Download PDF Whatever its merits and motivations, the process of NATO enlargement has run its course.

Western relations with Russia are in a dangerous state. In the United States, evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election has produced a rare bipartisan consensus of inflexibility towards Moscow. President Donald Trump’s long-stated goal of improved relations is thwarted, not least by the ongoing investigation of possible collusion between his campaign and Russian intelligence agencies. Yet, the goal itself is worthy. After all, Trump’s two immediate predecessors had similar hopes for a better rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both failed. Putin and many of those around him are hard-edged autocrats, and there will likely be no easy way to put US–Russian relations fully back on track as long as they are in power. But it should be possible to reduce the risks of rivalry and war by focusing on what may be, in Putin’s mind, the fundamental cause of the problem: NATO expansion.

It is time for Western nations to work out, and seek to negotiate, a new security architecture for the neutral countries of Eastern Europe. The countries in question collectively make a broken-up arc from Europe’s far north to its south, plus parts of the Caucasus in Western Asia, encompassing Finland and Sweden; Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; Cyprus; and Serbia and other Balkan states.1 Most, though not all, of these countries are ambivalent themselves about NATO, and where there is interest in joining, it is often due to a recent sense of threat from Russia that a new security order might be able to mitigate substantially. Moreover, many existing NATO members have publics that are already uncertain about their countries’ military commitments to the eastern extremes of the Alliance, casting doubt on the feasibility and wisdom of any further expansion. Despite its evident difficulties, the Trump administration should try to build bipartisan and transatlantic support for pursuit of a new vision. The discussion process should begin within NATO, and then expand to include consultations with the neutral countries themselves. Subsequent, formal negotiations would include all of the aforementioned states as well as Russia.

This process would bring an end to NATO enlargement, provided that Russia resolved its territorial disputes with its neighbours and verifiably withdrew forces from their territories. It would also ultimately lead to the lifting of Western sanctions on Russia. And to be clear, the process would demand significant concessions from Moscow, including verified withdrawal of its forces, regular and irregular, from Ukraine and Georgia, and an end to interference in neighbouring countries’ internal affairs. Crucially, Moscow would also have to recognise the rights of neutral states to join any economic or political association.

There is, of course, no guarantee that this concept would be well received in Russia, and even if it were accepted, it would not necessarily return US–Russian relations to the relatively tranquil state that characterised the relationship in the 1990s. But it would likely be a vast improvement over the current situation, and make Europe a much safer place.

The purpose of this article is not to revisit in detail the origins of the crisis in NATO–Russian relations, nor the contribution that NATO expansion may have made to the situation. Suffice it to say that NATO’s enlargement has been generally well intentioned; leaders have been sincere in their desire to use the process to spread democracy and stability to Europe, and have made many efforts to mitigate Russian fears along the way. Yet the Russian objection to enlargement was predictable, and predicted. NATO should not seek to negotiate a new security order out of any sense of guilt or redress, but it should recognise that, whatever the merits and motivations of the expansion process to date, it has run its useful course and in fact become counterproductive.

A new security architecture for Europe needs to be based on several foundational concepts. The first, as a matter of moral principle and strategic necessity, is that all countries, big or small, east or west, are fully sovereign and have the inherent right to choose their own form of government, political leadership, diplomatic relations and economic associations. This is as true for Ukraine and Georgia, and other countries of Central Europe, as it is for America’s traditional core allies or any other nation. No country should be relegated to a Russian sphere of influence. Indeed, all countries must be accorded every right to think of themselves as Western, as Finland has done for decades. Their future neutrality should concern only formal membership in mutual-defence security organisations; in other ways, they must be able to align themselves as they choose.

Membership of security organisations is a different matter, however. Great powers, like smaller powers, have natural incentives to ensure their own security. They are not entitled to fealty or tribute from smaller neighbours, but they do have the right to worry about their self-defence. Thus, even if the concept of spheres of influence – if taken to mean a region in which the big can bully the smaller and weaker – is not defensible, the concept of secure and defensible borders is valid. Russia has the right to be secure, and to feel secure.

