As President Obama prepares travel to Europe for the second time in less than three months, US military planners are working on policy options to be presented to their NATO partners at a summit in Wales. The alliance’s meeting will be dominated by the escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine and the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Analysts in Washington expect some members to press for more support for the Kurds in their battle against the Islamic State.
“I think you’ll see in the short-term a coalition of the willing, those NATO members that want to participate either in supporting the Kurds militarily or perhaps even participating in future air strikes over Iraq, potentially Syria,”
Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic & International Studies told Euronews.
On Ukraine, Obama is determined to ask the Europeans to do more and to forge a large consensus that the current strategy should be maintained: containing Russia by imposing costly sanctions on Moscow and strengthening the alliance’s eastern flank.
For Simona Kordosova of the Atlantic Council, that should even include military and financial assistance to Ukraine:
“He [Obama] should definitely have a clear strategy on how to more forcefully deter President Putin from taking further action in Ukraine, and that might honestly involve direct military assistance to Ukraine or more robust financial assistance to allow them to buy advanced weaponry.”
Obama’s European trip seeks to urgently address the significant challenges facing the alliance, and may involve some tough talking, as our Washington correspondent Stefan Grobe explains: “President Obama’s message to the European allies is twofold: First, Washington’s commitment to collective security is ironclad. And second, Europe needs to do more, even if that means additional sacrifices.”