Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 07, 2022

NATO alliance of U.S. and Europe has a key role in trying to help Ukraine fight off Russia

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1.gifSummarize the latest news from Ukraine.

2.gifShare a new quote from the president of that country or ours.

3.gifPick a reaction from a local Ukrainian American or someone else who tugs your emotions.

A 73-year-old organization of democratic countries, formed after World War II for protection against military threats, now plays a critical part in helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is displaying the unity its founders envisioned, a test that could strengthen and even expand it. "European security and defense has evolved more in the last six days than in the last two decades," a European Union leader said last week in a speech to the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO is moving military equipment and as many as 22,000 more troops into member states bordering Russia. In addition, allies are delivering weapons over Ukraine's long borders with NATO members Poland, Rumania, Slovakia and Hungary. The Dutch are sending rocket launchers for air defense. The Estonians are sending Javelin antitank missiles. Poland, Latvia and Germany are sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that be shoulder-fired by one person. The Czechs are sending machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols and ammunition. "We will do what it takes to defend every inch of NATO territory," says Jens Stoltenberg, the group's secretary-general.

"The NATO alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War II," President Biden said last week in his annual State of the Union speech. "The United States is a member, along with 29 other nations." Those 30 members include six countries in Eastern and Central Europe that were admitted in the late 1990s and early 2000s after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union – an empire controlled from Moscow. The half-dozen newcomers -- Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- wanted to join an alliance that obligated the U.S. to come to their defense if Russia attacked.

NATO's expansion made Russia uneasy, and now its president – Vladimir Putin – wants to assure that Ukraine doesn't also join. Its membership was far from imminent, but Putin felt threatened enough by the possibility that he launch a war on Feb. 20 to prevent it, as well as for other reasons. As it turns out, the crisis strengthens the alliance he fears. Two formerly neutral countries, Sweden and Finland, are sending weapons to Ukraine and discussing whether to apply for NATO membership. Putin "has already resuscitated NATO," posts Andrew Sullivan, a prominent U.S. blogger.

Columnist says: "NATO still serves its original purpose. There's a good reason why Putin is invading Ukraine, not the Baltic Republics or Poland or Rumania: Those countries are NATO members and Ukraine is not. Deterrence works." – Max Boot, The Washington Post

NATO leader says: "Over the last weeks, we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance and now, we are for the first time in our history deploying the NATO Response Force." -- Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of alliance

Prominent blogger says: "The vague pledge by the Western powers not to rule out future NATO membership for Ukraine was the worst of all worlds: poking the bear, with no serious intention of fighting it." – Andrew Sullivan, at substack.com

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2022

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.