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NATO’s Summit. Half away, half here -1

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GEOMETR.IT  jamestown.org/

It was a summit of modest expectations and modest results for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Warsaw on July 8–9. These results are of an interim nature: building blocks for further decisions at upcoming ministerial meetings, not waiting until the next summit. The Warsaw results do not, as yet, correlate with the growth in Russia’s capacity to threaten, intimidate, or subvert the Alliance generally and its eastern—now “frontline”—member countries in particular.

NATO’s summit in Warsaw on July 8–9 approved overdue decisions to shift from vague “reassurance” measures (introduced at the 2014 Wales Summit) to actual deterrence and potentially to defense measures on NATO’s Eastern flank.

The pre-summit debates had foreshadowed a lack of balance in terms of deterrence measures for the Eastern flank’s informal sectors: the Baltic States and Poland in the north and the Black Sea region (Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey) in the south.

The summit’s decisions have not significantly re-balanced that approach, heavily weighted toward the northern sector (although the measures taken are insufficient even there, requiring further development).

The differentiated approach reflects, in part, differentiated risk assessments for the north and the south of the Eastern flank. It also partly reflects the Allies’ uneven political focus on the two areas of what is otherwise recognized as an indivisible flank (see EDM, June 24).

Admittedly, the Black Sea region did better this time than it had at NATO’s previous summits in terms of allied attention and planning. This is mainly a result of Romania’s persistent work in recent years, under Presidents Traian Basescu and Klaus Iohannis (originating from two different parties, reflecting the national consensus) to bring the Black Sea region closer to NATO’s preoccupations.

And Russia’s ongoing threats in this region helped inadvertently in this regard. Although not yet commensurate with the magnitude of the risks, this summit’s decisions have laid a foundation for a more substantive presence and role of NATO in this region.

The summit’s communiqué includes this reference to the Black Sea region in the section dealing with Russian challenges: “We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region (Nato.int, July 9, para. 17). This sentence is taken word for word from the communiqué of the NATO foreign affairs ministers’ meeting in Antalya, May 2015, and does not answer to Russia’s accelerating military build-up since then.

As always in the wake of a NATO summit, the communiqué is richly instructive through its ways of grouping issues into paragraphs, its carefully calculated formulations, fine semantic nuances, selective use of majuscules, and innovative word usages (“NATO buzzwords”), all negotiated among Allies meticulously.

This communiqué groups the Baltic and Black Sea together in a paragraph addressing the “evolving challenges in the Baltic and Black Sea regions… Russia continues to strengthen its military posture, increase its military activities, deploy new high-end capabilities, and challenge regional security.” The formulation suggests that NATO takes the military challenges in the Black Sea region no less seriously than those in the Baltic region, and that the Eastern flank’s security is indivisible.

However, in the same paragraph, “Our response will be tailored to specific circumstances in each region… We will continue to support, as appropriate, regional efforts by the Black Sea littoral states aimed at ensuring security and stability” (Nato.int, July 9, para. 23).

“Tailored” is a recurrent (see above and below) buzzword, underscoring differentiation: NATO does not (yet?) envisage the same level of deterrence and defense measures in the Black Sea region as it does for the Baltic region.

Rather, any measures within the Black Sea region (“regional efforts by littoral states”) shall be supported by Allies from outside this region.

On the Baltic States and Poland, however, the communiqué never uses the word “regional,” but speaks of NATO efforts on an alliance-wide basis; while certain countries are assigned certain responsibilities to ensure the in-theater presence (Nato.int, July 9, para. 40).

The term “regional,” suggesting a tenuous link to NATO, instead of a reassuring direct link, was cited by Bulgaria among its reasons (perhaps pretexts) for turning down Romania’s proposal to hold regular joint naval exercises in the Black Sea. The pro-NATO element within the Bulgarian government seems receptive to a NATO-flagged, rather than trilateral (regional) framework for naval exercises.

NATO’s summit has decided to “develop tailored forward presence in the southeastern part of the Alliance territory. Appropriate measures, tailored to the Black Sea region and including the Romanian initiative to establish a multinational framework brigade to help improve integrated training of Allied units under Headquarters Multinational Division Southeast, will contribute to the Alliance’s strengthened deterrence and defense posture, situational awareness, and peacetime demonstration of NATO’s intent to operate without constraint. It will also provide a strong signal of support to regional security. Options for a strengthened NATO air and maritime presence will be assessed” (Nato.int, July 9, para. 41).

Supplementing NATO’s efforts, the United States shall undertake by its own decision a “Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training Initiative” (TACET) in the Baltic region, as well as a “Combined Joint Enhanced Training Initiative” (CJET) with Romania and Bulgaria. TACET and CJET are elements in the United States’ European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), parallel to and coordinated with NATO, but undertaken by the US in its own name, directly with the beneficiary countries. As formulated, the enhancement refers to capability and training in one region, and just to training in the other region (Nato.int, July 9, para. 78).

NATO defines its forward presence as “enhanced” in the Baltic region, with emphasis on a NATO-wide approach and stationing of combat-ready battalions from earmarked Western allied countries (Nato.int, July 9, para. 40).

But it defines it as a “tailored” presence in the Black Sea region (para. 41), based on a regional approach, joint training on an intermittent basis (rather than rotation of stationary troops), and no earmarks as yet for the participation of Western troops. As regards a maritime presence, “assessing options” (para. 41) implies a reconsideration of the proposed framework for holding joint naval exercises in the Black Sea. This would need to be a NATO framework, rather than a trilateral one.



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NATO –Summit. Win-Lose-Strategy -2

in Army · Conflicts · Crisis · Economics · EN · Europe · Euroskepticism · Money · Nation · NATO 2016 · Person · Politics · Power · USA · World 126 views / 2 comments

GEOMETR.IT  ecfr.eu

At last week’s summit, NATO approved Operation Sea Guardian (points 91-93 here) which will complement and support Operation Sophia, an existing EU naval intervention, in its mission to tackle people smugglers and implement the UN arms embargo on Libya. But apart from providing intelligence and surveillance resources, it is not clear what NATO’s contribution will be.

