Sens. Jon Kyl, Ron Johnson, Jeff Sessions and Mike Crapo are advocating for furthered economic and security relations for the former USSR satellite republics of Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, and Latvia (“the “belt of freedom and democracy,” buffering the rest of Europe from Russia”). While the Ukraine remains unpleasantly entangled with their Russian neighbors, the senators still call for continuing foreign investment, democratic and free-market economic reforms across the board closer U.S. ties and cooperation.
And there is already similar activity underway, although it’s clearly more self-defense focused (and has been since the fall of the Soviet Union) regarding Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.
Those four nations have self-protection interests and are doing something about it. It’s called the Visegrad Group and as reported by Stratfor’s George Friedman,
On May 12, the Visegrad Group announced the formation of a "battle group" under the command of Poland. The battle group would be in place by 2016 as an independent force and would not be part of NATO command. In addition, starting in 2013, the four countries would begin military exercises together under the auspices of the NATO Response Force.
A battle group…let that sink in.
So what’s driving all this (“all this” being the actions being called for by Kyl, Johnson, Sessions and Crapo as well as the happenings described in the Friedman story)?
The fundamental reason is Russia. There are contributory reasons as well (efficacy of NATO, the fidelity of German commitments, etc.), which generally relate back to…Russia.