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/ .