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Topic: NATO nonsense (Read 43779 times)

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #350
Inappropriate humor...is a good thing! :)

As is reasonable accommodation...
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #352
Estonia's PM polled very badly during covid years. The policies sucked, the communication was very bad, and obvious abuses by state officials, such as destroying the entire stockpile of vaccines at one point, were left with no response. (No wonder, as her party is also in general anti anything that is good for the people and extremely insistent on individual accountability i.e. zero accountability on the state administration.) Now that the front with Ukraine is open, she is polling much better, because all attention is on foreign policy issues; interior policies have stopped (well, she also crashed the government and we are in a government crisis right now, but nobody cares about that).

Of course right now is the time to build up Nato forces here. There will likely never be any EU defence mechanism - besides Nato -, so right now is also the time to develop a unified Baltic strategy. For a unified Baltic strategy, one should impress more a popular will of self-defence, similar to what Ukrainians have.

Geopolitically the weakest point of Nato (in our neck of the woods) is the Suwalki Gap, very easy for Russia to attack and manipulate if they wanted (and they have). It's at the same time also a vulnerable point for Russia and Lithuania decided to be ahead of the curve for once. Lithuania's transit ban against Russia on sanctioned goods (most importantly steel and oil) has caused a stockpiling frenzy among Kaliningradsters (mostly for construction materials, heavy tools and other hardware products).

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #353
A likely wargaming outcome before the Russian invasion would be a swap: Russia could likely take and hold Estonia and good chunks of Latvia and Lithuania, but lose Kaliningrad.

Now the Estonian position is stronger, and the Russian weaker. Putin or successor might worry less about getting angry glares if they were to "denazify" the Baltic States, their relationship with the West is as bad as it gets, but their position is weakened.

If will be far easier to reinforce Estonia from Finland than from Poland (especially with a Suwalki capture). Russia can't expect air superiority or naval superiority over the Baltic Sea, and Sweden is a good staging point.

I think the tripwire strategy would have been sufficient, given that Russia has far too much other to lose. But you are moving up rank from level 1 to level 2, maybe in time touching 3.

Level 0: Full Finlandisation
Level 1: An invasion would not be cost-effective
Level 2: An invasion would cost the invader more than the defender
Level 3: Outcome of an invasion would be unpredictable
Level 4: An invasion would not be feasible

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #354
A likely wargaming outcome before the Russian invasion would be a swap: Russia could likely take and hold Estonia and good chunks of Latvia and Lithuania, but lose Kaliningrad.
As insane as Russia's wargaming seems, Putin has been reading Western sensibilities accurately enough (while reading own military capabilities wrong). Westerners are, at the bottom of their hearts, non-committal hypocrites, and this is not changing even now. A direct confrontation with Russia would hurt them so they avoid it. Westerners stand up strictly only for their own interests and do not lift a finger for anyone else's - except as a ploy to squeeze something out of the victim.

Once the dust in Ukraine settles for a little while,[1] Putin can safely bet that by launching a calculated "special operation" in the Baltics he can make at least the Suwalki gap his own land bridge and not lose a millimetre of Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is Russian territory and Westerners will absolutely not threaten it. Because Westerners are nuke cowards.

The best that can happen in such a case is that Poland and the Baltic countries form a military union and fight back like Ukraine is fighting right now. If anybody would start battles over Kaliningrad, it would be Poland in alliance with the Baltic countries. But I do not believe in a best-case scenario. USA's next president can step in, pick up the best spoils of the fragmented EU and divide the world with Putin to form an alliance against China.

The way to avoid this fate is to save Ukraine this time. All of Ukraine, including Donbass, Crimea and Sevastopol. Anything less is a final betrayal. But I guess somebody has found a way to make huge profits on the fact that the breadbasket of the world is blockaded. Profits matter more, obviously. No argument there.

...you are moving up rank from level 1 to level 2, maybe in time touching 3.

