July 11, 2018

At the NATO summit, Trump "singled out Germany... saying the country was 'totally controlled by Russia' because of its dependence on Russian natural gas."

"The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russia, he said, and 'Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.' In March, Germany gave approval for Gazprom, the Russian energy titan, to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters, a $10 billion project. 'Germany is a captive of Russia' because of the oil and gas issue, Mr. Trump said. 'I think it’s something that NATO has to look at.... How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?'"

From "NATO Summit Live Updates: Trump Calls Alliance ‘Delinquent’ on Military Spending." Trump also complained, "Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back," but the NYT piece doesn't specify whether German is one of the countries that owes us money.

According to an AP fact check, no NATO member actually owes the U.S. money but:
In 2014... NATO members agreed to stop cutting their military budgets and set a goal of moving “toward” spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own defense — by 2024. It was not a “commitment,” not a direct contribution to NATO, not a payment owed to the U.S., and not something that alliance members pledged to achieve immediately.

Trump is right that most NATO members are spending less than 2 percent of their GDP on their defense budget, though more are moving in that direction.
So is Germany one of the NATO members that aren't spending enough? From Defense News:
A “league table” of NATO members shows that the United States is still way ahead of other allies’ spending, with defense expenditure accounting for 3.57 percent of its GDP in 2017.

Greece at 2.36 perpercent, the U.K. at 2.12 percent, and Estonia at 2.08 percent are the next best performers in terms of meeting the GDP target. The laggards are tiny Luxembourg (0.46 percent), Belgium (0.90 percent), Spain (0.92 percent) and Slovenia (0.98 percent).

In 2017 the report says the U.K. spent some $55.2 billion on defense, Germany $45.4 billion and France $45.9 billion. But this still pales when compared with the United States’ $685.9 billion in spending.

When it comes to the proportion spent on defense as a share of GDP, Europe has fallen from just under 3 percent in 1989 to 1.95 percent last year.
I'm seeing elsewhere that Germany's 2017 GDP was $3,686.6 billion, so I think it's spending 1.245% and is falling $73.7 billion short of the goal it is supposed to be moving toward. [CORRECTION: $73.7 billion is the total needed to meet the goal. Germany is $27.8 billion short.] Trump's point is that the mutual defense commitment puts the U.S. in the position of having to carry far too much of the weight. I presume that the other countries are taking advantage of what the U.S. has seemed to want to do for its own security.

ADDED:

156 comments:

Gahrie said...

It's not just a lack of spending..it is also willful neglect. The German air force has 4 fighter-bombers operational. Trump is also correct about buying energy from Russia...Russia has used access to energy as a weapon in the past and they will again in the future.

The world has been living off of the American taxpayer for quite some while now, and some of us are tired of it.

Jack Wayne said...

Trump should invite Russia into NATO. Then the Euros won’t have to spend any money on defense. Win!

Ralph L said...

Did Germany finally scrap their law against foreign deployment of forces?

It's a good idea for young people to learn all that NATO puts them on the hook for, not just the money, since I doubt they learn it in school.

traditionalguy said...

The Germans are using our dependence on a pre-positioned defense line of the Great European Plain. They never knew that it was wrong to cheat and steal from us if they could use that to get away with it.

But USA's Defense needs are no longer stuck in the era needing to win a Kursk like, massed Tank battle with pre-positioned Tanks. It's all Space Force weapons now.

So why not demand a New Deal. Poland and Hungary are all the allies we need to support in Europe today for a base.And the USA can now offer to supply their Natural Gas needs. But the nasty Geman oligarchs still want use us while they scam their loot from Putin's pipeline.

MayBee said...

Merkel's predecessor Schroeder, you know the guy who was so against war in Iraq, works for a joint venture with Gazprom.

It would be interesting to have a real discussion about NATO in this country. Right now all the commentators get too caught up in trying to be outraged about the way Trump worded things or whether he is upsetting Merkel. But the left should like us wanting to decrease our military spending overseas, no?

Lyle Smith said...

The Germans used to have more nuclear power, but their Greens got that shut down. Now they burn more fossil fuels and have increased their C02 output. And like Trump says, now they pay Putin for almost all their natural gas needs. This is the true Energiewende in Germany.

In cruder terms, Germany is on its knees everyday giving fellatio to Putin.



gilbar said...

But USA's Defense needs are no longer stuck in the era needing to win a Kursk like, massed Tank battle with pre-positioned Tanks. It's all Space Force weapons now.
So why not demand a New Deal. Poland and Hungary are all the allies we need


Even IF there Was a Kursk like massed Tank battle; NOW the tanks would have to come Through Poland or Hungary before they even got to eastern Germany. If we should have troops anywhere, they should be in Poland (or the Ukraine?)
Now that we make BMWs in South Carolina, why do we even NEED a Germany?

rehajm said...

Somebody’s political d’etre is about making sure people are paying thier fair share. Apparently a selective ideal.

gilbar said...

U.S. Is Set to Become World’s Top Oil Producer
Energean seen exporting Israeli gas to Cyprus

Darrell said...

Just pull out of NATO. When the last American can no longer fight, those bastards will surrender anyway.

Ralph L said...

why do we even NEED a Germany?
To keep the French in their place.

Original Mike said...

To make matters worse, I’ve been reading since forever that the official defense spending numbers by European countries is greatly inflated by including spending only tangentially related to defense in the total.

Larry J said...

To give you an idea just how little emphasis Germany puts on military readiness, there was the story last year of them having to withdraw from an exercise prematurely because they didn't have enough funding to cover overtime pay for their troops. Seriously.

Like millions of other veterans, I was stationed in Germany for two years during the Cold War. It's really as simple as this:

If there is a military or terrorist threat against the western European countries, they have the primary responsibility to address it, with the US playing a secondary role.

If they don't believe there is a military threat against them, why is it our responsibility to spend tens of billions each year on their security?

I'm not saying that the US needs to get out of NATO. I'm saying that after 70 years, it's time for the European countries to grow up and accept responsibility for their own security. I get it that they don't like to have to pay their own way. They're like the fully grown children who continue to mooch off of their parents long after they have the ability to support themselves. I'm tired of subsidizing countries that look down on us.

rhhardin said...

Trump meets with people trading on seriousness. Bet on Trump.

MountainMan said...

I saw a report the other day that Poland offered to spend $2B to support the stationing of US troops in Poland. We won't do it because we don't want to provoke the Russians but Poland is one of the few countries in Europe that we can count on and they deserve our support. I checked to see if we have ever granted them visa waiver entry to the US and we still have not, though most every other country in Europe has it. That is an oversight that Trump should correct.

jaydub said...

This post should get a TDS tag. TDS is the only logical reason for any American of any political stripe to argue for the US to continue to shoulder 70% of the cost of NATO when the US economy and the combined economies of the other NATO members are roughly equivalent. This 70/30 split means the US is spending about $280B this year more than its fair share, and this year is better than last year primarily because Trump has been leaning on Europe and Canada since he was inaugurated, not because they have been doing anything voluntarily. Essentially, the US is subsidizing the social programs of other NATO countries to the tune of over a quarter trillion dollars per year by allowing them to shift that much spending from their cumulative defense budgets. Moreover, 50 to 70% of the other countries' defense expenditures only cover their own personnel and pension costs, not war fighting enhancements. Here's a February, 2017 article from The Economist, a Euro-centric, center left rag that is much more honest about NATO than our own media, hence worth a read.
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/02/16/military-spending-by-nato-members

dda6ga dda6ga said...

To quote my son after his third trip to Afghanistan; "If there is a cloud in the sky the Germans don't fly"

Drago said...

The German Chancellor predecessor to Merkel is cutting massive gas pipeline deals with Vlad Putin's Gazprom boys which will lock in Russian direct stranglehold on the German economy.

