Are Russia and NATO Preparing for WAR?

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

As Russia’s military exercises and maneuvers in the Baltic, Atlantic and Pacific (vis-à-vis NATO nations and other allies) have assumed a more aggressive and less cautious posture over the last two years, legitimate geostrategic questions arise:

1) Is this a classic geopolitical tactic to reassert regional dominance over former Soviet Republics (now independent states in Europe and Asia) and/or implementation a psycho-political control mechanism over the Russian people to minimize domestic dissent through creation of international tensions?

2) Given increasing bipolar force levels in closer proximity and emergent international tensions, can a serious untended conflict arise and get out of control?

3) “Are Russia and NATO actually preparing for war?”

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph suggests the latter, according to a report by the European Leadership Network .

As NATO’s response to Russian military exercises and force deployments (and concomitant international tensions) increase, the probability of a serious confrontation increases as a military incident may suddenly escalate beyond control in a scenario of the largest concentration of forces since the Cold War. The situation is geopolitically and geostrategically complicated by the current situation in the Ukraine, as Russia is steadily mired in para-military operations aiding ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and NATO increases its aid to Ukraine (a NATO constituent).

However, the authors caution: “We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe.”

The report recommends:

• Increased NATO/Russia communications

• Reduction in size and scope of Russian and NATO exercises; and

• Negotiation of a new Conventional Forces Reduction Treaty for Europe

as a means of reducing international tensions and averting East/West military conflict in Europe

The original report “ Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe More Likely?” (as well as related reports and analyses ) is available at :http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/ .

4 thoughts on “Are Russia and NATO Preparing for WAR?”

  1. Wolf
    I agree that Putin has become belligerent concerning the Balkans and the Ukraine. As for preparing for war; I believe he’s just posturing and pushing our weak president as far as he can before we elect a stronger man or woman.
    Putin is the type of leader that will test the waters and gain what he can, when he can. He knows that Obama is a scholar and not a strong leader, and he will take all the gains he can get right now.
    However, with the price of oil at $41.00 a barrel, his economy is tanking and cannot support a sustained war with NATO.

  2. I don’t know how aggressive or serious Putin is about war, except that Russians in general are much smarter, wiser, and clever about these things than the USA, and they see things as a long game over a much-larger time horizon. They are very well-read especially during the long Winters and they know history and tactics and strategy and the lessons of nations throughout history. We know where the Kardashians are vacationing.

    So if Putin intends to capture more territory, he is going to be much more clever about it and much more strategic and thoughtful than the USA knows how to be. The first time we notice what is happening will already bee too late, the last few moves.

    But having lived and worked in Latvia, I have to say that if Russia tries to take either Estonia or Latvia, there will be war.

    As I observed in the 1990’s and told people then, the Latvians would cheerfully burn down their own country if the smoke would blow across the border and irritate the Russians.

    Neither Estonia or Latvia will go down without war. They will not accept the Russians back.

    Lithuania is much larger but also much poorer and socially disorganized. In theory Lithuania could be a bigger challenge, but I doubt they are cohesive enough to put up a fight.

  3. But having lived and worked in Latvia, I have to say that if Russia tries to take either Estonia or Latvia, there will be war.

    They will obviously take Estonia, and there won’t be a war because the emasculated Western Europeans are wimps, and they’re not going to risk their winter heat source over Estonia.

  4. Ironically, the solutions proposed would make the world a more dangerous place. Europe disarming and America having fewer troops with the ability to be just a couple of hours from the Middle East or Northern Africa is not good for world stability.

    Russia does not want to roll across Europe. They want to use proxy wars. They would rather be supporting Russian militia in places than being mired in wars. That is why the solution proposed would also have little effect. It may make war even more likely because it would lower deterrence for supporting these forces because the powers would be spread too thin to risk doing much about them.

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