Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Published on: October 24, 2014
Strategy & Policy
Europe’s Moment of Blinding Strategic Clarity

European leaders are finally beginning to admit to themselves that Putin’s goal is to decompose NATO and alter Europe’s normative framework. But will they do anything about it?

Andrew A. Michta is the M. W. Buckman Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College and an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
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  • ShadrachSmith

    Europe as a military player: best of luck with that.

  • זאב ברנזון

    welcome to the 21 century the post european century .
    european society has bad long term prospects.
    europe’s demography is abysmal.
    european economic growth is near 0 with dime prospect for improvements.
    the europeans are unwilling to kill or die for anything .
    if there is nothing worth dying for nothing is worth living for.
    russia on the other hand has been in the process of rebirth in the last 14 years.
    russian are in a demografic rebound .
    the russians were always willing to kill and die for the greatness of russia.
    it may not please the humanitarians but russia on the path to victory in this round

    • asehpe

      So was Germany in the ’30s.

      We’ll see. Don’t count on the eggs before the hen lays ’em.

    • Sencho

      It’s always easy to find a cause for. It’s hard to find a cause worth living for. Europe lacks either right now but should it find the former, she’ll eventually be safe.

      And if Europe should find the latter, then heaven help everyone picking at Europe’s body today.

  • John Tyler

    France and Germany will not risk a conflict with Russia over any nation east of Germany and Austria and east of Norway and Sweden. Putin knows this. Everybody knows this .
    Everyone also knows that Putin has a free hand as long as Obama is president. Putin could not himself have installed a better US president to further Russian interests than the ober-golfen-fuhrer, choom gang, Ocommie.
    In two years, when there is a new US president, Putin’s plans will be a fait accompli, a done deal, finished.
    And now that the EU has just announced plans to meet far more stringent goals in reducing CO2, it has further tightened their own noose over their own economies, and now even more dependent on Russian oil .
    Putin must be delirious with joy and disbelief.
    Given his KGB background he must be thinking ” there is no way on this bolshevik earth that the Europeans AND Obama are working together to facilitate and encourage my dreams of a new USSR; this must be some sort of trap, a trick.”
    And NOW you know why Putin is sending his Bear bombers, Sukhoi fighters , and naval vessels very near or into Swedish, NATO and US air and sea space. He is just checking to see if sombody, ANYBODY, is awake.
    So far , EVERYBODY. Is asleep. But not Putin.

    • Sibir_RUS

      The Swedes have been looking for our submarine from their shores but did not find. They always scream about the EVIL RUSSIAN BEAR when need to accept the military budget.

      • asehpe

        Your comment might be interesting if it made sense… May I recommend the “Oxford Grammar for Advanced Students of English”?

        Now — your sub was in Swedish waters. The Swedes found evidence of this. You run away in time, but this doesn’t change the violation you’ve commited.

        • Sibir_RUS

          The Ministry of defence of Sweden has distributed a fake photograph with the location of foreign submarine, reports Deutsche Welle. The defense Ministry admitted on Monday, October 20 that photo, shown at a press conference on Sunday, October 19, was made in another place. It was impossible to show that we know the true position of the object, so as not to give the enemy trumps in hand, says the explanation published on the website of the defense Ministry. The image is more like Lonesco monster. The same bad quality. http://www.dw.de/image/0,,18007299_303,00.jpg

        • Sibir_RUS

          In naval intelligence Sweden said that no Russian submarine off the coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula was not, and news about her quest is nothing more than a newspaper “duck”. This was reported today the largest edition of the country Dagens Nyheter with reference to the military Department.

    • Sibir_RUS

      NATO and US air and sea space? What do you mean?
      Russian submarines are on combat duty in neutral waters.
      Flights strategic aviation were planned and executed in strict compliance with the International regulations for the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other countries.

      • John Tyler

        Uh, geez, let me think, duh
        Oh that’s right, Sweden, the Uk, the USA, Norway etc just send up escort fighter planes and hunt phantom subs because, well, just because.
        Let me guess, you just love Stalin despite his extermination of 20 to 50 MILLION citzens of the USSR ; more than were killed than by Hitler’s Wehrmacht.
        Oh, let me guess; Stalin did nothing of the sort.

        • Sibir_RUS

          20 to 50 MILLION ???
          You’re just not familiar with the history or deliberately lying.

          • Jack Kalpakian

            He is not, you have not been taught the whole story.

          • falstaff77

            Forty million by Stalin’s hand alone.

            * One million imprisoned or exiled from 1927 to 1929, falsely accused of being saboteurs or members of opposition parties.

            * Nine million to 11 million of the more prosperous peasants driven from their lands and another two million to three million arrested or exiled in the early 1930’s campaign of forced farm collectivization. Many of these were believed to have been killed.

            * Six million to seven million killed in the punitive famine inflicted on peasants in 1932 and 1933.

            * One million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935 for belonging to families of former nobility, merchants, capitalists and officials.

            * About one million executed in the ”great terror” of 1937-38, and another four million to six million sent to forced labor camps from which most, including Mr. Medvedev’s father, did not return.

            * Two million to three million sent to camps for violating absurdly strict labor laws imposed in 1940.

            * At least 10 million to 12 million ”repressed” in World War II, including millions of Soviet-Germans and other ethnic minorities forcibly relocated.

