NATO: No More Mr. Nice Guy?

posted at 8:55 am on August 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The NATO alliance appears ready to present a united front against an old foe over its aggression against Georgia.  Instead of wheedling Russia into withdrawing its troops from the former Soviet republic, Europe and the US will “cut to the chase” at the UN by forcing a vote at the Security Council.  Meanwhile, the US has accused Russia of stealing Humvees sent as part of the humanitarian aid package:

Abruptly discarding a week-old push to engage Russia and convince its leaders to end their war on Georgia, European and American diplomats are saying they will “cut to the chase” with a U.N. Security Council resolution that stresses the need for an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgian territory.

The move, which diplomats say is sure to result in a Russian veto, came as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced plans to strengthen its ties with Georgia. Russian officials responded by heaping scorn on the West’s newly confrontational tone and putting several new conditions on promises they made a week ago to withdraw their troops from Georgia.

The Georgian government yesterday accused Russia of taking 20 Georgian troops hostage, and Pentagon sources said Russian troops stole five military Humvees that America dispatched to assist the humanitarian efforts in Georgia.

The British ambassador to the United Nations, John Sawers, said Russian troops stopped a British military attaché in Georgia and turned him away from a Russian-controlled zone. Rather than withdrawing from Georgia, the Russian soldiers — whom Mr. Sawers said are now serving as “an army of occupation” — appear to be deepening their entrenchment in Georgia, according to press reports from the region.

What will a UNSC vote accomplish?  The Russians can veto any resolution that has any teeth in it, and can reasonably expect China to follow suit.  The episode would certainly embarrass them diplomatically, but if the invasion itself and the behavior of their troops hasn’t shamed them, an empty and failed Security Council resolution won’t do much to speed change in Georgia.

The resolution, written by France and supported by NATO, demands a withdrawal to pre-conflict positions.  The cease-fire agreement signed by Georgia and Russia already committed to that, and Russia obviously isn’t interested in honoring their word.   The proposed resolution also commits the UN to the territorial integrity of Georgia, which seems a new position for the Council, given their previous neglect of Serbia’s territorial integrity with Kosovo.

A strengthening of ties between NATO and Georgia, and NATO and Ukraine, holds more promise — and risk.  The Russians could react by sending more troops into Georgia and daring the West to do something about it.  If NATO extends membership to Georgia under these circumstances, they would almost certainly be committing themselves to a war in Asia, which most of them have avoided in Afghanistan despite having more impact on their national security than the Georgian impasse.

The best method of handling Russian imperialism will be economic warfare.  The West has to cut Russia’s economy off at the knees, just as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s to the Soviet Union.  Russia has an oil and natural gas economy, and they need Europe almost as much as Europe needs Russia, and perhaps more; Russia has no warm-water ports to transport their product to other customers.  If we act to lower the price of oil and starve Russia of its export potential, their imperialist impulses may have to yield to business realities.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The best method of handling Russian imperialism will be economic warfare.

Bingo. Thank you.

JiangxiDad on August 20, 2008 at 8:57 AM

If we act to lower the price of oil and starve Russia of its export potential, their imperialist impulses may have to yield to business realities.

That’s a really big “IF.”

fossten on August 20, 2008 at 9:02 AM

Decrease their revenue, AND increase their costs.

Supporting Georgia and the other former Soviet colonies will force Russia to commit more men and material to the conflict. This is a drain that their economy can’t support for long, even with higher oil prices.

MarkTheGreat on August 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM

Just send over the “Lightworker”. He can solve the problem with direct negotiation and a wave of his hand….

adamsmith on August 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM

More evidence, as if any more were needed, that NATO is finished as a military alliance. “Cut to the chase,” one of Condi’s favorite phrases, with a UN resolution? The very definition of a paper tiger.

james23 on August 20, 2008 at 9:09 AM

And after the SC resolution the UN may start to consider the possibility of perhaps looking into the idea of thinking about the dreaded sternly worded letter

Take steps to welcome Ukraine into NATO. And threaten to send Jimmy Carter over to Georgia.

rbj on August 20, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Just send over the “Lightworker”. He can solve the problem with direct negotiation and a wave of his hand….

adamsmith on August 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM

“These aren’t the Georgians you’re looking for.”

fossten on August 20, 2008 at 9:16 AM

According to Novosti this morning, Rissian Foreign Minister Lavrov “NATO was created ‘not for the purpose of disciplining Russia or educating it in terms of how it should behave.‘”

Earlier Lavrov stated that the United States must choose either Russia or Georgia. Seems NATO has a nice choice here. We should make that choice. Lavrov forgets that the purpose of NATO is not to be dominated by Russia.

