Saturday, March 04, 2023

We've been warning you!

If you want to give tanks to Ukraine, not only do you need to have the tanks to spare in the first place, but they need to actually be in running order and not mothballed off in some corner someplace, half-cannibalized for spares.
Some German officials expressed sympathy for Finland, which is not yet a NATO member and has Europe’s longest border with Russia, some 830 miles. It does not want to weaken its defenses now that Russia has shown a willingness to attack a sovereign neighbor.

But some European officials were hoping for a larger contribution from Finland, given promises from the United States and Britain to come to its defense if necessary, even before NATO accession.

Nordic countries such as Sweden, which had long pushed for Leopard deliveries but on Friday offered only “up to” 10, are facing another unexpected problem, several German officials said: While their politicians and members of the public appear keen to offer tanks to Ukraine, their militaries are not.

For decades, European countries enjoying a post-Cold War “peace dividend” had seen war as almost a thing of the past, regularly cutting military support. Now, the shrunken armies tend to be protective of what they still have. At NATO, European militaries are sometimes called “bonsai armies,” after the miniature trees.
A whole generation has grown up after the Cold War and let formerly muscular defenses atrophy. The Bundeswehr is an underfunded shadow of its former self. It used to be the brawniest army on the continent and now it has fewer MBTs than the Greeks. And if the Bundeswehr is in such a sad state, imagine what, say, the Dutch or the Belgies are looking like these days.

War just wasn't a thing that was gonna happen anymore in the new globalized world. What were you? Some kind of paranoid loon that thought Russia was just going to start invading neighboring countries?

Hey, they started back during the last years of the GWB administration and basically haven't stopped since.