And all because Merkel and her cronies shut down coal and nuke plants.

All the while demanding the Americans continue to fund 70% of the NATOs defense against........Putin and the Russians.

Trump has their number and is calling them out.

Naturally, our lefties/dems/LLR's openly support Merkel and by extension, Putin.

Yeah, ironic...

Ken B said...

Fact check : how can we pretend Trump isn't right?

Bruce Hayden said...

Everyone seems to be concentrating on the northern portion of NATO, and maybe the biggest challenge is in the southeast corner - Turkey. Long the crossroads between the east and the west, between Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East, throughout much of the 20rth Century, they were mostly western facing, officially secular, though tokenly Muslim. In the last decade maybe, they have shifted their focus, and are trying to reclaim the central role that they played in the Muslim world up until their empire was dismantled as a result of picking the wrong side in WW I. And now they are talking to their Russian neighbors about buying weaponry.

Sebastian said...

OK, so Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador is collusion, but Germany buying billions in gas from Putin isn't?

Michael K said...

Reagan blew up the gas pipeline.

Hmmmmm.

Freder Frederson said...

The world has been living off of the American taxpayer for quite some while now, and some of us are tired of it.

Yet, perversely, while Trump complains about how much we spend on NATO he still wants huge increases to U.S. defense spending. If we are not going to continue to prop up Europe and Asian allies, why the hell do we need to spend even more on defense?

Freder Frederson said...

I saw a report the other day that Poland offered to spend $2B to support the stationing of US troops in Poland.

The devil is in the details. The offers from former East Bloc countries to base U.S. troops look good on the surface but it soon turns out that it will actually cost more to base troops in Eastern Europe than to have them remain in Germany (and we only have two army brigades plus two airbases left in Germany)

Larry J said...

Freder Frederson said...

The world has been living off of the American taxpayer for quite some while now, and some of us are tired of it.

Yet, perversely, while Trump complains about how much we spend on NATO he still wants huge increases to U.S. defense spending. If we are not going to continue to prop up Europe and Asian allies, why the hell do we need to spend even more on defense?


Some of it is necessary to undo more than 20 years of neglect. For example, the Navy is facing a shortage of attack submarines. In the 80s, they bought a bunch of Los Angeles class subs. In the 1990s, they only bought 5 attack subs. Many of those old LA class subs will face retirement in the next 10-15 years. We're buying two Virginia class subs each year now, but that won't the enough to replace all of those LA class subs that are retired. The same is true of the Ohio class boomers.

Crimso said...

As for the self-righteous indignation on display by the head of the EU and other European leaders, I am reminded of an exchange between Molotov and Truman. If they don't like what Trump says, there is a simple solution.

Drago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

Field Marshall Freder: "Yet, perversely, while Trump complains about how much we spend on NATO he still wants huge increases to U.S. defense spending. If we are not going to continue to prop up
Europe and Asian allies, why the hell do we need to spend even more on defense?"

LOL

The stupid lives loudly in this one...

Maybe you havent noticed that there are other more significant long term threats for which we must prepare.

China, space, electronic/cyber war, robotics, rebuilding our fleets and advancing force multiplier weapon systens, etc.

Thanks for pkaying Freder. Its always fun to watch you flail.

Try to stay out of baths with deeper than 2 inch water levels while you are at it.

Ray said...

Because us defense efforts have made the world a better place, and helped the us economy...

The us has done this through allies and alliances, that have made it lower cost.

> why the hell do we need to spend even more on defense?

I’m not saying thevus does a great job on defense spending, so much waste, but that’s another subject...

Peter said...

Check your maths on what Germany owes to get to two percent.

Ralph L said...

Our high and their low defense budgets have allowed irresponsible European pacifism to gain more influence than it otherwise would have had, which has led to lower defense budgets.

Ralph L said...

Larry J, surface ships aren't in good shape, either.

Roughcoat said...

Get our of NATO. Expel the UN. Expel illegals. Build the wall.

Who's with me?

buwaya said...

Germany has been suppressing nuclear power generation for a long time, and has been shutting down nuclear power plants since 2011.

This has been aided by an active propaganda campaign through Russian agents, pursuing Russian interests. The environmentalist left puts a "renewable" fig leaf on dependency on Russian natural gas.

buwaya said...

Every important environmentalist organization on earth, since the 1970's, has been created or subsidized by the Soviet Union, or since 2000 more or less, by some combination of Arab-Russian interests. Its really quite blatant.

gg6 said...

In 1965, I commanded a US mechanized infantry company stationed outside Nuremberg, Germany. At that time we faced the overwhelming odds of the entire Iron Curtain force. We spent many days and nights in the fields and forests facing the Czech border - the German civilians would exit their homes to wave and smile happily as we motored by on their their nearby roads. 50 years later, wealthy NATO countries like Germany still won't carry their share of their own mutual defense?!
Tell it like it is, Pres. Trump!!

Paddy O said...

I'm increasingly thinking Europe is like the mafia, going to the shopkeeper and saying, "It'd be a shame if we had to start another world war, that'd be really awful for everyone. So you better pay your protection money." And then casually knocking something off the shelf on the way out (like Libya or Syria or the Ukraine), just to show they mean business.

The US pays up, and still sometimes even gets invited to the Legitimate Politician's Social Club for aperitifs.

wwww said...



Air bases in locations such as Germany are critical to American military missions in places such as Afghanistan.

Dismantling or weakening NATO is radical, but Trump does not appear to be much invested in these alliances.

Drago said...

Wwww: "Air bases in locations such as Germany are critical to American military missions in places such as Afghanistan."

New airbases in Poland and Hungary would serve our purposes just as well...

Big Mike said...

Keep in mind that Merkel is an Ossi. She grew up living under a Soviet puppet government, and may feel that life under Russia wouldn’t be all that bad.

Drago said...

Wwww: "...Trump does not appear to be much invested in these alliances."

What an astonishingly tone-deaf and reality-denying assertion given the FACT that its been the Europeans who refyse to meet their laughably minimal investment requirements to support NATO.

In the future wwww, just be more honest and come out and bluntly say that you support the US helping to fund European welfare states.

Oso Negro said...

@LarryJ - doesn’t matter how much money we spend on ships. The girls who command them can’t even talk to each other to avoid collision with freighters. How do you think they will do in combat?

Larry J said...

Ralph L said...

Larry J, surface ships aren't in good shape, either.


You're right, of course. I had to go to a meeting so I cut my answer short. There are a lot of gaps that need filling. For example, since the end of the Cold War, the Army has spent a lot of money on missile defense but short range air defense has been neglected. It wasn't a problem when facing enemies without air forces but if you look at near peer adversaries, they have a lot of jet fighters, ground attack aircraft, and UAVs that could inflict a lot of damage on our forces. The Army is rushing into development interim solutions but it'll be at least a few years before they're operational.

I've heard the same situation applies to anti-submarine warfare but not being Navy, I don't have any first-hand experience to back up that assertion.

YoungHegelian said...

And don't get too impressed with Greece at 2.36%. Most of that money is spent on salaries & pensions. In other words, Greece's military is like Greece's government bureaucracy --- the workfare of choice for the Greek middle class.

wildswan said...

