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"Send an MEU to Eastern Europe?" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Aug 2015 11:35 a.m. PST

Writing in Proceedings magazine, Colonel William J. Nemeth makes the case that a regionally focused Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Eastern Europe would support NATO allies and friends at odds with a resurgent Russia.

Would this be a wise move?

kyoteblue Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 12:26 p.m. PST

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cwlinsj Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 12:37 p.m. PST

Marines would make the E. Europeans feel somewhat better, but they wouldn't be much more than a speedbump against a Russian invasion.

MEUs are rather lightly equipped with just 4 M1A1s and 2,000 fighting men, so I doubt it can do much to stop an armored incursion backed with artillery.

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2015 12:43 p.m. PST

NO.

Mako11 Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 12:44 p.m. PST

Yep, as CWL says, but they'd be easily avoided/outmaneuvered, since Eastern Europe is such a big place.

Sort of like a small, mobile, Maginot Line.

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2015 12:53 p.m. PST

Well, if you wrap a Carrier Group around the MEU in the Adriatic, maybe. Combine it with a RDF, Air Force bomber support and dust off Churchill's Balkan Invasion Plan from WWII…

Mute Bystander Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 1:13 p.m. PST

MEUs are designed to "Kick open the door" and, among other things, retrieve Americans and allied citizens when "Bad Actors" start doing hostile actions.

It would be unrealistic to expect them, on their own, to significantly degrade large Armor Heavy forces without Pyrrhic losses.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut07 Aug 2015 1:18 p.m. PST

Does deployment of such fulfil a requirement of NATO membershio? Because unless it is a condition of our treaty, I can see no good reason to do it.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2015 1:55 p.m. PST

If taxes were raised to pay for all expected operational costs as they incur.

kyoteblue Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 2:36 p.m. PST

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Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Aug 2015 10:47 p.m. PST

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Personal logo Striker Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2015 4:09 p.m. PST

Having read that article, it smells like the Corps looking for a mission in Europe. As a former Marine it just seems silly considering the size and the Corps refocus on sea ops, not sustained ground ops.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2015 7:03 a.m. PST

It's Camp Lejeune by the way, and don't forget the 4-5 Harriers that the MEU has plus Corbra Gunships. The MEU packs a little more of a punch then you think.

cwlinsj Inactive Member09 Aug 2015 7:28 a.m. PST

Irish Marine,
Nobody is doubting the bravery and fighting skills of the Marine Corp, but look up the TOE of a modern Russian armor brigade and corps, which would be what a spread-out MEU would face.

Nobody wants to hear about any "last stands" nor wants to see captured Marines paraded on Russian TV.

The MEUs are well balanced for their purposes and creates quite a "punch" for their size, but fighting armor & air is not what they are meant for.

Mute Bystander Inactive Member09 Aug 2015 10:55 a.m. PST

Well, Irish Marine, nobody does the MEU role better in the American Military but honestly? That would be like sending high altitude fighters after SCUDs at night in the Desert… Can the job be done, Yes. Is that the best tool, No.

Eastern Europe has been a mess since the Ottomans and the potential to be significantly better in the short term is not exactly encouraging.

Bangorstu Inactive Member09 Aug 2015 12:34 p.m. PST

You might just want to actually look up Eastern europe before making ill-judged comments.

Poland is a first world country with few problems, as are the Baltics.

As for the former Yugoslavia, I can attest personally that Slovenia and Croatia are wonderful, safe places to go.

I guess your knowledge of Eastern Europe doesn't extend too much further than looking at Donetsk on the news….

Bangorstu Inactive Member09 Aug 2015 12:34 p.m. PST

As for the Marines… if the force is small enough for an MEU to handle, it's not needed.

If it isn't, no point having it around.

Mako11 Inactive Member09 Aug 2015 1:51 p.m. PST

I suspect they will be there to serve as a trip-wire, should hostilities kick off.

Never a good idea, if you ask me, unless the "trip-wire" is electrified, and strong enough to push back against a major assault by probable opponents.

Seems to me various Army units would be better, thus freeing up the Marines to be deployed to the Philippines, or Northern Australia, where they can be ready to conduct amphibious actions, if needed.

Bangorstu Inactive Member10 Aug 2015 4:58 a.m. PST

I don't see how they make a better trip-wire than any other NATO forces – unless you think the US public needs dead soldiers to avenge before it will fight.