A few random thoughts, this morning,

Russia is two weeks into its ground combat phase of the Georgian War. What’s holding them up?

Russia is using Chechens and other hired nationalities/mercenaries in place of regular Russian army troops within Georgia. If you look at the video/stills, vehicle markings, uniforms, complexion, beards, body build, and yes, an islamic slogan or two on the sides of “Russian” APC’s, non-standard of other types as well, names of “families.”

The blue-eyed, blond hair, dew rag, muscular biker types of the regular Russian Army aren’t showing up as much on the news, from both sides.

But the tempo of the war on the Russian side, in particular…way out of kilter with Russian battlefield doctrine.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 9:27 AM

If I was Russia, I would completely go in and overthrow the government and set up my own government. I would DARE the world to start a war directly with Russia over Georgia. I’d probably even fire a nuclear weapon at an American city just to see how America would respond.

Just one first, see if there’s more ‘resolutions against it’, then fire tons more when there is no American response. We know that America won’t respond with resounding force. We’ll only respond. . . how does America put it these days? Oh yes, proportionately and not to kill any civilians.

I used to travel a lot by myself on road trips. It’s easy to get in trouble unless you follow certain rules. Rule #1 is never mess with (provoke) someone with nothing to lose.

Figure out why that’s an important rule.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Sounds like NATO is as toothless as the Useless Nitwits.

TooTall on August 20, 2008 at 9:37 AM

TooTall on August 20, 2008 at 9:37 AM –

If Russia actually believed NATO was toothless, they’d be changing all the roadsigns in Georgia, issuing Russian passports to Georgians, and Saakashvili would have been long gone by now.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Umbrage.

We need more umbrage.

drjohn on August 20, 2008 at 9:39 AM

I’d probably even fire a nuclear weapon at an American city just to see how America would respond.
Rule #1 is never mess with (provoke) someone with nothing to lose.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 9:30 AM

I can tell you America would repond to a nuclear attack.
No Moscow.
And the Russians aren’t suicide bombers.

They would not have started this war if they thought that there would be any kind of fight with the Georgians. The Afghanistan disaster was one of the things that brought down the Soviets, and Putin knows that. He picked a fight with a helpless child, like all bullies.

Eastern Europe remembers the Soviets very well. They do not want to return to a Third World lifestyle as slaves to the Russians. I’m sure the Chinese are also watching this resurgence as well.

Now Putin will have to walk out of this mess. Once it starts to bite the Russians economically, the party’s over.

TexasJew on August 20, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Where’s that bastard Hans Blix when you need him!

wildweasel on August 20, 2008 at 9:45 AM

I can tell you America would repond to a nuclear attack.
No Moscow.

I wouldn’t be so certain if I were you. 30 years ago, definitely, but now – I doubt it. I’d bet we’d first detonate a bomb in Siberia somewhere where nobody gets killed even if Russia hits a major city of ours first.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 9:52 AM

The NATO alliance appears ready to present a united front against an old foe over its aggression against Georgia. Instead of wheedling Russia into withdrawing its troops from the former Soviet republic, Europe and the US will “cut to the chase” at the UN by forcing a vote at the Security Council.

NATO and the UN are COMPLETELY different things. The New York Sun rhetorically smushing them together doesn’t alter thartreality.

logis on August 20, 2008 at 10:01 AM

If people are trying to shame Russians they are wasting their time. These are thugs, gangsters and medieval-minded paranoids that will simply laugh at the West, shoot more civilians, smash police cars with their tanks and have another drink.

The world thought that Russia somehow reformed from the shoe-banging, terror supporting, money grubbing, drunks that they have been for centuries and they were wrong.

Either put-up, or give up on Georgia.

Hening on August 20, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Any state-sponsored act of war against the United States would result in a swift and unambiguous response resulting in regime-change for the belligerant within days or weeks.

If you really think that Russia could “get away with” nuking an American city, I just don’t know how to build a bridge to reality for you.