It's just an opinion but it seems to me that top-down organization has done all it can do to make things better and is now making things worse by refusing to reform where reform is needed. Communism and socialism and centralized-scientific bureaucracy are all top down organization. States can reform and those reforms can be a model - what to do, what not to do. Don't finance like Illinois; don't treat the homeless like San Francisco; if you want your citizens to have jobs, don't engage in leftist posturing like the Detroit city government. Cut back the public sector unions like Wisconsin, if you want a balanced budget. Keep taxes low if you want jobs, like Texas. But what if the federal government blocks solutions? or the UN? Then the solutions of yesterday become the problems of today because natural development is blocked. And top-down government is very prone to blocking and to "seeing no reason" and to "fifty years of progress are threatened." Whereas it was really thirty years of progress seventy years ago followed by forty years of inertia leading to a new situation which the top will not acknowledge, a situation requiring new solutions which the top blocks - if it can - wherever they surface. For example, those living today who will be old women will not have social security unless, as young women, they have children. That is their choice, these days. It's the choice of social welfare governments not to tell them that this is so until nothing can be done about it. And so women's progress over seventy years isn't quite what it seem to be forty years ago. Or even what it seems to be now.

YoungHegelian said...

As obnoxious & in-yer-face as Trump can be, what possibly be said in defense of the Europeans? I mean, the US has been asking them nicely about this for 40 years! Through Democratic & Republican administrations, voiced by the heads of NATO (I forget what that position is called) both American & European, this has been a perennial bone of contention.

The Yerps knew this day would be coming. They just didn't think it would look like Trump when it did.

Freder Frederson said...

Every important environmentalist organization on earth, since the 1970's, has been created or subsidized by the Soviet Union, or since 2000 more or less, by some combination of Arab-Russian interests. Its really quite blatant.

Please provide some evidence for this outrageous claim. And considering that the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1992, you, are as usual, just spewing bullshit.

Ann Althouse said...

"Check your maths on what Germany owes to get to two percent."

Thanks. Correction made. I had the total it should spend as the amount it was short.

Howard said...

Gotta admit that Trump lining out the EU bureaucratic politicians was very satisfying. They all sat there with perfect rigidity that can only be upheld by a long stick up the bum taking it like the sheeple they are.

readering said...

Idiocracy.

Freder Frederson said...

New airbases in Poland and Hungary would serve our purposes just as well...

It is amazing how quickly you are willing to shit on our democratic allies and take up with regimes that are increasingly autocratic.

And do you have any idea how much a moving Ramstein to Eastern Europe would cost. Have you ever been to Ramstein/Landstuhl/Kaiserslautern. We have spent 74 years building up the infrastructure there. It would cost billions (more likely tens of billions) to move the bases to Hungary or Poland. Then they would stick us on an old Soviet air base and say, "oh by the way you are sitting on a lake of leaked jet fuel and toxic chemicals, you might want to do something about that".

buwaya said...

Russia came back into the environmentalist lobbying-funding world with the rise of the oligarchs, and especially Putin.

As for Arab funding, go dig. You really cannot miss their influence on the anti-fracking movement in particular. The UAE entities have been ubiquitous, almost certainly as, mostly, cut-outs for Saudi funds.

Drago said...

"I've heard the same situation applies to anti-submarine warfare but not being Navy, I don't have any first-hand experience to back up that assertion."

ASW (nti-submarine warfare) as well as the anti-anti-ship missile tech has been horrendously neglected.

Dont tell Freder though. You'll just befuddle him.

buwaya said...

Russia shares the economic interests of the old Soviet Union, in its late stage.
Both were largely dependent on oil and gas exports for foreign exchange income.

The governments change, but the interests (and pipelines) remain.

J. Farmer said...

NATO is a quarter century past its usefulness. Instead of niggling over individual defense spending commitments, we should be discussing how to disband NATO. If the Europeans want to create their own collective security agreement, they are of course more than free to do so. But there is no reason for the US to be involved.

Drago said...

Field Marshall Freder: "It is amazing how quickly you are willing to shit on our democratic allies and take up with regimes that are increasingly autocratic."

LOL

Hey dummy, Merkel and the Germans are marching merrily towards giving Putin the ability to Shut. Them. Down.

Whenever he wants.

Distributing our military assets more thoroughly makes it harder for the Russians to get us over a barrel.

Its called increasing flexibility AND reducing risk dummy.

Thanks for playing.

Feel free to send additional personal contributions to the German welfare state if it majes you feel better.

Gotta keep those terrorist muslim "immigrants" in schnitzel and falafels, right?




Ralph L said...

If they limit their purchases of our weapons, it makes them more expensive for us. The disinvest-in-Israel crap actually helps us a bit.

Howard said...

buwaya: you are making extraordinary claims which should be easy to back up with a few links that are not conspiracy mongers. am interested to find out if there is any validity to this claim, but not interested in researching your point.

Ralph L said...

But there is no reason for the US to be involved.

That's so last century. (first half)

Howard said...

J. Farmer: please explain why NATO is no longer useful?

J. Farmer said...

@Howard:

J. Farmer: please explain why NATO is no longer useful?

The threat it was designed to contain, the Soviet Union, does not exist anymore. As Lord Salisbury famously remarked, "The commonest error in politics is sticking to the
carcass of dead policies."

buwaya said...

Cannot make links from my present device, but go search for, say, Sea Change Foundation. And go trace the entities related to that. This sort of thing is extremely under-reported, especially given its political significance.

And thats just one case. Consider also Tom Steyer, the "wealth management" guy. You see this over and over, the grants for environmentalist orgs are loaded with "fuzzy" anonymous sources, Caribbean entities, etc.

Note that "hedge fund management" and "wealth management" are code for Russian oligarch and Arab money.

Drago said...

Field Marshall Freder, and the rest of the lefties, take time out from sending pallets of cash to the Iranians, supporting German gas deals with Putin, and supporting unfair trade and intellectual property theft practices of the Chinese to complain that republicans are siding with autocratic regimes too much.

Just how stupid are the lefties?

Well, I'm not sure we have scales that can accurately capture scores that high.

Drago said...

J.Farmer: "The threat it was designed to contain, the Soviet Union, does not exist anymore."

It's more than just the Soviet Union. It was also the Soviet orbit nations of the Warsaw Pact.

In fact, those former Pact members are now NATO members.

But don't tell Freder about that.

By the way Freder, just because the eastern european nations don't want to turn their nations into s***holes via mass muslim terrorist immigration doesn't make them "autocratic".

Dummy.

buwaya said...

Heh. Same thing goes on in Europe. Note the old news that the former SDP German chancellor, Schroder, has been working for Russian energy companies as a director of joint ventures with these for over a decade, last year becoming a director, no less, of Rosneft.

That is out in the open. What is not?

Dig, and I bet there is an awful lot to find.

Browndog said...

I'm old enough to remember that the world was supposed to emulate Germany in their conversion to green energy, saving the planet. World leaders in renewable energy, they said.

If an economy the size of Germany can rely on renewable energy, so can the U.S....said Obama.

Now, Germany is approaching full reliance on foreign energy.

Drago lays it out nicely at 8:20

Drago said...

"I'm old enough to remember that the world was supposed to emulate Germany in their conversion to green energy, saving the planet. World leaders in renewable energy, they said.
If an economy the size of Germany can rely on renewable energy, so can the U.S....said Obama"


The left lies about everything.

But only everything.

All the time.

Drago said...

Remember, starting with Clinton and continuing with W Bush and obama, policies and trade agreements were put in place to turn Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others into PERMANENT winners in global energy as the US and Europe began to put themselves at the complete mercy of these "autocratic" global energy powers.

Fracking in the US stopped our decline and Trump has unleashed the industry even more such that by next year the US will likely be the world's largest energy producer in oil and gas.

And that's before Trump gets the trade deals completed which will reinvigorate to some extent our coal production that was purposely sent to China.

Yeah, that Trump is really a tool of Putin.

Uh huh.

Sure he is. Sure he is....

buwaya said...

The fundamental corruption of environmentalism is one of those bits of information that is selectively ignored by media entities with the resources to investigate them.

There are huge amounts of political money involved. That Sea Change outfit I mentioned above gave something like $250 million in grants over five years. And there are plenty more oufits like "Sea Change". This kind of money is enough to buy "activist" organizations outright.

