The alliance must overcome three hurdles to revitalize trust and the transatlantic relationship, former senior NATO officials write.
It all started with a military exercise in 2008. “Today, Georgia. Tomorrow, Ukraine. The day after, the Baltic states—and later perhaps the time will come for my country, Poland!” Those words were uttered 5 August 2008 by Poland’s late president, Lech Kaczyński, in the presence of five European heads of state who had come to Tbilisi in a gesture of solidarity with the just-invaded Georgia. Almost 10 years later, this statement anticipates Europe’s current security dilemma.
Later this year, Russia will launch what could be the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Known as Zapad 2017, this exercise will get underway on September 14. It will test contingency plans for a full-scale conflict with NATO and interoperability with Belarus and the Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization. In the past, Russia has used military exercises as cover to invade neighboring states - as seen with Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Will Zapad-2017 be a harmless and transparent military exercise or will it act as a springboard for conflict on Europe's doorstep? Cutting through this fog of fact and disinformation, CEPA StratCom is launching "The Road to Zapad 2017" - an in-depth resource to track and analyze the lead up to Zapad 2017 and its outcomes. Read the latest on The Road to Zapad 2017.
Statements made by candidate Trump in last year’s US presidential election generated palpable anxiety in Europe. The sustainability of NATO, an alliance that has kept us in relative security for 70 years, was being challenged.
On May 16, the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative, in partnership with the European Fund for the Balkans, hosted a panel discussion on European perspectives regarding US engagement in the Balkans. Moderated by Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, and introduced by Igor Bandovic, senior programme manager at the European Fund for the Balkans, the panel included Dimitar Bechev, nonresident senior fellow at the Eurasia Center, Florian Bieber, director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Milan Nic, nonresident senior fellow at the Future Europe Initiative, and Majda Ruge, fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University.