In July last year, the heads of States-members of NATO at a meeting in Warsaw agreed to deploy in the Baltic States and Poland with the multinational battle groups. On Monday at a military base in Adazi took place the official event, the welcoming ceremony arrived as part of the expansion of NATO’s presence in Latvia of the battle group. Headed by Canada’s battle group 1 thousand 138 soldiers from six NATO countries.
After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian aggression in the East of Ukraine an important place in the deliberations of the public about the safety was the question about “the NATO’s military base” in Latvia. Latvian politicians and commanders of the armed forces explained that we are members of NATO and all military installations are, including NATO bases. It’s true. But the society felt the question, are base of our National armed forces (NAF) of “real” bases of NATO. On the portal of public initiatives Manabalss.lv has started collecting signatures under the requirement about the database “permanently stationed a substantial contingent of troops of the countries-members of NATO.”
Base with permanently stationed or based on “constant rotation” of the allied forces in Latvia now have. “This is truly a historic day,” said Monday in interview to the President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis.
Similar bases in the neighbouring countries. In Estonia, the battle group headed by the UK, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, the USA. A total of about four and a half thousand soldiers from 16 countries.
Another question: is there enough essential this contingent, together with the national armed forces of the Baltic States to deter Russia from temptation to test NATO’s resolve to fight. The best deterrence is the ability to repel a military invasion. There are various points of view and scenarios that may occur in the event of war. However, the “conversion barrels” and strategic Board games is not the whole reality. During the cold war, NATO could not defend West Berlin in the event of an invasion of the Soviet army, but he defended, because the Soviet Union did not dare to attack.
And the Baltic States currently will be safe as long as Russia, the price for the adventure will seem too high. This is what NATO is signaled Russia’s deployment of additional forces: attack on one ally is considered an attack on all.
For the practical application of such a signal on the cornerstone of NATO took a very short period of time: since the decisions of the Warsaw summit on the placement of units of the allies in our region in less than a year. Infrastructure for the deployment of these units and military equipment is created even faster than planned, welcomed the commander of the NAF of Latvia Leonid Kalnins.
However, within a year after NATO actions always confirmed by the declared political commitment to protect member countries of the Alliance have any reason to doubt it is in the political determination to do so. The new US President Donald trump called NATO “legacy”, and last month at the headquarters of NATO in Brussels decided not to mention that his country remains true to the 5-th paragraph of the NATO Treaty, which defines that an attack on one member of the unit is considered an attack on all. Other representatives of the U.S. government, one after another rushed to encourage allies in Europe, and trump then said that the 5-th paragraph remains in force, but the President is chief of state of the Alliance unpredictable.
Commander USA in Europe Ben Hodges on Friday expressed fears that during expected in September, the Russian military exercises “Zapad-2017” may occur provocations at the borders of the Baltic States. Hodges recalled that the aggression against Georgia in 2008 and against Ukraine in 2014 occurred during military exercises. The General said that the United States will add to the Baltic States three units of about 600 soldiers. They will remain in the Baltic until after the Russian maneuvers.
This year in military exercises “West” on the territory of Russia and Belarus will take part to 100 thousand soldiers of the Russian army — more than in similar exercises in 2013. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance will closely monitor these maneuvers. But NATO is not only watching what Russia is doing. In the first half of June passed doctrines of naval forces of NATO and partner countries, which were attended by 4 thousand military from 14 countries. Last week, fifteen hundred soldiers from Lithuania, Poland, the UK and the US with heavy military equipment and helicopters were trained to defend the so-called Suvalki corridor — a 100-kilometer border of Poland and Lithuania between the Kaliningrad region and Belarus. During the maneuvers “West” the United States will take part in three military exercises in Sweden, Poland and Ukraine.
This is real measures to increase the combat capability, but their scope does not reach the increasing military power on the other side of the Eastern border. In this regard, it was strange to hear the words of the President. at a press conference on Monday that a NATO battalion in numbers is small and in no way can be perceived as a threat to Russia. If Moscow doesn’t know about it. If it will matter, if Putin decided to challenge NATO.
Putin understands and respects only force. Instead of indirectly to play along with the propaganda of the Kremlin constant apologies for his willingness to defend itself against potential aggression, you need to constantly signal about the readiness of such aggression is to reflect. Accommodation in Latvia, led by Canada’s battle group is exactly such a signal.