Patterico's Pontifications

8/14/2008

Russian Games

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 9:35 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

From UK’s The Times, Russia’s Kremlin is playing a new game called Cheney Derangement Syndrome:

“Russians were told over breakfast yesterday what really happened in Georgia: the conflict in South Ossetia was part of a plot by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, to stop Barak Obama being elected president of the United States.

The line came on the main news of Vesti FM, a state radio station that — like the Government and much of Russia’s media — has reverted to the old habits of Soviet years, in which a sinister American hand was held to lie behind every conflict, especially those embarrassing to Moscow.”

Does this mean Russia is endorsing Barack Obama?

Meanwhile, President Bush was apparently able to escape Vice President Cheney’s mind control long enough to order US military aircraft and naval forces to begin “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian relief to Georgia:

“We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance,” Bush said. “We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and civilian transit.”

Humanitarian aid seems like a good method to help stabilize the civilian population, begin peacekeeping efforts, and monitor Russian military activity without escalating the conflict.

In related news, the US and Poland announced a deal to place an American missile defense system in Poland in exchange for a stronger American commitment to defend Poland:

“The United States and Poland reached a long-stalled deal on Thursday to place an American missile defense base on Polish territory, in the strongest reaction so far to Russia’s military operation in Georgia.
***
But the deal reflected growing alarm in countries like Poland, once a conquered Soviet client state, about a newly rich and powerful Russia’s intentions in its former cold war sphere of power. In fact, negotiations dragged on for 18 months — but were completed only as old memories and new fears surfaced in recent days.

Those fears were codified to some degree in what Polish and American officials characterized as unusual aspects of the final deal: that at least temporarily American soldiers would staff air defense sites in Poland oriented toward Russia, and that the United States would be obliged to defend Poland in case of an attack with greater speed than required under NATO, of which Poland is a member.

Polish officials said the agreement would strengthen the mutual commitment of the United States to defend Poland, and vice versa. “Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later — it is no good when assistance comes to dead people,” the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said on Polish television. “Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of — knock on wood — any possible conflict.””

I am now officially a fan of Polish PM Tusk.

US-Russia relations have always been a chess game. With its latest move, Russia apparently exchanged South Ossetia for Poland. We’ll see what Russia’s next move is.

— DRJ

51 Responses to “Russian Games”

  1. Poland already knows the value of alliances with France and the UK.

    That’s why they want a bi-lateral alliance with us, and not just NATO membership.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  2. Of course Russia is endorsing Obama. They want the guy who will be a pussy when it comes to dealing with them to become POTUS.

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  3. I’m really getting pissed off over the drive towards accepting perceived incompetence.

    Look. The jobs of Secretary of State and Sec. of Defense is to notice these OBVIOUS tactical deployments, strategic plans, and flawless implementations of military actions. Yay Sec. Coni Rice! How about doing fucking something before you are termed out. Yay Sec of defense for being asleep for years!

    Yay for the Republicans in Congress for being incompetent on Every Topic Imaginable. You know, I’ve had enough. Fucking Say Something Coherent! whatever voting is the least interesting thing on that tuesday.

    Wesson (f6c982)

  4. We need the Moustache of Power. Get Bolton on the fucking job. The problem is that he’s too good which is why the democrats won’t confirm him to anything. He scares the shit out of his oppositite numbers.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  5. Wesson is right. McCain is stronger than Rice, et al on this topic.

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  6. Bolton realizes that the job is to kick, not kiss, ass. No wonder then that the brown-nose-a-crats consider him toxic.

    Icy Truth (9e8038)

  7. Well … I think this is aggressive action by the US. I don’t know the details of the US-Poland agreement but we’ve arguably promised to bring in the US military if Russia takes action against Poland, regardless of what NATO does. That seems like a big deal to me.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  8. Wesson, I’m far from a democrat, but you’re right that our intelligence and state department really failed us. Though it’s worth noting that we did know this was coming eventually, and we were advicing Georgia to back off as much as possible (not that I blame them for attacking South Ossetian murderers).

    I’m not sure that Secretary Gates did anything wrong. Maybe he did, but I just don’t know. And after all, much of this stuff is going on behind closed doors. I sure hope we saw that much movement of Russian force.

    Thank goodness for Poland. They have helped save themselves… and our reputation for being relevant. Russia needs to be humiliated. I suggest placing these missile defense systems, patriots, and US troops to man them, in Ukraine and Estonia. Nothing like redundancy, and we might actually need these to cut down some Russian nukes (I sincerely doubt it, but it’s more plausible than before). What we don’t want is to put all our eggs in one basket.

