Sunday

22nd Jan 2017

Letter

Nato reacted quickly to Ukraine crisis

In in recent opinion piece, Nato puts brakes on enlargement, the author Matthew Turner's comment that “when Russia annexed Crimea, Nato failed to make itself heard, as heads of state chose either the European Union or their national platforms to express their views,” is simply wrong.

Nato reacted quickly to the crisis and the North Atlantic Council and Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made numerous public statements which were widely covered by international media. Nato held special consultations on the crisis in early March.

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Nato also moved quickly to bolster the defence of Allies, by deploying extra fighter jets to eastern Europe, ships to the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas, and troops on exercises to eastern Europe.

At the Wales Summit, Nato will take further decisions to enhance the defence of Allies. These could include for example the pre-positioning of equipment or enhancing the readiness of troops.

Mr Turner’s piece also misinterprets Nato’s Open Door policy saying the Alliance is suffering from enlargement fatigue. It is quite the opposite. In June, Nato Foreign Ministers agreed steps to move Georgia closer to Nato and Allies agreed to decided at the latest by the end of 2015 whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance. This clearly shows the progress made on this issue.

Finally, the argument that Nato membership could be more of a cost than a benefit is unfair. Since the end of the Cold War, 12 countries have joined the Alliance, four are currently aspiring to join. Aspirants seek the same security and stability that Allies have enjoyed for over 60 years. So clearly membership remains an attractive option. The protection offered by Nato’s article 5 has helped member states enjoy the benefits of democratic choice, the rule of law, and substantial economic growth. These efforts have moved Europe closer to being whole, free, and at peace than at any other time in history.

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