Lion in the Stars10 Aug 2015 8:19 a.m. PST

unless you think the US public needs dead soldiers to avenge before it will fight.
The US is rather firmly anti-war and almost isolationist (again). I don't want to bag on the current POTUS, but he's given the example that it will take dead Americans, and American CIVILIANS at that, before the public will back another war.

Too many people are unwilling to put American boots on the ground even where the Powers That Be have declared a red line that shall not be crossed.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2015 4:06 a.m. PST

If NATO pays for it. Nothing short of a major and provocative move into Eastern Europe, including the Ukraine will have any effect. We should be building up the Ukrainian military. I would rather that some of the other NATO nations take the lead.

Legion 404 Sep 2015 8:02 a.m. PST

The Poles do have a lot of MBTs, etc. … and have no real love for Putin and Russians in general. An MEU might be good deployment for an exercise now and then. Like a little REFORGER. And as things stand in the US, we don't want to fight another war. All the time, effort, blood and treasure in Iraq and A'stan proved we don't need to help people who really don't/won't/can't, etc. help themselves. I believe the Poles if need be would do fine if Putin became "frisky". However if that happened the US/NATO would have no choice but get involved. But that being said, Mr. Putin does not have the ability to do such a move effectively. And he is not that "dumb" for such a badly chosen "adventure".

Nobody is doubting the bravery and fighting skills of the Marine Corp, but look up the TOE of a modern Russian armor brigade and corps, which would be what a spread-out MEU would face.

Nobody wants to hear about any "last stands" nor wants to see captured Marines paraded on Russian TV.

The MEUs are well balanced for their purposes and creates quite a "punch" for their size, but fighting armor & air is not what they are meant for.

Very much agree. And Putin is beginning to remind me of Un of the Norks. After the Crimea and Ukraine battles. And a little more sabre rattling like buzzing the USN, coming close to the US borders, etc. … It seems he wants to remind the world he/Russia is still relevant ? Regardless, he has very high ratings with its populous. So he may just like to jerk the US's chain. To keep that popularity high. Plus as we see he has no respect for the US leadership. Not just the POTUS, but the entire US government, etc. … So he knows he can poke the tiger with little retribution. Save for more economic sanctions, etc. and rhetoric … Which again, that seems fine with most of the US. And with the Russians as well.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2015 1:35 p.m. PST

Looking at what happened in Ukraine, 2000 marines and support would have helped a lot.

If that's what was yge idea, then it could help.

If we are talking about holding back tge entire russian army, then no.

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member04 Sep 2015 3:14 p.m. PST

Why should young American lives be put in mortal danger by foolish old men who want to play high-stakes chess with flesh and blood pieces? Trip-wire means Judas goat or sacrificial lamb. If I were an American citizen and a parent I would be furious if my government put 2000 American servicemen and servicewomen on a sacrificial alter as an offering to the demented would-be gods of geopolitics like Putin.

If you wan't a trip-wire that will scare the moxy out of Putin, resupply Ukraine with exactly the number and types of nuclear weapons they gave up when Russia, and other nations guaranteed Ukraine's sovereignty in return for abandoning nuclear weapons. If there is to be slaughter in the east, let it be eastern blood that makes the Donbas red and not American blood. Keep the Marines out of harm's way and out of Eastern Europe!
Rod Robertson.

kyoteblue Inactive Member04 Sep 2015 7:01 p.m. PST

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Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 12:07 a.m. PST

Kyoteblue:
Why wear the label of "Isolationist" when the words sensible and rational fit far better. Isolationist is a term coined by those who promote intervention and want to portray those that oppose foreign intervention as myopic and egocentric self-delusion. But, if it is in fact the right thing to do, then it is rational and sensible, a humble recognition that no person, group, nation or state can cure or curb humanity's lust for violence by doing more violence.
So, I would say you are becoming wiser in your old age, not isolationist.

Don't get me wrong, there may very occasionally be just wars which need to be fought and that must always be considered, but the general perception that all problems can be cured or managed by military force or the application of threats of military force is folly and will bleed America of its people's blood and treasure. This hemorrhaging enriches a few but will undermine the cornerstones upon which American democracy and liberty were built to the decrement of all.

So wear your wisdom proud and show all that the hammer is not the only tool we possess to advance civilization and the human condition. Peace out, dude!

Cheers and like positive waves man!
Rod Robertson.

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 1:50 a.m. PST

That should be the "detriment of all".TMP shut down for maintenance before I could correct the typo. Stupid auto correct.

