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Old 07-11-2018, 11:15 AM
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Is NATO obsolete?

I know this has been discussed on the board before, but since it's in the news again with the upcoming NATO meeting and the heated words between Trump and NATO, along with the running argument with Germany I figured I'd see what 'dopers think. Should we just scrap the thing and each country go it's own way? Should Europe reform a defensive alliance of it's own to protect it's own interests and allow the US to go it's own way, dealing with it's own security concerns and issues? Is NATO necessary in today's world, and could Europe simply defend itself without having to rely on the US...especially since the current US president and seemingly a segment of the US population doesn't see the value in such alliances anymore?

Thoughts?
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:20 AM
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What the West, specifically Europe and North America need, is a defensive alliance - a promise of mutual protection - that stands in opposition to the biggest threat in Europe and North America; Russia. Get most of the European democracies together along with Canada and the USA and have them promise to join in if even one is attacked.

You couldn't call it the European Treaty, though, or the North American Treaty, because either name excludes the other... what di they have in common? Well, the North Atlantic, I guess. Call it the... North Atlantic Treaty! You could call the resulting Organizations the... North Atlantic Treaty Organization!

Heck of an idea if I do say so myself!
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:25 AM
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NATO is necessary for the Eastern bloc countries that are indefensibly small. They need the defense in depth that a large military alliance can provide. If Russia were economically and politically free, it would be a natural ally. But it's not, so the Eastern bloc needs another source of security. The next most natural source is a mutual defensive alliance among themselves. Ideally, one large alliance they could all be a member of would be best, but several smaller pacts might be all they can manage (see the 1800s and first half of the 1900s).

While the US doesn't need NATO militarily, it benefits us to have an economically free Europe to trade with. Subsidizing NATO is well worth the cost to have that.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:26 AM
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NATO isn't obsolete, Trump is.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:39 AM
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NATO isn't obsolete, Trump is.
Could you go into a bit more detail? Not about Trump...I think we are all on board with him being an idiot. The gist of the OP, however, is about NATO. Why is it not obsolete, in your opinion? What about it is still necessary today? Why shouldn't Europe do it's own thing without the US? Why should the US continue a military alliance with Europe? What do the two parties get out of it that they couldn't have on their own? Should the pirate rules-esque 'requirement' of 2% of GDP towards the military be met, or should we just ignore that?

Just for full disclosure here, I don't think the US should back out of NATO, and I do think it's still relevant. I think the US gets a lot of secondary and tertiary benefits out of alliances like this in terms of security as well as economic benefits, the primary one being it's in our best interest to have a stable, free and economically successful Europe (I wish we used similar metrics for Mexico). But what I'm wanting are 'dopers thoughts on this.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:41 AM
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As long as Russia is a threat to Europe, and especially the Baltics, etc. then there is a purpose for NATO. At this point, it would be much easier to just let the inertia (for lack of a better term) keep NATO's existence going than it would be to abolish it.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:46 AM
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As long as Russia is a threat to Europe, and especially the Baltics, etc. then there is a purpose for NATO.
I'll go one step further. As long as Russia exists...

You can't be too careful.

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Old 07-11-2018, 11:50 AM
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As long as Russia is a threat to Europe, and especially the Baltics, etc. then there is a purpose for NATO. At this point, it would be much easier to just let the inertia (for lack of a better term) keep NATO's existence going than it would be to abolish it.
Exactly. With all the domestic governmental turmoil drawing all the news attention these days, people have forgotten that Russia has/had been flexing its muscles in the Ukraine and Georgia and also threatening the Baltics (who are NATO members) as recently as 2016, and acting kind of squirrely in the anti-ISIS/ISIL air campaign.

If somehow Russia quit being authoritarian and proved themselves to be good neighbors and participants in a wider Europe, then I think NATO could be said to be obsolete. But until then as long as Russia has aspirations to "Great Power" stature and intends to demonstrate said stature through conquest and intimidation, NATO is a necessary organization.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:01 PM
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On the face of it, 'because Russia' doesn't seem a clear justification for continuing NATO, especially from the US's perspective, but even from the European's perspective. While NATO members don't spend to their target GDP on the military, they still collectively outspend Russia...in fact, from memory, France and Germany combined spend more than Russia does by a pretty large margin. Even taking the US out of the equation, I think that NATO spends approximately what, say, China spends annually. This SHOULD, in theory, give them a military capability on par with every other single nation, leaving aside the US. And even in a theoretical post-NATO world I don't see western Europe needing to be particularly threatened by the US or vice versa.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:19 PM
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Could you go into a bit more detail? Not about Trump...I think we are all on board with him being an idiot. The gist of the OP, however, is about NATO. Why is it not obsolete, in your opinion? What about it is still necessary today?

