Cold War Redux?

| August 14, 2019 | 23 Comments

Some good stuff about US-Ukraine relations here, and how we’re training Ukrainian troops in situ to use good hardware like Javelins.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/03/06/more-lethal-aid-to-ukraine-us-trainers-javelins-have-already-made-russians-a-little-more-nervous/

From the article:   The U.S. has been providing lethal aid in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine since May, and Russian armor is reportedly deterred by the investment.

On top of the lethal aid, the U.S. has trainers currently in the country, including National Guardsmen running the Yavoriv Combat Training Center and American special operations forces running selection courses for their Ukrainian counterparts.

The successes have lawmakers and military leaders looking for other ways to help.

“The fact that they have a Javelin that they could employ and they know how to employ it as a deterrent,” Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

“The Ukrainians, in my view, have trained very well for the use of that, they’ve been responsible in the security and the deployment of it and we watch that closely.” ~article

Also, it’s pissing off the Russians. Vlad’s aim is to own the entire Black Sea and isolate Ukraine.  https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/12/31/why-russia-is-swallowing-the-black-sea-and-wont-stop-until-it-has-choked-out-ukraine/

Seriously, Putin seemingly has a problem with letting go of them there Good Ol’ Days when he was just a nub in the Red Army.

From the article:  After Russia fired on two Ukrainian naval ships in late November (2018), seizing the vessels and crew, tensions between Russia and the West waxed and waned in a succession that has become all too common.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea roughly five years ago, and sponsorship of separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, brought similar condemnation from the U.S. and its NATO allies, as did the Russian annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia in 2008.

And yet those breakaway regions remain under Russian control, as the Kremlin proves that geographic boundaries can be redrawn without much more than stern words from the West. But absent harsher measures and greater push-back, the former commander of U.S. Army Europe warns that the Russian Federation won’t let up.

“I think they won’t stop until they completely own the Sea of Azov and have choked out Ukraine’s very important seaport of Mariupol,” said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who helmed U.S. European Command’s Army component from late 2014 through 2017. ~article

A map is included further down the page of the article, showing the entire region embracing the Black Sea.

Frankly, I think we would all prefer to not return to the days of the Cold War, but on the other hand, it was the Big Three – USA/USSR/Red China – who were so busy aiming at each other that the rest of the world went on about its business.

Category: Cold War, Foreign Policy, Russia

Comments (23)

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  1. Martinjmpr says:

    Wait, we are sending our forces halfway around the world to set up shop on Russia’s doorstep, but it’s RUSSIA that’s “hung up on the Cold War?”

    Can someone explain to me the benefit we, the American taxpayers, receive from sticking our fingers in Russia’s eye?

    Seems to me the primary beneficiaries of this program are the Ukrainians who get lots of American technology and the military contractors who get bucket loads of sweet, sweet US taxpayer cash to pay for the stuff we’re giving away to the Ukrainians.

    Meanwhile the Russians get riled up (and not unreasonably – think about how the US would feel if Al Quaeda decided to set up training bases just across the border in Mexico) and for what?

    If this is about “safeguarding the peace in Europe” aren’t there, you know, other countries in Europe that have much more of a vested interest in this than us?

    I can’t help but feeling like since the end of WWII the US has gone from being the free world’s protector to being the free world’s chump. The Europeans can cut their military forces to the bone and spend the money on building up their businesses and infrastructure, secure in the knowledge that Uncle Sugar will always provide skirts for them to hide behind if the shit hits the fan.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Got to agree with you here Martinjmpr. Rant on.

      We owe 20 trillion $, our border is leaking like a sieve, and we have a boatload of internal enemies of our Republic… Many of them elected officials. 18 years of endless war with no end in sight, billions pissed away thru graft, foreign and domestic, thousands of American lives lost and/or ruined.

      Let’s take care of America…FIRST!

    • Cameron Kingsley says:

      I am beginning wonder if keeping the Soviets at bay in Western Europe (including the UK) was a mistake. Especially when I look at some of the attitudes about the US that are held (the one that annoys me the most is the complaint on how the US was late for World Wars I and II. Yeah, how exactly was that are concern until Japan attacked us in World War II? Do these clowns ever look back on how many wars have been fought in Europe throughout history with quite a few of them being fought after the US had already been established (the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, Second Italian War of Independence)? That will give them the answer as to why we didn’t want to get involved). I have more sympathy for Eastern Europe than Western Europe as they knew what it was like under the Soviet Union.

      • reddevil says:

        I don’t think anyone of consequence or who knows what they are talking about complains about the US being ‘late for World War I and II”. The Brits and French, and even the Germans and Japanese these days know that the US is the essential nation, and they are glad of it.