            * More than one million arrested on political grounds from 1946 to Stalin’s death in 1953.

            http://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/04/world/major-soviet-paper-says-20-million-died-as-victims-of-stalin.html

            There is a large literature documenting the claims, as well as the denials from US collaborators, to include NY times reporters.

          • Tom

            Let’s cancel out those not officially killed for a minute, then run the lowball figures. That’s still 7 million people here. Then figure an average of half of those exiled/arrested/relocated died, and lowball the figures. 15 million dead.
            The mind boggles.

          • Sibir_RUS

            Currently in American prisons are serving sentences 2.3 million people
            This is about 25% of all those serving time in the world (the U.S. share of
            world population is 5%). More people are imprisoned In the U.S. than in any other country – half a million more than in China, even though the population of China
            is five times more than that of the United States.
            Stalin rules for more than 20 years. How many prisoners have passed through the American “Gulag” for the last 20 years? How many of them were released?
            How many of them died from disease and old age, and how many were
            executed? I think a lot more…

          • falstaff77

            Why stop at randomly calling US prisons gulags? Why not throw in Nazi concentration camps or Cambodia killing fields or other infantile comparisons of one thing that is nothing like the other.

          • Sibir_RUS

            Even VERY similar.

          • falstaff77

            I owe you an apology. I had thought you were simply silly, but now I see you are quite monstrous, creepy.

          • Sibir_RUS

            22 juveniles were executed in the USA between 1976 and 2005
            You can answer me, why U.S. executed children?

        • Sibir_RUS

          The population in the USSR
          1927 147 028 000
          1937 (January) 162 500 000
          1939 (January) 168 524 000
          1941 (June) 196 716 000
          1946 (January) 170 548 000
          1951 (January) 182 321 000
          1959 (January) 208,800 000

          On fronts of that war only our army lost the killed more than 8 million people, and 19 million people of the Soviet peace population were destroyed by the Germans who have captured our earth.
          The jaw of the aggressor is stored in the state archive of Russia for the edification of future generations of his followers.
          http://i.imgur.com/w1t0KIi.jpg

          • Jack Kalpakian

            Western incapacity to empathize is matched only by Western ignorance of the “freedom fighters” it supported in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

          • Funny thing about those Soviet census numbers. Reporting true population figures could be a fatal mistake in Stalin’s time. That 1937 number resulted in Stalin having the officials conducting the census imprisoned. The 1941 number includes territory annexed via the Hitler-Stalin pact. So this raises the question, what do you mean by “our earth”?

          • Sibir_RUS

            In 1938 occurred Munich agreement, when England and France forced Czechoslovakia to surrender to the Nazis, and in fact before with ultimatums Germany and its allies, Poland and Hungary. on January 5, 1939. Hitler declares the Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland Beck about the unity of the interests of Germany and Poland in respect of the USSR. After consultations in the end of January 1939 German foreign Minister Ribbentrop arrived in Warsaw, where Beck he openly declares that Poland will join the anti-Comintern block, if Germany would support the desire of Poland capture Ukraine and get access to the Black sea. However, the fate of Poland, in any case, was sealed. She was halfway to the Ukraine. Germany itself wanted to get Ukraine. But as Germany will receive the Ukraine, if it is demanded poles? Yes and as technically managed from Berlin occupied Ukrainian territory through Poland, if with Poland, the Germans could not even agree on the construction of extraterritorial roads in Eastern Prussia, in Koenigsberg? All sane people, possessing the information about the situation on the Polish border was obvious – the Polish state was living its last days. But the Polish leadership, signed a military Pact on an Alliance with the British Empire, it was absolutely confident that England and France protect her. But not for that grew Hitler so much time, to defeat it in Poland. Until the very last days of the Soviet Union was trying to conclude with Poland Pact on non-aggression and common defence against aggression. But Poland is in principle not going to do that for a very simple reason – she wanted to invade the USSR and dreamed about domains «from sea to sea» (from the Baltic to the Black sea). And in this situation, desperately trying to find an ally, the USSR concluded with Germany in August 1939 non-aggression Pact with a clear rationale for the territories, where Hitler should not appear with their troops. Hysteria about the Pact Molotov-Ribbentrop is Freudian complex of small Nations, which somehow still believe that Hitler would be better if it was «walk» on their land. Stalin them tried to protect from the fascists, and they still is not happy about that! on September 1, 1939 part of the Wehrmacht attacked Poland. And the result of this aggression was predictable – exactly as it was expected in the USSR: the allies of Poland, which guaranteed the inviolability of – England and France, just «threw» the poles!

          • Tom

            You, sir, are barking mad if you expect us to be convinced by this farrago of half-truth.

          • Here’s what the pro-putin revisionists are reduced to, trying to excuse Putin by bringing up Soviet perfidy.

            Here’s a clue, if you’ve signed a treaty to invade a country, it is perfidious to attempt a non-aggression treaty with that same country. And this is the best case you can make?

        • Sibir_RUS

          You just don’t know the History.

    • David Govett

      Putin learned well from Hitler.

