The Bear Roars

Vox has a long think-piece about the potential for a war with Russia, which could include a nuclear conflict. I think the article is a bit alarmist but it’s worth a read. The essential point is that Russia trying to re-establish itself as a premier power and is consumed with the idea that the United States wants to weaken and topple its leadership. To that end, they are engaging in more and more provocative action and have lowered the bar for the use of nuclear weapons. There is a real fear that they might attack the Baltics to try to break NATO, with the threat of nuclear attack backing it up. And the lowering of nuclear thresholds has made an accidental nuclear war more likely.

A few scattered thoughts:

First, I’m old enough to remember when Mitt Romney was openly mocked and derided for declaring that Russia was one of the chief dangers we faced. There’s a part of me that wonders if Romney didn’t actually win the 2012 election and is keeping Obama in as a figurehead. We certainly seem to be, in the inept Obama way, pursuing every foreign policy initiative Romney advocated.

Second, the idea that the US would invade Russia and topple the regime is insane. But, as Robert Heinlein noted during the Cold War, the defining element of Russian foreign policy has always been paranoia. It still is. And we need to be careful in how we deal with them.

Third, I think this means that missile has moved from critical to even more critical, especially given the danger of an accidental war.

Fourth, we need to seriously think about what we’re going to do if Putin attacks the Baltic states. Do we let him take them and risk having NATO fall apart? Do we defend them and risk a large-scale war? This is the kind of issue that needs to be front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Comments are closed.

  1. richtaylor365

     There’s a part of me that wonders if Romney didn’t actually win the 2012 election and is keeping Obama in as a figurehead. We certainly seem to be, in the inept Obama way, pursuing every foreign policy initiative Romney advocated.

    Maybe I’m not reading you right, but are you really saying that a Romney presidency foreign policy wise would look exactly like what we have now? Are you saying that Romney would have made the same moves, re arranged the same red lines, screwed over our Eastern European allies by pulling the sought after missile defense batteries,  bad mouthed and back stabbed Israel at every opportunity,  and allowed aggression to stand both in the ME and Ukraine without lifting a finger? Obama’s bumbling was never part of Romney’s playbook.

    And the reason Putin does what he does is because he can, simple.  Remove American leadership from the world and bad things happen, rather obvious.  NATO without American prodding is impotent, hence Crimea fell without a shot, Eastern Ukraine is next, probably more.

     

    This is what happens when a megalomaniacal neophyte,  believing his own press with delusions that he can shape hearts and minds by sheer will of personality,  gets a chance to put his beliefs in to practice, chaos ensues.

    Thumb up 1

  2. Hal_10000 *

    Maybe I’m not reading you right, but are you really saying that a Romney presidency foreign policy wise would look exactly like what we have now?

    No. I’m saying that Romney would have pursued the same goals only, you know, competently.

    Thumb up 0

  3. CM

    No. I’m saying that Romney would have pursued the same goals only, you know, competently.

    What do you base that on though? He never articulated a coherent vision of what a Romney foreign policy would look like.

    Romney wasn’t right on Russia. It’s a weak regional power. It’s  been brought to its knees. Its economy is in shambles as the ruble loses its value because of U.S. sanctions and declining oil prices.  It operates from a position of weakness, as Obama has said. If anything, the collapsing Russian economy is proof that Obama’s strategy is working.

    And there’s no evidence that he would have been able to negotiate any better with Malaki, in terms of keeping a residual force in Iraq. On Iraq he offered no new ideas.

    Romney went on a pre-election overseas jaunt and it was one ‘bumble’ after another.

    Thumb up 0

  4. Xetrov

    Romney wasn’t right on Russia. It’s a weak regional power. It’s  been brought to its knees. Its economy is in shambles as the ruble loses its value because of U.S. sanctions and declining oil prices.  It operates from a position of weakness, as Obama has said. If anything, the collapsing Russian economy is proof that Obama’s strategy is working.

    Can I have some of what you’re smoking?

    First off, the Ruble has rebounded in the last year against the Dollar – with the largest gain of any currency against the Dollar.

    Russia took over part of a sovereign nation with little to no repercussion, and don’t appear to have any intention of giving it back.

    And declining oil prices have nothing to do with Obama’s foreign policy plan – oil prices have been down despite his policies, not because of them.

    Thumb up 1

  5. AlexInCT

    Russia took over part of a sovereign nation with little to no repercussion, and don’t appear to have any intention of giving it back.

    And Putin will keep doing more of that as long as nobody stands up to him, because he is an old KGB guard member that pines for the day where the USSR was important. The frightning thing with people like Putin is that if they are not stopped as soon as they start, eventually you end up with a real and ugly shooting war. If they had kicked Hitler in the Teeth the first time he did his “Anshlos” shit, I doubt we would have had WW2. They waited unitl it was too late, and then he was emboldened to do worse.

    The real danger is however not Putin, but a fucking moron in charge of the US. The left sucks at foreign policy – despite what they might want yout to believe – but Obama has set a new low at both his incompetence and destructiveness. I am left wondering if anyone can be that inept and if this isn’t by design.

    And declining oil prices have nothing to do with Obama’s foreign policy plan – oil prices have been down despite his policies, not because of them.

    Obama’s foreign policy plan… Destroy the world? They have certainly made it a far more dangerous place than he inherited. And while I was weary during the Cold War of the prospect of nuclear war, I am now certain what this administration has done will guarantee we see one sooner than later. If it isn’t Russia, it will be China or Iran.

