Interview with Lieutenant General Ben Hodges on NATO Adaptation and the Russian Way of Warfare,

[…] I do believe that NATO needs to think of the Black Sea as a security region, not as a body of water surrounded by different countries. We need to think about the Black Sea in a regional way recognizing that the Russians are using the Black Sea as a power projection base into the Middle East and Mediterranean. We must recognize that we have allies and very close friends (Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova) that are constantly under pressure from Russia. The Alliance needs to encourage collaboration between the member countries and the partner countries to share intelligence, to do more maritime exercises, to improve missile defense in the region and more exercises where we move across the Black Sea into Georgia or Turkey to make sure we have freedom of movement in the Black Sea and on the ground around it. The Black Sea region is just as important as the Baltic Sea. We’ve done a lot in the Baltic region. I believe the Black Sea region is going to be the key area where Russia will challenge the Alliance over the next 10-15 years and we’ve got to ensure credible deterrence there as well as provide support for our partners in the region.[…]

The US troops in Germany are not there to protect Germany…they are part of our contribution to the overall collective security and it is also because Germany gives us an access and a power projection platform to do what we must do in Africa and Middle East. Americans need to understand that much of what we get from Germany and Italy doesn’t necessarily fit neatly inside the 2%. Allies should do more, without a doubt – but at the end of the day, firm and positive US leadership is essential to help insure cohesion. Läs artikel