Despite calls for the opposite among members, the United States has, fortunately, established a moderate approach toward Russia within NATO, a NATO source says.
In order to avoid any dangerous military action by air or sea across the world, the US and Russia had set up a deconflicting crisis cell at the political-military level at the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
However, the typical exchanges over mutual security between NATO’s chair of the Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, and his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov have made some NATO members raise their reservations.
Most recently, they agreed to demonstrate additional carefulness to avoid accidents, especially with ships in the Black Sea not navigating in close proximity of each other – though Russia has been extremely careful lately to avoid accidents – prompting reactions in some eastern European members.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the NATO source pointed out that Baltic countries – though Poland hasn’t raised this issue -asked for the reason for such exchanges with Russia, with others emphasizing Admiral Bauer’s mandate to have this communication channel open and functioning.
While traditional NATO members – the US, France, Turkey, Italy, and Greece – were more moderate in this regard, there were countries insisting on a zero-sum approach on Russia, including the UK, Scandinavians, a group of eastern Europeans, and former Yugoslavian countries.
The source added, though, that Washington has, fortunately, taken the lead within the alliance, prompting the more moderate approach to prevail, pointing out that, beyond this, NATO members are united in supporting Ukraine as long as their national security is not impacted.
Noting that there’s not a fundamental gap in NATO, the German Marshall Fund’s vice-president Ian Lesser, on the other hand, believes that there’s only the expected natural difference of perspective between member countries who are directly invested in the security challenge from Russia being geographically proximate to it.