The increased scope and size of the war games conducted by both Russia and NATO in the European region is only increasing the chances of a World War 3 erupting any moment, according to a new report released by the European Leadership Network.
Although the two parties have not gotten to a point where they decided to go to war against each other, their war games create a sense of unpredictability.
Russia, NATO war plans in mind
According to a report penned by Ian Kearns, Director of the European Leadership Network; Lucasz Kulesa, Research Director; and Thomas Frear, Research fellow; the war games both conducted by Russia and NATO display that they are training forces with each other’s capabilities in mind “and most likely war plans in mind.”
“Whilst spokespeople may maintain that these operations are targeted against hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of them indicate otherwise: Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia,” the authors wrote in their report.
Read more: Russia’s Su-24s taunt NATO War Games
While Kearns, Kulesa and Frear dismissed suggestions that Russia and NATO has already made their decision to go full war or that a military conflict is inevitable, “the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe,” the three said. Another aspect that furthers the sense of unpredictability is that these war games are conducted without public announcement beforehand.
The Russian ‘snap exercise’ conducted in May 2015, for example, brought together 80,000 military personnel. On the other hand, the NATO “Allied Shield” conducted in June 2015 had a total of 15,000 personnel from 19 member states and three partner states.
Read more: Photos: NATOS War Games
Russia, NATO should open door to more transparent dialogue
The three authors suggests that Russia and NATO should examine the both the benefits and dangers of intensified exercising in the border areas. “If Russia or NATO decides at some point that they want to reduce tensions, showing restraint in terms of size or scenarios used in exercises might be a good place to start,” the authors said.
The two parties could also discuss conceptual work on a new treaty introducing reciprocal territorial limitations on deployment of specific categories of weapons. The conceptual framework should be backed by robust inspections and should commence as soon as possible, the authors suggested.