Nuclear deterrence for Europe (Part II - No easy solutions)

Part I described why nuclear deterrence may have poor credibility, notwithstanding the immense destructive potential that the three NATO nuclear powers have at hand. There's little reason why Estonians should trust any of the nuclear power to use nuclear strikes in defence of Estonia, for example.* To do so would risk the existence of New York, London or Paris.

A simple response could be a call for more nuclear powers in Europe. Nukes for Germany! Nukes for Spain! Nukes for Italy! Nukes for Poland!
That wouldn't solve the basic problem, though. Nobody would want to risk Berlin, Madrid, Rome or Warsaw over some NATO-peripheral attack either. The whole approach would risk the global nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NNPT) that so far appears to have been very useful at avoiding nuclear warfare. We wouldn't want to see some Saudi nukes, Indonesian nukes, Nigerian nukes, Brazilian nukes, Mexican nukes, Argentinian nukes, Chilean nukes, Iranian nukes, Japanese nukes, South Korean nukes, Taiwanese nukes, Algerian nukes or Turkish nukes, right?

Shared control of existing nuclear arms stocks also violates the NNPT (article 2). 

Another approach would be to build and keep ready and in range a conventional military that could successfully defend even against nuclear-armed invaders. This isn't impossible, but it would put greater demands for stealth, agility and dispersion on this force than on the invaders. This puts the defenders at a disadvantage at least according to 20th century military theory. This disadvantage could be overcome by greater allocation of resources, which is an undesirable condition. Nuclear-survivable conventional forces may be an answer to a tactical nuclear strikes-supported conventional aggressor, but not to a 'strategic' nuclear threat. The threat of 'strategic' nuclear attacks (on cities) could stall the employment of such conventional forces on the political level.

Another relatively simple solution is to bolster credibility again by putting an unstable person in control of one of NATO's nuclear arsenals. This person must not be a Russian asset or otherwise easily corruptible, though. This is another rather unsatisfactory approach for obvious reasons.

We could - what a weird idea(!) - also strive to reduce if not eliminate lingering conflicts and possible motivations for aggression. In all honesty, NATO doesn't appear to be capable of a much more serious attempt to do so than was already tried, and Russia doesn't seem to move towards such conflict relaxation, either. There's currently very little reason to believe in the imminence of a Russian invasion of the Baltics or other NATO territory, and it appears to be very hard to consistently further reduce the risk by addressing existing conflicts of interests or opinion.

To distract a nuclear threat by provoking a hostility or rivalry between the threat and some distant power (say, Russia vs. PRC) is difficult to pull off and unethical anyway.

Likewise, a return to the craze of the Cold War appears to be counterproductive. The own deterrence could become more credible because of the craze, but the very same craze could also trigger a war. Moreover, the associated arms racing would be extremely expensive and wasteful.

A distributed capability of devastating non-nuclear second strike (devastating enough to lead to a collapse of governance, such as by EMP or 'cyber' attacks that shut down the electricity grid for months) is an interesting idea.
Its deterrence value depends on its credibility, though. Any novel idea faces difficulty in getting respect, and reliably so.
For example, imagine every country in NATO and EU had a 'kill switch' for the entire Russian electrical grid, with a capability to outright destroy so much of it by overloading that repairs for restoring power to Moscow would take a year. That 'kill switch' would still be worthless as a deterrent if this capability was not believed to exist by the Russian president.

There don't appear to be any obvious, easy, elegant or otherwise really satisfactory solutions to the identified problem.


*: Estonians, stop producing fodder for Russian propaganda with your anti-Russian rhetoric and politics already! 17.9% for a party that's hostile to Russia and Russians (especially the Russian minority) as well as claiming territory from Russia - that's asking for utterly unnecessary trouble.


  1. Here's an easy solution: rapprochement.

    If Russia is a threat, make it a friend and the threat goes away. The posturing of NATO in the Baltics does not go unnoticed by the Kremlin. The reason Putin or someone like him is so inevitable in Russian politics is because of NATO. De-escalate the threat, open up trade to reinvigorate the Russian economy outside of oil exports and watch the autocracy undermine itself - or at least be significantly distracted by the rise of internal rivals.

