Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neo Europa

Way back at the intro of the New Millennium - before phrases like "Oil For Food Scandal" broke - Great Satan's then Def Sec - ever semi smartasstic Regime Changing Original Vulcan ex Navy fly guy Donald Rumsfeld sweetly divy'd Europa up like a French Silk Choccolate Pie.

Rumsfeldian rhetoric essentially painted two Europes. One was elderly, somewhat unarmed, uninspired, unmotivated - totally free, phat, fat, drunk and stupid for eons - well, since Das Dritten Reich screamed "Gott! Bitte! Halt!" and then when the Berlin Wall collapsed under it's own illegit, illogical weight

Old Europe.

Mainly Western Europe - busily introverted with little interest other than rebranding NATO from North Atlantic Treaty Org into the North Atlantic Trade Org - like being totally unable to take an 8 hour panzer ride to Belgrade to put murderous Milosevic out of biz.

The other piece of the pie was New Europe - freshly debutanted out of Warsaw Pact captivity - the universiality of democrazie near and dear to hearts that recently rejected collectivist, despotic ideas and ideals like secret police, secret trials, secret prisons and secret executions.

Since rowdy Russia's bear is out of hibernation and seemingly desireous to lap up honey'd frontier states like lap dances at a strip bar - it's high time to put the 'act' in tactical considerations and strategy.

Ukrania's living democratic martyr the spiritually nigh indestructable Viktor Yushchenko lays it down in one easy to understand sentence regarding Vlad's vocational verve to visit imperium on ex vassels:

"Ukraine has become a hostage in the war waged by Russia."

More than an interesting spin on an online profile, two sitting US Senators - a Connecticut yankee and a South Cackalackey cat - a Donkey and GOP each just came back from from Georgia and put the "bi" in a prett convincing conviction that prepping for a deterring confrontation is de rigor.

1st off -

"Russia's invasion of Georgia represents the most serious challenge to this political order since Slobodan Milosevic unleashed the demons of ethnic nationalism in the Balkans. What is happening in Georgia today, therefore, is not simply a territorial dispute.

It is a struggle about whether a new dividing line is drawn across Europe: between nations that are free to determine their own destinies, and nations that are consigned to the Kremlin's autocratic orbit."

The effect on New Europe is significant -

"That is the reason countries like Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States
are watching what happens in the Caucasus so closely. We heard that last week in Warsaw, Kiev and Tbilisi. There is no doubt in the minds of leaders in Ukraine and Poland -- if Moscow succeeds in Georgia, they may be next."

Great Satan needs to lead and NATO needs to get fully crunk too -

"The first priority of America and Europe must be to prevent the
Kremlin from achieving its strategic objectives in Georgia. Having been deterred from marching on Tbilisi and militarily overthrowing the democratically elected government there, Russian forces spent last week destroying the country's infrastructure, including roads, bridges, port and security facilities.

This was more than random looting. It was a deliberate campaign to
collapse the economy of Georgia, in the hope of taking the government down with it."

Anti despotic designer antidote?

"Needed, immediately, is a joint commitment by the U.S. and the
European Union to fund a large-scale, comprehensive reconstruction plan -- developed by the Georgian government, in consultation with the World Bank, IMF and other international authorities -- and for the U.S. Congress to support this plan as soon as it returns to session in September."

Any assistance plan must also include the rebuilding of Georgia's
security forces. Our past aid to the Georgian military focused on supporting the light, counterterrorism-oriented forces that facilitate Tbilisi's contribution to coalition operations in Iraq. We avoided giving the types of security aid that could have been used to blunt Russia's conventional onslaught. It is time for that to change.

Specifically, the Georgian military should be given the antiaircraft and antiarmor systems necessary to deter any renewed Russian
aggression. These defensive capabilities will help to prevent this conflict from erupting again, and make clear we will not allow the Russians to forcibly redraw the boundaries of sovereign nations."

The Vulcans (v2.0) adds armour to such Grand Strategy daemoneoconic machinations. Max Boot (love that name! - plus he got game) plays a very smooth groove that soothes.

"What gets ignored is that Georgia, although a small country
(population: 4.6 million), has the potential to do far more for its defense. According to the CIA's World Factbook, Georgia has over 900,000 men between the ages of 16 and 49.

It could easily create a larger military force than it has, but that would require spending more on defense. By the CIA's estimate, its defense
budget was just 0.59% of GDP in 2005.

Georgia's military spending has grown in recent years, but not
Eastern Europe's. According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, only one country in Eastern Europe spends more than 2% of GDP on defense.

That would be Bulgaria at 2.2%. Romania is in second place at 1.9%,
followed by Poland at 1.8%. Nor do these countries maintain large standing forces. Poland has 7.9 million males of military age but only 127,266 active-duty personnel in its armed forces. Hungary could mobilize 1.9 million men but has only 32,300 in uniform. Bulgaria has 1.3 million potential soldiers but only 40,747 actual soldiers.

There is one exception to this demilitarizing trend. Russia, which
has more than a million soldiers under arms, has been increasing its defense budget from the lows of the immediate post-Soviet era. Based on official figures it spends at least 2.5% of GDP on its military.

But if you add in expenditures on paramilitary forces and other items, the total comes closer to 4% -- roughly the same percentage that the U.S. is spending.

Small states have often shown the ability to humble great powers. In
1920, under the inspired leadership of Marshal Josef Pilsudski, the Poles staged a brilliant counterattack to save Warsaw and drive the Red Army off their soil.

In the winter war of 1939-1940 the plucky Finns held off Soviet invaders, forcing the Kremlin to settle for a slice of its territory rather than all of it.

More recently, the Afghan mujahedeen drove the Red Army out of their country altogether, thereby helping to bring down the Soviet Union.

The U.S. can help, as we helped the Afghans in the 1980s and as the
French helped the Poles in 1920. That will require a readjustment in our military assistance strategy, which has been to create in Eastern Europe miniature copies of our own armed forces.

Our hope, largely realized, has been that these states will help us
in our own military commitments in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. But in addition to developing NATO-style expeditionary capacity, these states need to be able to conduct a defense in depth.

That means having large reserves ready for fast call-up and plenty
of defensive weapons -- in particular portable missile systems such as the Stinger and Javelin capable of inflicting great damage on Russia's lumbering air and armor forces.

That's more important than fielding their own tanks or fighter aircraft.
We should offer to sell them these relatively inexpensive defensive systems, and to provide the advisory services to make the best use of them.

But the first step has to be for the Eastern Europeans to make a
larger commitment to their own defense."


Findalis said...

Russia needs to be taken down a notch. Right now Russia thinks that they can get away with anything, that the US is weak, that they can walk all over us.

We need to step up to the plate and take them out.

AI said...

I think that the collapse of the Soviet Union left an indelible psychological imprint on its rulers who remain haunted by the experience. How else can we explain its embrace of 20th century confrontational style international order?

Russia is strong but all together weak, something that presents danger in itself - a rising power and a weak state with corrupt and inefficient institutions … we should be mindful Georgia might only be the beginning who might be next?

Good posting GSGF


Jeff said...

I think the problem with Russia is two pronged. In some ways the Russians feel their being boxed in. With the spread of NATO states, along with others seeking membership, and of course the break up of the Soviet empire and the lose of those states as well. There's Kosovo's independence and the U.S. putting missiles in their back yard. None of this is very palpable to the former KGB agents running Russia. On top of that, they have empire envy. Much like other envies, it's all about size..