Membership of security organisations is a different matter

For this and other reasons, countries enjoy no inherent prerogative to join any security organisation they wish. Security organisations are not an intrinsic feature of the Westphalian state system or even the post-Second World War, UN-supervised international order. They are constructs designed to serve particular purposes for specific countries during certain periods. If well designed, they will improve security first and foremost for their own members, but also for the regional or global order writ large, without prejudice to the security interests of other states. The effort to organise international society is an ongoing one that involves many different layers of interaction and organisation among states, with no clear role for alliances as a central organising feature.2 Alliances may help in some cases; they may be irrelevant or cause damage in others. In Europe today, the prospect of further NATO enlargement, however indeterminate and far off, is almost certainly causing net harm.

Constructing an East European security architecture

A new security architecture for the neutral countries of Eastern Europe would be founded on the concept of sustained neutrality for those countries not now in NATO – at least in regard to joining a formal alliance based on a mutual-defence pledge like NATO’s Article V. Specifically, it would provide that these states would not join NATO in the future – unless and until Russia itself showed interest in joining, or otherwise formally indicated that it would have no objection to further Alliance expansion at some point in the (presumably quite distant) future.3 Armenia and Belarus could retain their current political and security associations with Russia, notably under the Collective Security Treaty Organization, since it seems fair to say that this is not seen as threatening or otherwise disruptive by any other country.

Ideally, this architecture would be codified in treaty form. The treaty could be a simple one because the architecture would not create a new organisation, though it would formalise certain types of monitoring and verification practices. A treaty, however, may be unattainable in the current climate, not least because the current US Senate would not ratify it. There are precedents, however, for far-reaching agreements that did not take the form of a treaty. These include the Helsinki Accords of 1975, the Paris Charter of 1990 and the NATO–Russia Founding Act of 1997. The importance of the Helsinki Accords, in particular, should not be discounted; though widely criticised as hortatory and empty at the time, they ultimately provided profound impetus for the settlement ending the Cold War. Writing things down, and agreeing to them, often turns out to matter. Indeed, even treaties that are not ratified often have some sway in global affairs, such as SALT II and the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Neutral states under the treaty would also agree not to be covered by the security provisions of the European Union Treaty, even if they did join the EU in its other dimensions. This idea of separating out ‘security membership’ in the EU from economic and political membership was already broached by the Dutch prime minister in 2016, albeit in a different context.4

The Crimea issue could be approached separately in various ways. Russia’s transgression there could effectively be forgiven, as a show of good faith by the West, and in recognition of the unusual history and character of that Russian-majority region. More realistically, the matter could simply be set aside, with the United States and other Western nations choosing not to recognise the annexation (and limiting their willingness to participate in certain types of activities or meetings there), but otherwise not treating it as an impediment to improved relations. Alternatively, a modest sanctions regime could be retained to sustain the objection to Russia’s annexation, not necessarily in the expectation that Moscow would someday reverse course, but more as a point of principle. This might, however, be an instance in which it is counterproductive to stand too forcefully on principle, especially if a new security order is beckoning, and there is general agreement that the Crimea experience would not be repeated elsewhere in Europe.

The Ukrainian civil war would be ended, and the Russian presence there verifiably withdrawn, under this plan. The 2015 Minsk II agreement would in effect be implemented, and the Donbass region would receive some autonomy within Ukraine, as hostilities were ended. The ‘frozen conflicts’ in Transdniestr (Moldova), as well as South Ossetia and Abkhazia (Georgia), would also have to be resolved as part of this negotiation; so too would the status of Kosovo. In principle, internationally supervised referendums on independence or accession could be conducted in Transdniestr or the autonomous parts of Georgia, provided that the mechanisms were transparent and the outcomes verifiable. There would also be an understanding that Russia would not interfere militarily, through overt or covert means, on the territories of sovereign states to stir up similar problems in the future.

