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'NATO-Russia Rapprochement'

VinceW

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They're restructuring their armed forces to be better at oppressing their neighbours.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/223698/page/1

Here's to hoping that this reorganization fails. :cheers:
 

SeanNewman

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tu95f18kv0.jpg
 

a_majoor

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Good luck on that:

The Russians are heading for a population crash, and the financial situation is not very good either. They will have a difficult time maintaining their position in the long run, but will certainly be dangerous until the 2020's.
 

George Wallace

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Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


'NATO-Russia Rapprochement Still Faces Big Hurdles'

11/22/2010
SPIEGEL ONLINE


LINK

Leaders have declared the agreement at the NATO summit in Lisbon on closer cooperation between the alliance and Russia to be "historic." But German commentators say it amounts to no more than a declaration of intent that still faces major obstacles both in Russia and the West, arguing that the praise being heaped on it is premature.

The Cold War was -- for the umpteenth time -- declared finally over after the Lisbon NATO summit on Friday and Saturday. Leaders of the Western military alliance and Russia agreed to cooperate on a missile shield for Europe to intercept long-range missiles that could be fired from the Middle East.


Leaders said the agreement reached between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the 28 NATO leaders, could be the beginning of a long-term strategic and security partnership.

"The fact that we are talking to Russia about common threats and the chance to cooperate with Russia on missile defense is an extremely important step," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "That could be proof that the Cold War has finally come to an end."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Medvedev said the former enemies had made a "historic" new start in relations that had been upset by Russia's military intervention in Georgia in 2008. They agreed to expand their cooperation on global security issues, including Afghanistan.

The summit also agreed on a timetable aimed at handing control of security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

German media commentators say the label "historic" is unwarranted because the summit resulted in little more than the expression of good intentions. NATO's rapprochement with Russia now needs to be put into practice with concrete progress on missile defence, nuclear arms reductions and cooperation in other areas, they say.

There are obstacles both within Russia's power structure and in the West to the rapprochement, editorialists write. Those need to be overcome before the Lisbon summit can truly be hailed as historic, they say.

SPIEGEL ONLINE correspondent Ralf Neukirch writes:

"NATO leaders gathered in Lisbon because the alliance's old concepts aren't sufficient any more for the new threats, such as terrorism, cyber attacks and Iran. What can a military alliance do against suicide bombers? At what point does an attack with a computer virus trigger a mutual defense response by NATO? NATO is an alliance of insecurity, and Lisbon demonstrated that. No issue makes that as clear as Afghanistan. The only thing that's clear is that the NATO members want to get out of this disastrous war as quickly as possible for domestic political reasons. The withdrawal is due to start in 2012 and due to be completed in 2014. That's the message of Lisbon."

"Such numbers games don't fit in with the political and military situation on the ground. The situation hasn't improved much. It is more than doubtful that the Afghan government will be able to guarantee stability in the future."

"It is similarly unclear what the alliance's relationship with Russia will look like in the future. It is a positive sign that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to Lisbon to reaffirm his desire to cooperate with the former enemy. But no one knows if the grand gesture will lead to an improved relationship. It is far too early to declare a new era in relations with the former arch-enemy, as some did in Lisbon."

"Moscow is still dreaming of dividing Europe and the US. The hardliners in the Russian leadership are thinking in terms of the Cold War. They want to safeguard Russia's influence on its immediate neighbors, and they continue to see NATO as a threat. Western diplomats are trying to assess the strength of the conservatives, who include Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. And it is totally unclear whether Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin supports Medvedev's policy."

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"At the start of his presidency, Medvedev demanded a new order for Europe. At the time, people thought Russia wanted to divide Western Europe and drive a wedge into its alliance with the US. A few crises later, the motives and interests have been clarified: Russia, the nations of Central and Western Europe and the US can only benefit if they end their anachronistic rivalry. The world has other problems."

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"NATO and Russia have enough common worries. Both should be able to remember that there is nothing that brings two sides together more than a common enemy."

"For the first time, former enemies want to join forces to shield themselves from a third party. Given the history of this relationship between two former enemies who used to threaten to destroy each other several times over, one can describe that development as 'historic.' But so far this new era only consists of declarations of intent that don't even correspond completely. The conditions that the Russian president is attaching to Russia's participation in the missile shield aren't to everyone's taste in NATO. If they aren't fulfilled, Russia will withdraw not only from this project but from the new era as a whole.

