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Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

  1. #441
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    JMM---story indicates a joint Army/Marine unit coming in for an exercise and training of Baltic troops.

    Do not think it is just talk.

    Interesting the way they are using the exercise excuse thus one level below a threat---knowing though how it will be interpreted.

    This came in via the NYT: "A Ukrainian official also says the country will hold joint military exercises with the U.S. and Britain."

    This is far deeper as the Russian military is matching if not expanding their reactions---they are flexing their muscles as a show of strength befitting a superpower---at least in their eyes and that makes this a far more complicated thing than just a "cold war" thing.

    In some aspects they are showing us their complete rebuilding is finished and they can match us in ways we did not estimate they could as IMO intel wise we lost them in the last 12 years of chasing jihadi's.

    There is more to Putin's physic makeup that they are paying attention to ---would really recommend reading the English or if one speaks Russian (that is better as it catches the reflections/intonations of the language) that gives a lot of insight to what triggered his actions.

    That is what they are paying attention to-----IMO they initially misread him even if Bush claimed "he looked him in the eyes" ......

    What worries me is the simple fact that the intel community both in the US and in Europe totally missed this thing as it was building---so much for Pearl Harbor and the creation of an intel team called Indications and Warnings.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 03-19-2014 at 10:11 PM.

  2. #442
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    Default Outlaw: Please link your story

    JMM---story indicates a joint Army/Marine unit coming in for an exercise and training of Baltic troops.

    Do not think it is just talk.
    I won't; because without a link I don't know if it is anything at all.

    Regards

    Mike

  3. #443
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    I don't quite understand your point 3.

    I think we could do quite a lot without the EU and with only some NATO members, Poland, the Czechs, the Baltic countries and maybe some others who were occupied by the Red friends. They understand very wel what all this means.

    If the EU and NATO as a whole get their act together, great; but we can do a whole lot of things in the meantime or without them altogether.

    Of course, no matter what fine courses of action we can come up with, the final say is had by Mr. & Mrs. Obama, Valerie Jarret and their pulsilaminous but very concerned crew.

    They used to say God took care of drunks and the United States. Maybe he hasn't run out of patience with drunks.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  4. #444
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    Default A couple of human interest stories ...

    from Helsingin Sanomat, Putin knows the Finns well enough, but do any of us really know him? (by Anu Nousiainen; first published in print 9.1.2000):

    The memories differ a little on the precise date of the big match, but it was sometime early in 1994: in the indoor soccer hall at Turku's Impivaara, the two teams warmed up for the fixture between the Bishop's Boys and Petersburg City. A fairly motley crew of footballers of various ages, waistlines, and levels of fitness trotted out onto the artificial grass. The Petersburg side in particular looked somewhat less than professional in their borrowed shirts (mind you, they were borrowed from a Finnish league side) and several appeared to be playing in trainers. Someone even had a pair of jeans on.

    The Bishop's Boys under their captain Archbishop John Vikstrom, who could have been a contender but for his vocation, were not out to thrash the opposition, and strolled to a leisurely and polite 2-1 victory over the visitors. And why are we talking football here? Simply because among the eleven Petersburg players was one Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Apparently he was one of the ones with proper soccer shoes. ... (much more in article)
    and, Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov? - The Russian First Deputy Prime Minister spent six years in Helsinki in the 1980s (by Heikki Hellman; first published in print 1.4.2007):

    ...
    In the 1980s, Sergei Ivanov lived in Helsinki, working under the title of a 3rd (and later 2nd) Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in the capital.

    Over a period of nearly six years he thoroughly familiarised himself with Finland and met a great many Finnish politicians, businessmen, and university people.

    For many Finns active at that time, he is simply Sergei. That old acquaintance of theirs who - before he acquired ministerial status some years ago - might call them up in their Moscow hotel room with a cheery: "Hi! It's Sergei."

