Laaneots: BBC documentary shows NATO's weaknesses ({{commentsTotal}})

Retired Lt. Gen. Ants Laaneots said that to him the BBC’s “Third World War: Inside the War Room” was very informative, as it pointed out weaknesses of the Western allies. In his assessment, the film should lead to a discussion of the principle of consensus in NATO’s decision-making process.

Laaneots, who as commander-in-chief of Estonia’s Defence Forces spent several years on NATO’s Military Committee, said that the discussion as it was acted out in the film was very close to reality.

“The aim of the film seems to be to show the viewers the bottlenecks that often occur in the Western countries and in international organizations when important decisions are made,” Laaneots said in Vikerraadio’s Uudis+ newscast.

He went on to say that in its various military undertakings Russia had always been able to surprise the West, and that this film showed where this surprise came from. “It shows how slow and painful making important decisions is,” Laaneots said.

Laaneots went on to say that a lot of people in the West and also in Estonia didn’t understand the Russian mentality, which only recognized force. They also didn’t consider the enforced political conformity in all of Russia.

He pointed to the fact that Putin himself said that if a conflict seemed likely, one had to swing first.

“In such a situation it’s difficult to hope that the West would defeat Russia,” Laaneots said.

In Laaneots’ opinion, the principle of NATO coming to a decision only based on consensus should be seriously reconsidered.

“It’s my conviction that the coming NATO summit in Warsaw should very seriously evaluate whether the consensus principle shouldn’t be replaced with one of a qualified majority. Otherwise the situation could worsen because of a single country’s opposition,” he said.

Laaneots also said that discussing the consensus principle was a very urgent matter, as speed, organization, and a quite different attitude to war were Russia’s advantages.

ETV broadcast the provocative BBC documentary Third World War: Inside the War Room on Monday. In the film, a group of high-ranking British officials discuss military options in response to a Russian invasion of Latvia.

The film touches on a whole number of recent events and concepts, such as Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the conflict that preceded it, as well as cyberattacks, hybrid warfare, and the potential of the aggressor finding support in the local population.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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