Europe facts of the day

“At least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia,” the Pew Research Center said it found in its survey, which is based on interviews in 10 nations.

There is more here, and so every great moderation must come to an end…

This is also of note:

According to the study, residents of most NATO countries still believe that the United States would come to their defense.

Meanwhile:

Eighty-eight percent of Russians said they had confidence in Mr. Putin to do the right thing on international affairs…

Solve for the equilibrium, as they like to say.  It is much easier to stabilize a conservative power (e.g., the USSR) than a revisionist power (Putin’s Russia).

It is also worth thinking about how this entire state of affairs has come to pass.

Comments

Indeed, the doctrine of collective defense has been jettisoned in favor of the doctrine of it's not our problem as long as the US military bases are on our territory and/or we're far from the front line. In other words we're back to 1930s-style defense of democracy in Europe.

How we got here.

It's very hard maintaining popular support for a collective defense system among one huge power and lots of smaller powers. It's inevitable that the latter will both resent and take for granted the former's protection.

Bush did a lot to alienate Europeans and degrade US credibility. By the time Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, he was so bewildered by this world he couldn't think of anything better to do than let the French handle it. Putin was confirmed in his belief that being a vicious liar brings rewards.

Then came Obama who seems to think this is a good crisis to use to teach the Europeans to lead themselves. Which they naturally understand to mean that the US won't act. And since they obviously are nowhere near prepared to confront Russia without US leadership, the result is what you see: pressuring Ukraine to capitulate. The only people really doing anything to slow the Russian advance are the Texas and North Dakota frackers and the Ukrainians themselves.

“”””By the time Russia invaded Georgia in 2008”””

By the time Georgia invaded South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers in 2008

After those "peacekeepers" and their South Ossetian proxies shelled Georgia and killed Georgian civilians.

The peacekeepers did not have artillery. And the Georgians did and were using them to bombard both the peacekeepers and Ossetian civilians

The Georgians tried to ethnically cleanse the Ossetians by driving them through the tunnel to North Ossetia. That is why the Georigans never attacked the tunnel to North Ossetia, they were trying to push the Ossetians out.

Independent investigations have found that there were not just peacekeepers there. Mercenaries and regular Russian troops were present. Sound familiar?

In any case, Saakashvili did something stupid by allowing himself to be baited into an escalation. The Russian response was not even close to commensurate with what was needed to defend the "peacekeepers," as designed. Russia subsequently permitted ethnic cleansing of Georgian villages by South Ossetians. Some kind of peacekeeping. Oops.

Well, maybe don't fuck with Russia next time. This doesn't have to be complicated.

Country can not invade its own territory.

Who sez Abhazia or South Ossetia were Georgian territory? Not the Abhazians or the South Ossetians!

The same rules that said that Chechnya was Russian territory in 1999. No one in Russia says that Russia invaded Chechnya in 1999.

Chechna is like Gaza: toxic to its surroundings (and itself) if left unoccupied, but quite costly to hold. And, in any case, Russia did invade Chechna because it was an anarchic terrorist haven, not because it was justly part of Russia in any sense.

Good to see that E. Harding thinks at least Russians can fight a War on "Terror." I guess it's not such a nebulous concept when a country he's sympathetic too is conducting it.

And Georgia considered South Ossetia a haven for Russian military "peace keepers" with no internarional sanction. One mans peacekeeper is another man's threat to national soverignty. And it wasnt "terrorism" (which Russia but not the USA can legitimately fight a war against) that motivated the first Checyn War. That was pure Russian empire maitenence.

Russia attacked Chechnya to thwart independence attempts and restore Russian rule over this territory because Russia considered Chechnya as a integral part of Russian Federation.

Chechna is like Gaza:

No, it's not. Chechenya is a small country populated with a discrete ethnic group, graced with real manufacturing and service centers in 1990. It has a population in the hundreds of thousands 90 years ago. Gaza was in 1946 a modest service center with a population of about 28,000. It is as we speak a ghastly welfare dump with a seven-digit population run by some mob bosses whose favorite activity is to leech off UNRWA aid and divert it to the task of building underground tunnels and hitting Israeli towns with stupid rocket attacks;.

Chechna? An integral part of Russia? Don't make me laugh. My parallel with Gaza is perfectly apt here, except that Russia, being the most populated country in Europe, can easily absorb the Chechen population within its borders. A typical Chechen has as much in common with a typical ethnic Russian as a typical Israeli has in common with a typical Gazan.

