From the Bureau of the Bleeding Obvious:
If Russian tanks and troops rolled into the Baltics tomorrow, outgunned and outnumbered NATO forces would be overrun in under three days. That’s the sobering conclusion of war games carried out by a think tank with American military officers and civilian officials.
Well, yeah. The Baltic states of NATO are small and have tiny militaries. And NATO has few forces to help them in those three days. Of course NATO will lose the Baltic states in a serious fight.
And this is nonsense:
The United States and its NATO allies could try to mount a bloody counter-attack that could trigger a dramatic escalation by Russia, as Moscow would possibly see the allied action as a direct strategic threat to its homeland. A second option would be to take a page out of the old Cold War playbook, and threaten massive retaliation, including the use of nuclear weapons. A third option would be to concede at least a temporary defeat, rendering NATO toothless, and embark on a new Cold War with Moscow, the report said.
Of course we have to launch a counter-attack if NATO loses the Baltic states. Declaring that we can't regain lost ground after Russia initiates a war because Russia might get nervous just gives Russia a license to kill.
Threatening to nuke Russia isn't credible and conceding defeat is nonsense.
Who believes we'd trade New York for Riga if we are thinking straight?
And conceding the loss would encourage Russia to grab more chunks of territory and threaten nuclear war if we don't accept the loss. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And this is no solution:
However, the war games also illustrated there are preemptive steps the United States and its European allies could take to avoid a catastrophic defeat and shore up NATO’s eastern defenses, while making clear to Moscow that there would no easy victory.
A force of about seven brigades in the area, including three heavy armored brigades, and backed up by airpower and artillery, would be enough “to prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states,” it said. The additional forces would cost an estimated $2.7 billion a year to maintain.
No! If we put enough force into the Baltic states to hold the ground, Russia will simply advance through Poland and cut off our troops in the Baltic states, as the Russians did to the Germans in World War II, and leave them to rot away and surrender when the war in Poland is decided.
Much like NATO would have lost large chunks of West Germany in a war against the Soviet Union--before we counter-attacked, we will lose ground if Russia invades NATO.
The key is to survive the onslaught, inflict losses on the Russians as they advance, and then counter-attack.
As I wrote, I'd give good money for an old-fashioned armored cavalry regiment to screen the Baltic states.
With our special forces working with Baltic state irregulars to harass the Russian occupiers and United States Marines prepared to hit the coasts up there, I'd clean up the Russian Kaliningrad outpost and then counter-attack into the Baltic states to liberate them when we gather enough NATO heavy forces from further west.
Absolutely help the eastern-most NATO states beef up their militaries:
The US will devote a substantial portion of its defense spending to building up its military presence in Eastern Europe in an effort to deter Russian aggression in the region, Obama administration officials told The New York Times.
Countries belonging to the NATO alliance in Central and Eastern Europe will apparently receive heavy weaponry, tanks, and other equipment from the US, which quadrupled its budget from $789 million to more than $3.4 billion for military spending in Europe through 2017.
And building up the infrastructure to receive NATO reinforcements from further west is essential.
Losing the first battle doesn't mean we lose the war--unless we just throw in the towel. We could beat the Russians. Their army is not the Red Army of the Cold War any more.