Putin has Given NATO New Life, Bolstered the EU, & Reestablished US Leadership in European Security
After years of trying to undermine unity in NATO and the European Union [EU], Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have inadvertently bolstered both at a time when they were struggling to remain relevant. Putin may have believed that his threats to invade Ukraine would divide the EU and prove that NATO was nothing more than a paper tiger, unable or unwilling to coalesce around a strategy to oppose Russian aggression. Instead, however, it's reminded Europe why they need NATO and reestablished US leadership within the alliance.
Professor Paul Taylor of the London School of Economics made the point recently.
Paul Taylor, Politico: "Barely two years after French President Emmanuel Macron declared it “brain-dead,” NATO has been resurrected by Russia’s threats over Ukraine, leaving the rusty but trusty United States-led defense alliance the only game in town for European security."
Moreover, Putin's threatened Ukraine invasion undermines his efforts to reduce the US presence in Europe. One of the main reasons the Russian leader went all-in to get Donald Trump elected in 2016 was because Trump's comments and attitude toward NATO promised to weaken the alliance. The former US president then spent his four years in office denigrating America's European allies leading to his eventual decision to withdraw troops from Germany.
Foreign Policy [July, 2020]: "In the last three years, the Trump administration has fractured the United States’ relationship with its European partners. The most recent manifestation of this was the sudden decision to remove 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany by September, a move that sent shockwaves through NATO."
Now because of Putin's aggression, America is moving more troops into NATO countries in Eastern Europe near Russia's borders.
Additionally, Putin's actions seem to have united the often fragmented European Union.
BBC: "It's a mark of just how seriously they view the situation, that oft-bickering allies are suddenly, and very publicly, in a determined "we're all in this together, singing-from-the-same-hymn-sheet" mode."
...Co-operation with the US is "better than it has been in decades", I'm told. EU countries are working "extremely well with the UK within Nato" on how to deal with Moscow, and everyone is "100% on board" with a plan for tough economic sanctions on Moscow and Putin allies, should Russia take military action in Ukraine.
European Union Ambassador to the U.S. Stavros Lambrinidis made that point this week.
CBS News: "He [Lambrinidis] said Russia's actions have brought European Union member nations closer together, and that they are united in planning massive, coordinated sanctions against the Russian economy and certain individuals..... Putin's actions have also united the European Union and the U.S., which has also agreed to historic sanctions against the country should it invade. Lambrinidis said the coordination between the two has been "remarkable."
Things are not at all going the way that Vladimir Putin intended. Not at all.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content