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Would America Go to War with Russia?

Would America Go to War with Russia?.

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March 22, 2014

Vice President Biden was in Warsaw last week to reassure our eastern NATO allies that they have the support of a “steadfast ally.” But if Russia moved against Poland or the Baltic States, would the United States really go to war? Or would we do nothing and effectively destroy the NATO alliance?

President Obama has ruled out a “military excursion” in Ukraine. America is not obligated legally to take action against Russia for annexing Crimea. We would not go to war if Russia mounted a large-scale invasion of Ukraine to restore the ousted, pro-Moscow government of Viktor Yanukovych, currently under U.S. sanctions. And we would not even send troops if Ukraine was partitioned, or absorbed by Russia. Americans have no interest in such a conflict, and no stomach for it.

NATO allies are a different matter. The North Atlantic Treaty is a mutual-defense pact, and Article 5 says that an armed attack against one member state “shall be considered an attack against them all.” This is a clear red line. The only time Article 5 has been invoked was in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and most NATO allies sent troops to support the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Could the current crisis expand to touch NATO? The developing situation in Ukraine has been compared to Germany’s absorption of Austria in 1938, or the subsequent partition and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Hillary Clinton compared Russian president Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, which by extension puts President Obama in the role of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who famously failed to achieve “peace in our time” at Munich.

Push the analogy further. The Second World War was sparked by Warsaw’s resistance to Berlin’s demand to annex the Polish Corridor, a small stretch of land—smaller than Crimea—separating the German provinces of Pomerania and East Prussia. Hitler responded by invading Poland and partitioning it with the Soviet Union. Britain and France had pledged to defend Polish independence, and two days after Germany invaded, they declared war. In his war message, Chamberlain explained that Hitler’s actions showed “there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.”

This may or may not describe Mr. Putin, as Mrs. Clinton alleged. But if similar circumstances arise in the near future, will the United States honor security guarantees made to Poland and the Baltic States when the Russian threat was only a theory?

Mr. Biden stood with Estonian president Toomas Ilves Tuesday to “reconfirm and reaffirm our shared commitment to collective self-defense, to Article 5.” He wanted to make it “absolutely clear what it means to the Estonian people” and that “President Obama and I view Article 5 of the NATO Treaty as an absolutely solemn commitment which we will honor—we will honor.” Shortly thereafter, Moscow “expressed concern” about the treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia. Mr. Putin justified his actions in Crimea as “restoring unity” to Russian people. Estonia’s population is 25 percent ethnic Russian, compared to 17 percent in Ukraine, mostly in the north and east part of the country. Suppose anti-Russian riots “spontaneously” broke out in Estonia. What would the United States do if Moscow invoked a “responsibility to protect” these people and bring them “back” to the Motherland? Would President Obama take military action against Russia over a small, secluded piece of a tiny, distant country? Would it be like the Polish Corridor in 1939? This is highly doubtful—highly doubtful.

Aren’t we obligated by treaty to intervene? Mr. Biden mentioned the “absolutely solemn commitment which we will honor.” It was so important he said it twice. However, Article 5 says that NATO members pledge to come to the assistance of the attacked state using “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.” It doesn’t take a White House lawyer to see the gaping loophole—President Obama can simply deem that the use of U.S. force isn’t necessary. He can walk back the red line, as he did with Syria. Stern talk and minimal sanctions would follow, but Estonia would lose some, if not all of its territory. And in practical terms it would mean the end of NATO, which is one of Moscow’s longstanding strategic objectives. Mr. Putin’s chess game does not end in Crimea.

James S. Robbins is Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC.

Ukraine Official Warns “Chance Of War With Russia Growing” As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Official Warns “Chance Of War With Russia Growing” As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

Concurrently with out post on what the odds are of a war between the US and Russia over Ukraine, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and war hawk, appeared on TV this morning saying that the United States ought to provide weapons to the Ukrainian army “so it could defend the country from a Russian invasion.” This is the same Mike Rogers who last August did everything in his power to perpetuate the lie that Syrians had used chemical weapons against “rebels” (who subsequently turned out to be mostly Qatari-funded Al Qaeda mercenaries and other Islamic extremists) “There are things that we can do that I think we’re not doing. I don’t think the rhetoric (from Obama administration officials) matches the reality on the ground,” he said.

