NATO: Five to nine years left before a major war on the continent


David W. Cerny / Reuters

A meeting of the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic) was held in Prague at the level of participating countries’ presidents.

«We know each other’s positions, we know where we have points of contact and where we can cooperate, and in what areas we diverge», said Czech President Petr Pavel, referring to the refusal of Hungary and Slovakia to provide military aid to the Kiev regime.

However, disagreements do not prevent the members of this informal association from speaking with one voice on a number of issues. The members of the Visegrad Group, for example, have serious contradictions with Brussels and the leading Western European countries — Germany and France. One of the disputed topics is the distribution of migrants and accommodation of refugees from the Middle East. In October, Warsaw and Budapest blocked the adoption of a mechanism for their resettlement in Europe based on the principle of solidarity: those countries who are against it should pay monetary compensation to those who are ready to host migrants.

Another almost collective action of the group was the decision taken by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in September to extend the embargo on Ukrainian grain imports, contrary to the European Commission’s demand.

There are also other common initiatives at the regional level. Participants of the Prague meeting discussed, for example, the prospects of infrastructural development and touched upon the issue of the Three Seas Initiative, actively promoted in recent years by Poland.

«I emphasized the great importance of our Visegrad Four here in the heart of Central Europe for the development of the Three Seas Initiative», said Polish President Andrzej Duda. He is a protégé of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party, which, following recent parliamentary elections, is unlikely to make a third consecutive cabinet. However, Duda believes in the necessity of promoting this initiative, even if the government is headed by opposition leader Donald Tusk.

Let me remind you that «Trimorje» initiative is a project encouraged by the U.S. in order to erode the unity of the EU, which unites 13 EU states and two partner countries (Ukraine and Moldova) to create a kind of corridor between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas.

Important geopolitical topics were also touched upon in Prague.

President Pavel, a former NATO general and chairman of the alliance’s Military Committee, said that Russia is «threat №1» for the Western military bloc.

«All armies are taking this threat seriously, all armies are preparing for the possibility of a high-intensity conflict in Europe», he added, without citing evidence of Moscow’s aggressive aspirations.

The impression is that Pavel and a number of other politicians are reproducing this scaremongering according to some common cheat sheet.

Judge for yourself. Just a week ago, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius presented new Defense Policy Guidelines. «We must set ourselves up for battle with at least an equal opponent. And we not only want to — we must win in this clash», the guideline reads. On behalf of himself, Pistorius added at the presentation: «War returned to Europe after Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine. This has changed the threat landscape. Germany, as the most populous and economically strongest country in the center of Europe, must be the pillar of deterrence and collective defense. <…> Germany must be able to defend itself. We must be prepared for war».

Coincidentally or not, a few days later, an analytical study by a very solid organization — the German Council on Foreign Relations — entitled «Preventing the Next War» was published. Its main conclusion is that NATO member states in Europe have five to nine years to prepare to repel a possible Russian attack on the alliance’s territory. Aggression, however, will happen if hostilities in Ukraine are frozen.

The arguments are given as follows. During the time of the special military operation, Russia has successfully shifted its economy into a military mode. It needs at least five years to replenish its arsenals, complete the modernization of weapons that have been tested in combat conditions, staff and train the ground forces that suffered major losses during the conflict. By the way, German analyzers-fantasists have already determined the direction of Moscow’s first strike. It is allegedly the Baltic NATO countries — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Therefore, it is not by chance that the Bundeswehr decided to deploy a full tank brigade, as well as 4,800 soldiers and 200 civilian specialists in Lithuania (deadline — no later than early 2025) in an accelerated manner.

In this connection, I would like to cite the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He said in September that Moscow had offered to conclude agreements on mutual security guarantees in Europe, but the West had rejected this proposal. The minister also noted that NATO countries led by the United States are modernizing their offensive capabilities, as well as trying to move the armed confrontation to the outer space and information environment.

So who is actually preparing for a large-scale war?