INF - I don't hold back this time

The Able Archer 83 exercise freaked out the Soviets. They seriously feared that NATO was intent on attacking the Warsaw Pact. The West did not expect this, and was slow to understand it. Eventually, U.S. president Reagan was briefed on how seriously scared the Soviets were, and how close this episode had brought the world to World War 3 and the ruin of civilizations. It was one of the three or four scariest and most dangerous moments during the Cold War.
Then Reagan's best characteristic kicked in; he learned the lesson and turned from a Cold Warrior with aggressive rhetoric into someone who had arms control (and partial disarmament) treaties negotiated and eventually signed them as well.*

Land-based missiles between 500 km and 5,500 km have thus been banned between Russia and the U.S. through the INF treaty in 1987. The European countries did not circumvent this, and so land-based missiles of such ranges are effectively non-existent in both NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries.

A 3,500 km missile can cover practically all of Europe and the Mid East from Russian territory.

3,500 km radius

The by now ancient Polaris SLBM had a length of less than 10 m in stored configuration and much more than 3,500 km range. Missiles of this kind could be transported and launched from 40 ft, 45 ft and 53 ft ISO containers. The missile could carry one heavy warhead or three warheads sufficient for hardened aircraft shelters (akin to SDB).
The cost per missile + launch container might be around € 2...3 million, including a conventional warhead capable of penetrating 2.5 m reinforced concrete (enough against many if not most hardened aircraft shelters) before explosion, and alternative proximity fuse for above-ground explosion.

500 such missiles would cost maybe EUR 2...4 billion including the missile and payload development.

Now what could Russia do with such a relatively cheap arsenal?

without such complications as chartering container ships - straight out of legitimate military bases.

The military, deterrence and defence world as we know it isn't all about nature's laws. It's a product of path dependency. An important part of this path is that MRBMs and IRBMs were practically outlawed in the 1st and 2nd world just prior to PGMs becoming utterly commonplace. 

The threat of a precision-guided medium range quasi-ballistic missile alpha strike to air power has a historical parallel; Maxim machineguns vs. sabre-wielding cavalry. The only way to survive this is to not be in sight. To get rid of the MRBM/IRBM ban equals uprooting the security architecture of an entire continent.

The lying moron tramples on this pillar of European security**

He's proven himself to be the security threat number one to all of the EU and European NATO.
He's almost certainly a Russian asset. He's certainly earning Guinness World Records for inanity, idiocy, ignorance and dumbassery in the by now extremely unlikely case that he's no Russian asset.


*: There were other examples of where he reversed course, for example after the Beirut barracks bombing and in regard to tax cuts. Republicans post-Clinton pretend to revere Reagan, but they refuse to follow his example.
**: For absolutely no gain fucking whatsoever. Even IF the Russians HAD some treaty-violating cruise missiles - so what?  Cruise missiles take hours to arrive at long distances, we could prepare and defend against that. What shackles have the U.S. thrown off by leaving the treaty through chapter XIV? NONE WHATSOEVER. The inefficient and sluggish Pentagon bureaucracy won't even have such missiles ready for at least a decade, unless they want to park naval cruise missile launchers onshore. Which would be idiotic, considering that they could simply store naval missiles in some old ship hulk for the very same practically non-existing benefits. There's no sensible scenario that calls for U.S. land-based MRBMs/IRBMs!

The lying moron's and the one-trick walrus' amount of idiocy goes well beyond my horizon of imagination. I have not in my entire life met a man with such a despicable idiotic brain, and this includes the crazies who loudly argue with themselves on park benches!

True conservatives dislike punks.


  1. Remember when all of Europe's leaders were out in force screaming never trump?
    Actions have consequences

    America doesn't owe Europe anything and has no reason to put European interests above its own.

    1. I don't remember such a thing because it didn't happen. In fact, they were overly polite to Trump, more than amongst themselves.

      Moreover, you didn't pay attention. To leave that treaty does NOT serve American interests. There's no benefit involved. It's plain inept destruction for no gain whatsoever.

    2. "Moreover, you didn't pay attention. To leave that treaty does NOT serve American interests. There's no benefit involved. It's plain inept destruction for no gain whatsoever."

      Leaving NATO allows the US to avoid involvement in any future EU-Russia war. A costly affair.

