The U.S. is now reportedly turning to its ally Canada to help develop a new NATO force that can help defend eastern Europe against possible Russian aggression. This comes after one U.S. defense official admitted that NATO is not completely prepared to take on Russia. In fact, it’s possible for Russia to overrun NATO forces in a matter of 60 hours should it exercise aggressive actions in the Baltic region.
NATO is now having a hard time in rounding up the rotating force of 4,000 troops that would be stationed in NATO’s eastern flank in Poland and the Baltics. The buildup has been slow with the only Germany and Britain willing to contribute 1,000 troops each while the United States committed to providing a third of the necessary forces. That means, NATO badly needs another country to supply the rest of the required forces.
A senior NATO diplomat has told Reuters that the rest of the NATO allies in Europe just don’t have the resources to contribute to this rotating force. “They’re thinly stretched, at home, in Africa, in Afghanistan. They just don’t have the money,” the NATO source says. With Russia ramping up its aggression despite saying that it has no plans to invade a NATO ally, it is necessary to complete the force as soon as possible. This is especially true when one U.S. defense official is saying its current force is not enough to hold off an all-out Russian advance.
According to a report from Mail Online, Michael Carpenter, Pentagon’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, the NATO alliance is currently not ready for anything Russia might have up its sleeve. He also admitted that an earlier RAND report about NATO’s eastern flank and Russian deterrence is accurate.
The said report has determined that it will take Russian forces around 60 hours in order to invade the outskirts of Estonia and/or Latvia, leading to a “rapid defeat.” Moreover, the research also found that with its current set-up, “NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members.”
Today, NATO defense ministers are expected to meet next week in order to formalize the plan with regard to the four battalions that will be deployed in the critical eastern flank. Britain is expected to deploy its forces to Estonia while the U.S. will station its troops in Latvia. Meanwhile, German forces will be deployed to Lithuania.
It remains to be seen if Canada will say yes and deploy its forces to Poland.