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10 April 2015

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BabelFish

Posting this again, from my inclusion on the last Open Thread. A lot of open discussion on how to prevent Vladimir P. from invading the Baltics.

From Information Dissemination:

""RAND’s Terrence Kelly published an excellent opinion piece at U.S. News & World Report last month outlining analysis-derived requirements for a NATO conventional deterrent in the Baltics:""

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2015/03/20/stop-putins-aggression-with-us-forces-in-eastern-europe

confusedponderer

I am unpersuaded by Kelly's essay. IMO the idea that Russia will invade the Baltic states is simply fearmongering, probably for the purpose of making a case for forward stationing US troops in the 2004 NATO expansion states. And then there's this Putin, Putin, Putin.

***Russia***, not Putin, did annex Crimea. They did so ***reactively*** to pre-empt an expulsion of Russia from Crimea by the coup government in Kiev who would have likely cancelled the lease agreement.

***Russia***, not Putin, has no comparable and no comparably important stake in the Baltics.

This talk about Putin, not ***Russia***, being bent on restoring the USSR in pursuit of lost glory is BS imo. What Russia does is simply trying to maintain its sphere of influence in face of US encroachment, not more, but not less. They are not an expansive power, but a conservative one.

The ***expansive*** character of US and NATO policy is being underlined by the fact that Ukraine and Georgia are being marked for NATO ascension i.e. ***NATO expansion***.

BabelFish

CP, I agree with all of that. I continue to be both amazed and nauseated by the freaking war drums in the U.S. We seem to have become fully addicted to poking Russia and, apparently, never expecting a negative result.

William R. Cumming

Thanks CP for this post and thread comments.

IMO [probably of little value] US understanding of the EU's driving force [its members want to be a cafe society discussing world affairs without responsibility for them, and the military fecklessness of NATO members [NATO currently the world's biggest figleaf] is just exactly what the US FP and military leadership want. So in fact the USA likes to dwell in its ignorance of another world area that might just be of crucial importance to the USA.

How many of the US Presidential candidates [declared or otherwise] speak and read fluently any language west of the Urals?

And as to the Ukraine how well has the best globalized link of all been explained to the American polity--specifically the tight links between US, EU, Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs and the tightest of all Russian, Israeli, US and EU organized criminal activity. All of it funded at least in part by a clueless or complicity US Federal Reserve and EU CB [central banks]!

And speaking of ownership, do we really want the Saudi owned Clinton and Bush families to again run the federal government?

Babak Makkinejad

confusedponderer:

on you (b) - not likely at all.

In my opinion, Iran is there with China and Russia for the foreseeable future.

S.E.


From the Northern Flank: an op-ed signed by the defense ministers of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Norway declare extended military cooperation in order to counter Russian agression. An analyst (who is advisor to the Norwegian defence minister), comments that "The cooperation described, including military exercises, is as far as you can go in pulling the non-NATO members Sweden and Finland into a community, without explicitly stating that it is a NATO-community.

However, in the case of these two countries, this looks like a preparation for membership in the alliance, says Haaland Matlary. (...) She says Russia will perceive the message from the Nordic ministers as agressiveness. - You have to take into account that there will be negative reactions from the Russian side; this however should not be emphasized, according to Haaland Matlary."

http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/Russian-aggression-Nordic-states-extend-their-military-cooperation-7975109.html

Babak Makkinejad

The reason that they are a café society is because their dwelling places are so small.

It also has to do with the need to keep their private lives compartmentalized; you can meet with the same people for years in a café regularly but never have been invited to their homes.

confusedponderer

Babak,
given the bad experiences Iran has had with the US, you are probably right. And you're right to point out that Russia and China share Iran's enirely justified concern about and interest in maintaining its political independence. Natural allies indeed.

But it stands that Russia will lose the ability to leverage the US through Iran negotiations once Iran has come to a deal with the US.

A Pols

CP;
I agree with just about everything you've said, but with one small difference..
I think it unlikely for Iran to come to a deal with the US. Reason: I think the negotiations are a Chinese Fire Drill, a simulacrum designed to show that we tried.
In the end, the deal will be same sausage, different length. We will never accept anything less than the insistence on complete capitulation on their part. They will take their toys and go home. In a way, I think maybe they have no real expectation of a deal they can live with; they too want to show they tried so the BRICS will have cause to repudiate the sanctions. This country just won't let go on the question of true sovereignty for Iran.
I enjoyed your analysis very much BTW...

Ursa Maior

My question is how much freedom -economic or other will- the EU members give up to counter the russian threat? What will the population think of the concessions given to the US for relative security?

ex-PFC Chuck

What I find so appalling is the lack of historical perspective that apparently enshrouded the US move on Ukraine. Access to the year-round warm water of the Black Sea has been a Russian strategic imperative since at least the reign of Peter the Great three hundred years ago and it took them almost a century to acquire it. Did the numbskulls in Washington even consider that Russia under any leader would not take a threat to that access lying down? Especially since Crimea was transferred from the Russian SSR to the Ukraine SSR in the 1950s as a happenstance? And did they not realize that the Banderaites with whom they instigated the coup are loathed and distrusted by a majority of other Ukrainians who see them as the spiritual and biological descendents of Nazi collaborators?