Level 0: Full Finlandisation
Level 1: An invasion would not be cost-effective
Level 2: An invasion would cost the invader more than the defender
Level 3: Outcome of an invasion would be unpredictable
Level 4: An invasion would not be feasible
Finland was finlandised far too long, yes, but as we have seen lately, this ranking does not work based on the proximity to Russia. E.g. Germany and Italy are more finlandised right now than any country closer to Russia. The Baltic countries have very effectively escaped finlandisation - and also loudly called out West's finlandisation - ever since they re-gained independence.
I think we can already conclude that the West betrayed Ukraine once again. In addition to Crimea and Donbass, Ukraine will need to give up more territory in next negotiations. Germany and France keep demanding it. They gave Ukraine away to Putin for nothing after Crimean invasion and right now they are doing it again, slightly less cheaply. And they'd also fake-begrudgingly get rid of the Baltic countries, if Putin make a serious bid.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #355
Finland during the Cold War was actually a 1 on the scale I made up, combining being useful (like in trade), not being actively harmful, and being difficult to invade and hold. I faked it with calling it "Full Finlandisation" because I don't remember the word for a state fully at the mercy of a belligerent neighbour (a vassal state is one that pays tribute/is subservient, that doesn't match).

We obviously can't conclude that "the West betrayed Ukraine once again", because it isn't true. First, nobody owes Ukraine, or Estonia, or Sweden, or Europe in general, anything. The EU or NATO aren't obliged to take in Ukraine or Estonia or Sweden, though if they do they are indeed obliged to defend them. Thus the NATO promises are stronger to Estonia than to Ukraine or to Sweden. Which is a headache because Estonia isn't easy to defend, a small, relatively flat country next to some of Russia's largest military bases. Estonia is as much a NATO country as Kaliningrad is Russian. Would NATO go to nuclear war over Ukraine? No, but neither would Russia (primarily because they would lose). 

The same goes for economy. Europe is expected to lose 1½–2 trillion euro in lost growth this year due to the Russian invasion. The few billions going to arm Ukraine is pocket money. But EU can be expected to fund Ukraine with hundreds of billions mostly after the war, and perhaps if unlikely Russia will chip in with some war reparation as well. They/we don't have to, and there would be voices that say we shouldn't. It does not seem that these voices are going to be heeded. 

Europe does not profit from this war, nor do any European country including Russia. They have exchanged a low-cost frontline inside Ukraine with a high-cost. As long as Ukraine doesn't budge Russia will have to eventually, years from now. And Europe hasn't budged, not even Italy or Greece. 

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #356
We obviously can't conclude that "the West betrayed Ukraine once again", because it isn't true. First, nobody owes Ukraine, or Estonia, or Sweden, or Europe in general, anything.
If Europe does not owe anything to Ukraine, then Ukraine should owe nothing to Europe either. But Europe acted as if Ukraine owed something to Europe (such as releasing Timoshenko from prison in order to get the candidate status in 2012-4),[1] so, I guess you see the point. There's a relationship, as a minimum due to geographical proximity, there are mutual expectations, particularly the expectations towards closer integration.

The "does not owe" logic does not apply in neighbourhood geopolitics. At the latest, Bosnia should have served as a major lesson to the EU: When there's a war at Europe's doorstep and the EU fails to do anything about it, then NATO (headed by USA) will step in and the EU will look like a spineless and incompetent moron that it is. It is very much in the common European interest to stop being a moron.

I have full faith in diplomacy. I know that diplomacy works. So it saddens me a lot that the EU fails at it consistently like a blockheaded donkey. At some point enough members will resolve to dismember the donkey.

The same goes for economy. Europe is expected to lose 1½–2 trillion euro in lost growth this year due to the Russian invasion. The few billions going to arm Ukraine is pocket money. But EU can be expected to fund Ukraine with hundreds of billions mostly after the war, and perhaps if unlikely Russia will chip in with some war reparation as well. They/we don't have to, and there would be voices that say we shouldn't. It does not seem that these voices are going to be heeded.
Much depends on how things will stand after the war. On some plausible after-the-war scenarios - i.e. Russia wins! - there will be no Ukraine or EU to pay reparations to. On other plausible scenarios - Russia stands ground, i.e. wins in its own eyes at least - Russia will not pay any reparations no matter how nicely you ask. On both of those scenarios, as soon as you start rolling back the sanctions, it will count as a final betrayal of Ukraine.

