Former NATO General Warns Of Nuclear War With Russia If Defense Does Not Increase

Nuclear war with Russia may be a likely forecast if Europe does not increase defense against Putin's advances.

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

Is nuclear war imminent for NATO? Retired General Sir Richard Shirreff seems to think so.

According to the general, who served as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2011 to 2014, NATO risks a nuclear war with Russia within a year if measures are not taken to increase defense capabilities in the Baltic states. He warns of an attack on the participating NATO states of Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania if the West does not act to prevent ‘potential catastrophe”.

In his book 2017 War with Russia, Shirreff describes events that, though fictional, are “entirely plausible”, as he revealed to BBC Radio 4’s programme. He warns of the fact that “Russia hardwires nuclear thinking and capability to every aspect of their defense capability” could ultimately result in nuclear war.

Shirreff has stated that “We need to judge President Putin by his deeds, not his words. He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it.”

If the retired general is correct in this assumption, Article 5 of the founding treaty would oblige other Nato members to come to the defense of the aforementioned countries in the case of an attack.

General Shirreff believes that Putin could very well be persuaded to intervene in the Baltic by a “perception” of weakness in NATO. He predicts that Putin will enlist similar tactics seen in Crimea, in which the president would reason his actions as that of defense, to protect the Russian-speaking minorities in these regions.

Though NATO has increased its defenses throughout the Baltic states, Shirreff has asserted that “the bar is not high enough at the moment”. NATO must “raise the bar sufficiently high for any aggressor to say it is not worth the risk,” he added.

The preface of Shirreff’s book reveals his criticism for recent defense budget cuts in the UK, writing:

“A country famous for once ‘walking softly and carrying a big stick’…now had a leadership that shouted loudly but, thanks to ongoing defense cuts, carried an increasingly tiny and impotent stick.”

NATO has revealed plans to formally merge Romanian missile defense stations into the NATO shield, as well as plans for the construction of a facility in Poland come 2018. In response, Russia has stated it will develop a launch detection system in Crimea that will be able to scope for hypersonic, ballistic, and cruise missiles.

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