Partly that answer came in the statement that was made a couple of years ago by the US senator John Kerry: "While the world has changed, we are still dealing with some of the same geostrategic and ideological concerns that brought NATO into being: in particular, a deep and durable commitment by like-minded democracies to cooperate closely and deter aggression with a promise to rise up in defense of any NATO member under attack." We should remember that the Atlantic Council was created in 1949 exclusively to 'deter aggressors' from the east of the European continent, which nowadays means Russia. However, now John Kerry holds the position of State Secretary and doesn’t allow himself that kind of statements.
That doesn’t mean though that the American foreign policy strategists stopped thinking about containment. It is just that the task is more complicated now. They have to keep an eye on both what is happening in the East and in the West. That’s when the well known countries of Central and Western Europe become very useful.
As in his interview to the “Voice of Russia” the Ambassodor of Russia in European Union Vladimir Chizhov mentioned those countries "including some that used to be part of the USSR became part of EU not only with their very limited economic potential but also with their own ideas of the relationship with Russia. And I am not afraid to use the word “phobias” which they carry from the Soviet period, and some of them – even from previous centuries".
The presence of such phobias is very advantegous for the US.
The correctness of such assessment could be judged upon the following actions of those 'allies'. Let’s take into consideration the situation with decision of Barack Obama to place the missile defense radar in Czech Republic and the missile interceptors in Poland. The local mass media declared the White House decision a treason. One Lithuanian newspaper accused Obama of setting up its allies: voting for missile defense placement the countries of Eastern and Central Europe were risking and were criticized by general public and other countries of the EU. Another newspaper compared Eastern Europe with a "seduced and subsequently abandoned girl". The elements of missile defense systems played a symbolical role of presence of the US in the region. If there are no Americans there, the geopolitical region will go to Russia. The separate publishers even allowed themselves to scare the States by saying that it creates the problems for the future as the fooled allies will think carefully next time.
Here is another quote: “Obama administration left to the mercy of fate the ideological important allies who are still defending the Atlantic doctrine and often play a counterbalancing role of the anti-American position for many Western Europe countries».
This is a very important statement. This is not a secret to anyone that after the end of the Cold War a lot of politicians of so-called Old Europe thought of NATO mission as fulfilled, lost interest to responsibilities of their countries toward the Alliance. At some point the majority of the western European countries sent their energy toward the realization of their own integration project (EU), and not on maintaining the Atlantic Unity. According to current estimates, the possible globalization of NATO functions scares the western Europeans. While from the American point of view, the organization is still useful as the projector of the American power. Washington has to constantly criticize and push Western Europe for it to spend more money for the military cause.
Nothing is more useful in that matter as the constant reminder of the threats. And here Eastern European alliances of the US are very useful. Not long ago Minister of Defense of Latvia Artis Pabriks announced the following: "The conviction of people that they shouldn’t be afraid of Russia is not justified". He added that he thinks it is possible that Russia might invade Latvia in order to defend their Russian speaking compatriots. It is not a coincidence that the script of the Russian-Belorussian military exercises “Zapad-2013” combine the possible military conflict of ethnic difficulties with one of the neighbor countries. With the fact that Russians are really oppressed in Latvia, the Minister concealed…
In the same spirit the Polish press speaks from time to time. The Polish press «wPolityce» published recently the report from the lecture of some uniervsity professor who without a doubt stated that the military strategy of Russia is one of the main factors that will form the future of Poland. Speaking about the conflict with Georgia in August 2008, professor interpreted “experience of the Russians”: it turns out that the military operations are possible if to send tanks and planes to the European country under the cover of the propaganda campaign. The key words here are, of course, “to the European country”. Finally, according to the professors opinion, Kremlin is trying to split the West: Russia signed a contract with the French producer of the helicopter carrier “Mistral”, and that kind of agreements disturb NATO.
That way Eastern Europe alliances of the US, without hiding that, become part of «division of security» of the American foreign policy on the Old Continent. That kind of policy suggests not to allow further economic and political development of Russia with United Europe as it is perceived by Washington as the threat to their hegemony.