NATO announced, with no particular aggressor in mind (cough, cough, Russia), that it has approved a unit of several thousand troops that can be ready to mobilize on a moment's notice. From the NATO Secretary-General himself:
Decision is clear: #NATO protects all Allies at all times. Clear message to any potential aggressor: attack 1 Ally & face all Allies— AndersFogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) September 5, 2014
While Ukraine is not part of the NATO alliance, Russia's actions have prompted fears among member countries in Central and Eastern Europe that the Kremlin could seek to make gains within their borders as well.
But will this brushback pitch deter Russia from its "activities" within Ukraine?
Over at Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt, who is not a NATO fan, says that while the Ukraine crisis has renewed NATO's waning sense of purpose, Russia is hardly the foe that justifies its usefulness.
These realities also mean that Russia does not threaten the vital interests of most of Europe or the United States. It is a genuine threat to Ukraine's well-being, and it is also a potential problem for the small Baltic states, but Europe no longer has to worry about 90-plus divisions massing on the inter-German border. That's a very good thing, but the lack of a serious strategic threat is also why NATO has trouble marshaling the level of coherence and commitment that it did during the Cold War.
Earlier this week, President Obama delivered a vigorous defense of the Baltic States and promised action against any Russia aggression there. Others argue that diplomatic engagement with Russia might be the best way to defuse the crisis and work out an agreement that brings the temperature down from a boil.
In the meantime:
NATO demands Russia withdraw military from #Ukraine Very challenging to remove troops Russia swears don't exist— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) September 5, 2014
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.