Since 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine has rearranged the national defense chessboards of countries across Eastern Europe.  In turn, the NATO military alliance has deployed weapons and troops eastward, to “make clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” said NATO’s website. And the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has approved delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Yet, U.S. and NATO military leaders may have it wrong when it comes to anticipating Russia’s next military move in the region, a U.S. think tank says.

“The Russian military is well-positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic states, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater,” Catherine Harris and Frederick Kagan wrote in a March report for the Institute for the Study of War.  That assessment challenges U.S. and NATO military orthodoxy about what Russia’s next military offensive might look like. “U.S. leaders and their European allies are unprepared for the ways in which Putin is poised to wage war in Ukraine and the Baltics,” Harris and Kagan wrote. READ MORE