Nobody knows the frailty and lack-of-reliability of the Russian war machine better than Russia. They will bluff and feint boldly, but they will not call.

Immolate on August 20, 2008 at 10:14 AM

“…the frailty and lack-of-reliability of the Russian war machine…”

Immolate on August 20, 2008 at 10:14 AM

An excellent point.

The Russian 58th Army, a mostly conscript, mostly Caucasus-ethnicity manned armed force, spearheaded the attack into Georgia. As strategic reserve, the Russians inserted elements of the St. Petersburg-based 76th Air Assault Division into the area of Tskhinvali. Not the entire 76th, but perhaps as much as a brigade-sized element. They have apparently pulled out of the front-line fighting.

Presently, from film/video reports, it appears that elements of the 58th are still operating inside Georgia, augmented by local “militias” comprised of various non-Russian ethnic groups, “Ossetians” and Abkhazians, though the Abkhazians have loyalties more to crime families in Abkhazia than to any sort of Mother Russia.

There just aren’t that many Russians in the Russian army. Resistance to conscription has compelled the Russians to try their own version of VOLAR, but this is inits infancy, and recruiting has met with gaps and failures to meet quotas. The annual loss of 800k Russians, as Russia’s population declines, a decline nearly a decade old, takes away a valuable pool of potential conscripts of Russian volunteers/conscripts as well.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 10:27 AM

I wouldn’t be so certain if I were you. 30 years ago, definitely, but now – I doubt it. I’d bet we’d first detonate a bomb in Siberia somewhere where nobody gets killed even if Russia hits a major city of ours first.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Having a bad morning there, Thack?

Et tu Brute on August 20, 2008 at 10:35 AM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Or another way to look at it. If Russia didn’t believe NATO was toothless they wouldn’t have invaded Georgia.

TooTall on August 20, 2008 at 10:38 AM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 10:27 AM

How about the Chechens? On the surface they appear to be the Russian version of Einsatzgruppen. That may be a little overboard but given time.

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM

The best method of handling Russian imperialism will be economic warfare.

Indeed, meaning that Russian turns off the gas strategically.

Akzed on August 20, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Total isolation. Economic and Political. The Russians have been supporting our enemies quite openly and I have no doubt covertly as well. Time to hold their nuts to the fire.

ronsfi on August 20, 2008 at 10:43 AM

I wouldn’t be so certain if I were you. 30 years ago, definitely, but now – I doubt it. I’d bet we’d first detonate a bomb in Siberia somewhere where nobody gets killed even if Russia hits a major city of ours first.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 9:52 AM

That is one of the most breathtakingly ignorant things that I have ever read, here or anywhere else.

The response would be airborn and unstoppable before the first missile reached the continent, assuming all of our detection ducks are in a row. There is no reason to believe otherwise.

Putin is no coward, but he is not suicidal, either.

hillbillyjim on August 20, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Einsatzgruppen?

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM –

Overboard? Not at all. One of the principles of the Russian politico-military establishment predating Putin is to divide and conquer, between ethnicities, and even within ethnicities.

A good number of Chechens have been bought by Russia. They have their use. Having an armed non-Russian ethnic force available to the Russian Army to put down another ethnic force allows the Russians “deniability” of sorts. “It wasn’t the Russians that burned that town, raped and pillaged, it was Chechens, or Abkhazians, or loyal Ossetian ‘militias’…and you know how tough it is to rein in these lesser-humans.” has actually appeared in whole or part, or implied in any number of Russian recent pronouncements.

As for Einsatzgruppen…the Russians (and others) learned many lessons from WWII which have become part of the military doctrine over the post-war period and into the present.

Einsatzgruppen? Why not?

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Nobody knows the frailty and lack-of-reliability of the Russian war machine better than Russia. They will bluff and feint boldly, but they will not call.

Immolate on August 20, 2008 at 10:14 AM

All the Eastern European nations and Georgia need to be supplied with RPGs, missile defenses, and other military aid. Munitions that take out entire columns of tanks can raise Russian costs for aggression.

Right_of_Attila on August 20, 2008 at 10:56 AM

A few military points to ponder…. not advocating, just hinking what may be possible…

“IF” America/Nato got involved, the big question would, once again, be Turkey. If Turkey allowed us access and supply routes, we could take a couple of DIVISIONS out of Iraq, use the equipment in Saudi to augment, and stage through Turkey directly into Georgia.

