How the EU’s cri­sis places lim­its on NATO

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

hard­ware, these coun­tries have to be wor­ried about their se­cu­rity if a ma­jor sub­set of NATO (the EU) be­comes dys­func­tional. They have been count­ing on NATO ex­pand­ing east­ward for their na­tional se­cu­rity i mper­a­tives. U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama gave as­sur­ances at the 2016 NATO sum­mit that the Euro­peans can con­tinue to rely on the United States for their se­cu­rity needs. How­ever, they also know that Wash­ing­ton’s mil­i­tary doc­trine af­ter its in­volve­ment in the wars in the Mid­dle East re­lies on re­gional play­ers to take the lead.

In the case of Europe, the main re­gional play­ers are mov­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, which has led the Eastern Euro­peans to re­assess how much they can re­ally count on NATO. For­tu­nately for them, the Rus­sians are deal­ing with their own cri­sis be­cause of the plunge in en­ergy prices and the Ukraine-re­lated sanc­tions. There­fore, the Krem­lin is in no po­si­tion to make fur­ther in­cur­sions into Eastern Europe. How­ever, the floun­der­ing of the EU and NATO heav­ily in­creases un­cer­tainty in Eastern Europe.

From the Rus­sian point of view, the EU’s dis­in­te­gra­tion is def­i­nitely pos­i­tive. We con­tinue to see the usual Rus­sian me­dia re­ports about NATO en­gag­ing in hos­tile be­hav­ior fol­low­ing the War­saw sum­mit. But the Rus­sians know that as long as the Euro­peans are in cri­sis, they will be too busy deal­ing with their own prob­lems to re­ally put up a fight against Rus­sia. Rus­sia is un­likely to be able to re­verse the losses it has in­curred in Ukraine for now. But at the same time, a Europe in cri­sis places ar­restors in the path of NATO ex­pan­sion.

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