Another natural experiment about the defence of Europe

I already wrote about the natural experiment of Greece crashing its extremely high military spending for fiscal reasons, but nobody invaded, bombed or blockaded Greece afterwards. The higher spending was not necessary for defence. It was bollocks from their stupid little Cold War with Turkey.

We saw another natural experiment this year; there's some reason to believe that Putin can blackmail Trump, Trump does absolutely no criticism of Russia, talks shit about NATO allies repeatedly and gives practically no signals that the U.S. would defend NATO members like Estonia.

Yet European governments did not rush to compensate the sudden unreliability of the U.S. as an ally. They surely could have done this. It doesn't take a year to stand up an alternative multinational HQ that makes do without Americans if you're in a hurry. A sudden expansion of land and air power is possible within a few months as well; you can quickly order more spare parts, improve personnel retention with big boni and - in the case of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - even a partial mobilisation would be possible. Practically nothing of this happened.

This leaves at least three realistic explanations:
  1. European governments do not REALLY believe that the U.S. is a necessary ally even only for the most vulnerable NATO members
  2. European governments just failed a lethargy test; the time lag between input and reaction is longer than half a year
  3. They simply don't care about the Baltics
I really hope it's #1, but #1 may be correct for some countries, with #2 or #3 being correct for others.



  1. Putin doesn’t have anything on Trump, Clinton maybe but not Trump. The point is Europe wasn’t paying their fair share, but the U.S. enabled Europe. Personally, it’s time for the U.S. to leave Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, etc. The concept of NATO needs to the-examined. Modern Europe can handle Russia without the U.S.

    Yearly military exercises and continuation of exchange programs will foster a better relationship than the current model.

  2. Part of the reason why NATO Enhanced Forward Presence has not been expanded further is because the Baltic nations aren't capable of housing significantly more troops currently. Even current infrastructure needs were met just barely (some conscripts had to be temporarily housed in tents), because building up that infrastructure has been a very long project since the beginning since the development had to start from scratch. Meeting the needs of your own expanding forces and sudden forward presence elements is a difficult task. The Baltic nations would be glad to welcome more troops but they just don't have the capacity to provide them suitable conditions for longer periods.

    What does seem funny about the current forward presence scheme is that three out of the four host nations are from the anglosphere. And provided that the UK leaves the EU, none of them should have any real part in the defence of Europe. This is the part that truly worries me. EU countries seem unwilling to take up the full responsibility for their own defence.
    I do hope that this is something that is changing, but I'm not taking any bets.

    1. Housing is no excuse. Pre-fabricated houses for 100,000 people could have been built this year IF WE WOULD HAVE WANTED to do this. Power lines can be laid above ground, that's quick. Water supply isn't a terrible problem until winter either.
      I'd rather base troops in NE Poland anyway, of course.

      You mean lead nations, not hosts. That's merely the nations that provide the Bn HQ.
      What concerns me is that teh composite battalions are political BS and lack cohesion for battle.

    2. Yes, I mean the lead nation not host nation. :)

      AFAIK, some troops were indeed temporarily housed in pre-fabricated/container houses. However, that is only a =temporary= solution. If the troops are to be deployed for longer they also require facilities for training, maintenance, housing for equipment, personnel to organise it all etc. This is by no means a simple issue, especially since the deployed troops are mechanized and the costs related to housing them are borne by the host. This is not something I made up - it was expressed by the Chief of Staff of Estonia himself.

      And each lead nation provides at least half of the troops. This means that roughly half of the forces are from the anglosphere.

    3. Well, as I wrote - if the European governemnts WANTED to do something about it they could transfer some emergency funds as subsidies to the Baltics (though again, I would not base the troops there).
      Officers who complain about logistic challenges of peacetime should be thanked for their frankness and then be fired for uselessness.

      I suppose I made that clear before

  3. It could also be due to the Russians deescalation of their threats on Europe. Not necessarily in terms of rhetoric, soft power etc... but in terms of military procurement and their ability to fund their possible ambitions. i.e. the sanctions are working better than we hoped.

