NATO leaders finally demonstrated at the Warsaw Summit on July 8 and 9 that they understand the dangers of a revisionist Kremlin, and they approved significant measures to resist it. Unlike the Wales Summit in 2014, which noted that ISIS was an “existential threat to NATO” but made no similar claims about the marauding nuclear superpower threatening Europe, the Warsaw Summit statement focused principally on the danger Moscow’s behavior poses to NATO, Europe, and global security.
The first step toward managing a threat is to assess it clearly. The Warsaw Summit statement does this in noting that “Russia’s provocative actions, including...its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by threats and the use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten the long term goal of a Europe whole free and at peace.” Moscow’s actions have been a reminder that “the greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.”
This is precisely the sort of clarity that was missing at Wales. The operative word there was “reassurance”: NATO needed to “reassure” its newest members that they were secure, as if the problem was the Baltic states’ anxiety rather than the menace of a revisionist power that had initiated war to change the borders in two European countries.
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