"But the new friendship also faces pitfalls in the West," the newspaper writes, adding that there is a chance that Republicans in the US may refuse to ratify the New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"It is all too understandable that NATO is celebrating its rapprochement with Russia as a historic success. After all, the alliance urgently needs a taste of success. Chancellor Angela Merkel even declared after the weekend NATO summit that the Cold War was 'finally over.' But there's not much substance behind the grand words. The rapprochement with Russia is an important first step, nothing more. There are too many question marks hanging over the new partnership that NATO and Russia are now declaring, not just regarding the longevity of Moscow's enthusiasm for it, but also NATO's own position.

"The biggest drawback is the unstable power base in Moscow. The rapprochement with NATO is being driven by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who was remarkably open and ready to talk in Lisbon -- the exact opposite of Vladimir Putin's Rambo-like performance at the previous NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008. But it is unclear how strong Medvedev really is, and how strong Russia's internal government opposition to a rapprochement is. A lot depends on that, and on the outcome of the presidential election in 2012.

"But the second big unknown is the US. President Barack Obama is weakened and can't be sure even of securing the next small step towards rapprochement: the ratification of the New Start disarmament treaty with Russia in the foreseeable future. If that doesn't work out, NATO's new closeness with Russia would suffer a severe setback.

"Historic progress in foreign policy often consists of small, hard-fought steps. But they are worth the trouble. If the cooperation with Moscow succeeds, it could serve as an example of how blocs that used to be enemies can settle their differences. That would really be historic."

The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes:

"The NATO summit in Lisbon is a further episode in the long line of celebrated 'historic events.' Unfortunately, everyday life always seems to catch up with the much-praised reconciliation between Russia and NATO. Whether that is NATO's wars in Yugoslavia or in Iraq, or Russia's invasion of Georgia, Cold War thinking has always returned to the fore. Nevertheless, the intention to analyze the problem of a European missile defense shield together is a success."

The business daily Handelsblatt writes:

"Whether it is the Germans, the Dutch or the French, the allies want to get out of Afghanistan. The withdrawal is now due to start as early as the middle of next year, and from 2012 for Germany. The timetable reveals the intention (behind the plans): The first Bundeswehr soldiers must start coming back before the 2013 German election. By end-2014 at the latest, the Afghans should be responsible for their own security. It is doubtful that the country will then finally come to peace. In the worst case, a failure in Afghanistan will reveal the limits of NATO's capabilities."

-- David Crossland

==========================================================

Covers the broad spectrum of German political views.
 

Haligonian

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I'm skeptical of any rapprochement with Russia. Historically their interests have not aligned with those of the west.  This is not to say that there are not area of agreement, however, in general I think it is very optimistic to believe that Russia will move within the western/US sphere of influence in the future within the near to mid term. Additionally, Russia is a great power and has no interest in being led by another power and desires the return of their satellite countries to their sphere of influence, as seen with the invasion of Georgia.
 

GAP

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Russia and China just agreed to trade agreements and used each country's currency as payment, rather than the US dollar, which was the standard.....

The West may be being played a little bit here.....
 

a_majoor

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This thread seemed the best place to put this:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110228/wl_csm/366331

With Russia's $650 billion rearmament plan, the bear sharpens its teeth
By Fred Weir Fred Weir Mon Feb 28, 4:22 pm ET

Moscow – The graying bear is getting a make-over. Russia's military is launching its biggest rearmament effort since Soviet times, including a $650 billion program to procure 1,000 new helicopters, 600 combat planes, 100 warships, and 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

Analysts say Russia, while already the world's fifth-largest military spender, needs strong conventional forces to reduce its overreliance on its aging Soviet-era nuclear missile deterrent. Valentin Rudenko, director of the independent Interfax-Military News Agency, says it could create "a whole new ballgame."

"For about two decades we've had no real modernization, at least not like what's being proposed now," he says. "Russia will finally have a modern, top-level armed forces that are capable of protecting the country."

Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin last week announced the unprecedented new outlays, which will see a massive re-equipping of Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent as well as its conventional forces. The Defense Ministry today said the "modernization drive" will begin this year with the deployment of new generations of air defense and antimissile weapons by Russian ground forces.

The impressive shopping spree comes on the heels of a painful military reform that severely downsized Russia's conscript Army, eliminating 9 out of 10 Soviet-era units and cutting 200,000 officers. The goal now, experts say, is to equip Russia's new lean-and-mean, largely professional armed forces to face 21st-century threats. These are mainly considered to be regional conflicts such as the brief 2008 Russo-Georgian war, which highlighted military shortcomings.

Skepticism over spending

Much of the new spending will go toward revamping Russia's naval forces, which are slated to receive new submarines, 35 naval corvettes, 15 frigates, and 4 Mistral-type helicopter-transporting amphibious assault ships. Two of the $750 million Mistrals will be purchased from France, and two are to be constructed in Russian shipyards.

