How NATO Could Solve the Suwalki Gap Challenge

May 3, 2019
Nikolai Sokov

The following is an excerpt of an article published at National Interest.

Sebastien Roblin recently wrote a good summary of the increasingly popular narrative on the Suwalki Gap and—unintentionally—an equally good representation of the glaring gaps in it. Roblin notes that the forty-mile (more common measurement is sixty miles) corridor squeezed between Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia and Belarus represents a “natural chokepoint Russia could potentially assail from multiple directions to pinch off columns of NATO troops attempting to reinforce the Baltics.” Russia’s ability to prevent reinforcements from arriving is expected to enable its forces to occupy the Baltic states in thirty-six to sixty hours, according to a RAND Corporation study. Referring to the 2018 CEPA study authored by retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Roblin reiterates the solution to the conundrum: reinforce conventional deterrence by enhancing NATO military presence in the Baltic states and the ability to quickly amass troops on the Polish side of the corridor to keep it open.

The scenario sounds scary—and is intended to be scary—but leaves several important aspects of the dilemma without proper discussion. One aspect is the actual status of the Suwalki Gap and the other is the solutions, which could actually work. A closer look at these omissions casts the problem in a very different light.

Continue reading at National Interest.

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