Russia continues to oppose political opposition to its continued expansion and sees it as an incompatibility with the informal agreements between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the European and American negotiators that allowed for the peaceful reunification of Germany.  NATO`s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow`s leadership as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to encircle and isolate Russia, although they have also been criticized in the West.  A June 2016 Levada poll showed that 68% of Russians consider sending NATO troops to the Baltics and Poland – the former Eastern Bloc countries on the border with Russia – to be a threat to Russia.  In contrast, 65% of Poles surveyed in a 2017 Pew Research Center report identified Russia as a “major threat”, 31% on average in all NATO countries and 67% of Poles surveyed in 2018 are US forces for their headquarters in Poland.  Among the Eastern European countries surveyed by Gallup in 2016, a-CIS, all other than Serbia and Montenegro viewed NATO as a protective alliance rather than a threat.  A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement had contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.  The United States has one point to emphasize that its commitment is disproportionate. Last year, it spent 3.6% of its GDP on defence, the highest rate of any NATO member (and the highest military budget in the world, with significant room for manoeuvre). This is almost twice as much as the 2% of GDP target that NATO members all agreed to in 2006. At that time, six members reached the threshold; Last year, there were five of them. We must be careful not to reduce the NATO alliance or the concept of burden-sharing to only 2%.
Our allies don`t just need to spend more. You have to spend better. ” – Senator John McCain, Chairman of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee37 37. John McCain, “Opening Statement by SASC President John McCain at Hearing on U.S. European Command Posture,” March 23, 2017. On 16 April 2003, NATO declared its readiness to take command of the 42-country International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).