US Senator John McCain photographed at a conference in Denver, Colorado. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
US Senator John McCain photographed at a conference in Denver, Colorado. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

McCain: Lack of US Forces in the Baltics Could Mean “End of NATO”

The positioning of American and NATO troops in countries sharing a border with Russia could ultimately result in the collapse of the collective security alliance, US Senator John McCain says.

– Failing to implement a stronger US-NATO force presence in the Baltic states could ultimately result in the collapse of the collective security alliance, US Senator John McCain told the Russian news agency Sputnik on Wednesday, following a hearing on US national security challenges.

– If they (the Russians) move into the Baltics… and there is no tripwire there, I doubt if there would be a reaction. And it would be the end of NATO, the new Senate Armed Services Chairman said.

McCain has a long military career, and in 2008 he was the Republican presidential nominee in the United States presidental election.

 

“Tripwires” and positioning

The concept of a tripwire, he explains, is the positioning of American and NATO troops in countries sharing a border with Russia, in order to deter a Russian invasion. Such a tripwire would involve a greater military presence than has been designated under NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, a program implemented last year, to increases troop rotations and readiness in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, McCain said.

According to Sputnik McCain also agreed with statements delivered by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former National Security Advisor for the Jimmy Carter administration. Brzezinski proposed creating a “tripwire” in Latvia or Estonia  “that communicates clearly to Russia that NATO will be involved, that the United States in particular is present.”

Former National Security Advisor in the Ronald Reagan administration, Brent Scowcroft, dismissed the notion of a Russian incursion into neighboring NATO states:

– I don’t see that happening, Scowcroft told members of the Senate during the hearing, adding that “there won’t be such a reaction” on the part of Russia’s leadership.

 

US to train Ukrainian National Guard

This morning Sputnik quote David Westover, a spokesman for US European Command, saying that the training of the Ukrainian National Guard by the US Army Europe soldiers will start in spring, following Kiev’s request.

This week the Commander of the US Army in Europe, Bed Hodges, is in Kiev to meet with Ukraine’s officials to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

Over the last few weeks there has been a growing tension and escalation of the violence in eastern Ukraine, and last week the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, urged the country’s parliament to cancel the ceasefire reached in September.

Earlier this week the Russian Foreign Ministry called on parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict to immediately withdraw heavy artillery from the Donbas region and fulfill other obligations they have under the Minsk agreements.

The 12-point protocol agreements – reached between Ukraine, Russia and separatists in Minsk – was signed on 5 September 2014, to halt the conflict.

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