Wednesday, March 02, 2016

They Don't Pay Me Enough to Read This Dreck

Please tell me that nobody actually listens to Lawrence Korb's advice on military and defense matters. He dismisses the Russian threat in Europe.

The man has long amazed me. He boasts of serving in the Reagan administration to obscure his left-wing agenda these days, and I can't imagine Reagan hiring him today. Truly, he has as much value on national security issues as taking an accordion on a hunting trip.

Korb, of course, dismisses and excuses what Putin is doing in Europe.

Let's start with the big picture of stupid with the title:

Don’t Fall for Obama’s $3 Billion Arms Buildup at Russia’s Door

So President Obama is the hawk trying to fool us into a defense spending spree?

And this subtly highlighted executive summary of the stupid is astounding:

There is no Russian resurgence. Washington is playing on your Cold War fears to get you to pay for something the U.S. does not need and can’t afford.

Again, this is the Obama administration doing this and it is guilty of playing on our fears?

Really? This is what we are to believe?

I can actually feel brain cells committing suicide in protest. But I will bravely soldier on.

In one of the key justifications for the new $600 billion defense spending request, the Department of Defense has fallen back on a tried-and-true Cold War boogeyman: the threat of Russian aggression against allies in Europe. ...

The Russian Federation of today is not the Soviet Union of the 1980s, despite the fervent wishes of those looking to restart the Cold War. ... The Russian military no longer has the ability to mobilize the combined forces of the USSR and Warsaw Pact as it once did.

At this point, a strong ef you Korb is in order. People worried about Russia really pine for the Cold War of constant nuclear tension and the threat of war hanging over us? That's the accusation.

Really Korb, that's small of you. Nobody can disagree with your passivity in the face of Russian rearmament, so-far smaller attempts to restore the empire that Putin makes no secret of wanting back, and aggressive rhetoric that paints a nearly disarmed Europe as a threat to Russia? No, we who worry about Russia wish for a threat to the West?

So sod off Korb. That charge is so offensive that I can't restrain myself.

But at least Korb admits that the Soviet Union posed a military threat. And yes, I've written that Russia's military is still quite limited in capabilities. I have not been shy about writing about their weaknesses.

But Russia is there. We are far away. And European NATO's limited military power is scattered across the continent. Russia's faces initial weakness in front of them and could push into that relative vacuum with little short of nuclear strikes to stop them.

And Russia has their own massive nuclear arsenal to deter that kind of escalation.

But let's return to the stupid, where Korb excuses the Russians:

Russia has long opposed the expansion of NATO into its traditional sphere of influence. The reasons are rooted in a history of aggression from Western Europe, as memories of the devastation meted out by Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Hitler still linger.

Ah, a "traditional sphere of influence." Which means that Russia has long controlled a lot of people against their will--look how eagerly eastern Europe and parts of the Soviet Union itself bolted when they got the chance between 1989 and 1991--and Russia would like to control them again.

Like the new NATO states in eastern Europe. Who don't think that a "tradition" of being subjugated by Russia is understandable. So apparently there is a tradition of not liking the Russian boot stomping on their face.

And really, Russia is to be given a pass on aggressiveness because 200 years ago Napoleon invaded Russia? Yeah, look out for the French! They could get expansionist again any minute!

Is this to say that Russia would be justified in advancing to the Rhine River to pen in the French lest they get all Corsican on the Russians?

And Germany, with an army barely large enough to pacify Denmark is going east in strength anytime in our lifetime?

Yet Germany invaded Russia twice in the twentieth century (we'll ignore the Teutonic Knights--which the Russians haven't forgotten--beware the Holy Roman Empire!). Is Russia justified in advancing to the Oder River for a nice defensive line to forestall a third try? This is why we should give the Russians a pass on their aggressiveness lately?

Let's push on into the Korbian Stupid as the stupid gathers strength as he complains about the fairly small spending program to reassure our new NATO allies:

But what will this program accomplish? It’s meant to deter further Russian aggression, but fails to identify where that aggression might reasonably fall. A NATO buildup of this magnitude also neglects to take into account just how provocative such a move would be; by concentrating troops on Russia’s border, we are playing into Putin’s long-standing criticisms of NATO encirclement.

Since we don't know where Russia could threaten NATO from Estonia to Bulgaria, we can't respond? We need a picture of Putin standing next to a tank with "Riga or bust" painted on the hull to justify a reaction?

And keep in mind that the "magnitude" of the American build-up is just the equipment of two heavy brigades, with a discussion of an actual heavy brigade that might be placed in Germany. This would be in addition to the Stryker brigade (which lacks tanks) we have in Germany and the very light parachute brigade in Italy.

This is not "concentrating troops on Russia's border" any way you look at it. You simply can't be stupid enough to believe this nonsense.

I hope. But I've been disappointed before.

And since Russia under Putin has complained about NATO aggression and encirclement while Europe's military has atrophied since the end of the Cold War, why should we refrain from taking precautions in the face of renewed Russian aggression?

Speaking of Europe's far larger military budget as Korb does ignores that the spending is largely for a civil service in uniform with very little actual military power created. Arguing that Europe could handle Russia esily ignores that Europe couldn't handle half of Libya (the half loyal to Khadaffi as the civil war raged) in 2011!

Russia isn't a superpower. But they have lots of nukes, modern weapons, and enough decent troops to take ground from their relatively weak western neighbors that could only be ejected by a lengthy mobilization and movement of NATO troops east, including a lot of American forces shipped and flown across the Atlantic.

All being done as Russia rattles their nuclear sabre to maintain their new hold on people they "traditionally" controlled.

Let me end this. I could quibble over every line of this drivel, and even delve into whether the use of semi-colons is misleading, if I let myself.

Korb ends his drivel (and I extend my sympathy to the intern stuck with Korb for this article) with the standard leftist response to any defense spending--it takes away money that could be spent on domestic spending.

As if the only way to find the money in our massive federal budget to rebuild a bridge somewhere is to look in our defense budget.

Honest to God, Korb is basically saying that President Obama--he who "responsibly ends wars" and believes "being on the right side of history" is defense enough--is making up a Russian threat to restart the Cold War!

Don't listen to Lawrence Korb. He plays the accordion badly, anyway.

Oh, and I was a soldier during the Reagan presidency. I like to think that Reagan would not regret having me associated with his presidency.

Excuse me, I need to take a long, hot shower.

UPDATE: Khazakstan recognizes the Russian threat:

There is no separatist rebellion in northern Kazakhstan, but the ethnic Russians, who make up more than a fifth of the country's 18 million population, are feeling increasingly insecure and some sympathize with the separatists in Ukraine.

The Ukraine experience has made the Kazakh authorities highly sensitive to any signs of disloyalty by ethnic Russians. Ethnically based political parties are banned.

Sadly, Khazak's rulers don't have the advice of big-brained, nuanced liberal analysts like Korb to dispel those worries.