So, I'd say save Ukraine by making Russia's Black Sea Fleet homeless. Then no reparations needed.

Europe does not profit from this war, nor do any European country including Russia.
A common European cause is of course not profiting from this war. But is there such a thing as a common European cause? Is there a single united Europe or are there rather EU member countries with very different interests, occasionally severely undermining the common European interest?

At this point, the EU needs saving as much as Ukraine does. The first point is for all members to acknowledge that there is a common interest. Second would be to formulate the interest, which right now should not be very hard: Survival of the EU. Because if Ukraine will be served a last betrayal, then all countries between Germany and Russia get the message loud and clear; it will not matter whether the EU biggies agree that there is such a message or not.

In fact, if there is any disagreement on this, then it means that we are not capable of formulating a common interest even when faced with existential threats. Which indicates that we do not have any common interest. So the EU will self-destruct.

We managed to kick out one Trojan horse: UK. Obviously, we cannot kick out Germany and France. They will have to grow up and start behaving. But you (and they themselves) think they are doing fine and dandy, so...
The timepoint is important because that's when, one could argue partly due to the behaviour of the EU biggies, Ukraine lost Crimea. Sure the EU biggies would disagree, but their behaviour ever since, including the admission of candidacy just now when the situation is far worse from what it was in 2014, looks very much guilty as charged.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #357
Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a memorandum that seems to appease Turkey enough to not object the accession of Sweden and Finland to Nato. The memorandum is about fighting terrorism and giving up terrorists to be tried in the other country. Turkey's media declared victoriously that Finland and Sweden are now committed to give up the Kurds whose list Turkey has been floating around. But Finland and Sweden say nothing has changed with regard to Kurds in Finland and Sweden.

Funny thing, terrorism. Turkey, a Nato member, thinks Kurds are terrorists, while all other Nato members would rather have Kurds fight Isis, because Isis is terrorist. Overall, Nato has betrayed Kurds once again. Memorandums tend to be completely non-committal in practice, but there are not too many contradictory memorandums you can sign without affecting the clarity of your own determination and the relationships around you.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #358
Germany is re-militarising. The effect will not be a militarily stronger and geopolitically more conscious European Union. The effect will be a more dangerous Germany, repeating history all over again.

As frequently noted, with increases Germany will have the largest military budget in the world, after the US and China. Sure, that is a handful of euros. The EU needs to become more German, but are the Germans themselves up to this? Indications so far are not too impressive. They have been kicking that aforementioned rust, announced that they will be buying some US equipment at inflated prices.

The European Defence Fund is more interesting for direction. It is a tiny fund (in military terms), but it shows priorities. Same goes for the European Defence Agency. I don't think Germany will be the instigator of change, but it can become a conduit.

More impactful than where Germany is going, is where the US is going. Right now the relationship could hardly be better. Arguably Biden is a better European than Macron or Scholz. That might not last beyond January 2025. Meanwhile Germany considers buying several trinkets from the US.


Germany studies the possibility to purchase US or Israeli air defense missile system

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #359
The EU needs to become more German...
Whatever it is you mean here, it is not going to happen. Everybody east of Germany has signed Germany off by now. One more back-stabbing move from Germany and the EU is dispersed as quick as the sanctions got agreed on. By back-stabbing moves I mean the initial resistance to aid Ukraine and then promises of weapons followed by non-delivery. Also EU's effective sanctions reversal imposed on Lithuania did not help at all.

If Germany's rearmament will be effective and significant, then Germany will become as dangerous as Russia. There will be no union or alliance with that Germany, because nobody can deny that it is the same pre-WWII trap all over again.

Russia picks up Estonia, we pick up Königsberg. A little prisoner exchange, and status quo ante. Russia cannot win, Russia will not try.
You see, in the EU that everybody east of Germany joined, self-determination and territorial integrity were supposedly important. If half or close to half of the people of western EU think like you, particularly those in decision-making posts, such that giving up a whole unique nation is a non-issue and can be considered not a win for Russia, then this is not the EU we joined. Maybe it would be tolerable if the EU were simply unhelpful, but the kind of EU that you represent is positively harmful, almost as much an existential threat as Russia itself.

