Will EATO eat NATO?

Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images According to the Christian Science Monitor‘s Fred Weir, Dmitry Medvedev has a plan to avert a new cold war. Last month in Berlin, Medvedev proposed the formation of a new European defense pact which would include not only Europe but the countries of the former Soviet Union as well. Dubbed, the “European ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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593653_080729_redsquare5.jpg

Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images

According to the Christian Science Monitor's Fred Weir, Dmitry Medvedev has a plan to avert a new cold war. Last month in Berlin, Medvedev proposed the formation of a new European defense pact which would include not only Europe but the countries of the former Soviet Union as well. Dubbed, the "European Atlantic Treaty Organization" or "EATO" by analysts, the organization would take the place of the dreaded NATO which has been creeping its way ever closer to Russia's borders in the last two decades and represent "big Europe without dividing lines."

The alternative, as Moscow has hinted over the last few weeks, is increasingly militarized tension over the issues of NATO expansion and missile defense. The most extreme hint was the dubious but seemingly intentional leak of a proposal to base Russian bombers in Cuba.

Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images

According to the Christian Science Monitor‘s Fred Weir, Dmitry Medvedev has a plan to avert a new cold war. Last month in Berlin, Medvedev proposed the formation of a new European defense pact which would include not only Europe but the countries of the former Soviet Union as well. Dubbed, the “European Atlantic Treaty Organization” or “EATO” by analysts, the organization would take the place of the dreaded NATO which has been creeping its way ever closer to Russia’s borders in the last two decades and represent “big Europe without dividing lines.”

The alternative, as Moscow has hinted over the last few weeks, is increasingly militarized tension over the issues of NATO expansion and missile defense. The most extreme hint was the dubious but seemingly intentional leak of a proposal to base Russian bombers in Cuba.

Weir believes that the proposal will be a central theme of Medvedev’s foreign policy. Unfortunately, the idea has same problem that afflicts Russia’s diplomatic efforts more generally: Medvedev hasn’t made it clear why this would be a good idea for anyone except Russia and hasn’t offered any inducements to get on board besides vague threats.

Until the members of NATO and the countries desperately trying to join it get an explanation why they would be better off in an organization with Russia as a founding member, ideas like EATO are only going to deepen the fault lines.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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