The challenge for the EU is to find short-term fixes for the emergency, while at the same time working on long-term policy solutions. Realistically, the EU should shift its goalposts, aiming to manage flows rather than cut them drastically, while enhancing its ability to save lives. Creating more legal channels of migration could offer a real incentive for African countries to crack down on the illegal channels – parallel to the visa liberalisation offered elsewhere.

Adding NATO to Operation Sophia is unlikely to substantially change the picture – though it won’t hurt. Instead, in the coming months the EU should focus on three policy baskets.

#1 Sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with countries from both sides of the Mediterranean to manage the crisis at sea and on the coasts

This would directly involve Libya, Italy, Malta, Tunisia, and, where possible, Egypt. The EU would be a signatory to the agreement, but co-ownership from the southern shore of the Mediterranean should be a priority. This MoU would include:

Joint patrolling missions, which in the past were the most effective tool in addressing flows from North Africa;

Support for Libyan efforts to improve governance of the maritime security sector;

Agreements to process migrants under the Geneva Convention (the 1951 Convention on Refugees);

Support Libya to improve the conditions and treatment of migrants who are rescued in its territory.

#2 Launch a CSDP mission to manage the crisis in Libya and on Libya’s borders

An EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission could offer assistance to the Libyans (both the central government and local authorities) to rebuild the judiciary; train police forces; and help to improve the governance of the security sector while strengthening accountability.

Importantly, this EU mission should be tasked not just with technical capacity-building for border control, but should also offer political assistance across three fields:

Developing a decentralised border control system with local communities, while at the same time building up central oversight and accountability;

Mediating between the central government and local communities;

Helping Libyan economic institutions and the Government of National Accord (GNA) to tackle the economic drivers of smuggling, particularly the subsidy system. This encourages the smuggling of subsidised goods such as petrol, which is the first link in a chain that ultimately involves the smuggling of people, arms, and drugs.

#3 Make a multilateral agreement with countries of transit and/or origin for migrants south of Libya

The EU should work on a multilateral memorandum of understanding with Libya, Niger, Algeria, Mali and other relevant Sahel countries, with the participation of the IOM and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

This agreement should focus on five points:

Using the EU Trust Fund for Africa to boost political and economic integration between West Africa, the Sahel, and the Maghreb. Migration flows have traditionally been most important between countries of ECOWAS (the economic cooperation organisation for West Africa) and Maghreb countries such as Morocco, Algeria, and especially Libya. The EU should use its Trust Fund to promote projects that allow legal migration within this zone.

The EU must allow for some legal circular migration from this area (West Africa and the Sahel) if it wants genuine buy-in from African countries to a crackdown on illegal migration. While it is politically unthinkable to offer visa liberalisation as in other migration agreements, the EU should put on the table a certain number of circular migration work permits that allow Africans to come to Europe for a few months every year for low-skilled jobs in agriculture and other sectors.

The EU should work to boost the IOM’s capacity to carry out voluntary assisted returns from transit countries in Africa for those migrants who do not qualify for circular migration to the EU, and have not found a job in the projects funded by the Trust Fund. It is worth assessing whether resources from the Trust Fund can be allocated as incentives for voluntary returns, and to local communities who accept an EU commitment to boost the local economy in exchange for cutting migration.

As part of this framework, the EU should work with Niger, Algeria, Mali, and other countries to crack down on illegal migration through more effective border controls and readmission agreements. But this will only work if there are legal channels for intra-African migration, and to allow limited numbers to enter the EU.

Not all flows through Libya are economic migrants – some are refugees from West Africa and the Horn of Africa. The EU should ensure that these refugees receive adequate protection in neighbouring countries, both by pushing for legislation and supporting initiatives, and through actions similar to the London summit on Syria’s neighbours, which created a multi-billion dollar fund for countries neighbouring Syria to support their assistance to refugees

Some of these measures may seem a long shot. Yet the kind of agreements proposed by the EU Commission in June, under pressure from some member states, are unlikely to be signed any time soon, and it’s unclear how effectively they could be implemented. Even with NATO support, Operation Sophia is unlikely to have an impact on the business model of people smugglers. A three-pronged policy upstream, downstream and in Libya is more realistic, provided it limits itself to managing the flows humanely rather than chasing the unrealistic goal of cutting down numbers in the short term.

The author owes special thanks to Mohammed Farhat, Chargé d’Affairs of the Libyan mission to the EU.



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*В Литве украинцы-беженцы учат арабов-мигрантов русс. языку

Z elementów strategii odstraszania NATO-1

Франция. Стенограмма суда над фанатами из России

NATO-Russia Meeting. A worrisome development.

Кто и как выводил миллиарды долл. через схемы в Moldova

NATO –Summit. Win-Lose-Strategy -1

Steinmeier’s Tragic Dance


NATO-Russia Meeting. A worrisome development.

in Army · Conflicts · Crisis · Economics · EN · Europe · Euroskepticism · Money · Nation · NATO 2016 · Person · Politics · Power · USA · World 149 views / 5 comments

GEOMETR.IT  wsj.com

Russia pushed a new air-safety initiative for the Baltic Sea in a meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organization ambassadors Wednesday as it continued to criticize the Western alliance for a planned buildup in the region.

Step 1: Moscow’s air-safety proposal would require all planes flying in the Baltic Sea region to operate with their transponders turned on, Russian officials said. Transponders help civil aviation authorities track and identify planes. U.S., NATO and European Union officials in the past have criticized the Russian practice of turning off transponders in the area, saying it has contributed to near misses and other dangerous situations.

Step 2: While the Russian proposal had few details, allied officials welcomed it. They said it could open up the kind of military-to-military talks that NATO officials have been pressing Moscow to embrace. Planes under NATO command always fly with transponders on, but some allies may operate with them off occasionally when they fly under national command, alliance officials said.

