Should Nato stand up more to Moscow?

The Nato-Russia Council has met for the first time in two years, but there was no sign of a rapprochement on key issues. Nato must finally put Moscow in its place, some commentators demand. For others the Alliance's Russia policy is too aggressive.

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Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Nato's restraint is futile

The Nato member states must finally talk turkey with Moscow, the Tagesspiegel demands:

“Moscow sees [the Nato military build-up in Eastern Europe] as a threat to its own security, but Nato stresses that it is only reacting to the Russia's interventions in Ukraine. If Nato doesn't want to lose all credibility it should be willing to speak plainly. To this day the Russian leadership still disputes that regular Russian troops are being deployed in Ukraine. … So far the Europeans and the US have silently played along with the Russian game. Neither Angela Merkel nor François Hollande nor Barack Obama have called on the Russian president to withdraw his troops from Ukraine, and such restraint isn't helping to resolve the conflict in any way. On the contrary, it only intensifies the impact of the propaganda from Moscow that the West is trying to counter.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Learn from the Cold War

A report by the International Center for Defense and Security, an Estonian think tank, suggests strengthening Nato's military presence along the Baltic coastline. Eesti Päevaleht likes the idea but points to the need to communicate it effectively:

“The problem is that boosting the defence is a useful step but all the talk of the threat of war is bad. The Cold War experience demonstrated that the presence of the allies has a calming effect. Measures and countermeasures on the part of the opponent are understandable, and this played a key role in ensuring that the Cold War didn't turn into a hot one. Preparing for the worst is better than assuming things will turn out for the best. … But when too much attention is focused on the threat of war it has a negative impact on foreign investments and also on the motivation of young Estonians studying abroad to return home.”

Delo (SI) /

Talk to each other instead of boosting troops

If Moscow and Nato don't find common ground soon weapons rather than words will continue to be used, Delo predicts:

“That is what has happened over the last two years of non-dialogue. That doesn't hold only for Eastern Ukraine, where shots are fired on a regular basis, but also for the way we are tackling the 'problem'. This is most obvious in Nato's decision, born out of fear of Russian aggression, to transfer as many units to the eastern line of defence as Hitler did before the start of Operation Barbarossa. The Western analysts who voice surprise that the Russians consider such a 'defence policy' aggressive are no doubt feigning naivety.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Nato-Russia Council needs more real substance

The revival of the Nato-Russia Council only makes sense if it is given more powers, the centre-left daily Der Standard posits:

“Dialogue at an ambassadorial level, as now planned, is important, but it can only be a first step. In the long term the Council makes no sense in such a format. With all due respect for the ambassadors' diplomatic talent - they have too little decision-making power. ... More important than involving more key players is giving the body a true agenda. ... Negotiations must bring about tangible results for both sides. Here Nato must take the Kremlin's need for security - and recognition - seriously. ... At the same time, if Russia is really expecting this dialogue to yield any real results it must overcome its fundamental rejection of Nato.”