It could start with electronic banking disruptions and false reports of violence against Russian minorities. Then there could be staged demonstrations leading to street fighting, armed “volunteers” hurrying across the border in fancy uniforms for alleged protection of women and children, and finally escalating the entire military march along that border. There are such scenarios. They worry Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and they demand an answer from Europe, and from the United States.
Will America be ready to defend Europe against attacks in an emergency? If you could just rely on what President Donald Trump says and does lately, doubts would be in order. His almost notorious accusations by Germany about insufficient contributions to the North Atlantic Alliance, his gestures, and the unreliability of his foreign policy are disturbing signs of fundamental change.
America has always made significant contributions, in Poland a US brigade is stationed for a few months, about 5,000 men and women
Alliance has therefore strengthened its presence after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Three battalions are stationed in the Baltic States, currently under British, Canadian and German leadership. In the airspace, NATO jets keep watch over the fact that there are no attacks. America has always made significant contributions to this, in Poland a US brigade is stationed for a few months, about 5,000 men and women.
Russian and allied forces in the Baltic hosted the “Sapad” maneuver in 2017. According to Western estimates, up to 60,000 men practiced a major offensive there. Every attacker, meaning of course Russian organizations here, should know that in the attack on individual units of the Alliance they will soon be confronted with the whole force of NATO.
Three battalions are stationed in the Baltic States, currently under British, Canadian and German leadership
The whole thing is only credible and dissuasive, even if help actually comes and fast. As things are currently in Europe, it will depend on US forces for a long time to come. They had greatly reduced their troop levels in Europe after the end of the Cold War and the wars in the Middle East. In 2013, the US last tanks left Europe.
But for some years both capacities and abilities of America have been growing again in Europe. Large material warehouses in Belgium and Germany were refilled. They can supply entire brigades with everything they need, from battle tanks to wire cutters.