NATO Official: Putin’s Aggression Is a ‘Wake-Up Call’

The secretary-general says he is concerned about Russia trying to move beyond Crimea.

Berkut riot police hang a Ukrainian flag from a street light on Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
March 19, 2014, 4:25 p.m.

After years of in­volve­ment in the Middle East, Rus­sia’s in­cur­sion in­to Ukraine is for­cing NATO to turn its fo­cus back to Europe.

NATO Sec­ret­ary-Gen­er­al An­ders Fogh Rasmussen called Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea “the gravest threat to European se­cur­ity and sta­bil­ity since the end of the Cold War.”

{{third­PartyEmbed type:you­tube id:Xt33M­m6_EM4}} E.U., U.S., and NATO of­fi­cials have uni­formly backed Ukraine’s in­ter­im gov­ern­ment in Kiev, while de­cry­ing Rus­sia’s in­cur­sion in­to Crimea, the ref­er­en­dum to leave the Ukraine, and the res­ult­ing an­nex­a­tion — which they con­sider il­le­git­im­ate.

In the wake of Putin’s ac­tion, Rasmussen said they have called off plan­ning for what would have been a NATO-Rus­sia mis­sion as part of the in­ter­na­tion­al ef­fort to help des­troy Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons. It has also sus­pen­ded all staff level meet­ings with Rus­sia.

And though some U.S. of­fi­cials are call­ing for in­creased pen­al­ties against Rus­sia, the NATO lead­er stressed that the situ­ation doesn’t have a quick fix, but said that “Europe and North Amer­ica must stand to­geth­er” and that he still hopes a dip­lo­mat­ic solu­tion can be found.

Des­pite that hope, Rasmussen said Crimea “is a wake up call,” adding that “we see what could be called 21st cen­tury re­vi­sion­ism, an at­tempt to turn back the clock, to draw new di­vid­ing lines on our map.”

And he ad­ded that the cur­rent ten­sions in the Ukraine are a re­mind­er that European se­cur­ity “can­not be taken for gran­ted” and sug­ges­ted that European coun­tries should pre­vent fur­ther cuts to their de­fense budgets and work to­geth­er mil­it­ar­ily.

“We had thought that such be­ha­vi­or had been con­fined to his­tory, but its back and its dan­ger­ous be­cause it vi­ol­ates in­ter­na­tion­al norms of ac­cep­ted be­ha­vi­or,” Rasmussen said, re­fer­ring to Rus­sia’s ac­tions.

And even though Putin has said that he has no in­terest in mov­ing his troops out­side of Crimea, Rasmussen called such a pos­sib­il­ity a “ma­jor con­cern” for NATO, adding that he be­lieves that Crimea is “an ele­ment in a great­er pat­tern, in a more long-term Rus­si­an”¦ strategy.”

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
11 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
18 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×