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The crisis in Ukraine has brought issues of global security that had been on the back burner in recent years sharply back into focus. The issues and problems about the Middle East that were heightened by the events of 9/11 certainly have a bearing on global security, but they don't raise the possibility of an immediate full scale military conflict between major powers. While few people think that the US and Russia are about to start a direct shooting war with each other, the present situation raises important questions about security arrangements that were developed 70 years ago. NATO remains at the center of the discussion. There had been a conversation between the US and the European members of NATO about future participation in recent years. That just became more crucial.

During WW II US policy planners were working on the assumption that after active hostilities were ended US forces would participate in time limited military occupations to restore order and then all return home. There was a body of opinion led by conservative Republicans that the proper course of US foreign policy was a return to the posture of isolation that had prevailed during the interwar years. The British in contrast saw the USSR as a likely post war threat well before the end of the war. Churchill argued in vain for deferring the invasion of western Europe and sending forces into the Balkans to block a communist takeover. Stalin definitely had plans for building a security buffer in eastern Europe. He was actively scheming to install a post war government in Poland that he could control. The Allied summit conferences at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam involved negotiations on these issues that remain controversial.

Those built in conflicts of interests began to emerge as Europe was digging out from under the rubble. The British took an active role in pushing the US to maintain an active military posture in post war Europe. They were essentially bankrupt from the war. They could not afford the expense of maintaining their occupation zone in Germany. In contrast the US was the world's only undamaged industrial power. It was for the time being the possessor of dominant military power and sitting on much of the money in the world. As the conflicts between the west and the USSR began began to multiply the US and Britain began crafting a long term security agreement that developed into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. From the British perspective it had a threefold purpose: to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out. It was the lynch pin of post war European security.  

The beginnings of the cold war are dated from the late 1940s. However, it wasn't until the middle of the 1950s that a formal confrontation was drawn up. The Korean war stimulated an expansion of NATO. In 1954 the USSR proposed joining NATO as a step to insure peace. Fearing the intentions of this proposal the existing NATO members rejected it and the USSR and its satellites formed the Warsaw Pact. The next 35 years saw a standoff with periodic negotiations aimed at détente. NATO conducted military exercises as a show of force but it never actually took military action during the cold war. During this time western Europe rebuilt from the war and returned to a state of economic stability. The US continued to provide the bulk of the military muscle that made NATO a credible military deterrent.

With the dissolution of the USSR at the beginning of the 1990s the cold war was declared at an end and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. The remaining Russian Federation found itself in a period of economic and political upheaval. The threat of an organized military aggression from the communist world that NATO was originally organized to deter no longer existed. In its place there was something of a security vacuum in central and eastern Europe. Suddenly there was a collection of small to medium sized nation states disconnected from the political and economic system to which they had been tied. Not only was there an ongoing fear of a Russian resurgence, but some of these states had unresolved historical disputes with each other and within their own populations.

NATO stepped into this vacuum with an initiative called Partnership for Peace.
Russia and everybody else in Europe and central Asia who was not then a member of NATO signed up. Twelve states that were initially members of the PFP eventually transitioned to full NATO membership. Of those all but Albania have also become members of the EU. This process eventually incorporated much of what had been the Warsaw Pact into the western alliance.

The breakup of the Republic of Yugoslavia presented the first post cold war security crisis. NATO took on its first active military operation under a UNSC authorization in the Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention. That was followed by the Kosovo intervention. The situation in Yugoslavia not only created a humanitarian crisis in that territory but also a refugee crisis for neighboring European states. Efforts at intervention in the crisis by European states prior to NATO's involvement had not been effective. It was primarily the US that provided the military capacity to bring order to the situation.

The 1990s gave NATO an essentially new purpose and mission. It has seen use as an umbrella for other activities such as the invasion of Afghanistan and the more recent intervention in Libya. It did not participate in the invasion of Iraq because the necessary unanimous agreement of all its members was not forth coming. As its activities have moved outside of Europe questions have been raised about just what purpose it serves. Is it primarily a fig leaf for US military intervention?

Meanwhile there has been a building tension between NATO and Russia. In Estonia and Latvia NATO and the EU have reached the border of Russia and they surround the Russian salient of Kaliningrad. NATO has had on again off again negotiations with Ukraine and Georgia. The construction of the NATO missile defense system has also been a major bone of contention between Russia and the western alliance. These tensions are major background for the crisis that has boiled over in Ukraine.

 US Defense Secretaries now find themselves involved in uncomfortable financial discussions with their counterparts at NATO summit meetings. Both Robert Gates and Chuck Hegal have raised the issue of who is providing the fire power and who is calling the shots.

Hagel was even more explicit at the defense ministers meeting in June when he said “over-dependence on any one country for critical capabilities brings with it risks.” One of these risks is that the U.S. will soon tell its allies, if you don’t invest much in your defense, neither will we. The U.S. will “rebalance” its own shrinking defense dollars to allies and partners that share the security burden more equitably. Too many European leaders refuse to realize that this long-festering problem is having a dangerously corrosive effect on the Alliance.
This is a comparison of the military investment of the US and its European NATO partners.

 

The US and the EU are in agreement that Putin's takeover of Crimea and vaguer threats of possible intervention in other parts of Ukraine require some form of vigorous opposition. Economic sanctions are seen as the most feasible form. In that arena the EU would have to play a more central role than the US since they have by far a more extensive economic relationship with Russia. So far there seems great reluctance to take steps that would cause economic pain to the EU. NATO as a credible military threat would seem to be the fall back position. How willing is the EU to participate in providing military preparedness?

In the 1950s western Europe was in a generally weak and vulnerable position. The US provided Marshall Plan assistance and military support to get it back on its feet. In 2014 the world is a pretty different place. The EU has had its economic difficulties of late but it is not an impoverished collection of starving people. It is possible to view the US defense establishment as offering them a subsidy of funds that might otherwise have to be spent on defense. It is also possible to see the US as an imperialistic power intent on preserving global hegemony, as a number of Europeans do. The suddenly real threat of a sustained serious conflict with Russia raises questions about the state of these long standing security relationships. It may no longer be possible to keep shoving them under the carpet.  
 

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  NATO should have gone away (15+ / 0-)

    If you need a coalition, that's what the UN is for.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:46:05 PM PDT

    •  The reason it didn't go away was the security (10+ / 0-)

      vacuum that was left after the collapse of the USSR. Everybody including Russia signed onto the PFP arrangement. That would seem to indicate that there was some consensus at the time.

    •  Those Strongly Worded Letters Will Protect Us (20+ / 0-)

      How did UN protection work out for the Rwandans?

      How was that UN protection working during the Bosnian War, where the UN peacekeepers watched as the refugees they were charged to protect were slaughtered in Srebrenica? Or in Kosovo? I seem to remember it taking the NATO alliance to ultimately resolve those situations.

      In fact, for anyone that thinks there's anything close to "security" to be found at the United Nations, I would only ask them to look at the bang up job the UN is currently doing in Darfur and Syria.

      •  The UN is far too weak in those areas. (10+ / 0-)

        It serves a meaningful purpose in that it forces representatives from all nations to occasionally share a room, albeit a very large one.  But when it comes to taking rapid and decisive action, that's just not what it's designed for and it will never succeed at that.  I don't even think that the UN is capable of "reform" because China and Russia are likely to oppose most human rights causes and they both hold permanent vetoes.  For the UN to reform, China and Russia would have to reform, and unless China's economy implodes, I don't see room for Chinese democratization.  Russia?  Yeah, no, not holding my breath.

