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04 March 2014


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I can't help but think that if NATO had been dissolved in the mid-90s, instead of expanded eastward, that we'd have a far more western-oriented and less militaristic Russia today than the one we are currently dealing with. Unfortunately with this Ukrainian confrontation, NATO just got an undeserved lease on life.

On the plus side though, watching Dr Strangelove was my first date with my wife. Admittedly, it came really close to being our one and only date, but still...



Alas Babylon & One Second Later are must reads.

As for Joulwan- too many knocks to the head as a lineman and deterimental association with Gen. Alexander Haig.

"George Joulwan played football and basketball as a cadet, winning two letters in football as a lineman. Commissioned in the Infantry, he first served with the First Battalion, 30th Infantry of the 3rd Division in Europe. Posted to Vietnam, he was assigned to the First Battalion, 26th Infantry of the First Division. As Battalion Operations Officer (S-3), his commanding officer was General (then Lieutenant Colonel) Alexander Haig, who has termed him a “consummate warrior.” For his service in Vietnam, George Joulwan was awarded two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star with “V” device, four Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal."



Yes and Kerry has three Silver Stars, the best that money could buy. "A consummate warrior!" Hah! You are a Wikipedia editor. I get a kick out of the business that has been made by professional writers in doing up the WIKI articles on general. pl


Col: After Kerry and Vicky Nuland took a "victory" lap in Kiev, Kerry supposedly was going to meet with a Russian official to give the Russians an "off ramp." Considering that the Russians aren't leaving the Crimea, I'm not sure what Kerry means.

Our government seems to think only in optics. Do you know if the Gas Princess, who was in Moscow yesterday, actually negotiated seriously with Putin? She and Putin apparently can work together. See http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/yulia-tymoshenko-iron-lady-who-could-keep-russia-on-side-1.1297098

Duncan Kinder

Of course a military confrontaton with Russia would be absurd.

What would not be facially absurd - although I disagree with it - would be some sort of economic sanctions. (Laying aside whether the United States should impose sanctions; I question whether it can.)

But what no one has explained to me is what interests the United States has in the Ukraine. (Apart from some sense that Russia has dared transgress our exhaulted status as "the superpower," lingering jingoism from the Cold War, some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgests, or the like.) And please don't tell me it has anything to do with promoting democracy or such.



Perhpas instead of moving NATO East and deploying troops, planes and a missle sheild we should form an alliance with the Russian Federation and tell the EU, Isreal and assorted other allies where to get off. It worked for the English and French when they finally decided to stop being enemies, no reason changing sides – i.e. putting US national interests first – can’t work for us.



Duncan Kinder

"some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgets, or the like" Lefty crap. With the exception of a few nutjobs like Joulwan, DoD is completely against making this into a military confrontation. Who do you think has told BHO how suicidal that would be? pl


It is about punishing Russia for daring to diplomatically find a way for Syria not be bombed into smithereens.

Will Reks


I'm not sure BHO even needed to be told that. He hadn't even been sworn in yet when Russia put Georgia in its place in late 2008. McCain did his "we're all ________" gimmick then too as I recall.


Will Reks

You underestimate the cumulative effect of 5+ years of exposure to the neocon/R2P wing of the Civilian/Political Complex. Remember the neocons never left. They infest both parties with their Jacobin drivel. And then there is the mummy R2Pers for whom BHO is an obvious sucker. Bad Joke pl


In regard to the mid-90s, I think post 9/11 was in full swing and the US was concerned about the logistics of Afghanistan and thus secured agreements with several of the stans regarding bases. This coupled with NATO expansion eastward must, understandably, make Russia feel like it is being further encircled. I imagine US policymakers still are committed to the Monroe Doctrine. Why should one expect Russia not to assert a similar geographical claim regarding its (perceived) security, political, and economic interests? I recall the hubris of a quote attributed to one of the Bush the younger's spokespersons that they "make reality."