Under the plan, NATO would not offer new Membership Action Plans (MAPs) to any neutral or non-aligned country. At present, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have MAPs. These would ideally be transformed into mechanisms to help usher these states into a new security architecture rather than NATO itself. Were Kosovo’s independence to be fully established at some point, it too would be given the opportunity to be part of the new security architecture, remaining neutral rather than seeking to join NATO.

Preferably, Finland and Sweden would also remain outside of NATO, despite their Western sensibilities and associations. Historically and practically, they have long traditions of finessing their security relationships as neutral countries outside of any alliance. The fact that this long-standing aspect of their strategic cultures is being called into question at present, especially in Sweden, is a reflection of the acute tensions in contemporary Western relations with Russia. It is hard to believe that NATO membership reflects the genuinely preferred outcome among most Swedes or Finns. If forced to choose between East and West, they will likely choose the latter, but more likely, they would prefer to avoid the choice. As such, a new security architecture that offered the promise of a much improved and stable relationship between the Western world and Russia would likely reduce the newfound openness to the NATO option in these two proudly self-reliant countries.

NATO’s promises to Ukraine and Georgia would have to be disavowed

While the proposal could in theory go forward even if some or all existing MAPs with Balkan states were implemented – and, indeed, even if Sweden and Finland joined NATO as well – this should not be the preferred course of action. Any decision by Sweden or Finland to join the Western alliance would implicitly reflect a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of any new security architecture. As the strongest states – and those with arguably the strongest traditions of neutrality – among the group under consideration, Finland and Sweden would do much to set the tone for perceptions of the new paradigm. Moreover, it is doubtful that Moscow would trust the intentions of the West, or be favourably inclined to negotiate a new security architecture, if NATO expansion was simultaneously proceeding apace, even if only in a limited way.

Most importantly, as part of the new architecture, NATO’s public promises to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008 that they would someday be invited into the Alliance would have to be disavowed. These overtures would be superseded by the new East European Security Architecture (EESA) that would reliably ensure the countries’ sovereignty – and that might prove negotiable far more quickly than any prospective NATO membership, given current strategic conditions. It is important to underscore that if the new architecture works as intended, it will be preferable to NATO membership for the simple reason that it is a far more credible and attainable arrangement, on a much shorter time horizon.5

Of course, no one can guarantee that it will be possible to negotiate an EESA. Certain neutral states might reject the concept, in the hope that NATO would someday reconsider and offer them membership instead. Strictly speaking, their acquiescence would not be needed, since they would not be asked to take any active steps or to join any new organisation. On the other hand, it could prove difficult to negotiate this arrangement, designed as it is to enhance their security, over their adamant objections. Ideally, they would take the public step of inviting it, after a consultation period.

In fact, there is a good chance that the idea will ultimately prove appealing to the neutral states, once discussed, explained and refined. Countries such as Ukraine and Georgia surely know that, whatever their long-term prospects, there is virtually no chance of near-term NATO membership being offered to them, due to their simmering conflicts with Russia and the lack of consensus about further Alliance expansion among current NATO members. At the same time, Russia knows that NATO has an underlying tendency towards expansion, and bases current policies on that expectation. The current state of affairs is thus in many ways the worst of all worlds. A new architecture would not create the same perverse incentives or profound uncertainties.

The structure being proposed here may strike some in the West as distasteful, or worse. It would allow Vladimir Putin – who has suppressed Russian political and civil society, and provoked unnecessary conflicts near his own borders – to claim that he was the Russian leader who stopped NATO in its tracks, preventing any further expansion. But we need to keep our eye on the ball. NATO membership for Ukraine and other nearby countries is not a viable means of resolving the current crisis; not even the most hawkish voices within NATO are calling for near-term Alliance membership for Ukraine or any other Central European state. Moreover, NATO expansion was never conceived as a way to pressure or punish Russia (except in the eyes of certain Russians, of course). Allowing Putin to claim some degree of vindication is a far less injurious outcome than running an unnecessarily heightened risk of war, and perpetuating a period of poor relations between Russia and the West that impedes cooperative action against other problems of mutual concern in the Middle East and Asia.