Seemingly oblivious that all Russia desperately wants is further escalation in the conflict, which can then immediately be seen as a provocation for further incursions into either the Ukraine and/or other former Soviet counteries, Rogers said that, while ruling out the deployment of U.S. military forces in Ukraine, he called for sending small arms and radio equipment that the Ukrainian military could use to “protect and defend themselves. And I think that sends a very clear message.”

Absolutely it does: the message it sends is that US foreign policy has just hit rock bottom in terms of game theoretical escalation cluelessness. At least in Syria someone put some effort in fabricating YouTube videos and at least putting together a media campaign demonizing Assad. And still failed.

More from NBC:

Speaking from Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, a country that Russian forces invaded in 2008, Rogers said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the Ukrainians “passionately believe” that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will be on the move again in Ukraine, especially in the east.”

He said both Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence officials “believe that Putin is not done in Ukraine. It is very troubling. He has put all the military units he would need to move into Ukraine on its eastern border and is doing exercises.”

If Putin orders Russian forces into the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – which are NATO member states and which the United States is obligated by the NATO treaty to defend — then “we (will) have allowed people who want to be free, who want to be independent, who want to have self-determination, and we’ve turned our back and walked away from them.”

In an apparent allusion to the seizure of Czechoslovakia which was a prelude to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, Rogers added, “The world did that once – and it was a major catastrophe.”

The full clip:

And while US neocons are warmongering, Ukraine is all too happy to raise the tension level just a bit more, hoping that NATO will finally intervene and present Putin with at least some hurdle to overrunning all of East Ukraine, using exactly the same template as already show in Crimea. From WSJ:

Ukraine’s top diplomat warned Sunday that the chances of war with Russia “are growing” due to the buildup of Moscow’s forces along his country’s eastern border. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Kiev “is ready to respond” should Russia–which has already seized the Crimea–move further in Ukrainian territory.

The situation is becoming even more explosive than it was a week ago,” Mr. Deshchytsia said.

He said Ukraine’s first approach to the Russian threat on the frontier would be diplomatic. But, he said, “people are also ready to defend their homeland.”

Meanwhile, Putin is sitting back in his chair and smiling, since everything so far continues to unwind precisely according to his plan.

Ukraine Official Warns "Chance Of War With Russia Growing" As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Official Warns “Chance Of War With Russia Growing” As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine | Zero Hedge.

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Concurrently with out post on what the odds are of a war between the US and Russia over Ukraine, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and war hawk, appeared on TV this morning saying that the United States ought to provide weapons to the Ukrainian army “so it could defend the country from a Russian invasion.” This is the same Mike Rogers who last August did everything in his power to perpetuate the lie that Syrians had used chemical weapons against “rebels” (who subsequently turned out to be mostly Qatari-funded Al Qaeda mercenaries and other Islamic extremists) “There are things that we can do that I think we’re not doing. I don’t think the rhetoric (from Obama administration officials) matches the reality on the ground,” he said.

Seemingly oblivious that all Russia desperately wants is further escalation in the conflict, which can then immediately be seen as a provocation for further incursions into either the Ukraine and/or other former Soviet counteries, Rogers said that, while ruling out the deployment of U.S. military forces in Ukraine, he called for sending small arms and radio equipment that the Ukrainian military could use to “protect and defend themselves. And I think that sends a very clear message.”

Absolutely it does: the message it sends is that US foreign policy has just hit rock bottom in terms of game theoretical escalation cluelessness. At least in Syria someone put some effort in fabricating YouTube videos and at least putting together a media campaign demonizing Assad. And still failed.

More from NBC:

Speaking from Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, a country that Russian forces invaded in 2008, Rogers said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the Ukrainians “passionately believe” that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will be on the move again in Ukraine, especially in the east.”

He said both Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence officials “believe that Putin is not done in Ukraine. It is very troubling. He has put all the military units he would need to move into Ukraine on its eastern border and is doing exercises.”

If Putin orders Russian forces into the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – which are NATO member states and which the United States is obligated by the NATO treaty to defend — then “we (will) have allowed people who want to be free, who want to be independent, who want to have self-determination, and we’ve turned our back and walked away from them.”

In an apparent allusion to the seizure of Czechoslovakia which was a prelude to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, Rogers added, “The world did that once – and it was a major catastrophe.”

