US senators on Russian aggression

In the Wall Street Journal, Republican senator Lindsey Graham and Independent Democratic senator Joe Lieberman have published a joint statement on the Georgia crisis and the implications of Russia’s aggression. They point to the growing evidence that Russia plans to repeat its actions in Georgia elsewhere among its neighbours, in the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine and Crimea. Noting that any assistance plan to Georgia must include the rebuilding of its armed forces, including the anti-armour and defensive antiaircraft capabilities that have so far been denied to them, the senators look to the wider regional context, and stress that

Our response to the invasion of Georgia must include regional actions to reassure Russia’s rattled neighbors and strengthen trans-Atlantic solidarity. This means reinvigorating NATO as a military alliance, not just a political one. Contingency planning for the defense of all member states against conventional and unconventional attack, including cyber warfare, needs to be revived. The credibility of Article Five of the NATO Charter — that an attack against one really can and will be treated as an attack against all — needs to be bolstered.

The U.S. must also reaffirm its commitment to allies that have been the targets of Russian bullying because of their willingness to work with Washington. The recent missile-defense agreement between Poland and the U.S., for instance, is not aimed at Russia. But this has not stopped senior Russian officials from speaking openly about military retaliation against Warsaw. Irrespective of our political differences over missile defense, Democrats and Republicans should join together in Congress to pledge solidarity with Poland, along with the Czech Republic, against these outrageous Russian threats.

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