Indeed, a negotiated settlement could substantially reduce the risk of direct NATO–Russia conflict – a risk that, while still small, has grown significantly over the last three years. Efforts to assign blame for the current state of affairs must not be allowed to stand in the way of addressing problems that could impose enormous costs and risks if left unresolved. For example, a 2015 report by the European Leadership Network details how the intensity and gravity of incidents involving Russian and Western military forces have increased, raising the risk of an accident or military escalation between the world’s leading nuclear powers.6 Such incidents have hardly relented since then. Military-to-military contacts have also been inadequate; they should expand even before a new security order can be constructed, as General Joseph Dunford, chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has wisely suggested.7

A deal could also substantially improve Ukraine’s prospects for finding peace and refocusing on political reform and economic recovery. It would also lower the chances of escalation in the current war. Similar considerations would apply in the case of Georgia.

While negotiations to devise and formalise the new security architecture were ongoing, most aspects of current Western policy should not change. Notably, sanctions should be sustained. They should not be expanded, however, unless Russia escalates its military activities further.

Once the EESA was agreed and at least partially implemented, sanctions on Russia could be lifted.8 They could be removed step by step, in synchronisation with the verified withdrawal of Russian forces from the Donbass region of Ukraine, and from Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.

Future security cooperation between neutral states and NATO

Numerous aspects of this new security architecture require further detail. One key set of issues concerns ongoing security collaboration, in various forms, between NATO and those neutral countries that might be part of a future EESA. These activities are legitimate and non-threatening, and are often important to the security of the participating states. Thus, it will be essential not to interrupt or end such collaboration even with an EESA in place.

Consider firstly the issue of security assistance. The United States and other Western states already provide limited amounts of security assistance to most of the neutral countries in question. Much of it is intended to help ensure civilian control of the armed forces and to develop means of collaborating with NATO, through the Partnership for Peace programme as well as other activities, on security tasks of mutual interest. For example, the Partnership for Peace effort, overseen by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, includes the following countries: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.9 Of these, 15 receive some financial support through Warsaw Initiative Funds – all but Austria, Ireland, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.10

The Rapid Trident exercise, which took place in summer 2016 and involved NATO and several Partnership for Peace nations, serves as an example of such collaboration. The exercise focused on command and field training, with an emphasis on peacekeeping and stability operations, though its lessons were potentially applicable to other activities as well. Some 2,000 personnel took part, from a total of 14 countries (Ukraine, the United States, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Great Britain, Moldova, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Turkey). The exercise emphasised key tasks such as countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations and patrolling.11

Another important example concerns Georgia, which has been collaborating with NATO under the Partnership for Peace since the 1990s. The programme provided a framework under which Georgia could send more than 200 soldiers to the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo from 1999 to 2008. Georgia has also been a key contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission, and now the Resolute Support mission, in Afghanistan. It deployed nearly 1,000 soldiers at the peak of the mission in early 2011; at that time, it was the second-largest non-NATO troop contributor to the operation, after Australia. Georgia also sent more than 2,000 troops to the Iraq War. It has a mountain-training site, accredited as a Partnership Training and Education Center by the Alliance, which offers courses and training to NATO members and other partner countries.12

Alliance maritime exercises have involved non-NATO countries too. Some are tailored to particular purposes, such as cold-weather training involving several allied states plus Finland and Sweden. The Cold Response exercise of March 2016 was one such example. These kinds of activities should be allowed to continue even under a new security architecture – as should maritime exercises emphasising search and rescue, or environmental surveillance and monitoring, or interdiction of international criminal and terrorist operations.13

Other types of military preparations motivated by a poor relationship with Russia might be phased out over time. Training on tasks such as anti-submarine warfare, or coordination of contingency planning for possible conflicts with Russia involving the Baltic Sea, should not be continued indefinitely once the relationship with Russia is stabilised – and the frequent provocations that Russian forces have carried out in recent years have presumably come to an end, a process that can be monitored and verified.14 During the negotiation and early implementation phase of the new security order, these activities might continue, but would presumably not increase in scale or frequency.