Umpapa05 Sep 2015 9:04 a.m. PST

I will quote myself from TMP link :

Why USA should fight for Lithuania (or any other NATO member)?

1. Dollar
If USA doesn't want to fight for Lithuania, USA economic credibility will fall. Along with value of dollar.
Germany will join BRICS (as it openly discuss it already), France will follow. Dollar will lose position in international markets.

2. Nukes
If USA doesn't want to fight for Lithuania, USA military credibility will fall. Many nations will start ABC programme to bolster their defence. First Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine (Ukraine still have all necessary infrastructure and scientists and Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is already dead). Secondly (in reaction) Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordania, Gulf States, Germany. Then Spain, Italy and Poland, and few others.

How long does it take to acquire one of those ABC warheads by ISIS or AQ and ship them to NYC or LA?

3. History

Once upon a time there was a country. This country liberated itself from Russian rule after bloody war. Its president desperately asked for international support, esp of USA. Nation was strongly pro-USA then (Rambo 3 was most favourite film). They asked for help from West, got nothing. So they turn to Islamists…

Two wars, many atrocities and 200 000 deaths later, nation was islamized, partially subjugated while embittered fighters dispersed around the world. They now hate both Russia as well as USA.

link

Before the WW2, French people asked: why die for Danzig?
Well, since they didn't want to die for Danzig, they had to die for Paris instead.

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war."

But yes, Eastern NATO members need NOT ONLY MEU. Tanks and nukes, please.
They expect moving bases from Germany, yesterday's front country, to today's front countries.

Personal logo Toy Soldier Green Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2015 9:51 a.m. PST

Yes but in conjunction with more determined EU/NATO forces. I can see them being most effective in the Balkans area. Especially as part of a larger allied force stabbing at Putin's underbelly.

tuscaloosa Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 10:26 a.m. PST

"Yes but in conjunction with more determined EU/NATO forces. I can see them being most effective in the Balkans area. Especially as part of a larger allied force stabbing at Putin's underbelly."

Almost everyone in the Balkans is part of NATO. The country that isn't, Serbia, is Russia's only friend in the Balkans and deep inland; hardest for an MEU to get to.

An MEU (with possibly a carrier group) deployed in the Black Sea would be a sitting duck for Russian forces (if a U.S. carrier could deploy in the Black Sea, which they can't).

The only place for an MEU would either be in the Arctic Sea, off Murmansk (amusing, that), or in the Baltic. Possibly deploying them off Lithuania/Estonia/Latvia would make sense, but as a tripwire, not to stop any committed Russian force.

tuscaloosa Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 10:27 a.m. PST

"but the general perception that all problems can be cured or managed by military force or the application of threats of military force is folly"

I think this is majority opinion in the U.S. right now. Just look at our reluctance to get involved in Syria.

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 10:40 a.m. PST

Umpapa:
Would you support sending Polish troops to protect Uighur populations in Mongolia along the Chinese frontier if China was making regular but deniable incursions into Mongolia? Just a small force which is for the most part unsupported. I would hope not. So why should the US put an MEU in forward positions when Europeans could fill this role?

The distance from Gdansk to Paris is 1600 km, a fifteen hour drive by land. The distance from Gdansk to New York is 6600 km across the Atlantic Ocean. Paris was threatened directly by Germany, America was not.

Moving substantial non European military forces towards the Russian or Belorussian frontier will only serve to provoke Russia and allow Putin to say to his own people that his version of NATO's motives is correct, that is that NATO has aggressive intentions. NATO should deploy European forces to support the Baltic States and Poland and increase American, Canadian and British deployments further west in order to have the capacity to defend in depth and counter attack any large scale Russian incursion.

A Marine MEU in Eastern Europe would break the agreement made by the West to Gorbachov to not move NATO deployments towards the Russian Frontier and would act like a lightning rod. It could destabilize the region more than stabilize the situation. Europe must learn to defend itself with help from North America and not rely on North America to be the premier force in Europe. Poland certainly carries its fair share of the burden but much of Europe needs to wake up and carry its own weight. America is your ally, not your Aegis!

Cheers.
Rod Robertson.

kyoteblue Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 11:13 a.m. PST

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Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 11:59 a.m. PST

Kyoteblue:
No, I am not an Isolationist. I believe Canada has a role to play in NATO and the world, a role which we have allowed ourselves to become woefully unprepared to fulfill. But nor am I a militarist who believes that deploying troops is the solution to all the problems in the world. Moderation and creative diplomacy guided by reason and empathy for others are the best tools for getting constructive change accomplished in the modern world.
Cheers.
Rod Robertson.