The full clip:

And while US neocons are warmongering, Ukraine is all too happy to raise the tension level just a bit more, hoping that NATO will finally intervene and present Putin with at least some hurdle to overrunning all of East Ukraine, using exactly the same template as already show in Crimea. From WSJ:

Ukraine’s top diplomat warned Sunday that the chances of war with Russia “are growing” due to the buildup of Moscow’s forces along his country’s eastern border. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Kiev “is ready to respond” should Russia–which has already seized the Crimea–move further in Ukrainian territory.

The situation is becoming even more explosive than it was a week ago,” Mr. Deshchytsia said.

He said Ukraine’s first approach to the Russian threat on the frontier would be diplomatic. But, he said, “people are also ready to defend their homeland.”

Meanwhile, Putin is sitting back in his chair and smiling, since everything so far continues to unwind precisely according to his plan.

Ukraine Prime Minister Says Crimea Conflict Has “Moved From Political To Military Stage” | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Prime Minister Says Crimea Conflict Has “Moved From Political To Military Stage” | Zero Hedge.

More headlines, more buying fuel for the algos, and apparently another step closer to all out war:

  • CONFLICT IN CRIMEA HAS MOVED FROM POLITICAL TO MILITARY STAGE – UKRAINIAN PM YATSENIUK
  • UKRAINIAN PM SAYS HAS ASKED DEFENCE MINISTER TO ORGANISE URGENT MEETING WITH RUSSIAN, BRITISH, U.S. COUNTERPARTS
  • UKRAINIAN PM: “TODAY RUSSIAN SOLDIERS BEGAN SHOOTING AT UKRAINIAN SERVICEMEN. THIS IS A WAR CRIME”

What, still reading? Run, run, run to your nearest Virtu colocated terminal and BTFWWWIIID already!

Ukraine Prime Minister Says Crimea Conflict Has "Moved From Political To Military Stage" | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Prime Minister Says Crimea Conflict Has “Moved From Political To Military Stage” | Zero Hedge.

More headlines, more buying fuel for the algos, and apparently another step closer to all out war:

  • CONFLICT IN CRIMEA HAS MOVED FROM POLITICAL TO MILITARY STAGE – UKRAINIAN PM YATSENIUK
  • UKRAINIAN PM SAYS HAS ASKED DEFENCE MINISTER TO ORGANISE URGENT MEETING WITH RUSSIAN, BRITISH, U.S. COUNTERPARTS
  • UKRAINIAN PM: “TODAY RUSSIAN SOLDIERS BEGAN SHOOTING AT UKRAINIAN SERVICEMEN. THIS IS A WAR CRIME”

What, still reading? Run, run, run to your nearest Virtu colocated terminal and BTFWWWIIID already!

Russian Forces Attack Simferopol Military Unit; 1 Injured, According To Reports | Zero Hedge

Russian Forces Attack Simferopol Military Unit; 1 Injured, According To Reports | Zero Hedge.

It seems, despite all the market’s belief that Putin would go quietly into the night once more, that the situation is escalating:

  • *GUNMEN STORM UKRAINE ARMY INSTALLATIONS IN CRIMEA: UKRAINE DEFMIN SELEZNYOV
  • *GUNMEN STORMING CRIMEA BUILDINGS SHOOTING IN AIR: SELEZNYOV
  • *UKRAINIAN OFFICER WOUNDED BY LIVE AMMUNITION, HAYDUK SAYS
  • *ATTACKS ON UKRAINIAN UNITS INCREASING: NAVY CHIEF HAYDUK

Of course, the big question now is how will Ukraine respond? Because attacking (and injuring) citizens sure seems like a red-line someone should not be crossing (although, as per the referendum, that region is now Russian).

#Crimean unit under attack is the photogrammetric center of the Chief Directorate of Operational Support of the Armed Forces of #Ukraine |PR

— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) March 18, 2014

BREAKING #Ukrainian military unit in #Simferopol under attack. #Russian snipers on the scene, one injured! -D.Tymchuk |PR News #Crimea

— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) March 18, 2014

Of course there is no confirmation that these are “Russian” troops per se but it is on the heels of news (via Slashdot) that:

this excerpt from The Examiner: “The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed March 16 the arrest of a group of Russians in the Zaporizhzhia (Zaporozhye) region of Ukraine. The men were armed with firearms, explosives and unspecified ‘special technical means’. This follows the March 14 arrest … of several Russians dressed black uniforms with no insignia, armed with AKS-74 assault rifles and in possession of numerous ID cards under various names. One of which was an ID card of Military Intelligence Directorate of the Russian armed forces; commonly known as ‘Spetsnaz’.

And the response by Ukraine has to be weighed based on this statement from the PM:

  • *UKRAINE WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEA ANNEXATION, TURCHYNOV SAYS
  • *UKRAINE SEEKS TO AVOID CRIMEA ESCALATION, HAYDUK SAYS
  • *RUSSIAN TROOPS BLOCKING 38 UKRAINE UNITS IN CRIMEA, HAYDUK SAYS

Russian Forces Attack Simferopol Military Unit; 1 Injured, According To Reports | Zero Hedge

Russian Forces Attack Simferopol Military Unit; 1 Injured, According To Reports | Zero Hedge.

It seems, despite all the market’s belief that Putin would go quietly into the night once more, that the situation is escalating:

  • *GUNMEN STORM UKRAINE ARMY INSTALLATIONS IN CRIMEA: UKRAINE DEFMIN SELEZNYOV
  • *GUNMEN STORMING CRIMEA BUILDINGS SHOOTING IN AIR: SELEZNYOV
  • *UKRAINIAN OFFICER WOUNDED BY LIVE AMMUNITION, HAYDUK SAYS
  • *ATTACKS ON UKRAINIAN UNITS INCREASING: NAVY CHIEF HAYDUK

Of course, the big question now is how will Ukraine respond? Because attacking (and injuring) citizens sure seems like a red-line someone should not be crossing (although, as per the referendum, that region is now Russian).

#Crimean unit under attack is the photogrammetric center of the Chief Directorate of Operational Support of the Armed Forces of #Ukraine |PR

— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) March 18, 2014

BREAKING #Ukrainian military unit in #Simferopol under attack. #Russian snipers on the scene, one injured! -D.Tymchuk |PR News #Crimea

— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) March 18, 2014

Of course there is no confirmation that these are “Russian” troops per se but it is on the heels of news (via Slashdot) that:

this excerpt from The Examiner: “The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed March 16 the arrest of a group of Russians in the Zaporizhzhia (Zaporozhye) region of Ukraine. The men were armed with firearms, explosives and unspecified ‘special technical means’. This follows the March 14 arrest … of several Russians dressed black uniforms with no insignia, armed with AKS-74 assault rifles and in possession of numerous ID cards under various names. One of which was an ID card of Military Intelligence Directorate of the Russian armed forces; commonly known as ‘Spetsnaz’.

And the response by Ukraine has to be weighed based on this statement from the PM:

  • *UKRAINE WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEA ANNEXATION, TURCHYNOV SAYS
  • *UKRAINE SEEKS TO AVOID CRIMEA ESCALATION, HAYDUK SAYS
  • *RUSSIAN TROOPS BLOCKING 38 UKRAINE UNITS IN CRIMEA, HAYDUK SAYS

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War

Paul Craig Roberts

Why is Washington so opposed to Crimean self-determination? The answer is that one of the main purposes of Washington’s coup in Kiev was to have the new puppet government evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base in Crimea. Washington cannot use the government Washington has installed in Ukraine for that purpose if Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine.

What Washington has made completely obvious is that “self-determination” is a weapon used by Washington in behalf of its agenda. If self-determination advances Washington’s agenda, Washington is for it. If self-determination does not advance Washington’s agenda, Washington is against it.

The Washington-initiated UN Security Council resolution, vetoed by Russia, falsely declares that the referendum in Crimea, a referendum demanded by the people, “can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”

Washington could not make it any clearer that Washington totally opposes self-determination by Crimeans.

Washington claims, falsely, that the referendum cannot be valid unless the entire population of Ukraine votes and agrees with the decision by Crimeans. Note that when Washington stole Kosovo from Serbia, Washington did not let Serbians vote.

But overlook Washington’s rank hypocrisy and self-serving double-standards. Let’s apply Washington’s argument that in order to be valid any change in Crimea’s status requires a vote on the part of the population of the country that it departs. If this is the case, then Crimea has never been a part of Ukraine.

Under Washington’ s interpretation of international law, Ukraine is still a part of Russia. When Khrushchev transferred Crimea (but not Sevastopol, the Black Sea base) to Ukraine, Russians did not get to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s own logic it is invalid to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine. That also goes for other parts of Russia that Lenin transferred to Ukraine. Under the logic of Washington’s UN resolution, large parts of Ukraine are not legitimately part of Ukraine. They have remained parts of Russia, because Russians were not allowed to vote on their transfer to Ukraine. Thus, there is no issue about “Russia annexing Crimea,” because, according to Washington’s logic, Crimea is still a part of Russia.