Were you plumb asleep throughout the whole Crimea thing or what ?
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:23 PM
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The only reason there is even a discussion about the value of NATO is that Putin's puppet is doing his best to undermine it. In my mind, that just proves how important it still is.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:40 PM
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On the face of it, 'because Russia' doesn't seem a clear justification for continuing NATO, especially from the US's perspective, but even from the European's perspective. While NATO members don't spend to their target GDP on the military, they still collectively outspend Russia...in fact, from memory, France and Germany combined spend more than Russia does by a pretty large margin. Even taking the US out of the equation, I think that NATO spends approximately what, say, China spends annually. This SHOULD, in theory, give them a military capability on par with every other single nation, leaving aside the US. And even in a theoretical post-NATO world I don't see western Europe needing to be particularly threatened by the US or vice versa.
You're ignoring the fact that Russia has always punched above its weight. Western Europe needs to spend significantly more than Russia does in order to have a truly level battlefield.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:43 PM
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is that Putin's puppet
Your repeating the claim doesn't make it true. Indeed it only serves to alienate those who check facts and might otherwise be on your side.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:46 PM
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You're ignoring the fact that Russia has always punched above its weight.
What is the objective evidence for this claim? Just World War II? That's one war, and it was a really long time ago.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:48 PM
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Were you plumb asleep throughout the whole Crimea thing or what ?
Why no, I didn't sleep through it. I watched it unfold, and am still watching the aftermath in the Ukraine. Now that we've established that, do you have anything relevant to say wrt the OP? Why, exactly, is NATO necessary, IYHO and wrt the Crimea and presumably Russia? Why is it necessary for the US? Why is it necessary for Europe (western and eastern)? Can you give some details...which was, you know, what that line you quoted was actually asking.

Also, perhaps read the next paragraph as well. I know that's difficult as I tend to be long winded, but you might want to consider I'm trying to draw out an actual debate from some rather unpromising replies so far. I think there is more than 'because Russia' or me supposedly being asleep for the 'Crimea thing' and I had hoped to draw that out. Seems unlikely at this point, but hope springs eternal.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:50 PM
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NATO is obsolete. A NA-European Defence Treaty Organisation is not.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:50 PM
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You're ignoring the fact that Russia has always punched above its weight. Western Europe needs to spend significantly more than Russia does in order to have a truly level battlefield.
Ok, but why? Off the top of my head the only reason that Russia would punch 'above its weight' is all that legacy equipment left over from the old Soviet era...and their presumably still working nuclear weapons. In a conventional sense and from a defensive perspective (which presumably is what some future European alliance would be looking at), Europe should be able to match whatever Russia can do without the US. Theoretically. If they follow through on what many of them have started, which is an increase in their military spending with an eye towards capabilities that align with their mission parameters and overall strategic outlook.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:57 PM
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The problem with NATO is that its chief architect, the United States, has a history of imposing its will on other countries and weakening regimes who don't serve their (our) political interests. I don't think we should disband NATO, but the US lacks credibility when it speaks of maintaining global stability. No force on the planet has been more disruptive and destabilizing than the US since 2002/3.

I don't know what can be done now, because I think NATO is going to be destroyed. And that is probably going to touch off a new wave of disruption, and further destabilize the West (and the world generally).
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:09 PM
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The problem with NATO is that its chief architect, the United States, has a history of imposing its will on other countries and weakening regimes who don't serve their (our) political interests. I don't think we should disband NATO, but the US lacks credibility when it speaks of maintaining global stability. No force on the planet has been more disruptive and destabilizing than the US since 2002/3.

I don't know what can be done now, because I think NATO is going to be destroyed. And that is probably going to touch off a new wave of disruption, and further destabilize the West (and the world generally).
This seems to argue for a US/European split then, with the Europeans forming their own, internal alliance without the US. Is that what you are saying? If not, why not? If the US has, indeed been the greatest destabilizing force on the planet since 2002/3 it seems the Europeans would be better off without us on their side...no?
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:21 PM
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Your repeating the claim doesn't make it true. Indeed it only serves to alienate those who check facts and might otherwise be on your side.
You've checked the "facts" and found evidence to the contrary, have you?

Maybe you haven't been following the UN breastfeeding resolution story, the latest chapter in this remarkable saga. From the New York Times:
A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that motherís milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
The measure was being introduced by Ecuador. The US ambassador to Ecuador, who bears a striking resemblance to Al Capone, immediately threatened Ecuador with major trade sanctions and the withdrawal of military aid. Ecuador had no choice but to meekly comply and withdraw the resolution. For a while, no other country dared re-introduce it.

Then Putin stepped in.

Trump's UN delegation was the political equivalent of an aggressive yappy little dog, and Putin was like the alpha dog that gives one sharp bark of warning, and the yappy little dog scurries away with its tail between its legs. Russia re-introduced the resolution and the US sat quietly in the corner, scratching its fleas.

This story is tragically sad but so bizarre that it's almost funny in a perverse kind of way. Putin's vision of Russia regaining Soviet-like hegemony is no secret, nor is the threat that it poses over neighboring regions, especially and most immediately Ukraine. Watch Trump lift sanctions against Russia in the coming months to help things along. Ecuador deserves punishing sanctions, yes, for promoting mother's milk, but not Russia -- all they did was invade a neighboring country.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:24 PM
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Whatever the future is of NATO, let's just sit back and reflect on America's message to its allies this week:

"First of all, you need to double or triple your defense budgets, because we're tired of defending you. Second, Russia ain't so bad."

Uh, so why is more defense spending needed, exactly?
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:35 PM
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I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that America should possibly have to get into a war with Russia over countries like Crimea, Ukraine, various Baltic countries that have always been historically contested territories and part of a centuries-long dispute. Areas like that are always going to be potential conflict zones, but I ask myself, what is Russia actually going to do if they try to annex those territories? Commit genocide? Enslave everyone? If the answer is anything short of that, is a war against the second-largest nuclear-armed world power really worth it?

Does America need to be potentially risking nuclear incineration over these territorial disputes?

It's my understanding that the Russians actually think they can win a nuclear war. They actually have civil drills where people practice hiding in shelters and shit. Russian military doctrine seems to center around the idea that nuclear weapons will be used as a matter of course eventually. Contrast that to America where everyone has literally "stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb" or more accurately, forget that it exists, unless it comes up in ridiculous political hyperbole.

This shit is real! I do not place much stake in the idea of "mutually assured destruction", it's not a theory that I want to see put to the test.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:44 PM
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Does America need to be potentially risking nuclear incineration over these territorial disputes?
Please note that a sovereign nation is not a "territorial dispute".
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It's my understanding that the Russians actually think they can win a nuclear war.
Has the Russian character changed in some major way since the Cold War?
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:50 PM
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I think NATO is still necessary and American involvement in NATO is also necessary.

Russia under Putin is an expansionist power. That's a matter of historical record; Russia under Putin has invaded other countries and has made claims to more territory outside its borders.

I think we should not ignore that. Russia is unlikely to directly threaten the United States but Russian expansion would still harm the United States. And American indifference towards Russian expansion would cause other countries to tilt towards Russia in their own defense.

To me, the best way to deter Russian expansion is through a credible threat of military response to such expansion. I feel it's a lot better to make the threat clear and avoid the expansion than to wait until after the expansion and then have to actually use the force to reverse it. Especially because of the possibility of a conventional war escalating into a nuclear war.

I think that such a threat made by the United States in concert with European countries is more credible than one made by just European countries alone. A more credible threat is more likely to have the desired deterrent effect of avoiding the necessity of a war.

There's also the issue of setting an example. If the United States is willing to pledge itself to the defense of Eastern Europe, then countries in Western Europe are going to feel more obligated to do the same.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:51 PM
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Please note that a sovereign nation is not a "territorial dispute".
It is on a long enough timescale, and the history of Russia and its surrounding areas is very long. The definition of "sovereign nations" is always changing.

I mean, if Russia declared that they wanted to annex, I don't know, Latvia, and marched troops into Latvia and declared that Latvia is part of Russia....I seriously want to know what you think should be done about it. Threaten to attack them? Actually attack them? Any military conflict with Russia, in my opinion, is a potential precursor to nuclear war. Is it worth risking a nuclear war over? In my opinion, it isn't.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:54 PM
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I think that such a threat made by the United States in concert with European countries is more credible than one made by just European countries alone. A more credible threat is more likely to have the desired deterrent effect of avoiding the necessity of a war.
I think it's just more likely to have the effect of Russia poisoning a bunch of Americans with nerve agents, fucking up American technological infrastructure through hacking and sabotage, generally causing chaos, and then initiating a game of nuclear chicken.

