Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Excerpts from the morning...

"NATO on Tuesday rejected Moscow's explanation that its warplanes had violated alliance member Turkey's air space by mistake and said Russia was sending more ground troops to Syria and building up its naval presence.

With Russia extending its air strikes to include the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was losing patience with Russian violations of his country's air space.

"An attack on Turkey means an attack on NATO," Erdogan warned at a Brussels news conference."
Rolled over in bed and grabbed the iPad to check email and the news before starting my day. The above story resulted in a lot more one-fingered typing on a virtual keyboard than I usually do, and so I'll just copypasta the highlights over here now that I'm on a real computer...
  • This has the potential to spin right the f*** out of control before anybody involved realizes what they're doing.
To the suggestion that Russia would just continue to punk NATO with no response:
  • Yeah, see, sooner or later some individual fighter pilot or other trigger puller isn't going to understand that he's supposed to be punked.
To the suggestion that NATO should buzz off:
  • Clearly. A mutual self-defense organization to counter a militarized Soviet Union is a relic of the past, since toothless and cuddly Russia is a friend of Europe now and has no territorial ambitions beyond their own borders.

  • So, you don't necessarily mean NATO needs to go away, just that we need to get ourselves out of it? That I could maybe get behind. We've been subsidizing the welfare states of Europe for far too long by effectively acting as their Ministry of Defense.
To the allegation that NATO has been expanding too aggressively:
  • You mean, not recognizing the legitimate territorial claims of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?
  • If I were the Baltic states, I'd join any organization that offered to help me keep Moscow from its regular incursions. I'd like it if it kept the Germans out, too, but frankly Berlin is just not much of a threat these days.

  • [I]f you'd had the Russians camping out in your master bedroom for forty years (or much longer in some cases) and they left, would you not lobby to join an organization that promised to help you if they came back?

  • (I will add, however, that if NATO did go away, this is France's best chance to hand Germany a one-on-one curb stomping since the Congress of Vienna.)
On our naive fascination with Popular Uprisings:
  • I understand the initial American infatuation with the Arab Spring. Delight at people toppling tyrants is baked deeply into our cultural DNA. But certainly by a couple of years ago, we should have seen what a dog's breakfast it was making of the region. Continuing to support anti-Assad forces is farcical and a willfully obtuse denial of realpolitik.
On the value of American promises to our allies:
  • We have here a stunning reminder of why it never pays to trust Uncle Sam's word too much. Our Uncle has a bad case of Bipolar disorder and promises lots of shit that, four years later, he decides he has no intention of delivering.

  • Taiwan could teach other countries a graduate level course in the topic; it's been putting up with our national schizophrenia for a half century now.
This whole mess is why I was pulling for Admiral Josh Painter in the '08 elections, instead of President Hope'n'Change.