      • Sibir_RUS

        Aleut Internment Camps
        http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/12/22/aleut-internment-camps.html
        The movie called Aleut Story has hit the screens recently. This is the story devoted to the horrible events of 1942, when the population of the Aleutian Islands and the island of Pribilof was replaced and interned. Even now few Americans have any idea it has taken place. The story of Japanese internment is more or less known in the United States. In the 1940s Japan was the main enemy in the Pacific. Though the combat actions took place many miles away from the continental USA, 120000 Japanese were forcibly relocated from the West Coast and interned. Over 60% of them were US citizens. Anti-Japanese sentiments were at the height. No wonder: at the beginning of the 1990s the legislation in some states forbade Asia – White intermarriage. The Japanese were moved over and compared to vermin. More extreme depictions of Japanese included picturing them as a bloodthirsty and mean people. I emphasize the story is related to the Americans of Japanese origin, not the Japanese who lived in Japan. Even orphans who had more than 1/16 of Japanese blood were rounded up! The Japanese were taken away from the West Coast deeper into the continent and relocated to live in barracks unfit for accommodating many people and standing up to harsh winters. Whoever dared outside risked to get a bullet fired by guard. After the Japanese bombing of Dutch Harbor in Unalaska in 1942, the Alaska’s Aleuts followed the fate of Japanese Americans. The U.S. government required anyone with one-eighth of Aleut blood or more to be evacuated from the islands. Nobody told them where they were taken to. They were just forcibly moved to ships and taken to special camps (in all there were four of such locations). The living conditions were terrible: hunger, cold, deceases, death http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwrgtQOGVW0

        • Yes, the US interned 800 aleuts during WW II. Over 10% died. It was not our finest hour or the brightest idea. Some aleuts had been captured and taken to Japan so the relocation was partially out of concern for more kidnappings of aleut civilians and partially because the US instituted a scorched earth policy to deny invading japanese warm buildings and other infrastructure to work with. Apologies have long ago been issued, restitution in the form of $4.7M was paid and it was a bipartisan effort with the first bill being signed by president Reagan, the second by president Clinton.

          Shall we compare the internment camps in WW II between the American ones and the ones in the USSR? Are you really interested in going into the comparison of the humanitarian habits of FDR and Stalin? I’m not a fan of either, by the way, but I do have some perspective and can tell the difference.

          • Sibir_RUS

            The American Gulag as the latest form of capitalism
            Number of inmates in the United States increased by comparison with 1972 in 7,6 times. In 1972 the U.S. had less than 300 thousand prisoners. In 1990 it was 1 million. Today the United States, where there are more than 2.3 million inmates, tops the list of countries by number of people in custody. This is about 25% of all those serving time in the world (the U.S. share of world population is 5%). The figure of 754 prisoners per 100 thousand of population makes the United States the world leader in the ratio of the number of prisoners to total population. As the American specialist publication «California Prison Focus» said, in the history of mankind there has never before been a society which held so many of its own people in jail. More people are imprisoned In the U.S. than in any other country – half a million more than in China, even though the population of China is five times more than that of the United States. The Soviet Gulag system of the 1930`s was on a much smaller scale than is the American gulag at the beginning of the XXI century.
            http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/11/24/the-american-gulag-as-the-latest-form-of-capitalism-ii.html
            http://imgur.com/T6BFv

          • I’m sorry that I didn’t realize I was communicating with a Soviet apologist. That makes things much more simple.

            As I said before, the US system is not perfect and legitimate criticism, even from a bloody handed idiot who excuses mass murderers like Stalin, remains legitimate, even when couched in incorrect and unjust terms. I’m in favor of US legal reform as are a large number of americans.

            You, however, seem to be in favor of neo-imperialism, Russian style and are seeking to get the focus off that by bringing in topics regarding entirely different continents. The article, in case you’ve forgotten, is about a european matter and should predominantly involve europe.

    • Brett Champion

      I think Germany and France would come to Poland and the Czech Republic’s assistance if needed, but no farther east than that.

      • S.C. Schwarz

        Come to their assistance with what? Europe has effectively demilitarized itself. See, for example: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/09/30/germany-unable-to-meet-nato-readiness-target.html

        And what are they doing in the face of Russian aggression? Cutting further.

        • Brett Champion

          A combined Franco-German-Polish force would be more than enough to handle a Russian invasion of Poland. What France and Germany lack compared to Russia in numbers they more than make up for in quality, and the Poles would supply more than enough morale for all three. French and German soldiers are decidedly better trained, better equipped, and smarter than Russian soldiers and Polish soldiers would be fighting for their homes.

          The hysterics over Russia have gotten out of hand. Russia is a petrostate with nuclear weapons and a military able to push around its decrepit and corrupt neighbors. The muscle memory of empire causes Russian leaders talk to a good game, but the days of Russia being a military threat to Western Europe are over. And things are only going to get worse for Russia from here on out because the basis of Russian power–high energy prices–is very likely to crumble in the years to come as the world becomes awash in cheap oil and gas as the fracking revolution spreads outside the United States.

          By the end of 2022 the Russian government is going to face the same dilemma the Soviet government faced in the 1980s: supply guns to the military or butter to the people, because they won’t be able to provide both, and unlike during Soviet times, the Russian people will no longer settle for the military taking bread out of their mouths. Already Putin’s plans for modernizing the Russian military have begun to be scaled back. If the price of oil drops to the $70-range for an extended period of time, that would start to threaten the continuance of reforms that Russia has been able to institute.

          In other words, Russia is much more at risk of falling back to its parlous state of 1992 than it is likely to rise to the level of Soviet power in the late-1970s.

  • Fred

    Will they do anything about it? The Euroweenies? Fat chance.

    • fustian24

      Historically, encouraging the Europeans to arm themselves has not ended well.

