Following NATO’s 2022 Summit held in Madrid, Spain, President Joe Biden pledged more US troops, warplanes, fighter jets, and various warships to be deployed to Europe last Wednesday. This marks a significant bolstering of NATO forces amid the specter of Russian aggression in the region. It also marks the most considerable strengthening of deterrents since the Cold War.
“Today I’m announcing the United States will enhance our force posture in Europe and respond to the changing security environment as well as strengthening our collective security,” President Biden said.
With President Biden proclaiming renewed support for NATO and Ukraine, the United States will be establishing a new permanent army headquarters in Poland. This will be the first permanent US headquarters in Europe amidst the Russian invasion. According to Biden, the US will permanently station the US Army V Corps in Poland to increase and strengthen US-NATO interoperability in Europe.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski has stated on Polish news that Poland was very pleased with the new arrangement coming from the US and that the addition of this permanent headquarters was a manifestation of strengthened cooperation between Washington and Warsaw. According to Jablonski, it is also a mechanism to enable NATO to have more capacity and insight into the Russian Federation’s next steps after they invaded Ukraine, which has now been a slow, sluggish artillery battle in Eastern Ukraine.
I think this will be a history-making summit.
NATO is stronger than ever. pic.twitter.com/gRE9dYNami
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 29, 2022
Two additional US warships will reportedly be stationed in Spain. This brings the total number of destroyers in Rota to six. In addition, ground troops will be headed to Romania, several air defense systems will be going to Germany and Italy, and two F-35 fighter jet squadrons will be stationed in Britain. Additionally, an unknown number of assets are headed to Romania and the Baltics, with the US adding rotational deployments to the region.
“We mean it when we say an attack against one is an attack against all,” President Biden said during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “We’re sending an unmistakable message … that NATO is strong, united and the steps we’re taking during this summit are going to further augment our collective strength.”
According to National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby, there has been no communication with Russia regarding these new NATO-related deployments from the United States as it was not required. Furthermore, US officials have emphasized that this recent strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank and the establishment of a permanent headquarters do not violate the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia as the US was only establishing a headquarters and not an actual combat troop base.
“There has been no communication with Moscow about these changes, nor is there a requirement to do that,” Kirby said.
With these new deployments to Europe, the US will now have around 100,000 servicemembers across Europe. This is only about 20,000 larger before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nonetheless, NATO is signaling that it is ready to respond to a Russian attack amidst direct threats against Lithuania and the United Kingdom, ramping up its nuclear rhetoric, which many world leaders find extremely “irresponsible.”
According to Biden, Putin had expected NATO to splinter after they invaded Ukraine. However, he got the exact opposite in doing so as NATO continues to expand with new incoming members, Sweden and Finland.
“Putin was looking for the Finland-ization of Europe,” Biden stated. “You’re gonna get the NATO-ization of Europe. And that’s exactly what he didn’t want, but exactly what needs to be done to guarantee security for Europe.”
This rhetoric from Biden comes after Turkey had dropped its opposition to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership application after holding discussions and dialogues to solve “security issues” that concerned Turkey. One of its primary concerns was that Turkey accused Finland and Sweden of funding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is an organization that has opposed the Turkish government and has fought an armed struggle against the authorities.
A publicly released version of the trilateral memorandum reveals that this issue was solved by Finland and Sweden’s united declaration saying they would “reject and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the strongest terms.” Furthermore, the two Nordic countries would not support YPG/PYD at any time.
The memorandum also states that Sweden and Finland officially confirmed and designated the PKK as a terrorist organization. The two countries are committed to foiling all of their activities and extension networks.
With Russia ramping up its aggressive rhetoric against NATO states, the Kremlin must be careful with its next few steps. NATO postures that it is equally (perhaps more than) capable of responding to any threat they may send NATO’s way.