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12/19/2016

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Captain Ned

Time to brush up on Turkish & Russian railway schedules ala July 1914.

LT Rusty

Oddly enough, that was my first thought as well.

Imagine that?

Casey

I believe Article 5 only applies in case of being attacked. If a member nation starts a war on their own I'm not sure NATO is obliged to respond.

If memory serves, Turkey tried to talk up Article 5 after shooting the Russian fighter down. I said the same thing back then.

ron snyder

We need to get rid of the Article 5 obligation. Crazy to think that we may engage in a possible WWIII, or a nuclear war, on behalf of any of the 28 countries in NATO.

Krag

Not a fan of collective security then, Ron Snyder? Or just when it applies to NATO countries, or just countries facing possible Russian aggression?

Bill

Saw this and thought of the quote by Bismarck that some damn fool thing in the Balkans would start a war. Will Putin want to push it that far?

Elizzar

The only time Article 5 has been formally invoked - as an act of collective self-defence of NATO members - was following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was, for instance, not invoked during the Falklands War or any intervention by NATO forces overseas (Balkans in the 90s, Gulf War 1 etc). It remains the cornerstone of collective defence for the USA and Western Europe (+ allies). It is not to be used to support aggression. I believe Ron Snyder to be a prat.

ron snyder

@Casey, where is the American National Security interest so grave that we must formally risk WWIII for any one of 28 countries in Europe? This is 2016, not 1950. Instead of building up their ability to protect themselves Europe has been quite happy to live under our military umbrella for almost 70 years. Time for that to end.

@Elizzar, unlike my desire for the U.S. to get out of the U.N., clearly it is in our interest to continue to help Europe on various issues, but not to pretend that we would go to war with Russia if Russia attacked Estonia, or Latvia, or Georgia, or.....

If England, France and Germany do not have the willpower to protect Europe on their own, with proportional American assistance, why should America have any greater responsibility?

You must believe that your soon-to-be President is a prat since he appears to be unlikely to let Europe/NATO continue on as is.

It was in Europe's best interest to help us after 9/11 regardless of any paperwork or treaty. Merkel seems to have forgotten the lesson on Muslim Radicals.

Jeff Gauch

Hey Ron, when you get that agreement make sure you wave it around on the airfield and talk about securing peace in our time. Bloody hell man, read a history book or two. Preferably ones that aren't written in crayon. When you can recognize words like "Rhineland" and "Sudetenland" maybe you won't come off as such an ignorant prat.

As an advanced question, why is Russia spending time and resources in the Ukraine rather than taking over the Baltic states, even though the latter would give Russia several ice-free ports and secure land communication with Kaliningrad?

Quartermaster

We'll have to wait and see how far Trump goes with NATO. It has been noted, for many years, that Europe has not done its part in providing for the common defense. Whether or not Trump is a prat is a question whose answer will have to wait for awhile.

ron snyder

@Jeff, thanks for the intelligent, constructive and objective comment. Perhaps your historical knowledge is incomplete if you think that the Russia of today compares with the Germany of 1933.

A major difference in 2016 vs 1950 is the existence of nuclear weapons- that has to be considered in any possible conflict between Nations that have the nukes.

Russia already has ice-free ports: Vladivostok (for about eight months of the year) Saint Petersburg and Sevastopol. Not sure that Murmansk is naturally ice-free but it is used year round. Geography is not on Russia's side in their quest for a warm water port that provides open access to the Atlantic Ocean. South Korea and Japan pose problems for Russia with Vladivostok.

My impression is that we have the ability to know when any Russian ships move from the Baltic thru Denmark to the North Sea so where is the advantage to Russia having more ports on the Baltic?

Quartermaster

Petrograd is not a warm water port. The Gulf of Finland freezes over as does much of the Baltic in that region.

Elizzar

Hello Ron - just for clarification I am British. My view is that the existence of Article 5 does reduce the likelihood of state-to-state war, much like the MAD doctrine did / does. If the USA were to withdraw or modify its commitment, this may encourage Russian adventurism. I also agree Europe has not pulled its weight militarily, in particular since the fall of the Berlin Wall; my country and France have barely contributed a fair proportion, and the rest, especially Germany, dramatically less. Would the USA benefit, though, from a resurgent Russia? Or even worse, some form of new Soviet bloc encompassing the old Baltic states, Ukraine and pushing into Poland, Germany and the rest? Imagine said new Soviet makes an alliance or agreement with China against the now-isolated USA? I know it's a bit 'fantasy futures' but stranger things have happened. NATO has been, I feel, one of the biggest contributors to peace, especially in Europe / Eurasia, for the last 50+ years. What we should be doing is pulling out of our adventures in the Middle East and focusing on the current likely flair points - Ukraine / Baltics, and the South China Sea, whilst Europe abandons the Euro / EU project and returns to being proud independent but friendly nation states, and supporters of NATO. Talk of an "EU army" for instance drives me bonkers - we have one - it's called NATO and its better cos we have the USA and Canada with us!

ron snyder

QM, thanks for the correction on Petrograd not being a warm water port. I often use old names of places, a holdover from when I first read of those places in decades past I suppose. St. Petersburg is such a grand name, especially when contrasted with Petrograd.

ron snyder

Elizzar, thanks for letting me know that you are one of our British Cousins! Always helpful to have a different perspective on issues like this. I agree that NATO reduced the probability of Nation-Nation war. Europe was prostrate after WWII and without NATO (i.e. the United States) it was likely that the USSR would have been very aggressive. Only the United States was able to force the USSR to contain those aggressions. Russia is not the USSR, 2016 is not 1950 and if Europe cannot man up to stop Russia then they deserve what they will get.

We helped Europe to its feet and supported it, protected it for 70 years. Our help should have started drawing down after the collapse of the USSR. America should still be part of NATO, though remove Article 5 as it is NOT in American interests to possibly start WWIII for any of the 28 countries that make up NATO. Our contributions to NATO should be 1/28th of the budget, and we should have veto power over any budget request that NATO may make. Britain and France (maybe Germany and Turkey) have nukes- you had better learn to make those an effective deterrent to Russia.

A resurgent Russia is far more of a direct and immediate threat to Britain and Europe than it is to me, so Britain and Europe need to get your act together quickly. IMO the EU is as great a threat to Europe as is Russia. Europe, the EU is letting Germany (Merkel) lead you by the nose down a very dangerous path.

My time in uniform was spent on the Pacific side of the world. I wonder how many people allow their opinions to be influenced because they served in Europe? My guess is quite a lot.

Quartermaster

US Foreign Policy has long tended to be Eurocentric. This is understandable given our roots. We started looking further west, however, after Pearl Harbor. It shifted again after 9/11. The problem is that the Foreign Policy coterie is divided on what to emphasize, and we don't have a coherent foreign policy as a result. China and Russia are taking advantage of that fact, and it may turn deadly if the idiots in DC don't wake up.

ron snyder

I am not sure that Foggy Bottom is an American Ally. England has been our steadfast friend for centuries, France a bit less so, Germany is still up in the air from a long view IMO.

We need to look at the world thru the cold lens of RealPolitik- I am hopeful that Trump and his team do so. Nixon was doing so in his approach to China.

Kissinger was correct when he recently said that Trump and the times offer an extraordinary opportunity. As is often the case the question is- are our Leaders up to the challenge? I'm not smart enough to know the answer, but I do have positive thoughts for the near future.

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