  • Never happen. Look at European demographics: Not one nation on the demi-continent has positive fertility. They don’t believe in the future enough to populate it – why would they fight for it or give up the price of a new BMW to pay someone to do so? Europe is over. Putin knows it. We know it. Just let it roll over and die. Why bother protecting a people who don’t care enough to populate their own future? What, exactly, would we be protecting? Talk about a waste of money.

    • Tom

      For that matter, most don’t believe in NATO enough to fulfill their treaty obligations regarding military spending.

    • luke sampson

      European Americans have lower fecundity rates than most European countries:white America is over.

      • David Govett

        Euro rates are largely Muslims and other immigrants.

        • muslim countries are undergoing a serious fertility drop, too. In Iran, for example, the average woman of child-bearing age had 7 siblings, and is having 1 child. Their fertility is falling off a cliff. Sharia will do that. Muslims supported by European taxpayers may be positive in TFR – but it’s not certain yet. But that’s Europe’s problem and it isn’t going away. Because Europeans have no kids, someone has to come do the work. Europeans just decided that they’d rather have coffee than kids, so as they sip their culture vanishes. Not my problem; not my son’s problem. Their voters can fix it or not; their call. I really don’t care – but there is no reason for the American taxpayer to defend an entire demi-continent for a future in which they don’t believe even enough to have kids.

      • From the mid 1980s through about 2007 white non-hispanic TFR rates rose from 1.62 to about 1.91. It’s currently 1.79 with the slide being matched to this past period of economic hardship. Every racial category except hispanics is below replacement and hispanic has both white and black components.

        So what are you saying, that Spain isn’t part of Europe or that your arbitrary definition of hispanics should rule the roost? Why?

        Here are some Euro-TFR numbers
        Germany – 1.4
        Spain – 1.48
        Italy – 1.41
        Netherlands – 1.78
        Greece – 1.3
        Poland – 1.3

        There are ones that are higher than white America, but the total population of the above list is a majority of the population in the EU and all of these countries have non-white minorities.

        So even ignoring the whole racism issue, your argument has the problem that it just is not true.

        • Sibir_RUS

          The U.S. Military Dumped 20 Million Gallons of Chemicals on Vietnam from 1962 – 1971
          During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed 20 million gallons of chemicals , including the very toxic Agent Orange, on the forests and farmlands of Vietnam and neighboring countries, deliberately destroying food supplies, shattering the jungle ecology, and ravaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange

          When you intend to pay restitution to the people of Vietnam?

          • Do you have Stalinist tourettes? Go find a relevance to the present article and I might address your point.

        • falstaff77

          “…Here are some Euro-TFR numbersGermany – 1.4
          Spain – 1.48
          Italy – 1.41
          Netherlands – 1.78
          Greece – 1.3
          Poland – 1.3”

          National suicide. Culturally those sad numbers underestimate the problem, as they’re now inflated by immigrants with much higher TFR who share none of the European tradition.

          • It might be national suicide. It certainly is if it were to stay that way. It’s an open question whether it will. A lot of those scary ethnicities that are supposed to overrun Europe are going through TFR crashes too.

          • falstaff77

            “A lot of those scary ethnicities that are supposed to overrun Europe are going through TFR crashes too.”

            Interesting. Must be a newish development, as last time I looked some years ago immigrant TFR was near double that of the native population.

          • It’s not newish. You’re just looking at it through the wrong optic. If 30 years ago, a country’s TFR was 8 and now it’s 2.4, it’s still going to be higher than Germany, but it’s not hard to see it continue to slip below 2 in the next decade. Trajectory’s kind of important in this game.

            Middle East TFR’s on the low side

            Iran – 1.85
            Saudi Arabia – 2.17
            Lebanon – 1.74
            Turkey – 2.08
            Morocco – 2.15
            Libya – 2.07

            Not quite as bad as the EU list and there are others that are quite a bit higher. My point is that it’s important to look at the actual numbers, the actual slope of the best fit line to identify trend and then do a sanity check to see how big the demographic problems actually are. We have these wonderful computers and we don’t bother to run the actual numbers.

          • falstaff77

            Pakistan – 3.3.

            And by itself has a population roughly equal to all the other countries in that list.

      • Wrong. European Americans who also vote Left are in fertility decline. Only three Red States are below 2.1. No one is making the case that Red State America is full of minorities are they? No. Red State America is whiter than Blue State America. Red State America has positive fertility. Blue State America has negative fertility. White PRGRESSIVE, il-liberal, totalitarian America is over. Which is why I have been pushing Red State secession for quite some time. http://inthisdimension.com/2014/08/27/red-v-blue-why-secession-makes-sense/

    • The EU TFR rate being less than replacement would carry more weight if Russia wasn’t in the same boat. Russian TFR is 1.71 in 2013. Russia is a dangerous bear but we should neither underestimate the problem nor overestimate it.

      • iconoclast

        True but, unlike Europe, Russia has taken steps to increase its fertility rate. As opposed to the USA where raising children is punished economically and socially by a punitive tax structure as well as an unbelievably arrogant bureaucracy that considers children as state property.

        • Try Google, it will help you sound less ridiculous. There are a number of pro-natalist national programs in Europe which have been around for some time.

          • .. and none of them have increased TFR to replacement. Programs don’t equal results. Results = Results.

          • That would be none of them including Russia’s. The best results are in France, to my recollection which currently has a TFR of 2.0.

            My point isn’t to minimize problems. It’s to focus on the truth. Russia is moving not because it needs lebensraum. Knowing why they are being aggressive helps craft an effective response and is vital to that question.