You want Russia to be scared of us? Well Russia wants us to be scared of them. And I am. Why the hell do so many people want to restart the Cold War?

I don't feel like spending the prime decades of my life worrying about myself and everyone I care about being incinerated by nuclear bombs or dying of radiation sickness. Jesus Christ, people.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:57 PM
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It is on a long enough timescale, and the history of Russia and its surrounding areas is very long. The definition of "sovereign nations" is always changing.

I mean, if Russia declared that they wanted to annex, I don't know, Latvia, and marched troops into Latvia and declared that Latvia is part of Russia....I seriously want to know what you think should be done about it. Threaten to attack them? Actually attack them? Any military conflict with Russia, in my opinion, is a potential precursor to nuclear war. Is it worth risking a nuclear war over? In my opinion, it isn't.
That's fine, then you're against NATO existing. That isn't an irrational opinion, just one that I strongly disagree with. I say that because of the reasoning you've laid out, the Baltics would be just fine under the Russian flag, I assume because you thought they were just fine under the Soviet flag. But the people of those countries, as a whole, strongly disagree, to the point that they sought a multilateral alliance to defend their small countries against their historically aggressive neighbor.

My question fo you is, if you think the Baltics would do just well enough under Russia that you basically are unconcerned about it; do you think Germany would do well enough under Russia (if it came to that) that the U.S. should just let that go as well?
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:59 PM
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It is on a long enough timescale, and the history of Russia and its surrounding areas is very long. The definition of "sovereign nations" is always changing.

I mean, if Russia declared that they wanted to annex, I don't know, Latvia, and marched troops into Latvia and declared that Latvia is part of Russia....I seriously want to know what you think should be done about it. Threaten to attack them? Actually attack them? Any military conflict with Russia, in my opinion, is a potential precursor to nuclear war. Is it worth risking a nuclear war over? In my opinion, it isn't.
Latvia is a full member of NATO, so what 'should be done' is to defend it from any attack. I'd think it would be harder to sell many of the western European nations on doing much, but that's what 'should' be done in the event of an attack on a member state.

Out of curiosity, when should the US push back against aggression and risk nuclear war? Should we wait until Poland is invaded? Sort of a replay of WWII? Or should we wait until it's Germany? France? The UK? Or perhaps Canada? Where do you want to draw the line?
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:01 PM
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I know this has been discussed on the board before, but since it's in the news again with the upcoming NATO meeting and the heated words between Trump and NATO, along with the running argument with Germany I figured I'd see what 'dopers think. Should we just scrap the thing and each country go it's own way? Should Europe reform a defensive alliance of it's own to protect it's own interests and allow the US to go it's own way, dealing with it's own security concerns and issues? Is NATO necessary in today's world, and could Europe simply defend itself without having to rely on the US...especially since the current US president and seemingly a segment of the US population doesn't see the value in such alliances anymore?

Thoughts?
I don't think NATO is obsolete. In many ways, it's more important than ever, as we need strong & unified allies in the face of rising threats from China & the ever-present threats from Russia.

We can't afford to lose our alliances in trade and military. It's crazy, but Trump will take us on the path of being isolated, and weaker, as a result. All the more reason he has to be defeated in 2020.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:01 PM
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Were you plumb asleep throughout the whole Crimea thing or what ?
Good point. NATO saved the day on that one! Why, if weren't for NATO, Crimea would be part of Russia right now.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:05 PM
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My question fo you is, if you think the Baltics would do just well enough under Russia that you basically are unconcerned about it; do you think Germany would do well enough under Russia (if it came to that) that the U.S. should just let that go as well?
Well, I'm just not sure. Would they do well under Russia? No, probably not, not compared to how they're currently doing. The average person's life would be changed for the worse. But if Russia actually did this, what would America have to do in response?

