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U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, OSCE Chairperson Didier Burkhalter at the NATO summit in Wales, Sept. 5, 2014 (NATO photo).

Once Again Relevant, NATO Will Now Be Judged on Effectiveness

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014

Last week’s NATO summit in Wales was a mixed bag, with the alliance marking strong progress on some fronts but proving less successful on others. Nevertheless, the fact that the summit took place under such heavy scrutiny highlights NATO’s resurgence from an alliance that many in recent years claimed had lost its relevance in meeting Europe’s security challenges.

The summit’s immediate focus was on reaffirming alliance solidarity against Russian aggression. President Barack Obama’s major speech in Estonia shortly before the summit helped set the stage by making clear that the United States was committed to the defense of that country, often seen as most vulnerable to Russian aggression due to its location and large number of geographically concentrated ethnic Russians. The summit subsequently adopted a series of “assurance measures” designed to keep powerful air, land and sea forces continuously in or near the alliance’s eastern members. Their permanent presence in Eastern Europe would erase the dividing line between the secure older NATO countries hosting large military facilities and the new NATO members that lack significant numbers of foreign alliance forces on their soil. ...

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