NATO, which is led and majority funded by the United States, is itself a creation of the Cold War. More than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the alliance is engaged in numerous military conflicts, including the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, as well as the expanding U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria.

At NATO’s summit last month, the alliance approved the rapid response force but rejected a request from Poland for the permanent stationing of thousands of troops in the country, citing pacts with Russia.

John Feffer, author and co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Common Dreams that Stoltenberg’s statements on Sunday do not necessarily mark an immediate shift in policy, but rather, send a message to Russia: “This is a signal to Russia that ‘even though we didn’t accept Poland’s proposal, we still might go ahead and do that if Russia does something we don’t like.'”

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