The downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over a rebel-controlled area of Ukraine, killing more than 200 Dutch civilians and more from other countries around the world, is a reminder to us all of the criticality of international cooperation to enhance everyone’s security.

I spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath yesterday on how the NATO alliance might respond.


Listen to the interview


Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:


And for some insight into how the world community might respond, we turn now to retired Admiral James Stavridis. He was NATO Supreme Allied Commander and now serves as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Welcome to the program.

JAMES STAVRIDIS: Thanks, Arun. Great to be with you.

RATH: So Ukraine is not a NATO member but the Netherlands, which lost nearly 200 citizens in this crash, is a member of NATO. If President Putin doesn’t change course, what are NATO’s options?

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport with the Dutch flag at half mast. Photo: <a href="">Tom Jutte</a>

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport with the Dutch flag at half mast. Photo: Tom Jutte

STAVRIDIS: Well, I think NATO has some fairly robust options. And I have to start by simply expressing condolences, particularly to the Dutch. Losing 200 people when your population of your country is around 15 million is a 9/11-level event, on a population-adjusted basis for the United States. In terms of NATO, I think the first and foremost thing is to assist the Ukrainian military.

Now that doesn’t mean boots on the ground or aircraft flying overhead but Arun, it means things like sharing intelligence information. I think particularly help with cyber equipment, both lethal and nonlethal, so food, fuel, finances, that kind of thing. As well, and probably most controversially, potentially providing some advisors who can help as we assist the Ukrainian government in reducing this Russian-sponsored insurgency in the east.

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