NATO Revisiting PFP Safety

BUDAPEST — Russia's conflict with Georgia has forced NATO to re-examine its assumptions about the safety of member states and could require new contingency planning, NATO Supreme Allied Commander General John Craddock said.

"There's a new geopolitical reality here," Craddock said.

Craddock, on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Budapest, said he had not begun formal contingency planning.

Instead, he is first "scoping" to determine whether new plans are needed to protect NATO members and countries with bilateral relations, known as Partnership for Peace (PFP) countries.

Georgia is a PFP country.

"For years there's been an assumption that no nation, either member nation or PFP, had to worry nor should fear an invasion of their sovereign territory. I think there's change now as a result of August," he said.

Assessing the threat posed by Russia could shift NATO's attention back to its original foe, and some allies, particularly in Western Europe, worry about the signal that would send to Moscow.

Others, particularly ex-Soviet states, are asking for a defense plan, fearing Russian action in Georgia is the first step in a Kremlin plan to regain control lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union.