The response of NATO as an Alliance is going to adapt to Russian threats

The NATO summit in Warsaw, which will take place on 8-9 July, the Western media previously called “the most important meeting of the heads of the Alliance for a generation”. The meeting will be “a turning point” in the history of the Alliance, the most important over the past 20 years, told CNN ahead of the summit, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO Douglas Lute.

The Alliance had to revise its military policy to adapt to the significantly increased scale of the threats, said the NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference on the eve of the summit. “We live in a more dangerous world, where there is a terrorist threat, the crisis, especially to the East of the Alliance’s territory — in Iraq, Syria, North Africa. In addition, it is necessary to have in mind Russia, a policy which was more offensive: since 2000 the country has tripled its defense spending. NATO must answer. When the world changes, we too must change,” he said.

Relations between Russia and NATO will be one of the key issues on the agenda of the summit. According to the results, the heads of state should formally make the decision on the deployment of additional battalions of NATO in the Baltic States and in Poland. Another important issue that has not been formally included in the agenda of the summit, but most likely will be discussed is the decision of the UK to leave the EU.

NATO vs Russia

NATO considers Russia as one of the main threats to international security and considers the “Russian aggression” one of the most “unpredictable hazards”, as in violation of international agreements and commitments Russia, according to NATO members “are willing to use force to change borders”. In response to its “aggressive policy” the Alliance decided to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe, near Russian borders. Related specific measures have been considered and approved at the meetings of the NATO Council at the level of foreign Ministers and defence Ministers in may and June (fixing them in Warsaw — the formal procedure). In parallel, NATO and Russia conducted in the problem area of large-scale exercise, including sudden, and Russia has increased its presence in the Western operational area.

In Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland will be sent one battalion to the multinational high readiness. Each battalion will consist of 800-1000 people in total to 3.2–4 thousand people. The battalions will be posted on a temporary basis, on a rotational basis (every six to nine months). A senior official of the Alliance at the meeting of defense Ministers of the countries participating in NATO in February, said that the battalions could be deployed in early 2017.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed outrage over this action. Since 1997 between Russia and NATO, the agreement is a fundamental act, under which the Alliance is forbidden to increase the permanent presence of its troops near the Russian border. In Moscow consider that the decision on the deployment of additional battalions is contrary to this act, as NATO has proposed a rotation system in fact ensures their continued presence.

NATO argues that the actions of NATO in Eastern Europe are purely defensive in nature, this kind of “stretching” in case of an attack from Russia and is not directed against Russia. On Thursday Angela Merkel at a session of the Parliament also noted that the expansion of the resource Alliance and the deployment of American missile defense systems in Eastern Europe is not directed against Russia” and “does not affect the strategic balance of forces of Russia and NATO,” reported Reuters.

In addition, countries participating in the Alliance last year for the first time in almost ten years increased their military budgets and are not going to stop there. Growth in 2015 in the whole Alliance was 0.6%, and in 2016 the cost will increase by another 1.5%, to €3 billion of the Money will go to the fight against “growing threats”, including from Russia. They will also be allocated to the fight against the militants of the “Islamic state” terrorist organization banned in Russia], hackers and cyberterrorists, the immigration issue, the illegal arms trade and so on. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “this is the most significant expansion of collective defense since the end of the cold war.

Each of his

On the resumption of practical cooperation between Russia and NATO, which was completely discontinued after the events in Crimea and Ukraine in 2014, in the near future of the question. The Alliance is ready to consider this question only in case if Russia will return to compliance with international obligations and treaties”, which actually means the return of the Crimea and the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg and his colleagues repeatedly stressed that it is not seeking confrontation with Russia. According to Reuters, Russia believes that NATO, not Moscow increases the risks of escalation of the conflict in Europe, and expressed concerns about the largest resource of modernization of the Alliance since the cold war and the deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in Eastern Europe.

Earlier, Deputy Russian foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov has expressed fears that the continued refusal of NATO to cooperate with Russia in fighting terrorism would have a negative impact on the security of all countries in the Euro-Atlantic region.

In April at the first annual meeting of the NATO — Russia party said the possibility of a political dialogue, but acknowledged that the return to the previous level of relationship will not work and a positive agenda yet. At the June meeting of the EU Council at the level of defence Ministers, Stoltenberg talked about the desire of NATO to spend in front of the Warsaw summit further meeting of the NATO — Russia, but the parties failed to agree on the timing and the agenda, and it did not take place. NATO Secretary General admits that the meeting did take place after the summit. Why the meeting may go later than expected the Alliance, Stoltenberg refused to explain.

The position of individual members of NATO against Russia differ. The leaders of the Baltic States and Poland consider Russia as a direct threat to its security, and the Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany has recently accused the Alliance of “saber rattling” against Russia — so he called a large-scale exercise of the Alliance near Russian borders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 7 July, said the desire to establish constructive relations between NATO and Russia. “That means deterrence and dialogue, a clear commitment to show solidarity to our partners, giving them a hand”, — quotes it Reuters.

Brexit is not terrible

The Warsaw summit will be the first NATO meeting since the referendum on the British exit from the EU. But if the EU, as expected, Brexit will bring negative consequences for NATO British exit from the European bloc contains new features. As suggested in an interview with Associated Press the head of the research centre of the German Marshal Fund in Warsaw Michal Baranowski, London can double the cooperation with NATO, and a British exit from the EU in the end will be for the Alliance is extremely positive. Agrees with him expert Chatham House Kir Gilles. According to him, the biggest threat of Brexit for NATO is that, at the summit it can overshadow the discussion of policy towards Russia.