Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Some Damn Thing in the Baltics – Felgengauer on How a European War Could Begin

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – An “all-European” war in the coming year is unlikely to begin, Pavel Felgengauer says, particularly as a result of actions much discussed but highly improbable. But tragically, “one must not say that the probability is equal to zero” because “everything could begin as a result of some incident.”

            After dismissing many of the causes some are talking about such as the establishment of a large American base in Poland, something the Russian military analyst says is highly unlikely, he outlines a scenario that could lead to war (

            Let’s say, Felgengauer begins, that “in the sky over the Baltic countries, a Russian and American jet collide. They are constantly flying alongside one another. And a crisis could begin. Then would begin to be fulfilled plans for the raising and relocation of forces.”

            “At a certain moment,” he continues, “the military in Russia will begin to argue to Putin that it is necessary to immediately occupy the Baltic countries” because “when divisions from Texas arise there, they will create such a powerful place des armes that ‘we won’t be able to do anything.”

            Occupying the Baltics is necessary, Putin will be told, so that the Americans can’t seize Kaliningrad and then have the opportunity to attack St. Petersburg and Moscow. As a result of this growing crisis, an all-European war could begin.”

            “For example,” Felgengauer postulates, “both sides push their forces forward. For geographic reasons, Russia does this more quickly. But the West potentially is stronger than Russia: by the size of its population, by its GDP, by its military potential, and by its economy, finances and resources in general.”

            “All this creates a potentially unstable situation which could lead to war.” But “there is another side of the coin. No one in Europe wants to fight. To threaten one another is something else,” and to engage in proxy conflicts outside of Europe is as well. Indeed, Putin views what he is doing in Ukraine and Syria as a proxy war with the United States.

            Felgengauer says one can hope that “in the final analysis, all will proceed without a large all-European war. But Russia officially considers the threat of a major war, as the chief of the general staff has said more than once. And such a war thus could begin even tomorrow.” And he adds a warning that Moscow should keep in mind.

            No one should forget, he says, that “after the end of the Cold War came the disintegration of the USSR. The same thing is possible with Russia now. And not only publicists are talking about this.” Government ministers have mentioned that if Russia spends too much on the military, it could collapse as did the Soviet Union.

            It is thus “completely possible that Russia will experience a very serious crisis,” and out of such crises, even bigger horrors can emerge.

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