“Russia proposed a way forward on how we can address transponders and air safety,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “We welcomed that Russia is willing to sit down and discuss air safety.”

Still, both during and after the meeting, Alexander Grushko, the Russian Ambassador to NATO, continued his criticism of the alliance’s moves to build up its forces in the Baltic region, arguing that NATO risked destabilizing Europe.

“There is no reason to develop such military activity,” Mr. Grushko said at a news conference at NATO headquarters. “It does not contribute to security. It is not about transparency. It is about the direction NATO is moving in military terms. This is worrisome, this is a worrisome development.”

Step 3: NATO has said the Baltic force would be defensive and limited. Mr. Grushko dismissed that claim Wednesday, saying the NATO force, combined with a separate U.S. deployment, would amount to two brigades in the region on a permanent basis, in violation of a 1997 agreement between Russia and the alliance. Allies say the deployments wouldn’t violate that accord.

NATO has approved a force of up to 4,000 troops for the region. The U.S. plans to rotate an additional heavy brigade of about 3,500 troops to training areas.

The Baltic region has seen maneuvering by both Russia and the West.

Russia has promised a troop buildup in response to NATO’s positioning of forces. But it has also, in recent weeks, ousted the military leadership in its Baltic Fleet, a move that has come under scrutiny by Western militaries.

The meeting is only the second gathering of the NATO-Russia councilsince the alliance suspended practical cooperation with Moscow following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The importance of the Baltic region has increased in recent years, amid the worst tensions between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

Russia has stepped up efforts to turn its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad into a bastion of defense, increasing its onshore anti-ship and air-defense and bolstering its ground forces, analysts said.

In recent months, there have been a number of encounters between Russian aircraft and U.S. Navy ships and Air Force planes, further raising fears that an accident could cause tensions to boil over into a conflict.

U.S. reconnaissance planes regularly fly through the Baltic region monitoring activity in Kaliningrad. The U.S. has occasionally complained about unsafe Russian intercepts of the American planes.

At the end of June, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that it had fired the commander of the Baltic Fleet, the fleet’s chief of staff, and several other officers after an inspection revealed “serious shortcomings” in their work, including what it said were deficiencies in combat training and distortions in reports. A lawmaker later said 36 officers in total had been fired.

It is unusual for senior officers to be dismissed in such large numbers and with such public criticism.

Russian media reports suggested the dismissals could be connected to the poor condition of officers’ housing at the fleet’s Kaliningrad base or collision damage sustained by a submarine in an unconfirmed incident in April.

The U.S. believes the ousters are due to disappointment by Moscow in the state of the Baltic Fleet’s combat readiness, said a U.S. official. Allied officials said they believe the Russian moves to remove the admirals were likely in response to the U.S. and NATO buildup of forces in the Baltic Sea.




NATO –Summit. Win-Lose-Strategy -1

in Army · Conflicts · Crisis · Economics · EN · Europe · Euroskepticism · Money · Nation · NATO 2016 · Person · Politics · Power · USA · World 134 views / 5 comments

GEOMETR.IT  ecfr.eu

At last week’s summit, NATO approved Operation Sea Guardian (points 91-93 here) which will complement and support Operation Sophia, an existing EU naval intervention, in its mission to tackle people smugglers and implement the UN arms embargo on Libya. But apart from providing intelligence and surveillance resources, it is not clear what NATO’s contribution will be.

It is not surprising that the Warsaw Summit devoted attention to naval operations to tackle migration across the Central Mediterranean.

This issue is particularly high on the agenda of some EU member states, particularly Italy, which have pressed in recent months for action from the EU and NATO.

However, it is not clear that the operation will have any positive results. The EU wants NATO’s help to boost Operation Sophia, which has failed to curb migrant deaths in the Mediterranean or to reduce flows into Europe.

At the same time, the EU is pushing for unrealistic “readmission agreements” with African countries, in the hope of boosting the number of forced returns of unauthorised migrants from Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa. Ultimately, the EU is asking NATO to cooperate on policies that are unlikely to have a big impact.

Yet an alternative plan is possible, provided European governments make the effort to understand the real drivers of the crisis.

Flows through Libya to Italy did not increase much in the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, but casualties have gone up dramatically. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted almost 3,000 casualties in the Mediterranean since 1 January, almost double the figure for last year.

The Central Mediterranean route was the focus of the initial outcry over the “refugee crisis” in April last year, after almost 800 people died in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya. The public response initially led to an emphasis on “saving lives”, but EU policy soon settled on a goal more in tune with the prevailing anti-immigration mood of public opinion in almost all the 28 member states: stopping migrants from making the journey in the first place.

A two-part plan

In the last year, the EU has implemented two major policies to manage migration through Libya. Downstream in the Mediterranean, it tasked Operation Sophia with intercepting and destroying the vessels of migrant smugglers. This operation does not have “saving lives” as a stated priority, but vessels from EU countries often end up doing this on a daily basis, though they are not fully equipped for the task.

Upstream in Africa – the starting point for many migrants and refugees who come to Libya and then on to Italy – the EU’s policy was summed up in 7 June Commission statement. It focused on creating a system of sticks and carrots to push African countries to sign “readmission agreements” (i.e. agreements to accept forced returns of their own citizens and third-country nationals) either with the EU or – more realistically – with EU member states.

Neither policy can really be called a recipe for success, no matter what one’s priorities are. The Framework Partnership with African countries envisaged by the Commission builds on the same principle of “conditionality” that has failed in the European Neighbourhood Policy: the EU expects a change of policy by a third country in exchange for a few hundred million euros (at most). In order to really reduce the flows, the EU would have to sign several agreements, as migrants from more than 50 countries use this route. Each agreement takes years to negotiate, and is costly to implement.

