Strategic Deterrence

5 Şubat 2022

We are going through major military strategic and historical rewriting changes. If we, as military strategists, do not make the necessary grades in such important periods of time, it would mean a great deficiency. What happened within the framework of the Ukraine crisis reminded us once again of a well-known concept, deterrence. How does this deterrence strategy work? Since the parameters of time, space and force are essential in a military strategy, it is essential that this is constantly considered. Since deterrence is also a strategy, it is an art.

Under the conditions in which deterrence is aimed, continuous intelligence and planning activities are carried out. Intelligence is carried out by anticipating what the adversary is doing. If the act is one step behind, this deterrent is delayed and has a cost. The first issue that those who want to prevent the superiority of the other side at any moment should pay attention to is intelligence.

The second is planning. A good logistics and operational infrastructure is required for planning. If the intelligence is received but the deterrents cannot be transferred to the field on time and with sufficient force, this will only remain as a project in need of development. If it is left in this situation, it will be too late to deter and the balance will be developing in favor of the other side.

As an operation, there are exercises to be trained to create a deterrent effect and to be shown to the opposite side with this view. Not if you’ve deployed the deterrent force on the field, but haven’t shown it enough to the other side.

Then the intelligence is still active. Both logistics shipments and demonstration exercises have to be adequate. For this, cover and deception are in effect. Enough force to deter the other side is shown where it is deemed necessary, the others are hidden and set up to create a good defensive cover while creating a surprise effect. Intelligence measures the constant reaction of the other party. He points out the decision points he deems appropriate. It should be neither more nor less.

According to all this theoretical knowledge, I can state that deterrence aims at a symmetrical work plan.

Both sides organize their military efforts according to these principles. Another issue, diplomacy determines its words and initiatives accordingly. Diplomacy is an important activity for transferring deterrence to the other side and reinforcing the desired goals.

Politically, the most important issue of deterrence is the creation of unity of power. A single country or power, if it deems it sufficient, can deter the other party with this plan. There are examples of this in history. However, as there are many examples, the issue of deterrence-based “alliances and partnerships” is one of the most important issues.

The example of the Ukrainian crisis is clear. In fact, the subject is not only in Ukraine, it includes a wide geography. Basically, the designated operational area is Eastern Europe. Deterrence is maintained with an Eastern European-based plan. I am keeping this a little wider, because since Russia is able to bring its troops from Siberia to Belarus and act as a deterrent, since time and space are undertaken in this way, the follow-up of the first agreement with China is a link in the chain of this deterrence. Even the Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping summit these days is valuable in terms of “mutual balancing of deterrence” with a diplomatic statement. Because, while the USA, EU, G7 and NATO were one party, and Russia was alone as the main force (I am writing without counting support countries such as Belarus), deterrence would not be enough. The issue of alliances and partnerships necessary for effective deterrence should not be lacking. That’s why it’s done now, China and Russia are a bloc. Another process based on political balance has been fulfilled. However, this necessarily indicates that the area of ​​operation determined for deterrence is on a global scale in this event, which started out as the Ukraine crisis. So the center of gravity is Eastern Europe, but deterrence is global. The formation of equivalent forces makes us say this. The transformation of the Ukrainian crisis into an armed conflict, then, has the weight of a world war potential, at least in theory. When it comes to deterrence, this situation has a different meaning.

From the very beginning, I explained the Ukraine crisis in the context of global balances and interests. There was one missing point; that was the issue of deterrence strategy and its symmetry.

This sounds familiar to us. The insolvency of the General Nuclear War in the Cold War was actually the main indicator of how strategic deterrence was provided. In fact, it was clear that the number of nuclear weapons in this period should be equal and that the principle of equality should be applied when reductions were made. In this case, strategic issues are required to deal with conventional weapons as well as non-conventional weapons.

Actually, since Russia and China are involved in this case, let me point out this: Russia is an indication that China will back the Taiwan issue, and China will support Russia in the Ukraine issue. This is how it is explained. With the alliance, symmetry was also achieved within itself. But that’s not what I’m pointing out, since the limits of deterrence are global, so now look at it in terms of nuclear balance.

Russia and the United States are approximately equal in nuclear power. In the last case, what do you think will happen to the strategic balance when China is with Russia? So the US and Europe might have to step back, right? But the US thought about that too. How Does? with AUKUS. Here the United States and the United Kingdom made the submarine sales agreement, which included Australia and New Zealand, in a way Anglosphere countries, and including nuclear technology. (France was angry about this, but it was insignificant.) In fact, here Australia created the issue that was claimed to have an effect against China with nuclear weapons. Now wait, what can happen with North Korea, because once the pieces move here, we will see together what can be done for symmetry of deterrence. On the other hand, India and Pakistan have nuclear balance. If the Iranian nuclear issue suddenly came to the fore, when the Ukraine issue was at its most tense, then what should you think? Global nuclear imbalance means superiority! However, the asymmetry of strategic deterrence is like no other, the balances have to be established immediately.

Let’s go back to the Ukraine crisis again. The Ukrainian crisis is resolved by bargaining. Because China is involved. The deterrence parameters are adequately demonstrated. Hundred thousand Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border and thirty thousand Russian soldiers in Belarus appear ready to intervene in winter conditions (operation and logistics demonstration), strategic planes are flying, naval exercises, including submarines, are carried out. Even hypersonic missiles are shown to the press. The symmetry formula of deterrence works. But these do not mean that there will be an armed conflict (war) in the known sense, because it is a method of gaining profit through diplomacy for deterrence. Russia seems to have achieved a significant gain with the Chinese move. Yet in the Pacific, the US and UK performances are significant. It is necessary to look at their activities.

In addition, the USA, along with England, placed soldiers in Poland, even if it was symbolic. This is enough to make sense for the European countries (mainly Germany) and the Eastern European front. If Germany is closer to Russia as a result of China’s policy, the measure of this has been shown with a move by the USA and England. There are other reasons as well, but these are considerations in the deterrence strategy.

From 2020, with the NATO 2030 vision, this alliance has undertaken global goals. From now on, the deterrence of the Atlantic Alliance NATO must be considered globally.

Last sentence: The strong win the battles, but the wise can find a way to win without fighting.

NOTE: Due to intellectual property rights, you can use this information by reference.

Gursel Tokmakoglu

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