Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NATO. Show all posts

Friday, November 7, 2014

Russia Continues a Policy of Permanent Invasion

Right on cue:

Kiev (AFP) - A column of 32 tanks and other heavy weapons has entered Ukraine from Russia, the Ukrainian military said Friday, after the latest fighting left five dead and at least 31 injured.

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a convoy made up of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer cannons and 30 trucks of troops and equipment crossed the border into the rebel-controlled Lugansk region on Thursday.

With American foreign policy in disarray, and with winter approaching, Russia moves troops into Ukraine for three reasons:

1. Because they can

2. Because no one wants to disrupt the flow of natural gas to Western Europe

3. There is no viable alliance of NATO countries with military capability

These troops will root around in Ukraine, and then they'll leave in order to be replaced by others. At some point, Ukraine is going to run out of troops and equipment and then the Russians will have what they want. Opposing them or driving them out would require logistical support from NATO which could, through the costly application of air power, assist Ukraine in taking control of the skies. We would lose a lot of planes and pilots, but so would the Russians. There is no stomach for any of that.

Western nations don't understand the Russian people. They are used to being deprived of things that we cannot live without. They're a tough people, and they will snap the necks of the Ukrainians while we worry about nonsense.

What will happen when Russia invades Finland? Will that be another nothingburger? This is what's happening right under our noses:

Finland and Sweden plan to work more closely with Nato by signing a pact that allows assistance from alliance troops in the Nordic countries in emergency situations, officials said on Wednesday.

The move comes as Nato prepares for a summit next week in Wales amid heightened tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300km (800-mile) border with Russia.

The Finnish government said the host nation support agreement applies to situations which include "disasters, disruptions and threats to security". It also enables joint training exercises and military cooperation.

Finnish defence ministry senior adviser Mika Varvikko said Finland intended to sign the agreement at next week's summit. Sweden is also expected to do so.

Both countries, which already train and work closely with Nato in international operations, insisted the agreement did not mean they were moving closer to joining the alliance.

"There is a very sharp difference between being a member and not being a member," the Swedish defence minister, Karin Enström, told the Associated Press. "We are an active partner with Nato and we want to deepen our partnership with Nato."

From October:

Seven months ago, when Russia seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Finns seemed relatively unconcerned. The world's northernmost country shares some 800 miles of border with its huge neighbor, but just a quarter of Finns said they felt threatened by Moscow. And a similar number told pollsters their country should consider joining NATO in interest of self-defense.

Since then, Russia's behavior has become more provocative, and not just in eastern Ukraine. During one week in August, Russian military aircraft conducted three unauthorized overflights of Finnish airspace. The Finnish public reacted accordingly. A poll last month by Finnish daily Aamulehtishowed that 43 percent of those polled perceived Russia as a danger, an increase of nearly 20 percent from March.

But support for Finland joining NATO remained almost unchanged: a mere two percent higher, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) found. Why hasn’t Finnish wariness translated into stronger support for NATO membership? And what, if anything, would persuade Finns to join the defense pact?

 And a fine example of blaming the victim:

Do Finland want to start World War III? It's something to think about if Finland wants to join NATO, warns Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal envoy Sergei Markov.

It's not Russian hatred against Finland, but if Finland joins NATO, it shows that the country has a Russia-complex, said Markov, who is a political scientist, to the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.

NATO will not save Finland, no matter what the treaty says. The Finns should embrace their Russian overlords and hope for mercy. They won't get any help from the West unless someone finds oil or natural gas in abundance somewhere in a part of Finland that is conducive to extraction and exploitation. What's happening in Ukraine is a forecast of what will happen for the frontier of Russia over the next decade.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Would We Go to War For Finland?

Even though the idea of Russia annexing or taking over Finland seems far-fetched, there are concerns over things like this:

Russian military drills near neighboring Finland have provoked concern that northern Europe may be the next focus of Moscow's seemingly renewed appetite for redrawing its borders.

Troops and jet fighters from all four military regions of Russia were deployed Sunday about 150 miles east of the Finnish border, according to the English-language newspaper Finnbay. The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that the exercises were pre-planned and that more than 50 fighter pilots took part.

Finland was part of the Russian empire for 108 years, from 1809 until Russia’s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. The Karelia region, where the war games are taking place, straddles the Finnish border and has historically been a heavily militarized zone for Moscow.

Finland is not a NATO country; that would have been too much of a Cold War provocation for the Finns and it would have been unrealistic for the NATO alliance to have expected Finland to accommodate anything in terms of a military alliance. The old Soviet empire was built with a huge buffer zone around it for a reason--to repel invasion. Their previous fights with Finland were horrific battles of attrition. The Finns, however, had to cede territory to Russia before the end of the Second World War. This history is far more relevant that a discussion of what happened after the Czar was murdered.

Russia in the modern sense has no physical fear of invasion but it does have a fear of being irrelevant. The Finns, having the euro currency, twenty years of membership in the European Union, and a cultural and linguistic difference that is very much pronounced, don't have to worry about where they fit into the fabric of Europe--they're the equivalent of a made man in the old mafia structure. If the Russians were stupid enough to invade, Europe would reach a tipping point that would require a military response. The post-World War II borders are all but sacrosanct--they have delivered stability for not quite four generations.

In short, everyone would go to war for Finland in a way that they would not go to war for Ukraine. The preservation of the euro and the need to stop a recklessly expanding Russia would trigger an all out defense of a very profitable and content status quo. That's a calculation that is easy to make. No one would allow it and no one would hesitate to do the unthinkable, and that is, go and fight Russia's land forces.

We have never been nearer to a repeat of the First World War than we were when the Balkans exploded in the early 1990s, and it is because of Russia's inability to accept the verdict of the Second World War. The Europeans and the Americans would all go to war over Finland, and they would do so because a failure to stop Russia would lead to the loss of a post-war standard of living that leads the world.