    And foremost: we sure as hell need those SIX DIVISIONS back in our Army that Bill Clinton fired (I know some would-be career Sergeants who literally got handed pink slips and had to pack their bags).

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  9. DRJ #7 – I agree with you – this is a huge deal, and I don’t think Putin calculated that that pipeline would cost him so much else regarding Russia’s former satellites. Nothing like a reminder of former invasions to solidify their alliance with the west. I was thinking this could also hasten the membership of several other ex-satellites into NATO.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  10. The problem is France and Germany are terrified of letting those satellite countries into NATO.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  11. I mean, who cares, it’s not not they defend themselves or are much help to us anyway.

    I find it incomprehensible that the left keeps wanting to defer to what Fwance thinks.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  12. Of course the Russians said this. They’ve seen the partisan division and they intend to make it work for them.

    And yes, they want Obama. I mean, who would you want if you were them? Michael or Fredo?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  13. Just for the record: Poland sent several thousand soldiers to Iraq to help with the occupation. It was the second largest allied contingent, after the British.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  14. What is the point of those missiles in Poland other than to antagonize the Russians? The Americans are spending how many billions on a system that likely doesn’t work as advertised against an adversary that doesn’t exist (Iranian missiles)?

    John (69e4d6)

  15. John – Are you complaining about that new system that’s been having all those successful tests or something else?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  16. daleyrocks, it’s just part of the ‘accepted wisdom’ that ‘Star Wars’ missile defense can never work. Even if it works really well.

    And of course, the fact is that even if it only works part of the time, it saves millions of lives. If someone doesn’t understand why this is certainly true, then they need to learn more about how nuclear weapons are deployed. The mere likelihood that it takes ten more missiles to destroy one target means ten other targets cannot be hit. That’s simplifying it, but this system will save lives if we are attacked, even if it doesn’t work at all.

    And anyone who thinks Iran isn’t at least trying to become a threat is an idiot. Iran doesn’t have much money, and they spend a ton of it on building nuclear missiles. Maybe this will convince them to spend it on roads or something. Again, saving lives.

    But John, given that Russia just killed thousands of innocent people, isn’t it worthwhile to teach them that there is a high price for that? Perhaps they will not do it as rashly in the future?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you don’t really care about the facts, and are voting for Obama.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  17. As a WW2 historian I find the current events really interesting…the Russians sound just like the Germans prior to the invasion of Czechoslovakia and later Poland.

    Its also amazing how similar the reactions of so many are now to back then. They will believe anything, grasp at anything, rather than admit to themselves that something bad is happening.

    Another tactic of this type is to blame someone on your side whom you know DEEP, DEEP, down will not really hurt you. The left would much rather hate and revile Bush who is a “safe” enemy rather than admit to themselves that there are real enemies out in the world.

    This “ostrich” type thinking is historically quite common.

    Nalamin (b8cc92)

  18. Thanks Juan and Nalamin for expounding on typical moonbat thinking. I was going for the quick reply. Emulating the failed socialist experiments of western Europe is a direction I see the left heading as well, which does not bode well for this country.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  19. Nalamin is of course entirely correct – you could go back to the Copperheads who wanted the North to abdicate in the civil war, and make a direct line to the same type of thinking today.

    I still remember the massive European protests that accompanied NATO’s decision to base the Pershing II missiles in West Germany – we learned later that the USSR was behind many of those protests, and was secretly terrified of the missile installations. Thank goodnesss we had clear – headed leaders like Reagan and Kohl at that time.

    Dmac (874677)

  20. I find it interesting that the divide in Europe over Georgia, is one of “Old Europe” v “New Europe”.
    Now, who was it that first brought that to our attention?
    The Left has never accepted the strategy of having something you never have to use v reaching into an empty scabbard when attacked. I think it has something to do with the discredited line-of-thought that nothing is so important that you should get into a fight over it.

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  21. Dmac – It’s just like China is behind a lot of the rioting in Tibet today. You see photos of “protestors” walking up to rallies with Chinese officials and then changing into protest gear. Stirring the folks up gives them an excuse to intervene.

    Hey, that sounds familiar. Didn’t I just read about that somewhere?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  22. aDrew–

    It’s worse. The Left has never accepted that the fall of the Soviet Union was a good thing. So they’ll not be protesting the attempt to put it back together again.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  23. And, Kevin, just why is that…
    Could it be because the Left is the Hand-Maiden/Creation of the Soviet Union?
    Well, there I go again, seeing a Commie under every bed.

