One of Britain’s most prominent generals has declared that NATO should completely change its mentality and work on rearming Western European countries to prepare for war with Russia.
Richard Shirreff, the now retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, told The Times that although the Russian military could be seen not to be at its best during the war in Ukraine, the conflict was far from over.
Shirreff, who served in the NATO role from 2011 to 2014, said he had initially “overestimated the capabilities of the Russian military and underestimated the courage, resources, resilience, determination and sheer ingenuity” the Ukrainians had shown.
He said that while NATO’s support had been really impressive, we are now in a situation where this support must be increased.
“Russia and Putin are ‘trapped’.” He can attack, and rather the fear that he can decide to escalate the war with nuclear attacks”, he said.
Shirreff said there would be more escalations as Ukraine reclaimed more of its territory and said NATO needed to completely change its mindset.
“What we haven’t seen is that NATO admits that it has to prepare for the worst case, and the worst case is war with Russia. And the only way to prevent the worst case is to be ready for it, and NATO is far from that,” he said.
Shirreff said the military alliance had to counter the disarmament of Western European countries in the past decade and replenish depleted war stocks.
“The level of capability and logistical support for the armed forces needs to be thought through and the lost capability that comes after several years of disarmament needs to be looked at. Let’s be clear; even if the Russian army is defeated and Putin falls from the throne, a new leader will not come to power so liberal as to join hands with the West. If Putin is ousted, you will see an even more nationalist, xenophobic, anti-Western figure. Russia expands, Russia shrinks, Russia is not a state, Russia is an empire. It can survive only as such an organ.
And if it shrinks, it will expand again. “NATO must understand that this is a long war and must prepare for a generational deterrence capability,” he said.
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