So, what will happen is that everybody between Germany and Russia will quickly flush EU and stick with Nato instead. And if the western EU disagrees and also Nato cannot stay together, it will be a proper world war. The way things are right now, the conditions for a wider war are ready and set. I saw it from miles away that the EU would eventually betray Ukraine - and that the EU would have no problem similarly betraying all countries between Germany and Russia. This was clear when the EU betrayed Ukraine in the Crimea situation. Dang, it was already clear when the EU biggies were imposing suicidal border agreements on Baltic countries.

If the union is to be preserved, then Ukraine must be saved in full. This would show EU's commitment to self-determination and territorial integrity of nations. Without this demonstration, the EU will not stay together, because it has too brazenly and too often pissed on its own stated values, even against its own interest of self-preservation. The EU keeps insisting to be not taken seriously.

As to Russia, Crimea was a win. Donbass is a win. Any territorial gain is a win for Russia. Also, any lack of repercussions is a win for Russia. Lack of repercussions such as Germany's empty words on helping Ukraine and the EU's copout on rouble payments for gas and reversal on sanctions in Lithuanian transit. When Russia sees weakness, they get more blood-thirsty. Nobody needs an EU whose main purpose seems to be to satisfy Russia's blood-thirst. Russia's blood-thirst needs to be annihilated. Russia must lose. It is an existential question for the EU. If Russia wins, the EU self-destructs. If we get another stalemate, Russia will not allow too long time to catch breath. Russia will not stop. Russia definitely needs entire Ukraine, not part or half or three thirds of it. Any stalemate ceasefire will be temporary.

For most people on this side, Crimea was the last straw. There are no more straws. For now, the surprising quick consensus on sanctions is the last thing still holding the EU together. When this is revealed to be a sham, the EU will have no more benefit of the doubt from anyone any longer. Existential threats are to be acted upon.

Arguably Biden is a better European than Macron or Scholz.
Well, it is beyond argument that Nato is so much more what Europe (minus Russia) needs right now than the EU. In every situation that requires geopolitical considerations, the EU has shown that it is a threat to its members and to itself. If Nato also fails, Europe will become a failed continent.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #360
Russia lost Donbas, but then of course it was not their to lose to begin with. They do have a fighting chance of keeping Crimea, Sevastopol at least.

European rearmament means that Russia lost the Baltic Sea as well. The threat towards the Baltic States is real, but the logic of it being a NATO Achilles heel is fading. That in itself is dangerous, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a consequence of Ukraine slipping through their fingers. But first of all, the Kremlin doesn't care that much about you, secondly they are not capable of any persistent action as long as they are bogged down in Ukraine. The forever war in Donbas was a convenient vehicle to pressure Ukraine, and it still is, but now it is harming Russia as much.

The Kremlin may put their hope to the US midterms (or boon from an Italian election), but if so they will be disappointed. The presidential election could in worst case be more to their liking, but that will be three years after the invasion and these will not be good years for Russia. 

Long term however Germany, not the US, will be your security guarantee. Estonia is not in the Indo-Pacific. 

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #361
Long term however Germany, not the US, will be your security guarantee. Estonia is not in the Indo-Pacific.
True, Estonia is not in the Indo-Pacific. Our existential threats are right here: Russia and Germany. Is the Germany of Schröder, Merkel and Scholz any sort of security guarantee? No, it is not. It is a danger, because it is a duplicitous worshipper of Russia and admirer of Putin over fellow EU members.

The security guarantee must be elsewhere, in a union or an alliance that keeps Russia and Germany apart from each other. Therefore, insofar as it is led by the Germany of Schröder, Merkel and Scholz, the EU cannot be a security guarantee.

Against Russia, there is just one security guarantee: Nato. Admittedly, Nato can fall apart. But then everything falls apart. Everything as in nothing short of third world war. Accession of Sweden and Finland to Nato seems to indicate that Nato has still something going for it.