    Perhaps we ought to back up a little way and consider regarding Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as a kind of "Finnish champion", too, on the strength of how much he knows about Finland and the Finns.

    But what do the Finns know of him?

    Who recalls Comrade Ivanov from those days?

    The surprising thing is that while many remember Sergei Ivanov, there is very little to be said about him. ... (much more in story).
    So, the extroverted cold fish and the introverted cold fish.

    Regards

    Mike

  5. #445
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    Default Sabre rattling: fit for purpose

    Via Twitter:
    Scowcroft on Ru: "we assume we have to match them w belligerence." Let's show some creativity in our response
    To date the options exercised seem half-hearted and without any clear explanation to the public here. The sanctions against individuals are pathetic, yes they signal opposition, but are nothing more than a public display.

    Military options have their place, although deploying into the Ukraine now is un-wise. It must be a common NATO display and I've yet to see any such reporting.

    Wider economic sanctions need to be creative, although some of Carl's options would be stark signs of "no more, the cost can get higher".
    davidbfpo

  6. #446
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    Default Carl:

    Point 3 ties in with Point 2 - they both have to do with EU-NATO capabilities and will to use those capabilities. Assuming (without any evidence I can present right now) that there is a coalition of the "able and willing", from the Baltic to the Black Sea, how far are they ready to go militarily ?

    That's a strategic question - recall from Luttwak's Strategy the Cold War contradictions between what the Germans wanted and the US wanted. That was in many ways a US show. If one thinks that is still the case with 2014 Ukraine, one should disabuse oneself of that notion.

    Going from that position on Point 2 (EU-NATO on board for military action, or a material part of it - say, your Eastern States) to Point 3, we do unto them as they have done to us in the recent past - Iraq and Afghanistan seem good precedents to me.

    BUT, LET ME MAKE THIS CRYSTAL - the US would be a secondary player; and absent material European participation (on far higher levels than US), the US would not play in any military scenario. Not even one JSOC operator.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: From my "Calls to escalate" link:

    At a small lunch held a few days before the first phase of sanctions was imposed on Monday, one EU ambassador cautioned against moving too quickly or aggressively on Moscow.

    "We don't want to end up on an escalator where we don't know where it's going," he said, arguing that once you take the first step on sanctions, there are immediate calls for more substantial measures to increase the pressure.

    "What do you do when sanctions run out?" he asked, leaving hanging the inference that the EU does not want - and could not afford - a more physical confrontation with Russia.

    In the end, the ambassador's country joined the rest in unanimously agreeing the measures which were less tough than sanctions imposed by the United States.

    "We have done what we said we could do, but, yes, the U.S. is from Mars, we are from Venus," said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who wanted at least four more names on the EU list but was rebuffed by other member states.

    "I would suggest that we are not overly enthusiastic when it comes to introducing sanctions, because we will pay for it."
    If the Poles think we are from Mars and they from Venus, an "able and willing" military Eastern Coalition seems doubtful. Hell, yes, they'd all want US divisions (not just brigades, mind), so long as the US could guarantee there'd be no damages to their countries from war, etc., etc.
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-19-2014 at 11:43 PM.

  7. #447
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    I don't think there is any need for US military forces outside current NATO members . I don't think there is a need for any regular US ground forces in any of the front line NATO countries. They have plenty of guys who can fight and would be thrilled to have a crack at Ivan. There is a need for money, weapons and for the front line NATO countries, air cover. If Ivan goes into any part of the rest of Ukraine it may be an Unconventional Warfare jamboree. Those front line NATO nations and the Ukrainians have plenty of tough top flight guys who can handle everything in that country.

    If the Poles don't act like Poles if Ivan keeps moving, I'll look for the sun to rise in the west, but they will need backup from us in the ways I've described.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  8. #448
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    What worries me is the simple fact that the intel community both in the US and in Europe totally missed this thing as it was building---so much for Pearl Harbor and the creation of an intel team called Indications and Warnings.
    Don't blame the analysts. Russia missed it too at the outset, and it became a really bad situation for Putin. It's not as though there weren't EUCOM analysts who weren't watching and charting the course of things.

