“We will increase the number of high readiness forces to well over 300,000” said its General Secretary after the latest NATO talkfest. Larry has already sneered at this preposterous assertion, Bernhard has scoffed at it too, but I want to jump in as well because such fatuity deserves more contempt. Indeed, if there were anything amusing about this level of delusion, it would be a funny. But it isn’t. These people actually construct decisions based on such fantasies. (Ask the sanctioneers’ subjects as the sanctions backfire.)
300K – where are they going to come from? This site – Macrotrends – gives numbers. To no one’s surprise, almost all of the NATO countries have reduced their military over the past twenty years. USA from 1575K-1379K, Poland 264K-196K, Spain 262K-196K, UK (especially belligerent if you pay attention to its utterances) 218K-148K, Netherlands 60K-41K, Turkey 850K-512K, France 411K-304K, Italy 521K-341K and Germany 331K-181K. And so on and so on.
I guess Stoltenberg expects this trend to reverse. But will it?
Let’s look at some relevant data from the USA, NATO’s largest and most important member. About half of the US population reads at grade seven level or below – how’s that going to work with some complicated weapon’s instruction manual? About a third are rated as obese (the rate’s doubled in a quarter century). Not likely bound for the infantry and tank hatches should probably be made bigger. Covid vaccination rules just took out about a Vietnam War’s worth of soldiers. Twice as many of the potential recruits think other countries are better than the USA so the rah rah spirit is down. And, finally, 6000 veterans kill themselves every year. Hardly surprising then that the US military is having a lot of trouble recruiting new members. And so they’re dropping both their standards and their demands and offering bonuses. So Stoltenberg had better not expect too much from the USA.
How about the other chief cheerleader for more wars with more enemies? Well we were told about a year ago that only one of the British Army’s 33 infantry battalions was fully staffed – and that was the 1st Royal Gurkha Rifles. Gurkhas certainly are outstanding soldiers but they actually come from Nepal. Nothing to suggest that young Brits are very interested in joining up, And the British Army will be cutting further. But diversity numbers are up. I guess Stoltenberg had better not expect too much from the UK either.
And the same elsewhere in NATO. Recruiting crisis in Germany – maybe they can fix it by poaching in other EU countries. France is looking in Africa. Poland has brought back DOSAAF (not, of course, that it would dream of calling it that.)
Maybe twenty years in Afghanistan culminating (the military word of the day) in a rushed getaway, to say nothing of other failing wars, don’t make the job prospects very attractive. To say nothing of PTSD and suicides to go with your deflating pension.
And the way things are going in Europe, many of these soldiers may be out keeping order on the streets. Cold and hunger have a powerful effect on what people see as priorities.
So Stoltenberg may find it a bit difficult to ramp up his “high readiness” force – he will probably have to settle for “300,000 troops out there somewhere, many of which are ready for something, some time.” Not as catchy though, is it?
But the troops question is the least of NATO’s problems – just read The Return of Industrial Warfare. NATO has neither the stockpiles nor the manufacturing capacity to equal what Russia and its allies are doing in Ukraine right now.
As for Russia, Macrotrends says its armed forces numbers have held pretty steady from 1482K to 1454K in twenty years. But mere numbers miss a lot. There has been an enormous improvement in quality, training and equipment in two decades. The Donetsk and Lugansk forces have significant numbers of competent and equipped soldiers. Russia seems to be using a lot of Russian Guard troops as we see in the very visible Chechen, Cossack and Buriat formations. One can wonder, in fact, just how much of the Russian Armed Forces, strictly defined, are involved in the fighting. And they don’t have a supply problem – precision missiles and fire missions keep rolling out with no indication of concern.
Wars are a brutal reality test and NATO’s perception of reality isn’t holding up very well.
Oh Larry, this is amateur level delusion. The pros are calling for a hand-to-hand insurgency, led no doubt by the he-men chicken-hawk brigade of Washington; Dick Blumenthal and the always ready to send our kids to die, Lindsey Graham.
Graham sends only the ugly or unwilling boys to die; the cuties he “protects” with his own body.
Yep, there is always some nasty politician who wants other people to die for them.
I agree that the insurgency is a non starter. This is not the former colonial power and ancestral enemy (the U.K., see the Retreat from Kabul 1842) going into Afghanistan. It is Russians entering regions where most people speak Russian, share an Orthodox Christian heritage and identify accordingly; or at least are ambivalent between being Ukrainian or Russian. Russian flags in Mariupol support that.
There is also no evidence that a systematic insurgency has already commenced behind Russian lines. If it had, the legacy media and Zelensky would for sure be praising the great freedom fighters involved. We can contrast that with the activities of Soviet partisans in the Pripyat marshes behind Wehrmacht lines in 1941.
Kpese Louis says
The pros are calling for a hand-to-hand insurgency, led no doubt by the he-men chicken-hawk brigade of Washington: ..How to get 2023 jamb expo….. Exajubancer wab….. Upgrade Jamb Score 2023…..
I guess smart people don’t stay ignorant forever; South China Morning Post.
More stupidity on parade.
Naked Capitalism by Yves Smith has a good take on this.
I posted elsewhere on day of Stoltenberg’s naive assertion: “ “Rapid” Response & “300,000″ aren’t compatible.” Logistics.
Here’s the info I pull from the Saker’s alt here > http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/
I hope there’s not a problem posting this information here on Larry’s site.
Saker blog under attack – URGENT request for help
The Saker blog has been under attack for many months, but we kept it quiet. Our webmaster and sysadmin Herb has successfully beat back all the attacks, but now the enemy has upped both the scale and nature of the attack and we are barely hanging on.
