"Only a very powerful force would dare to be an aggressor against a NATO member"

I do often use more or less implicitly a certain thought that can be summarised as

'Only a very powerful force would dare to be an aggressor
against a NATO member.' And by this I mean blockade, bomb or invade.

The great utility of this is that it provides a filter; everything that's of use only against weak forces is of no use for our (collective) security. Drones that would easily be defeated by any area air defence are of no use. Towed artillery pieces may be fine for pounding Taleban, but they're pointless against an opposing force that has SPGs, MRLs and artillery radars. Heavy radio usage including blue force tracker may be great in Third World beat-ups and occupations, but would break down against a ESM- and ECM-savvy opposing force with strong artillery. Surface warships cannot be dependable combat ships for collective security unless they have area air defences AND a good antisubmarine capability. Long planning cycles that are fine in slow occupation warfare are quite useless in mobile, conventional warfare. Road de-mining efforts that clear but a kilometre per hour or so are useless in conventional warfare. Et cetera.
I consider this method of filtering out (disqualifying) concepts, habits, hardware, tactics, procedures and organisations as very useful. It's one way to draw a line between what may be necessary for collective security (deterrence and actual defence) and what's certainly not part of it.

This criterion may be misused, though. One might warp it to advocate for ever more military power by arguing that defence against the only plausible threat (one that would dare to attack) requires more military power than is available. After all, why would anyone dare attack us without us being at least partially weak?
This leads nowhere. It's an ever-escalating spiral. No strength is great enough against a hypothetical aggressor who is powerful enough to dare challenge it. That's why we should look at actual powers, not hypothetical ones.


  1. Very clear and precise. Thank You.

  2. How can it be:

    This damned Schicklgruber dared to attack Soviet Union, when he even don`t cared properly about full war economy, adequate training of reserves, logistics or winter clothes. - Perception, perception, perception. You can sometimes simply trust your own propaganda too much.

    This noble task is even simpler to accomplish if you manipulate media. You don`t have any real feedback from your yes men for years. Also, your inner circle is shrinking year by year. Then you stop act as rational actor at some point. "Russia is colossus on feet of clay," you think. - Or: "Decadent Europeans without sufficient biopsychical energy have no chance against our excellent Russian passionates."

    Just for fun, Sven, some articles.

    Nezavisimaya Gazeta is in fact Russian liberal newspaper, partnering with also liberal Echo Moskvy - they both are in fact still mildly (and sometimes even not so mildly) critical to putinism. Now to NG`s military supplement, Nezavisimoye Voennoe Obozrenie ("Independent Military Digest"). You can check its very "liberal" articles itself, if needed.

    Vasily Mikryukov, member of Academy of Military Sciences, operational art specialist: "If there will be War. Moscow`s Victorious Strategies on Euro-Atlantic Direction." 18.12.2015

    Excerpts: These small armies of small European countries such as Poland are not fit for any serious battle at all. It`s possible to fatally demoralize them, if only Russia attack them by strong firepower.

    But Russia can win even against stronger European countries - against Spain, Italy, Germany, French and Great Britain.

    We know these Italians, they always represents weak spot, so attack them by strong firepower and concentrated land forces.

    Germany has higly educated military personnel, but also their officers are pedantic, unoriginal, unable to think creatively, unable to innovate. These are "fachidiots" not able to understand non-military things at all. So to plan operations against Germans, use unique, creative solutions, etc. (Simply take old Hermann Balck`s prejudices about Russian mentally rigid "steppe people" out of the fridge and turn it "from head to legs" - as Marxists routinely do with Hegel or satanist with cross.)

    These pedantic Germans are too bound to conventional thinking, to common sense and logic. These generals planned only for few strictly defined scenarios, so we have to act differently, outside their box. (List of "solutions" follows.)

    France`s military potential is adequate only for local wars. Use more modern airpower than theirs, electronic warfare and cyber weapons. Their army is ethnically incoherent, generals are strategically obtuse. We Russians are much smarter, again.

    British army is small, if even NATO`s strongest. It`s Russia`s main enemy in Europe. Russia need to neutralize those pesky Brits in Blitzkrieg style, using nuclear and "geophysical" weapons.

    USA, Canada, Turkey etc. We can defeat them all, en détail or en masse, it dosn`t matter. We are the champions. Amen.


    News: "Germany can hurl against Russia only 10 copters and 280 AFVs". 26.02.2016


    Voenno-promyshleniy Kuryer ("Military-industrial dispatch") is shop window of military-industrial complex. They republished one very interesting article from Independent Military Digest. This one is from 2008.

    "Power of NATO is strongly exaggerated." 16.10.2008

    Summary: NATO is just myth, stop believe in it. It represents radical quantitative reductions in equipment and only slow modernization of the rest.


    Und so weiter und so fort.

    They absolutely don`t fear NATO, only airpower make them rather nervous.

  3. The Soviet Union followed this idea in the cold war time and ended in the quagmire of afghanistan with an army, designed to fight a peer war in central europe. Now you can argue, that we simply should not go into such countries and it was the soviets own fault to ignore this. But what, if you have to fight such a war because it is of tremendous importance? What will your specalised army do then, if she has overspecialised in peer warfare and now found herself in a complet different scenario and you have then not the opportunity to not fight this assymetric war because the consequences would be disastrous?

    Overspecialisation to a specific form of conflict was often the reason for military catastrophes.

    1. Name a single great power gaming war that was worth it for the people of the nation.

    2. As long as the elites believe the war worth for them, it will happen. Your political doctrine blinds you here for the possibilities. It is all good and nice what you claim, but reality is very different and the soldiers then have to fight a war without the necessary equipment only because according to your political aims the did not receive them.

      Such wars happend and will happen again and to negate the sheer possibility and overspecialise in only a specific type fo warfare would be a great failure which could then ruin a country.

      Especially because the worth of the people is nothing worth and such wars will happen for very different reasons one should arm not only for a specific kind of war.

  4. I live in Europe and Afghanistan is in Asia. There isn`t any European interests there. Even Edward Luttwak somewhere said that you should rather pay regional actors such as India or Tajikistan to police tribal country in their neiborhood, because it simply doesn`t make sense to send soldiers from another corner of the planet there. And that`s true, imo. We should take in war refugees, when it is possible.

    We don`t need to prepare for anything except for defense of our own continent - and very small portion of military capacity can fit to such contingencies as Mali intervention etc., if nobody in the region can`t make it in time and better.

  5. By the way, even the Soviets really should and could "afghanise" Afghanistan from the very start instead of direct intervention. But marshal Ogarkov and his personal hawkish VDV lobby pushed for another "great" airborne Czechoslovak invasion.

    They ended fighting tribal militias in the biggest mountains of the world mostly with mobile forces designed for armored combat on the European plains, 2/3 infantry of standard division riding wheeled APCs (today considered "expeditionary" vehicles appropriate for counterinsurgency warfare...) not able to go offroad in this terrain. (But tracked vehicles, even old BTR-50, that`s completely different story here.)

    If road was blocked by ambush, RPG was king of the Afghan motti and wheeled APC its main prey - but standard Soviet motorized infantry with "bunker mentality" wasn`t able to adapt and fight in the open.

    Standard motorised infantry of WP was neglected roughly from sixtees. Minimal training, almost no small unit tactics drill, mostly rigid linear formations. Shooting standards for NATO troops at that time were about two times stricter than standards for WP soldiers. And these poor guys should play mountain infantry role? Really?

    Soviet infantry soldiers fighting in the mountains without proper boots (they even bought sneakers smuggled from Pakistan on local Afghan market), without sleeping bags etc., that wasn`t overspecialization. That was chaos typical for communist system.

    There were several failed British invasions of Afghanistan in the past, one failed Soviet invasion, but U.S. lesson learned after 9/11 still was zero. Taliban couldn`t extradite their al-Qaeda "guests" under tribal code, but they could still possibly expell them under some delicate diplomatic conditions. Washington wasn`t interested in feasible solution.

    1. Even worse; the AQ terror wave only picked up much steam after UBL made it into the primary Jihadist platform by accepting responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. He wasn't allowed to do this as long as he was in AFG - a condition for TB hospitality.

      To invade AFG was stupid in many ways - but also de facto unavoidable. The avoidable stupidity was to dream up extremist objectives for an occupation instead of being content with letting Northern Alliance warlords oppressing the Pashtuns in warlord style till the next civil war.

  6. Russia just cancelled weapon grade plutonium agreement with U.S. over "unfriendly" policy.


    But this Reuters` article is incomplete, in fact. Putin basically issued an ultimatum to Obama: Just stop defend NATO Eastern flank/reassurance policy there.


  7. "“Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow,” read the headline of an article last week on the website of Zvezda, the defence ministry TV channel. It claimed that the US was seeking to punish Russia for its willingness to challenge it in the Middle East.

    An emergencies ministry official announced on Friday that the authorities had constructed underground shelters capable of providing refuge for the entire population of Moscow — about 12 million."


  8. Dear Sven,

    you certainly can block anyone who challenges your limited perspective, as if there is not another and broader perspective. You certainly can validate Russian opinion concerning German overspecialized officers. There is, in fact, only 800+ pages of new Russian book which challenges this very traditional, limited view. It`s your blog, of course. http://kpole.ru/upload/preview_files/popov-voina.pdf

    1. You're referring to what I replied on another topic.

      Iran scaremongering is warmongering, and has been warmongering for 15+ years already. Their policies regarding Shi'ite minorities abroad make much more sense and are much more defensible from an Iranian point of view than most Western meddling in the Middle East does and is from the Western point of view.
      It would sure be better if those conflicts could be resolved by diplomacy, but nobody in the region seems to be interested in negotiating an end to the oppression of Shi'ites. The Sunni minority in Iraq wasn't fully willing to peacefully accept that it's a minority in a republic and thus not destined to rule over the Shi'ites either.

      Seriously, for every single bit of supposedly offensive actions of Iran I can point at something much more offensive done by the United States at a much, much greater distance from home.

      I'm tired of the scaremongering about Iran and won't tolerate it here because this scaremongering is the foundation of the warmongering efforts or Neocons and their allies.

      Besides, Iran is weak. Its military is a joke and the internal divisions and conflicts as well as the economic stagnation and economic policy mistakes ensure that it stays weak.