What NATO Needs from Trump

WASHINGTON, DC – As Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as president proceeds, the turmoil generated by his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing inquiry into his election campaign’s ties with Russia are following him. In none of the places he will visit will the events in Washington weigh more heavily than in Brussels, where he will meet with NATO leaders. Those American allies will be hoping for two things from Trump: reassurance that he is aware of the basic facts of European affairs, and signs that he is prepared to exercise the kind of leadership that NATO needs now.

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The dangerous tool of Russian military exercises

It all started with a military exercise in 2008. “Today, Georgia. Tomorrow, Ukraine. The day after, the Baltic states—and later perhaps the time will come for my country, Poland!” Those words were uttered 5 August 2008 by Poland’s late president, Lech Kaczyński, in the presence of five European heads of state who had come to Tbilisi in a gesture of solidarity with the just-invaded Georgia. Almost 10 years later, this statement anticipates Europe’s current security dilemma.

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The Road to Zapad 2017

Later this year, Russia will launch what could be the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Known as Zapad 2017, this exercise will get underway on September 14. It will test contingency plans for a full-scale conflict with NATO and interoperability with Belarus and the Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization. In the past, Russia has used military exercises as cover to invade neighboring states - as seen with Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Will Zapad-2017 be a harmless and transparent military exercise or will it act as a springboard for conflict on Europe's doorstep? Cutting through this fog of fact and disinformation, CEPA StratCom is launching "The Road to Zapad 2017" - an in-depth resource to track and analyze the lead up to Zapad 2017 and its outcomes. Read the latest on The Road to Zapad 2017.