        Keeping Europe free of hegemony is clearly in our best interest now as just as it was in WW I and II and the years since- then it was Germany, now it is Russia. If any singular power gains control of the entire continent, the balance of economic power swings to them, and they can dictate terms to most of the world.

        The same holds true for the Pacific. In the 1940s it was in our interest to keep Japan from controlling the theater, so we restricted their access to oil and steel, which led to war. Today it is China.

        Ukraine is important for a few reasons. Russia sees Ukraine as part of their traditional buffer zone between them and the West. If they make a military move to reclaim that territory, it will have to go through one of the Baltic States, Poland, or Ukraine. They also need control of the Crimean peninsula because their Black Sea fleet is headquartered there.

        Since we no longer have 2 US Army Corps parked in Europe, training Ukrainians and Poles, etc., to kill Russian tanks is a cheap way to underwrite their security and secure our interests in the region (and make some quick $$$ for American defense contractors).

        I know, we live in an age of enlightenment and the Russians would never do anything like that. These days, everything happens in what theorists are calling the ‘Gray Zone’ between armed conflict and war, a distinction from insurgency or even guerrilla war. Gray zone conflict or competition is using proxies such as mercenaries, terrorist groups, and criminal organizations to exert power.

        Russia is really good at it- look at what they did in Syria, and look back at how they annexed Crimea and not too long ago meddled in their presidential elections with the help of Paul Manafort.

        • The Other Whitey says:

          With the exception of the last paragraph, Reddevil, I think you’re right, but so is Martinjmpr. He’s looking at it from the valid perspective of being tired of various European assholes using us for a cheap scapegoat. You’re taking the equally-valid perspective of realpolitik. Both have merit.

          • reddevil says:

            I understand being tired of the Europeans expecting us to defend them, but we are not doing this for Germany or France, we’re doing it for us. Our emphasis these days is on tiny nations like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, or nations that are stepping up like Poland and Ukraine.

            What do you disagree with? The Russians demonstrated significant operational reach, which is a new capability (for them) in Syria, along with some innovative use of fires, proxies, and mercenary forces. In Ukraine, the Russians got very sexy:

            https://www.jhuapl.edu/Content/documents/ARIS_LittleGreenMen.pdf

            but also used good old fashioned brute force to destroy most of a brigade in minutes:

            https://mwi.usma.edu/russian-ukrainian-war-understanding-dust-clouds-battlefield/

            And of course, Manafort helped get a pro-Russian Ukranian president elected with Russian money:

            https://time.com/5003623/paul-manafort-mueller-indictment-ukraine-russia/

            • Cameron Kingsley says:

              I feel differently about Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland because they are more than willing to pull their own weight (I also like Italy because they are much more nationalistic then the rest of Europe though the rest of Europe seems to be changing on that aspect which means they might actually start pulling their own weight again when it comes to defense. They should also learn that it is never wise to put your security completely in the hands of someone else as that person can easily revoke it at any time leaving you at their mercy or the day comes that they just can’t provide that security anymore due to bad circumstances). I feel the same way about Japan, Israel, and South Korea. They pull their own weight instead of being weak links.

              • Reddevil says:

                Unlike the countries you mention, Ukraine has been in actual shooting wars with Russian backed separatists and Russia itself. They are pulling their own weight.

                • Cameron Kingsley says:

                  Yes, I am very well aware of what’s happening with the Ukraine Reddevil. I was not born yesterday. In fact, I remember hearing about it in the news when this fiasco started. My annoyance is more with Western Europe not Eastern Europe because the east was under the Soviet Union and there are plenty of people who remember what it was like.

    • Toxic Deplorable Racist B Woodman says:

      “Meanwhile the Russians get riled up (and not unreasonably – think about how the US would feel if Al Quaeda decided to set up training bases just across the border in Mexico) and for what?”

      Except we’re not planning on invading Russia. We’re helping another sovereign nation defend it’s borders from being invaded.
      Can’t say the same for Al Q not invading the US of A.
      Russia’s upset that someone is arming their neighbors from being invaded. (poor babies)

    • timactual says:

      ” the Russians get riled up (and not unreasonably ”

      How dare we help the Ukrainians defend themselves! Of course the Russians will get riled up, just as Hitler did when we had the chutzpah to help the UK resist the legitimate expression of German “manifest destiny”.

      Some of us also remember when the Soviets and their friends set up training bases for the peaceful missionaries of Baader-Meinhoff, Red Brigade, etc.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        And why is it OUR responsibility to help Ukraine defend itself? Where is the vital US interest there? If Poland, Hungary and Belarus want to team up against Russia, that’s one thing – it’s in their back yard and they certainly know what it’s like to live with the Russian boot on their necks.