    The alternative is to wait it out. The population of Russia is aging. There is no industrial or economic policy that can fight this outside of Russia opening its doors to mass immigration. In another generation the youth of the nation will be so overwhelmed by the need to support the elderly population that war is no longer credibly sustainable.

    In the mean time French warheads will prevent outright aggression and restrict foreign policy options to deniable operations. NATO should see these for what they are: Russia trying to play at being a great power again. If Putin wants to rebuild the USSR through force of arms let him try. The Soviet empire is dead - and a unifying ideology, not conquered territories - is the only thing that can sustain it. But with Stalinism fully discredited this will not happen.

    1. I fully agree with you.

      If Russia want to be a power again doesn't need weapons, it needs people (better if educated people) to use all the unused space and resources it has.

      Russia was a power when had together a big and a fairly educated population.

      But a all that need forward thinking...


  2. 'Return to great power conflict', this exists outside of the world of nuclear weaponry. There is a disagreement over where borders and non-conflicted spheres of influence are drawn. That spells conflict, on all levels, including nuclear signalling and nuclear employment(war).

    Because nuclear weapons exist, all conflicts between powers or blocks that have nuclear weapons must be considered to be nuclear conflicts.

    I can see three outcomes.
    No war, successfully disincentivised through the nuclear balance of terror.
    A strategy that attempts use of tactical nuclear weapons to create a burn zone in order to secure gains in a small territorial conflict, something to close the Suwalki corridor?
    Total global nuclear war.

    If anyone attempts the second option (tac nukes), I can't think of any permutation of the year following that event leading to massive paranoia and global nuclear war.

    The danger is the second option, because it makes leaders imagine nuclear weapons offer a new way to secure contested territories.

    Only viewing nuclear weapons in terms of total planetary destruction renders them 'boring' to leaders, there must be a third way (picture that gimp tony blair here). I see that boredom, that dissatisfaction with the 'taboos' of old spearheaded by some dink like Kissinger or some vat of morons like rand corp leading to our demise. Faulty logic will kill us all.

    In the meantime, thank the French and fund their projects under the table by buying lots of their lovely wine and cheese.

    1. But French Nukes exist to destroy the Russian army in West Germany.
      They might possibly maybe be used to destroy the Russian Army in Poland, but I wouldn't count on it.
      France isn't going to risk French lives for Estonian, or EUropean lives.

    2. My head, wall. Repeatedly meeting each other.

  3. As others have pointed out, the best means of preventing conflict is to remove the incentives for such. That's not hard. Or haven't 20th century disasters been enough to show us that wars between Industrial nation states cannot be rationally defended? No reasonable benefit can accrue to the "victor" of such a conflict: what can he force the subdued "loser" to do? Short of dissolving the losing state, genociding its population and taking over wih settlers? Or perhaps turning it into a colony? But what raw materials are there worth fighting over in Europe? Oil, Aluminium, Gas, and Titanium in Russia perhaps? And how short-term must one think to favour seizing them instead of paying for them? The ridiculous nonsense of fighting a war over "ideology" made 0 sense in 1945 and makes even less sense today, much rubbish about the Russians/Chinese "trying to destroy Democracy" zum Trotz. We now know it was rubbish about "Communism on the edge of a bayonet". Sven how can you not mention the US after '89 going berserk and laying claim to world domination? The Russian armed forces were very weak '93-2012 and they've not been the ones trying to set the world on fire. It's rather bizarre to neglect this when considering such scenarios - the capabilities resulting in military deterrence don't just magically appear. (Neither, as everyone admits, are they the most important reasons for not having an outbreak of hostilities) And what you suggest with the electrical grid is raher naiive given that it would 1) involve mass deaths e.g. in hospitals 2) make the country very weak to conventional invasion - hence paranoia 3) isn't technically feasible anyway without many things going boom - at which point they'll start going boom on both sides. You're quite right about NATO having backed itself onto an escalatory ladder with no way off though. It will be darkly amusing to see them in 2035, schizophrenically ever more dependent on Russian energy, and ever more hostile to the Russians. It will be rather scary - immagine lots of arguments about how the Russians don't deserve to administer Russia, much less the oil and gas fields. Or has the current Oil play on Venezuela somehow escaped your attention? Do you think the Russians aren't watching carefully as NATO tries to install their own puppet to re-privatise and take control of Venezuela's oil?