So, outfit that hands out $50million a year to maintain, say, the Sierra Club, is not worth wondering about, apparently.

Following the money is always productive.

Howard said...

J. Farmer: Fair enough, but it was also designed to unite western Europe who had just spent 1000+ years warring among themselves contributing to at least 100,000,000 murders in the 20th century alone. However, the Soviets morphed into a less stable Oligarchical Kleptocracy, so unless you are a Russian colluder, the fall of the USSR was in name only.

Michael K said...

I see Field Marshall Freder is back lecturing us primitives.

The Arab and Russian role in the anti-fracking demonstrations is not hard to find.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/russian-funded-environmental-group-gave-millions-to-anti-fracking-groups

http://www.newsweek.com/intelligence-putin-funding-anti-fracking-campaign-547873

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2015/03/12/russians-financed-the-u-s-anti-fracking-movement-oil-tycoon/#7a4109e8285e

Se how easy that was you idiot?

buwaya said...

The big difference between the Soviet Union and Russia is an intangible, ideology.

The greatest danger in the Soviet Union wasn't that it could create massive military forces, but its fundamental desire to impose its "religion" on the world, helped as it was by true believers and fellow travellers in the intelligentsia of every land.

The Cold War was a war of religion, fought for ultimate stakes, global hegemony.

Russia in contrast maneuvers for extremely limited goals. It has no "religion".

wwww said...



Trump wants to create a fissure with Germany and other NATO countries.

He does not want the alliance to appear solid to the rest of the world. He does not want to give credit to countries meeting the target. He wants to exemplify distance and fissures between the USA & Germany/ EU countries.

Cui bono?

Drago said...

Howard: "the fall of the USSR was in name only."

Not really.

As described above, Soviet global influence and ability to project power globally has never recovered.

The loss of the republics combined with failure to grow under KGB-kleptocracy rule means the there is a hard upper limit for the Russians in what they can do.

Their limited foray into Syria is stretching them to the max, as it would a nation the size of Italy...because that is what Russia is. A GDP equal only to Italy.

And the Russians can't even throw decent parties! So the Italians win that one, easily.

Browndog said...

When Trump warns allies not to become reliant on Russian energy, is it possible to twist that to mean Trump is doing Putin's bidding?

Sure it is..

@realDonaldTrump’s brazen insults & denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment. His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies.

-Nancy Pelosi

buwaya said...

Cui bono?

US interests?

What, or whose, interests are the useless Germans promoting?

wwww does not engage of course. Unwilling, or unable?

Drago said...

wwww: "Trump wants to create a fissure with Germany and other NATO countries"

Unbelievable.

Trump is the one who wants everyone "all in" so we can be partners in an "alliance" that serves the US national interests.

You and yours only want the US to keep kicking in US dollars for the benefit of some NATO members internal social welfare states.

We are still waiting for you to write one word in criticism of Gerhard Schroeder and the rest of the German quislings who are working with Putin directly to put Putin in charge of the German economy.

But we will never see that criticism from you wwww, will we? Because in the end, you don't actually believe a single thing you are writing. If you did, you would be complaining to high heaven for the europeans to live up to their agreements.

Yet you don't.

Reasonable, obvious and inescapable conclusions may be drawn.

Michael K said...

He wants to exemplify distance and fissures between the USA & Germany/ EU countries.

Cui bono?


I see you have joined the conspiracy theory nonsense. You should get together with Field Marshall Freder.

He will explain it all to you.

How telling Germany they should not let themselves get dependent on Russia is a sign that Trump is a Putin stooge.

It's all very simple. Once you understand that black is white and vice versa, it all makes sense.

J. Farmer said...

@Howard:

J. Farmer: Fair enough, but it was also designed to unite western Europe who had just spent 1000+ years warring among themselves contributing to at least 100,000,000 murders in the 20th century alone. However, the Soviets morphed into a less stable Oligarchical Kleptocracy, so unless you are a Russian colluder, the fall of the USSR was in name only.

In name only? Recall that the fall of the USSR meant Moscow losing control over 150 million people and more than two million square miles of territory. Putin's Russia has shown little to no desire to rule over non-Russians. So I suppose my question to you, Howard, is what do you believe the significant and important parallels between the USSR and today's Russia are?

narayanan said...

Putin was KGB chief in East Germany
Merkel is East German at heart.

Collusion - perish the thought.

Russia Politburo - what to do after the Fall of the Wall? - takeover Germany by uniting with them. They'll never see us coming - ha ha

Yancey Ward said...

The state of Nato is pretty decrepit. The Europeans that remembered the Soviets are dying off- same with the Americans. I personally think the US should reduce what it spends on European defense to a proportion to what the Europeans themselves are willing to spend on their own defenses. I think the threat of a Russian invasion of even Poland is pretty much zero- these aren't the ideological times that prevailed between 1945 and 1991. This isn't to say it couldn't change, but I don't think it likely to any time in the next 50 years.

J. Farmer said...

What a difference five years can make. I wonder why people weren't saying this back when self-styled conservatives were rushing to defend Romney's ridiculous "Russia is our number one geopolitical foe" line. It's almost as if people were by and large partisan weather-vanes.

Ralph L said...

Putin's Russia has shown little to no desire to rule over non-Russians

Cry me a river.

J. Farmer said...

Bloomberg is reporting that Trump urged setting a new target of 4%. That is absolutely absurd. What threats do European nations face that would necessitate such an increase in defense spending?

@Ralph L:

Cry me a river.

No idea what you mean, but okay.

Drago said...

J. Farmer: "Romney's ridiculous "Russia is our number one geopolitical foe" line."

I'm willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt in comparing the threat posed by Russia and China 6 years ago at that particular moment in time.

I don't think there can be any real question as to which nation poses the biggest long term threat to the US.

Drago said...

J. Farmer: "Bloomberg is reporting that Trump urged setting a new target of 4%. That is absolutely absurd. What threats do European nations face that would necessitate such an increase in defense spending"

I think it is a clever ploy.

Think about it: the Europeans argue that it is completely unnecessary for them to increase defense spending for their own benefit to 4%.

Oh, gee, okay then. Then why are we spending so much to defend you again?.......

If it is true that the military threat to Europe is that reduced, then it shouldn't be a problem for the US to redeploy assets and forces to meet more important threats, no?

Achilles said...

wwww said...

Trump wants to create a fissure with Germany and other NATO countries.

He does not want the alliance to appear solid to the rest of the world. He does not want to give credit to countries meeting the target. He wants to exemplify distance and fissures between the USA & Germany/ EU countries.

Cui bono?


Condensed essence of stupid.

If there weren't people who are truly dumb the democrats wouldn't have any supporters.

Hillary took 145 million dollars from Russia and sold them North American Uranium.

Obama sucking Putin's dick on video.

These people are not here in good faith. You can't be this stupid.

Drago said...

I would strongly recommend that we redeploy forces from Europe to Asia to meet that threat, however the fear of tipping the island of Guam over with additional forces is simply too great a threat.

#LeftyLogic
#TheScienceIsSettled
#DemocratsAreRealityBased

Gahrie said...

Putin's Russia has shown little to no desire to rule over non-Russians.

It was once said that Hitler was only unifying the German people...

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

I'm willing to give Romney the benefit of the doubt in comparing the threat posed by Russia and China 6 years ago at that particular moment in time.

What threat did Russia pose to us "at that particular moment in time?"

If it is true that the military threat to Europe is that reduced, then it shouldn't be a problem for the US to redeploy assets and forces to meet more important threats, no?

I don't actually happen to believe that the US faces significant military threats. I am not only for the US pulling out of NATO, but I support a massive reduction in military spending. I would be perfectly comfortable with reducing the US military by about 50%, and the US would face no appreciable change in its security situation. We don't really have a Department of Defense. That is a misnomer. We have a Department of War, and its primary effect over the last 30 years has been to bungle one idiotic military adventure after another.

Drago said...

J Farmer: "What threat did Russia pose to us "at that particular moment in time?""

Mostly cyber, nuclear proliferation, bio/chem weapons proliferation, destabilization of particular nations.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

It was once said that Hitler was only unifying the German people...

Presumably then you believe Putin does have a desire to rule over non-Russians. Care to provide a single shred of evidence for this?

Drago said...

J. Farmer: "I don't actually happen to believe that the US faces significant military threats"

China is getting there. Rapidly.

It's 1933 Japan, but biggerer, fasterer, more dangerouser.

Biggest change from '33 to now: Decapitation strike capability re: infrastructure and first strike weapons against responsive systems.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

Mostly cyber, nuclear proliferation, bio/chem weapons proliferation, destabilization of particular nations.

What WMD proliferation threat was Russia posing in 2012? And what nations were being destabilized by Russia in 2012? The only example that comes to mind was the intervention in Georgia four years earlier, and the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have zero effect on American national security.

Drago said...

J Farmer: "Presumably then you believe Putin does have a desire to rule over non-Russians."

Putin doesn't care.

He would like to formally rule over all Russians (hence the decades long efforts to infiltrate russian nationals into all the republics for long term positioning) and simply direct/control neighbors in a layered way.

By working with the Germans to deliver their energy, Putin will control their responses and can, he hopes eventually, use his influence to squeeze Poland, Hungary, etc from the West while he squeezes them from the east.

Sound familiar?

It's Molotov-Ribbentrop all over again.

But again, don't tell Field Marshall Freder or wwww about this. Their brains will melt...

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

China is getting there. Rapidly.

China is a nuclear power state. There are not going to be direct conflicts between the US and China unless the leadership of one side suddenly turns suicidal.

J. Farmer said...

It's Molotov-Ribbentrop all over again.

And in the inevitable cliche finally rears its head. For a certain set of people, the world is perpetually 1930s Europe. The US exerts a tremendous amount of military and economic pressure on Latin America. If Latin American countries decided to create mutual defense pacts with China, integrate their armed forces with China, and host Chinese military assets on their territory as an attempt to leverage the US, how do you think we would view such a strategy?

Drago said...

J Farmer: " There are not going to be direct conflicts between the US and China unless the leadership of one side suddenly turns suicidal."

Nonsense.

The Chinese will continue their regional expansion because, lets face it, Trump won't be here forever and there is no way the US will actually go to war to defend others after Trump.

Probably.

Regional and proxy battles will be ginned up but I must admit, and this is probably more towards your earlier points, the ability of the larger powers to actually bend the arc of history in their advantage against neighbors and even internal opponents has proven much more difficult in practice than theoreticians and war-gamers/planners thought 2 decades ago.

Much more difficult.

So, I don't think you and I are in much of a disagreement here on the fundamentals.

Drago said...

J Farmer: "And in the inevitable cliche finally rears its head. For a certain set of people, the world is perpetually 1930s Europe."

LOL

See my very next comment.

Just because I use a term that is recognizable from the past doesn't mean in any way that I think it is viable.

I'm attempting some shorthand.

Lovernios said...

Like Larry J, I was stationed in Germany from 1972-1975. I happened to be assigned to HHB 3rd Amored Division Artillery, a headquaters unit that liased with 3rd Armored Division headquarters. I was in the Fire Support Element that co-ordinated artillery firepower for the division. 3rd Aromored responsibility was to plug the Fulda Gap, the valley that the Soviets and East Germans were expected to use to invade West Germany. In every war games scenario at that time, our mission was to merely slow the Soviet advance until reinforcements could be brought in from the States. Inevitably, the bulge of the Soviet penetration into Germany would be at the point of breaking through NATO lines. That's when we would resort to tactical nuclear weapons, low yield shells fired from artillery pieces (155m, 174mm and 8 inch howitzers).

Now that that is no longer the threat, I wonder what 3rd Armored Division's mission is now.

Drago said...

Lovernios: "....."

"Red Storm Rising".

Interesting note: one of the naval flight officers in my squadron was a West Point grad, tank/armor officer, who transitioned branches and eventually became a carrier based squadron commander.

Drago said...

He was based in Germany as well protecting the Fulda Gap. A few years after you of course.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

The Chinese will continue their regional expansion because, lets face it, Trump won't be here forever and there is no way the US will actually go to war to defend others after Trump.

Let's hope so. I think the US has far too many mutual defense treaties as it is. I would certainly end the US-ROK mutual defense treaty, and I would make it explicit that we have no interest in coming to the defense of Taiwan. As stated, I would also pull out of NATO. The only nations the US should maintain mutual defense treaties with, in my opinion, are the UK, Japan, and Australia.

So, I don't think you and I are in much of a disagreement here on the fundamentals.

Perhaps not much, but as they say, the devil is in the details. China will continue to be an important and major power for the forseeable future, and the most pragmatic thing the US can do is to accommodate their rise. We have pursued the hub-and-spoke security strategy against China for two decades now, and it has had all the predictable results.

US geostrategic planning has really gone off the rails since the end of the Cold War, and one of the most foolish delusions it has indulged is that there was ever a "unipolar moment" that we should have ever attempted to preserve. US efforts towards hegemony are a dead end waste of resources. I don't see the Chinese doing anything half as foolish as the near term as spending trillions of dollars trying (and continuing to try to this day) nation-build in the middle east.

Drago said...

mockturtle on another thread: "Let's all go watch the World Cup! And root for England! :-)"

I plan on catching it.

I'm hoping for an England/France Final.

I was thinking about using a "I hope England goes all Henry II or Henry V on France", but J Farmer would ding me for it.......

Drago said...

J Farmer: "I would certainly end the US-ROK mutual defense treaty, and I would make it explicit that we have no interest in coming to the defense of Taiwan."

I disagree with you on these 2.

However, I do find it amusing, the whole "mutual defense" thing.

It's us protecting them.

If the US mainland were ever attacked, does anyone really think South Korea, if it hadn't been attacked yet, would leap into the fray?

I don't think so.

"mutual defense" is a nice diplomatic flourish so nobody gets called out.

Martin said...

They all blame Trump as if he created this situation. He is merely pointing out, in his crude Queens way that so many people willfully refuse to "get," that if the balloon ever goes up the American electorate is going to say something like, "Germany only has 4 operable fighters and no submarines at all, and we are supposed to send our youth over there to die in order to protect them? WTF?"

Obama also pushed for a bigger commitment, but he was polite about it--and totally ineffective, getting a 10-year promise they show no sign whatsoever of ever honoring. Trump has a different approach. Will it work? I don't know, but I can confidently say that if it doesn't work, f**k them.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

If the US mainland were ever attacked, does anyone really think South Korea, if it hadn't been attacked yet, would leap into the fray?

Well, South Korean forces did participate in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After their initial withdraw in 2007, South Koreans continued to run a hospital at Bagram. After Obama's escalation of the Afghanistan War, South Korea sent 500 troops and helicopters back into Afghanistan. They did a lot of this under the cover of a supposed reconstruction team, because the South Korean public is not too keen on their soldiers dying needlessly in Afghanistan. The death of 26-year-old Yoon Jang-ho in a suicide attack at Bagram in February 2007 two weeks before he was to return to South Korea did not sit well with many South Koreans.

Drago said...

J. Farmer: "Well, South Korean forces did participate in both Afghanistan and Iraq."

Small potatoes.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

Small potatoes.

Tell that to the family of the young man who gave his life there.

And, of course, on the subject that there is the recent murder of 20-year-old Cpl. Joseph Maciel. Sad that American patriotism has devolved into one dumb excuse after another to continually justify the needless deaths of young Americans on missions of idiotic military adventurism.

