straightjacket ourselves to just military options. We may otherwise find ourselves in dangerous waters, in a region with a history for conflict.

Inspired and Credited to the Monkey’s Cage and Washington Post

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