Bloomberg Businessweek quotes VP and Brent Scowcroft Center Director Barry Pavel on Eastern Europe’s request for NATO support to help solve the crisis in Ukraine and whether the organization should and is likely to increase its presence in the region:

Beefing up NATO’s presence in the region could raise some sticky questions, not least the issue of who would pay. Some of the countries requesting help have minuscule defense budgets—for example, the combined defense spending of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is barely more than $1 billion. The U.S. already pays 22 percent of NATO’s budget, far more than any other nation. Some western European NATO members, such as Spain and Italy, are battling economic crises at home and may not be eager to spend more, says Barry Pavel, a former Pentagon official who now heads the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Some nations feel this crisis a lot more directly and deeply than others do,” he says.


It’s not essential to establish permanent NATO bases in the region, the Atlantic Council’s Pavel says. “There could be a heel-to-toe, a deployment for three months” by one NATO country, “and then another one comes in, so you have a 365-day-a-year presence, but it’s not a base.” Some of the newer NATO member countries, however, “do need to up their defense budgets,” he says. “They don’t need to buy lots of aircraft, but they do need to invest in infrastructure.”

Read the full article here.

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