For the fifth and final time as US commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama will attend a NATO summit on Friday. The leaders of the western alliance meet in Warsaw to cement a new deterrent against what they see as an emboldened Russia.
NATO’s modernisation is crystallising around a new force in the Baltic states and Poland of up to 4,000 troops to serve as a constant reminder to Moscow that the alliance is back to its founding mandate of defending its territory, after years of missions beyond its borders.
“Certainly it’s a much more threatening environment now”, says Jeffrey Rathke, a former deputy director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General. “The Russian activity is such that the United States along with its NATO allies realize that stronger defensive measure are necessary.”
The US was the protector of Europe during the Cold War, but Washington is scrambling to figure out whether to play another prominent role in Europe this time.