The United States European Command has taken steps to reassure NATO allies in Eastern Europe: On Monday, an American airbase in Germany sent two F-22s to Poland. This followed the deployment of two Predator Drones and 70 airmen for training exercises in Latvia. Reuters has the update on the Latvia developments:
“This temporary deployment of aircraft and personnel … will test the unit’s ability to forward deploy RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft) and conduct air operations in an effort to help assure our Latvian allies, NATO allies and European partners of our commitment to regional security and stability,” the U.S. European Command said in a statement.
Poland’s newly-elected President recently accused NATO of treating the nation as a mere “buffer state” and had vowed to confront wavering members (not least of all Germany) at the next summit to increase the alliance’s commitment to its eastern flank.
Is NATO getting more serious about addressing the return of geopolitics? If the Ukraine crisis keeps simmering along at around the current intensity and Russia makes no lurches towards the Baltics, we may have to wait until the next Alliance summit, to be held in Warsaw next summer, to know for sure. In the meantime, we’re likely to see more fits, more starts, and more symbolic assurances from the United States meant to keep anxieties from reaching a fever pitch.