    1. Wars cannot be profitable all costs taken into account, but that doesn't reliably stop bad leaders from starting wars. Hence the need to take away the illusion that a war "can be won".
      This had implications both for conventional and nuclear deterrence & defence efforts.

      Regarding the Americans; I wrote enough about them in other blog posts over 10+ years. This one is focused on a different topic.
      BTW, I don't think the current U.S. policy is really about oil.

  4. I broadly agree with you. But I am not convinced that it is the Russians who believe in the goodness of war. If anything it is NATO and NATO egged-on regimes which have demonstrated a willingness to resort to war. Kosovo and Georgian war in 2008 being excellent examples as well as support for Operation Storm in '95. Outside Europe they have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and tried to strangle Iran through embargo. In Syria NATO first flanned the flames (or did those thousands of ATGMs never exist?) and is now cynically trying to keep the Syrian war going so as to delay an outcome they don't like. One can't simply airbrush this away and talk generally about all sides needing to stop seeing war as a solution. I know you call these conflicts "stupid conflicts" but that doesn't make them not have occurred.

    This then begs the question, how does one get NATO to stop believing in wars? That to me, is not very clear. The question clearly has very little to do with Russian / NATO military capability, and rather more with NATO / 3rd world country capability. S-300 in Iran are an example, as are their indigenous ballistic and cruise missiles. Unfortunately, this solution requires the 3rd world to arms race NATO to security. It's not an optimal solution, nor is it feasible for most of them. So perhaps an alliance of the 2nd and 3rd worlds, with RU and China providing guarantees? That might actually work. I can't immagine it being terrible popular in Europe or the US though.

    Whether the US policy is solely about oil is immaterial. That oil plays an important role with respect to Venezuelan considerations cannot be denied.

    1. Venezuelan oil is like Iranian oil; the less is being 'produced' and exported, the better the price for American-'produced' oil, and the more profits for American oil companies. Meanwhile, they produce so much oil that quantitative supply isn't the problem.
      They could simply lift sanctions if it was.

      Regarding American aggressiveness; it's a bit issue, and I carefully pushed the notion that European deterrence and defence should be ready if the need arises to treat the U.S. as a threat country.
      Yet so far European NATO / EU have Russia as the only realistic threat.

    2. "That oil plays an important role with respect to Venezuelan considerations cannot be denied."

      Yes, it can be denied.

      The USA is a net oil exporter, with vast reserves in its section of the Arctic Ocean, with friendly neighbors with significantly greater proven oil reserves (and one with vast Arctic reserves as well).

      If U.S. foreign policy were 100% rational, it would drop NATO membership and pursue relations with its third neighbor, Russia, which sits ~40km across the Bearing Straight.


    3. Actually, the situation is more complicated than repeating that the US is a "net oil exporter". Hydrocarbons aren't that simple. Even the most basic statistics from the EIA refute this: the USA imports vast amounts of crude and exports mostly refined products. Apart from higher value added considerations, this is also likely the case because shale oil is unsuited for much other than petroleum and diesel. The other chemicals must be refined from heavier crude - with applications such as lubricants, asphalt, plastic production. Why otherwise would the US go to the trouble of building special refineries to deal with sulphorous Venezuelan oil if they didn't want it / need it!


  5. Couldn't a Hezbollah+ strategy work here? Arm the Baltics and Poland with large numbers of conventional and incendiary missiles, place them on a wide front across the border with Russia, and aim them at Russian cities (Yes, using those weapons to kill civilians is against the laws of war, but so is using nukes against civilians - so it's no more illegal than the US Cold War deterrence strategy.). If Russian troops overrun the Baltics, at least one city (preferably St. Petersburg, since it's a vital city, but targeting it is obviously not a decapitation strike) gets the WW2 Dresden/Hamburg/Tokyo treatment.

    Killing hundreds of thousands of Russians and burning much of a historic city such as St. Petersburg to the ground sounds like a deterrence plan to me.

    1. Who's going to pull the trigger on those missiles?
      What do you think the St Petersburg division, occupying Warsaw, will do if Poland launches a mass casualty attack on St Petersburg?