    It just happened that Putin acted decisively and quickly, while we waited for the situation to develop. Facilitating democracy seems to be a wait-and-see enterprise for the US and other democracies. It is easy to outcycle that approach.

    I work at a combatant command now, and trust me when I say this: folks know what is going on and what is about to happen. It's the politicians and cabinet principals who don't act in a timely manner.

  9. #449
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    Default Quid pro Quo, Carl;

    just quid pro quo.

    Up front, I'm not objecting to my and your sending US troops to bad places, where they will see worse situations, etc. In any event, they (not 10 yr old Ukrainian school children) are and will be my paramount priority; e.g., 278th ACR (two OIF tours; my dad's WWII unit, then 117th Inf.); 107th Engineer Combat Battalion (OIF & OEF tours; our local sappers).

    If I had the say, I wouldn't do it, however, without very good reasons and without imposing conditions on "allies", "partners", etc. - which I've expressed. If you want the model, it's Jack Pershing.

    Your hopes on this:

    I don't think there is any need for US military forces outside current NATO members . I don't think there is a need for any regular US ground forces in any of the front line NATO countries. They have plenty of guys who can fight and would be thrilled to have a crack at Ivan. There is a need for money, weapons and for the front line NATO countries, air cover. If Ivan goes into any part of the rest of Ukraine it may be an Unconventional Warfare jamboree. Those front line NATO nations and the Ukrainians have plenty of tough top flight guys who can handle everything in that country.

    If the Poles don't act like Poles if Ivan keeps moving, I'll look for the sun to rise in the west, but they will need backup from us in the ways I've described.
    may or may not be justified by their future acts. Until they are, I'm not on your bandwagon.

    Regards

    Mike

  10. #450
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    jcustis:

    What is about to happen next?

    I can try anyway.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  11. #451
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    I wasn't talking about 10 year old Ukainians. I was talking about 10 year old Americans.

    There would be no need for either one of those units to go anywhere but Shopko. They fall under 'regular US ground forces'.
    Last edited by carl; 03-20-2014 at 01:25 AM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  12. #452
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I don't work at EUCOM, so I dunno.

  13. #453
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    Default If we consider 10 yr old Americans ...

    then we should be considering the risk to them of directly confronting Russia.

    We did that, of course, during the Cold War. The last Cold War study on that was in 1990.

    Nuclear Attack Planning Base - 1990
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
    April 1987

    The Nuclear Attack Planning Base 1990 was an official estimate of the potential physical effects of a Soviet nuclear attack on the population of the United States, including detailed county-by-county assessments of damage due to blast overpressure, fire and radiation.

    A copy of the approximately 500 page publication, originally marked Limited Distribution and Not for Public Release, was released in April 2005 with the following caveat: "This publication was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, for its academic and historical value only."

    •Executive Summary
    •Cover Page
    •Front Matter, Table of Contents
    •Part 1: Project Overview
    •Part 2: Project Development
    •Part 3: Risk Definitions (1.67 MB PDF file)
    •Annex A: Direct Effects & Fire Risk, Statistics and Maps (4.2 MB PDF file)
    •Annex B: Fallout Risk, Statistics and Maps (6.1 MB PDF file)


    Is the Ukraine worth a nuclear exchange now ? - a very good question to ask Americans, I'd say. While we're at it, what about Germany, UK and France ? Should we trade the Midwest for Italy ?