      Given the EU and Russia have gone from being a synonym for the world economy to an economic backwater, the US has no reason to fear that victorious Eurasian power could rise to challenge it in any meaningful time scale.

      The US couldn't allow Germany to conquer Europe before 1945, or the USSR to after, because the resulting power would have been an existential threat to the US.
      Now, the resulting power of a United States of Europe would be of no threat to Fortress America.

    3. The topic here is the INF treaty, not the NATO treaty. You mix treaties up or are horribly off-topic. There's a blog post about North Atlantic Treaty nearby.

  2. Ive talked myself into betting there will be a near term civil war in the US. Although I do admit, I may have done a bit of park bench self argumentation in my time.

    1. PS, the scuttlebutt for justification on this seems to be that Bolton pushed for it. Justification, the Chinese arent included in the treaty, and the yanks are scared of DF21D and the like.

    2. There's no point. China isn't going to trade its MRBMs against non-existing American MRBMs. It would trade for American naval and air-launched cruise missiles, but that wouldn't require ditching INF and it's certainly not the plan of one-trick walrus while the lying moron has no plan.

    3. Their reasoning, Trump shout at the nasty Chinese, Trump play chicken with nasty Chinese. Chinese are scared. Chinese acquiesce.

      Looks like I was pretty prescient with the civil war thing though.

  3. So, do you think NATO still has a future, or should Europeans work towards a military alliance excluding the US ?

  4. No no no Herr Ortmann, this won't do. When the real world doesn't agree with one's paradigm, it's time to change the paradigm, nicht wahr? Not doubling down on it with increasingly complicated and improbable appendages in a Ptomelaic fools errand. It appears that because you view the "Russian" as your implacable foe and threat, and constantly harbour fantasies of refighting the second world war, while you consider the USA as at worse nothing more than a minor nuisance, that the behaviour of this latest benighted President of the US of A must consequently be the result of Russian influence. You have mentioned in the past stupid all-round destructive US behaviour, yet do not make of this a pattern, you insist that they are one-offs, since you must not be distracted from thinking and scheming around the concept of a "Russian invasion" whether it be of the Baltic wastelands or Poland! You are of course perfectly free to spend your time as you wish. It would only be appropriate however, that the greatest threat to "European" (that which you ill define and like many Germans, conflate with German) "security" (security from German conservative politicians of course is quite another matter) came not from the evil Ivan, but the USA which from 1995 (1993 if one includes US support to Yeltsin in the constitutional crisis + support to Chechen terrorists) helped destabilise countries on Europe's boundary, manufactured and aided the formation of crises, and when they arose helped escalate them as much as possible in 1995 (Bosnia + Operation Storm) , 1998-9 (Kosovo + Serbia), 2002 (ABM), 2003 (Middle East I), 2008 (Saakhashvili), 2011 (Libya), 2013 (Syria), 2014 (Ukraine), 2018 (INF). You know this, and have mentioned this in your blog. Curiously it has not affected your primary concern - protection from the Buryatian horde. But of course the Americans didn't mean any of this to in any way affect their "close allies". It was all just a mistake, understandable, really - or perhaps was it the evil Russians all along, influencing them? Ah yes, the Russians got Obama to "pivot" to Asia (threaten China as an independent state) and made the Republicans go mad at the mention of the word "Iran". My what a crazy world you live in! You have also mentioned the cost-benefit idea behind alliances, and the absurdity of a permanent alliance not aimed at another, it's just "sad" ;) that you're not willing to draw the next few conclusions - better dead than red has morphed to better anti-russian than right. Perhaps I am wrong to criticise you, but I do think you are better than this rant, though the buffoon Trump is sorely trying, I grant.

    1. As regards the stupidity and one-sidedness of the decision: I can only agree. I'm just pointing out this is what Washington does - unilaterally fuck with everything because it can. P.S. Since global warming is also going to be a problem, remember Obama (US establishment really) sabotaging / weakening the Paris accords in 2015?

    2. "It appears that because you view the "Russian" as your implacable foe and threat, and constantly harbour fantasies of refighting the second world war, while you consider the USA as at worse nothing more than a minor nuisance, that the behaviour of this latest benighted President of the US of A must consequently be the result of Russian influence."

      That is a stupid strawman which makes the rest of your contrubution useless.

      Hint: Sven only points to the obvious(?) fact that Russia is the only serious potential military opponent of Europe and is indeed able to do a lot of damage with certain military operations.

