Fletcher in the News

NATO Monitors Defense Needs of Allies Near Ukraine: Dean Stavridis Speaks with NPR

Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

Linda Wertheimer talks to former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, about NATO's role in the Ukraine-Russia crisis.


As Ari just mentioned, President Obama heads now to Brussels, where Russia's ambitions in Eastern Europe will again be at the center of the discussion, echoing old Cold War concerns that brought about the creation of NATO in 1949.


In the last two decades, NATO troops fought in the Balkans and also Afghanistan. But now the Ukraine crisis has pulled the alliance around to its original mission.

WERTHEIMER: For some insight into what NATO's role in the crisis might be, we've called Admiral James Stavridis. He's a former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. He was on our air just a few weeks ago. Welcome back to the program.

ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS: It's terrific to be back with you, Linda. What would you like to talk about this morning?

WERTHEIMER: Well, I wondered, because the last time we'd talked, Russia had just begun sending troops into Crimea. You said that NATO might be sharing intelligence or giving logistical support, but you said: I don't foresee contingency planning that would anticipate combat operations. Is that still your view?

STAVRIDIS: It is. I think that NATO will certainly generate and focus on its contingency plans for defense of allies, as in Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. Those contingency plans exist, and they will continue to be refined, based on new events and new perceptions of the Russian Federation. However, Linda, I still believe we're not going to see contingency planning that focuses on combat operations, vis-a-vis Ukraine.

Listen to the full interview