Two American Divisions in that size of a battle space, against the Russian Equipment now there, would be a slaughter… and once you gain control of the ONE overland Road North (through a tunnel) and grab the road near the Black Sea… any Russian heavy response would run into a HUGE problem. Add in a Three Carrier group in the Black Sea to control it (which 3 carriers could do, less than that and you would have problems…)… and Air out of Turkey, and you have a viable realistic American Military response…. (not advocating, but possible).

Now, timing wise, can we now pull that amount of front line troops out of Iraq? Possibly… Iraqi Army is doing pretty well, and pulling 30-40K front line troops out of Theatre, while a gamble, ‘MAY’ be doable.

Question, been thinking on it for a couple of days… Is the timing of this actualy a tacit sign that China has sort of aggreed to Russia’s actions, and will give them political support? Russia did not pull the trigger until after all the Presidents and such were in China for the opening… they got the “Face” they needed… if Russia had pulled the trigger earlier it would have given politicians the “cover” they needed not to attend… but as it happened, there was no real diruption of the Olympics…

If China sides, with Russia, or even stays neutral and does not support an economic Western strategy, any economic strategy we do will just make them stronger… as they will open Chinese markets to Russian goods and oil…

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Why not indeed. I meant overboard as in right now, not yet fully developed. When I saw the reports of the Chechen recruits and their backgrounds it immediately brought to mind Einsatzgruppen.

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Humvees are useful to Russia because it can disguise them as an American/allied vehicle, and use that to kidnap other Americans/allies.

daryl_herbert on August 20, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Hmmm…. interesting…

Russia China trade has doubled in the last 8 years… to 40 Billion a year….

There are now TWO pipelines for oil/Natural gas from Russia to China, one through Kazakstan… one through just Russian territory…

Does Puttin believe that his economy can survive without the West? Can he sell his oil/gas to China for hard currency, which China will then get through trade with the West?

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM –

Sending even one division to Georgia, hypothetically speaking of course, would not work well. The battlefield management of a division and its logisitics in theater and into theater, just doesn’t lend to that. Movement alone of a division from Iraq (if we had a division in Iraq) or from CONUS would be a cumbersome arrangment, taking a lot more time and affording the Russians or “local fighters” the ability to raise all sorts of havoc, given the limited airfields and ports one could use for a division landing area. Committing our strategic reserve, the 82nd, at this time, would leave them in Georgia, and offer the Russians an opportunity to exploit that by moves on the Baltics or Ukraine.

Coming in from Turkey? Look the at terrain. Not to mention the political problems we’d face in doing so.

That said, hypothetically, of course, sending in the smallest possible task-oriented force, with the most lethality would be a far better option.

Specialized battalion task groups or even a brigade combat team or two would suffice to secure the major parts of Georgia, and could serve to stabilize the lines, or rapidly move to root out non-Georgian military units from Georgia.

Taking out the Roki(Roksky) Tunnel by direct fire ( by air, most likely) would be an assault on Russia proper. Not a good idea to ratchet up things before we have an ability for follow-on forces in place, and, repeat and, have an overall strategy in place for a larger theater military action.

Taking out the Roki Tunnel as we took out the Salang Tunnel back in the 80′s, might work. This would involve a covert indigenous force. Doing so would take away Russia’s primary route into the center of the battle area. But doing, so, inside Russia proper, leads to problems we may not be able to deal with.

Sending in a naval combat task group may violate the Montreux Agreement, at the very least. Also, sending in such a force would leave it open to Russian naval forces, and Russian land-based air assets. A carrier task group deployed has a footprint that can easily extend from Washington, DC, to Indianapolis. Three carrier groups have a footprint that extends from Washington, DC to St, Louis and beyond east to west, and from Detroit to Atlanta, north to south. The Black Sea simply doesn’t afford the room for a carrier group, let alone three.

As for timing? Even if one were to pull assets out of Iraq…there is that maneuver and re-deployment friction to contend with, and re-organizing such a force from one theater to another would entail weeks if not months to complete.

As for China…the trump card in all of this. If the Chinese see an ecoinomic gain by backing Russia against the rest of the world right now, then they are a lot more stupid than anyone has ever imagined. Stupid, China is not. China backing NATO or the US, while not impossible, is improbable. The Chinese would much prefer to wait until the dust settles, and then fill whatever vacuum remains.

