Author Topic: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?  (Read 320 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pjohns

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 455
What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« on: March 27, 2014, 09:45:18 PM »
I have consistently argued that, if push comes to shove, NATO will not allow Russia to encroach upon its territory--including any of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and/or Lithuania).  And I continue to believe that.

Still, others believe otherwise--perhaps because NATO is only a shell of its former self.

Here is a bit from an article in The Week on this matter: 

Quote
The Russian invasion and rapid absorption of the Crimean peninsula might seem like the spark ready to ignite a new Cold War. In fact, given the feeble Western response so far, the more likely outcome is not the division of Europe once more between NATO's Western alliance and a neo-Soviet Russia, but rather the fracturing and ultimate demise of NATO and the Western alliance itself. ...

Having demonstrated to the Ukrainians with his Crimean excursion the emptiness of Western guarantees in the Budapest memorandum, Putin can now credibly demand that Ukraine either accept its status as a Russian vassal or cede more territory — starting with the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, which has a slight Russian majority (he can also exert pressure from Moldova's breakaway region, Transnistria, on Ukraine's western flank, which has operated as a Russian colony for the past 20 years).
 
And if the assurances made to Ukraine only 20 years ago can so easily be exposed as empty posturing, how soon before Putin turns his attention to the Baltic and exposes the assurances made during NATO's expansion there in 2004 as little more than an elaborate bluff? It may already be too late to save NATO — and the small Estonian city of Narva (population 64,667) is where it might well be buried. ...

Having lived under Tsarist control for centuries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia already had indigenous Russian-speaking minorities prior to their annexation by Moscow in 1940 — populations further supplemented by waves of migrants as the Soviets attempted to Russify these territories.
 
Since regaining their independence, these countries' governments have subjected their Russian minorities, particularly in Latvia and Estonia, to varying amounts of low-level discrimination, particularly in the realms of language rights and citizenship. Indeed, ethnic Russians are far better integrated, their language rights far more secure, in Ukraine than they are in these Baltic republics. A pretext for intervention is readily at hand.
 
Narva sits on the northern-most portion of Estonia's border with Russia, no more than 120km from the southern suburbs of St Petersburg. Unlike Crimea, where a bare majority of the population are Russians, in Narva nearly all the inhabitants identify themselves as ethnic Russians. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, Russian border guards will be told to cross the bridge and walk the 400m that separates Narva's town hall from the Russian border and help the locals seize control of their city. ...

What made the NATO alliance credible during the Cold War were not the words in treaties, but the trip wire afforded by the presence of hundreds of thousands of U.S., British, and French troops stationed in West Germany. Absent all that, one European country after another will soon be looking to make its separate peace with Moscow, withdrawing first from the alliance and then perhaps from the EU as well.


Here is the link to the entire article:  The tiny Estonian town that could spell the end of NATO - The Week

Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 44,235
  • #ToldYouSo
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 10:28:19 PM »
The questions are two-fold:  (1) what could NATO do, and (2) is there the will to do it?

Considering that the US is currently disarming itself at an alarming pace, as are most of the original NATO members, NATO may not in fact be able to do anything, even if the resolve is there; during the attacks on Libya the Europeans ran low on munitions - ran out.  A 2011 WaPo article on the subject put the issue succinctly:

Quote
Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time, according to senior NATO and U.S. officials.

*  *  *

NATO officials said that their operational tempo has not decreased since the United States relinquished command of the Libya operation and withdrew its strike aircraft at the beginning of April.  More planes, they said, would not necessarily result immediately in more strike missions.

But, they said, the current bombing rate by the participating nations is not sustainable.  “The reason we need more capability isn’t because we aren’t hitting what we see — it’s so that we can sustain the ability to do so.  One problem is flight time, the other is munitions,” said another official, one of several who were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.

European arsenals of laser-guided bombs, the NATO weapon of choice in the Libyan campaign, have been quickly depleted, officials said.  Although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British- and French-made planes that have flown the bulk of the missions.