    Of course, we get bellicose statements from Russian politicos - anyone have the link for the local Russian politician who a few days ago promised they would incinerate us. And, we have it from Mirhond Batch #1:

    Good idea from the first glance, but in the long run, when virtually all who are already considering to migrate, leave the country, Putin&Co will get society dominated with die-hard supporters. When they finally figure out that their cause is lost, the'll nuke you, and I'am only half unseriuos.
    Actually, this "ultimate threat" by nutjob fanatics of the "use them or lose them" persuasion is not that "ultimate". If it seems the case, the only logical COA is to employ a massive first strike to cut down on the number of their missiles that can reply. That revisits the "ultimate" game of chicken, where the enemy shows up drunk and high, cuts his brake lines, lashes himself in the seat, lashes down the throttle and throws away the steering wheel. The obvious response is to kill the crazy SOB by any means feasible - breaking all the "rules" of that "game".

    Not having been that impressed by the "Better Red than Dead" campaigns of the Cold War, that type of threat does not impress me now; but it is a risk that Americans should at least wrestle with in dealings with Russia - and China, for that matter.

    Why you keep throwing this kind of bone to me:

    There would be no need for either one of those units to go anywhere but Shopko ...
    is beyond me - sending them into combat is not my problem - they didn't sign up to become mall ninjas.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 03-20-2014 at 03:11 AM.

  14. #454
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Mike:

    Ok, now that you got that off your chest.

    One of these days we may have to do that, directly confront Russia; Poland after all is right next to Ukraine. To my mind, the best way to make sure that day does not come is to directly confront them economically now, if they don't go into the rest of Ukraine; and if they do contribute indirectly to the UW jamboree.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  15. #455
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    @jcustis: It seems that most politicians, also stuck in the 'proper' procedures, apart from Putin just could not believe that he was pulling this off. Then again a month ago Putin himself did likely not think that he would and could.

    The demand of 'travel documents' and later visas for Russian citiziens seems to be mostly motivated by the experience with Russian provocateurs and infiltrators. Russia seems ready to respond in kind, with a couple of consequences:

    a) Economic problems mostly for some Eastern oblasts with strong trade ties and trans-border commuters. The Russian oblasts nearby will also suffer, but likely considerably less so.

    b) Another impuls pushing the two nations apart. The occupation of the Crimea and the increasingly strong integration into Europe proper are of course bigger factors.

    c) Tourims in the Crimea should get hit even harder as those 70% percent will have even less incentives to go there.

    Of course Putin might still invade some eastern oblasts, extemp the Crimea from travel restrictions and so forth but I think those points are rather probable.

    The pretty likely exit from the CIS, the probable increase of the Crimean pensions on Russian levels are all interesting topics which will have to wait.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  16. #456
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    With Russia, as With China, Unnerved U.S. Allies Seek Reassurances

    Of course China is watching developments in Ukraine closely. When will they move on their territorial claims in the South and East China Seas?

    Weakness will be exploited.

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    JMM---reference the cold fish comments--what does one expect from a well trained KGB officer?

    Never forget that this was his frame of reference for his future thinking and you saw that in his Duma speech.

    It is that frame of reference that is the danger---the old glory of the SU and the superpower status that he feels Russia lost when the SU fell apart.

    Check some of his comments since the breakup---then check two sentences in his speech directed towards the Germans specifically.

    He said that the Germans should understand and allow Russia to reunite as a country as it was the Russians that allowed the Germans to reunite as a country.

    This is an interesting point in past history that many Americans probably did not know---check what the responses were from the US/UK/France when the wall came down and the West Germans drove immediately to reunification.

    The Western Allies actually drug their combined feet and found constant reasons to delay major face to face meetings and there is even some reports they wanted the Germans to go much slower---it was in fact the Russians that pushed the speed button.

    NOW comes some of Putin's anger---the Russians assumed with German unification they would slowly back out of NATO and go a tad neutral and were angry that when the Allies left Berlin in 1994 they simply pulled back to their NATO bases in western Germany---the Soviet Army Germany pulled out in 1995 and went where---back to Russia and Germany stayed in NATO.

    These are the small items that cropped up in his speech.

    But in the end he was and still in his frame of reference a KGB officer.