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  24. Take careful note of the rare tough statements made by liberals regarding Russia. Because, if history repeats itself, these same people will turn their fury on Bush once Bush actually does something.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  25. Amphipolis – It is refreshing.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  26. “What is the point of those missiles in Poland other than to antagonize the Russians?… Comment by John at #14.

    “John – Are you complaining about that new system that’s been having all those successful tests or something else?”…Comment by daleyrocks at #15.

    I know something of this exact subject and agree with “John” at #14, but for strictly strategic reasons and not his politically motivated protests. As well, I discount “daleyrocks” appraisal of this “new systems” effectiveness. Land based, defensive missile systems are nothing but fussy, high tech targets. Any missile battery would be lucky to get 80% “missile away” and 10% “target destroyed”. They’re modern, “Maginot Lines”. These missile emplacements, no matter how hardened, would be the first targets destroyed in any Russian invasion of Western Europe. The Russians know it and we know it as well. It’s America’s gift of a bullseye to the Poles for Russians to hit.

    I soldiered on Pershing IA and Nike-Hercules missile units in the late 60’s-70’s in NATO Europe. As missile crews, we all knew that we would be the first to die in a Warsaw Pact invasion. That’s it gentlemen, a missile site is the adult equivalent to the juvenile “Kick Me!” sign taped on an unsuspecting nerds back! I’d like to say, in respect to my old corps, that it’s a good idea, but I can’t. And not for John’s ideological reasons.

    Ground based is the WRONG PLATFORM for offensive/defensive missile deployment. Submarines are the perfect mate for both offensive and defensive systems. Hidden, mobile, silent, a large sub can carry 100 air defense missiles in her Trident size missile tubes. It’s the right thing to do.

    As for John’s: “The Americans are spending how many billions on a system that likely doesn’t work as advertised…” at #14. Hey John! When are you “Progressives” going to start thinking the same way about your equally wasteful and inefficient social programs, huh?! (spit!)

    C. Norris (c16806)

  27. john was just lying about the systems not working. Levi did the same thing once, and never would admit he was pulling shite out of his arse, even after being supplied with dozens of links to videos of the system working.

    JD (5f0e11)

  28. And of course, the fact is that even if it only works part of the time, it saves millions of lives.

    That really depends on whether the presence of the missile defense system encourages one or both sides to engage in behaviors which increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used. Deterrence was based on certainty; if you eliminate the certainty, then it’s possible that deterrence won’t work as well.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  29. Sure, the Russians have Athanas, a MIRV missile that can overwhelm any missile shield. The better question is what will Putin do with the forty billion dollars he managed to amass within eight years in office if his world is a nuclear wasteland?

    nk (e69fdd)

  30. I vaguely remember a dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kruschev speaking to his Central Committee. “Are you prepared to die? Are you prepared for utter and complete destruction?”

    nk (e69fdd)

  31. How different a place the world would be if somebody, just anybody, had told that to Hitler in 1934.

    nk (e69fdd)

  32. Hitler?
    Oh, yeh!
    Wasn’t he the guy who conspired with some bank-robber from Georgia on how to carve up Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe?

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  33. some bank-robber from Georgia

    Ex-seminarian too. He was not totally bad. He only had contempt for his sons but he loved his “little sparrow”, his daughter Svetlana(?). He also purged his in-laws. 😉

    nk (e69fdd)

  34. He also purged his in-laws.

    Sure cuts down on the meddling, doesn’t it?

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  35. Poland knows better than most how important it is to stand up to dictators, and that is what Putin is, early enough. Hitler was convinced that the British and French would fold again, as they had each time he violated an agreement, when he invaded Poland in 1939. Putin, as someone pointed out, is at least greedy and unlikely to pull the whole world down around himself.

    The Iranians, however, are not deterable. They all want to die and get their 70 virgins. Missile defense will never be testable since we will never know whether it works. All it does is add another variable in the calculations of an aggressor. That, alone, is enough to deter most.

    I worked on the Nike Zeus system in 1959-60 as an engineer. That system would not work because we didn’t have the computing power to calculate the trajectory of missile and interceptor. My washing machine has better calculating power than the Nike Zeus system had. The naysayers WANT us to be incapable of defending ourselves. Gandi understood pacifism and its consequences.

    Gandhi also wrote an open letter to the British people, passionately urging them
    to surrender and accept whatever fate Hitler’ had prepared for them. “Let them
    take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You
    will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds.” Since none of this
    had the intended effect, Gandhi, the following year, addressed an open letter to
    the prince of darkness himself, Adolf Hitler.

