How unprepared is NATO in Europe for confrontation? Unprepared enough to where the refugees can move units quicker…
If you’ve been following Global Geopolitics long enough, you might have heard the term ‘unintelligent community’ mentioned quite often. That’s because it’s ill-equipped and caught ‘surprised’ with anything its adversaries do. The same can now be applied to the purged and redirected military under Obama. The U.S. military is now becoming a third-rate army by an administration who is determined that America will no longer remain a global superpower. America is in full retreat and the Sino-Soviet axis is filling in the gap.
And if you didn’t know the last American tanks from European soil were removed in 2013, now you do. Russia is determined to destroy NATO while NATO is determined to be unprepared.
Increasing NATO’s speed has become Lieutenant General Ben Hodges’ mantra.
Every time that Russia holds snap exercises moving tens of thousands of men across vast distances, the United States is surprised, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe said in an interview last week. By contrast, the 28 countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are so tied up in red tape that it typically takes 15 days to get diplomatic clearance to move military equipment from one member state to the next. Cold War-era regulations mean Hodges still needs special permission to travel from his base in western Germany to Berlin.
“What we want is like a military Schengen zone,” the three-star U.S. general said, referring to the border-free travel regime adopted by most European Union countries. “Right now refugees can move across Europe faster than military convoys.”
While Europeans have become riveted on the terrorist menace of Islamic State following the Paris attacks, Hodges remains just as focused on new threats posed by Russia. Even as the Kremlin reaches out to cooperate militarily in Syria, he warns, the Russian intervention in Ukraine exposed vulnerabilities in NATO that urgently need to be remedied.
“When you look at the weapons systems that they have put into Crimea, they can range about 90 percent of the Black Sea,” Hodges said. “If they wanted to, they could affect what goes in and out.” Three NATO allies — Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania — border the Black Sea.
At the same time, Russia has the ability to block the Baltic Sea using forces based in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, according to Hodges. After the lightning occupation of Crimea in March 2014, Western military planners started considering the possibility of Russian shock troops sealing the 50-mile border between Poland and Lithuania, creating a land bridge from Kaliningrad to Russian ally Belarus and cutting off the three Baltic states from their NATO allies.
The U.S. build-up is a reversal after more than two decades of gradual withdrawal. Hodges commands 29,000 U.S. troops, down from 213,000 who were based in Europe in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down. The last U.S. Army tank left Germany less than a year before Russia seized Crimea.
Full article: Want to move your tank battalion to take on a threat? NATO’s got a form for that. (Reuters)