        Even the way the UN defines terms which should be simple to understand, such as "human rights," is laughably weak when the human rights panel is generally staffed by some of the worst human rights abusers on Earth.

        Please don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-UN, but it's important to recognize its strengths and weaknesses.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 05:41:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  US is in no position to lecture on human rights (6+ / 0-)

          Seriously, the record gets worse all the time.

          Do I really have to list the problems?

          No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

          by koNko on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 11:04:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And these countries are? (9+ / 0-)

            How about Cuba, or Venezuela, or China, or Kuwait, or Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia?  Even Russia is on the council.

            Spare me your anti-American rhetoric, it gets boring after a pretty short time.  I'll take the US and all of our faults over any of those countries, any day of the week.

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:33:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've got nothing against anti-US rhetoric when... (4+ / 0-)

              there is some plausible reason why it's relevant.

              But koNko is just trolling. He can't stand to see anyone speak badly of Russia or China, so he just dumps some irrelevant verbiage about US BAD! because it makes him feel good.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:50:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Its not anti-American retoric (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon

              There is nothing about calling a wrong thing a wrong thing whomever is at fault.

              There is something wrong with your bias, double standards and reflexive blaming of countries not the USA.

              And in the context of the UN and security council, it's particularly hypocritical to the point of laughable.

              But I guess invading countries, slaughtering children with chemical weapons and dropping bombs wherever and whenever the US cares to is something different.

              You will take your country because you are on the sending side not the receiving side.

              So why not take it and enjoy your life throwing stones?

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:50:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is a time and place for everything. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ruellia

                Leaping into an unrelated conversation because you wish to disrupt it by changing the subject doesn't become acceptable behavior because you think your irrelevant point is true.

                Your insistence that someone can only object to this threadjack-trolling if they disagree with the irrelevant point is completely off-base.

                You'd be just as much of a troll if you were posting that muffins are yummy.

                We're trying to have a conversation here. Interrupting it because it makes you feel better to have some different conversation is just rude.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 04:17:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is not unrelated, read the entire thread (0+ / 0-)

                  by auron renouille :

                  The UN is far too weak in those areas. (10+ / 0-)

                  It serves a meaningful purpose in that it forces representatives from all nations to occasionally share a room, albeit a very large one.  But when it comes to taking rapid and decisive action, that's just not what it's designed for and it will never succeed at that.  I don't even think that the UN is capable of "reform" because China and Russia are likely to oppose most human rights causes and they both hold permanent vetoes.  For the UN to reform, China and Russia would have to reform, and unless China's economy implodes, I don't see room for Chinese democratization.  Russia?  Yeah, no, not holding my breath.

                  Even the way the UN defines terms which should be simple to understand, such as "human rights," is laughably weak when the human rights panel is generally staffed by some of the worst human rights abusers on Earth.

                  Please don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-UN, but it's important to recognize its strengths and weaknesses.

                  My response :
                  US is in no position to lecture on human rights (6+ / 0-)

                  Seriously, the record gets worse all the time.

                  Do I really have to list the problems?

                  Then auron renouille :
                  And these countries are? (7+ / 0-)

                  How about Cuba, or Venezuela, or China, or Kuwait, or Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia?  Even Russia is on the council.

                  Spare me your anti-American rhetoric, it gets boring after a pretty short time.  I'll take the US and all of our faults over any of those countries, any day of the week.

                  My final response:
                  Its not anti-American retoric (1+ / 0-)

                  There is nothing about calling a wrong thing a wrong thing whomever is at fault.

                  There is something wrong with your bias, double standards and reflexive blaming of countries not the USA.

                  And in the context of the UN and security council, it's particularly hypocritical to the point of laughable.

                  But I guess invading countries, slaughtering children with chemical weapons and dropping bombs wherever and whenever the US cares to is something different.

                  You will take your country because you are on the sending side not the receiving side.

                  So why not take it and enjoy your life throwing stones?

                  Get it straight who is pointing fingers and tossing around accusations.

                  Try reading and understanding before you pull out the ad homs, OK?

                  I've noticed you use the word troll quite frequently. Maybe you should start keeping track and understand the face you show others.

                  No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

                  by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 05:51:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is so much fail in your comment I... (0+ / 0-)

                    can't hope to point it all out.

                    So I'll just say that you don't know what the term "ad hom" means.

                    No, koNko, it is not an all-purpose term for anything someone says that you find hurtful.

                    I understood the thread just fine. It is actively amusing to me that you think you have anything to explain to me.

                    Art is the handmaid of human good.

                    by joe from Lowell on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:42:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Human rights record (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon, koNko, Superpole, ozsea1

              I think the United States human rights record is at least as bad as pretty much everyone on your list.

              1) we torture
              2) we imprison without trial
              3) we assassinate
              4) we imprison more of our citizens than anyone else

               and

              5) we bomb and invade other nations without cause, which is something none of the nations on your list do except for Russia.

               So yeh, please continue to call it all "anti-American rhetoric".

              None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

              by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:53:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ok (0+ / 0-)

                we do these things, but nowhere NEAR on the scale of many of those countries (see, for example, the number of executions in China).  

                Yes, there is the Iraq War, which none will dispute, but the US still offers greater human rights protections than many other countries and abides by these generally better than many other countries.  Obviously you aren't female or you wouldn't rate Saudi Arabia over the US

                •  Capital punishment (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koNko

                  Yes, China executes far and away the most of any nation on Earth, but the United States is still #5.
                     Four of the nations on your list don't execute anyone, and Pakistan barely ranks.

                  None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                  by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:40:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, the US is Soooo Terrible. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe from Lowell

            Nothing compared to other countries' abuses.

            I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

            by howarddream on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:38:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  RANDOM, OFF-TOPIC ANTI-US TALKING POINT. (0+ / 0-)

            Thank you, koNko, now I understand why the UN really is an effective protector of human rights and responder to crisis situations.

            Because DO I HAVE TO LIST THE PROBLEMS.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:48:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No anti-US (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gjohnsit

              Objective.

              If you care to, see my reply to auron renouille, who kicked this off.

              Out of respect for people here with PSID, I won't go into details, but just repeat that the facts suggest American approach this with a bit more humility and a bit less finger pointing.

              That was my original point simply stated and I will stand by it.

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's an irrelevant, off topic point.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ruellia

                wholly unresponsive to the thread, serving no purpose but to hijack the discussion.

                Every troll on the internet thinks his irrelevant interjections are "objective," too.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:43:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There you go with the ad homs again (0+ / 0-)

                  Totally without irony.

                  See my response here.

                  Think about getting your eyes/brain checked if you experience difficulty reading and comprehending.

                  No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

                  by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 05:55:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Have you ever looked up the term "ad hom?" (0+ / 0-)

                    You keep using it wrong.

                    Ad hominem is not a synonym for derogatory term. It's a statement about an argument being false because of some negative claim about the speaker. I haven't written anything about your argument. As far as I can tell, you don't even have an argument.

                    People who use big words they don't really understand to try to sound smart usually ended up flubbing them, and making themselves look even sillier.

                    All of which tends to make your pissy little shot at my lack of comprehension pretty funny.

                    Art is the handmaid of human good.

                    by joe from Lowell on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:54:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, joe from Lowell

            The US is.  I know that the equivalency game is popular here, but a sober look at the status of human rights around the world and you'll see that the US is nowhere near the worst

            •  Did I call the USA the worst? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jfdunphy, fran1

              No. I said it is not in a position to point fingers and I'll suggest people approach this with a little more humility, because the attitude auron renouille expresses is exactly the sort of thing that makes people from other countries resentful.