Do you need any more proof that the Ukrainian crisis is made up out of thin air by schemers in Washington who created the entire crisis for one purpose–to weaken Russia militarily?

No one was surprised that the New York Times published on March 14 the warmongering rant, written by neoconservatives for John McCain, which described Washington’s aggression in Ukraine as Russia’s aggression. The US government overthrows an elected democratic Ukrainian government and then accuses Russia of “invading and annexing Crimea” in order to divert attention from Washington’s overthrow of Ukrainian democracy. There is no elected government in Kiev. The stooges acting as a government in Kiev were put in office by Washington. Who else choose them?

What surprised some was Rand Paul joining the hysteria. Rand Paul wrote his propagandistic rant against Russia for Time. Rand Paul claims, falsely, that Putin has invaded Crimea and that it is an affront to “the international community.” First of all, the decision of Crimea to leave Ukraine is a decision of the Crimean population and the elected government, not a decision by Russia. But, for the sake of argument, let’s take Rand Paul’s lie as the truth: Is “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community” like Washington’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington-sponsored invasions of Libya and Syria, and Washington’s ongoing slaughter of Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones, and Washington’s violation of Iran’s sovereignty with illegal sanctions, and Washington’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by overthrowing the elected government and imposing Washington’s stooges?

If Putin is behaving as Rand Paul ignorantly asserts, Putin is just following the precedents established by Clinton in Serbia, by Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by Obama in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Washington’s argument is reduced to: “We, the exceptional and indispensable nation can behave this way, but no other country can.”

As some Americans have misplaced hopes in Rand Paul, it is just as well that he revealed in Time that he is just another fool prostituting himself for the neoconservative warmongers and the military/security complex. If Rand Paul is the hope for America, then clearly there is no hope.

As I have been pointing out, the propaganda and lies issuing from Washington, its European puppets, New York Times, Time, and the entirety of the Western media are repeating the path to war that led to World War 1. It is happening right before our eyes.

Where The Russian Troops Are – The Full “Pre-Takeover” Infographic | Zero Hedge

Where The Russian Troops Are – The Full “Pre-Takeover” Infographic | Zero Hedge.

As we reported yesterday, Crimea is last week’s story. Now it is all about east Ukraine. In that vein, moments ago John Kerry’s latest stand up comedy routine hit the tape which contained, besides the usual laugh lines, this particular pearl:

  • KERRY SAYS RUSSIA DOESN’T YET HAVE FORCES FOR UKRAINE TAKEOVER

Is that so? We provide this map showing the latest distribution of Russian military forces on the Ukraine borders so that readers can make up their own mind.

 

And here is another map compiled by Dmitry Tymchuk, a former Ukrainian military officer, who has established an organization, the Center of Military and Political Research on Kiev, to effectively collect and gather data about military-related facts.

Kerry concluded:

  • KERRY SAYS `CONTINGENCIES’ IF RUSSIA MOVED INTO EAST UKRAINE

We’ll know just what those are by Sunday night. The only question: will Referendum Sunday be the new Lehman Sunday…

h/t @BSpringnote

Where The Russian Troops Are – The Full "Pre-Takeover" Infographic | Zero Hedge

Where The Russian Troops Are – The Full “Pre-Takeover” Infographic | Zero Hedge.

As we reported yesterday, Crimea is last week’s story. Now it is all about east Ukraine. In that vein, moments ago John Kerry’s latest stand up comedy routine hit the tape which contained, besides the usual laugh lines, this particular pearl:

  • KERRY SAYS RUSSIA DOESN’T YET HAVE FORCES FOR UKRAINE TAKEOVER

Is that so? We provide this map showing the latest distribution of Russian military forces on the Ukraine borders so that readers can make up their own mind.

 

And here is another map compiled by Dmitry Tymchuk, a former Ukrainian military officer, who has established an organization, the Center of Military and Political Research on Kiev, to effectively collect and gather data about military-related facts.

Kerry concluded:

  • KERRY SAYS `CONTINGENCIES’ IF RUSSIA MOVED INTO EAST UKRAINE

We’ll know just what those are by Sunday night. The only question: will Referendum Sunday be the new Lehman Sunday…

h/t @BSpringnote

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