          • Sibir_RUS

            Psychologists of the USA and Canada are for the legalization of pedophilia When discussing the law about pedophilia in the canadian Parliament in people with mental disabilities in sexual found defenders, who called pedophilia “sexual orientations on a par with homosexuality”. And in the United States, meanwhile, there is a special organization, which fights for the legalization of pedophilia.

            Сanadian psychologists are not alone in his views about pedophiles.

            In the USA there is the organization of “B4U-ACT”, which purpose is legalization of pedophilia, informs Lifesitenews.
            http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/academic-conference-seeks-to-normalize-pedophilia

            The organization consists of many respected psychologists from Harvard, the University of Illinois and Louisville. They called pedophiles “people who involve minors” and claim that criminal prosecution of such individuals “unscientific”. Representatives of “B4U-ACT”, as well as their canadian-minded, believe pedophilia sexual orientation.

          • You seem to mistake me for a reflexive nationalist unwilling to criticize my own civilizational group. That is wrong on so many levels. You do not know me.

            That some people put a scientific veneer on their pseudo-scientific religious beliefs is nothing new and not confined to the West. Dumbassery is a universal problem of the human condition. So is evil. There’s enough of both in what you’re bringing up as a distraction from the fertility rate discussion we were on (and you were losing).

      • It really doesn’t matter WHY their TFR is so low; it only matters THAT; and the fact that Russia’s TFR also stinks does not mean we should be defending Europe.

        • Sorry, I cannot agree. TFR is an important statistic. It is not the only thing that is important. The reason why such things are happening is an important factor in crafting successful responses.

  • Boritz

    Europe (the continent) has earned the right to its self-loathing in matters military. There are only two modes natural to them: the weak and ineffectual stance they now have and going totally overboard. The orderly conduct of NATO in its heyday is an exception and has not been sustained because it was not sustainable. The Europeans are loathe to rearm because they don’t trust themselves, being untrustworthy, and know that it will end badly if they do. That we need a world with a militarily strong yet disciplined Europe is beside the point.

  • Corlyss

    “But will they do anything about it?”

    You can ask this when you have posted copy under “EU Sets New 2030 Climate Goals”

    Eurotrash is the very definition of fiddling while Rome burns. They haven’t done jack since they decided to lash themselves together in the feckless Euro, as if the very act of amalgamation was insulation against EVER having to make a hard decision for which people could be voted out of office.

  • Sibir_RUS

    Area of the European part of Russia from Kaliningrad to the Urals, almost 4 million square kilometers, it is slightly smaller than the area of all EU countries, but it’s too part of Europe on the continent Eurasia.
    In Georgia was not war, but peace enforcement. In the Crimea was not war. There was a referendum.
    Russia is a peaceful country. There is no threat from Russia. Stop lying, please.

    • asehpe

      Georgia was a war — you tricked Saakashvili, and you rolled your tanks on. No peace was enforced, land was stolen.

      There is an obvious threat from Russia; just ask Ukraine… Nobody is lying — why offend others? Are you inviting others to offend you? Or are you so used to lying that it’s easy and cheap to accuse others of doing so, even though you have no evidence?…

      Someday people will tsk-tsk the leaders of today for their appeasement policies. ‘How could they not know what was happening right under their noses’? People will write theses and dissertations about that. But such is the way of history.

      • iconoclast

        BS. Georgia attacked a region that never wanted to be part of Georgia since the breakup of the USSR. Had Putin wished he could rolled into Tbilisi and deposed Saakashvili. But he didn’t. RF troops pulled back to the line of the peoples who had been fighting for decades to join the RF and leave Georgia.

      • Sibir_RUS

        Georgian troops attacked our peacekeepers who were there, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN security Council . By the order of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian army launched erase from the face of the earth South Ossetia. What else could we do? Russia has conducted an operation to force Georgia to peace. Saakashvili a long time was president after the resumption of peace
        Look: http://www.war080808.com/
        http://osradio.ru/genocid/
        Vitaly Churkin on UN cleanly explains about genocide in Ossetia
        englishes subtitle

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCw3G0MtLaA

    • Russia is a peaceful country you say. It’s also a thief. At the peace table with the Ottomans in 1877, Russia peacefully dispossessed half of the old kingdom of Moldova, its military ally in the war they had just won together. It’s got troops within the borders of the republic of Moldova right now. When will Russia be leaving Moldova?

      Russian lies covering their territorial ambitions were never that good. They still aren’t.

  • Sibir_RUS

    Andrew A. Michta: “Over the past five years, Russia has increased its defense spending by about 50 percent”.
    Elementary – this rearmament according to the plan up to 2020 (piles of obsolete weapons replaced with a new one). In addition, Russia has increased its defense spending, together with GDP growth. EU reduces costs because they do not feel the real threat from Russia and other powers and I do not think that in the foreseeable future such a threat appears. To combat terrorism does not need inflated military budget.

    • asehpe

      But if the increase is percentual, it is not simply accompanying GDP growth. No — it refelcts a more millitaristic, power-hungry Russia, who thinks they need muscles to flex in front of the world. “Don’t mess with us — we’ll mess with you first.”

    • David Govett

      Putin learned well from Hitler.

      • chicagorefugee

        While Europe chooses to learn from Chamberlain, rather than Churchill.

        This does not bode well.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Europe is finished as an outpost of the west. The Russians will take it over from the east and the Muslims from the south. Within 30 years the Europe we know will be gone.

    The best thing the U.S. could no is withdrawal from NATO, recall all our troops, and close every base. Perhaps the shock of that would wake the fools up.

    • luke sampson

      Your demographics are worse than ours:the majority of US students are non-white.

      The US doesn’t exist anymore. Where is your southern border?

      • iconoclast

        That is true. The enlightenment brought by white Europeans is coming to an end. Expect a return to the charming cultures of ancient Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

        Making white Americans ashamed of their history, culture and achievements is a crowning victory by the barbarians.

      • You are both hyperventilating and spreading falsehoods. I debunked this above. Both the US and the incumbent populations of the EU have demographic problems. Stick to reality. It’s bad enough.

      • S.C. Schwarz

        Not so. Our total fertility rate is barely above replacement (2.01) true, bur the OECD average is 1.74. Some major countries are much lower. Germany for example, is at 1.36. These are extinction-level fertility rates. So yes, Western civilization is collapsing but Europe will go first.

        See, for example, http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/soc_glance-2011-en/04/02/g4_ge2-01.html?itemId=/content/chapter/soc_glance-2011-7-en&_csp_=06ddaa83bfb83794011cef6d2538d031

        These are not falsehoods or exaggerations, they are simple statistics right from the OECD statistical library.

  • Sibir_RUS

    Stop hiding behind the skirt of NATO. Russia is not going to attack the United States.
    This organization only diverts resources needed by the EU to exit the crisis.

    • asehpe

      Not the US (thank god for nukes), but Ukraine yes, they are going to / are attacking Ukraine.

      And they’ll do everything they can to weaken the US or Europe elsewhere. No big wars, of course, they would lose; but there are other means…

    • mc

      I find myself reluctantly agreeing with you here, though your attempts to defend Putin elsewhere are laughable. The US might have a role keeping the EU whole and free, if the Europeans showed any interest in it. But they don’t so we don’t.

      • The US, for very little money, could stabilize a defensive line by simply extending to Poland and Romania the nuclear sharing policy that they have long had with Turkey. If anybody invades Turkey, there are US crews that will hand over B61 nuclear warheads to the Turkish air force. Nobody sane is going to be invading Turkey. Do the same for Poland and Romania and you have a strategic situation that will make Russia much more cautious at minimal cost to the US.

        • cubanbob

          Not to be a party pooper but do you really think in such a situation the US would actually hand over those nukes especially with whatshisname the current commander-in-chief in charge? There is a reason the French and the British developed and field their own nuclear weapons.

          • Tom

            They developed them in order to maintain Great Power status, and to have independent nuclear strike capability.
            Bear in mind, they armed up when Eisenhower was President.

          • cubanbob

            They armed up not only for Great Power status but more importantly Charles de Gaulle never believed that the US would at the moment of truth would trade Chicago for Paris with the Soviets. Your snark about Eisenhower aside that was the reason and not the personality of the US president or his party. But if you insist on snark, de Gaulle distrusted FDR as much or more than Eisenhower. The British no doubt believed the same that at the moment of truth the US would not sacrifice NYC for London either and as de Gaulle concluded it would do the Soviets no good to destroy France at the cost of losing Moscow and Leningrad while still having to deal with an intact US hence the logic of their nuclear weapons programs. The British no doubt thought the same and both the UK and France continue to believe that which is why they haven’t disarmed.

          • Who is going to invade Turkey? It’s going to be Russia or Iran, now perhaps IS. I don’t see the US shedding many tears if any of them gets a nuclear strike package, especially a limited one because the Turks can’t actually make more weapons.

            I grew up in the US but was born in Romania so I do keep an eye on the old country. Romania (and Poland) have three security choices:
            1. Accept being a colony
            2. Get a security guarantee from the US
            3. Get indigenous nuclear weapons

            Nuclear sharing threads the needle between choice 2 and 3. If it isn’t granted, we’re likely going to wake up to at least two more nuclear weapons powers in Europe one of these days.

          • cubanbob

            Yes we give the Turks nukes and the Russians aren’t going to notice? What if the Turks used them if the Russians invaded? You think the Russians wouldn’t have a return address? If the Iranians ever finally build and deploy nukes and happen to hand some over to some terrorist group that happens to set one off here you don’t think we would find the return address and return the favor? And why would we provide nukes to the Turks with their present government under any circumstances?

          • It’s been an announced and public policy of the US for several decades to hand over the nukes to Turkey if Turkey is invaded. Any Russian military planner that invades Turkey has to plan to get nuked or they’re just being irresponsible.

            If we’re that upset with Turkey’s government, we should withdraw from the nuclear sharing agreement, understanding that we’d just be helping the budget of Pakistan as they provide the bomb to Turkey within a few months. How that is supposed to enhance regional stability and security escapes me.

        • falstaff77

          The nuclear defense strategy won’t work with Putin: he is not going to provide some big fat Russian flagged target. Instead he is cleverly leading with espionage, economic leverage, and insurrection. Putin marched no large armored columns into Crimea, and now see the insidious claim that Baltic citizens are deserters from the Russian army. Would Europe resort to force inside Russian territory if Putin, say, seized a boat load of Baltic citizens?

          Putin would not send some enormous Bolshevik like assault into Poland, until well after stirring up one or another local faction and supplying them. He already has a Polish border with the Kaliningrad Oblast. Look for incursions from there, in the guise of some bogus security threat to the Russian naval fleet by some nebulous fascist threat.

          As we’ve seen already, the rest of the feckless EU is eager to believe libels of fascists lurking here and there as an excuse for Putin’s interventions. Putin enters some small weapons, then some middling ones such as SAM launchers. Nuking some local minority because of its ties with the Russians is out of the question. The same goes for heavy NATO conventional air strikes without a big given the passive rhetoric of this President.

          • The point of Turkish nukes is to make everybody too nervous to cross certain red lines. Extending the nuclear sharing program to Romania and Poland does the same. The point is to complicate strategic planning and close off certain avenues because the rational planning risk/reward ratio shifts negative in the median result scenario, not to go Dr. Strangelove and actually use the things.

            Destabilization is inherently unpredictable. In a purely conventional scenario, there is a certain roof on the bad effects and blowback. With nukes in country, the roof is set much higher and that, just by itself, is deterring.

          • falstaff77

            “The point of Turkish nukes is to make everybody too nervous to cross certain red lines.”

            Yes, exactly. The counter is to never cross anything clearly distinguishable as red line; instead blur them, play border lawyer. The US is not going to agree a red line has been crossed and hand over nuclear weapons to Turkey if Putin’s insurgents kill a hundred here, a hundred there, shoot down a plane, and then dissolve again into the shadows for some months.

            Reagan had an effective plan, and it went further than countering the possibility of massive Soviet military attacks. He went after them everywhere, including internally: economics, support for internal dissidents, broad military pressure, including putting the US Navy in the Barents sea which they considered their backyard.

          • Romanians are pretty good at the border lawyer game themselves. They’ve historically done it twice, arguably three times. First, Romania was never supposed to be one country. Moldova and Wallachia went off script to unify. Second, the moldovans on the Russian side of the border pled for unification as soon as they saw that it was possible to escape the scary bolsheviks and that the tsar wasn’t likely to be coming back anytime soon. The arguable third time is exactly where the Romanian army occupation limits were in the post WW I chaos of austro-hungary’s corpse. Anybody who says post-colonial payback is a third world phenomenon should really look up what happened back then. On the other hand, Romania’s army did eventually go home. Eventually.

            Everybody in that part of the world knows that sometimes you bow your head to avoid genocide and sometimes you fight. What I’m saying is that a nuclear sharing program extension would tip the balance of a lot of neutrals’ power calculations. Think in terms of the calculating scottish lords in Braveheart and you won’t be too far wrong.

  • BobSykes

    Anyone paying any attention has to realize that the US/EU/NATO is the chief source of terror and war on the planet. They simply trashed Chad, Sudan, Mali, Libya, Syria and Iraq and tried to trash Egypt. They have invaded Afghanistan, Iraq three times, expanded into Central Europe despite promises not to, overthrown the legitimate, democratically elected government of Ukraine and are now working feverishly to collapse the Russian economy.

    Russia should be trying to eliminate both the EU and NATO and to push American forces out of Europe. The only surprise is that US/EU/NATO open aggression against Russia hasn’t precipitated a European war already.

    Of course, this article continues the long string of mendacious, delusional propaganda pieces that disfigure TAI.

  • Terenc Blakely

    We are in the downward spiral of this cycle of civilization. Whenever a civilization becomes too effete and corrupt the barbarians come knocking at the door. The primary barbarians in this cycle are the Islamic jihadists with Russia and China helping them along.

  • Daniel Nylen

    Why does one think that “old Europe” wants to make effort to support/defend the newest members to the east? Does it matter if they don’t? Didn’t we initially give Russia a set of guarantees in order for their acquiescence on the unification of Germany?

  • Sennacherib

    NATO is and has been nothing more than a social club for a decade or more. Putin, whether you agree with him or not, has exposed it and the alliance for what it is. Until that’s acknowledged then nothing will change.

  • David Govett

    The LITTY (Leave It to the Yanks) Strategy

  • M. Report

    Demographics are not destiny
    in a Hi-Tech economy;
    Europe, even Russia,
    does not need more people,
    they need better people in charge;
    Who dares, wins.

    • chicagorefugee

      Tell that to the Boers, why don’t you? Or the white Rhodesians – if you can find any.

      • M. Report

        Why not cite Carthage ?

        The US, or the EU could arm themselves with war-droids
        using currently available technology, making all manned
        weapons of war obsolete. The Russians do not have the
        mass production industrial base to match them.
        ISIL would not last a week against such weapons.

        TPTB of the West do not _want_ to win, hence they
        ignore/deny that they have the capability; Replace them.

  • 1CEO

    Inert as a result of a spineless Socialist mentality spanning generations. Health Care, “Global Warming” and Diversity have become Europe’s priorities. Take note America.

  • InklingBooks

    On most occasions since WWII, Europe’s leaders have only managed to show backbone and make difficult decisions when the U.S. backed them up. With that weak little whining Obama in the White House, that’s not going to happen.

    If the Europeans are going to act, they’ll have to act on their own this time. The guy in the White House is an empty suit.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II

  • Brett Champion

    Russia poses little threat to NATO. The danger to NATO is the shifting of its members strategic interests. More so than at any time since NATO’s founding, the United States is focused on Asia, from west to east, as its main strategic area of interest. Russian dabbling in Eastern Europe isn’t going to change that. That means that NATO’s European states must look out more for their own defense, but that basically negates the whole reason why they are in NATO in the first place, which is to make the US the primary defender of Europe. And European states, despite their activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, are really of little help to the US in Asia. They have little influence and even less military presence in the region. So more and more Europe is seen in the US as a drag on America’s national security interests and America is seen in as an unreliable defender in Europe. That’s not a recipe for a long-term relationship.

  • john mcginnis

    The problem with europe is leadership (or lack thereof) and brokered divisions (aka national borders vs EU vs local ethnicity). You won’t find a single crop of Churchills in any of the national leaders. And someone like Farage who could, stands as a lone voice in the halls of the EU to no assist to the nation that borne him.

  • Rods

    Most European countries like the US are led by left-wing liberal idealists who think that everybody is like themselves! Therefore, there is no need for hard power, all they need is to use soft power so the leader(s) with other ideas step back into line, when they obviously realise the error of their ways!

    Unfortunately, history shows that dictators tend to have other ideas, where they totally believe in their self-centred visions for the future and the ego trip that comes from successfully implementing them, whatever the cost to everybody else is, but themselves.

    This happened in Europe in the 1930’s, with liberal idealists like Chamberlain in power. Germany’s wings had been clipped through the flawed Treaty of Versailles, the Washington and London arms limitation treaties and a faith in the UN’s predecessor the League of Nations. This meant with limited Government budgets from the late 1920’s / early 30’s depression (where currencies were linked to the Gold standard), military spending was a low priority and progressively cut. Chamberlain in 1938 found that an expansionist dictator in Germany, who was protecting German nationals, was somebody who he could business with (as long as he was giving and and Hitler was taking), so it was peace in our time, with the loss of Czechoslovakia. Now what could possibly go wrong?

    Now we have not a dissimilar situation in Europe again with a 1990’s peace dividend from the dissolving of the Soviet Union still being milked to death on defence budgets, the UK emerging from a major depression, with Europe still in one where the majority of their economies are linked to the Euro based German productivity / cost standard and the political emphasis is on idealist principles based on green policies, climate change, universal equality for all on everything and bribing the voters with their own money with ever increasing welfare budgets, where Western European countries, whatever the cost and budget deficits, no longer do inequality or hardship.

    So very reluctantly the EU countries are now using a bit of soft power with sanctions against a nasty expansionist Russian dictator. They hope these sanctions will create a bit of hardship for Putin and the Russian people and will make them see the errors of their ways (except East Europeans cope very well with hardship). The EU will then be able to reach an accommodation with Putin, where his is protecting Russian nations, (as long as they are giving and he is taking) so we have peace in our time and the loss of Ukraine. Now what could possibly go wrong?

  • Jack Kalpakian

    What is the purpose of NATO exactly and would Russia harm the West should it succeed in “decomposing” it? NATO has been irrelevant since it became an a la carte alliance of the willing in Afghanistan, and the Ukrainian fiasco was an attempt to revive its relevance. Perhaps Russia would do the West a favor by helping get rid of it.

  • teapartydoc

    Let the Russians have Europe. It’ll give them something to do. And they’ll put a stop to all the Immigration problems.

  • “The US is indispensable … but not indestructible”

    The doctrine of “starving the beast” has crippled US foreign policy by bankrupting the federal government”

    Discuss.

  • Sidney sloth

    I just spent ten years and more living in the heart of Europe. If we are going to speak of European policy and direction, we must really begin by assessing, objectively and consistently, European interests.

    Not NATO interests, not shared values, not historical cultural ties. Actual, economic interests in the emerging world.

    So, what are they?

    America matters. We need to leave aside all the doom shouting about how the USA is rotten to core and about to fall into civil war. That is for the birds. The data says Germany and Europe need the USA as a market, first and foremost. It’s huge for them, So that is one real interest.

    Does NATO matter?

    Here we get sketchy. NATO has a few problems, not all of which are strictly real politik economics. Europeans enjoy their security, but they also resent it. The USA and the UK tend to be seen as the world police, the guys who matter if things get heated. Europeans are conscious of not having any military power of their own. Furthermore, one of the main reasons they do not want to spend more on security is because they believe most of the money ends up in the hands of contractors who supply NATO with weapons systems, and most of them are US corps. Every nationalist in Europe, right or left, would like to spend that money at home, and make his own pet military industrialists rich and happy. That is just the nature of politics.

    Lastly, NATO conflicts badly with emerging trends. Hello, China. Look, we need to stop talking about Ukraine without reference to China. It doesn’t make sense, and one suspects it is the test by which we can see if people are just echoing cold war themes, or whether they really understand the modern world.

    The geopolitics are not about political philosophy in Russia and the USA. Nobody cares if you are a socialist or a free market evangelist. This is not the cold war.

    The game today is the survival of the petrodollar. Pure and simple, what happens to all those trading dollar if and when the bulk of global trade in hydrocarbons no longer needs or wants them?

    To understand Europe’s place in this mix, one needs to accept that China is building a new silk road (they have a very detailed and far reaching “Silk Road” policy) towards the populous Eurasian markets and, eventually, to Europe. What do they want? A tariff free zone stretching from China to Berlin. How are they going to get it? With a little help from their friends. Russia, specifically.

    Europe is therefore forced to reason with two things that are escaping the perception of most western commentators. First, if they don’t buy cheap energy from Russia, others will certainly do so, and they will not trade in US dollars. Second, if they play geopolitics with Russia, they are playing with China and all the members of the SCO. As they depend on those markets for any growth at all, every arbitrary action by Europe, in support of NATO, can and will have economic consequences that strike at the very heart of European future interests.

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