              If you want to engender anti-Americanism, that's exactly the right way to go about it.

              I'm so anti-American, I've been on this site for like 8+ years; I'm getting rich posting here.

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:06:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The argument (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jhancock, joe from Lowell

                That only perfect countries should stand up for human rights is a very useful one for human rights abusers.  

                I really don't care if US governments aren't perfect and aren't even very good.  Human rights abuses are wrong and bad actions by the US do not provide justification for them

                •  Go back to the top of the thread (0+ / 0-)

                  For context. Starting here.

                  If you are all in on what auron renouille is saying, remember this discussion the next time the US fires off some drones against people in other countries without a UN mandate and or the next time it blocks resolutions against Israel violence or occupation of Palestine.

                  Pretty hypocritical if you ask me. Just my 2 cents.

                  No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

                  by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:01:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koNko

                    at the top of the thread was the all time dumb suggestion that any country rely on the UN for protection, especially against a country with a veto in the Security Council

                    •  Correct (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mindful Nature

                      With the reasoning that ... Russia, China.

                      Hence my initial response. Anyway, case closed.

                      We all agree the UN has limitations built in, maybe for different reasons, but I think it's a lot better than no UN and some of the limitations could be overcome by moderating the executive power of the Security Council.

                      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

                      by koNko on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:51:33 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Sooo... if the U.S. is "Only" Close (0+ / 0-)

              to being the worst-- that's OK then?

              LOL....

              http://www.counterpunch.org/...

              "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

              by Superpole on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:06:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Right you are, Auron. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronx59

          The UN is a forum, not a thing in and of itself. There is no "it" there to take the lead and operate.

          Which also makes the criticism that "the UN" was weak in Rwanda or Bosnia off-base. You might as well blame the Capitol building for the poor performance of this Congress.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:47:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm posting my diary on the UN tomorrow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            There seems to be a whole lot of false impressions about it.

            The UN is a forum, not a thing in and of itself.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:34:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I look forward to it. (0+ / 0-)

              With all its built-in problems, some fundamental to any group of more than 10 people or 10 nations, the UN has definitely been and continues to be a force for good.

              Sometimes it's hard to make the case about how much bad has been avoided because of its work, because it's hard to prove a negative, but without it, I'm quite certain more children would be starving, more wars would be fought and the world would be a much more sad place than it already is.

              If the UN is so bad, please, people, tell us what would be better.

              Sure the UN could use some structural reform; the last and present Secretary Generals have pursued that, but when countries/people undermine the UN and then come back to complain, the have no credibility.

              I'm not 100% happy with Mr. Obama, but one thing I will defiantly give him much credit for is taking the US back to the UN and working though it at times when it matters.

              And while I'm really not keen at all on Susan Rice when it comes to policy and attitude (and yes, in diplomacy attitude really matters) I'll give her credit for taking the job seriously and exercising atrophied muscles, and that is a start.

              Want to ruin my day? Say "John Bolton".

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:00:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Dr RJ - as some have noted (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jhancock, joe from Lowell

        "The UN couldn't stop a cookie fight at a Brownie Scout meeting"

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:47:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  UN success stories (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, ozsea1, koNko

          People have been listening to right-wing propaganda too long.
             The UN has done a lot of good in the world. I guess even people here are ignorant of that.

           I can see a diary is needed.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:59:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The UN does good when member states make it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, Mindful Nature

            One really good thing the UN did recently was take on the task of verifying the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. That didn't happen because people who work at the UN stepped up, but because the US and France made it happen.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 04:19:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Slight change (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              the UN does good when the member states don't prevent it from doing good.

                I'm most of the way to creating that diary. I'll post it tomorrow.

              None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

              by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 05:57:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The UN (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            is never going to do anything to stop an attack by any country with a veto on the security council.  The idea that any country in Eastern Europe can rely on the UN is laughable. Where were the UN troops in expelling the Russians from Crimea?

            •  Re: (0+ / 0-)
              Where were the UN troops in expelling the Russians from Crimea?
              Response #1) Where were the NATO troops in expelling the Russians from Crimea? Hell, where were the Ukrainian troops?
              Response #2) Is that really your measurement?

              None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

              by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:59:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It should be the measurement (0+ / 0-)

                If you are making the case that the UN can substitute for NATO as a protective force, then the measure is whether the UN can stop such acts (and where the hell were the Ukrainian troops?  Avoiding getting massacred while trying not to make things worse)

                For countries like Estonia, NATO is effective.  The UN wouldn't be.

                •  You missed the point (0+ / 0-)

                  that by your measurement, NATO has failed as well.

                   And I should point out that the UN was used in this way once before - in Korea.

                  None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                  by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:51:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

                    Is not a member of NATO.  It has no obligation to defend Ukraine.  The UN does but failed for obvious reasons

                    If you were the Lithuanian prime minister, would you put your trust in NATO or the UN?

                    •  Not it doesn't (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koNko
                      The UN does but failed for obvious reasons
                       Since when does the UN have the obligation to militarily defend anyone?

                      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                      by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:08:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You were just saying (0+ / 0-)

                        How NATO isn't needed because the UN can handle it.  The UN is actually chartered to deal with territorial aggression and violations of international law.  So to the extent that is true the UN ought to roll back this invasion.  To the extent it is not true you original statement is even more asinine.  

                        •  That isn't what I said (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm done here. You obviously need to have the last word, so go for it.

                            I just finished my U.N. diary which you are going to absolutely hate.
                            I'm posting it tomorrow morning, so keep an eye out for it. I'm counting on your outrage and flames.

                          Cheers

                          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                          by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:29:15 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Umm (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            "If you need a coalition, that is what the UN is for"

                            You are pretty clearly saying NATO has no purpose that the UN can't handle.  If that isn't what you meant you should clarify that

                            If you are going to claim the UN can solve all the worlds problems and there is never any need for military intervention I am not going to hate it, I am just going to say it is stupidly misinformed.  After your performance yesterday I am starting to see a pattern here

          •  gj - the UN has done a lot of good (0+ / 0-)

            However, it has no effective way of asserting itself in armed conflicts and when it does the UN typically deploys an ineffective fighting force.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:09:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The UN is not supposed to wage war, but avoid it. (0+ / 0-)

              And my reading of history suggest major military powers tend to wage war.

              I'm afraid I can't name, names here, just trust me on it.

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:06:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  NATO (0+ / 0-)
         I seem to remember it taking the NATO alliance to ultimately resolve those situations.
        When has NATO ever done anything other than bomb countries? Is this the success story that people want?

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:49:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (0+ / 0-)

          considering that the bombing was undertaken against a genocidal regime on the first instance and against a radical terrorist theocratic state in the second, I'm not seeing that as exactly failures.

          Or are you really coming out as a fan of Milosevice and the Taliban?  That'll be interesting

          •  that depends on who you hate the most (0+ / 0-)
            Or are you really coming out as a fan of Milosevice and the Taliban?  That'll be interesting
            I'm willing to claim be a fan of whoever you despise the most.
              Would that make you feel better?

              You obviously see things in only black and white, and since I disagree with you I must be a very bad person.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:31:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would go accusing anyone (0+ / 0-)

              Of seeing things in black and white since you seem to have some vaguely incoherent notion that NATO is all bad and useless or something.  Failing to see that both of those actions were taken for good reasons is pretty indicative of that.  

      •  Just to keep things accurate (0+ / 0-)
        Or in Kosovo? I seem to remember it taking the NATO alliance to ultimately resolve those situations.
         The UN came into Kosovo after the war, not before it.
           And the NATO solution was to bomb the shit out of the country and create another half a million refugees.

