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Show of Force

1:09 PM, Mar 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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The AP is reporting:

The United States plans to join a NATO effort to increase its rotation of ground and naval forces in Eastern Europe as part of its response to Russia's incursion in Ukraine.

An increase in U.S. forces is one thing and probably not hard to do.  But Russia knows that:

… the U.S. expects European nations to join the effort.

As has been widely reported, only four NATO countries spend more than 2 percent of GDP on defense and the alliance was sorely strained by its operations in Libya

Most NATO members find it hard to increase defense spending, when there are so many other pressing needs.  Those generous entitlements; those long vacations. Perhaps this is the wake-up call they have needed.

It seems likely that Mr. Putin will be paying as much attention to what our allies do about their force levels as to how and where we deploy our considerable military assets.  One is tempted to wonder if the European mind might be even more concentrated if the U.S. did not send additional elements as reassurance to those:

… NATO countries that feel threatened by Moscow's provocations.

Strongmen like Putin find weakness provocative.

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