Issue Brief posted April 29, 2016
The 1997 NATO–Russia Founding Act Does Not Prohibit Permanent NATO Bases in Eastern Europe
It is widely believed that in 1997, NATO promised Russia that it would not establish permanent military bases in any former Warsaw Pact countries that might someday become NATO members. This is in fact a myth that has been perpetuated by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, as well as by the lack of diligent research and basic knowledge among commentators, politicians, and…
Issue Brief posted April 28, 2016
The Role of Sweden and Finland in NATO’s Defense of the Baltic States
Militarily speaking, the three Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are isolated from other NATO members. It would be extremely difficult, but not impossible, for NATO to respond to an incident in the Baltic region without the acquiescence of non-NATO Finland and Sweden. Russia knows this—and exploits this weakness to its advantage. The U.S. must plan for any…
Issue Brief posted April 22, 2016
Four Priorities for President Obama’s Last Visit to Germany
President Obama is visiting Germany on April 24 and April 25. He will help open the Hannover Messe, a famous industrial trade fair, alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday. On Monday, the leaders of France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States will meet to discuss the migrant crisis and terrorism. Germany is an important security partner of the…
Issue Brief posted April 7, 2016
A Pivotal Time for Ukraine: The U.S. Should Redouble Its Support
Two years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas region, Ukraine remains a nation in peril. Russia considers its annexation of Crimea a fait accompli, has taken steps to consolidate its position in the Black Sea, and has created a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Despite an official cease-fire, war is a day-to-day reality in the Donbas region,…
Issue Brief posted February 29, 2016
The U.S. Needs to Get Its Baltic Force Posture Right
The U.S. has a long history of championing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Baltic states, dating back to the interwar period of the 1920s. Today, U.S. interest in the Baltic region derives primarily from its treaty obligations as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The U.S. needs an enduring presence and a long-term strategy to meet…
Issue Brief posted January 8, 2016
Top Five Priorities for U.S. Policy Toward Europe in 2016
U.S. policy toward Europe in 2015 failed to rise to the significant challenges that confront it. The U.S. is no closer to having a clear and comprehensive strategy to deal with Russia than it was a year ago; it continues to devalue key bilateral and multilateral relationships in Europe for the sake of supporting the European Union (EU); and it took no effective steps to…
Issue Brief posted January 8, 2016
Top Five U.S. Policy Priorities for the Arctic in 2016
2016 will be an important and challenging year for the Arctic region. It marks the final year of the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. In July 2016, NATO will hold a major summit in Poland that offers an opportunity for the Alliance to focus on the Arctic. Russia is expected to invest heavily in the Arctic region even with the fall in crude oil prices.
Special Report posted January 6, 2016
Combatting the ISIS Foreign Fighter Pipeline: A Global Approach
The Islamic State’s recent global terror campaign—including the October 31 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 224 and the November 13 shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130 restaurant patrons and concert-goers—has increased the urgency for the U.S. to lead a global alliance to defeat the Islamic State and its ideology.
ISIS has also been able to establish a…
Special Report posted December 9, 2015
U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has not had a coherent, comprehensive strategy toward Russia. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates, the U.S. has paid a price for this failure and, of course, many of Russia’s neighbors have paid far higher prices. At the core of the U.S. failure has been an unwillingness to assess the nature of the Russian…
Backgrounder posted September 29, 2015
The Baltic States: The United States Must Be Prepared to Fulfill Its NATO Treaty Obligations
U.S. interest in the Baltic states derives primarily from its treaty obligations in the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty and membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an attack on one is an attack on all. This means that the U.S. is committed to the security of the Baltic cities of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius…
Backgrounder posted September 25, 2015
Meager Ground Forces, Extensive Global Challenges: A Primer for the U.S. President in 2017
Whoever occupies the Oval Office in 2017 will face challenges around the world, including a resurgent Russia, an increasingly assertive China, a metastasized Islamic State (ISIS), and an emboldened Iran. Addressing these and other foreign policy challenges in the wake of the Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” approach will require a fundamental change of…
Issue Brief posted August 17, 2015
Poland: The Lynchpin of Security on NATO’s Front Lines
While Moscow’s aggressive actions have changed the way many in NATO view the threat posed by Russia, NATO’s eastern members have long considered Russia an existential threat and have planned accordingly. Poland, because of its large size, geographic location, and historical experience has become the lynchpin of security in Eastern Europe since joining NATO in 1999.