NewsRussia's potential war on NATO: How 2024 could become year of global conflict and what can be done to prevent it

Russia's potential war on NATO: How 2024 could become year of global conflict and what can be done to prevent it

This is what Russia's future war with NATO countries could look like
This is what Russia's future war with NATO countries could look like
Images source: © Getty Images | Photographer:xxapril
1:46 PM EST, January 23, 2024

The "Daily Mail" suggests that 2024 could be a year filled with tension and conflicts. These could include the ongoing war in Ukraine and another potential flare-up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. British journalists believe that the risk of global conflict is currently at its highest since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Russia reportedly continues to spend a significant amount of money on armaments. According to General Kevin Ryan, the planned defense budget of $140 billion for 2024 is not solely for a potential conquest of Ukraine, but rather for engaging with the prime competitor, NATO.

The "Daily Mail" consulted military personnel and security experts regarding what a conflict with Russia might entail. A scenario was devised for 2044.

A cyber attack and missile strikes could be the initial moves

Cyberspace is a new and prominent domain where modern wars are being waged. According to experts consulted by the "Daily Mail", Russia might start a potential war with NATO via this digital landscape.

I can imagine that the Russians, if they had already made the terrible decision to invade, would have taken steps to create massive cyber disruption of our infrastructure. They could leverage cyber attacks to create labour problems at the seaports or to disrupt logistics and supply chains, says Ben Hodges, an American general and authority on defense issues.

Russia might instigate propaganda campaigns and provoke instability in countries it desires to incorporate into its sphere of influence. Then kinetic action is expected to follow suit. Experts mention that the initial move of Putin's army on Ukraine was missile strikes, including those on civilian targets. A similar scenario might unfold in the case of a potential conflict with NATO.

"The importance of having a comprehensive air and missile-defense throughout Europe is a matter I often stress upon. We currently lack it," admits defense analyst Sam Cranny-Evans.

The Suwalki Corridor is likely to come under attack

As per the scenario outlined by experts in the "Daily Mail", land, air, and sea invasions come next. Following sufficient refurbishing of its armed forces, Russia could strike at the narrow strip of land connecting the Baltic countries with the rest of the NATO nations — the Suwalki Corridor, alternatively the northeastern regions of Poland.

According to General Hodges, the annexation of a corridor from Belarus to Kaliningrad would be the next phase of the invasion — implying a direct assault on one of the alliance's countries, using infantry, special forces, and AI-controlled tanks. The main target could be Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, or even Poland.

Putin would then anticipate NATO's response. If the renowned Article 5 was not activated quickly, the Russian army would likely continue advancing. It's crucial to remember that the NATO forces in the region are "interim" forces, meant to stall the invasion until the principal NATO army arrives.

General Hodges believes the Russians might also extend their attacks to the Arctic to intercept communication lanes there. "It would be catastrophic," concedes the officer.

Vladimir Putin's ultimate aim would not be to conquer NATO countries. As per experts, his intent primarily would be to destabilize the alliance, and subsequently dismantle it. Capturing key strategic locations like the aforementioned Arctic route, which carries significant economic value for the Russians, is also on his alleged agenda.

Russia may also launch attacks from its new strategic positions on targets in Scandinavia and Britain, and potentially deploy submarines to disrupt the undersea cables laid out across the seafloor. In this manner, Vladimir Putin could keep all of Europe on its toes, possibly reaching as far as Lisbon, which propaganda has marked as one of the offensive's targets for two years.

Russia's allies could join the conflict

Globally, a Russian attack is projected to have massive repercussions. Its allies will likely jump on the bandwagon to pursue their interests. Iran, which has increasingly been forming ties with Russia, could join along the Kremlin in the fight. Its prospective targets could include Israel. Iran might bring its proxy allies such as Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, or the Houthi in Yemen into play.

This scenario would invariably destabilize the situation in the Middle East.

North Korea and, notably, China could also start attacks on U.S. allies in the Pacific region, like Japan or South Korea. There has been longstanding speculation of a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan — an entity viewed as an integral part of mainland China by the Communist Party.

This small island also happens to be a global powerhouse in chip production, a pivotal sector of the modern economy. China is also determined to secure the Arctic route. In the event of a war, they might have access to the gas supply from this route if Russia maintains control here.

How can warfare be prevented?

The analytical piece in the "Daily Mail" ends with insights on potential strategies to avoid a full-fledged conflict. They suggest that Russia will likely strive to suppress post-Soviet countries again in the upcoming years, while continuing its attempts to splinter NATO and exploit fissures within the European Union.

Experts propose various strategies to deter Russia. The first one is the establishment of a formidable army that can deter an invasion, one that the Kremlin would not even contemplate challenging. They also highlight the upcoming Steadfast Defender exercises, meant to manifest the strength and unity of the alliance, as well as its military potential.

Alexander Lord, leading analyst for Europe and Eurasia at global risk analysis firm Sibylline, underscores the continued importance of nuclear deterrence, without disregarding conventional means.

Europe and the West as a whole must invest in the future. Large-scale military exercises like Steadfast Defender — the largest NATO exercises since the Cold War — are intended to demonstrate conventional capability and the resolve to defend allies, thereby preventing further Russian aggression, as stated by the analyst.

Diplomacy remains the final tool. The "Daily Mail" echoes Theodore Roosevelt's famous saying: "Speak softly, but carry a big stick." It proposes signaling to Russia that NATO possesses the power to defeat them and that a war would be overwhelmingly disadvantageous for them.

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