US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of the US Army in Europe, said that US forces must act as a deterrent to any potential threat in Europe in an interview with Lithuania's national broadcaster.
© AFP/Scanpix

In an interview with LRT, Hodges said, “we see Russia's actions in Ukraine, Georgia and other places, its exercises. It showed a serious capability to move many people quickly. This is worrying. There's a lack of transparency – it holds large exercises without inviting observers... It increased its capability to cut off access to the Baltic sea and the Black sea. We are watching all of this. We must be certain that we will have enough forces, enough divisions.”

Many critics of NATO have emphasized that other members besides the US must do more to ensure their protection, and Hodges echoed this point. When asked how the 30,000 troops under his command could have the same deterrent effect as the 300,000 deployed during the Cold War, Hodges said, “first of all, with our allies. By using our allies' forces and doing things together. This is an important, fundamental element. You are right – only the U.S' troops are not enough. Every European country is responsible for defending itself. So by working together with our allies, we are stronger. This is important.”

Hodges also emphasized that NATO was gradually moving from a security alliance to a deterrence alliance. He said that leaders in the US and other countries seemed to indicate “that we should have forces that would deter, not just secure. The most important difference is that deterrence requires forces that seem ready to fight. You have to show that and show your willingness to use them.”

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