For a longterm peace, the region needs new security structures outside of the alliance that eventually include Russia.

By George Beebe, Responsible Statecraft

Amid a precarious proxy war with Russia, a brewing crisis with China, and a potential confrontation with Iran – not to mention considerable turbulence at home – Americans can at least take comfort in knowing that the NATO alliance is continuing to expand.

Or at least, that appears to be the message coming out of Washington.

A meeting at NATO headquarters

On Tuesday President Joe Biden signed U.S. ratification documents for Sweden and Finland to join NATO, with overwhelming bipartisan approval from both chambers of Congress. So far, 23 of the 30 members of the alliance have ratified the applications, as NATO moves to expand in response to Putin’s brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. At the signing ceremony in the White House, Biden remarked, “Putin thought he could break us apart…instead, he is getting exactly what he did not want.”

One might hope that NATO’s strategy consists of more than doing what Putin does not want. But there is little sign of that in its new Strategic Concept. It offers a plan for stationing more U.S. forces in Europe and expanding NATO’s quick reaction forces by a factor of more than seven. It reiterates NATO’s position that Ukraine and Georgia will one day become NATO members. It also suggests that the alliance regards China, as well as Russia, as a threat and needs to devote more attention to the Pacific.

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