Small Wars Journal

Three 'Black Holes' Facing NATO: Strategy, Russia, Weapons

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 5:22pm

Three 'Black Holes' Facing NATO: Strategy, Russia, Weapons by Harlan Ullman, United Press International

Black holes are not merely matters of physics. Strategic black holes may be even more confounding than those found in deep space. NATO, thus far history's most successful military alliance, currently must deal with three of them. The likelihood that this venerable alliance will do so is far from certain.

The first black hole regards strategy. Russian intervention into Ukraine and seizure of Crimea were chastening and frightening. So too, Russian "active measures" are roiling politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Russian engagement in Syria has sustained the diabolical regime of Bashar al-Assad. And Russia has become far more visible in Libya and the Persian Gulf.

While NATO has created new strategic concepts to deal with the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, its last real strategic revision was the Harmel Report of 1967. Led by Belgian Foreign Minister Pierre Harmel, his commission was charged with confronting the threat of Soviet increases in both nuclear and conventional weaponry and Charles De Gaulle's decision to eject NATO from Paris, leaving the military side of the alliance. The result was a shift from reliance solely on nuclear deterrence to a strategy of flexible response to deny Moscow advantages at all levels of the conflict spectrum…

The final black hole concerns acquisition of weapons systems. These processes simply take too long, are too cumbersome and are not capable of keeping up with dramatic advances of technology. NATO and its members must move now to deal with this third black hole…

Read on.