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NATO is now fully committed in its role to providing an ‘enhance forward presence’ to deter any Russian aggression. As a result four battle groups have taken up strategic deployments in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The US has also stepped up its presence in Eastern Europe by committing more troops and armour to the region. Yesterday President Trump made it clear that the US attitude towards NATO has strengthened, Mr Trump said at the G20 visit “To those who would criticise our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated – not merely with its words but with its actions – that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defence commitment.”

“Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection, Europe – and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this – Europe must do more.”

Speaking in Poland, a country that was under Soviet control for many years until it fell and became independent in 1989, NATO fears that these Former Union states could be taken back under Russian control similar to the annexation of Crimea.

Defence experts feel that if Moscow can quite easily move into Ukraine and take chunks of territory, then what is stopping them from moving into its former Baltic states, add that to the fact Russia is also increasing its defence spending by 5.9 percent to $69.2 billion, making it the third largest spender at 4.1 percent, overtaking Saudi Arabia, which dropped to fourth position in 2016.

General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, told Politico’s Brussels Playbook that it is unclear what the Kremlin’s intentions are, but their steps to increase military prowess is clear.

“When it comes to capability there is no doubt that Russia is developing their capabilities both in conventional and nuclear components. When it comes to exercises, their ability to deploy troops for long distance and to use them effectively quite far away from their own territory, there are no doubts,” Pavel told the newspaper during a breakfast event.

“When it comes to intent, it’s not so clear because we cannot clearly say that Russia has aggressive intents against NATO,” he added.

The general said the allies must be prepared to confront “any potential threat that would mirror the situation we know from Crimea, from eastern Ukraine,” adding that they would not stand for such actions to be “repeated against any NATO ally.”

Russia has argued that its increase of budget and military equipment is a direct act of self defence against aggressive posturing from the US and NATO, however despite Russia’s increase, NATO’s collective defence spending more than surpasses it with $254 Billion even without US and Canada, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Russia’s willingness to deploy LGM (little green men) has mudded the waters when it comes to conventional deterrence. They claim the forces are nothing to do with the government, while at the same time threatening retaliation if anyone else intervenes. Unfortunately, that leaves NATO with little alternative to their current position.

    • Meanwhile the US is happy to support ISIS, Al-Nusra and other Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Syria. Unfortunately, that leaves Russia with little alternative to their current position.

      • If you have nothing better to do I suggest you read the history of the last sixty years. Find out how many people have been held against their will by the Soviet regime, the millions of guns given to terrorist groups around the world, their support for merciless dictators in Africa. Just look at the Russians “friends”. Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and on. Then check out how many millions of their own people they have killed Then you might be able to make a sensible contribution!

        • He is wrong. But the US is supporting the so called “moderate” rebels against a legitimate government. It has been estimated that over 50% of rebel groups have links to al qaeda and related groups. Supporting moderates is therefore supporting extremists because we cannot guarantee that what we give to one group will not go to another.

          It is a shame to see us attempting to do Libya/Afganistan all over again. You would think we would have learned by now.

      • Bombing the shit out of ISIS and killing thousands of them is a funny way of showing “support”

        Hope the summer is nice in St Petersburg

  2. Not sure NATO including the USA is supporting ISIS if it is dropping bombs on them. Which clearly the allies are doing.
    Russia is a threat simply because thee are prepared, through asynchronous warfare, to undermine other nations and take chunks of territory from them. Only air policing and deployments of small but capable NATO battle groups keep Russia in check and leading to doubt of NATOs response should they go to far

  3. A threat is not a threat if sensible and proportionate action is taken in advance to guard against its possibility.

  4. Russia is effectively using the same foreign policy strategy against America as the UK has against Europe for centuries which is designed to stop anyone becoming a hegemonic power.

    However, like the UK is not the same as it was 100 years ago, Russia today is not the same as Russia even 40 years ago.

    There isn’t a long list to credit Donald Trump with, but kicking NATO ass is one & I do wonder if he could be the Ian Paisley to Putin’s Martin McGuiness.

    We live in interesting times

    • We do indeed, and I keep an open mind on Trump. He is fighting the entrenched establishment, and that was needed to be done.

      Some of his policies on the other hand, well, nobody’s perfect.

  5. Russia is still a threat because it wants to be.
    They need desperately to have “the west” as an enemy.
    If they don’t then their entire political state has no one else to blame but themselves.
    They need the West as its patsy and as the force that gives them purpose.

  6. Fair points about Russia, their economy is not doing so well. Mostly because of sanctions imposed after invasion of Crimea. So self inflicted and they were warned of consequences if they did not stop trying to undermine Ukraine as a democratic sovereign state. The Russian political class do need to blame others for the obvious discomfort their economy is feeling now, so they blame the West and fan tensions.
    I would like to see the whole of NATO come together with a coherent plan for long term support of new NATO members in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states that currently have laughable defensive forces and little hope of even delaying any Russian aggression against them.
    It should be mandated that all states have to pay 2% into their defence budget or risk being asked to leave NATO. If countries like Germany do not want to build up their forces they should subsidise nations who spend to provide shared assets. Like our nuclear deterrent and carrier strike, and that of USA and France. Just like the UK subsidised the whole EU now those countries unwilling to step up should subsidise the willing.
    Those current weaker nations that have joined NATO so Baltic states, Hungary, Albania, Rumania should be asked to go to 3-4% of their budget as they are currently inadequately provisioned and bring little to no defensive forces to NATO.
    I view NATOs expansion into Eastern Europe as the reason Russia has become more belligerent. We have literally removed all buffer zones and Russia’s traditional sphere of influence and placed a military alliance right on their border. Not that NATO would ever attack Russia as it is a defensive alliance but the Russians have an excuse to justify increased hostility and ramping back up of their defence budget and force structures.

    • Bunk

      – NATO has been on Russia’s border since 1949.

      – NATO last expanded eastwards 13… yes, 13 years ago.
      Funny that this has only become an issue for them now?
      One might nearly think that they are just clutching at straws, desperate for an excuse.

      This “sphere of influence” is prehistoric bull poo.
      That is the diplomatic way of saying “ownership by foreign dictatorship”.
      Rightly the fledgling democracies saw that their nations interests were much better served getting out from under Moscow’s crushing boot.

  7. Its all very well to state that NATO country.s spend more than Russia even with out American and Canada,s input but each Nato country duplicates each other in their spend where as Russia spend is coordinated and targeted to is objectives,thus far more effective. So lets stop the silly monetary comparitives .

    • Indeed.
      And seeing as the wage of a Russian conscript (still making up 1/3 of their numbers) is around $12 per month, all talk of money is pointless.

      Add to that the Ruble is far weaker vs Western countries than it was 5 years ago, thus making their spending look smaller than it really is.
      In reality, Russian defence spending continues to rise.
      Their capability far exceeds that of Europe.

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