          As for Syria, they are there in a very limited mandate that doesn't include security. You may as well blame Obama for the situation.

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:51:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, that is not the UN military mission (6+ / 0-)

      The UN only puts boots on the ground for peacekeeping missions, and even then, has to go begging for resources.

      And as far as I know, most "coalitions" are formed before anyone takes any case to the UN.

      I'm a big supporter and advocate of working through the UN, but it is not, essentially, a standing army.

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 11:09:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, that's not what the UN is for. (4+ / 0-)

      The UN is a forum in which competing powers face off. It is not a coalition of like-minded allies committed to each others' security and cooperative action.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:45:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  gjohnsit - the UN is useless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature

      as we have just witnessed as Russia annexes Crimea. However, we need to stay engaged at the UN so we can have a veto when the UN runs off the tracks.

      NATO was a key part of the cold war deterrence and looks like it needs to gear up again to prevent the Russians from annexing more of their neighbors.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:46:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  probably a lot more congruence than difference (8+ / 0-)
    The Strategic Concept clearly states that an active and effective European Union contributes to the overall security of the Euro-Atlantic area. Therefore the EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. The two organizations share a majority of members (21), and all members of both organizations share common values.
    NATO recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence. The Allies welcome the entry into force of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, which provides a framework for strengthening the EU’s capacities to address common security challenges. Non-EU European Allies make a significant contribution to these efforts. For the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, their fullest involvement in these efforts is essential.

    English: A map showing European membership of the EU and NATO.
       EU member only: blue
       NATO member only: orange
       Member of both: purple

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 01:46:37 PM PDT

  •  Russian military spending amounts to... (14+ / 0-)

    ...about $90 billion.

    Given that our spending is about $680 billion and European NATO members spend about $220 billion for a total of $900 billion or 10 times what Russia spends, it would seem that it's no contest.  Except for the issue of nukes.  Nuclear war with Russia equals the end of the world as we know it, the rules of the Cold War, Mutual Assured Destruction, still apply.

    Economic sanctions will not deter Putin from whatever his overall strategy is.  Crimea is gone.  To occupy even only Eastern Ukraine, Russia would need to mobilize everything it has, other than nuclear weapons.

    So what can NATO do?  Attack Russia?  Nope.  Defend the Baltics?  Maybe.  Defend and repulse the Russians if they invade Eastern Ukraine?  This would be a stretch but possible.  It would take a very concerted effort and a lot of popular support in Europe and I don't see this happening.

    The mistrust of the US among Europeans is at a peak after Iraq and NSA mass surveillance.

    Short of Russia invading Poland I don't see a resurgence of NATO capabilities in Europe or political support.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 02:01:02 PM PDT

  •  Predictable (14+ / 0-)

    M of A - George F. Kennan's Prediction On NATO Expansion Was Right

    George Kennan was the U.S. diplomat and Russia specialist who developed the cold war strategy of containment of the Soviet Union, though he later criticized its militaristic implementation. In 1998, when the Senate voted to extend NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Kennan wasasked to comment. He responded:

    "I think it is the beginning of a new cold war," said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. "I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever."
    ...
    "It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong."

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 02:01:19 PM PDT

    •  The question is: What would have been different? (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, NATO expansion etc. feeds the narrative about Russian paranoia..and maybe even feeds that paranoia, if you buy into this narrative.

      There really are two questions that emerge from this observation.

      First, would anything have been different if NATO didn't expand? Would someone like Putin have emerged anyway -- probably Putin himself? And, if Putin would have been the successor to Yeltsin, then what would have been different?

      Would Russia be more than the kleptocracy it is now, run by mobsters and KGB apparatchiks? Or, would it have travelled the same line? What would have happened in Chechnya? Dagestan? Georgia? Would any of that have been different?

      Most significantly, where would that have left Ukraine? Would Ukraine have travelled the same history, with the push/pull of Russia and Europe? Would the apparatchiks not have poisoned a Presidential candidate who wanted to escape Russian blackmail? Would we not have had Yanukovich and his corrupt regime? Would we not have had the Maidan movement and then the Russian move in Crimea?

      The point being -- would any of this been different? Or, does Kennan's point about NATO expansion really just give Putin and his apologists a convenient excuse? Are we pointing the finger in the wrong direction, if we point to the West for the current situation?

      Along those lines, what about the view from the countries who were thrilled to escape the yoke of Russian/Soviet oppression? Were they wrong to fear the Russians as a long-term threat? Did they create this threat as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" or was the return of the threat inevitable anyway? Think about Russia and Russians then -- and now. Sure, there are educated Russians who aren't ant-Semitic, homophobic, racist, fascist hooligans...but there's a sizable group who are...and they're the shock troops for Putinism. Would Russia's trajectory have been any different if the West refrained from expanding NATO? If....

      If the threat was going to return regardless of what the West did in terms of NATO, then aren't we in a much better, safer position now? Imagine the clamor we'd be hearing now from the former Warsaw Pact nations, insisting on joining the alliance now for protection from Russia. Then, imagine the depth of the response that would provoke in Russia now. If you think they see the world as lined up against them now, imagine how they'd see an expansion of NATO that occurred in response to the annexation of Crimea.

      I might add, that there were other reasons for expanding NATO. It's the European security alliance. It's quite appropriate to attempt to include all the nations of Europe, as the other collective regional security organs are pretty inclusive, too. What would have been accomplished by not expanding NATO?

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:11:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Russia's been invaded over land from east and west (9+ / 0-)

    It's probably difficult for Americans (protected by two oceans until the advent of the ICBM) to comprehend the Russian desire for "march states" on its borders.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 02:04:46 PM PDT

    •  Napoleon and Hitler are dead (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, auron renouille, scott5js

      There's not even a hint of ANY military threat to Russian territory. None.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 05:22:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about the missile shield? n/t (3+ / 0-)
        •  The shield is designed to defend against Iran (0+ / 0-)

          not Russia. Even if it was effective against Russian ICBMs - which is highly questionable - the Russians still have multiple options for delivering their nukes - subs, ships, aircraft, artillery, spies with suitcases, etc.

          NATO isn't stupid enough to attack Russia.

          Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

          by bear83 on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 05:43:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You might tell that to the ghost (6+ / 0-)

            of JFK. I'm pretty sure that if there was an effort to setup something similar next door to the US most people wouldn't be so philosophical about it.

          •  Yup (5+ / 0-)

            The planned deployment of ABM's to Poland, was to protect Western Europe from Iranian ICBM's which only fall short of hitting their targets by 1,000 km.

            The only purpose of a geographical ABM deployment is to facilitate a first strike, Your nukes take out 90% of their nukes, and the ABM's take out 90% of their counter strike. Sure, you still lose Washington, but the only reason for aaa am deployments to Easter Europe is because Russia is the target. Americans might be propagandized utter idiots but Russians are not.

            Regional ABM deployments, like around Moscow, are defensive, not offensive like the US ABM deployments, they try to ensure that Command and Control facilities survive a first strike.

            This is all old hat theory people, figured out since the late 1950's

            •  Umm, no (0+ / 0-)

              What's stopping Iran from extending the range of their missiles?

              ABM deployment doesn't facilitate a first strike when the Russians have ballistic missile subs and bombers fully capable of hitting the US. A first strike would be suicidal for any country that tried it because you could never be sure you hit 100% of the other country's weapons.

              Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

              by bear83 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:56:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What matters (0+ / 0-)

                Is what the Russians believe.

                The Russians believe that the purpose of US ABM deployments to Europe is to facilitate a US First Strike on Russia.