      And he corrcectly agrues that Europaen politics does not address these Russian option.


    3. Well, he's a bit conspiracy theory-ishy about the U.S. being a threat.

      I think I mentioned a year or so ago that due to their creeping towards fascism Europe may need to look at the U.S. as a possible (near) future threat and do its long term force planning accordingly.

      The only realistic threat in the short term is Russia (though I do not expect the U.S. armed forces to matter much in deterrence/defence for the Baltics). The lying moron is likely too incompetent to be a direct threat, but he sure tramples a lot on our security indirectly.

    4. I did not posit a "conspiracy". I merely pointed out that someone in the policy-making circles in Washington ought to have figured out that they are doing damage to their "allies". Either they 1) realise and don't care (still no 'conspiracy') or 2) they are that stupid - which is frankly even worse. It is however NO excuse: because perfectly knowable in advance - the exact numbers no, the qualitative impact yes. (Just like they could predict famine in Yemen) Or are we supposed to believe that in the age of Supercomputers and complex yet easy to write simulations that those with 700$ billion in DIRECT spending have no clue and crucially COULD NOT have a clue as to the impact of their actions? That would represent incompetence on a staggering scale. "He sure tramples a lot on our security indirectly" - that is the CRUX of my argument - that and that he wasn't the first and won't be the last either. Moreover, he is an empty vessel - loud-mouthed as he is a reality tv-star constantly bankrupt real-estate sleaze-machine with subpar-IQ is not to blame for the current crap, even though he possesses a base cunning.

    5. Their problem is egoism. It hurts them more than us, of course. They lost the contract social, the understanding that the government is them themselves doing things together. Most of them think that the government is some external entity that exploits and oppresses them.

      They have cultivated egoism for decades and it led them close to anarchy. That's why they don't value the fruits of cooperation, and many of them don't value cooperation as a method. They lose respect for the obligations that come from agreeing to compromises in agreements (cooperation). It's always me, me, me now - at least for those in power and roughly 30% of those with voting rights.

      The pattern is obvious, but it makes no sense to write a blog ranting about it all the time. Krugman et al do that already. Thus I did merely shout out in anger about a particular example of recklessness and ignorance.

    6. Decades? Are the Monroe Doctrine, the Banana Wars, and the conquest of the Philippines decades old? The humiliation of Chinese river patrols? Since when did Washington believe in treaties and cooperation (go ask the native indians) over might makes right? Or indeed some form of steady-state solution? (Here I emphasieze the uniqueness of the American experience, because while many polities have broken treaties, few have had the expansionistic dynamics of the USA) American history is quite the opposite - expanding from strength to strength, overcoming and massacring their enemies almost uninterrupted (1860-5) and becoming ever stronger in the process until sometime in the mid 1970's. The old Empires are dead: the largest, most resource-endowed and most aggressive oligarchic republic in the world persists, and it is not clear that either it's institutions, or it's supremacist ideology have adapted to the changing trajectory viz. the impossibility of infinite growth / relative power. No other polity in the world has had such a trajectory - not the Romans, not the Mongols - the conquest of the Americas in the North is unique in the weakness of the indigenous tribes, the richness and vastness of the land, and yes the racial dynamics of the situation - the indians almost wiped out and replaced, african slaves imported from Africa powering the economy through slave labour. This history has left deep rifts which are reflected in their internal, and to my opinion, external, politics. In my view this is rather troubling, and the deterioration of American internal discourse only serves to make them less trustworthy - were they on the whole perhaps more self-aware in the 60's/70's? As regards creeping towards fascism: What is your definition of fascism, and what makes America more fascist in substance (as opposed to appearance) than previously when there was segregation, corporatism - in the fascist sense of government mediation of business/labour relations, usually more in favour of the former, and infiltration + subversion of trade-unions + left groups through e.g. Cointelpro. Why is Trump a fascist or a fascist precursor when Reagan of Iran-Contra + War on Drugs fame is not? Or Nixon and Pinochet? Nixon was really rather fascistoid. If it's always there, bubbling under the surface, it is, to use 21st century jargon, "a feature not a bug". Question, how to fix it? To turn Pompeo's posturing on it's head, how can the USA learn to behave normally? It's a good question - I have no idea. Historically the US has prospered by pursuing "extremist solutions" - as you acutely observed - and it has generally done well by scrapping treaties and unilaterally imposing it's will. Even when it loses / fails to win on its own, maximalist terms e.g. in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, it downplays and marginalises the loss (in the case of Vietnam internalises and develops a dangerous Dolchstoß mythology) and continues with the old playbook. It's size and security have so far allowed it to do so, unlike most other historical polities - mistakes meant the destruction / weakening of the polity + very real consequences for those in power.