      What do you think Poland thinks they will do?

    2. The missiles are already in the air well before the Russians reach Warsaw. It's just like in the Cold War: use it or lose it. And the ones pulling the triggers will be local soldiers on the brink of being overrun. And if Russia burns an occupied city to the ground, the West has the option to retaliate with strategic bombing of civilian targets once Russia runs out of AA missiles (it doesn't have the economy to sustain a war). Does Putin really want to harden the hearts of Westerners by slaughtering civilians when he can't afford a long war?

      The point is that the missiles are fired in the opening stages of an invasion, before the main population centers are overrun, but during the destruction of defensive NATO forces.

      And the goal isn't to 'win' an atrocity tit-for-tat. It's to deter. Will Putin accept even a 50% possibility of the devastation of St. Petersburg for Warsaw, or for the Baltics? It works for Hezbollah against Israel, which is perfectly capable of reducing Lebanon and Hezbollah ally Iran to ash.

    3. Your reply is delusional on a number of grounds. 1st of all any such arms build up in Poland and Baltics will be countered by arms buildips of the other side. Secondly, US Cold War posture was 1) more complicated than pure-countervalue "balance of terror" reductionism and 2) was arguably terrible policy - immagine being stupid enough to both foment then proceed to lose an arms race so badly that you end up with a 3-fold warhead disadvantage! Moreover, starting an arms race which started with you having the unilateral power to menace Moscow with bombers and ending with MAD on your own soil. Thirdly St. Petersburg is important because of it's population and industry, not because it is a historical city (if it were one - 300 years old is hardly "historical"). And the General Staff's mission is to protect the nation, not one city. Or what were they supposed to do when the United Europe of 1941 conquered and destroyed hundreds of cities, many older and some would say more beautiful, populations included? "Harden the hearts of 'Westerners'" As though they needed hardening. Rest of the World has a different opinion on "benevolent Europeans, bearing gifts". "Burning an occupied city to the ground" ridiculous and even reckless fantasy (cities are more useful unburnt)...unless the city is called Raqqa, mind you. Btw, if such an appalling conflict were to start, it would involve tactical nukes from day 1, several hundred per day - needless to say these are even more harmful to health than strategic warheads. Now ask yourself who can deliver the warheads and has the armoured forces to follow up such a bombardment - if the Russians were willing to risk such a war, they would win it - no more non-Russian European armeis for a start, and very few Central Europeans left. But peace is better than war, particularly such a war. Stop trying to project your Hollywood scenarios onto the real world. Finally, one last word: given the very low attrition rates necessary to break airforces and the potential of current SAM defences, which would you run out of first, planes, kamikaze pilots, or SAMs?

  6. You got one more day t come up with a better solution than mine before my Saturday post. I would have no replacement post in the pipeline...

    1. Germany is developing Israels underwater missile chuckers, just give a couple of those darlings to the Slovakian navy. That will really confuse the enemy. Nobody has a contingency plan for the geostrategic ramifications of a SLBM armed Slovakian navy, of that you can be sure.

      Ten years, end of history dividend. At least.

    2. That might be cause Slovakia is landlocked. Perhaps you meant SLBMs in the Adriatic to the Slovenes?

    3. How about scrapping NATO and the major world powers coming up with a grand compromise? At the very least negotiate major arms reductions, in both strategic arms and conventional forces. Removing sanctions / blockade threats and a promise of non-intervention would also be positive. Mind you all this goes 100% against Yankeestani dynamics, so has 0% of being implemented. They're either sanctioning or considering sanctioning half of the world, picking economic fights, increasing military spending, talking of "defeating Russia and China", and re-introducing failed Star-Wars concepts, including the militarisation of space. In this light, the best thing sensible Europeans can do is 1) pray 2) try to avoid paying Americans protection money 3) desist from inflaming the situation in E. Europe and joining the developing anti Chinese campaign. Open defiance is probably not a good idea, equally trying to cajole the Americans into compromise is a losing proposition. Ultimately, the Europeans cannot cure the Americans of their ultranationalism, but can avoid being their tools.

