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We have found
undeclared neo-Cold War between Russia and the West mixes 21st-century
techniques – below-the-threshold operations, cyberattacks, information warfare
through social media – with more traditional forms of military confrontation.
As arms races, proxy wars and nuclear blackmail stage a comeback, NATO must
rethink conventional deterrence. Yet even a beefed-up force will prove
ineffective if the alliance chooses the wrong defensive strategy.
General Stanislaw Koziej
The U.S. has announced officially that it walks away from
the 1987 treaty banning intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear weapons, removing
a cornerstone of the existing arms control system. The chances of it being replaced
with a better, multilateral agreement involving China and a handful of other
nuclear powers appear to be slim at this point.
If the United States walks away from the 1987 treaty
banning intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear weapons, as President Donald
Trump claims he wants to do, a cornerstone of the existing arms control system
will be removed. The chances of it being replaced with a better, multilateral
agreement involving China and a handful of other nuclear powers are very slim.
NATO and the EU are the leading actors shaping
European security, but there are also smaller players performing important
roles. The Visegrad Group is one of them. Its member governments, though, are
increasingly perceived in some European capitals as euroskeptic. Under adverse
scenarios, this could lead to political and security problems for the EU. This
report reviews how the V4 has contributed to Europe’s security system and what
role it may play in the future.
The European Union has a
meager track record of anticipating and containing external threats. The bloc’s
2016 Global Strategy is an attempt to rectify this situation by devising an
integrated security approach that avoids the extremes of isolationism and
interventionism. But if member countries insist on a multispeed approach
instead of true cooperation, the attempt to build EU-based security structures
Russia has been honing
its conventional and nuclear forces for Hybrid Cold War confrontations with
potential enemies, especially NATO. An important role in its new strategic toolbox
is reserved for “safety valves”: Russia’s doctrine of first use of tactical
nuclear weapons and the increased mobility of its conventional forces. At
present, NATO has no effective countermeasures for either, dangerously adding to
the region between Russia and Western Europe is among the most volatile parts
of the globe: in the 20th century alone, it was a major theater for two world
wars and the Cold War. As relations between the West and Russia sour, the
region may again see its fate decided by outside powers – this time, the triad
of the United States, the European Union and Russia.
As the new, hybrid Cold War sets in, NATO and the
European Union are trying to coordinate their defense systems to better respond
to the challenge. However, the current approach of piecemeal coordination in
selected areas will not bring the desired results. Creating a deeply
coordinated NATO-EU security tandem is contingent on properly divvying up
military roles. That is a difficult, but not impossible, task.
Nobody – not NATO, not Europe, not even Russian President Vladimir Putin – wants another Cold War. But we have one anyway: a new, 21st century hybrid that has been creeping into our security establishment for almost a decade. NATO is still in the early stages of a necessary strategic adjustment, which may be delayed by elections and new governments in the United States and Europe.
Europe is under attack from global terrorism. Europeans are in shock, and no solution is in sight. The problem is globalized and asymmetrical to the strengths of the West; victory requires a close examination of global terrorist networks’ origins, and the asymmetries from which they derive their power. Of course, terrorism is not a new phenomenon. But what is new today is its global dimension. For about a decade, such terrorism has laid siege to European society. Just as in the United States after September 11, 2001, so today in Europe, the debate over this danger has begun. The Europeans do not shoot from the hip like those American cowboys did, but their response is no less regrettable.