      The point of my confused diatribe is: to point out that dealing with American "fascism" is THE defining security challenge for the rest of the world for the forseeable future, even in the context of a strengthening China, and a no longer imploding Russia. Fundamentally, it's a plea for rational win-win solution development. The US can absolutely play a constructive role in this: how to convince it to?

    7. There was a period when the U.S. government was really interested in setting international law up, setting cooperation up. It peaked in the 1944-1949 time period, when UN and NATO were born.
      The extreme "me!, me! me!" only began with Reagan's campaigning for presidency. Reagan's administration was still capable of learning and eventually turned towards good faith negotiations, but hiccups aside, the turn towards "me! me! me!" and loss of sense for any win-win progressed afterwards.

    8. I'll take your interpretation on board with interest :) But what do you see as a possibility for the future?

  5. "Sven only points to the obvious(?) fact that Russia is the only serious potential military opponent of Europe and is indeed able to do a lot of damage with certain military operations." Namely, which? And for what gain?

    And he corrcectly agrues that Europaen politics does not address these Russian option."

    Sven / Herr Ortmann is an honest man. However, to my mind he cannot let go of his Cold War prejudices. As to the argument that Russia is the only serious potential military opponent in Europe: go take a look at the amount of combat ready (not mobilisation) units in the Western Military district and associated equipment 1997-2014. Wenn EU- und Nationalpolitikern im Ost-Europa den Krieg führen, und nicht nur einmal, oder zumindest es nicht verhindern, dann hätten sie es erwartet sollen, dass den Bär dadurch aufgeregt würde. This "military potential" is a self-justifying argument - a so-called "self-licking" ice-cream cone. Or is NATO expansion and Russian exclusion news to you? Moreover, the EU has the advantage of depth - the heart of Russian industry and its population centres - it's centre of mass if you like - lies much closer to the border than does the EU's. Sven bangs on about the Baltics, without mentioning that St. Pete has a population larger than all 3 combined. Thus the excuse of protecting the Baltics (useless, deindustrialised wasteland) is really about threatening Russia's No.2 city and ex capital. (Ukr. situation just makes it more interesting - btw. please explain why the EU supports US-installed neo-Nazi Roma-purging elements in Ukr. and how this makes everyone feel so much more comfortable and secure) Moreover, both history and cost/benefit+resources analysis makes a thesis of "Russian aggression" rather weak. Or were the poor Nazis wronged when the Russians pushed them to Berlin? Ah yes sob sob for Keitel and Jodel, Manstein, Guderian and all that verminous lot. But what did the Romanian Ionescu and Hungarian iron-cross do wrong? Sob sob. And Cossacks watering their horses in the Seine in 1814 was plainly unjust, that they didn't loot Paris to the last painting and franc then burn it down - fake news. It was all Alexander's fault anyway. Grow up!

    If you want to avoid the possibility of a a war - scenario breaking out, don't build up the potential. You know negotiate a treaty, indeed several! one of these things NATO and the US are constantly undermining. Or do you want to half-blunder, half-intentionally have a WW1 but worse scenario? I mean I suppose that way at the end of it, assuming you survived, you can say - well look there was a war - we were right and justified in undermining peace at every possible juncture. If you insist on building a meta-unstable system of international relations - fine. But if the perturbation knocks it over we all pay. LARP all you like, just don't make it serious.

    Btw. as regards this "potential" of the RF (1992-2018): is it responsible for creating millions of dead and refugees who need succour? Has it blown up a key energy supplier to Italy and the EU? Has it given weapons and political cover to EU separatists? Yeah, I did't think so. Moreover, the US has a significant military presence in Europe, including both the Sixth Fleet, and large SIGINT operations. The US Navy alone could project a lot of power in an unthinkable operation against its "allies". I mean it's a bad fantasy but so is yours of the "Suwalki Gap" nonsense.

    1. I'm not arguing for more military power. I argue for enough military power to be left after a strategic surprise effect, and enough of it being at the place of need in time.

