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Russia's continuing intervention in Ukraine, including its annexation of Crimea, is more than a stark rejection of Euro-Atlantic integration. It has shattered the vision of a stable, secure, and economically healthy Europe that has guided North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) policy for two decades. NATO, working closely with the EU, needs to regain the initiative to proactively seek peace and stability on the continent and find a coherent, cohesive way forward. In this perspective, we describe two possible strategies for how NATO can respond to Russia's activities: (1) punishment and disengagement and (2) resilience and engagement. NATO's choice of a strategy comes down to whether to promote or give up on an integrated Europe and whether and how to influence Russia's behavior both politically and militarily. Our preference for the second strategy is based on its continued commitment to North Atlantic values and refusal to view Russia in adversarial zero-sum terms.

This research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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