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A serious look at a NATO/US vs Russian Conflict

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posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 12:55 PM
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I haven't posted in awhle, or even lurked, but the current world situation brought me back.

Lot's of post on the Ukraine situation. And it seems the prevailing concern is war with Russia. While I don't think that it is highly likely, it is certainly a more realistic possibility since say the late 80s.

Several have been comparing the US and Russian militaries. Which is fine, but one must look at several questions before any realistic comparison of forces and views of conflict can be made.

1) How far is Putin willing to go?

My current assumption is he wants at best a "buffer" between him and NATO. Poland and the Baltic States aligned with NATO makes the Russian's nervous. the Ukraine going NATO would be viewed as unacceptable. A huge portion of Russian military strategy is still focused around preventing a Western (German) repeat of WWII. At worst he wants to push the old Warsaw pact, but I don't think he is THAT crazy, as that would include Poland, Eastern Germany, and what was Czechoslovakia. OR he wants better staging to the Middle East. For the moment lets say he wants a strong Buffer, and maybe better staging to influence both Europe and the Middle East.

2) What is NATO and the US's line?

I don't see us going to war for Eastern Ukraine. And probably not for Ukraine proper (but I am not positive on that). Poland or the Baltic States are associate NATO members so by treaty we are supposed to defend them. Currently there is a hodgepodge group of US fighters in Poland, say a Groups worth, maybe a Wing. So I think Poland is the tripwire. I don't see Putin going into Poland/.

3) What strategy is used to defend Poland and/or Ukraine?

If it comes to conflict I don't see anyone "marching to Moscow" as stated in so many of these threads. If anything....a line will be drawn somewhere in the middle of the Ukraine, US and NATO will move forces into the area and essentially set up the "Fulda Gap Defense" only further east than it was in the actual Fulda Gap. NATO would fight a defensive action if Russia came across. NATO would win this initial action after 7 to 10 days. ASSUMING it could get sufficient forces in place. While The Russian army is not the force it was in the 80s, neither are NATO ground forces. If I get time I may post about that later. IF NATO cannot get size able forces in place, Russia can gobble up Ukraine almost as fast as it did Crimea, and the West will probably do nothing but sanctions....(which with the dollars instability might cause more harm to the West than Russia) and seriously draw the line at Poland.

4) What happens after that?

If there is a NATO v Russian action in eastern Europe, if it stays conventional....it ends after a very violent week or two of combat. At that point Russian would have to decide if they want to continue, and if so how far? NATO would have to do the same, or do both sided could just call it all off as their immediately available forces will be severely depleted on both sides OR does someone lose their mind and start using nukes or mobilizing for extended and continued combat. That's a whole other thread.

For this reason, I have a hard time seeing the NATO and Russia fighting. But the world is getting weird.
edit on 21-4-2014 by SrWingCommander because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander

1)
I agree. I also don't believe Putin wants to expand further into Europe.
Putin could not allow NATO comming any closer to Russia's borders, and the Black Sea is of high strategical importance for him - thus Crimea.

2+3)
I agree again. Good assessment on both points.

4)
There is one truly disconcerting factor about a real contact of NATO vs Russian troops, and the conflict staying conventional afterwards:
Obama's recent statement about US convetional weaponry being superior, and the current Russian military doctrin - being that Russian military doctrin says: when confronted by overwhelming conventional forces they can use nuclear weapons.
Now this option being on the table doesn't mean it has to come to this of course... but when the Russians see themselves in a hopeless situation, this conflict could go really bad really fast.

S+F by the way for a calm synopsis of the situation.

edit on 21-4-2014 by ColCurious because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander



I don't see us going to war for Eastern Ukraine. And probably not for Ukraine proper


I think this is a phony war to push oil prices up and Putin is working with Obama

The poor people in the Ukraine are just pawns and Russia will get the east with, well anyone that wants the rest taking it after helping to settle the gas bill owed to Russia

This forum seem split with about 70% thinking that fighting Russia in a conventional war being a push over and 29% thinking Russia will hold up and 1% like me who think it's all made for TV and yes I was with the 29% last week.

Show me real sanctions, show me just where NATO or the USA are dug in facing each other down like happens on all the other war fronts known to man because all we have seen so far is rifle fire from masked gunmen on both sides and fighter jets over an airport and one case of buzzing an american ship in the blacksea





edit on 21-4-2014 by VirusGuard because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 01:55 PM
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Possibly.....but Russia has long feared NATO "encroachment" even when the countries looking at joining NATO are doing so at their own will.

