NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Europe now faces the very real possibility of a Russian invasion should the President-elect Donald Trump make good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) — or at least reconsider the nature of its mutual defense agreement — if other member countries do not start contributing their fair financial and military share to the mutual defense alliance. Stoltenberg said that such a move on the part of the U.S. would be dangerous for Europe and the U.S. and that creating a U.S.-less organization would see the “the greatest challenges to our security in a generation.”
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told The Guardian in an interview Sunday that “going it alone” was not an option, especially in a tense political atmosphere made so by an increasingly militaristic and antagonistic Russia. NATO leaders have voiced fears of Russia intimidating the Baltic States and the rest of Europe in the same vein as it has dealt with Ukraine after it forcefully annexed Crimea in 2014.
“This is no time to question the value of the partnership between Europe and the United States. Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States.”
Stoltenberg acknowledged that NATO hasn’t been idle in the face of Russia’s more aggressive stance over the past decade, especially recently.
“We have implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the Cold War,” he said. “And the United States has significantly strengthened its commitment to European security, deploying a new armored brigade to eastern Europe and delivering equipment and supplies to support future reinforcements if needed. This is deterrence, not aggression. We do not seek to provoke a conflict, but to prevent a conflict.”
As the Inquisitr has reported, the 28-nation alliance has committed itself to bolstering its troop presence in eastern Europe in the face of what seems like an unending number of Russian military exercises, maneuvers, and re-organization, some of which has seen the reintroduction of patrols and placements not seen since the end of the Cold War. Examples of the latter include the re-institution of nuclear warplane patrols on the edge of American airspace and the reopening of a far eastern nuclear installation less than a hundred miles from the Alaskan coastline. As to the Western “deterrence” forces, the Baltic States area has become a major focus for troop placement and exercises as experts and military leaders agree that the region is the likeliest to bear the brunt of a potential Russian invasion force.
“NATO battalions numbering thousands of troops cannot be compared with Russian divisions numbering tens of thousands just across the border. Our response is defensive and proportionate. But it sends a clear and unmistakable message: an attack against one will be met by a response from all.”
But Donald Trump stoked European fears during his campaign when he stated that the organization was “obsolete” and might need to be dissolved (said during a Bloomberg interview). Western military leaders became worried that Russia might take seriously the then-presidential candidate’s words and become emboldened, perhaps so much so that they might even attempt to reestablish themselves in territories once controlled by the former (Russian-dominated) Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (like the Baltic States, Poland, and much of eastern Europe).
Trump’s seeming closeness — or at least mutual respect — for Russian leader Vladimir Putin also has a few worried. Some have voiced fears that a lessening of tensions with Russia (Trump has said he would enjoy a combined U.S.-Russia effort against the Islamic State) could destabilize the balance of power in Europe and provide Russia with the incentive it desires to be aggressive along its western borders.
At present, though, diplomatic tensions with Russia are at a point not seen since the Cold War. And with the two nuclear powers on opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, many experts have voiced fears, as has been covered by the Inquisitr, of some small confrontation in that conflict developing into a major international crisis. Even worse, the fear also exists that a military entanglement involving the U.S. and Russia might escalate into World War 3.
But with Trump as the new President-elect, Russia might be a little less aggressive with regard to the United States, but those smaller, less militarily capable nations in NATO find little consolation in decreasing the chances of World War 3 starting in the Middle East when Russia’s attentions could very well shift and ignite World War 3 in eastern Europe.
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