NATO Summit: Alliance Leaders Close Ranks Against Russian Threat

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By Kalyan Kumar | September 5, 2014 4:47 PM EST

The NATO Summit that opened on Thursday at New Port, the golf resort of southern Wales, debated strategies to confront an arc of crises including the Russian threat and provocation from Islamic State, that is conquering vast swaths of the Middle East.

Reuters
NATO troops arrive at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul August 10, 2014.

The world's most powerful military alliance will focus on closing the distant war in Afghanistan. But all of a sudden, NATO leaders are forced to grapple with a panoply of threats closer to home, reported the Washington Post.

Absence of Russia

The two-day summit brought together 60 world leaders, including NATO allies and partners. The empty chair of Russia did make a mark in the summit's first day. It was the first time Moscow was left unrepresented at a NATO summit, signaling the deepening of rifts between Moscow and former Cold War foes.

Both President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested a more aggressive Western role. In their Op Ed piece in Times of London, the duo rejected an isolationist approach and asked fellow leaders to summon up the resolve that inspired NATO's founding fathers.

At the Summit the U.S. officials were prepared to discuss more sanctions on Russia along with the European Union if it does not halt the military campaign in Ukraine.

Benjamin Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser announced, soon  after the meeting of President Obama and Ukrainian president Poroshenko's that the U.S . ould continue to support Ukraine President on his active diplomacy in de-escalating the conflict.

NATO Rapid Force

In all probability, the highlight of the summit will be the nod to form a NATO rapid reaction force, comprising of thousands of troops to be deployed at short notice to face any new threat. The plan, already hinted by NATO chief Rasmussen will have a rotation of the rapid forces throughout eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, the decision of Romania to allow base for NATO jets in its territory, came as a shot in the arm for the alliance.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed Ukraine for trying to secure NATO membership. He said it was a blatant attempt to derail the efforts moving towards a peace deal.

The NATO Summit also came handy for President Obama to scout for allies and partners to build a front against the Islamic State jihadist group. The US has been under pressure to expand the air strikes in the IS strong holds stretching to eastern Syria, before the ultras could spread more havoc in other regions.

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(Photo: Reuters / Omar Sobhani)
NATO troops arrive at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul August 10, 2014.
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