Ted Galen Carpenter, writing at National Interest, explains why “NATO should stop crowding Russia.”
The announcement that NATO would deploy four battalions of troops to the Baltic republics and Poland is merely the latest evidence that Western officials are utterly tone deaf about how their actions are going to be received in Moscow.
Smart great powers show a decent respect for the security zones and spheres of influence of other great powers. Geography matters. Any major country is going to resent other nations intruding militarily into its immediate neighborhood. Imagine the U.S. reaction, for example, if an alliance led by China or India acquired clients and deployed military units in the Caribbean or Central America. We would justifiably regard such conduct as extremely menacing. Why do we then assume that the Russians should regard NATO’s actions in places such as the Baltic republics and the Black Sea differently? The current policy course is a tragic accident waiting to happen.