Throwing military assets at Eastern Europe on an ad hoc basis is remarkably fashionable these days. An upcoming meeting of NATO defense ministers in early June is expected to be the first major chance officials have to discuss a more permanent scheme.
With Poland in particular clamoring for permanent NATO deployments, the odds are good that the alliance will be strongly considering setting up bases along the frontier with Ukraine, using tensions between Ukraine and Russia as a pretext for a buildup in the region.
Officials say there’s no real chance of getting into a war with Russia though, so the Russia-Ukraine situation is really just an excuse to set up bases. NATO official Jamie Shea was quick to remind everyone that Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO to begin with, and NATO wouldn’t be required to attack Russia on their behalf.
For Eastern European member nations, the NATO bases are a chance to make their militaries more internationally relevant, and to likely get some increased aid from the big spenders in the west.
Some officials are being pretty straightforward about this being a political football for them, saying Eastern Europe’s NATO members willingly went along with the calamitous US occupation of Afghanistan, and suggesting the US owes them a debt of gratitude that can only be paid with more ill-conceived deployments.