from Rogue Money:
Sergei Karaganov is the honorary chairman of the influential Council on Foreign and Defence Policy which advises the President of the Russian Federation. Therefore when he speaks, at least someone in the (post)Western media in the form of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine takes notice.
Although Der Spiegel may exaggerate with what a Reddit translator calls a ‘clickbait headline’ in declaring that Karaganov ‘threatens NATO openly’, the reality as acknowledged by many on both sides is that the ‘tripwire force’ of four battalions the Alliance is deploying to the Baltic states is sufficient to anger Moscow and provide scary footage for the Russian television narrative of (post)Western aggression. ‘Kremlin TV’ can now honestly tell the Russian people that the same American soldiers who invaded Iraq and a few left around who occupied the Russians’ Serbian Orthodox ‘brothers’ in Kosovo are at Mother Russia’s doorstep. Paradoxically, four battalions consisting of barely more than 4,000 men remains far too small a contingent to avoid getting crushed quickly in an actual war with Russia — and U.S. generals and the RAND Corporation admit it.
Just look at the numbers below — Russia is hopelessly outspent and outnumbered by the U.S. and its NATO allies — on paper. As my friend The Saker admits Russia has no equivalent when it comes to American carrier battle group ‘power projection’ aka showing the flag and intimidating small or weak country capabilities. Nor is there any evidence that Russia has the will much less the manpower and military might to dominate Central Europe like the old Soviet Union did after rolling back the Nazi Wehrmacht in 1944-45. But when it comes to Russia’s immediate neighborhood, the Americans are clearly not ready to fight a technologically peer-level competitor fighting with the morale and logistical advantages of battling close to home.
This is something NATO planners and think tank prognosticators don’t like to get into for obvious reasons after the failed American campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan; the question of whether Americans would be willing to bleed and die in large numbers for the NATO protected city of Narva — much less Kiev or Chisinau, which aren’t formally under NATO’s security ‘umbrella’. Considering how few Americans, whether you call them mercenaries or ‘volunteers’, have been willing to bleed or die in the Donbass for Kiev compared to Russian, Serbian or even and Latin American volunteers on the Novorossiya side, it’s not hard to see why Atlanticist think tanks avoid the subject of unequal WILL in any U.S.-Russian military confrontation close to Russian territory.
Or if you prefer, watch this video posted by a retired U.S. Marine with the quote from Army Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony to the House Armed Services Committee from April 2016 about American forces at Russia’s borders being ‘outnumbered, outranged and outgunned’ in any conventional fight that doesn’t immediately go nuclear:
Nonetheless, the logic of a ‘tripwire’ force, as with the longstanding out-manned American contingent along the DMZ in South Korea is supposed to be deterrence. The new tripwire in the Baltics is supposed to be a flesh and blood guarantee that if an aggressor attacks, reluctant NATO members led by Germany would have to fall in behind Uncle Sam rather than choosing negotiations over fighting Moscow. But when an Atlanticist media outlet like Politico Europe admits that barely 9% of Germans polled support sending the Bundeswehr to Russia’s Baltics border with Lithuania, you know the prospect of Germany basically saying ‘nein’ to if not refusing the use of German soil for a direct confrontation with the Russians keeps Pentagon planners up at night.
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