*  *  *


If the Europeans couldn't keep up with attacking Libya, then how on Earth would anyone believe they could keep up in a conflict with Russia?  To call Libya a 99-pound weakling when compared to Russia is to insult 99-pound weaklings.  And the US may not be in a substantially better position either, given Obama's cut-to-the-bones military budgets.

And make no mistake about it, once a hot war starts with Russia, Russia will not be content to sit on its laurels just because the Europeans have run out of bombs; no, Putin will take the opportunity to sweep into Europe and start adding brand new pieces of Europe to the traditional Russian empire.  Poland has, if I recollect, been building up its military forces, so they might be able to fend off a direct invasion by Russian forces, but the countries directly south of Poland are not exactly defensive powerhouses and Russia has already started conquering one - Ukraine - so it's quite possible that Russia would choose to sweep down through Ukraine - maybe pick up Belarus - plow through Moldova, south around the Carpathian Mountains, and up toward Austria.


However, despite being short on conventional arms, the Europeans do have nuclear weapons, but I doubt those weapons would be used, at all, until and unless Russia was knocking on the gates of Berlin and Paris - and maybe not even then.  Which segues into the second question:  does NATO have the will to do anything?  My guess is that NATO - i.e., the original European members and the US - would not resort to military force to protect the Baltic states and would only do so if/when Russia started making serious moves on Poland, or as per my wholly speculative, la-la-land thoughts above, started to push through the southern East European states on its way around the Carpathian Mountains.  It is only at that point, when it becomes clear that Putin intends to take as much of Europe as he can, that NATO would finally resort to force.

Why would NATO's response be so anemic?  Because any hot conflict with Russia would not be some sort of tit-for-tat, step-by-step escalation; once NATO attacks Russian forces, Putin will throw Russia's entire military might against Europe and that is something that none of the Europeans or Obama have the stomache to countenance.  So they will, as they did in the 30s with Hitler, hold on to the last shreds of their illusions that, with each conquest, Putin will finally be satiated and stop - until he doesn't.  That also means that Russia will have the initiative, because it will already have its forces mobilized and on the move; NATO forces would most likely stay on-base, even if they were on alert, until it finally becomes impossible for NATO to deny that Putin intends to invade Western Europe.

And here comes the most unsettling thought:  I'm confident NATO wouldn't use nukes first, but I am not so sure at what point Putin would be willing to use Russia's nukes.  He won't use them when he's on the offensive - why irradiate the ground you're about to occupy? - but he may very well be willing to use them as a last ditch defensive weapon if NATO were able to push back on a hypothetical Russian invasion of the rest of Europe.  Even if NATO makes it clear that it will stop once it gets to the Russian border, that may not be sufficient to prevent Putin's use of nukes.  If it appears that his vision of a new Russian empire is a lost cause, then he might very well lash out at Europe - maybe even the US, although I think that less likely - on the basis that "if I can't have it, then neither can you."




Offline Chieftain

  • AMF, YOYO
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9,633
  • Your what hurts??
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 11:11:50 PM »
You can take the Ruski out of the Cold War but you can't take the Cold War out of the Ruski.

Putin is going to do whatever he wants, and he will justify every move with popular opinion.  There is nothing Obama is willing to do to stop him so Putin will continue unimpeded.


Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 44,235
  • #ToldYouSo
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 11:14:24 PM »
You can take the Ruski out of the Cold War but you can't take the Cold War out of the Ruski.

Putin is going to do whatever he wants, and he will justify every move with popular opinion.  There is nothing Obama is willing to do to stop him so Putin will continue unimpeded.



I hate to agree, but I agree.  I also think that Obama's dismissals of Russia as a weak country are doubly stupid because to the extent Putin is worried about a weak Russian economy he is likely to become more aggressive, not less, if for no other reason than to keep ordinary Russians distracted and have a perfectly good excuse for why the economy isn't doing well.

