“One for all, all for one”: That’s a central principle of the NATO alliance — but in recent months, multiple members have wondered whether it truly applies to them. With Russia escalating the Ukrainian conflict every day and the alliance’s annual summit starting Thursday, the question of equality among the 28 member states is painfully timely.
The Baltic states and Poland in particular have in the past few months asked for “additional security guarantees.” These countries want to be certain that in the case of military aggression that other NATO countries will support them – even in the face of deniable cyber and guerrilla attacks that let an aggressor hide behind proxies and blur traditional lines between peace and war. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama have emphasized publicly that NATO commitments do not solely exist on paper; the Wales summit will reportedly ratify an earlier declaration that cyberwarfare could constitute an “armed attack” under the Atlantic Treaty; and yesterday news broke that NATO would create a (modest) “rapid reaction” force of 4,000 troops to protect its eastern members. Nevertheless, suspicion is in the air in the alliance.