Russian President Vladimir Putin is "a bully," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in Berlin on Wednesday, and the U.S. should station thousands of U.S. troops along the NATO side of Russia's border to contain his aggression. "I'm not talking about being bellicose but saying here are the consequences of your actions," said Bush, on the second day of a pre-presidential campaign European tour, before a meeting with Germany's foreign minister. "And that would deter the kind of bad outcome that we don't want to see."
On Tuesday, Bush had applauded President Obama's temporary deployment of U.S. troops to train in eastern Poland and the Baltic States as part of NATO exercises. But Russia is "deploying tens of thousands of people in the region, I mean, literally next door to our allies and our response is far less meaningful," Bush added Wednesday. "From the outside, without having any kind of classified information, it appears we could have a more robust presence."
That's a tough sell in Europe. In a survey of 10 nations released Wednesday, Pew Research Center found that a great number of Europeans aren't too keen on defending their fellow NATO members for a Russian invasion. "At least half of Germans, French, and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia,” Pew said. Support was higher in Britain, Spain, and Portugal, but only in Canada and the U.S. did more than half of respondents back military action if Russia invaded a NATO ally. Peter Weber