      As regards nuclear policy, I remain to be convinced of the relevance of the scenarios above to reality. Since I do not think that nuclear weapons are the primary deterrent to war in Europe, I do not think Europeans cannot somehow achieve "greater deterrence" than today by building more nuclear weapons capability. If one were the first proposition to be true, and one insisted on finding a military "dimension" to improve upon, I would suggest building an integrated air defense network and building up more dual-purpose infrastructure across Europe (not just in E.Europe). If Europeans had more freedom of action, I would propose to come to agreements with the Russians, and North African states so that they don't fear us and we don't fear them. I'd be quite curious about how 2011 was perceived by North African elites - they probably didn't European hearts needed hardening.

    4. "*can ...achieve" and *"think ... hearts"

    5. "major arms reductions, in both strategic arms and conventional forces" Russia will not reduce their conventional forces, the main utalitarian realistic scalar for force composition in Russia is to retain the ability to smack down internal descent and keep break away satelites in line. The Central Military District has been where the majority of their conventional forces have been held for the last 20 years, it is where they will remain. Why? Because they are worried about the central republics breaking away or suffering civil wars (regardless of who lights the fuse).

      Russia is a basket case pariah state. As long as it remains in tact it will remain so. Does that mean relations can't be improved? No. Does that mean they can ever be relied on? No. Does that mean that they will ever not be the main threat to european security? No.

      So you go dove on Russia, then hawk on China? There's only one ideology I know of that supports that strategy, not saying you're in it probably that I lack imagination.

    6. "So you go dove on Russia, then hawk on China" I recommended not joining the anti-Chinese campaign in the making. And using the loaded words "hawk" and "dove" is counterproductive. I'm for not fucking things up for the sake of it.
      "There's only one ideology I know of that supports that strategy" Which is? I've never heard of it.
      "a is to retain the ability to smack down internal descent and keep break away satelites in line" What internal dissent and breakaway satellites? The interior ministry, as in most countries, is responsible for keeping order internally. The Army was sent into Chechnya originally because well-armed Chechen terror militias were massacring non-Sunnis and because of Yeltsin's incompetence. In '99 the Chechens invaded Russia.
      " The Central Military District...they are worried about the central republics breaking away" I don't think your Geography is right. Southern Military district is the potentially hot one. And which central "republics" could break away? Western Siberia which is more ethnically Russian than the rest of the country? Or the Volga Tatars which have been part of Russia for 500 years?
      "Russia is a basket case pariah state" You mean unwise politicians have once again pushed the Russians to the margins of Europe and deny them entrance to the civilised club. Historically inadvised. Racism is rather unbecoming in the 21st century.
      "Does that mean that they will ever not be the main threat to european security?" When have the Russians ever been the main threat to European security? The main threats to European security were the pernicious appetites of the European empires and the Ottomans. Of these European Empires the Russians probably did the least harm. The one thing they'll never be forgiven for, the partition of Poland, was done in accordance with the predatory rules of the time and in concert with the equally predatorial Prussia and Habsburg Empire. Finally, blaming the Russians instead of the Germans for the post-1945 security posture is a bit rich - oh and eventually they retreated in exchange for only empty promises - rather like post 1815, only slower. If the other Europeans allow themselves once again to start something against the East they will only have themselves to blame.

      Lastly, the whole of the Russian energy infrastructure is currently oriented Wested 1) because 50 years ago that was in the direction of a disproportionally large percentage of world consumption and 2) because of the Russian European policy. Locking them out could very well mean a redirection of the Energy flows keeping alive what's left of European industry to the friendlier Asian nations. Read the forecasts of European energy consumption / production and reports on the Russo-Chinese pipelines. Building more pipeline capacity is expensive, but does give them options.

    7. I would like to make one more point or clarification. In 1813 there was considerable public support for merely throwing Napoleon behind the frontier, but the Emperor and his advisors disagreed and destroyed the Bonpartiste menace, in the process liberating Germany and rescuing the Habsburgs, at the price of hundreds of thousands of casualties. Similarly the Soviet Union decided to not simply repulse Hitler but to destroy the Nazi beast in its lair, liberating everybody east of Berlin, for which it paid with more than a million casualties. In neither case did they either take revenge as was their due or use this is an opportunity to permanently annex vast tracts of land, for which they got respectively, the Campaign of 1853 with 700,000 dead mostly civilians, and concurrently NATO expansion, Yugoslavian violent dismemberment, and NATO support for child-murdering Wahhabite scum in Chechnya. Thus making a claim for the Russian threat over the past 2 centuries takes quite a brass face, or for one to retroactively sympathise with the British Empire, French Empire, Habsburg Empire, or Ottomans, (and perhaps Kaiserreich) which is quite bizzarre enough, or Nazism, which is worse.

