The way Washington and the military establishment have been talking these days, you’d think that the Russians are going to be paradropping onto our high schools any day now. Ever since Russia put its foot down over Syria, our government has taken a hard stance against them, and you can see it in their rhetoric. The same propaganda machine that turned for World War Two, the Cold War, and the War on Terror, is once again turning for the Russians.
As time goes on, our government is putting more emphasis on the Russians and less on terrorism. ISIS will probably be the last Islamic bogeyman that our government can muster. After that, it’s just going to be Russia and China (and domestic terrorists, but that’s a story for another day).
And never has our government hyped the Russian threat in recent history, like they did this week. On Tuesday, there were two major developments in this regard, starting with the release of a report on how weak our military is in Eastern Europe.
If Russian tanks and troops rolled into the Baltics tomorrow, outgunned and outnumbered NATO forces would be overrun in under three days. That’s the sobering conclusion of war games carried out by a think tank with American military officers and civilian officials.
“The games’ findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” said a report by the Rand Corp., which led the war gaming research.
In numerous tabletop war games played over several months between 2014-2015, Russian forces were knocking on the doors of the Estonian capital of Tallinn or the Latvian capital of Riga within 36 to 60 hours. U.S. and Baltic troops — and American airpower — proved unable to halt the advance of mechanized Russian units and suffered heavy casualties, the report said.
The study argues that NATO has been caught napping by a resurgent and unpredictable Russia, which has begun to boost defense spending after having seized the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and intervened in support of pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. In the event of a potential Russian incursion in the Baltics, the United States and its allies lack sufficient troop numbers, or tanks and armored vehicles, to slow the advance of Russian armor, said the report by Rand’s David Shlapak and Michael Johnson.
“Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad,” it said.
Those options include a NATO led counter-attack, threatening to use nuclear weapons, or admitting defeat and cutting their losses before engaging in a new Cold War with Russia.
On the same day that this report came out, the Pentagon released another report that explained the shortcomings of our military. After more than a decade of fighting terrorists and insurgents, our military is ill-equipped to compete with the conventional forces of Russia and China. And several years of budget cuts that were designed to make our military leaner and more agile, we don’t have enough soldiers or heavy weapons to counter both of these threats. Essentially, the Pentagon hopes to make our military into the unstoppable juggernaut it once was.
And within that report, was a call to quadruple the budget for our military in Europe, and send billions of dollars worth of tanks and armored vehicles along Russia’s borders, particularly in the Baltic region. Obviously, the Russians were none too pleased about this development.
The Russian Embassy called the announcement an attempt to “escalate tensions without obvious reasons” and said it violated the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, which included an agreement that both sides would not station large masses of troops between Russia and new NATO member countries.
A senior administration official denied that the U.S. actions were “threatening,” and told FP they “are in accordance” with the international agreement because the deployment of troops would be rotational.
The timing of the announcement also caught some observers off guard. Moscow’s military actions in eastern Ukraine have lessened in the past few months even though it continues to coordinate with pro-Russian rebels there. In December, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said there has been a “sharp de-escalation of hostilities” since August in the conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people.
In reality, none of this has anything to do with defending NATO, and everything to do with dominating and encircling Russia. All these reports that are blustering about how vulnerable NATO is and how dangerous the Russians are, have deliberately failed to see the bigger picture.
It’s true that Russia’s military has seen an impressive resurgence in recent years, especially when it comes to their technological prowess. It’s true the US military has shrunk, and is ill-equipped to fight them on open ground. And it’s also true that the Russians could easily conquer NATO’s Baltic region. But they’re not going to.
The truth is, even when you exclude the United States, NATO’s military budget is about 3.5 times bigger than Russia’s, and with the United States, they have an active duty military that is 4.5 times bigger. They’re not in a position to wage an offensive war against NATO. The only thing they can really do is nibble at the borders of country’s like Ukraine. For most part, their only chance of winning a war with the West, is by taking a defensive posture. They’re not much of a threat to the US or NATO, unless we decide to make them a threat. And all of this is excluding the fact that the Russians aren’t suicidal, and don’t want a nuclear war.
What we’re really seeing here, is more posturing from the United States, and more provocations against Russia, which have been ongoing since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is nothing more than an attempt to make a bogeyman out of Russia, and use those fears to score a higher budget for the military-industrial complex.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .