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Countering Putin
Western Power Pushes Back

Don’t look now, but the West may be standing up to Putin with real power. NATO’s Allied Land Command is up and running and conducting drills, Stars and Stripes reports:

NATO’s Allied Land Command has finally reached full operational capacity, LANDCOM commander Lt. Gen. John Nicholson said at the close on Wednesday of NATO’s largest training exercise since the end of the Cold War.

One aim of the exercise, Trident Lance, was to test how well a fully operational LANDCOM — which is charged with improving the effectiveness and reaction time of the alliance’s land forces — could respond to an international crisis. In this case, the scenario dealt with the hypothetical invasion of NATO member Estonia, which borders Russia at NATO’s northeastern corner.

NATO is also investing in making sure this force is equipped with top of the line tech that allows for better communication and command.

On top of this demonstration of its military capabilities, the West is pushing Russia to adhere to its 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty obligations on medium and long range missiles. For years, Russia has been flagrantly violating the restrictions, including by building and deploying road-mobile medium-range missile launch platforms. For once, Washington and Brussels seem to recognize that it isn’t enough to simply ask Putin nicely to play by the rules (as it did in July by formally charging Russia with violating the treaty by conducting a medium-range test).

Indeed, the West may actually demonstrate enough resolve to teach the Kremlin that it will back up law with real consequences. The NYT:

“Our strategy has two potential ends,” Brian P. McKeon, a senior Pentagon policy official, told a House Armed Services subcommittee. “First, we seek to convince Russia to return to compliance because we believe preserving the treaty is in our mutual security interest. If Russia does not return to compliance, our end will be to ensure that Russia gains no significant military advantage from its violation.”

The Pentagon options, Mr. McKeon said, include deploying new defenses against cruise missiles; exploring whether to deploy American ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe, a step that would also be counter to the treaty; and building up other military capabilities.

Meanwhile, Western powers are also working to build Europe’s missile defense capabilities. Finally, it looks like the West is increasing its hard power approach to Putin.

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  • Anthony

    “The Pentagon has developed a range of military options to pressure Russia to correct its violation of a landmark arms control agreement….” So NATO, established primarily as a containment alliance against the former Soviet Union, may be back to its original design by way of U.S. nuclear capability (immediate-range land missiles). The more things change…

    • Andrew Allison

      If, in fact, the Pentagon has developed a range of military options to pressure Russia to correct its violation of a landmark arms control agreement…., doesn’t it suggest that it’s given up on NATO?

      • f1b0nacc1

        More like NATO has given up on us

  • FriendlyGoat

    This is good, especially however much of it comes from the European membership of NATO. (It’s their continent, after all).

    But, the coincidence of the oil price decline is even better for dealing with Putin, isn’t it?

  • wigwag

    “Don’t look now but the West may be standing up to Putin with real power.”

    The “West” is doing this, the “West” is doing that. Yadi yadi yada.

    Is it really the “West” or is the United States doing all the heavy lifting while its feckless allies cheer from the sidelines while offering bucket fulls of useless advice?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Andrew Allison

    Laughable. The West has forgotten the meaning of power, namely the willingness to deploy it.

    • S.C. Schwarz

      Exactly. NATO requires each member to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on military spending. Not one NATO country, except the US, meets this goal and we are dropping rapidly. I’ll believe NATO is serious when we see them increasing spending to meet this goal.

      • Andrew Allison

        Don’t hold your breath. Nothing short of all-out war will cause the required shift in priorities, by which time of course it will be too late. But that wasn’t my point [/grin].

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This looks like smoke and mirrors to me, Obama cancelled the placement of an anti-missile system in Poland almost 6 years ago. That a NATO test of command and communications was performed, doesn’t not in anyway indicate an improvement of the combat power of NATO.

  • Antikapitalista

    ROTFL, the Westerners are dastardly thieves, not warriors. The North Atlantic Terrorist Organization has been ravaging Europe and it neighborhood for almost 2 decades.

    There is no point in trying to push Russia harder. After all, the West with its numerous war crimes all around the world (when disarmament efforts have been a prelude for invasion from the West) has no moral right to give lectures to anyone.

    But if you do try to push Russia harder, the only logical response from Russia will be to withdraw from the treaty. And more and more steps will have to follow, if the stupid Europeans do not realize the economic and security consequences of being a client of the United States of Aggression, the inevitable prospect of being the next battleground in a future great war (possibly a World War III) and the full cost of being a victim in Washington’s cynical bid for world’s unilateral domination.

    The greatest immediate danger to the West is not Russia itself, or Russia’s hard power, but Russia’s soft power, the channel of truth exposing Western lies and hypocrisy and the Western cynical mockery of the concept of human rights.

    The West is like a large mafia group, with tight controls, pervasive supervision and severe punishments, drawing a sense of power from its unity. And the greatest danger to this mafia group is the possibility of its breakup. This mafia system can only survive through incessant bullying and stepped up hazing.

    But there is a limit to how many brazen lies people in the West can take before they wake up from their lethargy and turn on their… oops, sorry, not *their* rulers, but Washington’s puppets… As Abraham Lincoln has said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    The eavesdropped lady who finally learned how to use a knife and fork and is now committing economic treason against her nation and endangering its sovereignty… may very well be the first victim. 😛

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