Why NATO Isn’t Ready to Take on Russia, nationalinterest.org

…By the time Russian troops took hold of Crimea, the member-states of NATO (and the EU for that matter) were doing some serious soul searching about what would constitute the “new” Western military framework after Afghanistan (2001-), Iraq (2003-) and Libya (2011) had convinced almost everyone that the era of exuberant out-of-area operations is coming to a close…

Stating the fact more brutally, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson mentioned in a speech in 2003 that “In a nutshell: we have more than 1.4 million regular soldiers under arms in Europe and Canada, plus a million or so reserves. Yet the vast majority are at present useless for the kind of missions we are now mounting.”

While NATO was focusing on surviving the post–Cold War era through the development of Crisis Response Operations and after 2001 the terrorist threat, high-intensity warfighting capabilities and skills were neglected. Withdecreasing defense budgets European states produced less military power with their small(er) underfunded armed forces. After 1999, we have witnessed—among others—the Prague Capabilities Commitment, Smart Defence Initiative and the Connected Forces Initiative. None of these—or any other initiatives, action plans, roadmaps or final communiques—have produced the alliance-wide, large-scale, high-intensity warfighting capability that many in Europe have been dreaming about ever since 2014. Läs artikel