NewsEurope's war panic with Russia: Raising defense budget or genuine fear?

Europe's war panic with Russia: Raising defense budget or genuine fear?

European Union and Russia conflict. Flags on chess pawns on a chess board. 3D illustration.
European Union and Russia conflict. Flags on chess pawns on a chess board. 3D illustration.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Feydzhet Shabanov
11:51 AM EST, January 23, 2024

The consensus seems to be that Ukraine's prospects of coming out victorious in the war against Russia are lessening due to the questionable support from the West. Consequently, experts and heads of individual NATO countries warn of an increased risk of broadening the conflict to the magnitude of a world war.

Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of Estonia, recently conjectured in an interview with "Times" magazine that the West has between 3 to 5 years to gear up for a potential war with Russia. Similarly, Eirik Kristoffersen, the commander of the Norwegian Armed Forces, suggests a timeline of one to three years. A high-ranking NATO official, Admiral Rob Bauer, warns of the possibility of an armed conflict with Russia within the next twenty years.

Urging for readiness toward a plausible war with Russia are several officials including Swedish Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin. The Prime Minister of the Nordic country, Ulf Kristersson, further expressed that their national security situation is the most precarious since World War II.

Minna Ålander, a researcher from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, observes that the escalating war threats emerging from all directions may be strategically aimed to condition the residents of European countries for an unavoidable hike in defense expenditure.

"There's an increasing transparency in the way politicians and high-ranking officials publicly convey the necessity to be equipped for the worst possible outcomes," she emphasized in an interview with the "Ilta-Sanomat" daily.

Simultaneously, she remarks that the sudden wave of panic may seem baffling to Finns, who have traditionally been aware of possible external threats and thus prepared for them. According to her, Finland has long focused on improving national defense, independent of NATO's standing. This is not the case with several Western European countries that erroneously assumed the end of the Cold War implied the end of continental conflict.

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