NATO’s plans for war – and peace

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the member states of NATO have bolstered their shared military readiness across Eastern Europe and admitted Sweden and Finland to their ranks. Now world leaders gathering in Washington this week to mark the 75th anniversary of the alliance plan to go further. They expect to deepen their military support for Ukraine and extend security cooperation with like-minded partners in Asia.

These measures mark a push within NATO to apply its long-standing approach to building peace through “defense and deterrence” to a new age of threats. Yet within the alliance, some members are also pushing safeguards for collective security that do not rely on military hardware. One national leader, Finnish President Alexander Stubb, said debates about global security are overly based on planning for war. “We also need to start talking about peace and a pathway towards peace,” he told a forum of policymakers in Helsinki last month.

A bilateral security agreement signed Monday between Poland and Ukraine enumerates what Mr. Stubb may have in mind. It sets a “shared responsibility for peace” on “commonly shared principles of democracy, rule of law, good governance, [and] respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights.”

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