August 19, 2008

NATO 'Surprised' By Russian Military, Reviewing European Defenses

By testing - August 18, 2008, 2:46PM

NATO has been having problems in Afghanistan. Now NATO has bad news from Georgia: Russia isn't as weak as once thought.

The Georgians hope to get modernized equipment NATO uses. Russia's goal is to undermine confidence in the NATO shield for Eastern Europe.

NATO appears to have been surprised not by the use of force, but the speed of the Georgian
military collapse. These are of concern to NATO because of problems in Afghanistan which might recur when defending Europe against Russia.

NATO will have to explain why, despite planning the Russians reported 24 months ago, why NATO is only now reviewing progress in Afghanistan, and reconsidering Russian power used in Georgia.

NATO appears to fear it has a credibility problem, not only because of poor progress in Afghanistan, but the tactical surprise of the Russians against the Georgian military. NATO will have to provide some credible reassurance to its member nations to demonstrate they have sufficient command and control of resources to defend against an increasingly likely Russian pre-textual attack against Eastern Europe.

The Russian defense ministry recently discussed additional funding for the tactical missile complex system. The Georgians claimed the Russians moved the systems to Georgia is a tactical missile system, which has supporting launch vehicles.

Russia denied it used the system and says it has no plans to use the system. They did not address the claim that the system was moved.

Russia has contradicted itself: Claiming it destroyed Georgia's military; but then refused to completely withdraw. If Russia's claims -- that they quickly, completely destroyed the Georgian military -- were true, then Russia cannot explain why it needs a military in Georgia.

The truth appears to be something different: The conflict in Georgia was a pretext for Russia to invade, destroy Georgia's military, and occupy the country.

The Russians view the American NSA and NATO as being in bed with Georgia. The Russians are gleeful that they've outmaneuvered the American satellites, and moved rockets without any meaningful American or Georgian response.

The Russians are vaguely referring to possible NATO-like aircraft over Georgia and Eastern Europe, mocking the figher pilots as they are tracked across the newly deployed Russian systems in Georgia. The Russians provided similar assistance in the former Yugoslavia when it assisted them in tracking specific fighter pilots flying from Italy.

The Russians have been providing commentary on their ability to use space-based platforms to integrate ground reconnaissance and support air operations. One commenter was happy Russian pilots wold be able to have active air combat experience in Georgia, and not act as show pilots during air shows.

The Russian news reports are discussing NSA satellite coverage of the Russian military movements within Georgia. The Russians are reporting that the Pentagon was surprised by the speed of the Russian troop movements, prompting concerns within NATO. NATO's problem has been the command and control issues in Afghanistan against simple insurgents living in caves. The NATO concerns appear to be much more than how to respond to Georgia, but how to effectively respond to a worried Russian invasion of NATO.

Russian news reports have not adequately discussed the different defense systems NATO uses in Europe, than those available for Georgia. However, NATO has not explained why the best military equipment -- presumably available to defend Europe -- cannot prevail in Afghanistan.

According to the Russian reports, NATO has been surprised by the speed and effectiveness of Russia's attacks on Georgia's command and controls systems, vital to defending Eastern Europe from Russia, and key to organizing an effective air-to-air response against expected Russian air forces over NATO allies.

From the Russian perspective, it appears they are not clear why Georgia did not take seriously the Russian threats. This suggests the Americans believed they could dissuade Russian action in Georgia. One report emphasized the speed at which Georgia's military has been effectively neutralized. Even with some NATO-American assistance, Georgia quickly collapsed.

Russia views Georgia as an indirect proxy for NATO, relying on NATO-like equipment. Russia views the Georgian-military-defeat as a fair warning for NATO: NATO combat forces are not sufficiently robust to challenge Russia, nor defend Eastern Europe. Russia views the remaining Georgian forces as meaningless: One of the units remaining exists only to finance the ministry; and the other organizing the (already) Georgian demobilization.

One of the key reminders is the Russian preparation for the Georgian invasion did not appear out of the blue. The preparations have been coordinated for many months. The American President has known something was possible, but did nothing to timely adjust in either Iraq or Afghanistan; nor did he secure a victory overseas to then make available US forces for Georgia. The President made the decision many months ago not to fully mitigate the Russian threat in Georgia.

It remains to be seen how the Georgian conflict spills into the Middle East. The Russians see an interesting dynamic. They view Israel as being limited in deploying forces, and would have us believe that Israel refused to return to Georgia specific equipment.

According to the Russian media, Russia is not moving its forces out of Georgia because it is planning for an increased American military presence and defense in Georgia. Russia does not expect the American President to use nuclear weapons, and are confident Russian conventional forces will not be adequately opposed by either NATO or America.


Which all goes to show how stupid it was of the Georgians to attack the outlying districts, wasn't it?

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