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Intimidating strike never outnumbered

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Russia’s recent deployment of a nuclear-armed cruise missile that threatens NATO forces and facilities—in violation of the U.

Russian officials, including Putin, have threatened nuclear strikes against NATO countries that have missile defense installations within their territory.Under NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, approved at the Wales Summit in September 2014, and the United States’ European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), the United States and its European allies are planning to allocate more than $4 billion to (1) add a U. Brigade Combat Team to the two it already has stationed in Europe, along with an airborne brigade, and (2) pre-position permanent equipment for another combat brigade.At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO leaders officially approved the continuous rotational deployment of four multinational battalions (about 4,000 troops) to the Baltic states and Poland to maintain a persistent forward presence—and some of these units have already arrived in Poland to take up their positions.These conflicting perceptions have contributed to a lack of trust, a deteriorating security environment, and the prospect of a much more unstable and dangerous adversarial relationship between the West and Russia for many years to come. S-Russian relationship on a more positive trajectory. But how it plays out—whether it leads to some semblance of stability or conflict—cannot be predicted.Russia is a major power facing a near-certain, long-term decline.As seen from the Kremlin, over the past twenty years, the United States and NATO have undertaken numerous initiatives that underscore the threat from the West: NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and the Baltics; NATO partnership programs with states throughout the former Soviet Union; improvements in conventional, missile defense, and nuclear capabilities; support for antigovernment uprisings and regime change Russia.

Specifically, Russian officials have argued that the U.

First, a military reform and modernization program launched in 2008, combined with significant increases in defense spending over the past several years, has improved the capabilities of Russia’s armed forces.

Second, in the past decade, Russia has demonstrated an unprecedented willingness to use force as an instrument of its foreign policy, as well as an improved capacity to project military power beyond its immediate post-Soviet periphery.

In examining the conflicting estimates of the NATO-Russia military balance on the alliance’s eastern front—and the current state of that balance—several policy implications for the United States become clear. military officials in Europe and at NATO, as well as the governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, have also expressed alarm over Russia’s actions.

To make sustainable improvements in alliance security, NATO’s increased reassurance and military measures—while necessary to enhance deterrence of Russian military adventurism—should be supplemented with robust measures to mitigate the risks of an unintended conflict with Russia. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in his senate confirmation hearings, echoed these views, as did the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo. Each government has pressed Washington and Brussels to significantly increase the alliance’s permanent presence and conventional capabilities in their territory to bolster deterrence and defense against a possible Russian invasion. From the West’s perspective, Russia’s aggressive behavior on its western border over the past two years has validated this darker view of the Russian threat.

Moreover, NATO has every reason to be concerned about Russia’s ongoing quantitative and qualitative improvements in military forces opposite the alliance’s eastern flank, its violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and its effective withdrawal from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (both treaties are long considered bedrocks of European stability and security).