If Operation Sophia is judged by the number of casualties in the Mediterranean, it has clearly failed. Indeed, it is a failure even if it is judged by its ability to stop migrant boats setting off from Libya.

True, the operation was meant to have three phases, of which the last and most important was to be tackling smugglers in Libyan territorial waters and onshore.

The EU sought permission from the Libyan unity government formed in January of this year to implement this final part of the plan, but, predictably, the Libyans have no appetite for inviting foreign troops into their territory. The EU recently decided to offer to train the Libyan coastguard – a more realistic goal – but this will take time to implement, as participants in the programme need to be vetted.

Even with NATO support, it is not clear how much Operation Sophia can do without a reasonable degree of cooperation and co-ownership from the Libyan side. More importantly, joint naval operations in the Mediterranean can have an impact on the number of casualties, if done properly, but are unlikely to reduce flows (which is the EU’s overall goal) as this depends mostly on what happens upstream.

Once migrants and refugees leave their countries of origin, they can either stay in Libya or move to Europe. Most migrants who travel to Libya stay there, and officials from international organisations privately acknowledge there are currently around 700,000 foreigners in the country.

But a fraction of those who arrive in Libya will still try to get to Europe: if 2014 and 2015 are of any indication, between 150,000 and 200,000 people should be expected – and in fact about half that figure have travelled to Italy from Libya so far in 2016. 

An alternative policy

Ultimately, the Central Mediterranean route is here to stay – unless you think that Libya will soon be “fixed” and get back to being a reliable partner in reducing flows to Europe, and a more attractive final destination for migrants. In June 2013, Altai Consulting estimated that there were 1.7 million migrants in the country.

While the rapid growth of the Balkan route into Europe in 2015 was due mostly to the Syrian civil war, migration through Libya is part of a longstanding flow from Africa to Europe. The numbers using the route have gone up and the price of the crossing has gone down, while an increasing number of young Libyans have got involved in the business of people smuggling, often taking out loans to buy trucks to carry people to safe-houses, where they are locked up before the crossing.

The author owes special thanks to Mohammed Farhat, Chargé d’Affairs of the Libyan mission to the EU.



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Steinmeier’s Tragic Dance

in Army · Conflicts · Crisis · Economics · EN · Europe · Euroskepticism · Money · Nation · NATO 2016 · Person · Politics · Power · USA · World 88 views / 3 comments

GEOMETR.IT   carnegieeurope.eu

For people outside Germany, the country’s pains at growing up as a foreign policy power often look wondrous and slightly bizarre—so morally charged is every debate, so infused with self-doubt, and often so faraway from the strategic realities of the day. Much ink has been spilled over this subject, but some particularly important ink has just been added to this ocean of pondering.

In the July–August issue of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister and one of the country’s longest-serving top politicians, published an essay entitled “Germany’s New Global Role.” If you want to understand the continuous self-therapeutic nature of the German foreign policy debate, you need not go any farther than this article. It contains everything you need to know.

Techau is the director of Carnegie Europe, the European center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Techau works on EU integration and foreign policy, transatlantic affairs, and German foreign and security policy.

Steinmeier rightfully describes how Germany has already come a long way in its foreign policy. He lists Germany’s leadership in the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program, its active military engagement in Kosovo and Afghanistan, its unusual exposure after the Ukraine crisis, and its firm course in the eurozone and refugee crises.

Steinmeier also says something that cannot be stated often enough: that Germany has not been seeking this new role, that there is no extended foreign policy ambition that drives Berlin’s newfound position. He is right. Whoever reads Germany’s more active role in the international community as the fruit of a newly developed appetite for power is indeed gravely mistaken.

In Steinmeier’s eyes, of course, this is meant to reassure the country’s neighbors and partners that whatever residual distrust they might have of an overly powerful Germany in the middle of Europe is unjustified.

And this is where the problems start. Not for everyone is Germany’s restraint and lack of foreign policy ambition a virtue. For many observers, it is either an attempt to shun responsibility (which I think it is not) or a sign of Germany’s unresolved ego disturbance when facing power and force, the raw materials of foreign policy. On that last point they are right, unfortunately.

Steinmeier’s text illustrates the continuous soul-searching of a still historically traumatized society. That the trauma still exists is no surprise. Historically speaking, very little time has passed since Germany committed both genocide and moral suicide between 1933 and 1945. The problem is not that the trauma continues.

The problem is that dealing with it takes lots and lots of time but a world has emerged outside Germany that does not grant the country the time to come to grips with its demons before engaging more.

Steinmeier’s essay reveals this dilemma. It is a dance around the key issues on which Berlin’s allies are expecting better answers than the country can give. It is a dance around the issue of Russia and how Berlin intends to deal with a country whose regime is hell-bent on undermining the exact order that Germany needs to live at peace with itself and its neighbors.

It is a dance around the question of how a continent that is safe only because the United States keeps it safe can manage dependency when its great protector feels less inclined to do the heavy lifting. As a consequence, it is also a dance around the eternal question of Germany’s role as a military power and reliable ally. Finally, it is a dance around the question of what kind of order Germany wants for Europe, for the Eastern neighborhood, for the Middle East, and for a world in which the West ceases to dominate.

The text has no answers, and contrary to its title, it says very little about Germany’s new global role. Steinmeier can’t give answers, because Germany can’t. It does not know, it is not sure, it is overwhelmed, it feels uncomfortable.

A meek reference to the rules-based international order must suffice, as must a nod to Germany’s reliable European instincts, in the very last sentence. The rest is soul-searching—and soul-searching that has a tendency to smack of condescension, as when Steinmeier portrays Germany as the “reflective power,” as if others don’t do deep thinking.

There is almost more talk about the United States than about Germany, and the Iraq War looms large in the whole text. This obsession does not come as a surprise. Germany’s government, when the war started in 2003, had the right instinct. Many others, like me, were wrong. And even though German opposition to the invasion back then had nothing to do with strategy, it is now very convenient to bask in the glory of the moment when Germany’s moralistic view, for once, overlapped with what would have been strategic wisdom.

