View from Washington: NATO is flirting with War and Extinction

10:03 03.06.2024 •

Kyiv authorities are ready to dance in front of NATO so that the West sends its troops to Ukraine.

NATO is flirting with war and extinction. France is now "officially" sending troops to Ukraine (they have been there for some time) and NATO countries are demanding strikes deep inside Russia. Meanwhile the US has secretly made a "policy shift" that somewhat falls short of what Zelensky wanted, but opens the door to deep strikes by the US on Russian territory.

Ukraine is on the brink of collapse, stresses Stephen Bryen, a former US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.

The Ukrainian army is short on troops, and that gets worse by the day as their army continues to suffer high casualties.  According to the Russians, Ukraine has lost 35,000 soldiers in May (killed and wounded). Ukraine cannot replace the lost soldiers, and the forced recruiting program underway can't replace trained personnel.

There also are rumors that Russia may significantly increase its own troop strength on the battleline. Some think that could be reinforcing the ongoing Kharkiv-focused operation. Others are projecting a new battlefront in the Sumy region. Still others think the Russians will soon reinforce their operations along the line of contract, rolling up more territory and finally taking Chasiv Yar.

NATO leaders fear Ukraine's collapse. While they are guessing what the Russians will do next, they are largely out of options to save Ukraine.

Inserting NATO soldiers, in relatively small numbers, is not a solution.  It only means that Europe will soon be filled up with body bags. 

NATO does not want to negotiate with Russia. That goes especially for President Joe Biden, who fears going into the coming elections having lost Afghanistan and Ukraine. Any deal with the Russians today would mean major concessions, not only on territory, but about Ukraine's future. Russia has not changed its red line on demanding that NATO get out of Ukraine. While the Russians might agree to some security guarantees for Ukraine, it is hard to see how such guarantees have trading value. Would the US go to war with Russia for Ukraine? 

The only solid and proven military force in NATO is the United States. But the US force is mainly expeditionary and small, no match for a Russian land army.

The American advantage is in tactical aviation, but again US pilots would have to operate in a dense area denial environment where Russian air defenses could reduce US tactical aviation effectiveness. It is quite true that the US has stealth, but the Russians have been working on ways to counter US stealth fighters such as the F-22 and F-35. No one can say for sure how far along Russia is on being able to target American stealth platforms, but Russian strategic defenses are using UHF and L band radars to make sure they are neither surprised nor incapable of handling stealth threats. That explains why two Russian strategic radar sites were targeted by drones in the past week. Was the attack on Russia's strategic radar assets a preparation for the introduction of US strategic bombers and tactical aviation into the Ukraine war?

The Russians say that the US policy is largely meaningless because US and NATO weapons are already being used on Russia's territory. Russian President Putin, speaking in Tashkent, said that the US and NATO are manning the long range weapons and providing target intelligence for them, so the "new" policy is not new at all.

Striking deep in Russia sounds like an attractive military option, but it is far from clear such attacks can change the course of the war in Ukraine. 

The likely result of all this is that the Ukraine war will continue. NATO will take even more losses, including NATO soldiers. Behind the scenes plans to use air power or NATO ground forces are unlikely to happen, given the dire consequences for Europe. NATO flirting with a bigger war is horribly risky, as serious thinkers in Europe and the United States realize. Spooking the Russians to back off by attacking Russian territory or sending in French soldiers, will not work as the Russians have already priced in that reality and are plowing ahead with the war in Ukraine.

Furthermore NATO's failure to negotiate over Ukraine means the bleeding out of NATO's already limited capabilities will continue. Some NATO states may decide they need to look elsewhere for security.

Is NATO flirting with extinction?


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