A. Wess Mitchell

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A French soldier in Smardan, Romania, January 2023. George Calin / Inquam Photos / Reuters

More than a year into the largest land war since 1945, Europe has yet to get serious about defending its eastern frontier. Western European allies still aren’t doing enough to protect the eastern territories that came into NATO nearly two decades ago.

At first, this might sound like a surprising claim. For months, there has been a steady stream of reports about how Europe is finally waking up to the threat from Russia. At its summit in Madrid last summer, NATO unveiled plans to strengthen its eastern defenses, including by expanding NATO’s high-readiness forces nearly tenfold and expanding multinational battle groups deployed in Poland and the Baltic states into brigade-sized formations (an increase from about 1,500 to 5,000 troops in each location).…  Seguir leyendo »

In his address to the U.S. Congress this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for expanded U.S. support, including additional weapons and a NATO-imposed no-fly zone, as his country continues its fight against Russian invaders. But even as they fight, the Ukrainians are also exploring off-ramps to end the conflict—including possibly accepting the idea of neutrality. Neutrality is a status in international law under which a country commits not to enter international security alliances; for Ukraine, it would likely mean renouncing a future in NATO and not allowing foreign military bases on Ukrainian soil.

While neutrality would carry risks, it need not be a death sentence for Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the German Bundeswehr attend a ceremony to honor the veterans of Germany's Afghanistan mission in Berlin on Oct. 13, 2021. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asked us to co-chair a high-level group to provide recommendations for strengthening the Western alliance in 2020, NATO seemed to many to be more divided than ever—including over the question of how to deal with Russia. As we wrote in our final report, Russia remained Europe’s greatest military threat, continually confronting NATO with “the risk of a fait accompli or with sustained and paralyzing pressure in a crisis situation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine has given violent substance to our concerns, presenting NATO with the gravest security crisis since the height of the Cold War.…  Seguir leyendo »

While much of the world’s attention the past few months has been focused on the volatile Middle East, citizen activism against dictators is spreading in another part of the world, this time in the former Soviet republic of Belarus. Dubbed the last dictator in Europe, Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko is under growing domestic and international pressure because of his gross human rights abuses and responsibility for his country’s worst economic crisis since gaining independence 20 years ago.

The people of Belarus are signaling that they have had enough. While working to accelerate the demise of the current regime, Belarusan civil society, ordinary citizens, opposition forces, and European and American governments should also be preparing for a post-Lukashenko Belarus.…  Seguir leyendo »