Baltic Stone Soup

Warsaw, Poland Though all of the new forward-deployed NATO battalions are described as “multinational,”—Canada, Germany, and Britain will each lead a force that has members from smaller NATO countries—the fourth will be a US Army-only force. US defense officials said the units will send a clear message to Russia that if it moves against the former Soviet republics, they will be in “direct contact” with first-line troops. “I hate to use the word ‘tripwire,'” one official said in a backgrounder for reporters here, but the battalions will indeed serve to instantly invoke Article 5 provisions if Russia attempts a Crimea-like annexation of the former Soviet states. The battalions also “relieve the pressure” on the Baltic states, another said, allowing them to focus on areas where they can be leaders, like the Cyber Center of Excellence in Estonia.