All You Need to Know About NATO's Warsaw Summit

Yves Herman / ReutersA NATO flag flies at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) biennial summit is to take place between July 8-9 at Poland's National Stadium in Warsaw, with all 28 NATO members set to attend.

Dealing with Russia was a priority at the 2014 summit held in Wales and the issue is still likely to to be a main talking point in Warsaw.

The Moscow Times reviewed the key points that could be on the agenda in Warsaw.

1. Can NATO And Russia Be Friends?

In 2014, NATO resolved to produce action plans tackling Russian aggression in eastern Europe. These included the Readiness Action Plan, a plan to ensure more troops are posted in eastern Europe and that more forces are readily available in the event of a crisis.

Amendments to these plans will be discussed in Warsaw, as well as proposals to set up rotating forces of up to 4,000 troops stationed around eastern Europe. The measure will mean that NATO can bypass an agreement it has with Russia that stops it from permanently stationing troops in the region.

Separately, NATO will need to decide how it deals with Russia. NATO's Baltic state members in particular have traditionally viewed Russia with great suspicion, something that has only grown with recent actions in Ukraine. A lack of dialogue has heightened the perceived threat level on both sides.

2. Do the Biggest Threats Lie in the South or in the East?

Given the nature of NATO's size, not all members have the same priorities. While states in eastern Europe are concerned about Russia, those in southern Europe are more anxious about the dangers posed by the Middle East and Northern Africa, such as Islamic extremism and failing states.

NATO will be asked to show that the organization is beneficial for all its members. Clarification of how to deal with organizations such as the Islamic State will be needed during the Warsaw Summit.

3. Can the U.S. Get Europe to Contribute More?

The U.S. wants other members in the alliance to share the burden of military spending. NATO wants its members to try to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Many members will want to revise this system in Warsaw as it does not reflect the contribution of each country: Greece, has the second largest defense expenditures in terms of GDP, but their actual contribution is smaller than that of the UK and Germany. Separately, it will be hard to convince members who are not under any immediate threat to spend more on defense.

4. Can Russia Halt Expansion?

Montenegro is likely to be asked to join NATO. This will send a clear message to Russia that NATO refuses to accept a Russian veto against the right of free choice to form alliances. Integrating Montenegro should be relatively smooth as it has no immediate conflicts on the horizon.

This is not true of Ukraine and Georgia. If they become members and are attacked by Russia, the whole of NATO will have to respond. This is thanks to article five of the NATO agreement, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all. Currently, NATO is keen to avoid any further conflict with Russia, so these nations are unlikely to join.

There is also a divide in opinion on how NATO's membership enlargement should continue to be understood. The U.S. views it as a continuous transformation to make the whole of Europe free, whereas countries such as Germany want to focus on improving the alliance's efficiency.

The Islamic State is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

See also:

How Russia Helped NATO Rediscover Itself (Op-Ed)

NATO Approves 4,000-Strong Baltic Rapid Deployment Force

NATO's Stoltenberg Discusses Russia, Kremlin Reacts