Donald Trump made headlines earlier this week when he called into question the United States’ obligation to defend its NATO allies in the event of a Russian attack. Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an attack on one member of the alliance would be considered an attack on all and requires the signatories to assist an ally that is the victim of such an attack.  Trump was asked about how the United States should respond if Russia attacks one of its Baltic neighbors, and he said that he would decide whether or not to assist the victim based on whether the state has “fulfilled their obligations to us.” Estonia’s president quickly took to Twitter to defend his country’s contributions, noting that Estonia is one of only five NATO countries that meets the goal of spending two percent of GDP on defense.
NATO recently announced its plan to station four battalions in the Baltics starting in early 2017 to deter Russian aggression, including an American battalion in Poland. I have a new piece over at the National Interest explaining why this will not work to deter a determined Russia from moving against one of its Baltic neighbors. You can read it here.
 No word on what happens if an ally and/or its population provokes a non-member into attacking it…hopefully we won’t have to see that played out in the near future.