Tuesday, June 28, 2016

US Must Reinforce NATO with 'Stronger Germany' Following Brexit: Burns

The policy disarray in Europe was typified last week by an outburst from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He warned against provoking Putin by stationing four battalions of NATO troops in Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which was expected to be ratified at the Warsaw NATO summit.
Steinmeier said that "saber-rattling and war cries" directed toward Russia were counter-productive.
"Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the Alliance's eastern border will increase security is wrong," he said in comments to the weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The counter-argument to Steinmeier was offered Monday by retired Gen. James L. Jones, the former Marine Commandant, National Security Adviser, and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and R. Nicholas Burns, the former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to NATO.
In a policy paper for the Atlantic Council titled, "Restoring the Power and Purpose of the Atlantic Alliance," Jones and Burns said Obama and allies at the Warsaw summit had to reinforce NATO to confront challenges that included "a revanchist Russia, eroding stability in the greater Middle East, a weakened European Union, and uncertain American and European leadership."
In addition to stationing troops in the Baltics and Poland, NATO should also permanently station troops in Romania and Bulgaria, Jones and Burhs said at a forum to discuss their policy paper.
Jones called on NATO to become more "proactive" in addressing crises in Europe, Africa and the Mideast and in providing humanitarian disaster relief. "This is not war mongering," as has been charged by Putin, Jones said.
In addition, "we need a stronger Germany following Brexit," Burns said.
NATO must show "President Putin that we're going to be true to our Article 5 responsibilities," he added, referring to the NATO article providing for the common defense of alliance members. "We need to stand up to Putin and I hope that will be the message from Warsaw."  more