Also, I don't oppose wars on terror per se. The Mali intervention and the Iraqi surge were both largely successful examples of it (though the latter was quite costly).

You guys seem to be a mix of Russians and those who are easily fooled by them. The war started when Putin sent in a large column of tanks far in excess of what the old UN treaty allowed Russia to bring in as "peacekeepers". An outnumbered Georgian group met the column at the Georgian border in the Roki tunnel and fighting broke out there. Russian TV then ran faked news reports about alleged Georgian shelling of the main South Ossetian town and claimed the column of Russian tanks were sent to rescue the town, when in fact they were inside Georgia before the faked shelling was alleged to have occurred. If you're paying any attention at all to how Russia is covering Putin's invasion of east Ukraine, you'll know their doing similar fake news on a daily basis. And if you were watching early on, many of the western media were falling for them. They still fall for some faked news, such as the trenches Russia claimed to be digging all along the Ukraine border to keep arms from flowing into Russia.

By the way, what the Russian "peacekeepers" really did was employ, direct, arm and provide back-up to ostensibly independent South Ossetian paramilitaries on a campaign of nightly harassment of ethnic Georgian villages, which were located within the area that Russian and Georgian peacekeepers were supposed to control. The region before the invasion was an ethnic checkerboard. I reported on the conflict for the FT as it was heating up in 2004-2005, and spent a few nights out there. The paramilitaries would harass the Georgian villages with machine gun fire all night long. There was an alleged shelling of an Ossetian school just before I was there, which the OSCE investigated and concluded was faked - I obtained a copy of the internal report. I eyewitnessed the Russian "peacekeepers" delivering boxes of bullets to the South Ossetians right to their foxholes. In the 2008 invasion the Georgian villages where I stayed were ethnically cleansed.

This has been building for a long time, and by repeatedly folding as Putin raises the stakes, the US is just making the problem worse and worse.

Tom,
Thanks for your reporting for the FT and account here.
"If you’re paying any attention at all to how Russia is covering Putin’s invasion of east Ukraine, you’ll know their doing similar fake news on a daily basis"
-The camera footage and the intended message are, indeed, often quite divergent.

Yes, Russians consider Chechnya as an integral part of Russian Federation. That's the reason why they were fighting Chechens twice when Chechens wanted to break free.

And Zionists consider Gaza an integral part of Israel. Equally unfalsifiable.

And Zionists consider Gaza an integral part of Israel.

Israel never annexed Gaza and unilaterally withdrew its settlements and troops ten years ago.

Contemporary history is difficult for you, no?

"Israel never annexed Gaza"

-Just like it never annexed East Jerusalem.

It did annex the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the Old City. It applied civil law to the Golan Heights, but did not formally annex them. The remaining territories were in an unresolved status with a military administration.

You are seriously confused.

So, how's it going in Internet Research? Still got you on 12-hour shifts?

Shut up.

Post-Obama if you say Europeans think "US won’t act" then how does that agree with the findings of the poll above that "residents of most NATO countries still believe that the United States would come to their defense"?

I guess it depends how you define "Europeans".

No true European believes the US will act.

......and now we must define a "true European" :)

True European= any who bases their argument on petitio precipii. See True Scotsman

You're mixing up very different questions: will the US do anything to stop Russia, and would the US defend them. If you polled Germans, French and Italians what would the US do in an attack on a) the Baltics, and b) their own country, they would give totally different answers. Germany and Italy are in the heart of Europe and host US bases. France is far to the southwest and is itself a nuclear power. They would understand a hypothetical Russian attack on their countries to mean a nuclear war.

Bush did a lot to alienate Europeans and degrade US credibility.

Rubbish. Snobs and chronic complainers do what they do, especially when it doesn't cost them anything.

Do you mean that these sentiments are not real, despite evidence from public opinion polls? Or are you saying that these beliefs aren't anything to do with Bush's activities and would have been expected under any US leader?

I think he's saying the later. It's hard to believe a US leader that most would describe as too eager to intervene would have convinced the Europeans that the US would not intervene in a real crisis.

Latter, not later.

I lived in Germany during Bush years. The anti-American sentiments were real (even immediately after 9/11). From what I hear from my friends the things got worse since then.

I do not doubt they are 'real'. I do doubt that they're at all reasonable or that changing the occupant of the Oval Office matters much. Richard Nixon, George Bush the Elder, and the Hot Springs Lounge Lizard may have been the heads of state who least irritated the Eurotrash. There's no accounting for taste.