  18. #458
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    jcustis---if in fact your comment alludes to EUCOM analysts knowing that it was coming and the warnings were not escalated in a way that let say initial comments coming out of the WH "warning" against this move to occur prior to the military movement evidently did not happen.

    Surprises me as the military has always been able to leak in ways that motivate the politicians---but again nothing from the EUCOM came out as well.

    The old Soviet Army was "watched" like a hawk in the old days for exactly this display of speed and it was felt that any Soviet Army attack would come out of a mobilization for an exercise and then shift in speed which is exactly what happen here on the ground and we still see it happening on the eastern side of the Ukraine as well as with their aerial exercises in NW Russia.

    Granted it takes politicians longer to respond, but even the Europeans were caught off guard.

    Yes Putin got surprised with the speed of the breakdown and breakup of the Moscow supported Ukrainian government but the Russian military decision to move into the Crimea requires either a preplanned maneuver plan or a little time to rev up---in this case I am tipping that it was preplanned and just pulled out of the filing cabinet.

    My experience with the Russian staff planning processes and thought process does not lend itself to a quick hip pocket ad hoc operation another indicator of a preplanned event.

    Still question why there was a disconnect between the military I&W and the decision makers---that was the purpose behind the creation of I&W---to have no disconnect--- and from your comment it seems to not have happened.

  19. #459
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    Firn---this is from today via German reporting and in German but basically says that the Russian government (Finance Minister Siluanow) will not support companies that are in financial difficulties as they did in 2008.

    Why the comment---Russian business leaders were voicing their concerns about possible effects of the economic sanctions on them.

    Strange is it not that the Putin government has to threaten their own business community in order to shut them up about complaining of possibly damage due to sanctions---does not fit the image Putin and Co. are trying to project create that they are not gong to be hurt by them.

    So I guess what the sanctions will not hurt us-- but behind the scenes if you are with us and stay publicly quiet then we will inject cash and no one will be the wiser?

    By the way did you read about the arrest several days ago of the richest Ukrainian oligarch who has close ties to Putin/Moscow---occurred when he was in Vienna at the behest of the US.

    Also looks like the EU/US will reimplement the cold war industrial goods/products embargo list on key items that Russian imports/needs---will be talked about today at the EU meeting and will probably be released at the EU/US Obama meeting next week

    "Die russische Regierung will Firmen in finanziellen Schwierigkeiten nicht untersttzen - anders als in der Finanzkrise 2008. Das gab Finanzminister Anton Siluanow bekannt. Hintergrund der Ankndigung: Russische Unternehmer hatten Bedenken ber die Auswirkungen moeglicher Sanktionen geaeussert."
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 03-20-2014 at 10:51 AM.

  20. #460
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Disregarding pretty much everything coming out of the Kremlin as deception and propagand and just looking at the deeds doesn't seem to be that stupid for now. I have invested yesterday a bit of time and read the Russian snapshot of the World Bank from October 2013, which does look at the economy in a systematic fashion. Some neat figures (2,4,6,10) and facts (table 1).

    This comment in the german Zeit does reflect my views pretty well. The strange bunch which went to Crimea to 'observe' has been really a most amazing combination of extremist and partially criminal elements of European politics.

    More about the visa issue:

    "We should not be in a hurry with the introduction of a visa regime with Russia...," Yatseniuk's press service said, referring to comments the prime minister made in Brussels.

    "Such an initiative by Ukraine is most unlikely to be effective in terms of influencing Russia," he said, adding that the measure could negatively affect Ukrainians living in the predominantly Russian-speaking east of the country.
    I read that 3 million Ukrainian citziens are working in Russia, a number which does surprise me. Of course the wage differential should be rather large, less unemployment, little travel and labour restrictions, a long permeable border, most Ukrainians speak good Russians and so forth but I imagined the amount to be smaller. It would be interesting to know how many of those commute...

    Perhaps they will ask 'only' for 'travel documents' without much ado, and push visas for now back. We will see.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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