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Skip to comments.America’s Overextended War Guarantees
Posted on 03/22/2014 7:18:50 AM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
Sweeping through Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania this week, Joe Biden reassured all three that the United States commitment to Article Five of the NATO treaty remains solemn and iron clad. Article Five commits us to war if the territory of any of these tiny Baltic nations is violated by Russia. From World War II to the end of the Cold War, all three were Soviet republics. All three were on the other side of the Yalta line agreed to by FDR, and on the other side of the NATO red line, the Elbe River in Germany. No president would have dreamed of waging war with Russia over them. Now, under the new NATO, we must. Joe Biden was affirming war guarantees General Eisenhower would have regarded as insane.
Secretary of State John Kerry says that in the Ukraine crisis, All options are on the table. John McCain wants to begin moving Ukraine into NATO, guaranteeing that any Russian move on the Russified east of Ukraine would mean war with the United States. Forty members of Congress have written Kerry urging that Georgia, routed in a war it started with Russia over South Ossetia in 2008, be put on a path to membership in NATO. Following Russias annexation of Crimea, other voices are calling for expanding NATO to bring in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and for moving U.S. troops and warplanes into Poland and the Baltic republics.
President Obama says, All options are on the table if Iran does not give us solid assurances she is not building a bomb. Members of Congress support U.S. military action against Iran, if Tehran does not surrender even the capability to build a bomb. End all enrichment of uranium, or America attacks, they warn.
In the Far East we are committed to defend Japan if China seizes the Senkakus that Beijing claims as Chinese territory, a collection of rocks in the East China Sea. If Kim Jong-Un starts a war with South Korea, we are committed by treaty to fight a second Korean War. We are committed by treaty to defend the Philippines. And if China acts on its claim to the southern islands of the South China Sea, and starts a shooting war with Manilas navy, we are likely in it.
Is this not an awful lot on Uncle Sams plate? Is America really prepared to fight all of these wars that we are obligated by treaty to fight? The national recoil at attacking Syria, for crossing Obamas red line last summer and using poison gas, suggests that there is a vast gulf between what America is obligated by treaty to do, and what the American people are willing to do in sending their soldier sons into a new war.
Indeed, the latest mantra of the war hawks, no boots on the ground, is meant to reassure the nation that in our next war, unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, there will be no more planeloads of dead coming into Dover, no new generation of Wounded Warriors arriving at Walter Reed. Soon, the United States is going to have to come to terms with this realitythe unwillingness of the American people to fight the wars they are committed to fight by the American government.
Yet, the immediate problem is how to avoid a military confrontation or clash with Vladimir Putins Russia over Crimea, which almost no American wants. Apparently, the West has decided to start down the sanctions road.
But where does that road lead? While sanctions may cripple the Russian economy, will they break Putin? Did they break Castro? Did they break Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il? Did they break the Ayatollah? Does Putin look like someone who will respond to an economic squeeze by crying uncle?
Moreover, in this age of interdependence that America did so much to launch, sanctions are a two-edged sword.
If Ukraine cuts off oil, gas, water, and electricity into a seceded Crimea, whose tourist trade is drying up, this could provoke Putin into invading Eastern Ukraine and seizing the lone land bridge onto the peninsula. It could provoke Russia into cutting off imports from Ukraine, turning off the oil and gas, and calling in Ukraines debts. This would precipitate a default by Ukraine, without more Western aid than the $35 billion it is now estimated Kiev will need by 2016. Are House Republicans willing to vote Americas share of that vast sum and make Ukraine a recipient of U.S. foreign aid roughly equal to what we provide annually to Israel and Egypt?
And if we severely sanction Russia, she could cut off oil and gas to Europe, cause a recession in the eurozone, and move closer to China. Nixons great achievement was to split China off from Moscow. President Reagans great achievement was to preside over the conversion of the evil empire into a country where he was cheered in Red Square. What our Greatest Generation presidents accomplished, our Baby Boomer presidents appear to have booted away.
Maybe we can TAX the world ... LOL ...
I have often wondered why we kept expanding NATO long after the need for it expired. These treaties are nothing but a trip wire for our own demise. Perhaps during the time of the marshall plan in Europe they may have been needed but it seems the time has long since expired. In effect we had extended our military defense boundaries beyond our territorial limits providing many countries with a shield under which to compete economically with us.
NATO requires member states to spend 1% of GDP on defense, and most of the member states cheat on this. When you consider how top-heavy they are in brass and such, and they have very few combat units. As a consequence, they are not capable of defending themselves, no less projecting force to the east.
Admittedly, each of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is small. But, I think between them they have zero combat planes and zero tanks. In terms of soldiers, I think we’re talking of a one brigade each.
With regard to Ukraine, it is a country of something like 50 million people. It should be very capable of deploying meaningful forces to its eastern border. A Russian invasion, or infiltration, should result in something more than asking somebody else to do something. Infiltrators should be arrested by police backed up by military forces.
If the people of the Baltic nations and of Ukraine aren’t willing to defend themselves, they are not worthy of us defending them. If Ukraine were willing to defend itself, it wouldn’t need us (except for intelligence, logistical support and strategic deterrence); and, the Baltic nations wouldn’t even come into play.
Bottom line - none of these treaties will be backed up my any combat forces...
War treaties are meant to be the bottom line - not the main line. Statesmanship and diplomacy are supposed to make up the middle 98%. But in this age of Hillary and Obama, the Rats need a new wag the dog to deal with the Obamacare catastrophe. Thus, Rats and RINOs are now beating the war drums.
NATO was supposed to be more of a propaganda show to make the USSR believe that they would suffer major consequences if they exerted military influence over nations they didnt get a chance to occupy after WW2. For the most part, that would be the case despite France never being fully on-board, Franco’s Fascist Spain being a member, most of the members being socialist nations (where our military spending afforded them with the ability to play with massive welfare states), and Greece and Turkey being enemies, but yet fearing Russian/Communist domination.
As long as we and the Eastern Bloc were at a stalemate, it all kinda worked.
Now we have this organization that hasn’t had a real mission since 1991, that has expanded into former Soviet-occupied territories, Whose many members are now part of a whole other layer of government called the EU, and tying us to nations that may not be able to keep out of conflict with Russia to come to their defence if something goes down.
The best thing for us and Europe is if NATO is dissolved. It would free us to be more smart with our military, and will force Europe to choose between more welfare spending, or their national defence.
Putin will not touch those until he’s assimilated all of the non NATO former republics of the USSR. We won’t make a move until then either.
Although it might be a good idea to make a few more tanks and jets.
That’ll get the economy humming.
Can no one see the plan?
If I’m Putin, I march right into Estonia and prove once and for all what a joke NATO has become. And I would do it the day of the NCAA championship game to make Obama look like even more pathetic than he is.
It’s in the nature of bureaucracies to mindlessly expand. They are like bacteria in a petri dish.