      My posts on Russian conventional military weakness



      have even earned me suspicions of being a Russian bot, despite my track record of pointing at Russia as being the justification for military spending, not small wars.
      BTW, your idea about St. Petersburg is nonsense. Save for Finns and Baltics hardly anyone in the West pays attention to that city. Three Western countries have nukes aimed at it - we don't care how close we are to it.

    2. Mobilisation capacity cuts offensively too, as you know, as does stockpiling arms and ammunition. Moreover, you are ignoring the NATO elephant in the room. That the EU is tied in a permanent alliance with the USA distorts any such concept of a reasonable balance of arms, because the RF would need a lot more potential to take into account the USA. A European balance of power makes more sense than a European + US balance of power, but you ignore that NATO exists primarily as an US auxiliary (sockpuppet is I believe the baser word) and has done so since its inception. Its purpose is (and as we now know from the archives always has been) to allow the US to influence Europe and project power against Eurasia and Africa, not "peace and deterrence". So the logic breaks down because your criteria 1) cannot be easily implemented within a RF vs. NATO security framework and 2) the Americans desire least of all an independent EU and a rapprochement with its neighbours - keep the Amis in, the Germans down, and the Russians out. So in effect what your proposals would lead to, in absence of the their broader context, is to a destabilising US + local comprador poodles i.e. Poland led-arms race in Europe - which appears well underway: what with the ABM treaty gone since 2002, the CFE suspended, the Ukraine destabilised, the anti-Russian propaganda campaign in full swing, the first Aegis Ashore systems deployed, Polish calls for a "Fort Trump", and now the dismantling of the INF Treaty, maybe with New START to follow, there is something in the air. Its quite the cumulative crisis and it doesn't make me desire to add more armaments or capabilities which would be akin to pouring fuel on a fire.

      As regards St. Petersburg, do the words "Siege of Leningrad" really mean nothing to "Westerners"? It certainly means something to the Russians. The axis of attack were - the Baltics and from Finland, which is being courted by NATO. Nukes are bad enough, but conventional military power nearby would be seen as an almighty provocation - St. Petersburg is not only the 2nd city, it is a hub of industry, and a cultural and historical Schwerpunkt. And then there are Dr. Strangelove type figures like General Domröse who called for having 10 divisions! to "defend" the Baltics. Besides, in any scenario of war, there are not just the nuclear but also the conventional aspects. A good symmetrical situation would be having 10 Russian divisions in the Northern Italian Plain with missiles, planes, and artillery ready to swoop on Southern Germany - München, Stuttgart, Nürnberg - except that there is no historical memory or record of anything similar ever happening - much less of deliberate genocide. Of course these formations wouldn't matter because 1) nukes are threatening enough and 2) they would have severe logistic troubles, right? (Regarding 2 - this just makes the other side more suspicious about their exclusive usefulness as a first-strike force)

      So I suppose what I'm saying is: only shedding the overlordship *cough* *cough* "enlightened guidance" and advice of a superpower based on another continent, can the question of European security be successfully posed and thereafter solved.

    3. *MINUS THE ALPS* - there is no such geographic impediment between Baltics and RF or Finland and RF or Ukr and RF.

    4. There are many errors in your comment.

      There was no axis of attack from Finland against St. Petersburg. The Finns did avance a bit to retake territory and estbalish a defensible front line and then they steadfastly rejected German demands to be of any use in further attacks against St. Petersburg. They had an explicit policy of being no threat to the city, and that may be what saved them their sovereignty (mostly) in 1944.

      Indeed, almost nobody in the West knows about the siege of St. Petersburg. Germans, for exmaple, pay attention to the battles of (Barbarossa), Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin only. Even Bagration has dropped out fo the cultural memory.

      The EU is not linked to the U.S. through NATO; European NATO and EU merely have overlap. The EU is actually a defensive alliance itself, but nobody seems to pay attention to this.

      And there's no sockpuppet thing going on at all. It's a give-and-take. The Americans are still involved in European deterrence and defence (on paper) and Europeans still allow them to use some bases in Europe. The bases are useful for small wars that don't serve the American people, so many Americans see no benefit in NATO, but they should prioritise stopping to be suckers for small wars before complaining about Europeans.
      Certain NATO bureaucracy and HQ jobs are allocated in predictable ways (some are always European, some are always American).

