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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid