- Aug 16, 2007
- Reaction score
Strawman much, Keith? Seriously. I've mentioned Article 5 any number of times. If you don't know what that is, I'll tell you. It's the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty we've been party to since 1949. It's the part that declares an attack on one to be an attack on all. It's only been invoked once in history: by the US, after the 9/11 attacks. In the entire Cold War, we never invoked Article 5. Not during the construction of the Berlin Wall. Not during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not during Vietnam. That's how rare it's been and how reluctant we've been to invoke it, and how reluctant the Soviets/Russians have been to trigger it.How far you willing to take this?
Next up, he tells NATO to surrender the Baltics and Poland (the country on a path to surpass Germany as the regional power) and threatens nuclear war. Should we just walk way from them too?
Legitimizing nuclear blackmail is a hell of an idea. And probably a recipe for both nuclear proliferation and the end of democracy as we know it.
I say treat this exactly like any proxy Cold War fight. If Putin wants he can try and interdict supply lines at the Polish and Romanian borders.
Nevertheless, it's there. It's our red line, plainly stated. And like it or not, Ukraine is on the other side of the red line. The Baltics are not. It's one thing for Ivan Lunchpail to mouth off about the Baltics in the street. Big deal. It's another altogether for the Russians to line up an invasion force along those borders, and another still altogether to roll it across that line. That, too, is World War III. We knew it when I was a kid (although the line was considerably further west at the time), and we know it now. And for all the bluster, so does every Kremlin general, intelligence operative, and apparatchik. They all know what it means. That's where we have to make our stand, and be credible on it. If we have Ukraine on the other side of it, and we stick to that (as we have), the Russians will notice that. Frankly, I've been surprised how measured their response to our sanctions and weapons transfers have actually been. And if we say, as we have repeatedly, that we won't surrender a single inch of NATO's territory, they'll notice that too. We've been consistent on the first point. We need to be consistent on the second.
Maybe you didn't notice... maybe you're new to this... but the entire world lives (and potentially dies) under "nuclear blackmail", and it has for 70 years. It's largely what's kept the peace since my grandfather came home from Europe in WWII, or not long afterwards. I grew up under that explicit threat. Frankly, so did you, but if you're young enough, you probably weren't aware of it. Anyone who came to political consciousness after the Berlin Wall fell really doesn't have that gut understanding of it that people older than that have. The difference is that this is the first time in a very long time that any of the real nuclear powers (rather than the regional ones) has stated out loud that it considers their use an option. This is not an ordinary proxy war off someplace no one cares much about. It's not Afghanistan or Syria or Libya. It's in the heart of Europe, bumping up against NATO's actual borders. These are the highest chips either side has in the game. Ukraine is a place many if not most Russians consider to be an historic part of their own country, whether we like it or not, and people behave a certain way about things they don't simply covet, but sincerely believe are already theirs. Treating this as just another conflict out there someplace would be a big mistake. We haven't seen anything quite like this in a very long time. If ever. This is something new, and it's something very dangerous with the potential to go very wrong very fast.
We have only one sensible course, and it's the one we've been pursuing. 1) Limit our engagement to aiding Ukraine to defend itself, without getting involved ourselves. Like it or not, Ukraine needs to be a buffer between the West and Russia. I'm sorry for them, but that's the reality of it. Direct conflict between Russia and the West has never happened, and it needs to stay that way, no matter what. 2) Our economic might is the greatest weapon we can actually wield in this struggle, by far. There are things in the modern world that no one else but us can do for Russia, not even China, and if we hang together and do deny those things to the Russians, quietly and persistently, we can hamper Russia's ability to advance in Ukraine and dissuade or make actually impossible any real attempt on any other front. Russia has no real way to counter this, other than going to outright war with us. So far, they've been smart enough not to do that, and God help us all if they do. But other than that, they simply cannot prevail over us. We can only defeat ourselves by not sticking together and speaking with one voice.