    8. Quoting quotes in response to quotes. "Which is? I've never heard of it.", "The main threats to European security were the pernicious appetites of the European empires and the Ottomans" Seriously mentionning the Ottomans? Yeah, thats the ideology I was talking about. I gave you the benefit of the doubt as well, I gave you an out. Oh dear.

      "Central Military District", you could just google it doode. One google, thats all you needed. Also, I made a testable claim, where are the majority of their forces garrisoned, google could get you that info as well. Aren't we living in a hell of a time?

      "Russia is a basket case pariah state", thats racist? Russia isn't a race, so it would be bigotted(?), but the word 'state' is included there and WE ARE DISCUSSING GEOSTRATEGY!!!! Sometimes I despair, more recently, but there is a limit. I've probably reached it, so this is just for show.

      Defend Vienna, unite against the invaders, join with our slavic brothers and defend the white race!!! Yeah, no thanks to that bro...

    9. May I inquire as to the soundness of your sensory perception? Just because it appears that where you come from is full of 4chan-troll-level racialist ideology does not mean one can't have a civilised debate. Actually, since Ottomans were an expansionist empire, expanding by violence into N. Africa, Arabia, Persia and Europe, they were one of the main threats of European security together with the rest: the Swedish, English, French, Habsurg, Russian and at some point before both declined, the Holy Roman and Polish-Lithuanian. Living on lands ravaged by war is not fun. Moreover, given the history of Berber slave raids on Christian Southern Europe your reaction is truly bizzarre. Not being the only slavers at the time doesn't let them off the hook nor make it it better for the coasts they raided. (My selection is limited - if we go into the Dark ages, then I would have mentioned marauding, slave-taking barbarians from all over or the Danish threat to Enland)

      Important is not the number, but the composition of units. You will find that he highest readiness units are in the Southern MD. More are starting to be strengthend in the Western MD. You also made up some nonsense about using the Army to stop Western Siberia and Tatarstan (Kazan) from Seceding. Or Shoigu's Tuvans?

      "Russia isn't a race" no it's just a hate term ;) My little joke aside, I wonder how much you know of the racialist strand of European historical disdain for the "Tatar hordes" in the East. As for it being a "basket case pariah state" - that's your opinion, what consitutes a "basket case" and a "pariah state"?

      In case you haven't noticed, the Ottomans in 1683 came with Janissaries and cannon, not as immigrants and to equate the two is ridiculous. If that's the best you can project onto me, good luck.

      I am not your "bro".

    10. Jeltsin was a bloody fool but his counterpart Dudaev was no better. And one can't simply deny the brutal pogroms under his blessed rule, nor the 1999 expedition into Daghestan and the apartment bombings. If by secession movement you mean sectarian bloodbath, then yes, it was indeed discouraged. Does 1988-9 between Armenia and Azerbaijan ring bells? Or perhaps the Georgian-Abkhazian-S.Ossetian ethnic struggles which helped light up the tinder in Chechnya? Would it be be better had yet more died in such squabbles? The world also watches in disdan as the US actively helped ignite sectarian bloodbaths in a land more than 8,000km from CONUS and continues to "propability signature" drone strike Afghan sheep herders and their families by the thousands. But it's alright because NATO countries didn't report on it as negatively, apparently. No NATO support for the Chechens is not credible, given the Wahhabi connection, and the influx of foreign fighters previously used by the CIA in Afg. Why did the militants happily enjoy R&R in the notorious police-state Turkey?

  7. I don't know some times. I really don't. I despair, but then... I've already covered that I think.

    "Some people wouldn't mind if Birmingham and London were destroyed", comment on part 1 of this article series. Thats cause of the immigrants correct? Cause of Black people and Muslims? Fair assessment, you agree with that sentiment? Was it you that commented that? "where you come from is full of 4chan-troll-level racialist ideology", doode this place has that level of ideology, the comment section on this blog has it. I was going for the NZ shooters ideology, and seeing as that happened 'IRL' 4-chan no longer means what you think it does.

