Financial Times Says NATO Vulnerable on Eastern Europe’s Borders

LONDON - The Financial Times Friday reported that the US-based Atlantic Council stated that there are continuous warnings to NATO that the alliance cannot defend Europe’s eastern border against an increasingly aggressive Russia.

The FT publication says six defense experts — including former secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, deputy supreme commander Sir Richard Shirreff and former Italian defense minister and NATO military committee chair Giampaolo di Paola contributed to the AC report, warning of a grave “lack of progress” in the alliance’s plans to reinforce itself in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2013.

It is the third serious caution for NATO from members of the western defence establishment in a month.

A RAND corporation paper modelling dozens of war game scenarios in consultation with the Pentagon and published in late January, found that Russia’s forces would overrun NATO in the Baltic, and capture Tallinn and Riga, in a maximum of 60 hours, with a “catastrophic” defeat for defending alliance forces,” the article reads.

Non-credible defense efforts will not impress Putin,” François Heisbourg, former French government defense adviser and now chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies commented. “Putin only takes symbolic moves seriously if the symbolism has a weight of its own,” NATO’s current plans, Mr Heisbourg said, do not appear to have any such gravity.

According to the publication, NATO’s greatly increased range and pace of military war-games, for example, still pales in comparison to Russia’s now routine “snap” and sprawling, planned military drills. Last year’s centerpiece for NATO, dubbed Noble Jump — the alliance’s largest war game in years — involved a core of 5,000 men, with 10,000 involved in affiliated exercises elsewhere and 300 or so tanks. Russia’s “centre 2015” drill in September mobilised 95,000 troops and 7,000 tanks and artillery.

The FT cites Heisbourg that the danger of a strategic miscalculation by Moscow are higher so long as NATO’s posture is seen to be uncertain. “It has to be about soldiers being permanently present there and rather more equipment than is currently planned . . . we need a tripwire force like we had in West Germany during the cold war.”

It is still unclear just how far the alliance will go in its package of measures due this year.”

By Zviad Adzinbaia

Edited by Chloe Diamond

Original source:

27 February 2016 14:51