    5. My point was that one cannot discuss EU security in a vacuum.

      "The EU is not linked to the U.S. through NATO; European NATO and EU merely have overlap." So you give precedence to NATO over the EU as being more fundamental? Bizzarre. Fine, one can work only in terms of NATO. Seems rather strange, given that the EU is the political superstructure of most of continental Europe.

      "And there's no sockpuppet thing going on at all. It's a give-and-take." Which is why the German borders are defended on the Hindu Kush. As for jobs being spread out - that's not an argument against sockpuppetry, but Bestechung. On a more fundamental level, it depends on what one takes sockpuppetry to mean: fine let's call it an unbalanced client-patron relationship, which gives figleaf cover for the arguments and logistics of interference at whim anywhere near (or even far) from said client. (Highly disturbing mental image in very bad taste: does that mean the EU is like an abused mistress of a stronger / richer and temperamentally violent man?)

      "The bases are useful for small wars that don't serve the American people, so many Americans see no benefit in NATO, but they should prioritise stopping to be suckers for small wars before complaining about Europeans." Wacko opinions held by a minority of voters - largely powerless anyway laut Gilens and Page - not what the Pentagon thinks. What is this wonderful construct the "American people" and how does it relate to the actual system of American social, economic and political relations? I.e. how do they "stop being suckers"? It's a loaded premise that they can choose not to, or indeed that they would choose not to!

      Part of the reason the Finns never moved further was that they weren't prepared to take the casualties to realise their Greater Finland - there was a defensive line north of the city - and their experiences in the Winter War - which they lost, as well as the broader mixed-bag of the Axis in 1941. Moreover, their presence certainly complicated the relief of the city, as well as real large scale evacuation - not over Lake Ladoga. The point was to starve the population, not take the city. So even as "chancers" the Finns materially contributed to the Siege.

      That the Germans don't know about the Siege of Leningrad is not surprising - they also don't know about Generalplan Ost, few know about the SS-Sonderkommandos, (even fewer about the German Schweinerei in Italy) Bagration is rather more surprising and the follow up of Kursk, the Dniepr operation even more so. Are the Belarussian partisans a thing?

      As an aside: in Italy too, the memory of the African expeditions in the 30's is suppressed, or "anti-partisan" operations in Yugoslavia, and Greece.

      Was uns nicht gefällt, bzw. nicht vom politischem Wert ist ist, wurde vergessen, außer besonderen unvermeidlichen Fällen wie der Holocaust, und auch dort ist in der "westlichen" Erinnerung die Wahrheit verlogen, indem die Zahl der (absichtlichen : Wannsee) Opfer von 11+ Mln. (Juden + Slawen + andere Minderheiten) auf nur 6+ Mln. (Juden + Minderheiten) verringert worden ist. This does not mean that it isn't important! The key fact that many of the Jews for instance were Soviet citizens, is also not addressed.

      I accept any and all errors on my part - I'm here to converse after all :) (On the internet it is very hard not to sound too polemic - so I apologise if it comes across that way)

    6. By mentioning Wannsee I am not implying that the numbers weren't reached, but that a broad variety of category populations were designated as targets - explicitly and by design. This is often simplied to mention only the hardest hit group (Jews) + groups of low political value - i.e. it's safe to remember also the Roma and the Homosexuals but not the Communists and the Slavs. Another corrupting influence of the Cold War.

    7. I suppose I am unfair when I categorically exclude EU advantages from the "Translatlantic Partnership" What would you give as examples of such?

    8. "So you give precedence to NATO over the EU as being more fundamental?"
      There's a text comprehension issue on your part.

      "Which is why the German borders are defended on the Hindu Kush."
      No, that's being done because politicians want to play games with the toys on hand as well.

      "Part of the reason the Finns never moved further was that they weren't prepared to take the casualties to realise their Greater Finland(...)"
      They also refused to allow a German army to move to Finland and attack Leningrad from the North.

      "What would you give as examples of such?"
      I mentioned it before; the biggest real benefit is that cooperation prevented an adversarial relationship, which would be very wasteful. It's damage control. We don't need the U.S. for European security. Our politicians like to accept American invitation to stupid great power games, though.

    9. Given what the Germans had been doing with the Wehrmacht I'm not surprised the Finns refused transit, but it had little to do with their humanitarian proclivities. Mannerheim was not a fool - he wasn't going to give up his strongest bargaining piece and compromise Finnish independence - including that of his government - all in one go.