Lion in the Stars05 Sep 2015 12:09 p.m. PST

Moderation and creative diplomacy guided by reason and empathy for others are the best tools for getting constructive change accomplished in the modern world.
When the other side is inclined to be reasonable, sure.

When the other side is not being reasonable or rational, talking doesn't do much good.

Umpapa05 Sep 2015 12:09 p.m. PST

Rod, you have asked me personally, so I answer:
Please consider that I not remind Western Betrayal
link
or Yalta treason.
I was just appealling to Your today best and most logic interest. Those abovementioned three reasons should be enough. But if not :

Umpapa:
Would you support sending Polish troops to protect Uighur populations in Mongolia along the Chinese frontier if China was making regular but deniable incursions into Mongolia?

Non sequitur, I am afraid.
Mongolia is not a Polish formal ally. Poland had not guaranteed security of Mongolia, and had not take any advantages for that.
There is no ten millions people counting Mongolian minority in Poland.
Polish companies do not have big investments in Mongolia.
Mongolia is no mayor trade partner of Poland.
Neither ISIS nor AQ wants to nuke Poland. "Great Satan" is someone else, I believe.
Just a small force which is for the most part unsupported. I would hope not. So why should the US put an MEU in forward positions when Europeans could fill this role?

Maybe because it is USA that had invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty after 11 September, and Poland had responded giving every assistance possible. Poland had lost a lot to this decision.
The distance from Gdansk to Paris is 1600 km, a fifteen hour drive by land. The distance from Gdansk to New York is 6600 km across the Atlantic Ocean. Paris was threatened directly by Germany, America was not.

So why USA & Canada join WW1 and WW2 at all? If You were in Paris, there wouldn't need to be Omaha Beach. Do You really want to third time repeat history?

If there was just one British company in Gdańsk(Danzig) and one French company in Polish Silesia, Hitler would not have attacked Poland (he didnt believe WAllies, including Canada, will declare war for a Poland).

Moving substantial non European military forces towards the Russian or Belorussian frontier will only serve to provoke Russia and allow Putin to say to his own people that his version of NATO's motives is correct, that is that NATO has aggressive intentions. NATO should deploy European forces to support the Baltic States and Poland and increase American, Canadian and British deployments further west in order to have the capacity to defend in depth and counter attack any large scale Russian incursion. (…) It could destabilize the region more than stabilize the situation. (…) Moderation and creative diplomacy guided by reason and empathy for others are the best tools for getting constructive change accomplished in the modern world.

You may not understand how the Russian government think, I am afraid. I was born as a Soviet slave, essentialy. One of my ancestor was Russian. I know Russians a lot.

NeoSoviets, who unfortunately now run Russia, understand only logic of force, strange to us:

Talk is for weak.

Show them force, they step back.

Show them weakness, they push.

Testing how far the USA let them go.

And all the world is watching. All the sharks are testing, if the blood of USA is in the water.

Many neighbors of Russia consider China potential ally – maybe they should ask for intelligence and military cooperation with China, instead of USA?

A Marine MEU in Eastern Europe would break the agreement made by the West to Gorbachov to not move NATO deployments towards the Russian Frontier and would act like a lightning rod.

Russian government already broke all international agreements: CFE
link
Helsinki Final Act, Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, Declaration of Friendly Relations, Vienna Declaration and The United Nations Charte.
Minsk conference not counting.

Do You really think Putin will keep any agreement?

Europe must learn to defend itself with help from North America and not rely on North America to be the premier force in Europe. Poland certainly carries its fair share of the burden but much of Europe needs to wake up and carry its own weight. America is your ally, not your Aegis!

I agree, but please tell it to Western Europeans, especially our German allies. We do what we can.

Polish new president Andrzej Duda first international trip was to Estonia (not to Brussel, Washington, Berlin, Vatican etc) – it is a visible sign.

Pacta sunt servanda.

Poland will defend Estonia, as we promised with Washington Treaty.

I hope You do the same for us.

"Peace is a precious and a desirable thing. Our generation, bloodied in wars, certainly deserves peace. But peace, like almost all things of this world, has its price, a high but a measurable one. We in Poland do not know the concept of peace at any price. There is only one thing in the lives of men, nations and countries that is without price.

