Sep 15, 2021
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NATO enlargement fantasies

Russia is being heavily portrayed as a military threat to Europe

On September 8, the American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) presented report on NATO enlargement… Attention is paid to five countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland and Sweden. “Three of these countries – Georgia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina – are actively seeking membership. Finland and Sweden do not seek membership and remain committed to non-alignment. “ And the desire of Bosnia and Herzegovina (to become a NATO member) is a controversial issue, as the report says, due to the presence of the Republika Srpska in BiH (it is against joining the alliance), as well as the specific status of BiH as an entity with limited sovereignty.

The authors of the report indicate: “For large-scale operations [НАТО] the possibilities are limited. Compared to Russia, the costs and forces of non-NATO countries are much higher, but NATO has difficulty deploying even small forces. The alliance, which deployed 40 divisions (about 360 combat battalions) in Northern Europe during the Cold War, strained to deploy four battalions in the Baltics. “

Sweden believes that NATO has a number of weaknesses: dependence on the general strategy of the United States; duplication of responsibilities between NATO commanders, troop-contributing and host countries; the relative weakness of the eastern members of the alliance; lack of infrastructure in Europe.

The authors of the report point to the slowness in the field of decision-making. It is quite obvious that the expansion of the alliance will exacerbate this condition. Difficulties were observed [внутри альянса] with the choice of the military-political strategy during the conflict. “NATO planners have long faced difficult choices when considering a concept of defense: maintain forward defenses that hold territory but are potentially fragile, or conduct mobile defenses that initially force a withdrawal and require a subsequent counteroffensive.”

NATO has held annual joint exercises with the Georgian military since 2016 and maintains a permanent office in Georgia in order for Georgia to be successful in a military operation against Russia, even with NATO participation, the report notes that at least two conditions must be met: airlifting significant armed forces and at least passive participation of Turkey in the conflict, including the deployment of military contingents in Turkey with their subsequent movement to Georgia by land and sea.

The cost of building infrastructure, deploying troops, rotating them and conducting exercises requires $ 7 billion a year. Half of them will fall on the shoulders of the United States, the other half – on the European members of the alliance.

Ukraine presents a more complex case. The authors fantasize about “Russian aggression” and describe a scenario according to which Russian troops will seize the Left-Bank Ukraine, taking in a ring the Ukrainian military, who will try to defend Kharkiv and a number of other cities. Although the NATO Air Force scenario will be able to strike at Russian troops, it will not be possible to stop them. NATO will be able to create the proper conditions for a counterattack only in three months, but in response, Russia, the authors of the report suggest, will use tactical nuclear weapons.

Strengthening the security of Ukraine will require the permanent deployment of three brigades, the purchase and deployment of equipment, the deployment of one air defense brigade, the availability of instructors and command personnel (250 people) of the United States, two squadrons of the US Air Force and one NATO. All this requires $ 27 billion.

The authors of the report also took into account the Donbass factor. Suppressing the uprising is expected to be costly. “Peacekeeping” will require $ 98 billion for five years and another $ 130 billion for a five-year “special” operation – taking into account the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main problem is the Serbian population and the position of Serbia itself. It is assumed that the confrontation will require $ 24.6 billion. On the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is said (as if it is already a NATO member) that troops will need to be sent there to maintain order.

Sweden. Here the authors of the report give free rein to the imagination. “In NATO’s conflict with Russia, for example during the Russian invasion of the Baltic states, Sweden will be deeply involved. Since Finland acts as a buffer against Russia, a land attack is highly unlikely. Sweden will face three defensive missions: defending against Russian air and missile attacks, defending its vast territory from Russian infiltration, and defending the island of Gotland and other key infrastructure so that NATO forces can use them to protect the entry of troops into the Baltic states and elsewhere. “… To do this, you must first place aircraft and air defense systems to cover Gotland and a number of positions in Sweden. It will cost the United States 3.2 billion (the alliance will need to add another 6.4 billion)

It was noted in the report that, “in addition to purely military tasks, Sweden faces military-political problems when joining NATO: NATO membership does not just guarantee Swedish territory from external aggression, it also demands that Sweden participate in the conflicts of other countries, which it has not done since the 18th century “

As for Finland, the authors of the report suggest that the Finns are not interested in inviting foreign military contingents to their territory so as not to provoke Russia. To substantiate the Russian-Finnish conflict, the authors of the report put forward a version of the occupation of the Aland Islands by the Russians, to which the Finnish side will be forced to respond. However, Finland does not have combat aircraft of the necessary class to withstand Russia, nor an air defense system. If NATO wants to come to the rescue, it will require a little more than $ 1 billion, but for a better strengthening of its positions – $ 5.3 billion.

In general, the report of the American Center for Strategic and International Studies clearly traces the intention to present Russia as a threat to European countries and to create the appearance that these countries have no alternative to rapprochement with NATO.

Cover photo: REUTERS /Kevin Lamarck

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