BJM said...

Ralph L said...
why do we even NEED a Germany?
To keep the French in their place.

That actually made me laugh out loud.

cubanbob said...

Some people here can't see the forest for the trees. Does Russia pose a land threat to the US? No. It potentially does to Europe so that is something the Europeans need to spend on for their benefit. Does Russia pose a threat to the US? Yes. Several thousand nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them to the US means we need to keep our defensive capabilities up to date. Does the Russian Navy pose a threat to our Navy and our sea-lanes? Yes. And we should keep our forces more than capable to deal with that threat as well as the threat posed by China. TX, PA and NY have each about 20,000 in their respective National Guards. The German Army has 60,000 members. Those states have a combined population of 61,000,000. Germany has a population of 82,000,000. Trump has a point. The Warsaw Pact with 200+ divisions isn't crossing the Fulda Gap anytime soon. Seems kind of strange when our Leftist complain that Trump The Russian Tool is hectoring the Europeans to spend more money on defending themselves from those very same Russians and less money on buying natural gas from those very same Russians so they won't be Tools of the Russians who colluded with Trump to get their Tool Trump elected.

Drago said...

J Farmer: "Tell that to the family of the young man who gave his life there."

How quickly we departed from the global geo-political-Military strategic
discussion.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

How quickly we departed from the global geo-political-Military strategic discussion.

Yes, I believe it began with your digression on the semantic appropriateness of the word "mutual" ;)

J. Farmer said...

@cubanbob:

Seems kind of strange when our Leftist complain that Trump The Russian Tool is hectoring the Europeans to spend more money on defending themselves from those very same Russians and less money on buying natural gas from those very same Russians so they won't be Tools of the Russians who colluded with Trump to get their Tool Trump elected.

This is another good example of how NATO complicates the relationship between the US and Europe. What European nations choose to spend on their own defense should be entirely up to them, just as what the US chooses to spend should be entirely up to us. Frankly, we should not give a damn what percentage of GDP France, Germany, or Poland decided to spend on their defense. It has nothing to do with us. And we should not be involved in a treaty that obligates us to come to their defense in the event of an attack. NATO is an anachronism long overdue to be put out to grass.

Drago said...

JF: "Yes, I believe it began with your digression on the semantic appropriateness of the word "mutual""

Really?

Ok. Whatever.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

Really?

Uhh...unless I'm suffering from hallucinations, did you not ask the following question: "If the US mainland were ever attacked, does anyone really think South Korea, if it hadn't been attacked yet, would leap into the fray?"

And then you complain: "How quickly we departed from the global geo-political-Military strategic discussion."

Drago said...

Those are clearly related.

Obviously.

Again, whatever.

J. Farmer said...

@Drago:

Again, whatever.

Well, I am not the one complaining about the course of the conversation.

But if you wish to return to what I suppose was the meat of the conversation, consider Taiwan. I do not believe the US should be willing to sacrifice millions of American lives in order to protect Taiwan. And I don't believe Taiwan should be willing to sacrifice millions of their lives to protect Americans.

Why do you believe otherwise?

J. Farmer said...

p.s. And to briefly return to your question of South Korea, the answer is clearly yes. You went from claiming that they would not do anything to then complaining that what they did do was "small potatoes." I think that's a rather callous response to another county putting hundreds of their soldiers at risk in service of an alliance with the US. Frankly, if I was South Korean, I would vehemently oppose a single South Korean solider in Afghanistan, let alone 500.

buwaya said...

The problem with China is it is a historic inevitability that it will be rather overbearing.

Precedent of such an enormously overwhelming power is not encouraging. Such powers can't help themselves, or not for long. Even as a matter of internal politics, but the nature of technology, the ease and pervasiveness of quite distant economic interests, and ease of military reach and transport in the modern world mean endless points of friction that will offer endless temptations. Consider all the distant troubles the British and French empires got into, let alone the US.

This will certainly lead to wars in East Asia, which are likely to be very ugly, and the Pacific Ocean is not that big, not in this modern world. And more than that, China is going to find itself in distant conflicts also.

The transfer of hegemonies is never trouble-free.

pacwest said...

"NATO is an anachronism long overdue to be put out to grass."

@Farmer, I agree that NATO as exists is way out of date. The threats are not the same as they were 40 years ago. Although I'm not at RCook level I believe we are way overspending on military, and don't need to be involved in a lot of the places we are. The money could be better spent elsewhere. If the costs were far less maybe, but ROIs of foreign conflicts are way too low imo.

The question I have is what kind of mutual defense pacts if any should we have? What triggers action on our part? I don't think you are advocating military isolationism(?), but what is the balance between aggression and and deterrence? Is aggression deterrence? Are there instances where we should spend resources (aggression) to quell possible future threats? Should we maintain an expensive military, or count on being able to institute a rapid buildup. Tough call, although keeping a ready military lets us make those calls on the fly, which may be as much a bug as a feature.

buwaya said...

"Frankly, if I was South Korean, I would vehemently oppose a single South Korean solider in Afghanistan, let alone 500."

The broader interests of South Korea are relevant.

To a degree the war in Afghanistan is being fought by a Pakistani political faction that is otherwise in bed with China. It is ultimately a Chinese proxy war on behalf of Pakistan, aimed ultimately at China's natural opponent India.

The basic conflict in the region is India vs China, and South Korea is a natural ally of India in opposition to China. That is, if it intends to retain its current degree of sovereignty.

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

Presume for a minute that the Taliban was utterly defeated in Afghanistan. What impact would that have on China's ability to exert pressure on South Korea?

walter said...

"Greece at 2.36 perpercent, the U.K. at 2.12 percent, and Estonia at 2.08 percent are the next best performers in terms of meeting the GDP target. The laggards are tiny Luxembourg (0.46 percent), Belgium (0.90 percent), Spain (0.92 percent) and Slovenia (0.98 percent).

In 2017 the report says the U.K. spent some $55.2 billion on defense, Germany $45.4 billion and France $45.9 billion. But this still pales when compared with the United States’ $685.9 billion in spending."
--
Cool..change the comparative metric right in the middle of it.
It must be a writing strategy to encourage reader involvement.

J. Farmer said...

@pacwest:

You obviously put a lot on the table, but I will try to answer it as concisely as possible.

The question I have is what kind of mutual defense pacts if any should we have? What triggers action on our part? I don't think you are advocating military isolationism(?), but what is the balance between aggression and and deterrence?

I answered the first question in this thread at 12:28: "The only nations the US should maintain mutual defense treaties with, in my opinion, are the UK, Japan, and Australia."

As for "what is the balance between aggression and deterrence," it's an overly broad question. Military actions need to be judged on their own merits and not on their adherence to some kind of universal principle. Generally, though, I believe that the US resorts to warfare far too frequently and far too recklessly. There is not a war we have fought in the last 25 years that I would have supported.

Are there instances where we should spend resources (aggression) to quell possible future threats?

None that I can think of currently. If you have something in mind, I'll consider it. When you start talking about quelling "possible future threats," then you are basically in the realm of preventative war, and I think people should be highly skeptical of preventive war. For one, to accurately know what the "future threats" are generally requires more knowledge than anyone really possesses.

Should we maintain an expensive military, or count on being able to institute a rapid buildup.

The problem with the "rapid buildup" is that it would basically require a draft. The question on maintaining an expensive military has to do with what you think the military is for and how you define American national security interests. I would tend to define them narrowly and believe we can get by with a far smaller (and thus cheaper) military. ICBMs pretty much insure that we are not going to have the great power wars of the first half of the 20th century. And a multi-trillion dollar technologically advanced military has proven rather useless in us achieving our political goals in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.

Ralph L said...