That thing is honour."
– Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Józef Beck, 5th of May, 1939, famously voiced refusal of German demands

Lion in the Stars05 Sep 2015 12:16 p.m. PST

Also, Rod, the US has treaty obligations. If the US does not honor them, well, that's the absolute end of US credibility on the global stage.

dollar will collapse, Japan will have no choice but to re-arm or die, South Korea will invade North, and I'd expect a Crimea-like operation in the Baltics, if not an outright invasion.

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 1:21 p.m. PST

Umpapa and Lion in the Stars:
I am not saying that the US and Canada should not fulfill their NATO obIgnitions in the event of a Russian attack on Poland or the Baltic States. I am saying that what we perceive as a defensive move in the West can be seen or distorted to be seen as an aggressive move by the Russians. I support bolstering NATO deployments to counteract Russian forward deployments, but in a way that enhances the chances of avoiding war and does not play into Putin's fear mongering and jingoism. Putting US Marines on the Russian or Belorussian frontier will be seen as provocation and could make matters worse. However, moving a French Demi-brigade for example, into Poland or Lithuania would be able to achieve the same deterrence without as much provocation.
I think Americans and Canadians would accept military losses in the defense of NATO but I think they might be more likely to turn their backs on Europe if two thousand American lives were waisted in a cynical trip-wire gambit to force the US citizens' hands in a war with Russia. We in North America also have long memories and we remember Canadian troops being killed and captured as a result of being an expendable trip-wire force in Hong Kong! We also remember the valour of the Poles who fought in Italy with the British and NW Europe with the First Canadian Army and we remember and are disgusted by the betrayal of Poland by the Allies. But that betrayal is just one of the many betrayals which litter European history and we of the Americas do not wish to become pawns in the next or future betrayals. So let American and Canadian forces muster and stand ready to defend Europe along side of our allies, but do not thrust us into the fore as some forlorn hope trip-wire, which might very well provoke the war we all earnestly wish to avoid.
Talking clearly and forcefully to a potential enemy is not weakness, it is good sense because it keeps channels of communication open and can avoid mistakes which could trigger war. Putin is no fool, he knows that a European-wide war would destroy Russia as well as Europe. It would be wiser for all concerned if Europeans stopped worrying so much about their Euros and more about their own cooperation with each other and with fulfilling their obligations to each other. If the balloon goes up, we of North America will be there to fight with you as allies, but not for you as foreign sepoys. We are not so sure about all the locals, so get your own houses in order.
Cheers.
Rod Robertson.

kyoteblue Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 1:35 p.m. PST

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Legion 405 Sep 2015 3:09 p.m. PST

Why should young American lives be put in mortal danger by foolish old men who want to play high-stakes chess with flesh and blood pieces?
Amen … and you can add any number of Western NATO nation along with Americans. And also … Yes … Remember Canadians are Americans too …
the US has treaty obligations. If the US does not honor them, well, that's the absolute end of US credibility on the global stage.
And there is the ghost in the machine … Remember that old saying from the 60s, " What if they had a war and no one showed up ? " A silly "hippy liberal" kind of take on it peace … but it appears some may not show up. For a number of reasons. Along with downsizing their force levels to point of almost being ineffective, etc. …

tuscaloosa Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 5:33 p.m. PST

"A Marine MEU in Eastern Europe would break the agreement made by the West to Gorbachov to not move NATO deployments towards the Russian Frontier"

That wasn't the agreement, not at all.

And I think that Russia's cynical abandonment of the 1994 Trilateral Agreement in regards to Ukrainian nuclear weapons makes the agreement not to station NATO troops on Russia's borders moot. Which we're now doing anyway, I'm happy to see.

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 8:29 p.m. PST

tuscaloosa:
My apologies. I got myself mixed up. The agreement with Gorbachev was to not expand NATO eastwards but the West denies the deal, despite political memoranda proving it was a real promise to the USSR. The agreement to not deploy forces near the Russian frontier was the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997. So with that clarification the West is breaking its word again!
link
Cheers.
Rod Robertson.

Bangorstu Inactive Member05 Sep 2015 11:56 p.m. PST

Well, even if the promise did happemn, it was a promsie to the USSR and not Russia, so the point is moot.

Or do you think the Baltics had no right to protect their independence?

Umpapa06 Sep 2015 2:02 a.m. PST

Rod

So with that clarification the West is breaking its word again!

I am afraid You are wrong.


As even Your link say:

The first important thing is that this is not a treaty. It's not something legal. An act is an agreement of political commitments people make. It's not legally binding. The Germans are twisting that around by saying ‘We can't violate the act.' But there's nothing to violate.

Noone has ratificated this. Especially no Eastern European member of NATO.

But even if, please read all treaty:
PDF link

and please sincerely answer Yourself: how many sentences of this act had already been broken by Russia? Twenty? Thirty?

This act is already dead.

And even Your link say this:

Q: If it's not binding, what was the purpose of the act?

Mr. Kornblum: The NATO Russia Founding Act was a statement by NATO and Russia as to how they were going to regulate relations. It was all done in terms of political commitments. It isn't written in the terms of a legal commitment. It's written as a political intention.

Q: In that case, it should be easy to cancel the agreement, correct?

Mr. Kornblum: It says if conditions change, all bets are off. There are all kinds of escape clauses if the other side isn't sticking to its commitment. Clearly, the Russians have broken virtually all of theirs. There's no way you can say the conditions are as harmonious as when it signed.

Rod, I consider Your lack of answers to my previous question as a mutual agreement with my position.

Putin will not keep any agreement. USA does not want to third time repeat history. USA does not want to let neighbors of Russia gone under protectorate (intelligence/military cooperation) of China.

See, semi-officials plans of NeoSoviets are
1. Provocations against Russian minorities in Baltic (terrorist bombing of Russian meeting in Riga,Estonia etc)
2. "Green men" appear in Baltics
3. Russian Army is "helping opressed brothers in Baltics".
4. Most probably – Warsaw (less probably – alternatively Gdańsk) is nuked (no missile, just "terrorist attack", unknown TIR container etc) to paralyze Poland and terrify Western Europe. Polish military airfields are attacked with "terrorist drone attacks". Poland territory is not invaded.
5. Russian Army true goal: march to Kiev to take control of whole Ukraine by creating puppet government.
6. Maybe: Russian Army lands in Gotland (Sweden, not NATO memeber, under the excuse that it were "Sweden fascists" who set the bomb at the Riga Russians meeting) OR Bornholm (Red Army has occupied this island till 1946, so Russians think they have some rights to it) to set there missile outpost interdicting Baltics and to have local population as hostages and bargaining chip (they need to have something to give up in post-conflict negotiations).


See, Poland few times had to liberate Baltics neigbors from Russian tyranny, last time in 1919.
link
We do not want to do it again, but we together may have to if You do not stop Putin now.

If there was just one British company in Gdańsk(Danzig) and one French company in Polish Silesia, Hitler would not have attacked Poland (he didnt believe WAllies, including Canada, would declare war for a Poland).

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member06 Sep 2015 6:46 a.m. PST

Umpapa:
This is a fascinating discussion and I appreciate your willingness to discuss and debate these issues. You have brought formidable insight and strong evidence to bear and I am impressed with what you have said to date.

I agree with you on many points:
1) The Allies betrayed Poland at the end of WWII.
2) Yalta was a betrayal but I fall short of calling it treason as the leaders were not bound to representing Polish interests and independence.
3) You are correct to say that I do not know what it was like to grow up in a Soviet dominated satellite of Europe. You are correct in saying that I don't understand the Soviet Union/Russia in the way that you and other Poles do.
4) Russia is a dangerous and threatening potential adversary and President Putin is a dangerous man with a Napoleon complex and an appetite for expansion.
5) You quoted the following and I couldn't agree more:
""Peace is a precious and a desirable thing. Our generation, bloodied in wars, certainly deserves peace. But peace, like almost all things of this world, has its price, a high but a measurable one. We in Poland do not know the concept of peace at any price. There is only one thing in the lives of men, nations and countries that is without price.
That thing is honour."
– Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Józef Beck, 5th of May, 1939, famously voiced refusal of German demands."