                The Russians know their weaknesses. For close to a decade, the Russian Airforce was not able to carry out SAC Patrols, and have only recently restarted. Most of the Soviet Boomer Fleet, rotted away at the dock, and for close to 5 years, didn't carry out Combat Patrols. Now, they do, one Boomer at a time, no further than the Barients Sea. The Russans also know that there is a minimum of one Los Angeles Class right on it's tail, right from the moment it leaves the canal.

                Brodie worked it out in 1957 and RAND published in 1958.

          •  The shield can also work as an offensive, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            first strike, setup. It's just missiles, they don't have to wait for something to come at them to be launched.

            And Iran's threats against... what?, Hungary, Poland...? Sounds pretty thin for a threat.


            Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

            by Jim P on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:52:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bear83, FischFry

              Missiles are not interchangable.  The ABM missiles don't even have warheads, or not much of one, they work by actually colliding with the target warhead in space.  They don't have any real explosive payload were they to come back to the ground, and they aren't designed to handle reentering the Earth's atmosphere -- the interceptor would be burned up / torn up as it descended.

              •  I don't think even Russia sees it as offensive (0+ / 0-)

                The question for them is whether the missiles are meant to shoot down their missiles, thus offering NATO a missile shield that might make them feel less threatened by Russia -- perhaps even more willing to confront Russia militarily.

                But, no one thinks those missile batteries are themselves  offensive weapons that would strike targets within Russia.

                Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:15:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can't hit US-bound Russian ICBM (0+ / 0-)

                  There are plenty of non-US government connected experts -- rocket scientists! -- who have done the math, and the interceptors to be deployed in Eastern Europe can not hit most Russian ICBMs travelling on trajectories to the United States.  They just don't have enough delta-v to pull it off.  You'd want interceptors in Norway or Greenland instead.  

                  The East/Southeast Europe sites can, however, hit Iranian missiles on US-bound trajectories.

                  Now, I have been opposed to those ABM deployments anyway on the grounds that we don't need them and they are an easy political target for Russians to point at.  But in reality, what we are planning to deploy is nowhere near able to actually harm Russian missile capabilities.

            •  Members of NATO (0+ / 0-)

              include Hungary and Poland.

              http://www.mapsofworld.com/...

              Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

              by bear83 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:50:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What about it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83

          Given the fact that Russia has attacked multiple neighboring countries in the last decade, it is probably time to rethink that system and add defenses against Russian incursions to the anti-Iranian capabilities in reality.   Anyone who thinks Putin is not a threat to his neighbors is utterly deluded

          Or are we arguing that only Russia has a right to self defense that it expresses by conquering smaller countries?

          •  The issue was whether Russia had reason (0+ / 0-)

            to perceive a military threat. You as usual have to jump off the bridge in a fit of generalized moral outrage.

            •  You have the entirely wrong question (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bear83

              The world doesn't revolve around whether Russia is feeling cozy.  Russia is likely to perceive a military threat but so what?  All of Russia's neighbors also perceive a threat from Russia as well.  Frankly, Poland and NATO should be looking to defend themselves first and foremost and worry about what the Russian government thinks only after that. There is a strong strain of thought here that suggests that Russia's neighbors should just be abandoned to Russian imperialism simply to make Putin happy.   That is kind of a moral outrage, really.  I would have thought colonialist divisions of lesser countries would be less popular here

              •  It wasn't my question. (0+ / 0-)

                It was the question to which I was responding. This is yet another of your exercises in diary hijacking.

                •  how on earth (0+ / 0-)

                  is it diary highjacking to address the central question in the title of the diary and the comment at the start of the thread?

                  If anyone is highjacking it is JJ, who started off talking about Russia's history of being invaded, but you seemed willing enough to engage that.  I still maintain that the question of whether Russia is confortable with NATO's policy directions is of secondary importance.

                  I think instead, as I said, the starting point of any discussion regarding the future of NATO is the defense of Europe from aggression.  Certainly, there's really one main source of any threat of such aggression today, and sadly it isn't a dormant, speculative threat.

                  So, this means that for many members of NATO, NATO does not serve as a tool of US imperial hegemony, but rather as a key defensive relationship that underpins their pariticpation in the EU and wider continental affairs.  Obviously, this is most true of the former Warsaw pact countries.  

                  THe suggestion you allude to when you say

                  It is possible to view the US defense establishment as offering them a subsidy of funds that might otherwise have to be spent on defense. It is also possible to see the US as an imperialistic power intent on preserving global hegemony, as a number of Europeans do.
                  This framing ignores the fact that for a number of European countries, the involvement of the US and Western European powers is a vital security interest.  It is by no means some kind of figleaf for some other agenda, it remains a solution to a foremost national concern.

                  Now, certainly, the US ought to step down its military spending (a separate conversation) and the western EU should step up their share in making it a more equal partnership, but for a majority of members, their economies are simply not rich enough per capita to match the spending levels of those countries.

                  Put another way, discussion of NATO is now more than a discussion of the US and Europe.  It is at least a discussion of US, the big four in the west, smaller western EU countries, and the eastern European members.  

                  In a very real sense, there is also a subsidy of the defense of the eastern members by the west, since that's where the war would most likely occur, if at all.  This includes a subsidy from the US, but also from France, Germany, UK and Italy, as well as by Norway, Netherlands, etc. as well.

                  So, perhaps I wasn't as clear as could be, but certainly taking this moment to suggest that NATO has outlived its usefulness seems pretty nonsensical.  

            •  There's good reason for moral outrage (0+ / 0-)

              Russia is run by a gang of criminals who have engineered revolts in some countries to foster Russian expansionism and to hold the sword of Damocles over neighboring countries. They've used their gas pipelines for extortion -- like mobsters seeking protection money -- for both economic gain and political influence.

              And. let's not even get into the massive war-crimes that defined the Russian adventures into Chechnya....

              What's rather amusing in the most disturbing way is the moral outrage expressed in some corners of the left towards Israel and its actions taken in professed self-defense from undeniably real threats -- and how so many of the same people are rushing to offer explanations/defenses/excuses for a decade and a half of activities by Russia that far exceed anything contemplated by Israel -- and taken in response to invented threats. We should boycott, disinvest and sanction with respect to Israel -- but we should try to be understanding and avoid any escalation in responding to Russian violating the prohibition against rewriting borders with the force of arms? At the very least, we could expect some moral consistency on this point.

              Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

              by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:29:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ironically (0+ / 0-)

                it is my family's experience in Eastern Europe that makes me most sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians.

                •  Not so for me. (0+ / 0-)

                  My family's experience in Eastern Europe leaves me deeply distrustful of Russians in particular and militarism in general.

                  Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                  by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 03:49:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And, I suppose also more defensive.... (0+ / 0-)

                  Given my family's history  and the history there of their ethnic brethren -- I"m less sympathetic to the Palestinian's plight than I might otherwise be -- but the two situations have almost nothing in common. If, however, you're sympathetic to the Palestinians' plight, then you should be equally sympathetic to the fears of Russia's neighbors. In fact, whichever side one might be on  in the Israeli conflict, the situation along Russia's borders should counsel everyone to the dangers of claiming rights to territory in other countries. based on political history a half century old or centuries old, or based on ethnic commonality. National borders should largely be respected because the alternative is chaos. It's the very rare situation that justifies a liberation movement -- and rare still that would justify one nation moving to seize territory from another. In fact, outside of say something like the Rwandan massacre, it's hard to conceive of a situation where I would endorse a country's move to seize and annex territory even to protect the locals -- but that cuts both ways in the Mideast.