In contrast, the EU is hardly standing. Do you think that when the EU lets Estonia be taken or Lithuania invaded by Russia, then there will be some other small members who will volunteer, "Hey, that thing you did to the Baltics, do it to me next please - I want to sacrifice myself to save our precious union"? Nope, they will instantly consider the union dissolved, commitments annulled. Actually, they are already learning from what happens to Ukraine. They will not wait until the EU starts throwing own members to wolves.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #362
Thanks to Germany Estonia will not be taken.

NATO and EU are merging in Europe. Norwegians are more seriously considering joining EU (though there is still a solid majority against). NATO is effectively "EU light" or "EU plus". How that merge actually will progress depends on external factors.

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #363
Thanks to Germany Estonia will not be taken.
Can you give some specific example? Without any backup, this sounds as hollow as the claim that Trump had successes.

NATO and EU are merging in Europe. Norwegians are more seriously considering joining EU (though there is still a solid majority against).
If Norwegians join (which I doubt), it means nothing. Nobody else is joining. Norway, in fact, has been keeping away, and probably has more reasons to keep away henceforth. What everybody (except Russia) really wants to join is Nato. Ukraine may join Nato before joining EU because Ukrainians will obviously look who treated them better in the war, EU or Nato. Nato, obviously.

Nato and EU are not merging. Them merging would mean that Nato would become EU's defence commissariat. Not happening. The EU has other defence projects in mind, several ones that you have mentioned, all driven by France and Germany which means those projects will never live up to the kind of promise of deterrence that Nato has. None of the projects envisions a merger with Nato. The relationship of Nato and EU remains the way it is now until the end.

The security situation is this: Russia is the threat that we must counteract. Yet France and Germany prefer to fatten Russia, even at the cost of EU's easternmost member countries. Therefore any defence project, EU or otherwise, that France and Germany can come up with will inevitably shoot itself in the foot. It's just the character of France and Germany. They cannot do it any differently.

 

Re: NATO nonsense

Reply #364

The Baltic States are in a category of their own, measured in percentage of military budget. But it makes perfect sense, considering this: 

12,000 Russian Troops Were Supposed To Defend Kaliningrad. Then They Went To Ukraine To Die.

Quote
The formation, deployment and destruction of the 11th Army Corps tell a story that’s bigger than the tragic tale of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The corps, sandwiched between two NATO countries along a strategic sea, was supposed to give Russian forces an advantage in a global war.

Instead, it became cannon fodder for a Ukrainian army that, on paper, was weaker than the Russian army was. Now Kaliningrad is all but defenseless, and the threat the oblast’s troops once posed to NATO … has evaporated.

The 11th Army Corps isn’t really a new formation. It’s a new grouping of existing formations under a single headquarters that itself answers to the Russian navy’s Baltic Fleet. The corps oversees a motorized division, a separate motorized regiment, artillery, rockets, air-defense troops and supporting units.
Before Russia widened its war in Ukraine starting in late February, there were no fewer than 12,000 Russian troops in Kaliningrad with around 100 T-72 tanks, a couple hundred BTR fighting vehicles, Msta-S howitzers and BM-27 and BM-30 rocket-launchers. The 11th Army Corps oversaw most of these forces.

Looming on the western border of Lithuania, one of the weakest NATO member states, the 11th Army Corps was the anvil for a possible Russian invasion of the former Soviet republics Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The hammer was the 18,000-strong ground force in western Russia on the eastern border of the Baltic states.

If this war lasts much longer the deterrence countermove to invasion/hybrid warfare in Baltic States would no longer be occupying Kaliningrad, but occupying St. Petersburg.


Speaking of the Russian western border, Finland, Sweden: No preconditions on nuclear weapons ahead of Nato membership

Makes sense in its context, but long-term the greatest risk of nuclear weapon use in Europe, even with Putin waving them around like now, is "accidental" use (i.e. misjudgement). Actual storage of nuclear weapons nearby Russia would increase that risk.