Wars are about seizing, holding, or conversely, liberating territory. This is true even for insurgencies such as the ones in Afghanistan and Vietnam. The greatest geostrategic crises of the past decade involved efforts by Russia and China to expand their control over nearby territories and seas. Russia seized Crimea and occupied parts of eastern Ukraine in 2014 and is once again massing forces along the Ukrainian border. Moscow has forged a military alliance with Belarus that creates a threat to the Sulwalki Corridor, the only land route between the Baltic States and the rest of the NATO alliance. This makes an attack by Russia on one of its eastern neighbors the likeliest case of a war involving the United States. The best deterrent of such a threat is the presence of strong U.S. conventional forces along NATO’s eastern border. In particular, the deployment of recent products of modernization programs such long-range precision fires, Future Vertical Lift platforms, and air and missile defenses will help create a robust deterrent. If Russia sees the prospect of territorial aggression to its west as a risky proposition, such aggression is less likely from Moscow. I have written more on the steps the U.S. should take to strengthen the alliance’s defensive posture in Eastern Europe here.
Find Archived Articles: