Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cause and Effect

Are the Russians so stupid that they honestly don't see that NATO didn't start to move major units into new NATO states in the east until after Russia invaded Ukraine, upsetting the peace that Europe has enjoyed since 1989 when the Soviets lost their Warsaw Pact imperial holdings?

NATO has called out Russia over their invasion of Ukraine:

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday demanded that Russia withdraw its forces and military hardware from Ukraine, and halt its support for pro-Moscow separatists battling Kiev.

"Russia needs to stop supporting the militants and withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory," Stoltenberg said after a meeting of NATO defence ministers with their Ukrainian counterpart in Brussels.

This statement may be an attempt to apply the clue bat to the heads of the Russians who simultaneously invade a European state and complain that NATO is inexplicably hostile to Russia.

Maybe--now let me speculate wildly here--just maybe, Russia's actions and rhetoric have caused NATO to finally spend the money to move troops into states on Russia's border who fear Russia is too unhinged to trust these days:

Britain, Germany and the United States advanced plans on Tuesday to spearhead a new NATO force on Russia's border from next year, and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap checks on combat readiness across his armed forces.

Weeks before a critical NATO summit in Warsaw, three of NATO's biggest military powers said they would each command a battalion across the eastern flank to help deter any show of force such as that deployed by Moscow in Crimea in 2014. ...

Germany is likely to deploy to Lithuania, the United States to Poland and Britain to Estonia, on a six- to nine-month rotating basis. Other NATO nations will eventually take command responsibilities, diplomats told Reuters.

Canada is likely to lead a battalion to deploy in Latvia.

While Russia is likely to argue that effect has preceded cause by saying the NATO decision justifies Russia's aggression and rhetoric, anyone with a functioning brain stem should understand the obvious:

"You don't invade with a few battalions, okay?" the U.S. envoy to NATO, Douglas Lute, told reporters. "But you can deter, and you can affect a potential aggressor's calculus in terms of cost, benefit and risks."

The Russians claim not to understand the obvious. I hope they are just posturing and don't really believe NATO is a threat. But with their abundant paranoia that flows with the volume you normally only get with hydraulic fracturing, I fear the worst.

America will also add a heavy brigade to Europe, although it technically won't be a permanent addition to the parachute and Stryker brigades (one each) we keep in Europe.

And NATO hopes the new rapid response force of 40,000 (the NATO Response Force ) capable of reinforcing the eastern front will add to deterrence.

When the neighborhood gets rough, potential victims of aggression like to have Americans around them.

Ponder that Russia continues to hype a non-existent NATO threat while China's ability to do what they want on the Russian-Chinese border--which Russia moved south in Russia's favor in the 19th century--grows every year.