Tuesday, February 07, 2023

We'll see, maybe.

Branko Marcetic, "Diplomatic Cables Prove Top U.S. Officials Knew They Were Crossing Russia’s Red Lines on NATO Expansion"
Commentators have rushed to declare the long-criticized policy of NATO expansion as irrelevant to the war’s outbreak, or as a mere fig leaf used by Russian President Vladimir Putin to mask what former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently called “his messianic mission” to “reestablish the Russian Empire,” in a Washington Post opinion piece. Fiona Hill, a presidential adviser to two Republican administrations, has deemed these views merely the product of a “Russian information war and psychological operation,” resulting in “masses of the U.S. public… blaming NATO, or blaming the U.S. for this outcome.”

Yet a review of the public record and dozens of diplomatic cables made publicly available via WikiLeaks show that U.S. officials were aware, or were directly told over the span of years that expanding NATO was viewed by Russian officials well beyond Putin as a major threat and provocation; that expanding it to Ukraine was a particularly bright red line for Moscow; that such action would inflame and empower hawkish, nationalist parts of the Russian political spectrum; and that it could ultimately lead to war.

In a particularly prophetic set of warnings, U.S. officials were told that pushing for Ukrainian membership in NATO would not only increase the chance of Russian meddling in the country but also risked destabilizing the divided nation—and that the United States and other NATO officials pressured Ukrainian leaders to reshape this unfriendly public opinion in response. All of this was told to U.S. officials in both public and private by not just senior Russian officials going all the way up to the presidency, but by NATO allies, various analysts and experts, liberal Russian voices critical of Putin, and even, sometimes, U.S. diplomats themselves.

3:00:33."So they blocked it?"
"Basically, yes. And I thought they were wrong" 

Bennett states clearly that he was only the mediator. He didn't take a side. If the West didn't want the deal—he's careful to describe it as being unwilling to accepting the risk—it was their choice. He may try to walk it back but he said it.

A few minutes in Bennett goes off on on a tangent, but then comes back to the main points. Stay with it.

From Naftali Bennett to Christopher Caldwell. It's almost funny
Caldwell in the Times, "Russia and Ukraine Have Incentives to Negotiate. The U.S. Has Other Plans."
In an age of smart devices, robotics and remote control, the United States’ involvement in the war has always been greater than it appeared. The computer-guided rocket artillery that Ukraine has received from the United States may seem analogous to the horses and rifles that a government might have sent to back an insurgency in the old days. They look at first like traditional weapons, albeit advanced ones.

But there is an important difference. Most of the new weapons’ destructive power comes from their being bound into an American information network, a package of services that keeps working independently of the warrior and will not be fully shared with the warrior. So the United States is participating in these military operations at the moment they happen. It is fighting.

Last spring, Ukraine shocked the Russian navy by using American targeting information to sink the Moskva, a Black Sea missile cruiser. Only months into the war did Russians face up to the fact that officers using their personal cellphones were regularly getting blown up. This past New Year’s Eve, a dormitory full of fresh Russian army recruits in the city of Makiivka was hit by missiles at the crack of midnight, presumably just as the young men were calling their friends and loved ones to wish them the joys of the coming year. The attack killed 89, according to Russian authorities — more than 300, according to the British Ministry of defense, which accused Russian authorities of “deliberate lying” about the attack to minimize their losses.

After such episodes, Russia’s leaders are unlikely to feel that the resistance they are meeting comes from Ukraine. The role of the United States is considerably more active than merely responding to Ukrainian “requests” for this or that. Having itself designed the weaponry in most cases, the United States may have a better sense of which tech solutions are appropriate to local battlefield challenges.

Abrams tanks require experienced technicians for training and repair. Will these technicians be brought onto the battlefield from the United States? Then we will have a situation analogous to the introduction of “advisers” into Vietnam in the early 1960s. “This is not an offensive threat to Russia,” President Biden said of the Abrams tank shipments last month. He’s entitled to his opinion, but it is probably not shared by the Russian leadership.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.