“Putin's aim, the official says, is that of driving a wedge into NATO and destabilizing the alliance.”
The possibility of war between Turkey and Russia in Syria is a major concern for NATO. The members of NATO are required by the organization’s Article 5 agreement to support Turkey if a violent conflict were to arise. NATO wants to avoid war with Russia above all else and officials in Berlin and Brussels have made it clear that Article 5 is only valid if Turkey is attacked directly. All members of the organization are in agreement that they will not support Turkey if they launch an attack on Syria. However; if Russia attacks Turkey, there will be serious consequences for Europe and the US. If NATO reaches the unanimous decision to support Turkey in the event of a Russian attack, it is likely that a massive war will ensue. However, it is more likely that they will not come to a unanimous decision due to the organization’s existing divisions. The former Soviet nations of Poland, the Czech Republic and a few Baltic countries stand against Russia and are mobilizing troops along with 20,000 US troops stationed in Eastern Europe to combat Russia if conflict arises. Russia has responded by mobilizing troops along their western border. Other NATO members such as Greece, Romania and Bulgaria have taken a more pro-Russian stance. Officials in Berlin, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, believe that Putin’s aim is to destabilize NATO. Officials in the West hate to admit it but Putin’s intervention in Syria has been a success so far. He has re-stabilized the Assad regime, yet has made the situation very confusing for the West. As events continue to unfold, the West, especially Germany, must handle the situation extremely carefully. Turkey is vital to stopping the flow of refugees into Europe and if war arises it could trigger another refugee crisis which would further destabilize NATO. Right now the situation bears a frightening resemblance to the Cold War, with combat-ready troops mobilized on all sides. Preventing further escalation is now a major priority for NATO.