    Calling the stupidity of the Obama administration’s foreign policy amatuer hour is an insult to amatuers.

    Thumb up 0

  6. CM

    First off, the Ruble has rebounded in the last year against the Dollar – with the largest gain of any currency against the Dollar.

    It’s been sliding again since January 30 and even though it’s still currently over 50 rubles to the dollar the point is that they’re still acting regionally and were acting from a position of weakness.

    Russia took over part of a sovereign nation with little to no repercussion, and don’t appear to have any intention of giving it back.

    And yet we’re expected to believe that it wouldn’t have happened if Romney had been President? And even if it had, what would/could he have done?

    Romney’s pre-election sabre-rattling was all just tough-talk rhetoric to appeal to a certain section of the electorate. His son visited soon after and effectively suggested as much. But he needed to try and differentiate himself from Obama, and talking tough on Russia and Iran was how he chose to do that. We have no idea how his actual “playbook” would have differed from Obama.

    And declining oil prices have nothing to do with Obama’s foreign policy plan – oil prices have been down despite his policies, not because of them.

    I did say “and” before “declining oil prices”. I certainly have argued before on this blog that Obama has very little effect on oil prices, particularly in the short term.

    Thumb up 0

  7. AlexInCT

    And yet we’re expected to believe that it wouldn’t have happened if Romney had been President? And even if it had, what would/could he have done?

    Here is something that I think people on the left have a problem with CM, and that is that world leaders take people that do shit a lot more serious than people that talk. Obama, like practically every lefty president since Carter, is a talker. Boosh might have been a cowboy, and frankly, he was a disappointment with all that talk about compassionate conservatism, because that’s just code for fiscally I am a lefty, but he knew that when you drew a line in the sand you had to enforce it. The left spent a shit ton of time pretending Boosh was an idiot for telling people you were with us or against us, but world leaders took notice. The left made sure to hamstring him after that to prevent him from proving that being a pussy and showing weakness would result in abuse, and that’s why we are here today.

    The idiot in the WH right now sent a dumb as old bitch with delusions of grandeur and a Staples “Reset” button to Russia, and thought that would fix a problem that only existed in their minds. Romney called Putin right and was right that what the Obama administration was doing was disastrous. We don’t know if things would have been different with Romney in charge, but I am willing to bet they definitely would not be as bad as they are now.

     

    Thumb up 1

  8. CM

    Here is something that I think people on the left have a problem with CM, and that is that world leaders take people that do shit a lot more serious than people that talk. 

    I think a lot of people on all sides have seen what “doing shit” can lead to under GWB, and certainly the appetite for “doing shit” domestically in the US and abroad has generally been very low since then.

    I do find it interesting that some US conservatives (I guess mostly the neo-cons and their successors) are very very strong on ‘unforeseen circumstances’ or ‘unintended consequences’ when it comes to any “doing shit” in terms of domestic policy, but seem to take the opposite approach when it comes to overseas adventures. Unless it’s Obama of course, then whatever “shit” is been done overseas is automatically wrong.

    but he knew that when you drew a line in the sand you had to enforce it.

    Romney gave the impression, with all his ‘foe’ bluster, that he was a ‘draw a line in the sand’ kinda guy. So presumably, following your logic about the left the right, he would have looked to enforce. So, again, what exactly do you think he would have done?

    The left made sure to hamstring him after that to prevent him from proving that being a pussy and showing weakness would result in abuse, and that’s why we are here today.

    Well I think the actual invasion of Iraq (and the decision-making behind it, – raising of the middle finger to the world, and the lack of planning for what was going to happen afterward) and probably paid a large part too. He got what he wanted….

    he idiot in the WH right now sent a dumb as old bitch

    I guess it’s a good thing that you’re not even trying to disguise your ugly sexism. Cards on table I guess…

    Romney called Putin right and was right that what the Obama administration was doing was disastrous.

    Of course just Romney flipped his position from only a year or two earlier when he wasn’t in a campaign and his position was instead to ‘work alongside Russia’. So even if you want to argue that ‘Romney was right’, you’d need to pick which particular Romney you’re talking about. Remember after the infamous “number one geopolitical foe” he downgraded to simply being “a foe”, and specifically identified that “Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time”

    Then he downgraded it further, describing it simply as an “adversary”.

    And if his position was allowed to change/evolve, then I guess that somewhat undermines accusations of Hillary Clinton’s and Obama’s positions on marriage equality.

    We don’t know if things would have been different with Romney in charge, but I am willing to bet they definitely would not be as bad as they are now.

    Given that EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING that Obama does is 100% wrong, that would naturally follow. No matter how much Romney would have fucked up, it would still have been better than Obama.

    See also:

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/mar/23/mitt-romney/romney-obama-stopped-missile-defense-shield-gift-r/

    Lost in the GOP fury, Gates wrote, was that Russians found Obama’s new approach to be an even bigger problem than the Bush-era plan as they worried about future adjustments that could make the short- and medium-range missiles a bigger threat to Russia.
    “How ironic that U.S. critics of the new approach had portrayed it as a big concession to the Russians,” Gates wrote. “It would have been nice to hear a critic in Washington — just once in my career — say, Well I got that wrong.

    Thumb up 0

  9. Balthazar

    God damn, this retarded fuck CM is still polluting this place with his retarded shit. I went to a zoo and the monkeys threw more shit that stuck than this guy.

    Sadly we will never know what Romney would have done, but we can take solace in the fact that he couldnt possibly have done worse, see arab sprind and Ukraine. Thanks, you lose CM.

    Thumb up 0