"Today the situation is much more serious than before AugustÂ 2008.... [A] possible recurrence of war will not be limited to theÂ Caucasus.
"The new President of the United States did not bring about any crucial changes in relation to Georgia, but having a dominant role in NATO he still insists on Georgia's soonest joining of the Alliance. If it happens, the world would face a more serious threat than the crises of the Cold War.
"Under the new realities, Georgia's war against South Ossetia may easily turn into NATO's war against Russia. This would be a third world war."
On May 12 James Mattis, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation [ACT] and commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, spoke at a three-day symposium called Joint Warfighting 09 in Norfolk, Virginia, where NATO's Allied Command Transformation is based, and stated: "I come with a sense of urgency. The enemy is meeting like this as well." 
A local newspaper summarized his speech:
"Mattis outlined a future in which wars will not have clearly defined beginnings and ends. What is needed, he said, is a grand strategy, a political framework that can guide military planning." 
He failed, for what passes for diplomatic reasons no doubt, to identify who "the enemy" is, but a series of recent developments, or rather an intensification of ongoing ones, indicate which nation it is.
Last week the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin Chilton, told reporters during a Defense Writers Group breakfast on May 7 "that the White House retains the option to respond with physical force - potentially even using nuclear weapons - if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks...."
An account of his talk added "the general insisted that all strike options, including nuclear, would remain available to the commander in chief in defending the nation from cyber strikes."
Chilton "said he could not rule out the possibility of a military salvo against a nation like China, even though Beijing has nuclear arms,"  though the likely first target of alleged retaliation against equally alleged cyber attacks would be another nation already identified by US military officials as such: Russia.
In late April and early May of 2007 the government of Estonia, which was inducted into NATO in 2004 and whose president was and remains Toomas Hendrik Ilves, born in Sweden and raised in the United States (where he worked for Radio Free Europe), reported attacks on websites in the country which were blamed on Russia.
Over two years later no evidence has been presented to substantiate the claim that Russian hackers, much less the government itself, were behind the attacks, though it remains an article of faith among US and other Western officials and media that they were.
The response from American authorities in the first place was so sudden and severe, even before investigations were conducted, as to strongly suggest that if the attacks hadn't been staged they would need to be invented.
Right afterward Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne stated, "Russia, our Cold War nemesis, seems to have been the first to engage in cyber warfare."
The US Air Force news source from which the above is quoted added that the events in Estonia days earlier "did start a series of debates within NATO and the EU about the definition of clear military action and it may be the first test of the applicability of Article V of the NATO charter regarding collective self-defense in the non-kinetic realm." 
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