Sometimes, you hear something so funny, that you just are surprised that some rational guy said this as a serious statement.
So, this guy....the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.....(Michael Carpenter) had a session with the Senate committee on Foreign Relations.
He wanted to emphasize that Russia will have the ability to steamroll through central Europe and shock NATO forces in just sixty hours (roughly 2.5 days). Why a half-day in the figure? Unknown....but it sounds good.
He also wanted to emphasize that NATO and Europe can't deal with the emerging Russian threat.
The Senate folks.....mostly guys who grew up in the cold war era....listened intently. Not much was said.
Army officers live and breathe....dreaming of this fantasy world where the Soviets cross the FRG (old West Germany) border, and are on the autobahn.....getting blasted away by the US Army units and somewhere along the 7th day of this fantasy invasion....the tide is turned and the Soviets are stalled, with Air Force fighters blasting the tank invasion hour by hour (the Air Force Colonel's general fantasy dream).
The odds of such a thing happening today?
You'd have to line some fairly dependable tanks, have fuel tankers prepared and stealing diesel off various Polish, Hungarian and German gas stations along the autobahn, and count on some weak show by US and NATO troops. In all likelihood.....this 'fantasy' invasion would also last about seven days before the Russians declared themselves at some vantage point. But then what? Could such a force hold the territory....even for three or four days? Would some vast reserve Russian army then show up to shore up their defense?
Why would the Russians invade? This would require at least a whole bottle of Jack Daniels to imagine up some scenario where Putin has gone mostly nuts, and some Russian general is crazy enough to stand up and insist he could get the job done. The end-result? It's hard to imagine any result that makes this all worth the effort. Russian birth-rates are seriously down.....most Russian guys do a year or two and then leave the service.....so there's no vast army in existence like it was in the 1960s or 1970s.
Why have this Pentagon VIP boss come up to the Senate and deliver this kind of presentation? I'm guessing that the Army guys are running out of gimmicks to convince the Senate to give them funds for new toys or new strategies. So, bringing back the old Soviet invasion threat to Europe seems to be ok. I'm guessing that a dozen contractors are in the background.....writing this Soviet threat deal from material they had in 1979....relabeling Soviet to Russian, and then updating their autobahn maps to show how the Russians would drive straight into Frankfurt city.
From the border of Belerus to German (the autobahn route to Berlin)? It's about 720 kilometers....across Poland, on a decent four-lane road. It's hard to imagine this type of scenario in 2016, but it's the best that we can do.