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Meeting of NATO defense ministers, NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 5, 2015 (NATO photo).

Crises in Ukraine, Mediterranean Put NATO Solidarity to the Test

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whether it was the deaths in the Mediterranean Sea of hundreds of migrants and asylum-seekers desperate to enter European territory or the latest atrocities carried out by the Islamic State in their Libyan enclave, this week’s headlines could not have come at a worse time for the leadership of the North Atlantic alliance.

Over the past year, NATO finally seemed on the verge of rediscovering a common purpose after two decades of trying out for different roles—a return to its original task of putting a brake on the westward spread of Russian influence and control from the Eurasian core into the European peninsula. Indeed, it was hoped that the threat represented by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s revanchist adventurism could motivate European governments into finally doing what previous exhortations, whether about the need to spread democracy or combat Islamic extremism, had failed to do: increase their defense expenditures. Trouble on the southern periphery, however, now competes with the newfound urgency of addressing problems on the eastern front. ...

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