Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Fellow Erik Brattberg writes for The Hill’s Congress Blog on why NATO should have a global focus:
For an alliance that only a few months ago was still struggling with defining its mission after a decade of war in Afghanistan, Ukraine is a God-sent gift. No longer can there by any doubt over NATO’s central raison d’être: providing for the territorial defense of Europe against an increasingly aggressive and revisionist Russia. Putin’s actions in Ukraine not only threaten countries on Europe’s eastern flank, they also risk unraveling the entire post-Cold War Eurasian security order.
It is therefore encouraging that the alliance is treating the Ukraine crisis seriously. NATO has already taken several steps to reassure worried allies in Central and Eastern Europe. It has increased air patrols in the Baltic Sea and naval patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. has also sent 600 troops to be based in Poland and the Baltic states on a semi-permanent basis. Unless the situation improves, further such efforts are to be expected in coming months leading up to the NATO summit in Wales in September.