Tuesday, August 26, 2008

US strategist calls for increased Baltic defences against Russia

In the light of Tunne Kelam's remarks at the weekend, it may be useful to read more about Fred Kagan's recommendations, which were presented in some detail in a Telegraph article of August 23. Excerpt:

Fred Kagan, the intellectual author of the successful US "troop surge" plan in Iraq, believes Nato's presence in the Baltics must be massively strengthened to pre-empt the risk of them being invaded in the same way as Georgia.

Such measures would infuriate Moscow, which last week warned that the installation of a US missile defence shield in Poland would ignite a new "arms race" between East and West.

But Mr Kagan, an expert on the Russian military who has the ear of hawks within the US administration, said that the West needed to match words with deeds if it was to stop Russia turning into an "intolerable, aggressive imperialistic" power.

"We need to help these countries develop sophisticated air defence and anti-tank capabilities that don't pose any offensive threat to Russia, but promise the possibility of very high casualties were they to attempt what they did in Georgia," said Mr Kagan in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

"Nato has to make a fundamental decision here about its legal and ethical obligations, and the only way we can really fulfil them is to help these countries defend themselves in advance of an attack."

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