                  Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                  by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 03:59:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think that was my point (0+ / 0-)

                    having had some experience with occupation by a power convinced of its own ethnic and cultural superiority and all that brings, I can feel for what the Palestinians are experiencing.

                    But mostly, the point is to make sure people can simply get on with their lives well.  Peace is always the better way for that standpoint, barring exceptional circumstances, such as Rwanda.

      •  Wait, wait! All I keep reading about here is the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tony Situ, bear83

        imperialistic, sabre-rattling United States. If those writers expect us to believe it, why don't they expect the Russians to believe it?

      •  Rational or not, Russian memory demands... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, jfdunphy

        ...strategic control of territory beyond its borders - if only to impose neutrality. There is no clear and present danger from NATO, but military posture affects diplomatic leverage. And diplomatic leverage affects everything from the price of gas to the price of caviar.

        The ABM radars in Poland are perfectly sited to provide trajectory data on Russian missiles going over the pole. Again... there's no imminent threat of nuclear war. But the  balance of nuclear deterrent affects the balance (and utility) of conventional forces... which, again, influences diplomatic leverage.

        Not saying that Russia's annexation of Crimea is right, just that some Russian response to Kiev's swing to the west was predictable.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:32:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice to see (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz, bear83

          You are so quick to deal away the sovereign rights of Russia's neighbors.  I find it ironic that so many here seem to endorse imperialism as long as it isn't the US doing it

          •  I'm looking for solutions. (0+ / 0-)

            Restoring Crimea to Ukraine is going to require some understanding of Russian motives.

            Crimea was a part of Russia far longer than it was a part of Ukraine, and it has strategic value similar to the US interest in the Panama Canal. Russia's 2008 response to our meddling in Georgia should have been sufficient warning to the US/EU to leave Ukraine in the "neutral" camp.

            I tend to agree with comments further down that Putin believes he is making a valid "adjustment" to the dissolution of the USSR. The decision appears to be popular in both Russia and Crimea... something like the U.S. annexation of California in 1846.

            At this point I can't see any way to reverse it, short of a new government taking power in Moscow. The least-worst of the remaining outcomes would be for Russia to pay Ukraine for the territory and assets... just as the U.S. paid Mexico.

            “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
            he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

            by jjohnjj on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:42:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Predictable, yes. (0+ / 0-)

          In fact, many -- myself included -- did predict it the moment Yanukovich fled the capital.

          That, however, proves nothing and justifies even less. The basic principle since WWII is that you don't rewrite borders by invading another country. Sure, there have been exceptions (Vietnam, Tibet, Israel), but those were hardly welcomed by the international community. When it's a nuclear power doing it, it becomes especially troubling.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:35:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Partly what is happening here (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FischFry, Superpole

            is a difference in view point about the validity of the dissolution of the USSR. Putin does not seem inclined to recognize that while the west is. Clearly Putin doesn't have a lot of people supporting him in that view outside of Russia, but it looks like the west is going to have to be prepared to enforce their position. A simple appeal to international law isn't going to do it.

            •  The guy who put Putin in power killed USSR (0+ / 0-)

              It was Boris Yeltsin who dismantled the USSR...and signed the treaty guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial sovereignty.

              He may regret it, but it's ludicrous to suggest it was "invalid".

              On this, Hillary Clinton is right. Putin's rhetoric -- and his course of action -- is eerily reminiscent of the 1930s. Imagine if Hitler had a nuclear arsenal....how would the world contend with that? Abject surrender?

              What does it mean to say the "West is going to have to enforce its position?" Enforce it, how? What does the West do if Putin responds to some puppet putsch in Donetsk or even in Kyiv to occupy some or all of Ukraine...and then annexes it as part of historical Russia?

              Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

              by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 02:04:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not suggesting that it was invalid. (0+ / 0-)

                I am suggesting that Putin thinks that is is invalid. I think that it is pretty implausible to read my comment any other way. To say that Yeltsin dissolved the USSR is a serious over simplification. Most of it just separated itself. Yeltsin was never the head of the USSR with the power to dissolve it.  

                •  I wasn't saying you did.... (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm saying it's ludicrous for Putin to suggest that it was invalid to dissolve the USSR. As a technical matter, it was Gorbachev and the Supreme Soviet that dissolved the Union  (or what was left of the Union, after, as you note, some of the republics had already declared their separation) -- but the real power then belonged to Yeltsin, as the legal President of the Russian Republic  and leader of the opposition to the coup. As President of the Russian Federation -- it was Yeltsin who signed treaties that recognized the independence of other republics (and creating the CIS).

                  Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                  by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 02:25:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My original point was (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FischFry

                    that it is going to take more than just telling Putin that his position is wrong. The west is likely going to be forced into putting its money and muscle where its mouth is.

                    •  Undoubtedly.... (0+ / 0-)

                      I've turned one of my comments to your excellent diary into a diary of my own to be published later tonight.

                      I wish I was convinced of a course of action that will cause Putin to sit up and back off the course he's on. Perhaps more to the point, I'm wondering if there's a course of action that will cause the Russian people to pressure their leadership into a more neighborly policy.

                      One thing I'd like to see happen sooner rather than later is a public campaign to get FIFA to re-consider what has already been shown to be a corrupt vote to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia as host country. That's the kind of thing that everyone notices, including the hooligans that support Putin and attack protestors (and homosexuals).

                      As for muscle -- I am concerned about ratcheting things up. I don't think we want a military confrontation, and I think it would be a better course to back away from steps in that direction. That would make it easier for Russia to back down. I heard one talking head today suggesting we should give Ukraine air defense batteries. I think that's insane.

                      I think they could negotiate a deal with the Ukrainian leadership that would involve a UN-supervised vote in Crimea and ultimately compensate Ukraine for loss of territory and especially for captured military equipment and bases. Ukraine could guarantee safe passage for supplies to Crimea. Ultimately, there could be a process for a vote in Ukraine that would give the legitimacy to the leadership that Russia refuses to accept. Perhaps, the Russians would agree not to oppose Western military and financial support to Ukraine as part of a stabilization package....or just financial aid in lieu of overt military aid. Down the road, Ukraine could use funds as they see fit, including to purchase Western military equipment.

                      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                      by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 03:47:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I look forward to your diary. (0+ / 0-)

                        Getting the World Cup jerked would be just the sort of symbolic gesture that the G7 would be likely to get into. I personally think that the majority of the Russian public is fundamentally in tune with Putin and his aims.

                •  More to the point.... (0+ / 0-)

                  The former republics are declared independent and recognized as independent, and their populations have elected leaders on that basis.

                  I understand your point about Putin - -my point was that there is no basis either in international law or in common sense to claim that the former republics are not legitimately sovereign nations.

                  Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                  by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 02:28:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  If Hitler had nukes, then Britain and France would (0+ / 0-)

                have had them too. WWII probably would never have occurred. But within the nuclear balance, Hitler could have exploited a political crisis in Prague to settle a territorial dispute left over from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and annexed the Sudetenland with conventional forces... just has Putin has in Crimea.

                “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
                he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

                by jjohnjj on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:51:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Israel uses the same argument about Palestine. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfdunphy

      They need to have "defensible borders," doncha know, because they have been attacked before.

      That argument doesn't get a lot of respect around here, and it shouldn't when it comes to Israel.

      It shouldn't get any more respect when it comes to Russia.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:54:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Israel has overwhelming power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        against the Palestinians and neighboring countries -- the US government has seen to that.

        Russia is much inferior to the USA and NATO in military power  --her GDP is $2 Trillion versus the $17 Trillion of the US and $17 Trillion of EU.   And Russia does not have the most powerful nation on Earth as a protector --she has it as a threat.

