Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Doing The Basil: Stalin 2.0 Must Prompt NATO Soul Searching

Bob Buttworth, breakingdefense.com

Image from article, with caption: Little Green Men In Ukraine

Putin’s aggression in Ukraine has been called a “new kind of threat” of “hybrid war,” but it actually follows a well-thumbed playbook. As described in 1946 by the noted strategist, Sir Basil Liddell Hart, an aggressor can succeed against an opponent with atomic weapons by exploiting political vulnerabilities for apparently limited aims, thereby creating ambiguity that hampers defensive responses. ... 
Hitler “did the Basil” in Austria and Czechoslovakia, and Stalin tried it soon after World War II ended. ... 
Today ... direct military confrontations could prove disastrous; the emphasis must be on preventing them from developing. The United States did so most dramatically in western Europe after World War II with a “whole of government” combination of programs: the Marshall Plan, the formation of NATO, support for creating the European Coal and Steel Community between Germany and France (father of the European Union), and extensive public diplomacy and covert action activities. ...
The alliance [NATO] has long shunned any consideration of states’ internal affairs, especially those of its members. But with Putin and ISIL, domestic political issues can quickly become international security problems. If timely steps are to be taken to preclude the need for a future dramatic intervention:
  • NATO members will have to pursue deeper, more intimate sharing on strategic issues;
  • NATO’s strategic assessments will have to include states’ “internal affairs” and do so with a broad national security — not just military — perspective;
  • NATO’s planning will have to include economic, diplomatic, public information, and other elements of national power beyond the military; and
  • some new procedures will be needed to ensure confidentiality when considering such sensitive issues. Perhaps a model can be found in the LIVE OAK arrangements made to discuss possible nuclear operations during the 1958-61 Berlin crisis.

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