Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bangin' that Old War Drum, Again.

Maybe it's because they're still smarting from getting their asses handed to them in Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe not.  Either way it's getting a bit embarrassing listening to Western military leaders banging the war drums over Russia.

NATO, especially, is sounding the alarm of an all-out shooting war with the Kremlin.  The Russians fly their bombers were we don't want to see them, that's a provocation, a threat, even if they're well inside international airspace.  The Russians send their subs into our territorial waters.  We can't find them anyway.

Now Britain's top general in NATO, Adrian Bradshaw, is warning that Russia poses an "existential threat to our whole being."

Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of Nato forces in Europe, said there was a danger Vladimir Putin could try to use his armies to invade and seize Nato territory, after calculating the alliance would be too afraid of escalating violence to respond.

His comments follow a clash between London and Moscow after the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said there wasa "real and present danger" Mr Putin could try to destabilise the Baltic states with a campaign of subversion and irregular warfare.

The Kremlin called those comments “absolutely unacceptable".

Sir Adrian, one of the most senior generals in the British Army and a former director of special forces, went further and said there was also danger that Russia could use conventional forces and Soviet-era brinkmanship to seize Nato territory.

He said Russia had shown last year it could generate large conventional forces at short notice for snap exercises along its borders. There was a danger these could be used “not only for intimidation and coercion but potentially to seize Nato territory, after which the threat of escalation might be used to prevent re-establishment of territorial integrity. This use of so called escalation dominance was of course a classic Soviet technique.”

Curious, ain't it?  We drive NATO's military presence right up to Russia's borders and then get offended when Russia shows that it can "generate large conventional forces at short notice for snap exercises along its borders."  What would any country want to do if a powerful adversary showed up on its borders?

This may sound like so much hot air but the path of Cold War is heavily influenced by the parties' confidence.  If one side is relatively confident it's safe from hostilities from the other side, tensions abate.  That confidence is pretty fragile and can be readily, perhaps even irrevocably, undermined by provocative actions and pronouncements from the adversary, statements just like Sir Adrian's.

It's not that Vlad Putin isn't a dangerous thug.  He's all that and more.  It's just that a shooting war with Russia, of the very sort these NATO leaders are so quick to envision, could well be the end of everything and everyone, possibly even yourself.

Update - gasp.  Is general Adrian making the rounds of some German online dating site?


lungta said...

best i can do is
robin williams line from good morning vietnahm
"i have never seen a man in more need of a blowjob"

the salamander said...

.. sure lucky we have an economist in short pants, a minister of Defense who lives with mommy, and Ray Novak to discuss war strategy with the rest of Cabinet & decide what to tell the Generals.. and exhort the troops

The Mound of Sound said...

Good catch, Lungta.

@ Sal - yes, sigh. We're so screwed.

Unknown said...

Sounds like Britain and the U.S. really want a war with Russia. I agree that Putin is a thug,but he has been incredibly level headed with The U.S. and NATO's provocations.

Hugh said...

All-out war with the possibility of nukes?

Can they maybe go to a different planet if they want to do that?

I kind of like Earth.

The Mound of Sound said...

The worst part of it, Pamela, is that we don't have to "want" war with Russia for it to occur. With this sort of conflict it's more likely that we'll back ourselves into it.

@ Hugh. It's been decades since I pored over the literature on nuclear escalation in peer warfare and it is scary stuff.The lesson I took from it at the time is never count on "cooler heads" being able to pull us back from the brink. That sort of thinking is hubris of the sort that's almost always followed by nemesis.