      "The EU is not linked to the U.S. through NATO; European NATO and EU merely have overlap." Formally, no. In practice, in the real world, yes, Turkey aside. SWE / FI are being wooed by NATO, and there is little doubt they would side with the rest of NATO within the parallel EU structure. That doubt, particularly in the case of Finland, is rather important, but it is not large.

      "I mentioned it before; the biggest real benefit is that cooperation prevented an adversarial relationship, which would be very wasteful. It's damage control" + "Politicians like" argument. Politicians like what's in their interest, either individually, or in terms of their political ecosystem. Why do they want to? I don't think psychology works as a good explanation. Coercion, maybe, and corruption, and a certain historical development, with the psychological factors as secondary issues. If the motivator were psychopathy, that's a rather terrible indictement of the system.

      Moreover, your argument as far as I understand it, posits that the transatlantic relationship is a net plus. because the disadvantage of potentially turning Europe into a nuclear battlefield is balanced by the advantages of not having a confrontrational relationship with the US. (I may well have understood it incorrectly) However, I have been arguing that the current setup does not prevent the Americans from in fact fucking with us - it merely disguises an adversarial relationship, but does not prevent one. Of course, this in terms of actions of middling importance - it does prevent the US from consciously and openly building and deploying forces to attack Europe west of Russia incl. w. nuclear devices. It also prevents a European response of the same type. In this sense it avoides waste. However, I would argue Europe might benefit more from breaking with the alliance, in part because it would force the Amis to spread their resources more thinly - and would allow a reasonable modus vivendi with not only with Russia but also North African and Middle-Eastern countries. What Europe loses in having to consider anti-US defence it gains by decreasing the very real risk of escalation with its neighbours. It's also worth bearing in mind that a US denied bases in Europe and North Africa would have real trouble coming up with war plans & logistics to fight such a war. In fact, since I'm waxing utopistically, why not have the EU + NA under the Russian ICBM umbrella, and with everyone deploying much smaller conventional forces including the Russians? The idea did just come to me, so it may be more ridiculous than it sounds.

      I would argue that accepting a "bad optimum" is not a good long-term strategy, given the costs of sticking with the bad optimum as opposed to the idea of searching in the phase space for a better one.

    10. You may very well have a very different (and probably much more realistic :) idea of the costs involved in doing the searching)

  6. Treaties are respected, only if there is a balance of power. There was a balance of power between the USSR and the USA, but not between Russia and US. This is not for us, this is for China.

  7. Seems that all the usual lines from Putinist apologetists are posted on this thread. Evil NATO is "wooing" smaller European countries, Baltic countries are a "wasteland" not worth defending, there is a Nazi government in power in Kiev and of course the usual whataboutism regarding American military adventures overseas.

    For obvious reasons, 50 decades of Soviet occupation being one of them, pretty much all Eastern European countries have been begging for a place in Western organizations such as EU and NATO. Although these countries have been ridiculed for living in the past Cold War world, Russian wars of aggression against Georgia and Ukraine have proved them right.

    NATO buildup against Russia is simply untrue. For a long time NATO was unwilling to make defense plans for the Baltic countries, and only after Russian attack to Ukraine has NATO actually taken concrete steps, although small.

    Increased NATO activity is therefore a consequence of Russian rearmament and adventurism, it is not an action to threaten Russia. Even if somebody could explain how a nuclear armed power such as Russia could be threatened militarily, I would be very much interested to hear WHY would the West plan a Barbarossa II. The West that has been disarming since the early 90's. The idea is simply ridiculous in all it's utter stupidity. There is one clear thret from NATO to Russia though: NATO is denying Russian freedom of action against her smaller neighbours, and that is the reason NATO is seen as the enemy in Russia.

    It's worth remembering that USA has not been the aggressor in Europe but we have the local powers to thank for it. This may be different in Latin America or the Arab world, but this is definitely the case in Europe. While western democracies such as Britain, Germany and France are no longer threatening their neighbours, Russia is. In fact Mr.Putin is not keeping his revanchionist fantasies secret. Unfortunately for him, none of his western neighbours want to join the Russian sphere of influence.