Offline Atomic Cow

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 18,235
  • High Yield Minion
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 11:26:14 PM »
As long as the Russians have nukes, NATO would likely do nothing unless Russia attacked Germany.

If we had a President who had the gonads to actually order those launch keys turned, Putin would be hesitant to risk that level of escalation.

The bozo in the White House would probably refuse to give the order and let the US eat a nuclear strike.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton

Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 44,235
  • #ToldYouSo
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 11:30:14 PM »
As long as the Russians have nukes, NATO would likely do nothing unless Russia attacked Germany.

If we had a President who had the gonads to actually order those launch keys turned, Putin would be hesitant to risk that level of escalation.

The bozo in the White House would probably refuse to give the order and let the US eat a nuclear strike.

I don't think Putin would launch nukes at the US; he'd be more likely to launch at the rest of Europe.

Offline Atomic Cow

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 18,235
  • High Yield Minion
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 11:45:36 PM »
I don't think Putin would launch nukes at the US; he'd be more likely to launch at the rest of Europe.

The French and the British have them too, and despite how much we joke about the French, they would not hesitate the fire right back.  France actually has the third largest nuclear arsenal after the US and Russia.  Not only do they have SLBMs, but their air force and navy still have strike aircraft which can launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton

Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 44,235
  • #ToldYouSo
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 11:47:50 PM »
The French and the British have them too, and despite how much we joke about the French, they would not hesitate the fire right back.  France actually has the third largest nuclear arsenal after the US and Russia.  Not only do they have SLBMs, but their air force and navy still have strike aircraft which can launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles.

So where are those aggressive French right now?  Also, if France is known to be aggressive, they will get obliterated first, before they have a chance to try and shoot back.  Putin is as ruthless as monsieur Hollande and the other "leaders" of the NATO countries are clueless.

Offline truth_seeker

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 17,127
  • Common Sense Results Oriented Conservative Veteran
    • The place where argument addicts can go
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 11:52:57 PM »
I don't think Putin would launch nukes at the US; he'd be more likely to launch at the rest of Europe.

NATO is more than Obama, and his 2.5 years remaining tenure.

To the best of my knowledge, USSR or Russia has never attacked a NATO member country.

The combined population of NATO member states is over four times the population of Russia.

Obama acts like a schoolyard punk, calling Russia a "regional power," a personal insult to Putin.

Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 44,235
  • #ToldYouSo
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 12:01:09 AM »
NATO is more than Obama, and his 2.5 years remaining tenure.

To the best of my knowledge, USSR or Russia has never attacked a NATO member country.

The combined population of NATO member states is over four times the population of Russia.

Obama acts like a schoolyard punk, calling Russia a "regional power," a personal insult to Putin.

Obviously.

But that was then, and this is now.

Offline EC

  • Shanghaied Editor
  • Member
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 21,936
  • French entertainment is a waste of mime.
Re: What happens if Putin pushes into a NATO country?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 01:52:18 AM »
So where are those aggressive French right now?  Also, if France is known to be aggressive, they will get obliterated first, before they have a chance to try and shoot back.  Putin is as ruthless as monsieur Hollande and the other "leaders" of the NATO countries are clueless.

They are training. You don't think French forces are in CAR and Mali out of the goodness of their hearts, do you? The best way to learn war is the same as the best way to learn piano. Practice. Right now the French are practicing. They don't go much for high tech solutions, preferring the more direct approach. They learned that the hard way in the course of a thousand years of warfare.

Much has been made recently about the French building a state of the art warship for the Russians. It is indeed state of the art. Do you want to make a minor bet that they can't shut it down with a single key press?
Anyone who tells you you can't buy happiness has never been in a book store or an animal shelter.

You are the result of 3 billion years of evolutionary success. Act like it.

Avatar courtesy of Oceander

I've got a website now: Smoke and Ink


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf