Out of the box answers and an alternative

Out of the box answers appear to dominate Western foreign policies in conflicts:
- blocking already agreed-upon arms deals
- freezing financial assets
- economic sanctions
- cruise missile diplomacy
- tripwire forces
- military (training) cooperation
- training of indigenous militia fighters as proxies
- invasion, regime overthrow, Western-style constitution, puppet government
- military and other subsidies
- arms sales to proxies
- bullying with naval patrols right in their front yard
- "freedom of navigation" stunts/provocations
- forward basing of forces
- UN sanctions against those who lack a veto power patron

One more bad move of Russia and there's a very high probability that Western politicians will not resist the temptation of certain such standard repertoire items any more. A permanent basing of (additional) U.S. troops in Eastern Europe (likely Poland, but initially as interim bolstered numbers in Germany) is rather likely after the U.S.elections, or rather after the coronation inauguration.

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Here's an alternative approach to achieve the same effect of having forward-based forces, and no, it's not part of the standard repertoire:

NATO would create a training base in the Czech Republic or in Southwest Poland, just east of the Oder river. The base would  have plenty exercise areas (woodland, villages, agricultural areas), but mere storehouses instead of barracks. Whatever troops would train there would live in the field. Depots in the area would store several thousand tons of diesel fuel, but more importantly they would store large quantities of NATO standard munitions (155 mm HE, 155 mm smoke, 7.62 mm, 5.56 mm, 120 mm mortar HE, 120 mm mortar SMK, 81.4 mm mortar HE, 81.4 mm SMK, 81.4 mm ILLUM, 40 mm LV HE or HEDP).
A supply of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm blanks would be financed through NATO and be available to exercising brigades regardless of nationality (serving as an incentive to afford the travel in exchange for kind of free exercise ammo).
There would always be 3-4 NATO brigades (and at times one non-NATO brigade) on several weeks long exercises here, and they wouldn't even need to carry most of their warload of ammunition to this place in order to be ready for defence within hours from there.
The exercises would differ between rotations, but generally advance from scripted platoon and company tests to partially scripted battalion-level exercises and finally almost free play brigade(s) vs. brigade(s) mock battles.

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This way there would always be 3-4 NATO cohesive (national) land warfare brigades at near-peak training state (the brigades would no doubt be prepared for such a rotation!) within a few hundred kilometres of the Polish-Lithuanian border without any permanent forward basing of troops and without any country being much out of proportion burdened by forward-deploying its own troops. Poland and the Baltics (well, at least Lithuania) would be reassured by the alliance instead of needing to apply for the vacant job as lap dog.

Russia, having many exercises of its own, could and would complain with a visibly high degree of hypocrisy only.

Of course, this is sooo much more complicated than to simply agree to some roadshow exercises or ordering some forward basing of a brigade or two.


P.S.: In case you wondered; yes, the NTC in 1980-2003 style and the CMTC were an inspiration for this, though I would prefer a terrain relevant for Poland/Baltics and a size for 3-4 brigades + nearby stockpile area. The extra training gear that could be afforded for such a central training centre (laser duel simulation, indirect fire effects simulation based on GPS receivers and radios) could go far beyond what most of the armies of Europe typically afford.
The size and capacity of the NATO training area should beat least 3x the size and capacity of CMTC for brigade-on-brigade exercises, but preferably capacity and training area should suffice for four brigades exercising at the same time (3vs1, 2vs2, 2vs1 + 1 reserve).

1 comment:

  1. Interesting plan. But don`t count on Czech Republic, only on Czech troops. - There was problem concerning plan to build American anti-missile radar base in Brdy mountains already in 2006. Czech government lied to public all the time about real purpose etc. We started broad protest movement and finally, Obama stopped that dubious Dubya`s project. - In the meantime, Russians infiltrated aforementioned movement - and key its former figures are out now. Today`s "Ne základnám" (No to Bases) is, in fact, one of strong pro-Russian actors in Czech civil society - and majority of ordinary Czechs don`t supports any "foreign" military instalation on Czech soil at all. So any such plan would backfire politically. It would pour gasoline on Russian propagandistic fire. Poland represents right option, definitely.