When we see bad things happen to others, it is natural for us to seek and find what has caused this unfortunate event. We look to see if we have any of the same habits. Do we do the things that have caused this problem for them? Well, with countries it is much the same. When economic tragedy strikes, leaders assess the areas in which they and the unfortunate nation share common policy. In times of hostility, they look to see if they have a common enemy. What could they have done differently to stop or deter aggression? The Balkan States are seeking to do the same with their recently aggressive neighbor Russia.
The Baltic States will formally ask NATO to deploy several thousand troops as a deterrent to Russia, Lithuania said Thursday, but the alliance gave no assurance that the request would be accepted.
This would mean a more permanent deployment of NATO member forces in the region. This, it is hoped would cause Moscow to think twice about being aggressive toward the three states. These states are members of NATO. So, unlike Ukraine, they already have an advantage. But Latvia and Lithuania have accused the Russians of seeking to stir pro-Russian sentiments in the region. This would give the justification for arming rebels or outright invading the area. But, if these states are being paranoid, then it is spreading.
Poland’s then foreign minister said last year he wanted the alliance to station two heavy brigades – a NATO brigade typically numbers between 3,000 and 5,000 troops – on Polish soil in response to what the West sees as Kremlin intervention in Ukraine. Moscow denies it has backed the rebels.
These former Soviet states are seeking protection from what they see as an attempt to reunite the old Soviet states into a Russian Empire. Russia denies any such thing, but also has been playing Old Russian tricks. Things have cooled since the Minsk treaty, but the Baltic and Poland are not about to let their guard down. And it seems that things could be set to gear back up soon.
In a sign of the continued tensions over Ukraine even after the Minsk truce deal, French President Francois Hollande denounced as “unacceptable” ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, after speaking briefly with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Germany.
“There is a risk of fresh unrest and we need to warn them of that,” he said.
It is unlikely though that these requests will be met.
But Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO had already taken decisions that would help the security of the Baltic states, such as increasing air policing and a naval presence.
As Americans, this request should concern us deeply. Whose sons and daughters will make up this nearly ten thousand strong deployment. If history is any indication, it will be America’s sons and daughters.