Ultimately, Putin’s actions in Ukraine require a strategic response. This does not mean a new Cold War. But it does require recognizing Putin’s geopolitical challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe and preparing for a more competitive relationship with Russia.
NATO must recommit to its core missions of deterrence and collective defense. This requires a rebalancing of the alliance’s force posture and presence. NATO military capabilities must be increased and more evenly distributed across the alliance, including a more robust and persistent presence in Central Europe and the Baltic countries. Some steps in this direction are underway; these actions must be sustainable and enduring.
For NATO to do more for its members, its members have to do more for themselves and the alliance. The United States must reverse harmful cuts to its defense budget. And NATO allies must meet their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense as soon as possible.
We also need a transatlantic energy strategy. Europe remains dependent on Russian oil and gas, while U.S. supplies are growing faster than our ability to bring them to market (indeed, about $1.5 million worth of gas has to be “flared” — that is, burned uselessly because there is not enough capacity to transport or refine it — each day in North Dakota alone).