Gas maybe a part, but it's not the only part.

a reply to: VirusGuard



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 02:22 PM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander



Gas maybe a part, but it's not the only part.


Military spending for the USA, well making the public swallow it and for Putin it's being an hero for standing up to the USA on top of rising gas prices.

The Ukraine is desperate for money, it cannot function without it and anyone that goes in today with $20bn will win any voting by a huge landslide.

Now the USA spends $3bn a day on it's war machine, this $20bn is nothing to them and if it was so simple then why not just do it instead of dragging out a loan guarantee of a mere $1bn that comes with strings attached as it is.

These sums don't add up when you consider that the afgan war, apparently has cost $1000bn (Yes i know trillion before know all corrects me) .

Well the sums that do add up is if Russia/OPEC/USA/Iran all had a meeting and came up with this little plan to push oil up $10pp, military spending up in USA to $4bn a day and presto Mr Putin is made to look like a hero back in Russia.

Limited wars don't fit with me so you would have to call me MAD and so far I have yet to see any real hostile actions except those that has been blown out of proportion buy the media, not even any real sanctions.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 02:27 PM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander

yes Historically,,u may very well be absolutely correct, when you say ,"So I think Poland is the tripwire".
With the mysterious Plane incident happened, this was very, suspicious too say the least.
And then there is the ww2 grievence.
But mostly it is because of this historic Polish Tradition,,



Poles and Russians don't mix well,, in my opinion.
And like water and oil, only leads too problems.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 02:36 PM
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I concur with the majority of your assessment on this...with one big big caveat.

If, as I privately and strongly suspect, we aren't seeing the whole picture of what's happening or how the moving pieces connect to each other, then I'd say the focus on Ukraine is real in local importance but peripheral in overall meaning.

Time will tell..but I don't believe Russia is acting alone or with the confidence of only having what we see today for support, if push comes to shove for real. It's a theory only time will prove and in what being right means, I hope I'm wrong.

If it's just the Russian Federation? Then, yeah. I'd say we pretty much agree on things.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 04:51 PM
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The next point is the forces available.

At the end of the Cold War (1989) The US had the equivalent of about 6 divisions in Europe (W.Germany), along with all the supporting units and infrastructure to a total of about 230,000 personnel. The Russians had well over 20 divisions in the Soviet Group of Forces Germany. The US had prepositioned equipment for about 4 or 5 more divisions where the troops could fly over and "mate up" with the same equipment they had at home. Another heavy division could be sealifted in about 2 weeks. So in less than a month the US could have 12 plus ground divisions (about 36 "maneuver brigades" of ground combat forces. This was called Operation REFORGER (REturn of FORces to GERmany). It was rehearsed every 1 or 2 years. I don't know if we still have this capability. It has not been practiced. The Russians could equally nearly double their force in Germany from troops in Poland and Western Russia as well.

Today it's a lot different. The US Army Europe has NO divisions, and only 2 "Brigade Combat Teams", the 173rd Airborne in Italy, and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (stryker vehicle equipped). The last 2 "heavy" Brigades left Germany last year (Putin's timing was awesome). The US has a total of about 10 combat divisions in the active army, as the US Army is about 2/3rds smaller than in 1989 (our entire Active Army is smaller than what was in or tasked to Europe then).

Russia's army is also much smaller. On paper it's still bigger than the US, but there are questions as to which units are fully manned, trained, and equipped. About half of the Russian service is not contract volunteers, and not conscripts.

The Russian Western and Southern Military districts (these are adjacent to Ukraine) can summon about 20 Motor Rifle and Tank Brigades along with 3 Airborne Divisions and another 4 to 6 brigades of naval infantry and spetznaz. They could also pull forces from their Central and Eastern divisions, but that's not likely (they protect Moscow and the border with China. We could probably assume of the above only about half of the forces in the Western ans Southern Districts are manned, trained, and ready to fight.

While their units are not as technologically advanced or probably as well trained and motivated as US/NATO forces; there are alot of them, and they don't have to be flown or shipped over.

The British could likely only deploy 1 or 2 brigades, the Germans maybe 3 to 4 Panzer Brigades. I don't know what France, Belgium, The Netherlands, or anyone else could or would send. But that's the trick. Right now the only thing between Putin and Germany are the Ukrainian and Polish Armies, and western Air power (which would be a huge equalizer, but let's not kid ourselves, the WEST will actually have to FIGHT to gain air superiority).

