17 June 2016

But Where is the Money in That?

It is obvious that Russia has been much more aggressive in its dealings with the west lately, and the west has responded by calls for rearmament and massive military exercises near Russia's border.

Russia has responded by moving military resources to the borders of Poland and the Baltic states.

Turn of events has the father of Glasnost, Mikhail Gorbachev, saying that the US war on Russia never ended.

Well here is a revolutionary proposal, how about trying diplomacy?
From a military standpoint, Western planners’ biggest headache is the defense of the Baltic states, located at the edge of NATO territory and hopelessly outnumbered by Russian troops. Indeed, the need to deter Russia will top the agenda when alliance leaders meet next month in Warsaw. But as they contemplate what military means might stop a swift, Crimea-type land grab, they should also review what they know about Moscow’s beliefs and motivations — and choose a path that might defuse, rather than elevate, regional tensions.

NATO’s fears are not unfounded. In Ukraine, Moscow achieved surprising success with unorthodox tactics that included the use of “voluntary battalions” and unidentified troops. President Putin has made it clear that Russia sees itself as the protective power for all Russians. Theoretically, this also includes the large Russian minorities in Estonia and Latvia.

Thus, the alliance is currently doing what can be expected from a collective defensive organization: it is ramping up defenses. In addition to the decisions at the last summit in Wales, Washington is sending a continually rotating brigade (about 5,000 men) to Eastern Europe. Furthermore, NATO is planning to station a multinational battalion in each of the Baltic States and Poland (altogether about 4,000 men). Romania recently reported the completion of a part of the European ballistic missile defense system. NATO is thus on track to better defend its easternmost allies.

But alliance leaders need a better approach, for even the planned measures are inadequate to mount a military defense. A recent RAND study found that available troops could hold off a Russian attack for a maximum of three days. For serious resistance, about 35,000 soldiers would be needed — and this imbalance is about to get worse. Rushing ahead of the anticipated Warsaw decisions, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu recently announced the stationing of three new divisions (up to 30,000 men) on Russia’s western and southern borders.


In fact, Russia has accepted the expansion of NATO, however reluctantly. Moscow is also clear-eyed about the ultimate consequences of an attack on an alliance member: war, and possibly with nuclear weapons. What Russia does not accept is further expansion into the post-Soviet space. To Moscow, therefore, NATO’s activism looks like hysteria and a pretext for an offensive rearmament.


To prevent such a scenario and, in the absence of a fundamentally new approach, the Warsaw meeting should lead NATO back to a Cold War strategy that mixes deterrence and cooperation. What became known in the 1960s as the Harmel Doctrine – that is, the combination of stronger defense and the offer of dialogue with the Soviets – was ultimately implemented in NATO’s dual-track decision of 1979. Today, NATO needs a new dual-track strategy adapted to 21st-century needs.


The proponents of deterrence are right: The Kremlin must be shown the limits. But deterrence alone is simply not enough. In order to better gauge Russia’s intentions and prevent a costly decade of mutual rearmament, the alliance must re-discover diplomacy — starting in Warsaw.
With the end the Cold War, the policy of the US and the NATO alliance the past 25 years its policy has been to try to reduce Russia to a 3rd world vassal state, now that Russia has the inclination, and the wherewithal, to resist this, we are back into an arms race.

The only people who win are the the defense contractors.


Post a Comment