    Europes leading nations seem to be on a medium term plan to rearm, increase readiness and prepare for technological revolutions that are rapidly approaching. Diplomatically I would agree with you, it would appear they are bifurcating themselves from the US.

    As to the Baltics. I dont know if there is any strategic utility in increasing presence. The RAND wargame was used as a way to 'shame' NATO for its 'loss' of the Baltics during their simulation, but the rules they used were ludicrous.

    Would Europe start a war with Russia if they invaded the Baltics? I dont think there would be any choice. If in the event of foreknowledge of an attack on the Baltics would a sane commander choose to fight a non token defence of the Baltics against the Russians, I think not?

    Focus on slowly growing readiness, training and equipment levels. Dont fall for rapid injections of cash that produce hollow forces.
    Establish European competitors to US internet companies, that operate under EU law that would reduce Russias ability to wage information war.
    Reassure the Baltic through diplomatic channels and support their economies under the table as to reduce the option for soft power defeats.

    Just because we arent seeing public evidence of a change of policy doesnt mean a change hasnt happened. In the future you describe it would be useful to disguise intent and action not only from the Russians but also the americans.

    And dont expect any help from the UK because we've got a hole the size of Jupiter in our defence budget because the pound has tanked, after those nasty Europeans increased the price of the euro (I heard that said the other day while I was waiting for my train)

    1. "It could also be due to the Russians deescalation of their threats on Europe. Not necessarily in terms of rhetoric, soft power etc... but in terms of military procurement and their ability to fund their possible ambitions. i.e. the sanctions are working better than we hoped."

      That's covered by explanation #1.

  4. 1) Turkey is distracted by internal problems, by renewed Kurdish insurgency and by PYG/PKK threat from Northern Syria. Army is still seen as politically "unreliable". You usually do not wage war under these circumstancies. - 2) What I was trying to do here repeatedly is to explain, what kind of war is Russia waging against Europe. Shooting war is the very late and very last option only. Instead, intelligence war and political war are the priorities. Once you live in a country, where politicians cultivated by "Institute of Slavic Strategic Studies" coordinated by very well known Russian agent started to dominate key parliamentary commitees and pro-Russian president dictates procurement policy for army (as clear usurper, he can not do this constitutionally), you know that they absolutely do not need to occupy you country again. - 3) Look for AfD and Die Linke, look for Gazprom wing of SPD. And even for Christian Lindner.

  5. https://blisty.cz/art/89027-tomio-okamura-s-spd-party-wants-the-czech-republic-to-leave-nato.html

    1. Well, to be fair; it makes sense to leave NATO from a Czech point of view, particularly these days.
      The country is so far west that Russia is no real threat to it. What security needs exist can be dealt with by EU membership and promoting the perception of the EU as an alliance as per the Lisbon Treaty.

      Even that may be more engagement than needed, though. The Czech Republic could very well follow the Swiss example instead.

    2. The same xenophobic/fascist/anti-German/pro-Russian party wants us to leave EU also. - OK, I see, nobody cares about Czechs these days. But Germany is next in line.

  6. You have forgotten to include 4th and actually correct answer:

    4) Treat of Russian attack is complete fiction fabricated for domestic EU and US political purposes, and to prop up increased spending on military industrial complex. And as propaganda fiction it actually does not require any action except producing massive amount of propaganda BS.

    1. No, that's covered by #1.

      The threat of Russian attack is not fabricated. Russia guaranteed the sovereignty of the Ukraine in a ratified treaty and still attacked it. The Baltic countries have good reason to consider Russia an existential threat.

    2. Well, I deleted another comment by him that was so full of Putin propaganda lies that it was outright ridiculous. On top of that he insulted my country.

      I could have ignored the ridiculous spelling mistakes and the disrespect for logic, but the lies were clearly too much.