Some experts are deeply skeptical of the expenditures – especially the expensive purchase of Mistral helicopter carriers, which are designed to project power around the globe rather than fight the defensive and local wars that Russian military doctrine declares as the country's main priority.

"It's hard to see what our Navy needs these Mistral money pits for," says Viktor Baranets, a former defense ministry spokesman who's now military correspondent for the Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. He says they may be prestigious, "but they require a huge amount of protection. At any time, half the Russian Navy may be employed just escorting these ships around the world."

The new submarines will be designed to deploy a brand-new long-range nuclear missile, the Bulava, which has failed half of its flight tests so far. "Defense ministers can make promises, but no designer or engineer can promise that the Bulava will be operational in time," says Mr. Baranets.

Uncertainty over new stealth fighter

Experts point out that most of the new weaponry to be procured is actually based on old, Soviet-era designs, including the Mi-28 helicopter gunship, the Mi-26 transport helicopter, and the Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter plane.

"These are all designs from the late Soviet period, and not really new at all," says Alexander Golts, military expert with the online newsmagazine Yezhednevny Zhurnal. "The lack of fresh designs shows the underlying weakness of our military-industrial complex."

The only truly new weapons being rolled out, says Mr. Golts, are the trouble-plagued Bulava missile and the much-hyped "fifth-generation" fighter plane that Russia is reportedly developing with India.

"We don't know enough about this Russian fifth-generation fighter to tell whether it is the real thing" – a futuristic stealth fighter comparable to the US Air Force's F-22 and F-35 warplanes – "or if it's just a jumped-up version of something old," says Golts.

Critics say that despite the huge sums of money slated to be injected into the rearmament program, it is far short of the amounts needed to revive Russia's moribund military-industrial complex, which has lost the vast network of subcontractors that existed in Soviet times.

"This is not the first time the Kremlin has talked about military modernization," says Golts. "But all previous programs have failed."

 

a_majoor

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Eastern Europe takes steps:

http://canadiancincinnatus.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/05/a-wonderful-thing-is-happening-in-eastern-europe.html

A wonderful thing is happening in Eastern Europe

This according to Stratfor:

“At a Thursday meeting, the defense ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) - a loose regional grouping of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - decided to create a battle group. The decision is significant but expected. It's significant because it shows that the V4 states are willing to upgrade their loose alliance to the security and military level. It's expected because STRATFOR has long forecast that they would be forced to take security matters into their own hands by NATO's lack of focus on the singular issue that concerns them: Russian resurgence in the post-Soviet sphere.”

This echoes some advice I gave for Eastern Europe last February on these pages:

“What the Eastern European countries need to do is to develop a rapid reaction force –within the context of NATO – for the express purpose of repelling a Russian invasion. Don’t involve the Obama-led US or the effete Western Europeans in this. They are too vacillating. To cut Russian bullying off at the pass, the real purpose of this force should be stated explicitly right away and large-scale joint maneuvers held as soon as possible afterwards. In this way they will tell the Russians by words and actions that they will hang together. The Russians will scream provocation and hurl gigantic threats at them, but let them. The Russians always try to get their way with the West by bluff and bluster.

Could such a force hold off the Russian army? I don’t know if they could win, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that by fighting together as a unified force they would turn any Putinist invasion into a big Charlie Foxtrot.

How do I know this? Simple. Examine the performance of the Russian Army in South Ossettia in the summer of 2008. The invasion of this small, postage stamp sized plot of land containing a mere 50,000 souls, with a pro-Russian puppet government already installed, had a tragicomic air about it reminiscent of Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. Shortly afterwards Georgian TV interviewed a Russian soldier who deserted because he hadn’t eaten in 5 days. The interview was conducted at a MacDonald’s. Russian logistics are that bad. Additionally, every single volunteer unit in the Russian Army was required to achieve what little they did. Keep in mind that these are the only units in the Russian Army competent enough to execute complicated maneuvers such as an invasion. The bulk of the Russian Army is conscripted. These troops are almost completely ineffective.”

It’s nice to see events prove me right. Of course, I am not saying these things are happening because of anything I wrote, but rather, the Eastern European governments simply came to the same conclusion that I did: that the Good Lord only helps those who help themselves. It’s best not to rely entirely on the goodwill of the US, as Obama’s election has amply demonstrated.