From that obsession with Iraq stems Steinmeier’s biggest mistake in the text. He reduces military engagement to intervention. But the problem with Germany’s restraint on military affairs has very little these days to do with its reluctance to deploy to the far corners of the planet. It has a lot more to do with Germany’s role in reassurance and deterrence on NATO territory.

Germany’s military continues to be starkly underfunded, despite a slight increase in spending. Germany forces NATO to call an alliance exercise a Polish exercise because it fears that Russia could be provoked, when in reality the provocations are Russian.

Steinmeier equates the very moderate response to Russia’s continued intrusions and aggressions on NATO’s Eastern flank with “saber rattling and war mongering,” sending shock waves through NATO (and the German Chancellery, too). He embraces a version of Ostpolitik that never mentions the fact that Germany’s previous Eastern détente was built on massive military strength, not just good intentions. No wonder Germany’s reliability as an ally is questioned.

Germany’s attitude toward the use of force remains the litmus test of its foreign policy maturity, no matter how tired the Berlin elites are of hearing this argument. In the end, Steinmeier’s efforts only highlight the size of the problem.

His tragedy is that he wants the right thing but avoids calling a spade a spade. But truth avoidance will neither heal the wounds nor produce good policy. It never helps the patient in therapy. Most importantly, it won’t keep Europe and Germany safe at a time when that security is more brittle than at any moment in the last quarter century.



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Wyborcza: Польша — национал не любит Украину, уважает Россию

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NATO`s Warsaw Summit — ‘Legacy of Leadership’ -2

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Ob NATO-Gipfel sich gelohnt hat?

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NATO`s Warsaw Summit – ‘Legacy of Leadership’ -2

in Army · Conflicts · Crisis · Economics · EN · Europe · Euroskepticism · Money · Nation · NATO 2016 · Person · Politics · Power · USA · World 123 views / 5 comments

GEOMETR.IT  dailysignal.com

Russian aggression, radical Islamist terrorism, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Afghanistan. The list of challenges NATO leaders faced at the biennial summit here over the weekend was diverse, highlighting what some consider to be a post-Cold War moment of truth for the alliance to prove it still matters.

Eastern Promises

Russia’s actions in Ukraine, along with a pattern of aggressive fly-bys by Russian warplanes in the Baltic Sea region, have left NATO’s eastern flank rattled.

One of the summit’s key news items was the announcement that NATO will deploy four combat battalions to Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on a rotational basis beginning next year. The battalions will be fielded by Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This supplements a previously announced U.S. plan to deploy about 3,500 additional troops to Eastern Europe on a rotational basis.

Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said the alliance’s troop deployments will send a message that “an attack against one ally will be met by forces from across the alliance.”

“NATO is as strong, as nimble, and as ready as ever,” Obama said Saturday. “NATO is sending a clear message that we will defend every ally.”

The Kremlin pushed back against NATO’s planned troop deployment, calling the perceived threat from Russia “absurd.”

“It is absurd to talk about any threat coming from Russia at a time when dozens of people are dying in the center of Europe and when hundreds of people are dying in the Middle East daily,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters Friday, according to Reuters.

Responding to Peskov’s comments, Poland’s top diplomat, Witold Waszczykowski, told reporters in Warsaw on Friday:

An absurd situation would be if we forgot about the military actions against Georgia, and Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas, about Russia’s military engagement in Syria, and about the incidents and provocations by Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

Russia’s ‘Indefensible’ Actions

The main driver of NATO’s eastward pivot, and some say the alliance’s renewed post-Cold War purpose, has been Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales came on the heels of Ukraine’s Maidan revolution and Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Two years later, Crimea is still in Russian hands and Russia still supports separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine in which people die on an almost daily basis.

“Two years on from Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, our message to Russia has not changed,” Cameron said Saturday. “Such action is indefensible and wrong. And we will always stand up for the sovereign right of countries to make their own decisions.”

Russia’s actions have eroded the longtime assumption among European powers that the kind of state-on-state conflicts that ravaged Europe in the first half of the 20th century could never happen again.

Reflecting this new reality is a push by some NATO leaders to increase military spending across the alliance.

Out of 28 member countries, only five—the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Greece, and Poland—currently spend 2 percent or more of their gross domestic product on defense, an obligation agreed to during the summit in Wales.

On Saturday, Obama pushed alliance members that are not hitting the 2 percent mark to beef up their defense budgets, saying:

After many years NATO has stopped the collective decline in defense spending. Over the past two years, most NATO members have halted cuts and begun investing more in defense. And this means defense spending across the alliance is now scheduled to increase.


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg face reporters.

‘De Facto Alliance’

Ukraine is not a NATO member state, but a partner country to the alliance. NATO members therefore are not obligated to defend Ukraine militarily.

Yet, NATO has taken other steps to support Ukraine.

In Warsaw, NATO leaders met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to outline a comprehensive assistance package to help Ukraine make key political reforms and modernize its military to meet NATO interoperability standards.

The package also tags funds to help Ukraine counter the threat of improveised explosive devices on the battlefield, bolster its cyber security, and rehabilitate wounded soldiers.

During a joint press conference Saturday with Stoltenberg, Poroshenko called NATO’s support for Ukraine a “de facto alliance.”

The Ukrainian president pointed to the historical significance of NATO’s holding its biennial summit in Warsaw 61 years after creation of the Warsaw Pact, the collective defense treaty the USSR and Soviet satellite states signed in the Polish capital in 1955.

“It is our common responsibility to change Russia’s aggressive behavior,” Poroshenko said. “We are grateful that NATO stands by Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg said Russia must stop its “political, military, and financial support for separatists” in east Ukraine.

Stoltenberg made clear, however, that the question of Ukraine joining NATO as a full member was “not currently on the table,” and the alliance would address the issue of membership at a later stage.