I seriously want to know what America would do. Send lots of American soldiers to Germany? To do what? Just hold positions there to try to intimidate the Russians? These are uncharted waters....America has only had to deal with wars against terrorists in the past 20-odd years, a form of asymmetrical warfare. We have not had any experience going up against another world power in a military confrontation. What are we supposed to do?
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:08 PM
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Out of curiosity, when should the US push back against aggression and risk nuclear war? Should we wait until Poland is invaded? Sort of a replay of WWII? Or should we wait until it's Germany? France? The UK? Or perhaps Canada? Where do you want to draw the line?
What makes you think Russia would ever want to invade Germany, France, the UK, or Canada?

Remember when I said "disputed territory"? I used that term for a reason. Places like Crimea and Ukraine have always been disputed territory for Russia and have changed hands between various empires over the centuries. It's logical that Russia would want to annex these territories. It is not in any way logical that Russia would want to invade the countries that you mentioned.

Israel is occupying parts of Palestinian territory in defiance of international laws, should we invade Israel? Turkey is occupying parts of Cyprus that were historically Greek, should we invade Turkey?
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:15 PM
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I think it's just more likely to have the effect of Russia poisoning a bunch of Americans with nerve agents, fucking up American technological infrastructure through hacking and sabotage, generally causing chaos, and then initiating a game of nuclear chicken.

You want Russia to be scared of us? Well Russia wants us to be scared of them. And I am. Why the hell do so many people want to restart the Cold War?

I don't feel like spending the prime decades of my life worrying about myself and everyone I care about being incinerated by nuclear bombs or dying of radiation sickness. Jesus Christ, people.
It's worth pointing out that it's NOT the US and Western Europe poking at things with a stick to see what happens. That's Russia doing all the poking.

And it's entirely realistic to think that if not for the totality of NATO backing up say... Estonia, that the Russians might do exactly what they did in the Crimea, or maybe just foment revolution and then send in unmarked troops with a wink and a nod as they did in Ukraine.

It's not swarms of Soviet tanks pouring through the Fulda Gap that anyone's worried about today, it's Russia trying to exert control over former territories and satellite states through various nefarious means up to and including force.

Hell, if nothing else their fucking around in our own electoral process ought to convince anyone of their ill intent. And I can't help but thinking that being soft on them in years past with the Crimea, Ukraine and Georgia led them to believe that they can get away with it. Does anyone really think that Russian meddling in our elections in say... 1956 wouldn't have ended with some form of hostilities? But in 2016, it's ok, and we're just going to scowl at them a little bit.

The point of NATO is collective defense- it doesn't really buy the US as much as it buys the Europeans in that regard, but it does buy us access for air bases, etc... and for the European members of NATO, it means that if the Russians (or whoever) starts anything that might need to be resolved with force with any of them, that they'll have the might and global reach of the US military on their side if it comes to that.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamoral View Post
Well, I'm just not sure. Would they do well under Russia? No, probably not, not compared to how they're currently doing. The average person's life would be changed for the worse. But if Russia actually did this, what would America have to do in response?

I seriously want to know what America would do. Send lots of American soldiers to Germany? To do what? Just hold positions there to try to intimidate the Russians? These are uncharted waters....America has only had to deal with wars against terrorists in the past 20-odd years, a form of asymmetrical warfare. We have not had any experience going up against another world power in a military confrontation. What are we supposed to do?
To some degree I don't even understand the question. If someone attacks a member of NATO, the treaty requires that all other members of NATO go to war against the aggressor. There's no ambiguity there. If Russia invades Latvia, 28 other countries go to war against Russia. It's that simple.

You do realize that the strength of the alliance is in deterring war, right? So long as 29 nations hold to their commitments, it's a powerful signal that Russia will have a very bad day if they invade a member nation. If the 29 nations say, "Eh, well, we have a treaty... but if one of us is attacked, we probably won't do anything..." means that the alliance is not a deterrent, and perhaps makes war in Europe more likely.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:21 PM
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Everyone here should spend a few minutes looking at clips of nuclear explosions on YouTube, or playing with that nuclear blast simulator map thing, and then please keep in mind that both the power and the number of nuclear warheads currently in existence is hundreds or thousands of times greater than what existed back then. It's unfortunate that we've collectively gotten ourselves into this situation, but it's the current reality, and I would rather that America be on favorable terms with Russia in this situation, than be taking the side of Latvia and Crimea and potentially pissing off Russia against us.

If you're wondering what should be done if Russia invades Germany or France, well, ask yourself that question when the likelihood of that actually happening seems remotely possible. Until then, my preference is for military engagement with Russia to not happen. There is too much at stake.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:21 PM
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It's logical that Russia would want to annex these territories.
They have no right to do so. In fact, it is very, very wrong for Russia to simply claim that they have a right to parts of other peoples' countries.