    THEN I HAVE TO EXPLAIN GEOGRAPHY TO YOU SERIOUSLY!!!! WHY AM I BOTHERING TO DO THIS. What are the "central republics"? Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. These are the central republics, they always have been and always will be. A region of a country is not a republic. These are the satelite states that russia is worried about keeping in line, these are the republics inside which they are worried about the potential for civil wars.

    Do I seriously have to go through the state of russia under putin? Seriously? Well I will not. Cut to the strategy that arises. The world is american, the financial system, monetary system, corporate system, diplomatic, information technology, intelligence, anything you can think of the US is currently hegemon. Any strategy that attempts to deny or reverse that reality will be very costly, will likely fail.

    Russia is the most geographically disadvantaged country on the planet, it is currently being ruled by its intel agencies for their own profit and their napoleonic identitarian fun. Its political stability can not be relied upon. Needs reminding that Putin, in terms of current russian politics, is a liberal.

    What comes next? What comes when climate change really kicks in, when a VVER explodes, when a cities water system fails, when a sub doesn't come back, when putin gets caught in a creche?

    Which power block next takes the reigns? Are the other blocks going to stand by a clap as 'the one' walks up the steps? Or are they all going to shout "Me" and all try and fit through the door at once (now that is a HELL of a mixed metaphor, stairs and a door. Door at the top of the stairs maybe?)

    Who knows?

    1. I considered blocking the comment because of the London & Birmingham thing, but it was vague and could also be about Catholic Irish or Scots not liking Englishmen. The entire topic (nukes) is very distasteful in its own right already.

      It is indeed near-impossible to keep the comments of a mil blog tasteful all the time. The military topic appears to attract (right) wingnuts all the time.
      I don't know how TD did it.
      But then again, keep the D&F mission statement in mind.

    2. "Some people wouldn't mind if Birmingham and London were destroyed" Different anonymous commmentator, a really stupid one. The fact that you can't distinguish between us two is rather concerning. I don't understand why you spend your time trying to smear me. How dare you, "sir", compare me to a lunatic mass-murderer!

      "A region of a country is not a republic" Goes to show how much you know. There are several Russian federal subjects with the name of Republic.

      "THEN I HAVE TO EXPLAIN GEOGRAPHY TO YOU SERIOUSLY!!!! WHY AM I BOTHERING TO DO THIS." You are not explaining geography. You are making up some rubbish about the Russians massing forces to intervene in Central Asia. Given the presence of a sinle base in Tajikistan + Baikonur colour me not convinced. Moreover, as I repeatedly mentioned, the high readiness forces were and are in the Southern Military District. Finally, given the last 30 years of history of Central Asia, I find no evidence that the Russians want to impose military control of the region, nor that the Central Asians (or for that matter the Azeris) weren't free to cozy up the Americans and British as much as they wished. It ought to embarass them to be on such terms with such tinpot dictators, but that's never stopped them.

      "The world is american, the financial system, monetary system, corporate system, diplomatic, information technology, intelligence, anything you can think of the US is currently hegemon." Are you American perchance? What conceit: "the world belongs to us". Self-importance is not a virture valued by others, you know, the rest of the world would like to have a say. And the further away from 1945, when all American competitors lay in ruins, the less this will be true. The concept of "hegemon" is childish, and the Americans as the patron in multiple patron-client relationships have frequently found themselves intervening at a loss in favour of the supposedly weaker client.

      "Russia is the most geographically disadvantaged country on the planet" That's somewhat of an exaggeration. It has abundant natural resources, and it's cold climate is probably better than the attendant problems of the tropics. Finally, I believe some European-contoured African countries (or perhaps Israel?) would like to have a word.

      "it is currently being ruled by its intel agencies for their own profit" Debatable. Since you haven't applied your sociological wizardry to other countries the point is rather moot.

      "and their napoleonic identitarian fun" ?????? Let sleeping (semantically -logically inappropriate) Napoleons lie, unless you can explain the relevance of a 21st century politician to a "long 18-th century :)" general / upstart Emperor. "identitarian" Weirdest of them all. Care to explain?


