NATO Expects To Maintain Heavy, Long-Term Military Presence On Its Eastern Border

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has indicated that the multinational alliance plans to heavily bolster its eastern border long-term with a military force that would be capable of taking on an invading army.

Stoltenberg, in an interview published Saturday in The Telegraph, said military commanders for NATO’s 30 member countries are preparing a “reset” of the alliance that must include an increase in national defense spending in order to ward off future threats.

Some members still do not meet the alliance’s guideline on defense spending. Members are instructed to allocate at least 2% of their gross domestic product to defense.

“We have to ensure that we continue to be able, in a more dangerous world, to protect and defend all NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said.

The secretary-general described NATO’s previous presence along the border ― prior to the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February ― as a mere “tripwire” that was more symbolic of the alliance’s unity than anything. It was not designed to repel an invasion.

“Regardless of when, how, the war in Ukraine ends, the war has already had long-term consequences for our security,” he said. “NATO needs to adapt to that new reality. And that’s exactly what we are doing.”

Stoltenberg said NATO will adopt a new Strategic Concept document in June at the 2022 Madrid Summit. This formal strategy document will not only outline NATO’s defense efforts against Russia, but for the first time is expected to mention China as a growing threat.

“I expect China to be an important part. Because the rise of China, the shifting global balance of power, has direct consequences for NATO,” Stoltenberg told The Telegraph. “It is also of concern that we see that Russia and China are working more and more closely together. This is something that matters for our security.”

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