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Everyone here should spend a few minutes looking at clips of nuclear explosions on YouTube, or playing with that nuclear blast simulator map thing, and then please keep in mind that both the power and the number of nuclear warheads currently in existence is hundreds or thousands of times greater than what existed back then. It's unfortunate that we've collectively gotten ourselves into this situation, but it's the current reality, and I would rather that America be on favorable terms with Russia in this situation, than be taking the side of Latvia and Crimea and potentially pissing off Russia against us.

If you're wondering what should be done if Russia invades Germany or France, well, ask yourself that question when the likelihood of that actually happening seems remotely possible. Until then, my preference is for military engagement with Russia to not happen. There is too much at stake.
And a strong and stable NATO is a deterrent to Russia starting a war. It's pretty damn clear that NATO has no ambitions on any Russian territory, so the only foreseeable reason for their to be war is Russia starting one.

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Old 07-11-2018, 02:23 PM
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To some degree I don't even understand the question. If someone attacks a member of NATO, the treaty requires that all other members of NATO go to war against the aggressor. There's no ambiguity there. If Russia invades Latvia, 28 other countries go to war against Russia. It's that simple.
No it is not that simple. There's theory and there's practice. There is no reason to think that it would actually play out the way the treaty "requires."
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:23 PM
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What makes you think Russia would ever want to invade Germany, France, the UK, or Canada?

Remember when I said "disputed territory"? I used that term for a reason. Places like Crimea and Ukraine have always been disputed territory for Russia and have changed hands between various empires over the centuries. It's logical that Russia would want to annex these territories. It is not in any way logical that Russia would want to invade the countries that you mentioned.

Israel is occupying parts of Palestinian territory in defiance of international laws, should we invade Israel? Turkey is occupying parts of Cyprus that were historically Greek, should we invade Turkey?
Well, disputed since the old Soviet Union days wrt the Baltic states and the fall of the Soviet Union for the Ukraine, of which the Crimea was part of since Stalin's time IIRC. As those areas broke away from the Soviet Union, however, I think it's really only Russia that disputes their independence...and only since they were able to begin paying their military again. I'm unsure why, because Russia wants it that way that the US has to play along, though.

As to Israel, they don't occupy part of 'Palestinian territory' in defiance of 'international laws'. You could make a case that they occupy part of Jordanian territory, though not 'in defiance of international laws', but Jordan kind of gave up their claims so it's a gray area. I'm unsure what your Turkey and Cyprus claim is supposed to demonstrate...I suppose if Turkey gave up it's claim to Cyprus, Cyprus went independent and then a decade or so later Turkey decided that, no, we actually did want that territory and invaded we would probably have an issue, especially if Cyprus really wanted that independence. I suppose a case could be made, sort of, that Russia has a 'right' to keep the Ukraine and Belarus out of, say, NATO, since both were part of the old Russian empire. Not annexation though. But the Baltic states, which is what we were talking about? That's like saying that Poland should be part of Russia because the USSR conquered and occupied it.

It's not 'logical' for Russia to annex any of these territories...it's fucking stupid of them. The Crimea has been a drain on Russia, even leaving aside the sanctions and negative international reaction. Russia trying to do the same thing in the Ukraine has been a drain as well, and if they succeeded it would be a huge net negative. Attacking Latvia, which was what you were saying, would be much, much worse for them.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:25 PM
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NATO isn't going to fight Russia, too many nukes.

I'd say it serves a purpose in keeping Europe & America on the same side, if it split, there'd be the possibility for Europe to build up it's military then we could end up with a 3 or 4 way arms race like before WW1 but more so.

It keeps us notoriously violent Europeans fairly defanged and peaceful knowing that the US has it mostly covered.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:26 PM
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This seems to argue for a US/European split then, with the Europeans forming their own, internal alliance without the US. Is that what you are saying? If not, why not? If the US has, indeed been the greatest destabilizing force on the planet since 2002/3 it seems the Europeans would be better off without us on their side...no?
It would have been better if the US had listened to the Europeans and behaved more responsibly instead of wasting resources on the Iraqi adventure.

No, I'm not arguing that Europe would be better off without a US-European alliance. Whether it should continue to be use the framework that was used as a Cold War-era deterrent is perhaps up for debate, but the world is clearly better off with international cooperation, rather than international competition.

