*Note: This update will be shorter than usual. Apologies*
On Friday, the NATO summit begins in Warsaw, Poland. It might not be overly dramatic to describe the upcoming meeting as the most important gathering of alliance leaders since the end of the Cold War. The timing is not coincidental. NATO summits do not occur at regular intervals, but when there are important matters to discuss. The summit comes at a moment when Europe is unsettled to say the very least. ISIS and the refugee influx will be discussed and NATO’s role in each debated. However, Russia will be the primary topic of conversation this weekend in Warsaw.
It has been over two years since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the beginning of War in Donbass. Since then, the relationship between NATO and Russia has gone from tense to almost frigid. The theme of this year’s summit will be unity. NATO will hammer out the details and agreements that will allow the placement of prepositioned material at locations in Eastern Europe, ready to be used in the event of a crisis. The authorization of a 4000-man strong Baltic force will also come during the summit. The fact that the summit is being held in Warsaw is no coincidence either. Call it symbolic of NATO’s shift eastward over the last two years.
NATO needs to be prepared for how Russia responds. Moscow will not stand by idle as more troops are committed to areas adjacent to its borders. The shape that Putin’s countermove will take remains to be seen.
We will take a look at what comes out of Warsaw and discuss it in more detail later on in the weekend.