Wednesday, May 23, 2018

U.S. to commit more forces to NATO efforts

BRUSSELS — The United States plans to join with other NATO nations in increasing ground and naval forces in Eastern Europe as part of the military alliance's response to Russia's incursion in Ukraine, the White House said Wednesday.

The specifics of the NATO plan were still being finalized, including the size of the force increase. Rather than significantly boosting the U.S. military presence in the region, the move seems aimed instead at showing symbolic support for NATO members near Russia's borders.

President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said NATO is aiming to provide "a continuous presence to reassure our allies." While he would not detail specific countries where the additional resources would be sent, he noted that the United States is particularly focused on efforts to bolster Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Rhodes briefed reporters as Obama traveled to Rome from Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as European Union leaders. In a speech from the heart of Europe, Obama declared the crisis in Ukraine a global "moment of testing."

Obama appealed to Europeans to retrench behind the war-won ideals of freedom and human dignity, declaring that people voicing those values will ultimately triumph in Ukraine. Painting a historical arc across the major global clashes of the last century and beyond, he said young people born today come into a world more devoid of conflict and replete with freedom than at any other time in history.

The president also urged the 28-nation NATO alliance to make good on its commitment to the collective security that has fostered prosperity in the decades since the Cold War concluded.

"We must never forget that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom," Obama said, adding that the Ukraine crisis has neither easy answers nor a military solution. "But at this moment, we must meet the challenge to our ideals, to our very international order with strength and conviction."

Calm in Europe has been upended by Russian President Vladimir Putin's foray into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. Defying the global community, Moscow annexed that peninsula this month.

Obama came to Europe intent on shoring up commitments from allies, but also to make a larger point about European security a quarter-century after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In a nod to the U.S. perception that America has borne too much of the burden for NATO members' security, Obama said he wants to see every NATO partner "chip in" for mutual defense.

"I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending by some of our partners in NATO," Obama said. "The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn't free."

Comments
Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Whatever pain RHP Jake Faria was feeling as a result of the oblique muscle on the left side he strained throwing a fourth-inning slider to Boston's Hanley Ramirez couldn't compare to the hurt in his heart.Forced to leave Tuesday's game and likely hea...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Saint Leo softball in the hunt for Division II title

Saint Leo softball in the hunt for Division II title

ST. LEO — History, both recent and program-encompassing, would not have suggested Saint Leo's softball team get any farther than a few games into the postseason.But this has been a history-making kind of week for Lions athletics. After ear...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
South Florida toy exec ready to pony up thousands for Murphy-Jolly run

South Florida toy exec ready to pony up thousands for Murphy-Jolly run

Politics can be a nightmarish place: Attack ads. Dark money. Political "bogeymen."Then there are the days when My Little Pony enters the fray.That's right. The man whose company produces your favorite classic, rainbow toy horses is getting invol...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

TAMPA — The pain of the Parkland shootings Feb. 14 was fresh on the minds of Hillsborough County’s graduating seniors when about 300 of them received an assignment. Write a 250-word essay on how decades of school shootings have touched y...
Updated: 1 hour ago
No federal cyber-security money before election, state says

No federal cyber-security money before election, state says

Florida's chief elections official, Ken Detzner, says counties desperately waiting for a new pot of federal money to fight cyber-threats to voting systems won't be getting it before the election."The answer is no, and the reason is, we have to go to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — While rain chances will decrease over the next two days, it is only a relative calm before a broad low pressure system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, producing strong storms across an already drenched Tampa Bay for Memorial Day weeke...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman jailed in UK for forcing teenage daughter to marry

A woman in Britain has been sentenced to four- and-a-half years in prison for forcing her teenage daughter to marry a relative in Pakistan
Updated: 1 hour ago

China pledges to work seriously with US ahead of Ross' visit

China's government has pledged to work conscientiously with Washington on resolving a sprawling trade dispute ahead of a visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Beijing
Updated: 1 hour ago

City looks for answers after zombie alert sent to residents

Officials say they still don't know who sent a "zombie alert" to residents of a Florida city following a power outage
Updated: 1 hour ago