Unfortunately, those days appear to be coming to a close, and we have nobody but ourselves to blame. The Bush era's legacy will be the Iraq war and a global financial crisis. The former destabilized the Middle East and caused massive dislocation that spawned a new era of xenophobia and the rise of nationalism in the West. The latter weakened confidence that people have in global economic partnerships, thereby exacerbating nationalism. It's the perfect recipe for the collapse of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:30 PM
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It is on a long enough timescale, and the history of Russia and its surrounding areas is very long. The definition of "sovereign nations" is always changing.
Terrific! It's good to know that the USA is merely "disputed territory" between Canada and Mexico.
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I mean, if Russia declared that they wanted to annex, I don't know, Latvia, and marched troops into Latvia and declared that Latvia is part of Russia....I seriously want to know what you think should be done about it. Threaten to attack them? Actually attack them? Any military conflict with Russia, in my opinion, is a potential precursor to nuclear war. Is it worth risking a nuclear war over? In my opinion, it isn't.
The invasion of Crimea didn't cause a nuclear war, but it did create sanctions and elevate the level of international concern, which sends a message that further expansionism is going to result in rapid escalation. It's not always about nuclear war.
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What makes you think Russia would ever want to invade Germany, France, the UK, or Canada?
Well, they might feel they were swindled on that deal they made for Alaska. Which in fact they were. And it's annoying for them because I understand you can actually see Alaska from Vladimir Putin's front porch in Russia, so they keep getting reminded of their rotten deal.

But on a slightly more realistic and serious note, there are all kinds of disputed rights in the Arctic and various border areas. As a matter of fact, right now Canada is involved in a minor kerfuffle over fishing rights with whatsisname, that big place down south, oh yeah, the new Trumpian United States.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:32 PM
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That's fine, then you're against NATO existing. That isn't an irrational opinion, just one that I strongly disagree with. I say that because of the reasoning you've laid out, the Baltics would be just fine under the Russian flag, I assume because you thought they were just fine under the Soviet flag. But the people of those countries, as a whole, strongly disagree, to the point that they sought a multilateral alliance to defend their small countries against their historically aggressive neighbor.

My question fo you is, if you think the Baltics would do just well enough under Russia that you basically are unconcerned about it; do you think Germany would do well enough under Russia (if it came to that) that the U.S. should just let that go as well?
I don't think those countries would do well enough under Russia, but I'm not clear that on balance those countries doing less well under Russia is worth direct military conflict with Russia should Russia attack one of its neighbors.

I absolutely agree that as long as we are a member of NATO we should honor our commitment, and that the agreement does act as a deterrent. Simultaneously we don't need NATO to step in to defend other nations when our interests align. My simplistic view is that we don't need NATO any longer, however I expect there's a whole lot of complexity and downstream that I'm missing.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:32 PM
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It would have been better if the US had listened to the Europeans and behaved more responsibly instead of wasting resources on the Iraqi adventure.

No, I'm not arguing that Europe would be better off without a US-European alliance. Whether it should continue to be use the framework that was used as a Cold War-era deterrent is perhaps up for debate, but the world is clearly better off with international cooperation, rather than international competition.

Unfortunately, those days appear to be coming to a close, and we have nobody but ourselves to blame. The Bush era's legacy will be the Iraq war and a global financial crisis. The former destabilized the Middle East and caused massive dislocation that spawned a new era of xenophobia and the rise of nationalism in the West. The latter weakened confidence that people have in global economic partnerships, thereby exacerbating nationalism. It's the perfect recipe for the collapse of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism.
The thing is, we don't necessarily need a military alliance to have international cooperation...it's not a mutual exclusive or inclusive thing, where you have to have a military alliance to have cooperation between the US and Europe, or if we don't have an alliance we are automatically advisories and at each others throats.

I disagree with your position that everything can be blamed on the US wrt the current state of affairs globally, though some of what you say is certainly true and the US is certainly not blameless. Iraq was certainly a cluster fuck. But I don't think the US was or is solely responsible for everything bad that's happened since or during the Bush presidency. It is worrying that Trump is just one of several seeming right wing authoritarian types or groups in power, though I'm more worried about Xi and Putin than Trump, all things considered. YMMV and certainly I'll be happy when we shake the dust of Trump's presidency from our collective boots and relegate him to the ash heap of history.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:36 PM
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No it is not that simple. There's theory and there's practice. There is no reason to think that it would actually play out the way the treaty "requires."
Yes, there is. (Well, until Trump got elected.)

