On October 21st, NATO’s defense ministers reportedly agreed on “a new master plan” to deter and defend against any potential Russian attack on multiple fronts.
This, again, reinforces the idea that the entire bloc is formed against Russia, despite any threats that China allegedly poses.
The confidential strategy aims to prepare for any simultaneous attack in the Baltic and Black Sea regions that could include nuclear weapons, hacking of computer networks and assaults from space.
“We continue to strengthen our alliance with better and modernised plans,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
NATO also agreed on a $1bn fund to provide seed financing to develop new digital technologies.
Officials stressed that they do not believe any Russian attack is imminent.
And Moscow has denied any aggressive intentions and said it is NATO that risks destabilising Europe with such preparations.
But one must be ready in the face of no threat.
The defense ministers, however, have said that the “Concept for Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Atlantic Area” is needed as Russia develops advanced weapon systems and deploys troops and equipment closer to the allies’ borders.
“This is the way of deterrence,” German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said of the plan.
“And this is being adapted to the current behaviour of Russia – and we are seeing violations particularly of the airspace over the Baltic states, but also increasing incursions over the Black Sea,” she said.
Russia is upgrading or replacing Soviet military space systems to potentially attack satellites in orbit, developing artificial intelligence-based technologies to disrupt allied command systems, and also developing “super weapons”.
Unveiled in 2018, they include nuclear-capable hypersonic cruise missiles that could evade early-warning systems.
Retired US General Ben Hodges, who commanded US army forces in Europe from 2014 until 2017, said he hoped the plan would foster greater coherence in NATO’s collective defence, meaning more resources for the Black Sea region.
“To me, this is the more likely flashpoint than the Baltics,” Hodges told the Reuters news agency, noting fewer big allies such as the United Kingdom and France have a strong presence in the Black Sea, and Turkey is more focused on the conflict in Syria.
Meanwhile, the alliance is conducting a review of “lessons learned” from its two-decade deployment in Afghanistan after criticism among some allies of the US handling of the decision to pull out.
The crisis in Afghanistan does not change the need for Europe and North America to stand together in NATO,” Stoltenberg said.
“In the face of growing global challenges, our unity and strength is what keeps us secure.”
Stoltenberg said the alliance members would look to keep up pressure on the Taliban through diplomatic and financial “leverage” and had the capabilities to attack any emerging threats “from distance”.