    Mike K (155601)

  36. The whole situation makes me weep. But Russia’s actions don’t any more than Georgia’s. It is too early to really know what’s been going on. But Condoleezza Rice is using dangerous, completely inaccurate historical analogies which will not contribute to solving this crisis. On the contrary, Rice’s comparison of Russia’s move into Ossetia to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 is so wrong that it almost gave me a heart attack. It certainly made me (once again) extremely cynical about the rhetoric of American foreign policy which, at least under this administration, is setting a world record for combining moral arrogance with complete ignorance of history; for a disregard for the complexity of reality, especially in an ethnically diverse region like the Caucasus.

    The last thing I want to do is to justify Russian actions which have definitely gone too far. But Saakashvili went into South Ossetia first. The Russians are nationalistic and xenophobic, but so are the Georgians. When the Soviet Union collapsed, South Ossetia (which had been an autonomous region within the Georgian republic, and which even enjoyed brief independence in the 1920s) wanted to join Russia. North Ossetia is a part of Russia, and 98% of the population in the south voted in favor–especially as the Georgian regime after the collapse of the USSR operated under the strongly nationalistic slogan “Georgia for the Georgians,” seriously threatening ethnic minorities like the Ossetians. Georgia then marched into South Ossetia and razed much of it to the ground. After an international agreement, the Russians were appointed peacekeepers, but the situation continued to be a ticking time bomb.

    There’s more

    JAR (ab000b)

  37. JAR, thanks for adding nothing new. It would be nice if you could keep up for a change.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  38. They all want to die and get their 70 virgins

    All of them?

    It seems no more likely that the majority of Iranians are suicidal than that the majority of cold-war era Russians were.

    The government may not be deterrable. But this description of the Iranian people is more than a bit over the top.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  39. The Russians are nationalistic and xenophobic, but so are the Georgians.

    Everybody but the Dems/Leftists/proggs are racist jingoistic xenophobes.

    JAR – Congrats on learning how to copy and paste.

    JD (75f5c3)

  40. C.Norris – Thanks for your comments. My focus was on the technology as opposed to the deployment strategy. The technology, much to the chagrin of the left, appears to be bearing fruit based upon the reported test results. I agree with your comments about the subs, and I understand your points about vulnerability of land based systems. I suggest, however, that you have a slightly different political picture in Europe now than you did in the 1960-70s period. The buffer between Poland and Russia proper, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine is a lot greater than when you served in Europe. You would have to tell me if you think that makes any difference relative to having the enemy directly over the border.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  41. aphrael…
    If I may, let me say that ISTM Mike was using a bit of shorthand in describing Iranian desires to meet those virgins. I didn’t subscribe his words to mean the vast array of the Iranian People, but the Mullahs at the core of the Government.
    The man-in-the-street in Tehran has no more influence on the actions of the Iranian Government than I do. I would hope that you realize that also.

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  42. And those Ruuski bastards fell for it.

    Now the US and Europe are more joined at the hip than they have been since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Neo (cba5df)

  43. “The last thing I want to do is to justify Russian actions which have definitely gone too far.”

    No, of course you don’t – why don’t you relay your brilliant musings to the Chechnyans – no doubt they were asking for it, right? After all, what’s a few million of it’s citizens being massacred by Stalin during the progroms?

    Troll.

    Dmac (874677)

  44. Meant “pogroms.”

    Dmac (874677)

  45. “Thanks for your comments. My focus was on the technology as opposed to the deployment strategy. The technology, much to the chagrin of the left, appears to be bearing fruit based upon the reported test results.”

    Thanks for your reply. Ah, the mysteries of missile technology. When it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s not, it’s worse than manure. At least manure has a use. Poor quality missile artillery is not as good as standard tube artillery. A gun goes “boom” when the lanyard is pulled and a good spotter and plotter can take out the proverbial “outhouse”. The technology, that is the electronics of missiles, is schizophrenic (and the Russians know this as well). Only the truly crazy really trust them, including the latest RIM-161 (SM-3) missile (and this from was a dedicated “missile-man”). I do agree with you that the political left do their best to impair missile technology advancement. That’s the nature of the Left, they are unilateral disarmament pacifists. If Moses, Jesus, the Great Spirit and, dare I say it, “Allah”, were all co-presidents of the USA, the left would not trust their judgment(s) with offensive or defensive weapons.

    “The buffer between Poland and Russia proper, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine is a lot greater than when you served in Europe. You would have to tell me if you think that makes any difference relative to having the enemy directly over the border.”