This is pure ignorance/trolling, as usual from our friend/troll Art Deco. Obama is a world of difference compared to invade-a-country-to-make-some-profit (senile?) Dubya... It did not took long to re-establish some respect for America in the rest of the world under Obama. (even though he is basically pursuing the same foreign policy)

Europe like a socialist and hates a capitalist. No news there.

It almost seems Europe hates Obama as much as America does most of the time. He has alienated our friends and lost the respect of our enemies. At least our enemies respected Bush.

That last bit is what cracks me up. "We like Obama *much* more than Bush, even though he's pretty much exactly the same." There is no denying that Europeans hated W, but they can't really explain why; any more than they can explain why they like Obama.

I find it strange that Europeans feel the need to have an opinion on the US President in the first place. I doubt the average American spends much time considering how he feels about Cameron or Hollande. But talk to Frenchmen and you'll find that every butcher, baker, and candlestick maker is an expert on US foreign and domestic policy.

@Urso: to be fair, the US affects Europe (especially in regards to foreign policy) a lot more than Europe affects the US. So it seems pretty obvious why Europeans have opinions about the US, the US is the hegemon.

I find it strange that Europeans feel the need to have an opinion on the US President in the first place

This isn't actually puzzling. The US is the closest thing we have to a world government, so the world is interested.

Pithloed-This argument made sense before the EU. It doesn't anymore and I don't think that Europeans do care as much as they used to about the American president. The populist anti-Americanism has been almost entirely displaced to the EU while the fashionable anti-Americanism of the leftist elites naturally waxes and wanes depending on which party controls the WH.

o invade-a-country-to-make-some-profit (senile?)

And you're telling me I'm 'ignorant' too. Luscious.

Yeah, invading a country under false pretenses and instituting a regime of torture and human rights abuses did nothing to alienate Europeans or degrade US credibility.
Sure.

"Yeah, invading a country under false pretenses and instituting a regime of torture and human rights abuses did nothing to alienate Europeans or degrade US credibility. Sure."

This is exactly why Europeans prefer Russia to the US. Russia would never do those things.

Hey, wait a minute . . .

You suck. You can choose to not acknowledge this reality, but you'll be living in a fantasy world, so stop bothering the rest of us with your delusions.

I could be mistaken, but I feel like there was a lot of resentment about American Hegemony in left wing circles both here and in Europe (and elsewhere) prior to GWB starting wars in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq just upped the ante.

Not just left wing circles. Large parts of the successful European right (FN, Fidesz, AfD outside of Lucke and Henkel) are very anti-american.

Well, tough. We have $17 tn in output every year and a seasoned military. We're not getting smaller and less capable because of their neuroses about American 'hegemony'.

Eurotrash commonly loathe Israel, which is not a hegemon at all.

They've got problems. Let them stew and quit expecting people with business to attend to to care.

Are you also a russian troll? loool

No, he's anti-Russian. Neocon. Quite probably a Jew.

Founding stock Episcoplian here and I couldnt agree more with Art Deco on Russia. Hard to believe it but it's not just ethnic grudges that motivate a disgust at Putinism.

No, he’s anti-Russian. Neocon. Quite probably a Jew.

Chuckles. I'm pleased for Russia to go about its business. "Neocon" is a nonsense term.

My grandfather was mistaken for a Jew quite often due to his occupation of the time (lawyer), residence (New York), name (Biblical), and pate (bald). They figured his surname was made up. His East Tennessee drawl did not quite register, I guess. His brother, then a presbyterian minister, must have found it all too funny.

Ok, Art Deco, it's just that you always seem to be pro-Israel and seem to be complaining about the faintest hint of anti-Judaism in the Unz comment threads.

"Hard to believe it but it’s not just ethnic grudges that motivate a disgust at Putinism."

-Not just, but a lot of it is. It's not necessarily Jewish, however, though a little of it is. I certainly didn't suspect Art Deco to be Jewish just because of his support of Conservatism, Inc.

Perhaps Art Deco is an evangelical friend of Israel and its people? An unrequited love, I've heard.

And sure as heck Israel is a hegemon. Bombing Syria and Gaza, occupying Syrian and formerly Jordanian territory and all that.

Israel actually influences it's immediate environment and nothing else. I know that's intolerable for people who fancy Jews should be locked up in separate quarters and periodically subject to expulsion.

As for the 'formerly Jordanian territory', the Hashemites held it for all of 19 years and the foundational tribes of the Jordanian state are not to be found therein. Israel has tried on five separate occasions to either devolve authority on local Arabs or turn the territory over to them entirely. It never works (for the uncomplicated reason that a deficit of local self-government is not what bothers either the local populace or their political class).

