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The Suwalki Gap

Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 6:41:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
During the Cold War there was a fear among NATO leadership that the Soviets would utilize a piece of land called the "Fulda Gap" to invade West Germany. Since the reunification of Germany and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe the Fulda Gap has lost its strategic importance. However, today there is a strip of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border which recently has come to be known as the "Suwalki Gap". If the Russians were to take the Suwalki Gap, they could cut off NATO from the Baltics AND form a land bridge to Kaliningrad.
There'd clearly be several advantages to Russia taking the Suwalki Gap. After all, it could force the Baltic States to exit NATO and it would make Kaliningrad safe from a NATO blockade. So, do you think that the Russians will give it a go? Will that perhaps be their next big move in Eastern Europe?
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beng100
Posts: 1,055
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11/26/2015 7:03:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/26/2015 6:41:43 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
During the Cold War there was a fear among NATO leadership that the Soviets would utilize a piece of land called the "Fulda Gap" to invade West Germany. Since the reunification of Germany and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe the Fulda Gap has lost its strategic importance. However, today there is a strip of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border which recently has come to be known as the "Suwalki Gap". If the Russians were to take the Suwalki Gap, they could cut off NATO from the Baltics AND form a land bridge to Kaliningrad.
There'd clearly be several advantages to Russia taking the Suwalki Gap. After all, it could force the Baltic States to exit NATO and it would make Kaliningrad safe from a NATO blockade. So, do you think that the Russians will give it a go? Will that perhaps be their next big move in Eastern Europe?

Personally I doubt they will. Not in the short to medium term at least. Surely this act would provoke a NATO military response as both nations are NATO members? It would be high stakes military and political poker from the Russians with the potential downsides greater than the upsides. In my view this invasion would trigger an all out war between NATO and Russia which is beneficial to neither side. Therefore unless circumstances change significantly such as a war already being underway I can't forsee this event happening.
Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:10:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/26/2015 7:03:30 PM, beng100 wrote:
At 11/26/2015 6:41:43 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
During the Cold War there was a fear among NATO leadership that the Soviets would utilize a piece of land called the "Fulda Gap" to invade West Germany. Since the reunification of Germany and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe the Fulda Gap has lost its strategic importance. However, today there is a strip of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border which recently has come to be known as the "Suwalki Gap". If the Russians were to take the Suwalki Gap, they could cut off NATO from the Baltics AND form a land bridge to Kaliningrad.
There'd clearly be several advantages to Russia taking the Suwalki Gap. After all, it could force the Baltic States to exit NATO and it would make Kaliningrad safe from a NATO blockade. So, do you think that the Russians will give it a go? Will that perhaps be their next big move in Eastern Europe?

Personally I doubt they will. Not in the short to medium term at least. Surely this act would provoke a NATO military response as both nations are NATO members? It would be high stakes military and political poker from the Russians with the potential downsides greater than the upsides. In my view this invasion would trigger an all out war between NATO and Russia which is beneficial to neither side. Therefore unless circumstances change significantly such as a war already being underway I can't forsee this event happening.

It would be the invasion of a fairly small strip of land, not the whole nation of Lithuania or Poland. I'd say that if this course of action did not trigger a strong NATO response it'd make Russia far more secure. This action would give Russia another buffer against invasion (I.e. there would not be any NATO troops bordering Russia).
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:13:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
In a sense this'd be the modern equivalent to Chamberlain's policy of appeasement (in this case, allow Russia to seize these certain pieces of land and ideally they'll settle down once their security from NATO invasion is sufficiently boosted). I'm not even sure if this is such a bad idea, to be honest.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:17:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The thing is, though, Russia does not border the Suwalki Gap. It'd need to establish a military base in Belarus near the gap first. This'll probably be the sign that they're about to act.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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beng100
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11/26/2015 7:18:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/26/2015 7:10:19 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 11/26/2015 7:03:30 PM, beng100 wrote:
At 11/26/2015 6:41:43 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
During the Cold War there was a fear among NATO leadership that the Soviets would utilize a piece of land called the "Fulda Gap" to invade West Germany. Since the reunification of Germany and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe the Fulda Gap has lost its strategic importance. However, today there is a strip of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border which recently has come to be known as the "Suwalki Gap". If the Russians were to take the Suwalki Gap, they could cut off NATO from the Baltics AND form a land bridge to Kaliningrad.
There'd clearly be several advantages to Russia taking the Suwalki Gap. After all, it could force the Baltic States to exit NATO and it would make Kaliningrad safe from a NATO blockade. So, do you think that the Russians will give it a go? Will that perhaps be their next big move in Eastern Europe?

Personally I doubt they will. Not in the short to medium term at least. Surely this act would provoke a NATO military response as both nations are NATO members? It would be high stakes military and political poker from the Russians with the potential downsides greater than the upsides. In my view this invasion would trigger an all out war between NATO and Russia which is beneficial to neither side. Therefore unless circumstances change significantly such as a war already being underway I can't forsee this event happening.

