Fait accompli: Russia conquering the Baltics in 48 hours - what to do next.

The response should and would be a declaration of war by NATO against the Russians, and starting to ramp up to take them back by force if necessary. At the same time, probably a full on embargo of Russian trade, freezing of their assets, etc. This alone would cripple Russia’s economy and probably send them into a deep depression. NATO would probably start of by flying interdiction missions to stifle Russia resupply and logistics into the Baltic states and air strikes at depots and caches, C&C and concentrations of Russian forces. Next would be a build up, most likely in Poland. The US would probably send whatever we have on hand right now to Poland and start the process of moving a large conventional force over, and my guess is the other NATO countries would be doing the same thing. Perhaps negotiations with the Ukraine to stage troops there or at least be able to use it to open another front or threaten south western Russia and the Crimea so Russia can’t concentrate everything in the Baltic region.

The thing is, the modern Russia military isn’t what it used to be. They don’t have unlimited (seemingly) troops, tanks, planes etc. They actually have a pretty good core of capable units and troops, but it’s really small. The rest is old Soviet crap that is unevenly maintained and a pool of reserves that have pretty indifferent training and less motivation. I’m not even sure if the Russian military COULD seize all 3 Baltic states as the OP posits. If they did they would be pushing their military to it’s max, especially logistically, and the good units would be spread pretty thin…and vulnerable to being destroyed in detail.

Not a good thing at all. How much of this uncertainty is due to positions and public statements by the current POTUS?

My bolding in the quote. I seriously doubt there would be a declaration of war by NATO without the US going along and under the current Administration I find it highly unlikely that would happen.

Should it? Yes.

Would it? No.

Maybe the UK, France or Germany would go it alone but I really doubt that happening without the US being involved.

At this moment in time, if Putin wants the Baltics, they are his for the taking. Same for pretty much any country in the Caucasus as well IMO.

Bullshit. If that was the case then Russian tanks would be rolling into the Ukraine and Putin et al wouldn’t be pussyfooting around. The Ukraine isn’t even a NATO member, so if he REALLY thought the US would just sit on the sidelines that’s what he’d be doing. The Baltic states are actually members of NATO, and they certainly aren’t his for the taking, regardless of the idiot we have in the Whitehouse.

This is total speculation, but at this moment, if Putin invaded the Baltics and Trump failed to uphold the U.S.'s Article V commitments to NATO, I think we would be looking at President Pence within a short period of time.

Which Caucasus NATO member are you referring to, exactly?

There could be thousands of other reasons why the Russians aren’t moving into Baltics, E Europe or Mongolia for that matter, even if they thought the US would not try and stop them…

Article V reads
Emphasis supplied

such action as it deems necessary…you do realise a strongly worded letter or a tweet which says “Sad” fulfils the requirement if the properly constituted authorities think its necessary? Nothing in Article V compels action.

Does Turkey have any territory in the Caucasus? Cause otherwise, I got nothing,

… is what Rudy Giuliani will argue on the Senate Floor.

:rolleyes: But there aren’t. And I didn’t say it was just because of the US…that’s your strawman.

Sounds like the Soviets at the outset of WWII (e.g. the Winter War).

But Russia seems to manage to hang in there with a willingness to keep absorbing staggering losses. Losses most western nations would not tolerate.

They did most of that on the defensive and with massive aid from the US. Also, things have changed quite a bit from WWII…building some T-34’s in Siberia is not the same thing as trying to build enough T-14’s to compete with what NATO would be throwing at them at the end of a very long and vulnerable supply line and in very hostile territory. A good many folks who live in the Baltic states HATE the Russians and never want to live under their thumb again.

As to the last point, I’m unsure why folks assume that today’s Russia youth is anything like the stoic Russians of the Great Patriotic War era. The Russian’s haven’t been willing to put up with the mass slaughter and casual mass killings, forced labor camps or intentional mass starvation stuff since Stalin finally shuffled off. Oh, they certainly are more tolerant of abuse than your average German (or American), but nothing like how they were in the past…and I seriously doubt the majority of their conscripts today would be willing to put up with the types of losses the Russian’s had at the beginning (or, hell, the end) of WWII. Especially in a war of aggression to conquer territory they basically don’t care about, by and large.

See that part where I mentioned it doesn’t make a real difference in force ratios? :stuck_out_tongue: They are small even compared to the combined combat power organic to the three Baltic Republics

It’s not quite the Berlin Brigade or their mission, either, since that was about proving US support. It is definitely a move to address the issue of whether NATO will fight for the Baltics or other eastern NATO members. It’s not a question of whether the rest of NATO decides to intervene after the Baltics have already fallen. Most NATO countries will already be in combat against Russia before they can fall. That modifies the hypothetical, and the internal political dynamics, in a significant way.

Tell China they can everything east of the Lena if they help out, then go to town on the Russkies.

I’m in the camp that thinks people are generally substantially overrating Russia and substantially underrating NATO minus the United States. The economic balance in particular is stark - Russia’s GDP isn’t much above Spain’s. Turkey, with not much more than half of Russia’s population, has two thirds of Russia’s GDP. Turkey.

Even with Russia spending a much higher proportion of its GDP on the military, it is still out-bulked in defense spending by well over 4 to 1 by non-US NATO. There are persistent reports that Russia has myriad maintenance issues with its fleet of equipment due to lack of resources. Similar problems apparently exist in terms of military recruitment. Even stripped of American support I rather doubt( nuclear weapons aside )that Russia has the resources to win any sort of extended struggle. It’s a bit like Germany in WW II - given reasonable unity and enough time to build up and squeeze Russia economically, Russia is going to lose.

Not that it matters because I don’t care how much Trump is in Putin’s pocket*, the odds of the U.S. sitting out a naked invasion like that are IMHO close to nil.

  • I for one tend to doubt he actually is. I just think Trump is very, very easily massaged and worked by Putin.

Meh. The fact the Baltic states are members of NATO is probably the main reason, up to this point, that Putin hasn’t done what the OP describes. In my first post in this thread (post #11), I state I think it much more likely Putin would send troops into the eastern part of the Baltic states under the excuse of protecting the ethnic Russians living there.

This is pretty much the reason given for his actions in invading the Crimea and screwing around in eastern Ukraine. After our President’s recent performance in Helsinki I doubt he feels there would be much his good friend Donald would do in retaliation.

Amusing you would call out my post as total speculation in a thread that is nothing BUT total speculation.

Clearly you have more faith than I that the GOP leadership would ever act to remove Trump from office. Personally I’ve seen absolutely nothing to indicate there is any hope that is anything other than speculation. As long as the GOP controls the Senate I don’t see any action being taken to remove Trump from office. For any reason.

And considering the degree to which Pence has marched in lockstep with Trump what makes you think he would do anything more than use harsh language if it was his decision?

Cute. Check my post because that isn’t what I said. Please refrain from misrepresenting what I write or from putting words in my mouth in the future.

My point is that given how Trump is bent on damaging NATO AND kowtowing to the Russians it wouldn’t surprise me if Putin took that as license to do what he wants in places like the Baltic states or the Caucasus. I don’t see whether a state is or isn’t a member of NATO would be likely to stop him from seizing part of their territory and making up a lame excuse such as protecting ethnic Russian minorities or Russian interests. That has been his line about Crimea and the Ukraine from the beginning. Why change a strategy that has been proven to work?

Exactly on all points.

Of course the problem is that we can’t really put nuclear weapons aside and even if Russia is sure to lose, they can inflict enough damage to make everyone else loses, too. Fortunately, Putin doesn’t seem religiously apocalyptic or generally suicidal.

I’m not sure how much it costs to maintain a nuclear arsenal. I’m kind of hoping that after another 20 years of careful containment, helped along by continued sanctions, Russia’s nuclear threat will be reduced to the same level as, say, India’s.

Conversely, neither can the Russians. It would be them risking nuclear war, after all, by attacking not just 1 but 3 NATO allies simultaneously.

ETA: I doubt in that time frame Russia would go from thousands of nuclear weapons to less than a hundred. It would be nice, but not happening IMHO. Though one thing no one ever seems to consider is…what, exactly, is the current state of the Russian nuclear arsenal? I seriously doubt even they are all that confident in it, considering that even the US isn’t rock solid certain they will all work as designed. And we spend a hell of a lot more maintaining ours than they do theirs, and our didn’t sit around languishing for several years or a decade while we got our shit back together and found funds.

Would you be relieved to know that “this is total speculation” referred to my impeachment scenario, and not your opinion?

I’m saying that World War III in which the President sides with the authoritarian aggressor would be the breaking point. I do not agree that there is zero breaking point.

Because Pence has NOT been in lockstep with Trump on NATO.

I thought it was a clever way to emphasize the point that Russia invading a NATO ally is a different situation than Russia invading a country that is not an ally. A fact you disregard.

Because seizing Crimea or the Georgia invasion carried little risk of World War III and no risk of nuclear war. That cannot be said of the Baltics.

This talk about the readiness of Russia’s nuclear arsenal is absurd. If even three of Russia’s nuclear missiles worked properly, it would fuck up America so badly that we would seriously be at Mad Max levels except with less exciting action and more horrific prolonged deaths from radiation sickness and cancer.

There is absolutely no political objective that is worth risking nuclear war over.

You equate Putin moving on the Baltic states as an automatic start of WWIII. That means NATO would automatically respond with force to any move by Russia into those countries. In the world that existed prior to January 20, 2017 I would agree that would be the most likely outcome. Whether or not it would reach the level of nuclear war, I don’t know.

The problem is, the world where such an act would result in WWIII doesn’t exist anymore. We now live in a world where the POTUS is an individual who is hostile to NATO and the European countries who have been our historical allies. Trump’s history, both in business or as President, has shown that he sees little need to honor contracts or treaties. He is convinced, as are many of his supporters both in Congress and in certain parts of the US, that these countries have taken advantage of the US over the last 70 years and given us little to nothing in return. Why would he feel the need to come to the defense of a NATO country rather than his good buddy Vlad? (Even if the Senate moved against him over something like turning his back on NATO, by the time they could get anything done it would be way too late. Impeachment and removal is not something that is likely to be done in an afternoon. And while there might be enough GOP Senators who would vote to convict in this scenario, I highly doubt there are enough votes to approve articles of impeachment in the House.)

This is exactly what Putin wants to see - NATO weakened or rendered impotent. If Putin can get friendly leaders in place in NATO member countries - Hungary and Poland are two obvious examples - then he is that much closer to seeing it implode. Now he has the President of the United States in his pocket, kowtowing to him at every opportunity and loath to do anything that might upset him.

If Putin can succeed at putting NATO in a state of disarray and disagreement on how to respond to his actions, then there is little to prevent him from doing what he wants anywhere, much less in the Baltics.