        Cartoon thinking.

        •  Just like Russia has overwhelming power against... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FischFry

          its neighbors.

          As demonstrated by the occupation of Crimea.

          But, really, so what? Military desirability is not a legitimate excuse for occupying someone else's territory, even if it really is desirable to do so.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:41:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  What does Hawaii have to do with Ukraine? (0+ / 0-)

              What part of Hawaiin history makes it legitimate for Russia to use military utility as a reason to seize the territory of a neighboring state?

              Are you saying that's the controlling precedent for international law? An elevated moral precedent we should follow?

              It seems like sort of the opposite: a cautionary tale demonstrating something that should be avoided.

              Or am I overthinking this, and you're just bringing up RANDOM BAD STUFF 'BOUT USA for the hell of it?

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:37:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is no "international law" (0+ / 0-)

                Didn't you read the rulings from Attorney General Gonzales?

                Didn't you hear the roar of laughter even here on Dkos when our Secretary of State --who voted FOR the invasion of Iraq in 2003 --told Russia that “You just don’t” invade another country “on a completely trumped up pretext” ??

                The problem with two-faced hypocrisy is that it convinces other countries that we are lying psychopaths  -- and who wants to make agreements with psychopaths that can't be trusted to honor them?

                •  You aren't making a point. You're reciting stuff. (0+ / 0-)

                  I agree, the Bush administration made us look terrible.

                  I still don't see what that has to with whether Russia's desire for a stronger military position justifies invading its defenseless neighbor.

                  I mean, you've totally convinced me that the Iraq War screwed us in our international status, but that's neither particularly difficult, nor particularly relevant to the question.

                  I think you should bring up Mossedegh next. Cuz why not? Beats Ukraine.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:44:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  A century and a half ago (0+ / 0-)

              When there had been no world wars yet, and when there was no international legal and security system meant to preserve national sovereignty and prevent wars against the principle of national sovereignty.

              Why not bring up how the British got India...or maybe how they got New York? Perhaps the Russians should pay Ukraine for the land they're stealing -- as well as the military resources they've captured.

              Do you honestly think that's a relevant precedent? More importantly, why would 2 wrongs make a right? Didn't your parents teach you anything about morality?

              Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

              by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:56:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'd call your post "cartoon thinking" (0+ / 0-)

          That's the kind of drivel I'd expect from the caricature of knee-jerk anti-American lefties -- and it's what we're getting from those who don't see the lack of common sense in that response.

          Russia has nothing to fear from its neighbors -- and really nothing to fear from anyone, except a nuclear strike. Their armed forces are being used to demand loyalty from neighbors -- to threaten and even to actually seize territories.

          Israel has been moving in the opposite direction for 35 years, giving up occupied lands and negotiating over others -- and that's from a country that could be overrun in hours by neighboring force that have vastly outnumbered Israel's defenders. Yes, the USA has worked to assure that Israel's armaments remain far superior, but that's meant to offset real threats.

          None of Israel's neighbors fear that Israel will try to conquer them -- or even attack them without serious, real provocation. Yes, Israel does strike at targets within Gaza, and Lebanon, and even Syria -- but no one seriously contends they aren't aiming at weapons and fighters that are destined for use against Israel. Israel would actually prefer that the neighbors just leave Israel alone..and would prefer stable governments that enforce a peace. Russia's neighbors fear that Russia will attack them - and work to destabilize them in the meantime to justify invasions.

          You can oppose Israel's policies -- you can even credibly argue for economic sanctions and divestment...but the moment you try to suggest that Israel's actions are more threatening to the peace or in any way more troubling than what Russia is doing...then, you have gone off the deep end..deep into a pool of ideological groupthink nonsense.

          Cartoon thinking indeed.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:50:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And they have invaded (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz, FischFry

      Their neighbors and carried out ethnic cleansings in practically all their neighbors.  That argument goes both ways.  Certainly if Russia wants protection, all it's neighbors want it doubly so

  •  The question, I think, is whether NATO is starting (8+ / 0-)

    to envisage its role as not only a defensive one with respect to its member countries, but as one of intervention in other parts of the world, as happened in Afghanistan.

    If so, will it aim particularly at energy-rich areas of the Caucasus, remember its flirting with Georgia...

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 02:21:15 PM PDT

    •  One of the main issues that I was trying (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fran1, worldlotus, koNko, Alhambra, Jim P

      to address in this diary is just who is running NATO. On paper it can't take action without unanimous agreement of all the members. In practice the US has a bigger vote than everybody else. So when you ask about what NATO wants to do who are we really talking about?  

      •  But that misses the point (6+ / 0-)

        entirely, which is that it is a defensive alliance.  It didn't join the Iraq thing- the 'Coalition of the Willing (Right Wing Governments)' had to be created.

        The most realistic scenario in which it would function as its charter proposes is Russia invading the Baltic countries.   There is no realistic scenario which NATO attacks Russia.  Where would it, and why?  What good could that possibly do?

        The largest party in any alliance determines most of what it does.  That's not news at all.

        NATO has from the start been an alliance against Russian military aggression.   Inside the Warsaw Pact, the USSR was the dominant and belligerent entity.   Inside the USSR, Russia was the dominant and belligerent party.  

        The record is that when a country joins NATO, all Russian hegemony and effort at hegemony is defeated.  This has led to a hysteria of sorts among Russian nationalists about NATO.

        So long as Russia represents a military invasion threat to its neighbors to the west, that's how long NATO is going to exist.  In its lackadaisical, semi-dysfunctional, sort of passive form.  But Russia doesn't dare attack its members, and that's what counts.  

        •  NATO has certainly departed (3+ / 0-)

          from the mission of defense against Russia since the dissolution of the USSR. Except for Georgia, its activities were mostly focused elsewhere. Now Russia has become an issue again. It seems to me that with the existence and general economic resources of the EU, the cold war equation should be reevaluated. If its true purpose is European security, then it would seem that it is time for it to become more of a European organization.  

          •  That's a weak (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            argument.

            I have a lot of knowledgeable friends in Germany.  They are not in a hurry to be the lead military power in confrontations with Russia.  Not because they're incompetent, but because of Russia's obsessive-narcissistic unceasing PTSD about Germany and the jealousies and inefficiencies of the central and western European countries among themselves.   Best to have the U.S. as the lead power.

            The U.S. also has a long term interest and significant investment in seeing to the completion of the Cold War.  That means both Moscow and Beijing losing/abandoning their imperial aspirations and conquests.  Much as has happened for Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Istanbul.

            •  This is pretty funny: (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko, Lepanto, Odysseus
              Best to have the U.S. as the lead power.
              Being designated the 'leader' presumes a desire to lead.

              Also, leaders require followers, by definition. I keep looking around for the parade to form.

              •  You have to think outside (0+ / 0-)

                the authoritarian box.

                In a liberal context, the leader is the entity which recognizes the obstacle before the group, formulates a solution to get beyond that obstacle, and persuades everyone else to do their part in the task of going by, over, or through the obstacle.

            •  Yes, they would not like to make that investment (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, Richard Lyon

              And much of Europe would not like Germany to make that investment as long as the US foots the bill, because they rather keep Germany in check for political and economic reasons.

              But if the purpose of NATO is to defend Europe, there is actually an excellent argument for them to fund and man it.

              I lived in Germany for 2 years and visit at least annually. Most Germans rather make trade than war with Russia and that's good. They also rather not turn Germany back into a great military power and that is good too. They also understand why other Europeans would not like a NATO dominated by Germany, even though, to a certain extent, it is a dominant player for a lot of reasons.