BTW, the only Russian “good” the Chinese may be interested in is oil and natural gas. Russia has absolutely nothing else to offer the Chinese. As far as technologies and “goods” go, the Russians are at least a generation behind the US and China.

All this is, of course, hypothetical.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 11:43 AM

By the way…right now one of the more effective strategies to use against a resurgent Russia is drill here, drill now, and develop new energy sources like our lives depended on it.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 11:45 AM

A RESOLUTION!!!! HOLY S**T!!!! I warned you WAR MONGERS it would come to this!!! I did, did I not???

sarc/

pueblo1032 on August 20, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Interesting to see Sarkozy in Kabul today. Sounds like he (and France) plan to enhance French forces in Afghanistan, not pull them out.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM

To add another layer to consider, Syria and Russia are playing around again.

Time, is not on our side.

Time, however, can be on our side, with a bit of joint effort.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 12:05 PM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 11:43 AM

A couple of points…

With the Cheney reorganization of the Army, from Corps sized elements to Brigade combat teams, I don’t know how fast we could potentialy redeploy now, especialy as this would be an Armor engagement…

Carriers in the Black Sea? A three Carrier group into the Black Sea was one of the “plans” we had in the Cold War… A single carrier can project power for a large footprint, but just as we did during Storm, they do not need seperate operating areas. If you were going to throw assets into the Black Sea, three Carriers would be the minimum needed to be able to really protect themselves (IMO)… the combination of Russian Land based Air and the Black Sea Fleet would necesitate a very strong ability to protect the task force with CAP… (once again, not suggesting its a good idea… more what it would take to actualy do it).

On the China question… all they have to do is not support the West in an embargo or its economic war with Russia… it would not have to be an active opposition, saying they were staying neutral while maintaining their trade relations with Russia would be enough to really blunt any sanctions the West would put on…

Question then becomes, does the West have enough influence with China to force them out of a “neutral” position?

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 12:14 PM

To add another layer to consider, Syria and Russia are playing around again.

Time, is not on our side.

Time, however, can be on our side, with a bit of joint effort.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Hmmm… direct Russian response to the Poland and Ukraine deals?

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 12:22 PM

A Resolution?!?? What’s the line from the movie:

Hans Blix: “Or else!”

Kim Jong Il: “Or else… what?”

Hans Blix: “Or else… we’ll write you a letter and tell you how angry we are!”

ErikTheRed on August 20, 2008 at 12:24 PM

If you have the opportunity, I suggest taking a look at Georgia again with Google Earth, strip off the overlays and just look at the terrain and the route from Gori to Tbilisi. Pay particular attention to the terrain around Msheta. I think the MSM and new media is missing a storyline that is pretty crucial to understanding this.

Georgian forces retreated from Gori to the area around Msheta, in the hills around that ancient stronghold site they’ve ground the Russians to a halt. Infantry armed with excellent Israeli and American anti-armor weapons have halted the bear which would be sitting ducks in the narrow pass. That also seems to be why they’ve brought in SRBM’s to shoot over the mountians down into Tbilisi.

We hear that the Russsians won, etc. etc., but the Georgians and this war isn’t anywhere near over with, the bear can’t get to Tbilisi via ground and they can’t get air superiority either.

Why don’t we see more reporting from the ground?? Reporters can get into Tbilisi via Armenia and Msheta is just a few miles up the road from there.

Jason Coleman on August 20, 2008 at 12:38 PM

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 12:14 PM –

We have combat-tested armor brigades in CONUS – the 30th out of North Carolina; the 81st out of Washington, the 155th out of Mississippi – in addition to the recently formed 218th also out of North Carolina. National Guard and reserve units.

We can also separate out armor a brigade or two from the 1st Cav at Fort Hood. Separating out a brigade from the 1st Armor Division would be a more difficult porposition given the present status/committments of the 1st Armor.

The 2nd, 3rd and 11th ACR’s can be utilized. Would be a first-in deployment, to screen potential assembly and re-constitution areas from Russian attacks or advances, and to carry out forays into contested areas.