    3. "Its political stability can not be relied upon" Arguable. I suspect that many citizens / voters are interested enough in stability that a real, as opposed, to a media crisis, will not ensue. It's probably the truest of your rather irrelevant criticisms.

      "What comes next? What comes when climate change really kicks in, when a VVER explodes, when a cities water system fails, when a sub doesn't come back, when putin gets caught in a creche?

      "Which power block next takes the reigns? Are the other blocks going to stand by a clap as 'the one' walks up the steps? Or are they all going to shout "Me" and all try and fit through the door at once (now that is a HELL of a mixed metaphor, stairs and a door. Door at the top of the stairs maybe?)" Bravo in identifying a key problem of British based nation-state democracies. They only work for as long as those in power agree to share it. It's a general problem, and I wouldn't worry about it just in Russia.

      Relating your comment to the matter at hand, were this dire picture as presented by you true, the rest of Europe ought to be trying to help, rather than crowing about it and funding anti-government propaganda. How does 1) celebrating the imminent collapse of your neighbour square with 2) the EU's self-characterisation as a Good Samaritan? or 3) the realities of being neighbours with a failed state nuclear power? (ask Canada - only joking of course)

      In fact if anything this line of reasoning ought, to my mind, bring one to the position of not needing more armaments against a failing society. The Americans, not being such softies, had a rather different take on it in the 90's and both abetted the plundering and thought they could break out of arms agreements unilaterally, cheating outrageously on ABM and INF before disposing of them, since they assumed the Russians would lose the ability to maintain their arsenal. First strikes were discussed in FP magazine, and Prompt Global Strike and GMD announced (not much to show for it) - 15 - 20 years later the response: new Russian "superweapons". It certainly gave us an example of what not to do.


    4. I wasn't attacking your moderation S O. I was just noting that to suggest there is some line between the new right wing movements 'serious geopolitical discussion' and pol is an illusion. The comment just handily proves that these idiots are everywhere.

    5. Have you ever wondered if perchance the worldview of "anybody I disagree with for whatever reason is a far-right muslim-hating /pol aligned lunatic" isn't a little reductionist? It's not particularly novel either, being the post-communist development to "everybody I disagree with is a compromised communist red terrorist". Do grow up. It makes me rather concerned that this be your default categorisation. Is this a commmon view where you live?


    6. Damn doode, you're right. Why don't you red pill me on the Ottoman empire for another couple of pages?

      Here's a topic; Why non nuke armed Turkey is going to invade the Balkans and kill us all until Dugin and his shirtlifting wondergods ride in to save us poor defenceless Europeans.

      I don't think anyone can make the argument that political discourse has increased in quality over the last couple of years. So, I'm not saying that you're special. I'm not saying you're alone. You're just part of a trend doode.

      Some of us might get to see how whatever we're all heading in to turns out. I haven't got a clue. We're still playing the opener.

    7. Strawman bollocks is not appreciated here.

      Besides, the comments appear to have strayed off-topic.

    8. "I am also neither your doode nor your dude", my good man ;)
      "Why don't you red pill me on the Ottoman empire for another couple of pages" Not to be rude, but can you read? The Ottoman Empire was one of a long list of Empires mentioned as examples of the principle that Imperial rivalries tend to be bad for the people living in them / between them.
      "Why non nuke armed Turkey is going to invade the Balkans and kill us all until Dugin and his shirtlifting wondergods ride in to save us poor defenceless Europeans" I humbly beg leave to inquire as to the source of your "good leaf".
      "I don't think anyone can make the argument that political discourse has increased in quality over the last couple of years." Well I can certainly see why you wouldn't.
      "So, I'm not saying that you're special." A boon! Oh, am I grateful for your condescension.
      "I'm not saying you're alone. You're just part of a trend doode." Why I always did want to be part of something bigger: truly, you've gladdened my heart!

      If you can't tell the difference between someone arguing for better relations between West/Central/Eastern Europe and their neighbours to the East (and South and South East - though seriously off topic / irrelevant) and a "neo-crusader" halfwit then I put to you that you have the problem, not me. Reality tends to be more complex than either you or your (at least on this forum) imaginary foes like to think - just to annoy you - North Cyprus anyone?