After Brexit, US Hopes to Get NATO Focus Back on Russia

Warsaw Summit Meant to Focus on Adding Troops to Eastern Europe

A major NATO summit is set to begin later this week in Warsaw, and while the plan was to spend the whole time harping on about “Russian aggression” and making more plans to add more ground troops to the Baltic states.

Then the Brexit happened, and as with everyone else, that’s all a lot of summit goers want to talk about these days. Britain’s referendum was on leaving the EU, and not NATO, but that doesn’t mean a lot of officials aren’t predicting the move weakening the alliance, at least so far as joint NATO-EU operations go.

But with constant predictions from US officials of an imminent Russian invasion of Eastern Europe never panning out, the Obama Administration and other hawks on the Russia issue are looking to shift the focus of the summit back.

The plan right now is for around 4,000 more troops to head to the Baltic states in four battalions, with the US, Britain, Canada, and Germany providing them. Canada’s involvement, recently confirmed, may well add to the final numbers, with the US previously tapped to handle two battalions by itself, and the White House is as eager as ever to focus on Russia.

“We have very little time to decide when we face a possible attack,” insisted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stollenberg. The reality, however, is that the “possible attack” is simply something to justify military expansion  in the region, with NATO military chief Gen. Petr Pavel confirming late last month that there is no real threat of a Russian invasion, and that the deployments are a “political decision.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.