It would be the invasion of a fairly small strip of land, not the whole nation of Lithuania or Poland. I'd say that if this course of action did not trigger a strong NATO response it'd make Russia far more secure. This action would give Russia another buffer against invasion (I.e. there would not be any NATO troops bordering Russia).

Well there would still be NATO troops in Poland bordering this newly annexed territory and Kaliningrad. Unless Russia also invaded the Baltic states as well NATO troops would still be there too. This assumes that this invasion has not already triggered world war 3. I can see how the end result would be attractive to Russia if NATO did nothing in response but I think the organization would be forced into a response as doing nothing and let Russia do as it pleases simply makes the organization appear as nothing more then a bluff. NATO members would initially be caught off guard and ground troop numbers may not be high enough to prevent the initial attack so I would imagine the NATO response to Russia would be to pull out and retreat or face all out nuclear attack.
Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:23:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/26/2015 7:18:31 PM, beng100 wrote:
At 11/26/2015 7:10:19 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 11/26/2015 7:03:30 PM, beng100 wrote:
At 11/26/2015 6:41:43 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
During the Cold War there was a fear among NATO leadership that the Soviets would utilize a piece of land called the "Fulda Gap" to invade West Germany. Since the reunification of Germany and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe the Fulda Gap has lost its strategic importance. However, today there is a strip of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border which recently has come to be known as the "Suwalki Gap". If the Russians were to take the Suwalki Gap, they could cut off NATO from the Baltics AND form a land bridge to Kaliningrad.
There'd clearly be several advantages to Russia taking the Suwalki Gap. After all, it could force the Baltic States to exit NATO and it would make Kaliningrad safe from a NATO blockade. So, do you think that the Russians will give it a go? Will that perhaps be their next big move in Eastern Europe?

Personally I doubt they will. Not in the short to medium term at least. Surely this act would provoke a NATO military response as both nations are NATO members? It would be high stakes military and political poker from the Russians with the potential downsides greater than the upsides. In my view this invasion would trigger an all out war between NATO and Russia which is beneficial to neither side. Therefore unless circumstances change significantly such as a war already being underway I can't forsee this event happening.

It would be the invasion of a fairly small strip of land, not the whole nation of Lithuania or Poland. I'd say that if this course of action did not trigger a strong NATO response it'd make Russia far more secure. This action would give Russia another buffer against invasion (I.e. there would not be any NATO troops bordering Russia).

Well there would still be NATO troops in Poland bordering this newly annexed territory and Kaliningrad. Unless Russia also invaded the Baltic states as well NATO troops would still be there too. This assumes that this invasion has not already triggered world war 3. I can see how the end result would be attractive to Russia if NATO did nothing in response but I think the organization would be forced into a response as doing nothing and let Russia do as it pleases simply makes the organization appear as nothing more then a bluff. NATO members would initially be caught off guard and ground troop numbers may not be high enough to prevent the initial attack so I would imagine the NATO response to Russia would be to pull out and retreat or face all out nuclear attack.

That's the thing: upon taking the Suwalki Gap NATO would have no way of reaching the Baltic States by land. This would put the Baltics in an extremely vulnerable position and they may then consider it in their best interests to exit NATO. It wouldn't be necessary, or even wise, for Russia to follow with an invasion of the Baltics. All it needs is to get them out of NATO. Kaliningrad would still be vulnerable to a NATO invasion, but:
A. At least Kaliningrad isn't the Russian heartland, whose protection is the Russian Government's highest priority.
B. It would be safe from a land blockade provided that no invasion of Kaliningrad took place. One of Russia's greatest weaknesses (and, as a result, one of NATO's best potential bargaining chips) would be a little more secure.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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beng100
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11/26/2015 7:26:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/26/2015 7:13:35 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
In a sense this'd be the modern equivalent to Chamberlain's policy of appeasement (in this case, allow Russia to seize these certain pieces of land and ideally they'll settle down once their security from NATO invasion is sufficiently boosted). I'm not even sure if this is such a bad idea, to be honest.

Personally I think Chamberlains strategy was wrong and is an example of when sometimes despite the horrors of war it is best to act quickly before the enemy gets even stronger. As a UK citizen I would prefer NATO to live up to its billing and promises rather then meekly let Russia do as it pleases.
Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:26:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
But yeah, it's definitely true that it's more risky a move whenever both nations are part of NATO. The Russians would only move if they felt fairly confident that NATO wouldn't respond. If NATO calls their bluff and responds, this miscalculation on Russia's part could be what starts WWIII.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Vox_Veritas
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11/26/2015 7:57:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This whole plan hinges upon Belarusian cooperation, and so far that's not really a thing, based on the fact that the Belarusian Government is delaying Russian plans to build an airbase in Belarus.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid