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Where They Stood


Where They Stood

Which NATO members stood where over Ukrainian and Georgian Membership Action Plans, denied to the two countries, at least temporarily, by the NATO leaders at their Bucharest summit? The stances of most allies appear to have been determined by how they see the role of the United States in NATO and what their views are of Russia.

The Yeas

United States -- NATO's linchpin. Firm supporter of MAPs, and NATO (and, somewhat controversially, EU) enlargement to Europe's new democracies. Actively seeks to check Russia's resurgence, believes Europe does too little to secure itself against Moscow.

United Kingdom -- A very close ally of the United States. The EU suspects Britain's "special relationship" with Washington to rival its commitment to Brussels. Relations with Russia hit rock bottom in the aftermath of the poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinenko.

Canada -- A very close ally of the United States. Firm supporter of MAPs and NATO enlargement.

Denmark -- A staunch Atlanticist. Often an outspoken critic of Russia, but pacifist leanings tend to marginalize it in debates over European defense.

Iceland -- Close U.S. ally.

Poland -- The largest "new" ally, aspires to set the tone for all ex-communist NATO member states. A loyal U.S. ally, but with an independent streak (bargains hard over missile-shield site). Sees Russia as its main strategic threat, but also views Germany with distrust.

Czech Republic -- Staunch Atlanticist, a very close U.S. ally. Critical of Russia.

Slovakia -- Close U.S. ally. Prizes close relations with neighbor Ukraine. Subject to some Russian "pan-Slavic" lobbying.

Slovenia -- Close U.S. ally. Less concerned about Russia than other Eastern European countries. Susceptible to "pan-Slavic" lobbying by Russia.

The Baltic countries -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are very close U.S. allies. Their relations with Russia are fraught and all want to roll back Moscow's influence over its ex-USSR neighbors.

Romania -- Close U.S. ally. Traditionally distrustful of Russia.

Bulgaria -- Close U.S. ally. However, feels a burden of gratitude toward Russia for help given against Ottoman Turkey in the 19th century. Appears susceptible to Russian economic (as with the recent Gazprom deal on the Blue Stream pipeline) and "pan-Slavic" lobbying.

Turkey -- Close U.S. ally, though differences exist (notably over Iraq). Supports NATO enlargement, but believes Russian concerns must be addressed. Supported MAPs for Ukraine and Georgia, but indicated it would fall in line with the consensus view.

The Nays

Germany -- NATO's largest European ally, largest EU member state. Increasingly vocal on European security. Dependence, economic or otherwise, on Russia is overstated, as is antagonism with Washington. Proceeds from the deeper strategic calculation that relentless global setbacks risk pushing Russia into isolation, thus jeopardizing the stability of the continent.

France -- United States' main detractor in NATO (left NATO's military structures in 1966). Seeking to reassert itself globally. Given to a certain opportunism, especially vis-a-vis Russia. Also views itself as being in a tacit competition with Germany for influence in Europe. Has come to view further eastward expansion of both NATO and the EU as an anathema.

Italy -- Generally follows the Franco-German lead (all thee are among the EU's founder nations). Traditionally friendly toward Russia. Right-wing governments tend to be more pro-U.S. in their preferences than the general public.

Spain -- See Italy.

Portugal -- See Spain.

Greece -- General public very averse to the United States. As an Orthodox nation, feels a special affinity to Russia.

Belgium -- An EU founder nation, tends to follow the Franco-German lead.

Luxembourg -- See Belgium.

The Netherlands -- Traditionally a staunch Atlanticist/close U.S. ally. An EU founder nation. Appears to subscribe to the German school of thought on Russia. Famously skeptical of further EU enlargement.

Hungary -- The only ex-communist ally failing to sign a letter in support of MAPs for Ukraine and Georgia. Left-wing governments (current and previous) tend toward a friendlier view of Russia than is the norm in Eastern Europe. Susceptible to Russian economic lobbying (again, note the recent Gazprom deal on Blue Stream).

Norway -- Usually close to the United States and Britain in its views. Non-EU member.

By RFE/RL Brussels correspondent Ahto Lobjakas

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