        But how does this saber rattling benefit the US?

        More to the point, if the saber rattling doesn’t work and if Ukraine gets into a shooting war with Russia are we ready to expend American blood and treasure to defend Ukraine? Up to what point?

        We defended Western Europe in the wake of WWII because it was in our national interest to do so and because Western Europe was too beaten to defend itself.

        I see no similar national interest in poking the Russian bear and I’ll bet I’m not alone in that.

        Besides the not inconsiderable factor of provoking war with a country that still has ICBM’s that can reach the US, there’s the question of what piece of ground in the Ukraine is worth the life of even ONE American soldier.

        • reddevil says:

          What changed? Why isn’t it in our interest to have a free Europe any more? Is it just that the Russians are nice guys but the Germans were the baddies?

        • timactual says:

          It is not our *responsibility* to help, but it is a useful thing to do. If nothing else it can be payback for Vietnam, Korea, various terrorist groups, etc. I certainly don’t see anything objectionable about supplying arms and training to countries trying to defend themselves from aggression. It might even be considered hypocritical after we accepted French help way back when.

          • Reddevil says:

            The term is ‘interest’. It is in our interest to keep Europe part of the liberal economic order (liberal in the classic sense, not in the US politkical sense). It is in Russian interest to change that.

  2. Jus Bill says:

    I read today that Russia is generating wartime posture on the border with Ukraine. Stand by.

  3. reddevil says:

    “The United States is safer when Europe is prosperous and stable, and can help defend our shared interests and ideals. The United States remains firmly committed to our European allies and part- ners. The NATO alliance of free and sovereign states is one of our great advantages over our com- petitors, and the United States remains commit- ted to Article V of the Washington Treaty.”

    -Donald J Trump, US National Security Strategy, Dec 2017

  4. The Other Whitey says:

    Still not seeing how fucking with Comrade Vlad’s world domination plans counts as “collusion,” but that’s just me.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      There you go using facts again TOW… that’ll get the seagull riled up…
      He’ll have plenty of empirical data to show how you and anyone that disagrees with him (and what his perfessers told him) is wrong..

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Well, comrade Numbnuts of Berzerkley didn’t grow up in the Cold War, has never lived within 10 miles of a city that was a target for those Soviet ICBMs, and has never had to deal with the realities that there were people in America who would just as soon see the USA ended by the Soviets as not.

      I did grow up with that. It was then a real, VERY real threat, and we all knew it.

      It only made things worse when the Soviet space program first put Laika, the dog, into orbit and bragged about it to the media (while we were being so cautious), and even worse when Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov got their space flights well ahead of our own astronauts. If the Soviets could do that, they could just as easily hit my hometown, a target because it had an electronics factory, a grain processing plant, a Caterpillar factory, a tire factory, and a huge railyard. In addition, we were 35 miles from a major USAF base.

      Sometimes, I miss those days. At least you knew who the Enemy was. Now, The Bad Guys are not as obvious.

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Ditto on growing older in the same Ex. Another added bonus for me was serving in 2 tactical nuclear missile battalions. We knew that if ever did have to fire those things in anger that it was the end of the world as we knew it. It was also pounded in our heads that we NEVER talk about what we did and/or the capabilities of the Sergeant and Lance systems. I buried or put out of my mind everything I could and for years never even discussed that I was in the Army. Imagine my surprise when I made a trip to FT Sill in June of 90 for a nephew’s Basic Graduation to see both systems on static display with nomenclature and some capabilities listed for the whole world to see.

        Trust me, we DO NOT want another “Cold War” and we damn sure DO NOT want any type of nuclear exchange. There will be no “winners”.

        I understand that Larsi boy was MI. Sadly, I too served in an MI detachment (ARS). Thinking back on it, we had a coupla officers that were just as ignorant as he is.

        • Fyrfighter says:

          I was kinda the tail end of the cold war, but I do remember in grade school, doing duck and cover drills, hiding under our desks, or going into the basement with the big yellow sign that said “fallout shelter”..

          Of course, living less than 10 miles from the Philadelphia Navy Yard meant that we were damn near “on the X”…

          Something that is hard to understand if you didn’t live it.

          • Reddevil says:

            Hate to tell you all, but those missiles still exist (at least most of them) and they are probably aimed at the same spots.

            However, Russia controls far fewer than the USSR did, mainly because Ukraine destroyed theirs once they gained independence, mainly because they were making inroads to the West

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