The United States makes very few arms sales to the nations that participate in the Partnership for Peace. In 2015, for example, only Sweden, Ukraine and Uzbekistan received any weapons shipments, for a combined value of only about $50 million.15 Similar levels of defence trade – and perhaps even modestly higher levels, should the economies of the affected countries experience accelerated growth – ought to be acceptable in the future.

NATO’s Mediterranean initiatives and dialogues, which include a number of Arab and North African states and focus on issues such as refugee flows and Middle Eastern security, are also important. The threats they address are sufficiently acute that even more effective collaboration would be highly desirable.16 Thus, one would not wish to cap, in any quantitative sense, possible future joint security activities. But most such efforts should also involve Russia, in some way.

How does one loosely cap cooperation in a way that will not produce disputes over which types of collaboration are allowable and which are not? It would admittedly be difficult, and probably undesirable, to be overly precise about exactly what limits to place on security assistance, arms sales and exercises. But there is still value in the idea of agreeing that future activities would not generally exceed the scale of past and ongoing efforts in these domains. A useful analogy is the US–China agreement in 1982 that the United States would cap (and gradually reduce) its arms sales to Taiwan.17 China has argued for years that the agreement in fact committed Washington to wind down these arms transfers more quickly than has been the case; the two countries argue over the interpretation of that accord to this day. But the arguments, while sometimes acrimonious, occur within the parameters defined by the 1982 agreement, thus limiting the degree to which this issue has poisoned the broader relationship.

Verification and compliance

Even if it were successfully negotiated and implemented, a new EESA for today’s neutral states might not be the end of the story. The same ‘trust but verify’ approach that Ronald Reagan famously articulated when negotiating with Soviet leaders would be required.

It is entirely possible that Russia is not simply an aggrieved state, acting in response to a sense of embitterment and encirclement, but also now a revanchist or revisionist power.18 In that event, Moscow would most likely not be willing to negotiate the kind of security framework proposed here. Even if it did, it might do so cynically, seeing any agreement as merely a temporary truce to be rejected later, or as a means of constraining the West and lulling it into a false sense of complacency, while allowing Russia to carry out surreptitious activities in the states in question. Moscow might also seek to create a climate of intimidation that would produce a ring of partially subservient states near Russia’s borders, despite Moscow’s promise to allow full diplomatic and economic freedoms.

Therefore, in addition to sustaining prudent defensive measures such as the European Reassurance Initiative, and improving defences against Russian cyber attacks and political manipulation, Washington and other Western capitals would need to devise a rigorous system of verification and a framework for responding to possible acts of non-compliance or even aggression by Moscow. The ultimate recourse, if the security architecture failed, would be to reopen the possibility of further NATO expansion. But that would be a last and least desirable resort. More modest steps need to be conceptualised, in advance, as well.

The first challenge is monitoring and verification. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would need to have the capacity and the formal responsibility to monitor compliance with the agreement, to handle any future disputes about security challenges faced by any of the countries covered by the accord, and to investigate and adjudicate complaints. With 700 monitors in Ukraine, the OSCE has played a key role in observing the ongoing fighting and tracking the involvement of various parties. This kind of capability should be sustained under the new EESA.

Certain elements of verification could be expected to be relatively straightforward. Monitoring the locations and movements of large quantities of conventional weaponry, as was done for years under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), is not difficult. That treaty involved hundreds of inspections a year at declared sites, with stipulations requiring notification if equipment was moved or repositioned. Aircraft flying missions through the Open Skies arrangement – which has typically applied to some 100 flights per year over various parts of Eurasian and North American territory – can also contribute usefully to the effort.19 Indeed, in the course of 2014, US intelligence was capable of tracking the movements of Russian equipment so well that at times it provided exact counts of the number of heavy military vehicles that had crossed the border with Ukraine. Observers from the OSCE were also capable of carefully monitoring such movements. Journalistic accounts, including interviews with captured fighters, commercially available imagery and social media are among the tools that together are increasingly likely to reveal any clandestine foreign military presence as its scale grows.20