Again, as for carriers in the Black Sea during the Cold War…when we sent carriers into the Black Sea then, there were in place restrictions, speed bumps, as to Soviet response. Had they been so inclined to do so, they could have fairly easily dispatched those carriers, but it would have meant a far larger conflict. In the context of a European NATO war, the dispatch of those carriers into the Black Sea would have served best as a means to force the Soviets to devote assets otherwise dedicated to the European war to protect that “soft underbelly” of the USSR.

Russia, today, could easily construe the passage of even a single carrier into the Black Sea today as a provocation for a larger war. They could risk attacking the carrier (a dumb move, but not impossible) from shore or from their limited capability Black Sea Fleet, or they could decide to finally offer the US and NATO a fait accompli by bringing their strategic reserve (all of the 76th out of St. Petersburg, for example) and elements of the 58th Army and make a headlong rush to the Armenian border, in effect incorporating Georgia into Russia proper before that carrier or carrier group could establish a presence in the Black Sea.

There are no easy solutions.

Measured response may work. But measured responses outside of a clear long-term strategy will be just that…responses.

We are letting Russia dictate terms, and timing and setting the tempo.

All of this, is above my paygrade (damn that Obama for ever using that phrase…) but I would hope that the purple suiters at the JCS are seriously gaming the options right now.

As for China…forcing them to remain neutral may not be necessary. They’ve a lot more to gain from us, right now, than they can gain from Russia. That window, though, is closing a bit more rapidly than one would have thought even a few short years ago.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 12:47 PM

If we act to lower the price of oil and starve Russia of its export potential, their imperialist impulses may have to yield to business realities.

Yeah, either that or Putin goes Travis Bickle on us and starts nukin’ fools.

Interrogative: If God forbid Cold War II heats up in the next year or two, and Putin wakes up one day and decides to launch limited tactical nukes at Ukraine or Georgia or Kazakstan for example. Does the West generally or the USA in particular nuke Russia back if Russia tactically nukes key parts of one or more of its former Commie satellites??
I say no. The US wont nuke Russia if Russia nukes a former Soviet Republic.

Thots?

Mike D. on August 20, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Jason Coleman on August 20, 2008 at 12:38 PM –

Terrain certainly is one of the very important considerations in Georgia.

For both sides.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 12:47 PM

How long have you been retired?

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Mike D. on August 20, 2008 at 1:04 PM –

Would the US or NATO respond to a Russia nuke on a non-NATO member? Most likely not, at least not with nukes.

But, if Russia does use nukes agaisnt the Near Abroad or even recalcitrant Russian “republics” the fallout (no pun intended) would be grave for Putin’s Russia in the long run.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:07 PM —

A lot longer than I realized.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:09 PM

NATO: No More Mr. Nice Guy?

A slow, but decisive payback, could be testing IEDs on Russian armor.

byteshredder on August 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Mike D. on August 20, 2008 at 1:04 PM

I actualy think the bigger threat is if Russia suddenly announced that a “few” of their suitcase nukes have gone missing…

And they then mysteriously end up in Jihadist or Iranian hands. The West would be so busy chasing those things down that Russia would have a free hand in their Near Abroad…

Jihadists don’t like Russia… but America is the GREAT Satan after all.

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Suitcase nukes? Lebed’s 1997 claims notwithstanding, they can be problematic.

The technology exists, from the old Davy Crocket warheads of the 1950′s to the present, but the technological difficulties of fashioning such a device also forces the yield of such a weapon downward as size decreases.

Interesting bit of info can be found here.

As for the Russians giving such devices to the jihadis…there are still a lot of Chechens involved in the upper levels of al-Qaeda. If they had one, would they be tempted to use one in Moscow…or would they use one on Kabul? Me? I’d lean on the jihadis using one on Moscow first, given the wonderful level of love and respect the Russians have for most Chechens.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Suitcase nuke is a nebulous term. We have the technology to build nukes with a yield similar to fat man or little boy that will be small and light enough to be handled easily by a couple of average men. The Russians certainly have this level of technology. That said, the Russians are not terminally stupid they would never willingly give a nuke to any terrorist organization.

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Then why are they supporting Iran in their nuclear ambitions?

Why were they involved in Iraq’s WMD programs?

The Jihadist movement is not a solid organization with a Chain of Command, as much as its a subset of groups with common goals… you would not have to hand one to Al Q itself, but could hand it to a splinter group while making them “promise” to use it on a Western or Israeli target…

And if you really want to be Machiavellian… don’t even really give them a nuke, just gen up some bogus evidence that one had been stolen…

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:31 PM –

Was responding to something Romeo 13 posted.