The DIY spirit in the East also shows that the pundits who denounce NATO as a worn-out organization with no mission are completely off the mark. They make the same mistake many columnists do when comment on events in Europe. They underestimate the increasing importance of Eastern Europe in Europe. Whether they are predicting the dawn of Eurabia, as Mark Steyn does regularly, or just issuing generic criticisms of Euro-weenie-ism, commentators usually fail to draw a distinction between Eastern and Western Europe. Much disapprobation that is valid for Western Europe is completely off the mark for the East. In Eastern Europe, the economies are far more open and dynamic, the local population more self-reliant, political correctness dismissed as Soviet propaganda-lite and the fin de siecle decadence of the EU ruling class is as widely scorned there as it is in a Mark Steyn column.

Eastern Europe is currently discounted because they are still the junior partners in Europe. But as their position relative to the decadent West changes, so will the world’s appraisal of them.

P.S. To confirm the point I made last year about the decrepit state of Russian army logistics, here is a recent news item about how Russian soldiers are fed dog food.
 

Flanker

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Thucydides said:
Good luck on that:

The Russians are heading for a population crash, and the financial situation is not very good either

It seems that your need to refresh some numbers.

Public debt, % of GDP:
Russia - 9.5
US - 100

GDP growth, %:
Russia - 4.9%
US - 1.3%

As for demographics it is also improving drastically.
 

Journeyman

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Flanker said:
Quote from: Thucydides on November 24, 2009, 16:24:42
It seems that your need to refresh some numbers.
Seriously?

Even after a quick skim of your six pages of 'insightful posts'.....did it really take you 21 MONTHS to cobble together that depth of an "oh...oh YA?!" response? 

      ::)
 

Nauticus

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Journeyman said:
It seems that your need to refresh some numbers.Seriously?

Even after a quick skim of your six pages of 'insightful posts'.....did it really take you 21 MONTHS to cobble together that depth of an "oh...oh YA?!" response? 

      ::)
If the numbers are accurate, then it's a perfectly legitimate response. Everyone hates it when people start new threads anyway, so I really don't understand your problem.
 
A

aesop081

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Nauticus said:
If the numbers are accurate,

Accurate or not, Flanker responded to something almost 2 years old with "you might want to refresh your numbers...."

Because we all know, international situations never change.........certainly not in 2 years.

So, yeah, an intelligent and timely response.
 

Journeyman

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Nauticus said:
..... so I really don't understand your problem.
Further to the comments of CDN Aviator, critiquing a two-year old post with unattributed statistics (you know, that whole "lies, damn lies, and statistics" thing) provides absolutely no value to this site.
 

vonGarvin

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dm10_forgotten_by_capitalism_slide_1.jpg

They seem to be increasing their medal count.  I think we're doomed!



;D
 

Flanker

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Journeyman said:
It seems that your need to refresh some numbers.Seriously?

Even after a quick skim of your six pages of 'insightful posts'.....did it really take you 21 MONTHS to cobble together that depth of an "oh...oh YA?!" response? 

      ::)

As you might notice during your "skimming" that is my first visit since 2009.
Did you?

If your prefer to start personal attacks that is your choice.
Does it mean that you have no objections to the numbers I posted?
I think it does.





 

Flanker

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Technoviking said:
dm10_forgotten_by_capitalism_slide_1.jpg

They seem to be increasing their medal count.  I think we're doomed!
;D

Not very respectful post to the WWII veterans, which were your allies by the way.
I am surprised to see such an attitude at the army forum.
 

PuckChaser

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Do you have anything informative to say, or are you here to just blindly back up Russia?
 

vonGarvin

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Flanker said:
Not very respectful post to the WWII veterans, which were your allies by the way.
I am surprised to see such an attitude at the army forum.
I am more than aware of the fact that the USSR defeated the Germans in that war, and I'm also aware of the fact that the USSR was an ally of convenience, and that from 1939 to 1941 they were allies, of sorts, with the Germans.  And I also remember that the focus of NATO was originally to prevent that same USSR from "liberating" western Europe from the USA. 

I also remember that I have a sense of humour.  Perhaps you could try not to take things so seriously?
 

Flanker

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PuckChaser said:
Do you have anything informative to say, or are you here to just blindly back up Russia?
Sir,
My informative post about economics numbers is just above.
In response I received some irrelevant comments and personal attacks
I hope you will ask their authors the same question.
 

Flanker

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Technoviking said:
I am more than aware of the fact that the USSR defeated the Germans in that war, and I'm also aware of the fact that the USSR was an ally of convenience, and that from 1939 to 1941 they were allies, of sorts, with the Germans.

Will you remember other facts like Munich of 1938 or GM being very supportive of Hitler's war machine.
Anyways, there are jokes that can be very ambiguous.
Hope you understand it.
 
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