              But the US has to decide how much it will continue to invest in NATO going forward in an era of declining military budgets.

              "Pivot to Asia" - best laid plans, I suppose.

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 11:19:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I can't quite figure out your point (0+ / 0-)

                but I'm not sure NATO needs to have that much military power.  

                Ten years ago it wasn't plausible that Ukraine wanted into the EU or would become eligible.  Five years ago it wasn't plausible that Belarussians would want into the EU.  Two or three years ago people would have laughed at you if you'd suggested that eastern Ukraine might choose the EU over Russia.

                The strongly pre-Modern cultural outlook on which Russian empire, relevant sorts of tribalism, compliance with authoritarians, etc. are constructed is observably eroding throughout eastern Europe.  That is how the contemporary West actually wins- it stalemates the old, it persuades the young.

                 

            •  The US Government has a long term interest in (0+ / 0-)

              Conquering the World --which also means  Moscow and Beijing losing/abandoning any illusions that they can defend their own territory.

              Nothing else explains why the US would be spending money to over throw the government of a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the USA and on the border of a Russia that still has 314 ICBMs.

              •  I suppose you could try to (0+ / 0-)

                explain this long term interest to me.  I don't think the U.S. is an empire, and there is no interest of the kind.  Believe it or not, it's possible that U.S. foreign policy may have moral reasons.

                You ignore the fact of some 46 million Ukrainians having aspirations to live in a better society and with better government than they have had and have now.  It's not merely a chess game for abstractions and money.  Your selective reductionism is nonsensical and incoherent- and rather insulting.

      •  If that were true (0+ / 0-)

        Surely NATO would have participated in the Iraq War.  Afghanistan is a highly unusual invocation of Article V. It doesn't presage a move to foreign adventurism by NATO

    •  Two major turns (0+ / 0-)

      1.  Extra territorial adventure outside NATO geography
      2.   Use of the alliance for political aims rather than purely defensive alliance

    •  NATO left Afghanistan alone until the Afghan (2+ / 0-)

      government at the time assisted an attack on a NATO country.  Yes, I refer to the Taliban (the Afghan government at the time) allowing AQ to train terrorists in their country, launch attacks on the US (and 9-11 was merely the largest attack, before that there were the attacks on US embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, the WTC, etc), then protecting and harboring AQ afterward.

  •  Excellent diary! (8+ / 0-)

    A very good presentation of the background and origins of NATO as well as posing the question for where we should go.

    Russia's incursion into Ukraine shows we cannot let our guard down.  The EU is one of our top trading partners.  It is extremely important for us to be part of a mutual protection pact - even if it is a bit one-sided.

    President Obama's unilaterally pulling the missile shield was a newbie mistake.  Whether it was ever built or not, it was always a bargaining chip to hold over Putin.

    I think we should renew plans for the missile shield.  And I believe we should enter into talks with the new government in Ukraine (after the elections) to allow entry into NATO or some other protection pact with the EU.

    Putin will push ever further as long as we let him.

  •  NATO's new mission in Afghanistan (5+ / 0-)
    NATO’s primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists.
    Enabling the small poor country of Afghanistan, to take on responsibility for the primary foreign policy goal of the United States of America, is a pretty strange objective.
  •  Hey, NATO (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    Hey, NATO, the Cold War called. It wants its geopolitics back.

  •  NATO as a tool for American imperialism? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature, Texas Lefty

    Well, let's look at the three military operations that NATO has conducted.

    In the former Yugoslavia, the US spent years refusing to act in Bosnia until the situation became extremely grave, then used pinprick air strikes to bring the Serbs to the table. Large-scale operations didn't happen until several years after that, when the Kosovo crisis erupted. In both situations, the American response was both reactive and demonstrates a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

    In Afghanistan, the NATO collective-security response wasn't even invoked by the United States, and was once again a reaction to a situation (the 9/11 attacks) imposed by others.

    In Libya, the driving forces behind the intervention were the British and French, with the Americans playing a secondary role both politically and operationally.

    Now, compare this to Iraq, which was a clear expression of American imperialism, and which didn't involve NATO.

    I think it takes a determination to arrive at the desired conclusion in order to see NATO as a tool of American imperialism.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:43:35 AM PDT

  •  US was planning to nuke Russia before WWII ended (0+ / 0-)

    1) In "Churchill's Bomb", Graham Farmelo recounts that when British scientist Joseph Rotblat asked General Groves in March 1944 why the Manhattan Project was continuing to work hard to develop the atomic bomb given the signs of Germany's collapse, Groves answered that the bomb was being developed to subdue the Soviets not the Nazis.
    (p.282).  Farmelo gives two citations to support this, including a 1985 article by Rotblat.

    2) The Department of War was drawing up plans to nuke Soviet cities and a list of the bombs needed before WWII was over:

    http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/...

    http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/...

    3) The effect on our ally Stalin --who had lost 24 million Soviets fighting the Nazis to the USA's total deaths of 418,500 (part in the Pacific) can be imagined.  And Stalin had plenty of spies on Manhattan.

    4) I am not critical of the US government for doing this -- I am critical of moralistic idiots who have never buried a soldier.   Hypocrites who think "international law" exists.   Who conducted the Nuremberg Trials side by side with grinning Soviet judges while  averting their eyes from the  Katyn Forest Massacre:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

     The Sin does not lie in preparing for war or waging war ruthlessly to reduce the deaths of your countrymen --the Sin lies in promoting war when it is not necessary for defense or to make the Rich richer.

    •  Yes. Our teachers, university professors, (0+ / 0-)

      journalists and political Masters lie to us.

      How else can they  earn a living with a college degree in the humanities?

    •  There is a plausible interpretation (0+ / 0-)

      that Truman's decision to proceed with using nukes against Japan was intended as much to convince the USSR of the will of the US to use the weapon as it was to end the war with Japan.

      •  I've seen that but I think the horrific casualties (0+ / 0-)

        from taking the Pacific Islands were a bigger factor.

        During our Indian wars, we figured out that the best way to defeat fierce warriors was to break their will to fight -- execute raids to destroy their crops so that their women and children would starve to death over the winter.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        And the two atomic bomb attacks  killed far less Japanese civilians than did Curtis Lemay napalming 63 Japanese cities.  

        ""Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.... Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier."

        http://www.pbs.org/...  

        Madeleine Albright would probably agree:
        https://www.youtube.com/...

        Again, why are we provoking conflict in a bankrupt country 4500 miles from the USA?

  •  The question for Angela Merkel is: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yellowdogsal

    Was US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau's Plan to turn Germany into a nation of primitive farmers ever discarded --or just put on hold pending the final conquest of Russia?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    US Military budget: $682 billion

    Germany Military budget: $46 billion

  •  I did not know that about 1954 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    that Khruschev offered to join NATO the same year he gave Crimea to Ukraine.  If the Russians offered to join NATO now, should we withhold membership until they reverse what they just did, or let them join so it's clear NATO is not defined as anti-Russian?

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:35:04 AM PDT

  •  Alexander the Great got pretty far (0+ / 0-)

    towards China before his troops got tired of being so overextended. NATO commanders actually have a lot of military power. but they are still ruled by committee. A reincarnation of Napolean would be attracted to NATO as a pathway to power.

  •  Isn't it time to rid the world of empires? (0+ / 0-)

    Bullying other nations with military and economic power is just plain wrong. We need to stand up against the militarization of the planet whether the bullies are Russian, American or anyone else. Given the economic and ecological dangers that our species faces, this is imperative.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:57:16 PM PDT

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