Biden and NATO leaders prepare to bolster alliance forces and set the stage for Finland and Sweden to join their ranks

Speaking alongside the NATO secretary general, Biden listed new troop movements, equipment shipments and military installations intended to demonstrate the importance of security in the face of aggression from Moscow.

“The United States and our allies, we will step up – we are stepping up. We are proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been and that it is as important as it ever has been. summer,” Biden said.

He said the United States would establish permanent headquarters for the Fifth Army Corps in Poland, maintain an additional rotational brigade of 3,000 troops in Romania, bolster rotational deployments in the Baltic states, send two more squadrons F-35 fighter jets in the UK and station additional air defense and other capabilities in Germany and Italy.

“Together with our allies, we will ensure that NATO is ready to meet threats from all directions – in all domains, land, air and sea,” Biden said.

The leaders enter the talks propelled by a diplomatic victory after Turkey dropped its objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, paving the way for the entry of the two long-time neutral countries into the the defensive block.

A beefed up US military presence in Eastern Europe and two new NATO members – one of which shares an 800-mile border with Russia – is exactly the outcome Russian President Vladimir Putin hoped to avoid when he invaded Ukraine more than four months ago.

“I said Putin is looking for the Finnishization of Europe. He’s going to get the NATOization of Europe. And that’s exactly what he didn’t want, but exactly what needs to be done to ensure the security of Europe. And I think it’s necessary,” Biden said.

Yet even though Putin’s goals have backfired and the conflict lingers, the momentum favors Russia right now. That left Biden and his fellow Western leaders this week looking for ways to alter the war’s trajectory.

In Madrid, leaders plan to agree on major new security commitments the likes of which have not been seen since the Cold War. On Tuesday, Biden said he was sending two additional destroyers to Spain’s Rota naval base, intended to bolster the US maritime presence in the region.

He will make additional announcements on Wednesday on increasing forces on “land, sea and air,” according to his top national security aide, who said U.S. forces along NATO’s eastern edge would move ” in stable condition” to the region.

“By the end of the summit, you will see a more robust, more effective, more combat-credible, more capable and more determined force posture to deal with a more acute and aggravated Russian threat,” the adviser told national security Jake Sullivan.

Already this week, the United States and European countries have imposed new rounds of sanctions on Moscow, banned further imports of its gold and agreed to limit the price of its oil. New rounds of security assistance, including a US-supplied missile defense system, have been added to the queue of artillery and ammunition circulating in Ukraine.

Whether all of this is enough to fundamentally alter the course of the war remains to be seen. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will address the NATO meeting this week, told leaders attending the G7 summit in Germany he wanted their help in organizing a major initiative to win the war from here. the end of the year.

Leaders fear that the rising cost of war, seen in rising gas and food prices, will lead to less support for Ukraine in the coming months. A few have warned that fatigue is setting in, adding to growing worries that the alliance could fracture.

“When we agreed that we were going to react, we recognized that imposing sanctions on Russia was going to cost our people dearly. But our people united. They stood up and they stood strong,” he said. he added. Biden said Tuesday during his meeting with King Felipe VI at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

It was during this meeting that Biden learned that Turkey was dropping its objections to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications, ending a months-long standoff with the toughest member of the NATO.

In a bid to seal the deal ahead of the summit, Biden dangled the prospect of a formal bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call Tuesday morning. The leaders will meet on Wednesday to discuss the myriad issues that have soured relations between Washington and Ankara in recent years.

Biden also plans to meet with the Japanese prime minister and the South Korean president jointly to focus on the North Korean threat. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Yoon Suk Yeol are invited to the NATO summit, but relations between their countries have deteriorated recently over disputes over the history of the war, making the joint meeting with Biden a scarcity.