I disagree with you on other points:
1) The purpose of the Mongolian example was to ask whether Poland would place troops far from its homeland and largely unsupported by Polish forces as an MEU would be in Eastern Europe. It was a military question and not a political one. Therefore it was not a non sequiror.
2) The Dominion of Canada joined WW I when the British Empire declared war on Germany – we had no choice in the matter as our foreign affairs were controlled by the British until the Statutes of Westminster in 1931 gave us greater control over international relations. (To be fair we wanted to join for the most part so I am not saying Britain forced our hand – only that the decision was out of pur hands).
3) In WWII Canada was not deployed in any significant numbers to the British Expeditionary force because the British High Command sent our soldiers elsewhere (like Hong Kong). The presence of Canadian troops in France would not have made a bit of difference to the Fall of France in 1940 as the Canadian army was ill-supplied and poorly trained at this point.
4) The people of North America fled Europe and colonized America to get away from European oppression and war, so why would they station troops in Europe to police a continent bent on self-destruction and war?
5) If there was a British Company in Gdansk and a French Company in Silesia Germany and the Soviet Union would have still attacked Poland in 1939 as the Soviet-German Non-aggression Pact would have protected Nazi Germany from a two-front war for a few years at least. Even the deployment of larger expeditionary forces by Britain and France would have likely achieved nothing.
6) You argue that the present Russian leadership which you call Neo-Soviets only understand force and therefore only force or forceful political positioning can be used to counter or check Russian expansion. That is precisely the thinking that has kept Europe at war with itself for the last 1700 years! Many in America look at that thinking and wonder why so many are ready to embrace it? Did threats of force stop Napoleon? Did French militarism stop the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War? Did Russian threats stop Austria in Serbia? Did allied threats and the Entende Cordial stop the Kaiser during World War I? Did Soviet threats stop Germany from launching Operation Barbarossa? Did American threats and embargoes stop Japanese expansionism and militarism? Did British and French threats stop Nasser from seizing the Suez Canal? Did Israeli threats stop the Six Day War? Did Arab threats stop the Yom Kippur War? Did Soviet and Chinese threats stop both nations from fighting in the Amur River region? The conclusion that many make is that threats and aggressive military posturing don't prevent wars, they Start Them! Show them force and they don't step back, they start a war! Talk is not for the weak. Talk backed up by real force is for the sane! Remember Albert Einstein's definition of insanity and I think that we can conclude that aggressive posturing in the face of threatened aggression without proper military preparation and a willingness for talking is insanity.
7) Yes, Russia has broken its word on many agreement but that does not mean we should. The measure of a nation's reliability is how it keeps its commitments not how it copies Machiavellian tyrants in their duplicity. The use of weasel words by the West does not release it from obligations it made.

My issue is not with defending the entire membership of NATO. My issue is with how to go about doing it. Europe (and Canada for that matter) must take far more responsibility and begin rebuilding its conventional armed forces to provide a credible threat to Russian military planners. Posturing as if you have a powerful military when you don't will likely lead to war and defeat or nuclear escalation. In the mean time some carefully selected European forces could be moved forward to defend NATO allies in the East. The deployment of American forces along the Russian frontier would be seen as a real threat to the Russian "near-abroad" and would likely escalate tensions and increase the chance of war. Europe and the West must back-off trying to draw Ukraine into the European sphere unless they are willing to accept either a truncated Ukraine or a war over Ukraine's status.

In the long run, Eastern European and Northern Balkan states should begin thinking about creating a mini-alliance system themselves, because I do not believe that Western Europe will ultimately stand by them in the event of a war in the East. I think America would stand up for Eastern Europe, but I also see America encircled and overtaxed militarily and financially as several enemies move against it all at once. Thus its ability to aid Eastern Europe might fall far short of its desire to do so.

In your next post you called the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 'dead'. Mr Kornblum, who was one of the negotiators of the Act certain does argue that the West can pull out but from the perspective of de-escalation that does not really matter, because if you want to de-escalate the conflict in Eastern Europe what matters is what Russia believes. If we want to improve the chance of Russia becoming a better neighbour to Europe and possibly even joining Europe in its values and aspirations then demonstrating that the West will honour its agreements both tacit and formal might be a good place to start.

It is true that Europe does not trust Russia. But it is also true that Russia does not trust Europe and from the Russian perspective for very good reasons. Before Russia began direct military meddling in Ukraine, the West was crushing Yugoslavia/Serbia and blocking Russian aid and military support for Serbia, expanding NATO eastwards, trying to deploy anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe, trying to project power into the Caucuses, trying to limit Russian economic growth and finally trying to draw Ukraine into the Western sphere of influence. These were provocative acts in the eyes of Russians (and not just Putin but most Russians). To solve the issue of Russia you must address Russia's grievances even if you don't agree with them.

