Analysts of the Royal Institute of United Services of Great Britain are inclined to think that as long as the active phase of the war continues in Ukraine, Russia will probably not have the opportunity to create a threat to Europe. It can only be the threat of nuclear escalation.
A more long-term threat to NATO is a conflict with Russia in three to five years. As the ongoing high-intensity conflict unfolds — whether Ukraine can handle the coming offensive and regain its territory — in the long run, British experts say it could become a frozen conflict.
And here, the British highlight the main directions of world threats: Europe should not stand aside to help the USA in the Indo-Pacific region; China and Russia simultaneously create challenges aimed at violating Article 5 of NATO; the state of European military capabilities from the point of view of the future production of weapons and the combination of forces in the light of military and other assistance to Ukraine.
A common problem for NATO in the context of security on the European continent — a threat to be prepared for — is three to five years. The war in Ukraine in its current form cannot last long in the active phase, as both sides will exhaust a lot of manpower and weapon stocks. But after Ukraine’s victory, it is unlikely that Russia will stop mobilizing and trying to recruit and retrain large numbers of new troops.
Even after the victory of Ukraine and the war’s end, Russia will continue to feel that it has lost a huge amount of its potential. It would be incentivized to keep trying to build a much larger standing army.
China will most likely pursue a policy of rearmament of Russia, as Beijing is geostrategically interested in Moscow posing a serious military threat in Europe in order to bind European and, ideally, American military forces on the European continent.
The danger is that in the event of a conflict in the Indo-Pacific—Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea—any of these potential flashpoints could have either an active conflict or a severe military confrontation between the USA and its allies and China.
That is when Russia will have the best chance, and therefore the most opportunity and motivation, to try to resume force against NATO, to violate Article 5 (which calls for collective defense), which has always been a key goal of the Kremlin’s foreign policy.
According to the Royal Joint Services Institute, Russia needs to break NATO by showing that Article 5 is a bluff. The probable scenario: the capture of a small insignificant strip of territory on the eastern border, the deployment of armored troops and anti-aircraft defense on it, and Moscow’s thesis – “We are not going any further” and statements like “We protect the Russian speakers here, in this region.”
China has a strong incentive to try to push Russia into doing so, because Beijing would need to divert America’s attention from the aforementioned region, effectively denying the US the ability to focus support for its allies there.
So the analysts of the Royal Joint Services Institute asked, “Who poses a greater threat – Russia or China?” they answer: “Both countries.”