Suitcase, or man-pack, is possible, if shielding isn’t a really big issue. The containers for the old Davy Crocket rounds were the size of two or three BC-5 footlockers…most of that cradeling and shielding.

Russia has improved its nuclear surety program over the past ten years. In the early 90′s a number of sites visited by the On-Site Inspection Agency showed that safeguards were non-existant, alarms disconnected, fences removed by the locals, and guards who hadn’t been paid in months tasked with protecting whatever was inside. Stolen devices? Certainly possible. Blackmarket purchases? Quite possible. Giving the jihadis one of these…not likely, but not impossible either, should the conditions warrant.

A short article on the current situation inside Georgia seems to indicate that the Russians are establishing a separate Ossetian Republic inside Georgia.

Are the Russians cutting back from their stated goal from a week ago, a different goal than that Russia announced when they invaded? Are they simply trying to cut Georgia up into seperate armed enclaves? It is this confusion/friction on the ground that has me doing a lot of indepth thought and analysis about Russia’s overall intentions. Something that has been revealing weaknesses here and there regarding Russia’s overall capabilities.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Supporting a development program for nuclear power is one thing (yes I know that’s a front). Overtly supplying a nuclear weapon that will most surely be utilized is completely different, especially if there’s a chance it will be used against you. Russia can always claim that they were hoodwinked by the Iranians and that their development of weapons was all on their own and they had no knowledge of it. Same with Iraq’s WMD programs, if you recall there was also some French and German equipment involved in that effort. The disinformation scenario might work might not.

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Oldnuke on August 20, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Key question is how far they are willing to escalate… whats THEIR view on the situation.

I mean, they’ve invaded a neighbor, and even after saying they would withdraw, look like they are going to stay. So far there has been no real Western response except to fast track a couple of treatys that were probably going to happen anyway….

I think Putty is going to continue to push, until we push back… he is seeing a real weakness in our response… and its always been the Russian/Soviet doctrine to reinforce success.

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 2:38 PM

And if you really want to be Machiavellian… don’t even really give them a nuke, just gen up some bogus evidence that one had been stolen…

Romeo13 on August 20, 2008 at 1:39 PM

even better, detonate one on the west yourself and blame the terrorists. . . but you didn’t hear me say that.

ThackerAgency on August 20, 2008 at 3:39 PM

“…Russian troops stole five military Humvees…”

So now they will reverse-engineer it and *poof*, they’ll have another piece of military hardware that looks eerily similar to ours…

Swinehound on August 20, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Having an armed non-Russian ethnic force available to the Russian Army to put down another ethnic force allows the Russians “deniability” of sorts. “It wasn’t the Russians that burned that town, raped and pillaged, it was Chechens, or Abkhazians, or loyal Ossetian ‘militias’…and you know how tough it is to rein in these lesser-humans.” has actually appeared in whole or part, or implied in any number of Russian recent pronouncements.
coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Their version of the French Foreign Legion.

logis on August 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM

Their version of the French Foreign Legion.

logis on August 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM

I hold the La Légion Etrangère française in higher regard.

I’d equate the Russian mercenaries and thugs as the “imponitori” of the Mob.

coldwarrior on August 20, 2008 at 9:37 PM

Where’s that bastard Hans Blix when you need him!

wildweasel on August 20, 2008 at 9:45 AM

“Hans Briiix? Ooooh Noooo!”

A slow, but decisive payback, could be testing IEDs on Russian armor.

byteshredder on August 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Yes, then offer – in a smarmy, treacly fashion – to deploy American troops to Georgia to help Russia “deal” with its IED “problem”, ostensibly to help them better occupy Georgia, seeing as how we have gained so much recent, valuable experience in dealing with the problem ourselves, and thus have so much to offer them.

If they turn us down – which of course they would – who around the world could still feel bad for them, or muster any serious sympathy for them?

RD on August 21, 2008 at 12:50 AM

If they turn us down – which of course they would – who around the world could still feel bad for them, or muster any serious sympathy for them?
RD on August 21, 2008 at 12:50 AM

Are you suggesting the Russians might act UNILATERALLY?

I think we all know how the liberals would respond to that.

logis on August 21, 2008 at 8:17 AM