In the old Latin book Epitoma Rei Militaris written by Vegetius you will find the quotation: “Igitur qui desiderar pacem, praeparet bellum” or in shorter latin: “Si cis pacem, para bellum”. When War breaks out it is far too late to prepare fight. War is something you need to prepare for in times of Peace. In our modern society we make alliances with other countries, just as we did in old times. Before we intermarried our royal families to safeguard our peace and create possible help for difficult times. Today we rest on this paper relations and hopes that it prevent others from attacking us and that it makes them run to help us if needed in the future. In a wat these paper arrangements are preventive measures.
Europe and USA (28 member states) are committed through NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization or North Atlantic Alliance; perhaps the most known organization for War prevention and support. The base for this organization is a treaty signed post-World War 2, 4 April 1949. The essence is a collective defence if one of the members is attacked by external states, and the member states have to spend 2% of GDP on its defence.
Today we find another interesting aspect arriving on the agenda – mobilization time. Some time ago it were arranged a peaceful drill or exercise where the scenario were that Latvia were attacked and Great Britain had to help as a NATO member. Arranging everything as fast as possible it took three weeks for Latvia to get help; experts stated that this were fast. To help with this delayed help NATO have arranged a system of scaling the help. 14 days after an attack some NATO soldiers are supposed to be present to start the preparation for the proposed huge amount of soldiers that are supposed to arrive within 1 to 2 months. Then we might ask – “What country is able to resist an attacker for 2 months?” Let us say Russia attack Denmark. Will Denmark be able to resist Russia for eight weeks before the help arrives?
In short your country will be ALONE against an attacker for the first weeks, and most likely smaller countries will not resist more than a few days in the best case scenario.
One of the main problems is the movement of the troops and supplies. Since most have to be sent over sea or across land we find a delay in logistics. This is something that is not commonly trained and this has created a theoretical extra delay that some explain as another month of transportation. Of course airplanes might be operational within 2 to 4 days and might start some kind of bombing, and battleships might be present in about 1 to 2 weeks. This does not significant change the fact that few countries will be able to resist an external attacker for so long time. Perhaps countries like USA and China, but beside them we might see defeat and total destruction long before any NATO help arrives.
The “First Aid” NATO force that is supposed to arrive quickly is estimated to a maximum of 5.000 soldiers and the massive force is estimated to a maximum of about 30.000 soldiers. Beside all this everything depends on the World situation. The first country attacked might get some help, but the second, third or whatever other country attacked might wait for years for some help to arrive. Again, you are totally alone! A slow system might help, but you need to be attacked first to hope for some help. Multiple attacks are the biggest problem for NATO.
The two main problems are response time and amount of available force. Another important point of interest are the possibility for attacks in own country when the soldiers are out helping in another country; meaning that our defence is not present in own country and will not be able to return to help against the attack. Is a country willing to die for another country when their own country is under attack? We should also notice that USA have more interest on the Pacific side of their country and less focus on the Atlantic side recent years. Something that might delay response time further. For example the US presence in Germany were heavily reduced last year when they withdraw a lot of military personnel and equipment back to USA; mainly Alaska(!). USA again sends signals that they want to send more presence to the European region; remember that most US citizens are ancestors of immigrants from Europe and Africa. Still we haven’t seen the result of these signals, but everything depends on the next USA President.
USA has for example stored weapons and equipment in Norway, but this storage is indicated for all US Marine Corps operations in all Europa, Middle East and in Africa. How long will the storage last? Since the priorities have changed, so has the content of the storage. Today the storages are more empty than full.
Then we are back to the beginning – Start planning for War in Peace. You cannot wait until dangers are upon you to prepare. Preparation for the worse-case scenario is done in peace. When facing a great and strong opponent you have to think tactical. You have to find ways to make the opponent think twice before attacking you. One solution here is a membership in an alliance like NATO. Another aspect is to train soldiers specific to resist a hostile opponent for the required amount of time. This means stay behind forces and use nature to fight the opponent. Destroy bridges and strategic roads. Poison the water and take away electricity. Of course this will also afflict the local population, but it is War. It is needed with simulations where effects of slowing tactics are tried and calculated. Perhaps a disturbing tactic where you try to maintain an army against the attacker while waiting for help from the alliance is the best tactic for smaller states. The capacities of the army have to be calculated and adjusted in times of Peace for times of War. Evaluate your enemies and adjust according to their goals with the war; strategic or occupation. Pease depend on solid borders, and it is nothing wrong in being prepared and to be friends.
Most states today don’t have any real defence or army. Most states don’t have any army stronger than defending selected physical objects as a small town. Remember that even god trained soldiers have limitations in their stamina, and normally functions good only as a part of a greater. This mean that fighting unites is limited in effect in the big picture.
The last years we find the defence plans to get less and less priority and the responsibility in the Alliances get a bigger importance. The military investments are designed to fit the alliance and not the real needs of the country. Something is wrong when the focus is on others and no focus on yourself and your needs. International operations in Afghanistan, Middle East, Libya and so on might be blamed for this. Well, politicians entering the field of War have never been a good experience neither. National military planning have a relatively low priority in comparison with international military planning.
Read more about different alliances like African Union (Pease and Security Council), African Standby Force, Axis of Resistance, Organization of the Eurasian Law Enforcement Agencies with Military, Peninsula Shield Force, Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, BALTRON, ANZAC, South American Defence Council, Islamic Military Alliance, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, and many more.