The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff dismissed as outmoded yesterday the notion that "buffer zones" are required to separate NATO from Russia. General John Shalikashvili told reporters following talks in Romania that "NATO is not in confrontation with Russia" and that buffer zones were unnecessary "in a Europe where all sides work together to build stability." Shalikashvili also said that the plan for admitting new members to NATO was on schedule and that the alliance hoped to move forward concomitantly with the establishment of friendly relations with Russia. (1) halikashvili’s talk of "buffer zones" refers to Moscow’s repeated assertions that the expansion of NATO eastward to Russia’s borders could undermine European security.
U.S. Reassures Eastern Europe on NATO Enlargement.