South Korea also sent troops to South Vietnam. Can't remember how many.

Cry me a river.

No idea what you mean, but okay.

Guess you missed the joke. Presumably, there were lots of non-Russians in Crimea, or it wouldn't have gone to Ukraine in 1991.

Michael K said...

The money could be better spent elsewhere. If the costs were far less maybe, but ROIs of foreign conflicts are way too low imo.

The money needs to be spent on the Navy but we also need to revolutionize the officer corps, especially surface warfare types.

The recent series of mishaps suggests that navigation and competence have been relegated to some level far below diversity and women's rights.

Aside from the SJW aspects of the porblem, they are not competent.

Nearly 84 percent of Navy first-tour junior deck officers randomly tested were not competent to drive their ships without raising concerns, particularly when “immediate action” was required “to avoid collision,” according to findings the Navy released Wednesday.

Instead, many of the 164 junior officers who were qualified to be officer of the deck were not able to demonstrate “critical thinking and decision-making skills” when facing dangerous situations, the Navy review of seamanship and ship-handling skills found.

The results of the evaluations, conducted in the wake of two deadly Pacific Fleet ship collisions last year, were “sobering,” said Vice Adm. Richard Brown, the head of Naval Surface Force Pacific, who ordered the review.


Plus the two deck officers in the Fitzgerald incident were female and not talking to each other. Like sorority girls having a spat.

they killed seven sailors.

That two of the officers — Coppock and Combs — involved in this fatal incident were female suggests that discipline and training standards have been lowered for the sake of “gender integration,” which was a major policy push at the Pentagon during the Obama administration. It could be that senior officers, knowing their promotions may hinge on enthusiastic support for “gender integration,” are reluctant to enforce standards for the women under their command.

This follows the report a year or two ago, by a former West Point instructor about the loss of standards at the Academy.

First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.

Read the while thing. It's chilling. I suspect the same thing is seen at the Naval Academy.

J. Farmer said...

@Ralph L:

Presumably, there were lots of non-Russians in Crimea, or it wouldn't have gone to Ukraine in 1991.

We do not have to presume. We have the demographic figures. In 1989, Crimea was nearly 70% Russian and 25% Ukrainian.

Scott said...

The time to roll up NATO has long passed, it is high time we get around to making it happen. A few bilateral treaties (the UK, Norway, Poland, Hungary, perhaps a few others) would seem to be in order, but these should be based upon clearly identified responsibilities for each party. The other states (Germany, France, etc.) should be told in no uncertain terms that the party is over and that they can fend for themselves. The Germans may in fact be comfortable with this, after all, they sit happily behind buffer states to the East, but this really doesn't matter to us. We should be making our policy based upon our own security needs, and what needs to be done to bolster those.

As for the question of how to cope with China in the Pacific, perhaps a modest proposal....encourage Taiwan, the ROK, Japan, and a few others to build their own bombs, and let the Chinese worry about THAT while we rebuild our own forces. As others have said earlier, we desperately need to rebuild our Surface forces, take immediate steps to deal with the mass retirements of the Los Angeles class SSNs in the 2020s, improve the Army's lamentable SHORAD capability, among many other failings. Clearing out some of the toxic waste brought in to the officer corps during the Obama years wouldn't hurt either, though fortunately attrition will help there.

An excellent first step would be NATO, it will free up resources of course, but it will also serve as notice to many of our fair weather friends that the party is over. If the EUnicks wish to take their chances with Putin, they are welcome to it. To paraphrase a famous German statesman, 'they have nothing that is worth the bones of a single grenadier'

Ralph L said...

Jeez, Farmer, stomp on the littlest joke or pun. Autistic or just pedantic?

J. Farmer said...

@Ralph L:

Pedantic and smug. A deadly combination!

buwaya said...

"What impact would that have on China's ability to exert pressure on South Korea?"

That much less wasted effort on the part of the US, which is an ally of South Korea, freeing up (especially) logistical resources and funding to support South Korea, and decreased self-confidence on the part of Pakistan, leading to increased confidence on the part of India, and a greater prospect of a general anti-Chinese alliance in South and East Asia.

All of which is more likely to deter China from attempting to hegemonize South Korea.

You have to think broad.

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

You have to think broad.

Frankly, that kind of "broad" thinking is fine for a dorm room bull session or a Zbigniew Brzezinski Grand Chessboard style pop-diplomacy book. As for trying to describe events in the real world, it's all but useless.

To claim that the South Koreans sent 500 troops into Afghanistan because they hoped to decrease the self-confidence of Pakistan, increase the self-confidence of India, and thus a "general anti-Chinese alliance in South and East Asia" is a fairy tale. It's astrology.

There are dozens of other factors constraining all sides behavior and the fact that you can draw a common thread among a couple of them and then declare that they are the primary factor is nonsensical. There are a whole host of reasons that constrain ASEAN's ability to work in tangent vis-a-vis their strategic relationships with China that are completely independent of Pakistani or Indian self-confidence.

Further, if there was a "general anti-Chinese alliance in South and East Asia," it would have no ability to prevent China from exercising economic pressure on South Korea (e.g. banning Chinese tour groups from visiting South Korea, denying visas to South Koreans, shutting down South Korean businesses operating in China, etc.).

Drago said...

Michael K: "The money needs to be spent on the Navy but we also need to revolutionize the officer corps, especially surface warfare types."

Don't get me started......

buwaya said...

Of course there is no single "common thread". There are plenty of "threads".
And there are plenty of other threads arguing for Korean assistance to the US.

Consider -

Increase the credibility of your major ally, that he might gain other allies. This bandwagon works. That's how, in large part, Nato happened.

Create a sense of obligation - don't discount this - why did Cavour send the Sardinian Army to the Crimea in 1855?

And more. Consider all the paths this would affect.

" it would have no ability to prevent China from exercising economic pressure on South Korea"

Maybe. If there were a unified East-South Asian alliance with which China has a trade deficit, as it does, it would be risky to risk a break with one of the major partners.

Hagar said...

The borders of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine were set by Stalin way back in the 1920's and encompassed lots of lands that never "belonged" to the Ukrainians. Crimea "belonged" to Turkey before Catherine the Great and Potemkin occupied it in the 18th century.

Jim at said...

The world has been living off of the American taxpayer for quite some while now, and some of us are tired of it.

Hear, hear.

buwaya said...

Also consider why everyone and his brother sent troops to Korea in 1950-52

The list of countries that sent combat troops is ridiculous. Also, the list below is very understated as many countries refreshed their contingents several times. The real reason is that all these people were expecting US support for their various issues, from regime support for Ethiopia, to "forgiveness" on the part of Thailand.

Australia – 17,000
United Kingdom – 14,198
Thailand – 6,326
Canada – 6,146
Turkey – 5,453
Philippines – 1,468
New Zealand – 1,385
Ethiopia – 1,271
Greece – 1,263
France – 1,119
Colombia – 1,068
Belgium – 900
South Africa – 826
Netherlands – 819
Luxembourg – 44

Drago said...

buwaya: "Create a sense of obligation - don't discount this - why did Cavour send the Sardinian Army to the Crimea in 1855?"

Sardinian heat in the summer is a real b****?

Jim at said...

If we are not going to continue to prop up Europe and Asian allies, why the hell do we need to spend even more on defense? - Freder

Maybe you ask the moron who spent eight years gutting our military.
You know. The guy you voted for?

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

Increase the credibility of your major ally, that he might gain other allies. This bandwagon works. That's how, in large part, Nato happened.

That is the exact opposite direction we should be moving. We should be winding down our Cold War era commitments, not looking to expand them. The US already has security treaties that cover nearly half the globe. This is part of the reason we have to maintain an insanely bloated military presence.

If there were a unified East-South Asian alliance with which China has a trade deficit, as it does, it would be risky to risk a break with one of the major partners.

