That’s what Edward Lucas asks today:
War in Western eyes involves an orderly sequence of ultimatums, declarations of war, invasions, counterattacks, second and third fronts, and finally a negotiated surrender, payment of reparations and a new territorial settlement. Annoyingly, Vladimir Putin is not following that script Edward Lucas writes.
The Latvian defence analyst Jānis Bērziņš has written an excellent new paper (available at is.gd/berzins) outlining Russia’s approach to “new-generation warfare”, based on analysis of material in the Russian military press.
He argues that the new frontline in this kind of conflict is mental, not physical. Russia uses psychological warfare, intimidation, bribery, and propaganda to undermine resistance to the point that firepower is not needed. If the soldiers on the other side lack the plans, supplies, training, leadership and orders to resist, they will not – and cannot.
NATO is distinctly not ready. It’s been a generation or more since Western Europe took its own defense seriously, and even that came grudgingly and with constant prodding from Washington. Our new NATO allies in Eastern and Central Europe never had the money for truly first-rate militaries, and anyway NATO became a feel-good discussion group almost as soon as the Russian bear went into hibernation.
But now the bear is awake — and it’s hungry.