Stoltenberg added a thinly veiled warning against any Russian efforts to derail Ukraine’s budding NATO ties.

“Every nation has the right to decide its own path,” the NATO leader said. “No one else has the right to intervene.”



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GEOMETR.IT  dailysignal.com

Russian aggression, radical Islamist terrorism, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Afghanistan. The list of challenges NATO leaders faced at the biennial summit here over the weekend was diverse, highlighting what some consider to be a post-Cold War moment of truth for the alliance to prove it still matters.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, President Barack Obama addressed what he called a “pivotal moment” for NATO.

“In the 70 years of NATO, we have perhaps never faced so many challenges at once,” Obama said. “We’re moving forward with the most significant reinforcement of our common defense at any time since the Cold War.” 

NATO’s modern charge is tricky.

The alliance must reassure eastern members who are wary of Russian aggression while not antagonizing Russia into a back and forth of military one-upmanship. Meanwhile, many NATO states, particularly those in Western Europe, are feeling the domestic political pinch of the combined threat of radical Islamist terrorism and a wave of refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern states.

This all comes as Europe deals with post-Brexit fallout and the rise of nationalist sentiment across the Continent, which collectively eats away at popular support for multinational institutions such as NATO, founded as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The Warsaw Summit comes at a defining moment in the history of our alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday. “With unpredictable threats and complex challenges from many directions, NATO has responded. We have launched a wholesale reinforcement of our collective defense and deterrence. The biggest since the end of the Cold War.”


Pomp and Circumstance

The two-day NATO summit was held at Warsaw’s national stadium. Delegates and journalists from around the world filled the hallways, rubbing shoulders with world leaders and military officials. Journalists jockeyed for position at press conferences, afterwards scrambling to the sprawling media center to file dispatches.

The stadium was under security lockdown, and one could constantly hear the sounds of police sirens as the motorcades of world leaders arrived and departed.

The city was also on high alert. Warsaw’s streets were unusually quiet, long stretches sealed off for security reasons. Soldiers patrolled with weapons drawn. Friday, the sky roared with the sound of jet noise as NATO warplanes performed fly-bys for visiting leaders.

Obama’s Saturday evening press conference drew by far the biggest audience. The summit’s largest press briefing venue was filled to capacity, with journalists standing huddled along the walls, craning their necks for a better view of the U.S. president while under the watchful eyes of the Secret Service.

Like a conductor before an orchestra, a cacophony of clicking camera shutters matched Obama’s every hand gesture as photojournalists hunted for the perfect shot.

Obama commented on the Dallas shootings before he segued into the importance of NATO and the legacy of America’s commitment to defend Europe.

“Generations of Americans have served here for our common security,” Obama said. “In good times and in bad, Europe can count on the United States.”


British Prime Minister David Cameron: A multinational force “sends a strong, clear message to Russia that NATO stands ready to respond quickly to threats.” 

‘Legacy of Leadership’

Obama also addressed worldwide tides of anti-globalization sentiment, which many political watchers say was partly responsible for British voters choosing to leave the European Union.

“I believe the process of globalization is here to stay. It’s happening. It’s here,” Obama said.

He added:

NATO is an example of a really enduring multilateral organization that helped us get through some really challenging times.  There are fewer wars between states than ever before, and almost no wars between great powers. And that’s a great legacy of leadership in the U.S. and Europe and Asia after the end of World War II that built this international architecture that worked.

Since 2014, the Islamic State terrorist group has attacked six NATO countries—the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Belgium, and Turkey. And terrorist plots have been thwarted in other NATO countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom.

Yet, despite the mounting threat, summit talks in Warsaw largely focused on responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Russian threat to NATO’s eastern members.

“For sure Russia is a bigger threat,” Luke Coffey, director of The Heritage Foundation’s foreign policy center, told The Daily Signal:

ISIS is a terror threat and does not pose an existential threat to any NATO member. Whereas Russia invading Estonia could mean the end of the country—literally. 

The French Demur

There has been, however, some breaking of ranks within NATO over Russia.

On Friday, French President Francois Hollande said: “NATO has no role at all to be saying what Europe’s relations with Russia should be. For France, Russia is not an adversary, not a threat.”

Hollande added:

Russia is a partner which, it is true, may sometimes, and we have seen that in Ukraine, use force, which we have condemned when it annexed Crimea.




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What is going on in Warsaw

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GEOMETR.IT   jamestown.org

Be careful what you wish for because it just might come true. In the past, this author had often heard Russian diplomats complain that the West fails to pay proper attention to Moscow and that Russia’s position is being ignored. But the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) recently concluded (July 8–9) summit in Warsaw certainly gave no further credence for such complaints.

Although Russian representatives did not take part in the summit, Russia was present in almost every speech and each adopted document. Among the 139 paragraphs of the Warsaw Summit Final Communiqué, almost half were directly or indirectly devoted to Russia. In particular, the Communiqué emphasizes:

“Russia’s aggressive actions, including provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory and its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace” (Nato.int, July 9).

The most important word at the summit was “deterrence.”

This notion was clearly expressed by former US Secretary of State (1997–2001) Madeleine Albright, while speaking at the Warsaw Summit Experts’ Forum, on July 8: “Now, the task is to transition from reassurance to deterrence—so that Russia sees that its actions have long-term consequences, and understands that neither our resolve nor our capabilities should ever be questioned” (Wsef.pism.pl, July 8).

Next year, four multinational battalion-size combat groups, numbering up to a thousand troops each, will be deployed in Central and Eastern Europe. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States will serve as framework nations for this presence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, respectively. In addition, US President Barack Obama promised that an “additional US Armored Brigade will rotate through Europe, including an additional 4,000 US troops” (Whitehouse.gov July 9).


Romania, meanwhile, put forward an initiative to establish a multinational framework brigade for the Black Sea region (Mapn.ro, June 14). The leaders of the gathered NATO countries also agreed at the summit to strengthen their naval forces in the Baltic and Black seas (specific details in this regard will be announced in autumn).