Big "if." And the reason there is not "a unified East-South Asian alliance" is not because of Pakistani confidence. It is because that encompasses a lot of different nations with different interests, strategic imperatives, and views on how to address those imperatives. As I said, look at the difficulty ASEAN has in acting in a unified manner. Now imagine expanding that by half a dozen different countries.

gilbar said...

just saw this:
The University of Kansas is hosting a display on campus featuring an American flag that has been smeared with black paint by an artist as a commentary on “the current political climate.
”The flag, “untitled (flag 2),” was designed by German artist Josephine Meckseper and is being displayed in several locations across the United States, including KU, Cornell University, Texas State University, Rutgers University, and the University of South Florida.
university shows hated of america

The Cool thing; is that IN GERMANY you can go to jail for flying the wrong flag; so their artists come here

pacwest said...

"And a multi-trillion dollar technologically advanced military has proven rather useless in us achieving our political goals in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya."

Yep. Never get involved in a ground war in Asia. I'm still trying to figure out if we really need to be spending the insane amount on the military we are at present. It's not like we are going to be trying to gain and hold ground. It appears the only ratonal use of it is to take punative measures, and then withdraw. It's a crap load of money we could be spending elsewhere.

Howard said...

Drago and J Farmer: Good points, but the big threat was and is their nukes. More than just a hair muss. They used to be controlled by a system of careful apparatchik, now by a Napoleonic KGB throat cutter.

Drago said...

Howard, I think there is much more agreement about many key National Security issues and alliances now across republican, democrat, libertarian etc lines than at any other time post-WW2.

Trump is certainly one, but not the only, manifestation of that.

Milwaukie Guy said...

Speaking of pedantic, it is true the Russians took Crimea from the Turks in the 1700s and successfully kept it in the Crimean War. But, it was in 1954 that the Supreme Soviet handed Crimea over to the Ukraine.


Would it be real politik to acknowledge Russian sovereignty over Crimea for a withdrawal from the Ukraine? It doesn't look like anything will change militarily on the ground.

Howard said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
I don't actually happen to believe that the US faces significant military threats.

Yes and no. Most of our allies face the threats, we live on a large island protected by vast oceans that we rule.

I am not only for the US pulling out of NATO, but I support a massive reduction in military spending. I would be perfectly comfortable with reducing the US military by about 50%, and the US would face no appreciable change in its security situation.

Our allies would shit themselves if we pulled out our troops and cut the Navy because they live on the front lines while we enjoy the safety of fortress America. In addition, Goldman Sacks needs the open shipping lanes, sweatshop labour and happy foreign consumers to make their nut. The Pentagon keeps the world open for business

We don't really have a Department of Defense. That is a misnomer. We have a Department of War, and its primary effect over the last 30 years has been to bungle one idiotic military adventure after another.

I agree with this. We need to stop the wars and go back to defense.

walter said...

Gilbar,
Since cross thread references have been encouraged...
Maybe Sacha Cohen can collaborate with her:
https://twitter.com/cecilargo/status/772912976999411715

Michael K said...

This is part of the reason we have to maintain an insanely bloated military presence.

The real reason is the cost of personnel. Pensions and the volunteer military are very expensive.

Now we have transgenders trying to join to get expensive surgery paid for by the taxpayers.

Weapons system are low on the funding totem pole.

buwaya said...

Well, they weren't (mostly) Sardinians, it was that the future King of Italy was a king only in that he held Sardinia, which came with a crown. His actual productive, populous territory was the western part of Northern Italy, that is, old Piedmont, with its capital in Turin. Unfortunately the traditional title for that was only a dukedom.

These things get complicated.

Anyway, looking for French help against the Austrians, Cavour, the Prime Minister, supplied their army to aid France in the Crimea. France returned the favor in 1859, at the cost of much blood and in trade for the city of Nice and a pretty piece of the Alps, giving Sardinia-Piedmont-Savoy Lombardy(Milan), but also leaving the field clear for a forced takeover of most of the the rest of Italy. That was not the whole business of course (it is a complex and fascinating subject, involving among other things a change in Napoleonic mistresses).

From the point of view of Italian nationalism the loan of the Sardinian army, to serve in a war they had no reason otherwise to join, was a great success.

Gahrie said...

As others have said earlier, we desperately need to rebuild our Surface forces, take immediate steps to deal with the mass retirements of the Los Angeles class SSNs in the 2020s

20th century thinking. We need to step out of the box. Take the money we are spending on a strategic bomber, strategic subs, future nuclear carriers and the SLS and develop a space force. He who controls the orbitals controls the planet. Take a SierraNevada Dreamchaser or an X-37b if you want to go unmanned, stick a rail gun and a KEW dispenser on it, load it on top of a Falcon-9 and you have an operational spacefighter. Throw up a station for support (maybe using the Bigelow tech) and some satellites for surveillance and you're good to go.

If you're in the J. Farmer school: Bring the Army and Navy back home. Convert the Navy to a frigate force for commerce protection. Drastically downsize the Marines and retire their carriers. Return the Air Force to the Army. Let the Army control transport and close support aircraft. Eliminate the strategic forces. Retire all strategic ballistic missiles. It'd be rough on our allies, but we could do it.

Michael K said...

I am skeptical of the Space Force. That would be a place for unmanned especially.

The whole manned space program was a PR bullshit campaign.

How many people realize that Voyager I is still going with its 1977 technology?

Voyager 1's extended mission is expected to continue until around 2025 when its radioisotope thermoelectric generators will no longer supply enough electric power to operate its scientific instruments.

28 years ago, it left the heliosphere.

A set of grey squares trace roughly left to right. A few are labeled with single letters associated with a nearby colored square. J is near to a square labeled Jupiter; E to Earth; V to Venus; S to Saturn; U to Uranus; N to Neptune. A small spot appears at the center of each colored square


On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first ever "family portrait" of the Solar System as seen from outside,[33] which includes the image of planet Earth known as Pale Blue Dot. Soon afterward its cameras were deactivated to conserve energy and computer resources for other equipment. The camera software has been removed from the spacecraft, so it would now be complex to get them working again. Earth-side software and computers for reading the images are also no longer available.


JPL should be very proud of this.

Rusty said...

"If you're in the J. Farmer school: Bring the Army and Navy back home. Convert the Navy to a frigate force for commerce protection. Drastically downsize the Marines and retire their carriers. Return the Air Force to the Army. Let the Army control transport and close support aircraft. Eliminate the strategic forces. Retire all strategic ballistic missiles. It'd be rough on our allies, but we could do it. "

How's that going to work , exactly ? Defending allies and assets thousands of miles away.
Asking for a friend.

Jual Vimax Obat Pembesar Penis said...

Obat Bius Chloroform Di Palembang
Obat Bius Chlorophyll Di Palembang
Obat Bius Trivam Di Palembang
Obat Bius Liquid Sex Di Palembang
Obat Tidur Sleeping Beauty Di Palembang

Obat Bius Chloroform Di Jakarta
Obat Bius Chlorophyll Di Jakarta
Obat Bius Trivam Di Jakarta
Obat Bius Liquid Sex Di Jakarta
Obat Tidur Sleeping Beauty Di Jakarta

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

How's that going to work , exactly ? Defending allies and assets thousands of miles away.
Asking for a friend.


Easy. By and large, we don't defend "allies and assets thousands of miles away." We focus primarily on American national security interests. There is a real simple way to avoid being killed by terrorists in Syria: don't go to Syria. Of course, if you refuse to learn anything from the last 20 years of unending failures, then there is probably nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. It's apparently a matter of faith for some people.

Rusty said...

Didn't really answer the question J. But your pacifism is duly noted.

So no carrier fleet in the black sea or inthe Baltic.