US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper is due to visit Sofia, Bulgaria today for defence
US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper is due to visit Sofia, Bulgaria today for defence talks.
Cooper will discuss military modernisation and defence cooperation with his Bulgarian counterparts. Bulgaria, a NATO member, sits on the eastern flank of the alliance, facing the Black Sea. Bulgaria’s high commitment to defence makes it an important partner for military operations meant to deter Russian military aggression in the region. Accordingly, Washington has stepped up defence cooperation with Sofia in recent years with the latter procuring American-made F-16 fighter jets.
Despite advances in military cooperation, the Bulgarian people and elite still possess a strong affinity for Russia and its culture while remaining vulnerable to Moscow’s energy diplomacy. Expect not only increased US defence investment in the region, but also investment in alternative energy infrastructure like the Three Seas Initiative. Otherwise, Bulgaria will continue to pursue a hedging strategy between Russia and the West, accepting US military cooperation while aiding Russian construction of Black Sea pipelines.