At least the broad outlines of all these decisions were known long before the Warsaw meeting. And Moscow proactively declared its countermeasures well in advance: specifically, it announced the deployment of three divisions and a tank army in the western direction as well as the redeployment of two brigades to Russia’s western border.

But now, it seems that the Russian-Western confrontation may be turning its attention to a new area of focus. Notably, the Warsaw Communiqué stresses: “We will not accept to be constrained by any potential adversary as regards the freedom of movement of Allied forces by land, air or sea to and within any part of Alliance territory.

Alliance capabilities, training, and exercises contribute to our ability to operate freely. We remain ready to rapidly reinforce any Ally that comes under threat, when needed, to counter all contingencies.” Indeed, Russia is actively creating anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) bubbles: it has deployed along its coast the modern anti-ship missile system Bastion, which boasts a range of up to 300 kilometers, as well as high-tech S-400 air defense systems, with a range of up to 400 km.

At briefings in Warsaw, on July 7, attended by this author, NATO officials specifically stated that such A2/AD bubbles are already in place in Crimea, Kaliningrad oblast and Kamchatka (in the Far East). Russia has also established a virtual no-fly zone over parts of Syria. In addition to covering a significant portion of the sea and airspace in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, Russian air defenses and anti-ship weapons could prevent the movement of strategic reserves from the United States.

The most likely response to such Russian actions will be US deployments of long-range cruise missiles, ships and aircraft. This, in turn, may lead to a new arms race.

In his speeches during the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly stated that the Cold War should remain “history” (Thenews.pl, July 8). But, if the developing present situation is not a new cold war, what is it?

A prominent Russian expert and head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Dmitri Trenin (who spoke at the Expert Forum attended by this author on July 9), also believes that the term “cold war” does not convey the current situation accurately. He pointed out that unlike the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the West, “now it is a very unbalanced competition. You have the West, which is superior to Russia in almost any respect, except nuclear. […]

In this situation, the weaker side has the capacity to take much higher risks then the stronger one. The weaker side is putting a premium on acting swiftly to prevent the other side from having time to react. Unlike in the Cold War, in which each side had an agenda for the other side, in this war there is no agenda.”

Therefore, he said, the most important goal today is the de-escalation of military tensions between Russia and NATO—a serious discussion about the new rules of peaceful coexistence is needed. The parties should talk not about cooperation but about managing confrontation, he argued. But neither side seems ready. 

While meeting with Russian journalists (including this author) on July 7, Stoltenberg agreed that military confidence-building measures and the prevention of possible incidents in the sea and in the air should be the subject of dialogue between Russia and NATO. But he stressed that leaving aside the question of the annexation of Crimea and Russian actions in southeastern Ukraine is impossible.

The Kremlin is not going to resolve these problems, however. “Today we have no positive agenda,” stated Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko (Kommersant, July 7). Presumably, the upcoming NATO-Russia Council meeting will be limited to terse exchanges, just like the previous one.

Western leaders frequently referred to the Warsaw Summit as a pivot point, suggesting that it demonstrates some kind of “new reality.” Yet, on closer examination, this “new reality” looks much like the old one—the reality that Europe and the rest of the world assumed ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union a quarter century ago. Clearly, though, this Cold War–like reality has returned. And the Kremlin has only itself to blame for it.



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What is going on in Warsaw

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GEOMETR.IT   mfa.gov.pl

The leaders of NATO member states agreed on Friday to strengthen the Eastern Flank of the Alliance through the deployment of four battalions consisting of around 1,000 soldiers in Poland and the Baltic States, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg informed.

The first session of the NATO Summit in Warsaw also confirmed the strengthening of the presence in the southeastern part of NATO and announced the preliminary operational readiness of the missile defence shield. Cyberspace was also regarded as a new sphere of operations.

“Today, we made decisions which guarantee deterrence and defence in the 21st century, in the face of 21st century threats NATO has responded swiftly and with determination,” he said. These measures follow those taken by the Alliance during the summit in Wales two years ago.

“We agreed to strengthen our military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said. “Four strong and multinational battalions will be deployed next year and stationed on a rotational basis in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.”

He stressed that the decision “shows the strength of transatlantic ties and means that an attack on one member of the Alliance will be regarded as an attack on the whole Alliance”. The extended presence in the East will last as long as will be needed, the NATO Secretary General assured.

It was also officially confirmed at the summit in Warsaw that Canada will take command of a battalion in Latvia, with Germany taking the lead in Lithuania, Great Britain in Estonia and the United States in Poland. According to Stoltenberg, during the course of the NATO Summit “practically all countries” within the Alliance said that they would contribute in bolstering the Eastern Flank in one form or another. He did not provide any details regarding these declarations.

Earlier on Friday, Great Britain’s Minister of Defence, Michael Fallon, told PAP that 500 soldiers are due to be sent to Estonia in addition to 150 soldiers who will go to Poland. U.S. President Barack Obama said that the battalion based in Poland on a rotational basis would consist of around one thousand American soldiers. According to an official at Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 500 German soldiers will be dispatched to Lithuania.

The NATO Secretary General stressed that strengthening the presence on the Alliance’s Eastern Flank is “an import_ant step, but is only one of several wider measures, which also includes the presence in the south-east”, based on a multinational brigade in Romania.

This brigade is due to hold regular exercises. He informed that leaders will ask strategists for advice in the lead up to the defence ministers meeting in October, regarding how and when NATO can also increase its presence at sea and the skies within the Black Sea region.

On Friday, NATO also announced the preliminary operation readiness of the anti-missile defence system. “This means that ships stationed in Spain, radars in Turkey and receptor installations in Romania are now able work together under the leadership and control of NATO,” Stoltenberg said.

