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Dianne Pfundstein Chamberlain, National Interest: NATO's Baltic Tripwire Forces Won't Stop Russia
At the recent Warsaw Summit, NATO formally announced its plan to station four battalions in the Baltics starting in early 2017 to deter Russian aggression—one each in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and an American battalion in Poland. These small forces are intended to serve as “tripwires” signaling to Russia that an attack on one of these states would result in immediate escalation to a full-blown conflict with NATO. That is, the four battalions are supposed to convince Russia that moving against one of its Baltic neighbors would not be worth the risk of a wider war with the United States and its European allies.
The NATO tripwire force will not deter Russia from advancing into the Baltics if it wishes to do so. Simply put—cheap force cannot signal high resolve. For a country as powerful and wealthy as the United States, it will cost relatively little to station a battalion in Poland. The fact that the deployment does not impose any real risk or cost on the United States and its NATO allies means that it cannot credibly signal to Russia that the alliance is sufficiently motivated to escalate the use of force to a level necessary to expel Russia from one of the Baltic states if and when deterrence fails.
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WNU Editor: I concur. If Russia wanted to invade .... a few NATO soldiers on the border will not stop them. Fortunately .... there is really no appetite in Russia to invade and occupy the Baltics, Ukraine, and Poland .... let alone the rest of Europe. But if the impossible becomes true and Russia invades the Baltics .... it would be to protect the Russian civilian populations who live in these countries .... and even then such an invasion would only happen if countless lives are being lost and a humanitarian crisis has reached crisis proportions.