So unlike the Cold War, where HUGE masses of troops stood a few miles apart in the middle of divided Germany.....the Russians have a lot more alot closer to the party now. Which really puts the west in a pickle if Putin DOES do some sort of "reestablishment" of the Soviet Union.

The trick is to get troops in the region BEFORE we think the Russians are going to do another move. The deployment of 2 or 3 HEAVY US Brigades NOW might show some resolve, but I don't think the current administration thinks that way.

I pulled from alot (mostly in my head, my degree was Poli Sci, International Security), but Wiki has some good basic info if you want to follow up.

Russian Ground Forces

US Army Europe

REFORGER




edit on 21-4-2014 by SrWingCommander because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-4-2014 by SrWingCommander because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 05:49 PM
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originally posted by: BobAthome
a reply to: SrWingCommander

yes Historically,,u may very well be absolutely correct, when you say ,"So I think Poland is the tripwire".
With the mysterious Plane incident happened, this was very, suspicious too say the least.
And then there is the ww2 grievence.
But mostly it is because of this historic Polish Tradition,,



Poles and Russians don't mix well,, in my opinion.
And like water and oil, only leads too problems.


Your picture made me read the history of wars with Russia and Poland.
I learned many new things.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 06:55 PM
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originally posted by: SrWingCommander
I haven't posted in awhle, or even lurked, but the current world situation brought me back.

Lot's of post on the Ukraine situation. And it seems the prevailing concern is war with Russia. While I don't think that it is highly likely, it is certainly a more realistic possibility since say the late 80s.

Several have been comparing the US and Russian militaries. Which is fine, but one must look at several questions before any realistic comparison of forces and views of conflict can be made.

1) How far is Putin willing to go?

My current assumption is he wants at best a "buffer" between him and NATO. Poland and the Baltic States aligned with NATO makes the Russian's nervous. the Ukraine going NATO would be viewed as unacceptable. A huge portion of Russian military strategy is still focused around preventing a Western (German) repeat of WWII. At worst he wants to push the old Warsaw pact, but I don't think he is THAT crazy, as that would include Poland, Eastern Germany, and what was Czechoslovakia. OR he wants better staging to the Middle East. For the moment lets say he wants a strong Buffer, and maybe better staging to influence both Europe and the Middle East.

2) What is NATO and the US's line?

I don't see us going to war for Eastern Ukraine. And probably not for Ukraine proper (but I am not positive on that). Poland or the Baltic States are associate NATO members so by treaty we are supposed to defend them. Currently there is a hodgepodge group of US fighters in Poland, say a Groups worth, maybe a Wing. So I think Poland is the tripwire. I don't see Putin going into Poland/.

3) What strategy is used to defend Poland and/or Ukraine?

If it comes to conflict I don't see anyone "marching to Moscow" as stated in so many of these threads. If anything....a line will be drawn somewhere in the middle of the Ukraine, US and NATO will move forces into the area and essentially set up the "Fulda Gap Defense" only further east than it was in the actual Fulda Gap. NATO would fight a defensive action if Russia came across. NATO would win this initial action after 7 to 10 days. ASSUMING it could get sufficient forces in place. While The Russian army is not the force it was in the 80s, neither are NATO ground forces. If I get time I may post about that later. IF NATO cannot get size able forces in place, Russia can gobble up Ukraine almost as fast as it did Crimea, and the West will probably do nothing but sanctions....(which with the dollars instability might cause more harm to the West than Russia) and seriously draw the line at Poland.

4) What happens after that?

If there is a NATO v Russian action in eastern Europe, if it stays conventional....it ends after a very violent week or two of combat. At that point Russian would have to decide if they want to continue, and if so how far? NATO would have to do the same, or do both sided could just call it all off as their immediately available forces will be severely depleted on both sides OR does someone lose their mind and start using nukes or mobilizing for extended and continued combat. That's a whole other thread.

For this reason, I have a hard time seeing the NATO and Russia fighting. But the world is getting weird.



Ukraine is for Russia a red line in relation to NATO expansion and they will do whatever it takes to prevent it.
60% of pipelines to Europe go through Ukraine and Russia will never let that being jeopardized.
Poland has no reason to act like a headless chicken, Russia is not interested in renewing Warsaw block again.
That is utter nonsense.
Russia is focusing on emerging markets in Asia, that is where the money is not broken EU.
In regards to NATO&Russia conflict, there is something that must be taken in consideration.