According to diplomats, in practical terms the decision made on Friday signifies the passing of control from the U.S. to NATO of components of the anti-missile defence system located in Romania, where the battery of land-based SM-3 missiles (Aegis Ashore) has been installed.

“It is import_ant that the system that we are building is fully focused on defence. It is designed as a shield against attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic area and does not constitute a threat to the Russian nuclear deterrence system,” Stoltenberg said.

Another decision made at the NATO Summit is the recognition of cyberspace as a new sphere of operations. “We have recognized cyberspace as a new operational sphere, alongside airspace, sea and land. This means better defence of our networks, our missions and operations, as well as a stronger focus on exercises planned in this area,” the NATO Secretary General said.

According to Stoltenberg, this means that NATO will strengthen its collective defence in all areas. “Members of the Alliance have also committed themselves to strengthening their own cyberspace defence as well as their information exchange and best practice capabilities,” the head of the Alliance pointed out.

On Friday, NATO member states also agreed to “strengthen their resilience,” and ensure “the right combination of capabilities, in order to respond to new challenges, including hybrid threats,” Stoltenberg said. He added that commitments made two years regarding defence spending have been renewed.

2015 marked the first time in many years that total defence spending of NATO countries increased marginally, and estimates for 2016 indicate a 3 per cent increase in defence spending by European members of NATO and Canada. “This amounts to 8 billion dollars,” the head of NATO said, adding “there is still a long journey ahead of us but I believe that we have reversed a trend.”

Stoltenberg stressed that the decisions made on Friday on the extended military presence in the East are a defensive and proportional response to Russia’s actions as well as the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea. He said that no one in NATO had considered these measures prior to the events in Ukraine. “Russia used force against a sovereign state and violated its territorial integrity,” he reminded.

“We don’t want another Cold War, a new arms race and we are not interested in confrontation,” he said. He added that while strengthening deterrence capabilities, NATO is simultaneously pushing for constructive dialogue with Russia which, he said, is the Alliance’s biggest neighbour, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and plays an import_ant role in tackling security challenges in Europe and its immediate neighbourhood.

Stoltenberg stressed that “Russia cannot and should not be isolated”. He added that given the growing military activity in Europe and its surroundings, NATO is interested in setting certain rules with Russia, in order to avoid mistakes and incidents.

He said that he would inform the representatives of this country about decisions made at the summit during the session of the NATO-Russia Council meeting next week. He emphasized that NATO is transparent, it does not have anything to hide and it wants to avoid misunderstandings.

The focus of the NATO-Russia Council will also be the avoidance of incidents and the security of the airspace above the Baltic, which has witnessed several incidents involving Russian planes in recent months.

Asked whether it was possible to guarantee the security of the Baltics without Finland and Sweden being NATO members, Stoltenberg said that the Alliance is working together with both countries and intends to widen this co-operation to the Baltic Sea. The leaders of Finland and Sweden were invited to the Friday dinner attended by the heads of state and government of NATO member states.

A NATO-Georgia Commission meeting held at the foreign minister level also took place on Friday within the framework of the NATO Summit.



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GEOMETR.IT   stratfor.com

In the lead-up to the NATO summit set to begin on Friday in Warsaw, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been in active diplomatic mode, visiting two countries that, at first glance, might seem unlikely priorities. Kerry spent Wednesday and Thursday in the former Soviet states of Georgia and Ukraine — neither of which is in the bloc — to discuss security issues with the countries’ leaders. Though neither is likely to top the agenda at the upcoming summit, both stand to play an important role in the Russia-West standoff in the coming months.

In fact, over the past decade, Georgia and Ukraine have been influential in determining Russia’s relations with the West. During the April 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, the United States assured both countries that they could eventually join the bloc. Russia countered four months later with its short-lived war with Georgia. 

What is a Geopolitical Diary? 

The war marked Russia’s resurgence as a regional power. Six years later, however, events in Ukraine revealed the limits of that power. After the Euromaidan uprising overthrew the Russia-friendly government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014, the new leadership in Kiev drew closer with the West. In response, Russia annexed Crimea and began supporting the pro-Russia rebellion in eastern Ukraine, again stoking secessionism and unrest in a Western-leaning former Soviet country.

Although NATO declined to intervene directly in either conflict, Russia’s actions in Georgia and Ukraine galvanized the bloc to boost its defense measures. The Ukraine crisis, the larger and more enduring of the two battles, spurred NATO and Russia alike to increase their deployments of weapons and troops along the European borderlands.

Now, at the upcoming summit, NATO is expected to confirm its plans to deploy a battalion each to Poland and the Baltic states as it redoubles other initiatives, including patrols in the Baltic and Black seas.

Moreover, despite Russia’s intentions, the fighting in Georgia and Ukraine has led the countries to cooperate with NATO even more. Last year, Georgia opened a NATO training center, and member countries provide Ukraine training and logistical support for its war effort in Donbas.

Even so, NATO membership, which Georgia has long pursued and Ukraine has become more open toward, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Both countries are embroiled in indirect conflicts with Russia, and NATO is not looking to bring on small and distant members that would invoke its collective defense clause.

Nonetheless, Georgia and Ukraine are a significant part of NATO’s debate over its ties with Russia, which have grown more tense because of conflicts in the former Soviet theater and elsewhere, namely in Syria.

In visiting the countries on the eve of the NATO summit, Kerry has underlined their importance to the United States, the bloc’s largest and strongest member. And as the United States continues to encourage the former Soviet countries’ westward shift, the standoff between Moscow and the West will only intensify.

But Ukraine and Georgia are merely two parts of a complicated negotiation process between Russia and the West. Other factors, including the war in Syria, the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and arms buildups in Europe, also figure into the process.

Together, these issues will determine the extent to which the West in general, and the United States in particular, interacts with peripheral but pivotal countries such as Ukraine and Georgia. Kerry’s visits to Tbilisi and Kiev, therefore, serve as an important precursor — but one whose ultimate goal is still being decided.



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