Biden Vows Putin Will Get 'NATO-ization of Europe'

Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the U.S. military would step up its European presence as the NATO alliance adopts a more assertive stance towards Russia.

President Biden made a raft of announcements at the ongoing NATO summit in Madrid. Among them:

  • a new permanent headquarters for the U.S. 5th Army Corps in Poland
  • an additional rotational brigade to Romania
  • and enhanced rotational deployments in the Baltic states

American military hardware will be sent to help reinforce Europe's defense, Biden said. This will include:

  • two additional F-35 fighter squadrons to the U.K.
  • two additional U.S. Navy destroyers deployed to Spain
  • and new air defenses sent to Germany and Italy

"At a moment where [President Vladimir] Putin has shattered peace in Europe," Biden said. "The U.S. and allies are stepping up, proving NATO is more needed now than it ever has been."

Additional U.S. and allied deployments, he added, will show that NATO is "strong and united" in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine and threats to expand the conflict by attacking NATO nations.

"Putin is looking for the 'Finlandization' of Europe," Biden said. "He's going to get the 'NATO-ization' of Europe."

This week's Madrid summit is set to be pivotal for NATO. Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated the 73-year old alliance, prompting a re-evaluation of its military readiness and willingness to confront Russian revanchism.

Finland and Sweden have abandoned neutrality and are set to become the alliance's newest members—pending the formality of parliamentary approval in existing members—after Turkey dropped the only significant opposition to their accession.

Discussing Finland and Sweden's membership bids, Biden told the Associated Press on June 16 that Putin "wanted the sort of Finland-ization of NATO. He got the NATO-ization of Finland, instead."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Stoltenberg announced on Monday that 300,000 alliance troops would be put on high alert—a more than seven-fold increase on the current response force—though offered few further details.

Meanwhile, smaller NATO states along Russia's borders are pushing for a shift in defensive strategy. Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia are among those urging allies to do away with the "trip-wire" concept that would see swathes of eastern Europe overrun by a hypothetical Russian invasion.

Instead, the Baltic states and others want more and better armed troops deployed along Russia's borders to deter aggression and defeat any invasion without ceding territory.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said last week that the capital city of Tallinn would be "wiped off the map" in the event of a Russian invasion.

Russian atrocities in Ukraine, Kallas said, shows that NATO's plan to cede territory "and liberate it afterwards" is flawed. "Now everyone sees that this tripwire concept doesn't really work," the prime minister said.

Joe Biden NATO
In this combination image,President Joe Biden speaks ahead of a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on June 29, 2022 and Vladimir Putin leaves his presidential plane during the arrival ceremony at the Ashgabat International Airport on June 29, 2022 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Getty