Thursday, 30 June 2022 — Moon of Alabama
I had a good laugh when I read this nonsense:
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO will boost the number of troops on high alert by more than sevenfold to over 300,000, its secretary-general said on Monday, as allies prepared to adopt a new strategy describing Moscow as a direct threat four months into the Ukraine war.
Stoltenberg said NATO in future would have “well over 300,000” troops on high alert, compared to 40,000 troops that currently make up the alliance’s existing quick reaction force, the NATO Response Force (NRF).
The new force model is meant to replace the NRF and “provide a larger pool of high readiness forces across domains, land, sea, air and cyber, which will be pre-assigned to specific plans for the defence of allies,” a NATO official said.
NATO does not have 300,000 troops to put on high alert. The troops are controlled by member states and I see no willingness by any of them to shoulder the costs that a real high alert status would have. Units on high alert means that they fully manned with no one on vacation and with enough supplies ready to sustain weeks of battle. All of that costs money. Member states will instead designate existing units as ‘high alert’ ones and change nothing else in their usual equipment and training.
The statement is pure NATO public relations fluff. Stoltenberg did not even ask or inform member states before he made that announcement:
Stoltenberg’s announcement caught the top defense officials of many NATO members off guard, leading them to question which of their forces, if any, were being included in the 300,000 figure.
“Maybe it’s number magic?” said one senior European defense official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about the confusion.
Several senior European security policymakers said they were taken by surprise, with no advance notice of the plan to expand NATO’s quick-response force from its current size of 40,000 in light of the Ukraine war and Russia’s ongoing military threats to NATO territory.
This was one of the ideas that are typical for NATO bureaucrats who live in their own fantasy world. They are the reason why the French president Macron has called NATO ‘brain dead’. And no, it is really nothing more than an idea:
A NATO official, speaking on the condition of anonymity per the alliance’s ground rules, said that country-specific numbers still needed pinning down. Even the 300,000 total is theoretical for the moment: “The concept has not been fully worked up yet,” the official said. “We will have to do more to build up the model before we can work out what national commitments can be.”
Even so, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has already said her country will offer up 15,000 troops — a full division.
Lambrecht offered nothing. She will put the fake ‘high alert’ label on an existing division and change nothing else. That she did this is actually quite revealing. If Germany as one of the bigger NATO countries offers only one division size element where will the other 19 division size elements come from that are needed to make up a 300,000 strong force? Do they even exist?
NATO is just a shadow of its former self. Member states now have only a few troops that can be designated to work under NATO. Even those lack ammunition and depot weapons to make up for eventually losses. Some now even lack the industries to make more systems and grenades. They are also unable to make new ones that are fit for their purposes.
Neither of the big or small ‘modern’ weapons that were given to Ukraine has made a difference. The Javelins had empty batteries, the British NLAW anti-tank weapons were too weak to defeat Russian armor. Switchblade suicide drones are not controllable under Russian electronic warfare conditions. Stinger missiles have heat sensors that are too slow to acquire a fast moving target. The ‘light’ howitzer M-777 are too light for real battle conditions and tend to break.
NATO countries have put too much money into their air forces which will be unable to break through Russia’s excellent air defenses. NATO’s air defense is in contrast too weak. Just ask the Saudis how well their Patriot systems worked against Yemeni drones. Those systems can do nothing against Russia’s medium range missiles. System like Iskander and Kalibr, of which Russia has many, are hard to find in NATO armies.
What is the last time NATO units have trained under electronic warfare conditions?
The New York Times interviewed nearly two dozen Ukrainian soldiers over the last several weeks who all pointed to similar problems: Russians jammed their radios constantly; they didn’t have enough communication gear; and they often had difficulty getting through to a commander to call for artillery support. Talking to units stationed nearby was also an issue, they said, which has led to Ukrainian forces occasionally firing on one another.
The General said that his two off-the-shelf radios were jammed constantly.
“They would use the stronger signal on the same frequency,” he said.
Troops in more specialized units have been issued U.S.-supplied encrypted radios and can speak to one another unhindered, one soldier said, but the radio’s high output means the Russians can find the locations they are broadcasting from.
“This is why we stopped communicating and only communicated the necessary minimum, such as if an evacuation was needed or an urgent help,” the soldier, who goes by the name Raccoon, added.
Materially NATO is not ready to fight. Politically it is also not ready.
John Helmer quotes excerpts from an interview with the former chief of staff of the Polish army, Miecyslaw Gocul:
You complain, and [NATO Secretary-General] Jens Stoltenberg has announced: “The NATO summit in Madrid will be groundbreaking. With a new strategic concept, we will make a fundamental change in NATO’s deterrence and defense.”
Before the NATO summit in Warsaw [in 2016]), at the Pact’s military committee, I asked Stoltenberg: what will be the guarantees for the eastern flank? He replied with a question: what else does Poland expect? I said straight out: security and prosperity, which is what the rest of us sitting at the table want.”
“Just like then, I hear the same slogans today, such as ‘do more with less’. There are also other fine-sounding calls, but these are only political slogans calculated for a positive public reaction and minimizing costs. They do not really bring about any political and military solutions.
Now the tension between Russia and Lithuania is growing, because the sanctions are blocking the Kaliningrad Oblast more and more. Could this be a hotspot?
If Putin wanted to start the war further and decided to cut a corridor through the Baltics to the Kaliningrad District at the Suwałki Gap, what forces could stop him? Could the forces of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland stop Putin? Not at all. Putin will not be stopped by the Americans, who are present on the eastern flank only in small numbers. I repeat, Russia talks and calculates only with strong countries and organizations. And NATO in our region is weak.
It indeed is. And except for few east European hot heads, everyone hopes that it will stay so. None of the bigger NATO member countries wants a large fight with Russia. That includes the United States. Why then prepare for it? Why buy weapons that will never be used?
On the other side Russia does not want anything from Europe. It does not have an ideology that seeks expansion. It wants to be left alone.
NATO is a cold war relic that was kept alive to give the U.S. some political advantages. Its real purpose has never changed: keep Germany down, Russia out and the U.S. in Europe. That will only change when western Europe starts to rebel against it.
Unfortunately the chances for that are low.