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Second Fronts in Great-Power Conflicts

Opening Up Second Fronts in Great Power Conflict,”

by Russell Berman and Michael Auslin via National Interest.

In planning for a response to an invasion either of Ukraine or of Taiwan, American strategy should not focus exclusively on the core aggression but also complicate the adversary’s situation by planning for second fronts.

In light of the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has announced plans “to develop options to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense, including to consider establishing new NATO battlegroups in . . . eastern and southeastern Europe.” France may lead a battle group in Romania, adding to alliance forces in the Baltic states and Poland. While such military presence might serve to deter Russian aggression along the eastern flank of NATO, it would have an additional value: tying down Russian troops along those borders rather than allowing them to be redeployed toward Ukraine. In principle, NATO could challenge Russia with the prospect of second fronts, compelling it to move assets away from Ukraine.