A brief report by PCFR member Win Tompkins, a junior at the Met School in Providence:
At the PCFR’s April 12 dinner meeting, Andrew A. Michta, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, talked to the group about Russia’s European ambitions and NATO’s dangerous position in facing Vladimir Putin’s expansionist regime.
He started by talking about the decades leading up to the Russia that NATO faces now, including Moscow’s bitterness over the breakup of the Soviet Empire and NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe. Russia saw NATO plans to have Georgia and Ukraine also join the alliance as a threat, which led it to push back on what it correctly sees as NATO attempts to contain Russia’s ability to project power.
NATO expansion to the East began in the years after the end of the Cold War, with the absorption of East Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany, and the then-Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia by 2004.
A problem with this rapid NATO expansion was that it seemed to pay little heed to the possibility that Russia would challenge this expansion or that NATO might not have the will and ability to defend these new members against the formidable Russian military.