Russia's nuclear doctrine

'There is a stark discrepancy between the nuclear doctrines of the United States and Russia, according to a recent discussion hosted by the George C. Marshall Institute.
Mark Schneider, senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy, emphasized that Russia’s nuclear doctrine “permits the use of nuclear weapons in conventional warfare and local and regional conflicts.” He then contrasted it with the Obama Administration’s “nuclear zero” policy.'

blog.heritage.org...

Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapon in conventional warfare and even local and smaller conflict.
Who is ready to risk that? No one.
Having that in mind NATO countries would have a major internal clashes in order to get involved in warfare with Russia. Can you imagine public outrage in NATO countries.

To conclude, there is not a slightest chance that NATO would get involved in warfare with Russia in relation to Ukraine's events. Russia will patiently submit Ukraine under its sphere of interest, economically the most.
Lets not forget Ukraine is on the brink of economic collapse, and cookies Ms Nuland has brought at Maidan are not enough to feed people. In my opinion, Ukraine will join Russian Federation in a near future.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 11:28 PM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander

Please allow me to go a little off topic for just a second here, since this particular issue is rarely brought up...


originally posted by: SrWingCommander
The British could likely only deploy 1 or 2 brigades, the Germans maybe 3 to 4 Panzer Brigades. I don't know what France, Belgium, The Netherlands, or anyone else could or would send. But that's the trick. Right now the only thing between Putin and Germany are the Ukrainian and Polish Armies, and western Air power (which would be a huge equalizer, but let's not kid ourselves, the WEST will actually have to FIGHT to gain air superiority).

Well, we only have those 2 armored divisions.
Remember, you "pulled our teeth" in that domain, and the military restrictions enacted upon Germany after WW2 are still in effect.

German armed forces (including Navy and Air Force) are only 183.000 strong.
Including all administration staff, and all medical and reserve personnel ~330.000 maximum.
Although our arms industry is top-notch, and our forces are decent equipped (technologically at least), we export more of our military technology / share it with our allies, than we are allowed to keep.

So in light of your topic, maybe it's time to finally change that?
Or is 70 years still too soon? We're supposed to be friends now, yes?
edit on 21-4-2014 by ColCurious because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 11:58 PM
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originally posted by: SrWingCommander

4) What happens after that?

If there is a NATO v Russian action in eastern Europe, if it stays conventional....it ends after a very violent week or two of combat. At that point Russian would have to decide if they want to continue, and if so how far? NATO would have to do the same, or do both sided could just call it all off as their immediately available forces will be severely depleted on both sides OR does someone lose their mind and start using nukes or mobilizing for extended and continued combat. That's a whole other thread.

For this reason, I have a hard time seeing the NATO and Russia fighting. But the world is getting weird.


Russia is at best only 1/4th the power of USSR. Other than VDV there is little quality to speak of. Air Force wise Russia is good 1/8 to 1/10 of NATO.

Hence I strongly believe that Kremlin better start the hot war with "full nuclear entrees" atleast in the tactical sense. They will have to stop US from projecting forces at a long distance and hence would need to get rid of USN's 11 Aircraft Carriers as quickly as possible.

When full might is at play, Russian military will be exhausted in one week. Hence, Putin should not absolutely have any ambitions beyond his "near abroad". He should contend with the fact that NATO would agree to not include his "near abroad" in the alliance.............in the name of keeping peace in the region and world.



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 12:06 AM
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a reply to: cosmonova

Putin would be more than happy to have a buffer between Russia and NATO and preferably friendly governments in his "near abroad". That's what he is striving for all along. An unofficial line was drawn at Ukraine (other near abroad) and he acted both times when these lines were violated by NATO (covertly or behind the scenes in both cases).

Crimea was annexed due to historical and immense naval importance. Putin would not want to annex other regions but would like to have them in his influence i.e. friendly governments.



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 02:28 AM
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a reply to: ColCurious


You seriously gotta be kidding me....the US "only let's Germany have 2 divisions".... Maybe in the 50s. By the 80 s the Bundeswher was the largest ground force in NATO with 3 corps of 3 to 4 heavy divisions each..........THEN they integrated with East Germany and absorbed their army....most of which they sold off. In the last 15 years is when they got down to 2 plus divisions.......



