NATO Chiefs Outline Plan for Dangerous World
In a joint Wall Street Journal op-ed published ahead of a NATO summit in Wales next month, top NATO officials called for a “fitter, faster and more flexible” alliance “to address future challenges, from wherever they come.”
“Instability rages to the south, with an arc of crises spreading from North Africa to the Middle East,” according to NATO Secretary General Andrews Rasmussen and U.S. European Command chief Philip Breedlove. “And Russia is resorting to a hybrid war, with snap exercises, secret commandos and smuggled missiles.”
The two military commanders wrote that they would “take the steps needed” to address the changing geopolitical landscape. In particular, they outlined three components of a “Readiness Action Plan.”
First, according to the commanders, they will focus on assuring security for NATO allies “to make them sustainable for the long term.” The second tenet calls for an enhanced “presence of NATO forces in Eastern Europe for as long as necessary.”
They also called on NATO to “upgrade elements of our rapid-reaction capability.” This would include improving response times and pre-positioning supplies in strategic locations.
“Having the right capabilities, in the right place, at the right time can make the difference between threat and reassurance, between war and peace.”
While the authors alluded to “a dangerous world,” the positions clearly stem from concern over Russia’s recent aggression in Ukraine.
“We continue to urge Russia to make the responsible choice: to pull back its troops, stop using hybrid-warfare tactics, and engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis,” wrote Rasmussen and Breedlove.
The NATO summit will take place September 4-5 in Wales. President Obama, along with leaders from about 60 other countries, will attend.