    Sadly, none. It’s like nothing has changed. Perhaps it’s worse, both politically and militarily. The Baltic states are a freeway for the Russian Army. Should the Russians invade the West, there will be little , if any, resistance until the Ruskies hit a hard NATO country like Germany. Even then it will be American forces doing the majority of fighting and dying.

    Sorry, I wish I could be more optimistic, but I’m a realist. It’s all really nothing but a bluff, but the only hand that can be kept hidden is the one in submarines. Furthermore, subs are a perfectly gentle and stable platform for the fragile electronics and the delicate missiles. And the military mystery that they would confuse the enemy with is the defensive equivalent of holding four aces. Land based missiles are an anachronism. A rocket launched from the dirt is like playing poker with ones back to a wall mounted mirror. The US should put ALL its missiles, ofensive and defensive, into subs and let the Russians (and the “Muzies”) wonder where the hell they are.

    C. Norris (c16806)

  46. “C.Norris – Thanks for your comments. My focus was on the technology as opposed to the deployment strategy. The technology, much to the chagrin of the left, appears to be bearing fruit based upon the reported test results”…daleyrocks at #40.

    Thanks for the reply. Technology has proved to be rarely as good in the field as it is in a test environment. Especially missiles. For that reason I place deployment strategies that accentuate a weapons advantages and diminish its inherent disadvantages above the technology. The submarine is a natural fit for a missile platform in both offensive and defensive missions. Land based defense is an anachronism. I agree with you that the Left are constantly constraining research into missile and radar technology, but that’s what the Left does. They are unilaterally disarming pacifists and a danger to the human species.

    “The buffer between Poland and Russia proper, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine is a lot greater than when you served in Europe. You would have to tell me if you think that makes any difference relative to having the enemy directly over the border.”…daleyrocks at #40.

    Sadly, no. The Baltic states will be a freeway for the Russian army. Speedbumps at best. The Ruskies won’t encounter any real resistance until they come to a hard NATO country like Germany. Even then, Americans will be doing the majority of the fighting and dying.

    “I worked on the Nike Zeus system in 1959-60 as an engineer. That system would not work because we didn’t have the computing power to calculate the trajectory of missile and interceptor. My washing machine has better calculating power than the Nike Zeus system had. The naysayers WANT us to be incapable of defending ourselves.”…Comment by Mike K at #35.

    I rest my case. Missile defense is both a technical problem and a political one. I was with the Nike Zeus when it became “Safeguard” (wussie name). What a white elephant! Geeze, satellites could see the Mickelsen Safeguard Complex at Nekoma, North Dakota, from space. It wasn’t a defense, it was a bull’s eye!

    C. Norris (c16806)

  47. If the Russian Army rolls through the Fulda Gap, why would the response today be any different than it would have re the Soviet Union?
    And, don’t you think the current leadership in Moscow has the same sense of self-preservation as did the Politburo?

    Another Drew (3397e8)

  48. Always great to see the apologists for the thugs come out of the woodwork.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. C.Norris – You sound like a Patrick Robinson fan.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  50. “You sound like a Patrick Robinson fan”…..
    Comment by daleyrocks at #49″

    I had to Google “Patrick Robinson”. I’ve never read one of his books, but by his book title, “H.M.S. Unseen”, and my sub rants, I suppose I could be considered a suspect. I’ve only been on one sub, a civilian tour of the T.Jefferson before she was scraped (and I went because of the name!). I’ve never been a “Bubble Head”.

    That said, I have stood on a missile tracking radar tower, looked Eastward toward Warsaw Pact forces and then gazed up at the clear blue sky and thought: ” S**t! This (radar) is the first target that gets hit when WWIII starts!” A sniper with a .30 caliber rifle can knock this entire missile battery non-op with a well placed shot on this one radar antenna”. I reassessed my whole attitude toward the technology of warfare. (This is sounding like the first paragraph of an LA Times article).

    Anyway, I’ve become convinced that America’s offensive and defensive future lies under the sea and very mobile. I’d like to see 500 subs in each ocean and that many on standby. Combined offensive and air defense sub packs, half the missile tubes with 12 Tridents, the other half with 48 air-intercept missiles and the surface of the “Sail” being configured for Aegis radar and satellite data link. Three subs could cover 360° of azimuth and airspace. Either sub could fire and control either subs missiles. Works for me.

    C. Norris (c16806)

  51. C. Norris – I’ve enjoyed Robinson’s military fiction. Submarine operations or tracking submarines, Russian, Chinese, Iranian or other is usually involved somewhere in the book. If you pick one up, look for one involving Arnold Morgan on the U.S. side.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)


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