Some much-needed perspective on the Ukraine situation

Despite all the panic in the media the past couple of weeks — and I confess I fell for some of the worry — the great Soviet Bear is not emerging.

In fact, the Bear is nothing but a cub. (Shocking, I know.)

And if you don’t believe me, spend just a few minutes reading this article, which includes maps and much needed perspective.

Losing our marbles as Putin loses at chess: The cold war is over.

Here are a couple of gems from the article:

[ ] “A little over two decades ago, the Soviet Union was nestled behind a row of pawns that extended into the heart of Europe. It held sway over dozens of client states throughout the world. Today, NATO and the EU extend to the very border of Russia itself. To wit, Poland (a former Warsaw Pact state on the border of the Soviet Union) and the Baltic states (former Soviet republics) are all members of the EU and NATO and have invited U.S. F-15s and F-16s to augment their defenses in response to the crisis.”

[ ] “Putin aspires to a new Cold War and the restored power and prestige that that would imply. Russia, however, is now a shadow of the Soviet Union, contained at the far end of Europe.  … Despite the histrionics from American politicians and European security wonks, Russia is as far from domination of Europe as it ever has been.”

Believe me, take a couple of minutes to read the article. It will lower your blood pressure, guaranteed.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

5 Comments

Filed under National security

5 responses to “Some much-needed perspective on the Ukraine situation

  1. Jim Stelling

    May I respectfully disagree with Peter J. Munson?
    I have met and heard from so called experts on the Middle East who were also Marine Officers. Being a retired Marine myself, I feel qualified to disagree.
    Those countries that were formally in the Soviet Union and are now in NATO still have no way to defend themselves. Their militaries are non-exsistant or too untrained to be capable of anything. Germany, France and Spain will do nothing if Putin decides to take those countries over, a little at a time. Our current treaties have taken all of their nuclear capabilities away and the allies are too in debt to defend themselves let alone anyone else. The Netherlands is the only country besides the British who really help in our current conflicts.
    Russia will surely move slowly but move, they will. And why not? They are still great friends with communist China and China has built their ground, air and naval forces to rival the best in the world. We and our allies have no way to stop them short of nuclear weapons and our current president has already said that our enemies would have to make the first strike before we respond. Our own presidential combat rules of war has limited us to be a nothing in true warfare.
    Reasons to go to war are if our borders are threatened or those of our allies and also includes if someone wants by some means to destroy our economy. Our economy is destroyed as we have seen during the last decade. Peter talks about leadership. I haven’t seen any leadership any where since Marge Thatcher and Reagan left office.
    Peace through talking–The Japanese delegation was here talking peace when they bombed Pearl Harbor. The Russians wanted to talk peace with Reagan and gave him demands before he walked out on them.
    Dictators do not want peace, they want power and will do anything to get it.
    Kruchev finaly admitted the reason they backed down during the Cuban Crisis was not because of deals made by Bobby Kennedy but because he realized the US was ready to drop nucs on him.
    You build peace by means of a great military.

  2. Jim Stelling

    I might also add that Peter says we are playing marbles and Putin is playing a much harder game of chess. We have lost our marbles and we are unqualified to play chess.

    • 1st Sgt,

      Great to hear from you, as always! I’m not sure if Mr. Munson will weigh in or not, but I obviously agree with his article or I wouldn’t have posted it. : ) And while I doubt I can match the eloquence or level of logic of Mr. Munson, that’s never deterred me in the past from talking above my paygrade! (Part of the reason you made 1st Sgt and I decided I better bail at 4!)

      You made quite a few points, so it would be tough — well, too time-consuming, frankly — to address them all, so I’ll just hit a few of the highlights.

      First, I think you vastly underestimate NATO. While I’m not sure where NATO’s red line is, if you will, I’m confident that it would step up if a member country is attacked. (Probably before that, even.) And while it’s easy to say, “Well, these countries are soft and spoiled now and won’t fight,” I think history says otherwise. People said the same thing about America and then 9/11 happened and we’ve had young men and women standing in line to serve ever since, and they’ve served bravely and ably. (Many doing four and five tours or more.) And these were the same men and women that people called spoil and soft just weeks prior.

      Second, let’s talk China. I think you give them too much credit regarding the ground, air, and naval forces that “rival” the world. This is a country that can’t field a workable carrier (http://thediplomat.com/2014/01/why-to-ignore-chinas-aircraft-carriers/) and it would be completely against their interest to go to war with us. Their economy is hooked on American shoppers just the same as our country is hooked on Middle Eastern oil. (It’s a bad combination that at some point they’ll need to wean themselves from if they truly ever intend to fight us. Plus, they might want to think about getting their $1.2 trillion they’ve lent us before getting too froggy.)

      But to wrap up my comments with just an easy graph that puts thing into perspective, go take a look at this chart below. (I spent too long trying to find a troop strength for NATO, but struck out, and I didn’t feel like adding up all the country’s military numbers. Actually, I considered it, but then got to thinking, “Do you add Australia? How about India?” And so it’s too complicated to easily figure.)

      But this chart puts everything in perspective: Top 15 military budgets in the world
      https://www.iiss.org/-/media/Images/Publications/The%20Military%20Balance/MilBal%202014/MB2014-Top-15-Defence-budgets-NEW.gif

      I think if you add America with several other countries on this chart, and then put Russian AND China together, you’ll still see we should be sitting pretty nice.

      S/F, 1st Sgt. And please don’t thrash me too bad. Regardless of whether we come to agreement on this or not, I’d still grab a rifle and fall in with you at a moment’s notice!

      Stan

  3. Military budgets are indicative of a nation’s willingness to spend money on its military but not an indication of its willingness to use it. Putin is playing the same game Hitler played in the thirties: picking off his weaker neighbors while the stronger nations in the neighborhood cluck their tongues and wag their fingers. Does anybody think Obama will commit American troops to defend Estonia? Treaty or no treaty? Maybe he’ll draw one of his famous red lines again. Thats worked real well so far.

    • You make a good point, David. I’m hoping we don’t have to find out! (But I wonder but what Europe/NATO isn’t scared enough that they might not just step up and decide they have had enough.)

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