You then set out a rather dark and extreme programme of Russian destabilization of the Baltic and Scandinavia. I don't think that Russia would ever detonate a nuclear weapon on European soil without provocation either overtly or covertly as the radioactive isotopes left after the explosion could be traced back to its point of origin. Even if war did not result from such a detonation, a reciprocal covert attack would likely destroy a major Russian city leading to escalation and possible extinction. To stop the Green Men from appearing in the Baltic states (also unlikely in my opinion) Europe and Poland should be putting pressure on the Baltic states to guarantee Russian minority populations full language, education, cultural and economic rights rather than quietly trying to marginalize these populations in the hopes that they will emigrate away.

I am no oracle and I cannot see the future. It's all a probability web for me and is often quite baffling. I offer no certain solutions, as there are none; I offer only opinions and observations honestly given. All we can do is be aware of the events which unfold around us and be prepared to see as many sides of a dispute as we possibly can. At the same time we should prepare for difficult times, but always work towards the best possible outcome for all parties. We must walk and talk softly while having the big stick close to hand. You see the events around you in a different way and I respect and value that perspective. All I ask is that you keep an open mind and try to see things from different view-points too. Your history and experience has given you opinions and convictions about Russia and those may be very wise positions – I do not know. But convictions can also harden men's hearts and blind them to opportunities to make things better, so all I ask is that you reflect on what you believe and evaluate it regularly as I try to do.

Cheers and my apologies for being so long-winded in my response.

Rod Robertson

Legion 406 Sep 2015 6:51 a.m. PST

I think you pretty much covered it Rod …

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member06 Sep 2015 7:12 a.m. PST

Legion 4:
Well, I certainly covered the page! I really have to learn to shut up sometimes. This Umpapa is an impressive fellow. He makes excellent arguments in a language which is not his mother tongue. If the roles were reversed and I had to argue in Polish, I would be mute. Perhaps that would be a good thing. : )
Cheers and be well Legion 4
Rod Robertson.

kyoteblue Inactive Member06 Sep 2015 6:49 p.m. PST

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Tgunner07 Sep 2015 5:54 a.m. PST

I would say, maybe, yes Kyote.

The Russian army has quite a few brigades left, however they have had to gut some to support operations in Ukraine. But that still leaves quite a few left plus quite a bit of air power. The Russians have around 40 brigades of combat troops with around 3-4 equivalents fighting as battalion battle groups in the Ukraine. That still leaves 30+ for other operations. Now do they have the logistics to move these forces? Would they be willing to uncover vital regions to mass these forces? Wikipedia says they have 2500 mbts operational but just how many are really usable? All these snap exercises seem to indicate that the Russian army can field corps sized forces, sort of! A corps would have from 9-12+ maneuver brigades. They would need that at the very least to challenge the Poles in their own country. Twice that would give them the usual 2:1 to 3:1 advantage needed in combat to launch an effective assault.

The Poles would be a tough foe- they have at least 11 mechanized and armored brigade and a decent arsenal of MBTs- about 900 which is more than say Germany, UK, and France combined (250,227, and 200 respectively). 11 brigades should be enough, but who knows? They are probably in better states of readiness than the NATO big three. However it could take weeks for NATO brigades to pull themselves together and move east. Brigade wise you have roughly 7 German brigades, maybe 9 French, and about 10 British brigades (mostly infantry though). As for us, I think we have all of two brigades in Europe now. However amusingly enough it looks like the Polish army is more aimed at Germany than Russia! However the 16th Mechanized Division (1 armored brigade and 3 mechanized brigades) is aimed at Kaliningrad where they are facing off against a Russian motor rifle brigade and a marine brigade. The Russians have proven that they can reinforce Kaliningrad pretty quickly too.

It would come down to whether that mass of Russian brigades are fully manned, equipped, and have the ability (logistics) to move in mass and that's a big question mark.

Just about everything I've mentioned is on Wikipedia. It has equipment stores, troop totals, and organization charts. However there's nothing that sizes up logistical effort and that's the key for anyone. How quickly can these units get to operational strength (and how many already are?)? How many forces can the Russians field and support? How long can they sustain the effort? How quickly can the NATO brigades muster? How long will it be before they reach the battlezone? Can their home nations support their deployment?

Lots of iffy stuff!

Legion 407 Sep 2015 9:17 a.m. PST

Rod … even though we may not always agree … I find your comments to be well researched, thoughtful and knowledgeable, etc. … Much better than many … Of course in this case Umpapa being from Poland also has some good insights …

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