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 03:38 AM
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a reply to: SrWingCommander

Yes, all you just said is true, but hold on... maybe I worded that wrong.

I didn't mean the US alone, but the US was part of the "Two Plus Four Agreement", which is still just an extention of the demilitarization and inhibition of German war-potential after WWII (Potsdam Conference).

Our total military personnel is in fact still below the enacted limit of 370.000, and since the beginning of the process of "reform and reorientation" of the Bundeswehr, that number was lowered even further.
Our total defense-expenditure is still far lower than our neighbours in the EU.

I just wanted to suggest that it might be time to finally abolish the remaining restrictions, given the current global developments and the fact that we are allies now.

Whatever... I didn't mean to derail your thread... have a nice day.
edit on 22-4-2014 by ColCurious because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 05:30 AM
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I think we have to blame our politicians for the state of the Bundeswehr and noone else. We could have a bigger and better trained army a long time ago, but noone bothered about it in the last decade. Now it's too late if the "V-Fall" (General defensive alert, when German territory is threatenend. Literally: War) is occurring.

Let's assess the geographical situation here a little bit for a conventional war.
Central Europe has 3 major rivers running South to North (The Vistula in Poland with Warsaw, the Elbe in Germany/Poland with Dresden and Hamburg and the Rhine River in Germany and the Netherlands with Cologne, Duisburg and Rotterdam). The Oder is a smaller River right between Germany and Poland, but it can be crossed fairly easy. In the case, that a massive army is trying to force its way to western europe, this will be the main defensive lines drawn on a map.
South of poland are the Carpatian mountains, a natural barrier for nearly any army. North is the baltic sea with all the northern states guarding it.
My best guess is, when someone would try to go in a straight line to Brussels from the East, that we see all the eastern NATO countries defending the Vistula and the Carpatian Mountains, German forces defending the Elbe and the Western NATO States defending the Rhine River. US forces could be staged in France and Spain as support and for a counterattack, once the "aggressor" is slowed and weared down enough. Once someone can cross the Rhine, it's nearly over, because you can circumvent the Alpes from there through southern France and France itself isn't very defensive country.

So, I would say that we would see a defensive war of attrition and slowing down the enemy to buy more time for futher major defensive lines to the west and to give the US a chance of rallying and transporting their force to europe.
But it would take a massive force on the ground to do this, more than Russia can muster atm.

I guess, we won't see that and I hope, that this whole "conflict" can be solved through Diplomacy. I don't need to see Europe ruined again because US and Russia get hotheaded.


edit on 22/4/2014 by Talliostro because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 07:05 AM
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IF NATO cannot get size able forces in place, Russia can gobble up Ukraine almost as fast as it did Crimea, and the West will probably do nothing but sanctions....(which with the dollars instability might cause more harm to the West than Russia) and seriously draw the line at Poland.


If US sanctions cause more harm to EU states than Russia, with the NSA surveillance scandal involving the US SPYING on German Chancellor Merkel and French President Holland, I can't say with any sort of certainty or confidence they would from henceforth still be considered our 'allies', much less allies in the US/NATO vs Russia (Crimean) crisis.

It would end up more like the US/NATO against the EU/Russia.


So, I would say that we would see a defensive war of attrition and slowing down the enemy to buy more time for futher major defensive lines to the west and to give the US a chance of rallying and transporting their force to europe.
But it would take a massive force on the ground to do this, more than Russia can muster atm.


And your above strategy will only work if the above constituency of my post does not come to fruition.
It is more likely and more possible than a lot of people on ATS care to admit.

Why I believe "the West" is obsolete.
edit on 22-4-2014 by Davian because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 08:31 AM
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a reply to: Davian

I can see what your saying....not sure I agree, but won't argue against it.

One point you said US/NATO vs EU/Russia. Most of the EU countries are NATO....so unless NATO desolves or radically reorganizes (putin would love former, and would tolerate the later) you have to consider the EU and NATO essentially the same political entity.



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 11:06 AM
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The EU is allied with the US and is part of NATO.

NATO wont be defending Ukraine in the least. If Russia wants all of Ukraine they can have it. There will be sanctions but thats the only price. It wont be war. If Russia goes beyond that and invades a NATO member state then the war talk can begin but at this point its premature. Its that simple.



posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 11:06 AM
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edit on 22-4-2014 by princeofpeace because: (no reason given)



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