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James Stavridis

Four Ways the U.S. Can Keep Putin From Invading Ukraine

The Russian leader despises having Western troops on his borders. He needs to know that escalation will bring a huge increase in American forces and more nations into NATO.

Taking aim at Ukraine?

Taking aim at Ukraine?

Photographer: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

When I became the supreme military commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2009, the alliance was focused on the war in Afghanistan. But one of the first senior delegations to visit me came to discuss Russia: the military chiefs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

I’ll never forget the tone in their voices as they described the malevolence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They had the insiders’ view, as they had ascended through the ranks while their countries were part of the Soviet Union.