German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Oct. 8 that the situation between the U.S. and Russia today is more dangerous than it was during the Cold War. As he put it, “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous.” Since most of us think of the Cold War as by far the most dangerous time we have known, Steinmeier’s view is startling. It is important to understand what he is saying, not simply because he is the foreign minister of an important country, but because he is a smart man.Story here.
In the interview, Steinmeier discussed the Russian intervention in Syria, the standoff with the United States and the frozen but still dangerous confrontation over Ukraine. When we look at these two confrontations between the United States and Russia (Germany doesn’t have the military strength to affect this balance) either situation could result in a direct confrontation of U.S. and Russian forces.
If I read this a couple of years ago I would have dismissed it as simply the crowing of a scared old man. Now? Now I have to consider Marine Corps and Army warfighting philosophy and how its evolving. Those 300 odd Marines in Norway? A few years ago it would be meaningless. Today with the idea that small units are how the Marine Corps is going to fight along with the distributed operations theory and I'm not so sure.
If you take evolving concepts into play then it could easily look to the Russians like NATO is actually taking a warfighting posture on its borders. Think about that. The US by sprinkling penny packets of soldiers and Marines all over Europe can be considered as initial preparations for war because of our evolving warfighting philosophy!
I can only hope, but have little faith, that our leaders know what they're doing. If the Germans are getting nervous than that's a canary in the coal mine. One big ass canary.