From Deutsche Welle.

Can NATO strike the right balance of force and diplomatic fortitude to make the Kremlin back off?

“We’re the ones that keep other people awake at night”: That’s the impact US Marine Corps Brigadier General Simon Doran hopes this massive show of NATO power has on Russian military planners plotting their next moves.

Doran is the senior American representative serving with the UK’s Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), the largest fifth-generation carrier air wing in the world. It’s on its way back to Portsmouth, England after completing a seven-month voyage of some 40,000 nautical miles [and] carried out exercises in the Black Sea. And, Doran emphasized, CSG21 is ready for duty anywhere.

…”When you have an aircraft carrier that’s full of fifth-generation aircraft, surrounded by a ring of steel of highly capable vessels, it’s something everybody wants to think about.”

The most worrisome “there” for NATO at the moment is likely the Black Sea, where CSG21 engaged in military exercises in June….

After that came the Minsk-facilitated — and, many insist, Moscow-backed — flow of migrants over Belarus’ borders with NATO allies Latvia, Lithuania and especially Poland….

Polish President Andrzej Duda has said the Belarus border issue and the Ukraine buildup cannot be seen separately. Duda visited NATO headquarters last week to ask for “strengthening of the air policing mission…strengthening of observation, surveillance and strengthening of the readiness of NATO units along the eastern flank of the alliance.”

Doran said the most advanced carrier strike group in the world is ready to respond to Russian threats.


Lauren Speranza, an expert on trans-Atlantic defense and security at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), said NATO could have done more to prevent this situation, having fallen short in the strength of its dissuasion and in imposing sufficient costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the meantime, troops aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth will continue sending more traditional messages to the Kremlin. “The fact that the aircraft carrier has come through the Black Sea and is demonstrating its ability has proved that defense of the EuroAtlantic area is absolutely front and center for NATO,” General Tim Radford, NATO’s deputy supreme allied commander in Europe, said last week aboard the ship….