Russian military forces will swiftly defeat the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US in less than three days should a war break out in the Baltic region, says a US military think tank.
The RAND Corporation, comprised of American military officers and civilian officials, made the projection Tuesday, in an analysis of NATO’s war games in Eastern Europe.
“The games’ findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” the report read.
It said that during several war games conducted between 2014 and 2015, American forces and troops from Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — proved unable to stop the advance of mechanized Russian units, suffering heavy casualties.
The scenario involved Russian forces knocking on the doors of the Estonian capital city of Tallinn or the Latvian capital of Riga within 36 to 60 hours.
“Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad,” the report continued.
According to the analysis, the US-led alliance could attempt to mount a deadly counter-attack that would be met by a dramatic escalation by Russia, as Moscow deems the coordinated effort as a threat to its homeland.
The second option would be resorting to Cold War tactics where NATO would threaten Russia with a massive retaliation involving nuclear weapons.
A third option for NATO would be to admit a temporary defeat and appear toothless, while embarking on a new Cold War with Moscow.
However, RAND suggested that NATO could set pre-emptive measures in place by deploying about seven brigades in the area, including three heavy armored brigades backed up by air and artillery support, “to prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states.”
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter unveiled plans on Tuesday to deploy more heavy weapons and armored vehicles to NATO’s eastern frontier.
He added that the new Pentagon budget aims to increase spending on Eastern Europe operations from about $800 million this year to $3.4 billion in 2017.