In addition to national technical means and OSCE inspectors, a few other capabilities and methods could be authorised within the EESA as well. For example, the current observation provisions in the OSCE’s Vienna Document should be improved to allow ‘snap inspections’ when countries conduct snap exercises, as suggested by the Netherlands’ special envoy for conventional arms control, Lucien Kleinjan.21

Of course, determining who owns given pieces of equipment can be complex, as demonstrated by the Donbass experience in eastern Ukraine since 2014. So-called Russian volunteers operated in that region, bringing weaponry with them and at times transferring it to Ukrainian separatists. Determining who was who required, among other things, sophisticated American signals intelligence – including sources and methods that the United States was not willing to share in all cases.22 Moreover, Russia retained some degree of deniability for the actions of these so-called volunteers, at least in its own mind, and even if most others were not fooled for long. Russia’s maskirovka (military-deception) policies can employ a range of tactics: for example, special forces deployed in small numbers and embedded within friendly local populations, and the hiding of military capabilities and supplies within humanitarian-supply convoys.23 Fortunately, as the scale and frequency of such activities increase, their deniability tends to decline.

If Russia suspended its withdrawal or otherwise violated its commitments, consequences would ensue. Sanctions could and should be reimposed with the same kind of ‘snapback’ automaticity that was worked out through UN channels in regard to Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

If a violation were sufficiently serious, however, and redress could not be achieved, the entire deal could be declared dead. In other words, if Russia again invaded part of Ukraine, for example, the United States and other NATO states, as well as the European Union more broadly, would retain the right to respond. Appropriate steps could include reimposing economic sanctions, providing lethal arms to Ukraine’s military and even considering NATO membership for Ukraine. This latter step is not necessarily an outcome that I would advocate, depending on circumstances. But other Americans and NATO leaders might well do so, and the terms of the security order should explicitly allow it.

Remaining resolute

It could be that Moscow has no interest in this kind of proposal. Or it might agree to it, then seek to subvert it. As such, any vision for a new security order in Eastern Europe needs to be pursued with NATO’s many eyes wide open – and with ongoing resoluteness in the defence of all 29 member states. This goes well beyond the issue of verification and compliance.

To begin with, the United States and NATO allies should not dismantle any existing weapons or bases under an EESA regime. In that sense, the physical steps of creating the new security architecture, and the associated costs and risks, would be quite modest.

Under the proposed architecture, the United States and other NATO member states should continue to implement their plans to station modest amounts of equipment in the easternmost NATO countries under the European Reassurance Initiative and Operation Atlantic Resolve. These represent a modest effort involving some 5,000 military personnel (or perhaps as many as a few thousand more), the main effects of which are not to create substantial forward-deployed combat power, but to signal resolve and to create in effect a robust tripwire force. This is not objectionable and should continue. And while I do not support those voices arguing for multiple additional US and other NATO brigades (anywhere from two to six or more),24 the four-battalion presence in NATO’s east might be expanded. For example, the additional US brigade that was deployed this year could be sustained indefinitely. It is at present a complement to NATO’s other very modest recent initiatives – the NATO Response Force formed at the 2014 Wales Summit and its newest incarnation as a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Another US Army brigade could be stationed back in Germany; the recent American drawdown there probably went too far in any case.

On matters of cyber security, information warfare and efforts to influence the internal politics of other countries through covert means, NATO must be ready, as in the Cold War, to fight fire with fire. Russia’s interference in the 2016 American election was egregious. Putin believes that the United States was behind the Rose, Orange, Tulip and Maidan revolutions, but Washington’s efforts in those countries were transparent and innocuous, featuring the work of organisations such as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute. Covert, and far more calculated, efforts akin to those carried out by Russia in the United States (and various European countries) should be initiated in a proportionate way if need be. Methods could include not only help for reformist political movements and politicians but, if necessary, disinformation efforts as well. One hopes that such efforts will not be needed.