Medicine Man

I think John McCain should just get it over with and challenge Putin to a duel.

Utah Blaine

Dear Col Lang,

If any of your readers are interested in finding out what 'squaring off' with the Russians would mean for the United States, they should go to this link:


Click on SS-25 and select 'casualties', pick your favorite big city, and see what would happen. The Russians have hundreds of these weapons.


Utah Blaine

William R. Cumming

So what does the IC make of all of this affair? Will Russia go west in the Ukraine or not [by west I mean seizing more than the Crimea]?

What did all the Sovietologists make of the power of the Facists in the Ukraine in the heyday of the Soviet Union? Was not the Ukraine largely supportive of Hitler initially?


I'm getting awfully confused about my natiolities, it seems like just the other day McCain discovered my Georgian heritage and now I'm Ukranian too?

It's all a bit overwhelming really.


Just as purely tactical matter I think sanctions could actually backfire. It's the only stick we have and using it would in turn free the Russians to pursue more dramatic solutions. If they've already paid the price, why settle for just Crimea? Why not teach the ultra-nationalists in Kiev a real lesson?

I suspect Europe would also find sanctions too painful.

- Eliot


I saw Wolf with Joulwan and as a bonus got to see retired MG Bob Scales on Greta. Scales thought the USG should send SFs to train the Ukrainians, sell them high tech equipment and send to Poland army and marine units to train. He called Poland "a great maneuver area". Indeed. The Germans and Russians can attest to the accuracy of his statement from their experiences during 1939 and 1944-5.


actually the wiki joulwan article was really abbreviated. had to go to a USMA site to dig up the football stuff.



the Register or whatever they call it of the Association of Graduates of USMA is one of the more entertaining creative writing places in the world. I read the entry for my first company commander. He was a madman eventually boarded out of the Army for nuttiness, but in his USMA entry he is a saint. pl


Yup, and it's also about smacking down and denigrating Putin because the foreign policy establishment was mightily miffed by the masterful op-ed Putin wrote in the New York Times last September about the Syrian crisis.

I've included the paragraph that was probably perceived as a thrown gauntlet to said establishment. I have to admit I chuckled about this op-ed for days.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”


Sure, "some need for a bogeyman to justify bloated DOD budgets, or the like" may be "lefty crap" at times.

But it's also true that there are a lot of nonmilitary people and groups that always want more military spending.

Don't you think they are ready to everything they can to make sure that Hagel's recently proposed cuts won't make it through Congress?

I'm figuring they will go beyond that. I'm assuming they'll try to get Congress to increase future defense budgets based on what's happened in Ukraine.

I'd be thrilled to hear you tell me I'm wrong.



You don't actually know how the system works. DoD generates its own threat estimates used to justify programs and monies to Congress. that is one of the main functions of DIA. If SECDEF and the Chairman approve assessments that justify lower expenditures it becomes difficult for Congressmen whose districts are involved to try to force more funding on an administration. They can try. they can bargain with the administration but is is not easy. Soemimes this is a good thing as in the case of funding SOF when the military did not want it, the SR-71, the A-10, and other pieces of useful equipment. pl


The BBC movie Threads deserves a mention in a nuclear war movie list.

Medicine Man

That's interesting; I'll admit I have a somewhat dismal view of how Congressmen decide their stance on military spending. They mouth platitudes about "supporting the troops" to defend bases in their districts (jobs) and then stick a shiv into funding for veteran's services, like the Senate recently did.


A hint from the Russians of what could happen if NATO acts rashly?


Karel Dolejsi

Simply idiots. U.S. missile defense in Ukraine in exchange for financial aid is on negotiating table.

"It's a friendly call. Of course, it's a friendly call. Listen, if it wasn't friendly, you probably wouldn't have even got it. They will not reach their targets for at least another hour. I am, I am positive, Dmitri. Listen, I've been all over this with your Ambassador."


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