I'm afraid your rather poorly informed opinion that NATO nations must just look the other way to a Russian invasion is patently absurd, and apparently the product of not really understanding the issues at stake.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:41 PM
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Yes, there is. (Well, until Trump got elected.)

I'm afraid your rather poorly informed opinion that NATO nations must just look the other way to a Russian invasion is patently absurd, and apparently the product of not really understanding the issues at stake.
Well....I agree and disagree. It's really not as simple as you make it out to be. I've seen polls from western Europeans talking about what if scenarios where Russia invades one of the Baltic states and what should (or shouldn't) be done. In theory, what SHOULD happen is that the mutual defense treaties should go into effect and the other members of NATO should start to mobilize to take the country back. And I think that at the higher, government levels that's what most likely will happen. But in the current situation? What will Trump do? Because even if the US supports taking the Baltic states back it's going to be a hard sell for several of the western European nations, especially wrt their citizens. But I don't have any freaking idea what Trump would do...and without US support I really don't see the other members presenting a unified front to take back one or all of the Baltic states, no matter what the treaty says. Hell, given the state of several militarizes of the larger European states I don't know if they actually have the ability to project enough force to do anything substantial. Germany is the largest economy in Europe, and I saw an article from a year or so ago that said when they deployed for exercises they couldn't even fully equip those troops. Poland doesn't have the military projection capabilities. France has downsized, and while formidable in their own sphere on the defensive I doubt they could project much to help in the short or even medium term. The UK? They have a pretty good military that they have kept up, but they are a bit far away.
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  #46  
Old 07-11-2018, 02:41 PM
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It is worrying that Trump is just one of several seeming right wing authoritarian types or groups in power, though I'm more worried about Xi and Putin than Trump, all things considered. YMMV and certainly I'll be happy when we shake the dust of Trump's presidency from our collective boots and relegate him to the ash heap of history.
Which brings me to the other reason I think NATO is probably at least a 50/50 bet for extinction: our president is at best a useful idiot, and at worst, a willing asset to Vladimir Putin. And it is increasingly apparent that the Republican party machine is controlled by oligarchal interests with ties to the Kremlin. American isolationism benefits one person more than any other, and it's not Xi, it's Putin.

Last edited by asahi; 07-11-2018 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:45 PM
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Yes, there is. (Well, until Trump got elected.)

I'm afraid your rather poorly informed opinion that NATO nations must just look the other way to a Russian invasion is patently absurd, and apparently the product of not really understanding the issues at stake.

Nobody actually understands the issues at stake because they've never been tested. We know more about the atmosphere of Jupiter and the rings around Saturn and the existence of black holes, than we do about what a war with Russia would entail. It's abstract theoretical prognostication that we can do because we're lucky enough to live in comfortable countries with computers and electricity and running water and refrigeration. Please watch the BBC film Threads and you will see what the practice - as opposed to the theory - would entail.

Last edited by Lamoral; 07-11-2018 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:50 PM
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Oooooh, I'm supposed to get lessons on my profession from a thirty year old movie. Got it.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:51 PM
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It's the only movie I'm aware of that shows the reality of the aftermath of the nuclear war that you seem to want to start.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:53 PM
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Which brings me to the other reason I think NATO is probably at least a 50/50 bet for extinction: our president is at best a useful idiot, and at worst, a willing asset to Vladimir Putin. And it is increasingly apparent that the Republican party machine is controlled by oligarchal interests with ties to the Kremlin. American isolationism benefits one person more than any other, and it's not Xi, it's Putin.
Naw, it benefits both. China would LOVE an isolationist US for much the same reasons Russia would...it would give them a free hand in their sphere of influence. China is currently putting a lot of pressure on it's neighbors, and it's been the US that's been a thorn in it's side (well, until Trump). They would have already annexed the South China Sea region but for the US and our pressure for freedom of navigation in international waters. Taiwan would have been annexed by now but for the US, and most likely Japan would have had to give up their claims of the Senkaku islands and be totally on the defensive...Taiwan in mainland hands would be a dagger pointed right at their heart, especially with no US in the way. You could reel off similar things for just about every country that borders China. So, no, Xi would be VERY happy with an isolationist US...as much or more than Putin. At least Putin doesn't have to worry about a trade war with the US destabilizing his nations economy and setting back his planned for expansions.
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