BabelFish

At the risk of exposing my limited military education, these countries have good air forces and some very sophisticated naval assets (subs, frigates). What I fail to see them having is "boots on the ground" power. If we can believe an intervention would be a military one (do not believe that), their combined ability to resist Russian armored brigades appears to be limited.

The Twisted Genius

CP,

I agree that the neocons saw the Crimea as the big prize, the cherry on the chocolate sundae, so to speak. I have no doubt that Nuland and the rest of the cabal were sure that Yats would soon kick the Russians out of Sevastopol and the Black Sea would soon become an American lake. That would have been a tremendous blow to Russia and a real feather in the cap of Nuland. Putin obviously realized the same thing and acted quickly and efficiently. The hard part is figuring out how to mitigate the fiasco of Nuland's coup without dancing any closer to the nuclear fire.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Babak!

William R. Cumming

CP! Wondering if USA hoping for proxies and Iran might just be one 100 years down the road?

anna-marina

Most likely, the bureaucrats were indeed ignorant. There are legends about some influential Soviet leader and his family member that was taken to a concentration camp to see a real doctor instead of a politically-relaible medical practitioner. The process of getting a powerful position can be detrimental to real professionalism.
The Ukrainian debacle made the US' administration talks about bad Nazis a joke. Who would imagine that the State Dept. could finance neo-Nazi groups and help them to get power in Kiev. In Kiev for all places, the suburbs of which are punctuated with huge mass graves of the victims of the Nazis. The whole story in Ukraine is a tremendous insult to the WWII veterans.

S.E.

I probably know less of this than you, but believe you are right, With the exception of Finland. They have a huge reserve compared to the other Nordic countries. That, and memories of the wars between Soviet and Finland during WW2, probably make Finland less of a pushover in Russian eyes. Norway, according to a former top defence official, only has an army on paper.

Ex-PFC Chuck

WRC:
At the rate we'going there won't be a USA in 100 years.

FB Ali

CP,

Col Lang's oft-expressed opinion is that there are no such deep, far-seeing, complex plans underlying US foreign policy.

However, there is one area in which certain sectors in the USA show unmatched ability in formulating and executing complex moves and strategies, namely, making money. One thing that all these developments you've listed have in common (along with the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, et al) is the humungous need they've created for increased military spending (by the US and its allies and clients) on weapons and military materials (manufactured by you-know-who).

Between the Wolfowitz Doctrine or other neocon plots and the simple needs of the military/security-industrial complex, I would choose the latter as the underlying cause and driver.

S.E.

I can speak only from a Norwegian perspective. We are not a member of the EU, so no conflict of loyalty here. We have no fear of having to give concessions to the US, who have been Our closest ally since WW2. We have a deep trust in and are happy to follow US policy. Experience does not seem to be able to shake this trust. We had much more political opposition to the US and Nato during the sixties, seventies and eighties than now. Under communism, we had an idea what the Soviet Union was about, ideologically, and some People liked that idea. We have no idea what Russia is about, except Putin, who is always depicted as bad, a huge military force, oligarcs and nationalism With imperialist tendencies (Crimea, Ukraine). Not much to like. There are almost no dissenting voices heard, not other Pictures being painted.

Akira

Excellent podcast here that includes some discussion of the economic vultures descending on Ukraine, the looming austerity package from the IMF, and how US trained neo-liberal apparatchiks from Georgia (the country) are flooding into the Ukraine Gov.

http://seansrussiablog.org/2015/04/09/post-maidan-ukraine-and-belarusian-nationalism/

Excellent article from here on the looming collapse of Ukraine:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/europes-nightmare-ukraines-massive-meltdown-12597

turcopolier

FB Ali

"...the simple needs of the military/security-industrial complex" With respect, what are these "simple needs?" Mercantilist/imperialist seizure of markets and resources? I think not. American military contractors want government contracts. Is that a surprise? Business seeks to make money and that is all business is about. We went to war in Iraq so that KBR and Halliburton might have contracts in that country? We did not. We went to war there so that the neocons might have their fantasy of a utopian world. We backed NATO intervention in Libya for what? For what commercial interest did we do that? Was it so that bomb makers could sell more bombs? pl

Amir

I entirely agree with your proposition. In the eyes of some of the Iranian population and most of their leadership, in light of the newly instigated Yemeni war, the insincerity of the administration is again proven. They look at Sec. Kerry accusing Iran of the nefarious actions, taken by Saudi Arabia while the administration is seen to figuratively and literally (re)fuel the conflict.

FB Ali

The "simple needs" I was referring to were to sell their products and services and make money.

For the last couple of decades the US has been engaging in one military enterprise after another. The immediate drivers of these have been varied, but the outcomes have been constant - instability in the local arena, and the creation of more enemies for the US. I doubt if anyone can claim that they have increased US security and its standing in the world.

The one area in which the US has continuously gained throughout this period is in the development and prosperity of its military production and security sectors.

When a country possessing unmatched intellectual resources continues to follow a course of action that repeatedly fails to produce the results that are stated to be the goals of this policy, it is logical to ask: what is really going on?

I think it is reasonable to suspect that those who gain from these military ventures might be encouraging them. I am not suggesting any deep conspiracy, just that the constituents of a certain powerful and influential sector in the US tend to push in the same direction, and they have enough individual clout to influence the policy makers, especially in the military and defence fields.

anna-marina

It is hard imagine that the final deal would be generously beneficial for Iran.

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