News / Europe

    NATO Benefit to Ukraine in Question

    The NATO symbol and flags of the NATO nations outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
    The NATO symbol and flags of the NATO nations outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
    The crisis in eastern Ukraine has forced NATO for the first time since the collapse of the Berlin Wall to increase its ability to defend the territorial integrity of its 28-member states.
     
    The measures taken include sending 600 American troops for military exercises in the Baltic States and Poland.
     
    In addition, the United States has dispatched 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland.  Washington has also approved an aid package for Ukraine which includes $8 million dollars in non-lethal supplies such as bomb detection equipment and hand-held radios.
     
    It comes as part of reaction from the West to Russian backing of the annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists spreading mayhem in eastern Ukraine.
     
    NATO measures not enough
     
    But Stephen Blank, Russia expert with the American Foreign Policy Council, said the NATO measures are not enough.
     
    “I don’t think it sends much of a message at all. It’s a reassurance message for the Poles and the Baltic States. It does not deter [Russian President Vladimir] Putin at all,” Blank said. “What would deter Putin is if NATO sent ground and air forces and air defenses to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government.  That would register in Moscow, but they are not going to do that.”
     
    Ian Brzezinski, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, said there are several other steps NATO can take to help Ukraine.
     
    “These would include first and foremost providing military assistance to the Ukrainians that goes beyond non-lethal assistance,” he said. “I would include anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, things that would really complicate Russian military operations in Ukraine.”
     
    “Second, I would encourage the West, ideally NATO, but perhaps a coalition of European and North American countries, to deploy intelligence assets - platforms, ISR platforms - intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platforms in Ukraine and trainers,” Brzezinski said.
     
    NATO's collective defense policy
     
    NATO’s 28-members are committed to the notion of “collective defense,” contained in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.
     
    But Ohio Wesleyan University Russia expert Sean Kay, said Article 5 is not an automatic security guarantee.
     
    “If you look carefully at Article 5, it says that an attack on one will be considered as if it’s an attack on all and that the allies will meet and consult on the appropriate response, including military,” he said. “The way that was made automatic during the Cold War, was through the forward deployment of major U.S. troops at the inner-German border. Today, our policy is one of reinforcement and symbolic forward presence, now with those rotational exercises [in the Baltic States and Poland].”
     
    Kay said he does not believe the Western alliance will deploy a huge number of troops in NATO-member east European countries, even if the crisis between Ukraine and Russia intensifies.
     
    “We would have to be very careful about that, because we might think even if the United States wants to do that, we would not get consensus among the NATO allies for something like that,” Kay said.  “And we have to do that in a way that keeps that consensus going too, because NATO could break apart politically if pushed too hard on that question."
     
    Ukraine crisis not yet Cold War
     
    Charles Kupchan, with Georgetown University, said by annexing Crimea and attempting to destabilize eastern Ukraine, Russia has bared its teeth in a way that it has not done since the Cold War era.
     
    “Many people are now saying we now need to deal with Russia with both eyes wide open.  We need now to take out of the closet NATO’s plans for defense of its eastern frontier,” he said. “We need to contemplate a set of political and economic steps for response should Putin go into eastern Ukraine and continue to stir up trouble.”
     
    Kupchan said the current crisis falls short of a new Cold War, but he said it does have the potential to go in a worrisome direction, depending on the Kremlin’s next moves.

    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.