Michael Peck makes a really crucial observation at Business Insider:
Interestingly, Cavoli pointed to Ukraine’s surprising battlefield successes as evidence that “precision can beat mass.” But there’s a catch: It takes time for quality to beat quantity, and “that time is usually bought with space. To use this method, we need space to trade for time. Not all of us have that, and we have to compensate for this in our thinking, our planning.”
For Russia’s smaller neighbors that lack strategic depth — such as the Baltic States — that’s an admission that NATO may not have time to come to their rescue should Russia invade.
They must be prepared to defend themselves if only briefly. They can’t depend solely on the U. S. coming to the rescue. That pertains to Germany, too.
If they can’t defend themselves, we can’t defend them.
Of course if they build up their militaries Russia will declare that a provocation and you will be telling us why Russia is correct.
I disagree with the comment — ” they build up their militaries Russia will declare that a provocation”; at least with the general principle of small states neighbouring great powers.
Take Vietnam as an example. Its relations with China are complex, having fought a war 40 years ago. They have a respectable military and fiercely protect their bottom line, which is their independence. But they respect China’s bottom line which is that its neighbors stay neutral between it and any other great powers (i.e. US). In return China respects Vietnam’s bottom line despite its respectable military.
That was Finlands position with respect to the USSR throughout the Cold War.
You can’t wind back time — but a network of joint neutrality with Finland, Sweden, Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria could have led to a more secure outcome for everyone then the reality we have now.
That’s certainly what I thought was preferable to inviting them to join NATO. And, steve, the Soviet Union did not consider Finland’s posture a provocation. It might be different with Belarus and Ukraine but not the Baltics, Sweden, or Finland.
1) Unless my memory is gone I am pretty sure that a few of those small countries already are part of NATO so I dont see the point about talking about them as not part of NATO.
2) Ukraine was not part of NATO. By NATO’s own rules they couldn’t join. Russia invaded anyway. So the point about China and Viet Nam is not relevant.
3) I think Finland understands Russia better than we do. They are looking at Russian behavior and wanting to join NATO. Pretty clear that Finland does not believe that being neutral is safe.
“surprising battlefield successes” “precision can beat mass.”
DSJ, the unending delusions. Russia is only now, a year in, committing its army. The fighting has been mostly done by the mercenary Wagner Group and the Donbas militias, with abundant artillery, rocketry and logistical support from the RF. If anything, it is the Russians who have been using precision artillery and economy of force, and the Ukrainians who have been using mass formations. And that is why Ukrainian losses are ten times Russian losses.
In 1992, Ukraine’s population was about 38 million. Independence allowed several million, mostly young men, to move to the EU. The coup and now the war led several million more to flee the country, and 4 or 5 million live in the separatist oblasts. Ukraine’s population now is about 16 to 18 million, mostly elderly. Its lack of manpower, not obsolete NATO weapons is their main problem.
The 2014 US fomented and led a coup d’état, and installed a pro-NATO junta, removing Ukraine’s only democratically elected government. Moreover, all the rhetoric coming from Brussels, London, Washington, et al. was that Ukraine would eventually join NATO and the EU. Considering that the original agreement between Gorbachev and Bush I (which allowed the unification of Germany, and removed 500,000 Soviet troops) was that NATO would not expand beyond its 1990 borders, the Russians perceived a serious, immediate threat to its security.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has to got rank among the greatest failures of American and western European diplomacy in history. It still has the potential to spiral into WW III. And ignorant clowns like Cavoli and Peck will eventually destroy this country.