I have two urgent requests:
1) If you are an IT security specialist (or can contact one you know) and you think that you (or he/she), or your company, can help, please contact at the following email as soon as possible: email@example.com
Please do NOT email me personally as I am on sick leave and this is way above my IT skills.
2) please circulate this appeal of mine on social media, maybe that will help us get to the right people who can help us.
Finally, we will keep you updated on the old blog’s site here: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/
Thank you in advance for any help!
Bill Wade says
From reading another popular site I’ve learned that the Russians are unable to repair their own broken tanks. That does seem a bit off to me but in the end why would it matter when the Ukrainians supply whats on hand:
pretty sure this “popular” site already banned objective people and been abandoned by sane people as this site are nothing more than a mouthpiece extension of the neocons and constantly running bizzare posts taken verbatim from telegraph.uk.
ppl visited that site expecting sane analysis from the supposedly objective veteran owner and they got endless IO posts by the lithuanian clown
Watched quite a few vids of Russian repair pools where they are not only repairing their own kit but putting captured Ukrainian kit back to working order.
Bill Wade. That was a pretty startling display of captured equipment curtesy of Gonzalo Lira. That is the first clip showing those kind of loses I have seen. Impressive.
I’ve started a new game over there. When they post ISW updates I count the number of times I see the word “likely.” In another place and time I’d have shit-canned such product.
The US has ONE operating tank factory. If you look at the job postings you will note they have a number of open positions for engineers. There is also a shortage of qualified welders. The welding test is notoriously difficult. Where are the new tanks going to come from toreplace losses in a real war?
Ricardo Ramirez says
Canadian soldiers will also have troubles operating heavy machinery so as not to spoil their polished nails. Oh, their blue hair will be easy prey for snipers too.
Same for the rest of the Western woke armies.
If I recall NATO has had at least four attempts at creating a rapid reaction force…all were failures. This will be no different.
I feel that this article is suffering from a lack of contact with the new reality in NATO. I am confidant that an army of 500 k LGBTQ+ “soldiers” would be ready to take up the responsibility of a rapid reaction force. This would fulfill Stoltenberg’s promise, take care of the inclusivity in the army per Biden’s agenda. The Russians would have no way to match this. The Chechens and Cossacks will simply die laughing, reducing the need for expensive ammunition and missiles (lipstick and lingerie manufacturers would replace the miliatary industrial complex). Putin will look ridiculuous trying to fight drag queens daring him with provocative twerks. There will be huge outpouring of popular support for these fighting forces, with people even willing to pay premium pay-per-view rates on CNN’s special news bulletins dedicated to these new kind of special forces. All in all, I think Stoltenberg seems to know that what he is claiming is going to be a pathbreaking development in military history. (Sarcasm alert!!)
He tries Jens or Jennifer as his gender neutral identity.
No way U.K. forces are over 100k at moment. Huge troop losses to private sector and early retirement.
It’s interesting that intelligence operatives so called are outnumbering actual combat ready troops in some countries.
GChQ , MI6 etc in UK outnumber U.K. combat troops. The intelligence tail has less dog to wag and more mouths to feed yet the pipeline keeps heading that way.
In the U.K., the entire public discourse almost assumes that we have an awesome military as a given. This then underlines the arrogance of various articles where the media claim that British training or weapons are making a massive difference. The only accepted gap is that we need to spend more: playing of course to the agenda of the military staffs and our remaining / the US military industrial complex.
Of course, given we have not fought a high intensity, ongoing war against an enemy with artillery, an operating Air Force and effective air defence since Korea it is hard to see what our military can teach Ukraine that is valuable. They must know more about this type of warfare than any western military. Even the Falklands War of forty years ago was not on anything like this scale.
Various artIcles even now are claiming that HIMARS are making a massive difference. Of course, Javelins were the previous publicly stated game changer and the Ukrainians seem to discard them whenever they retreat.
The mismatch between true western capability and the self perception of it is deeply dangerous, I fear.
borderline insanity for western people not to see this clown pretending to be NATO secretary , all his comments are either lies or pure rethoric as if his materials are made by social media warriors. No i done begrudge this stolenberg as im sure he knew what he did for a living , that is lying to the masses according to his master.
what i cant fathom is this , just how deep is western people’s delusion and immersion in lalaland that they still believe this kind of nonsense AND still have faith opin NATO as a real fighting unit (on real world not on social media)
And in Vietnam it was stated that the US soldier was the most well educated one in the world. All of this discussion today suggests the US cannot fight competently a conventional war. That only leaves nukes. A worrisome trend with a worse outcome in sight.
Wait a minute. I thought Ukraine was kicking ass. What would the need an insurgency for?
Also why would the 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣British be doing the training? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire Taliban guys or retired Viet Cong?
Larry Johnson says
I got a good laugh from this. Very clever and funny. Your underlying point is made quite clearly with your sarcasm. Congrats.
If NATO can promise their troops that they can stay warm and get hot showers, they might get all the volunteers they need. Although whether those troops will eventually want to fight Russia or turn on their own governments is another story…
Stupid question maybe but do the 1000s of Ukrainian “volunteers” now being trained by Britain speak fluent English, or do British sergeant majors all speak Ukrainian? I wonder if anyone bothered to check.
It does feel like pure PR, to be fair. More nonsense from our useless government and toothless military.
Didn’t Scott Ritter do a piece saying of the 60,000 US troops in Europe only 20,000 could be deployed in to combat rapidly? (The other 40,000 are admin and lawyers etc.)…The west’s disease is the problem.
I taught for 16 years in London…all the great teachers and managers were ‘let go’ replaced by youngsters just out of teacher training with great ‘paperwork’ who couldn’t teach or who had very little experience or very sketchy knowledge about their chosen subject (sound engineering, music industry)….As a result not much educating took place…but the achievement, attendance and retention figures were amazing… because these were all funding dependent.