  8. Oh really? So Einsatzgruppen (I meant to write that above - not Sonderkommando (of which they are a subtype - the language was kept deliberately vague) ) collaborators are not revered by the current rulers in the Baltics and in the Ukraine? Red Dalya Gribauskaite ex-member of the Communist Party was secretly yearning for "liberation" from the Soviet Union when she was at the higher party school? The Baltics and Poles want to be forced to emigrate because of a lack of job prospects? And there are no Nazis, neo or otherwise in the Ukraine? NATO and EU membership weren't offered as being part of the same package, both with the promise of economic benefits? Lying through your teeth doesn't help your argument, you know. No one suggested an intentional Barbarossa II, YET. (given the current winds of supremacist propaganda in the US and EU who knows what deranged lunatic might come up in 20 years) I'm currently putting forth a failure of decision making like that which precipitated the first world war - only worse. As for the reasons for a Western invasion - well please explain to me why the Russians would invade? (I'm actually giving you an advantage here, because Europe lacks many resources the Russians have but not vice versa - the Baltics are not unworthy of defense, but unworthy of invasion). Btw, can you refute my points about the Americans and their poodles fucking up EU security? And BTW, where was "Russian rearmament" in the 90's, early 2000's when this expansion took place? And the "West" has not been disarming since the 90's - it's been running down its armed forces in losing counterproductive wars of choice which have weakened EU security, have no legal or otherwise basis, and for which they are guilty of prosecuting aggressive war - without the political capacity of negotiating a way out of them. Meanwhile, the Americans never stopped work on Prompt Global Strike. "The USA has not been the aggressor in Europe" So I suppose deliberately inflaming the Yugoslav situation and equipping the Croations to do Operation Storm was not aggression? Nor was the whole Kosovo lie? It's not the 90's anymore, the lies haven't held the test of time. Even if that were the case, which I dispute, that's a really stupid excuse: we've only invaded, regime-changed, starved and Yemened our way across the globe, buy trust us, we won't do it here. Finally your mentioning of political systems "western democracies" seems to imply you believe that democracies do not threaten neighbours. I take it you believe in the patently ridiculous theory that (liberal) democracies don't go to war against each other? If that's the theory you use to explain which countries you agree with and those which are according to you "aggressive" then I can only point out the utter unsophistication, ahistoricity, and tendentiousnes of your worldview. Oh and I am not a "Putinist apologetic". I am less interested defending the image of a particular leader than I am in criticising the irresponsible build up of tension, which is mostly, but not entirely, attributable to the supremacist-extremist worldview of the United States. Newsflash: the rest of the World exists too, and as more than a mirror to your fantasies and internal tribal struggles.

    1. Moreover, please explain what Russia is, if it's not a liberal (no tricksy re-defining of what liberal means) capitalist democracy (a very broad spectrum), built on Yeltsin's plans / constitution, and currently ruled by his successor?

      What's your constructive proposal instead of smearing me as a "putinist apologist"?

    2. Agreed. "constructive proposal" - and I'm sorry for being overly defensive, and for being rhetorically carried away. (It is the internet and it gives us very thin skins) So I would reiterate - having lain down what we consider to be the "preliminary considerations" - what would be a possiblity to, at the very least, reduce the negative consequences of this particular decision? What can the EU do to mitigate it / and possibly the collapse of NEW START? - in a combined political-military approach? (If one doesn't have an appetite to discuss longer-term questions which become tricky and fraught - perfectly fine)

  9. I find the case made by the armscontrolwonk blog more persuasive: Bolton is by his own admission a rabid americanist, meaning that anything that restricts american freedom of action is inherently bad. In particular, international treaties are the work of the devil and must be abandoned.

    That was a slightly abridged and sharpened version of their discussion here: https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1206223/pulling-out-of-the-inf/

    1. The one trick walrus is an idiot, alright.
      Those people don't understand that the benefits of cooperation aren't for free - they depend on maintaining friendship. Ultra-egoism doesn't.

      It's also an intellectual disqualification if one thinks that greater freedom of action is a benefit in itself. Freedom of action is worth nothing without knowing a path how said freedom can be exploited for greater net gain.

      There was a generation of American politicians who were experienced and smart enough to build relationships and to build international law.
      There were generations that exploited the benefits of those systems while slowly building up disrespect for them.
      Now there's a generation that's so stupid it thinks it can enjoy benefits for free, and are greedy for ever more.

      The neocons were ruthless, but most of them at least they had a vision of why they were doing what they were doing. This bunch isn't even sophisticated enough to understand what they're dealing with.