Warsaw NATO Summit: Moving From Reassurance to Deterrence

The July NATO summit’s main goals were to deploy four battalions to the Baltic states and approve the construction of an anti-missile system base in Romania, Thomas Gomart, Vice-President for Strategic Development, French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) told valdaiclub.com.

“The summit decided two important things: to deploy four battalions to Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and to start building the missile defense system. At the same time, these decisions have been explained very carefully and very transparently to Moscow. The idea is to avoid any type of escalation and provocation. The policy of NATO can be summed up in two words: dialogue on the one hand and deterrence on the other,” Gomart told valdaiclub.com.

Gomart added that another important point of the summit was finding consensus among members, both limiting the zeal of some members and having other members involved in the action.

“It was also important in Warsaw to find consensus between allies regarding Russia, and to mitigate some severe expectations made by some NATO members, or the opposite, involve some other NATO members in the process. So the result appears carefully explained to Moscow, and I hope that it will be a way to decrease tension between NATO and Russia,” Gomart added.

On the issue of the anti-missile installation in Romania, Gomart said that it will be important to hold consultations with Russia.

“That is an important issue, especially for Russia. Russia has explained many times its concern about this system, some of these concerns are perfectly understandable, others less so. It is important to see that as a first step. I see it as the main concern for Russia, but at the same time, I do expect some exchanges, explanations and discussions between Russia and NATO on that during the next month,” Gomart said.

“It is important for NATO to clearly explain to Moscow its expectations about this system. It is also important to involve Moscow on the issue of strategic stability. The real issue for all of us, NATO members and Russia, is to try to find a way out of the current crisis and to contribute agency to the strategic stability,” he added.

When it came to the issue of deploying four battalions to the Baltic states, Gomart called it an action which transitions NATO from reassuring member states to a deterrence strategy against Russia.

“There are different ways to read this decision. The first one is to say that it is insufficient, the other is to say it is proportionate. It is certainly not enough to be completely protected against Russia, but that is not the main idea. The main idea is to get from reassurance to deterrence, to give symbolic security guarantees to these four countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland) and also to do so with proportion, explaining that to Moscow in a transparent way. So it is at the same time important and is a way to try to stabilize the situation,” Gomart concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.