Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Narva Fulcrum?

Could Russia's Putin destroy NATO's credibility to defend its members in Estonia, thus undermining Ukraine's reasons to seek the protection of the alliance?

NATO is planning a rapid response unit and mounting more exercises. But is this really enough to stop more “little green men,” whether in Russian uniforms or not, from sparking another conflict? As Malcolm Chalmers, research director at the Royal United Services Institute in London, recently told me: “The danger is that Russia next bites off a bit of Estonia, then asks what NATO is going to do about it.”

Narva is the bit of Estonia that Russia might see as the fulcrum they can use to topple NATO's reputation, as I discussed recently.

Before the Crimea Crisis, I mentioned moving Marine Corps equipment from Norway to Estonia, although once the crisis broke I had second thoughts about the survivability of that equipment and later suggested Latvia instead, when I considered what we might do if Putin goes big.