How the EU’s crisis places limits on NATO
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.