In short, no new security order should be pursued with apologies to or trust in Moscow, or with any expectation that even the successful completion of a new architecture could turn Russia and NATO states into genuine strategic partners. But it would have a real chance of reducing tension, worst-case planning and the risk of war. This chance is ample reason to give it serious consideration.


1 Not everyone agrees that disputes over future security arrangements are at the heart of the current problems in US–Russia relations, but many do. See, for example, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Strategic Survey 2016 (Abingdon: Routledge for the IISS, 2016), p. 211.

2 On this general subject, see, for example, Ernst B. Haas, Beyond the Nation-State: Functionalism and International Organization (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1964); Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977); and Strobe Talbott, The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008).

3 For a related view, see Terry Atlas, ‘Brzezinski Sees Finlandization of Ukraine as Deal Maker’,, 12 April 2014, available at; and Henry A. Kissinger, ‘To Settle the Ukraine Crisis, Start at the End’, Washington Post, 5 March 2014,

4 Laurence Norman and Maarten van Tartwijk, ‘Dutch Premier’s Demands Cast New Doubt Over EU–Ukraine Pact’, Wall Street Journal, 20 October 2016.

5 For a related view, see General Sir Richard Shirreff (former deputy supreme allied commander Europe), ‘Is Armed Conflict with Russia a Real Possibility?’, remarks at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, 19 October 2016,

6 Ian Kearns, Lukasz Kulesa and Thomas Frear, ‘Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe More Likely?’, European Leadership Network, London, 12 August 2015,

7 Eugene Rumer, Richard Sokolsky and Andrew S. Weiss, ‘Trump and Russia: The Right Way to Manage Relations’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 96, no. 2, March–April 2017, p. 16.

8 See Michael O’Hanlon and Jeremy Shapiro, ‘Crafting a Win–Win–Win for Russia, Ukraine, and the West’, Washington Post, 7 December 2015, available at

9 NATO, ‘Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council’, 7 April 2016,

10 Information on this support is available from,

11 US Army Europe, ‘Army Strong, Strong Europe!: Exercise Rapid Trident’,

12 See NATO, ‘Relations with Georgia’, 7 June 2016,; and Ian S. Livingston, Heather L. Messera and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Afghanistan Index (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 28 February 2011),

13 NATO, ‘Key NATO and Allied Exercises’, July 2016,

14 For background on this issue, see Eoin Micheál McNamara, ‘Securing the Nordic-Baltic Region’, NATO Review,

15 Statista, ‘U.S. Arms Exports, 2015, by Country’,

16 See, for example, F. Stephen Larrabee and Peter A. Wilson, ‘NATO Needs a Southern Strategy’, National Interest, 27 January 2014,

17 Richard C. Bush, Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2005), pp. 23–4.

18 The terms ‘revanchist’ and ‘revisionist’ are often used interchangeably, along with the word ‘irredentist’ – and while there may be subtle differences, all three words imply a desire to reclaim what is viewed as a nation’s rightful possessions or areas of influence.

19 See US Department of State, ‘Key Facts About the Open Skies Treaty’, 6 June 2016,; and Arms Control Association, ‘The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty at a Glance’, August 2012,

20 See David M. Herszenhorn, ‘Fears Rise as Russian Military Units Pour into Ukraine’, New York Times, 12 November 2014,; and Mark Urban, ‘How Many Russians Are Fighting in Ukraine?’, BBC News, 10 March 2015,

21 Lucien Kleinjan, ‘Conventional Arms Control in Europe: Decline, Disarray, and the Need for Reinvention’, Arms Control Today, vol. 46, no. 5, June 2016, p. 24.

22 Joe Gould, ‘Electronic Warfare: What U.S. Army Can Learn from Ukraine’, Defense News, 2 August 2015,

23 Colonel J.B. Vowell, ‘Maskirovka: From Russia, with Deception’, RealClearDefense, 31 October 2016,!.

24 See, for example, Philip M. Breedlove, ‘NATO’s Next Act: How to Handle Russia and Other Threats’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 95, no. 4, July–August 2016, p. 104.

Michael O'Hanlon is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

October–November 2017

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