The commander of the US army in Europe says Russia poses a “real threat” and warns NATO to stay united in order to withstand the threat.
In Lieutenant-General Frederick “Ben” Hodges’ opinion, NATO is not looking to have a “fair fight with anyone” and wants to have “overmatch in all systems.”
This is a very timely interview given by Hodges to the Telegraph considering the frequency and intensity of Russia’s threats over the recent few weeks.
However, NATO doesn’t just sit and wait for the big bear to knock on its doors and surprise its 28 member states. (Or would it really be a surprise?). The Alliance has recently initiated the testing of its new “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,” which would train Czech, Dutch and German forces to be ready for deployment within 48 hours.
“We’re not interested in a fair fight with anyone,” General Hodges revealed. “We want to have overmatch in all systems. I don’t think that we’ve fallen behind but Russia has closed the gap in certain capabilities. We don’t want them to close that gap,” he said.
So basically, the general says that “there is a Russian threat” and that NATO’s goal is to not let Russia advance in pretty much anything. However, it seems Russian has already advanced in one thing. And that is the Kremlin’s recent moves in the Arctic, which include ordering its troops to increase presence in the region, carrying out military drills and even developing Arctic rescue robots.
The question is: what will the United States do about it? And will the US President Barack Obama, at the end of his presidency, try and take the Arctic away from Vladimir Putin like a lollipop?
Russia Once Again Sees a Threat
“The best insurance we have against a showdown is that NATO stands together,” Hodges said, hinting at the recent decision of Sweden and Finland to work more closely on their defense with the Alliance.
And the Kremlin clearly saw a threat in it. Well, Russia, when you threaten the world with nuclear war, apparently that’s what happens.
However, Ben Hodges said he doesn’t believe that we are about to get into another Cold War, saying that “the only thing that is similar now is that Russia and NATO have different views about what the security environment in Europe should be.”
“I don’t think it’s the same as the Cold War,” he said, mentioning “gigantic forces” and “large numbers of nuclear weapons” implemented in Europe during the Cold War. “That was a different situation.”
It might seem like the general has a point, but the threats that USSR posed and the threats coming from Russia now are not even comparable. According to NATO’s former secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “Russia of today is more dangerous than the Soviet Union. The USSR was more predictable than the current leadership.”
NATO Doesn’t Need 300,000 Soldiers in Europe
“We did very specific things then that are no longer relevant. We don’t need 300,000 soldiers in Europe. Nobody can afford that anymore,” General Hodges said. But isn’t NATO seeking ways to increase its presence in Europe?
As it was reported over a week ago, approximately 25,000 NATO troops are set to receive military training in Italy, Spain and Portugal in October and November of this year. Furthermore, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is set to increase the number of its soldiers in the upcoming months, while the Spearhead Force, which is part of NATO’s Response Force, is being increased up to 30,000 troops.
And considering the amount of threats that has been coming from Russia’s side lately, it doesn’t really seem that NATO is going to stop with that numbers.
Over a week ago, ValueWalk interviewed a retired Russian Army General and a Military Strategies and Technologies expert, Evgeni Solovyov, who said that Russia is clearly “testing the West, particularly the United States.”
“It also seems like Russia is okay with the fact that World War 3 can be easily started any day. I mean, could we possibly imagine some country threatening other countries – not just one country! – to use its nuclear force without getting a robust and cohesive response, like, one and a half years ago?” he added.
Russian Staff General: Countries That Have NATO Missile Systems Could Become Targets
The Russian General Staff General Valeriy Gerasimov has recently warned that the countries hosting the components of the NATO’s missile defense system could become targets.
“Nonnuclear powers where missile-defense installations are being installed have become the objects of priority response,” he said, hinting at Poland and Romania.
Gerasimov said at the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security that NATO deploying its missile defenses means “one more significant military threat to the Russian Federation and is a growing problem in maintaining the strategic stability in the world,” and this is seen by Russia “as an additional step by the United States and its allies to destroy the current system of international security in its striving for world domination.”
And while it all sounds like the relations between Moscow and Washington have never been worse, according to Jean-Paul Baquiast, the French editor of Europesolidaire, in case the United States and Russia engage in nuclear confrontation, the US will be completely wiped off the face of the Earth.
When the United States realizes it can’t counter Russian aggression by conventional and non-military means, it will try to destroy it with its armed forces. And in case an armed confrontation indeed happens, the US will no doubt perform a series of preemptive nuclear attacks against Russia.
“Chances of the United States to destroy Russia without consequences for itself are small,” Jean-Paul Baquiast said.