As for 'bombing', it's real simple to avoid trouble with your Jewish neighbors: don't lob rockets over the border, don't send commandos over the border, and don't build nuclear facilities worthless for any mundane purpose. Has worked for Egypt and Jordan decades now.

I was thinking about Israel's bombing of Syria during the present war, which involved none of these things.

"Israel actually influences it’s immediate environment and nothing else."
-Not even Congress?

It's true what you say about the West Bank.

If you can't prevent people from using your territory for launching missiles, somebody's gotta fill in.

I do not disagree. I can scarcely imagine a more irritating juvenile combination of attitudes than "I hate those bullying Americans" and "don't worry, the Americans will protect us," which does not seem to be far off the attitude of the average Eurotwit for the last twenty years or more.

turn the territory over to them entirely.
No, its always 90% or 95% or something like that. I wonder why the last couple of percent are withheld? Could access to water have something to do with it?

How has this state of affairs come to pass?

Pax Americana made Europe lazy on defense - that's largely undisputed. But how did Russia end up being so damn belligerent? Why weren't they content to settle down inside their borders like so many other countries?

Per your recommendation, I've read Robert D. Kaplan's "The Revenge of Geography". His basic theory is that aggression is in Russia's nature, like The Scorpion and the Frog. Is that the only answer?

Since when did "Germans, French and Italians" care about eastern europe? Never (except Hitler and Napoleon).

And really, Napoleon only cared about Russia because it wasn't playing along with his fight against English commerce - invading Russia was a back-door attack on England.
And France only cared about Eastern Europe as a counterweight and potential ally against Germany. Without German militarism, they had no reason to care.

Germans have traditionally always cared about Eastern Europe, going back to the Hanseatic league. Until 1945 large areas of what is now Eastern Europe - Romania, the Volga basin, the Baltics - had significant German ethnic populations, both farmers and elites. Both the Hohenzollern and Habsburg states bordered directly on Russia for the entire 18th and 19th centuries, right up until 1918, in fact. World War I started as a war between Germany and Austria against Russia over control of the Balkans. Germans are historically arguably more Eastern European than Western.

had significant German ethnic populations

The German percentage of the population in what is today Hungary, Roumania, and Russia was in the low single digits. The Germans in Eastern Europe (gone today) were in the Hapsburg territories of Bohemia and Moravia in the Hohenzollern territories of East Prussia, West Prussia, Posen, and Silesia. Most of the population of West Prussia and Posen was Polish or Kashubian.

And so? Your post is basically listing accurate facts that have nothing to do with anything. Are you trying to make a bizarre claim that Germans have not had a historic interest in Eastern Europe? What relevance do West Prussia and Wielkopolska have on this point?

Why is aggression in Russia's nature but no longer in that of Germany or France?

Branding.

In fairness, it took the French 150 years and numerous major defeats to lose the reputation. Germany probably has a century or more of penance, and an invasion or two by Russia ahead of it before most people will think them reputable.

Historically "Germany" has always been one of the least aggressive nations in Europe. Yes, the Prussian were aggressive and dragged the rest of the Germans along with them during the 19th century, but the Bavarians and Saxons were almost bywords for military incompetency for much of history, and Austrian inability to fight well is practically a cliche.

Leeway after the past election.

There's the Lilia Shevtsova explanation in The American Interest that Cowen linked to several days ago, which includes this gem: “I will offer one more explanation (not exclusive of the others): Perhaps this is how some in the Western elite deal with their own complexes. Since they are unable to be authoritarian and expansionist themselves, they satisfy their cravings vicariously. Or the Russian “humiliation” concept and the attempt to present the Kremlin model as an alternative allows various Western forces to criticize Western reality. Thus, Germany’s pro-Russian emotions are often a reflection of its anti-American feelings. The same thing is happening with the European right and left, who, by turning to pro Kremlin rhetoric, demonstrate their anti EU, anti-American, and anti-capitalist bona fides.” I can't help but think of the late Robin Williams in that television commercial for candy bars shouting "win it for Mother Russia!"

The Eastern European NATO members should form their own sub-organization within NATO. Small as they are, all together they would be capable of holding the line against Russia by themselves if they coordinate well.

If Russia is aggressive because it has been historically surrounded by indefensible terrain and hostile steppe tribes as Kaplan theorizes, then can you argue that America is aggressive because we've historically been surrounded by hostile raiding plains/forest tribes and had to expand to remove them as a threat?

Russia's level of aggression isn't abnormal. Western Europe's level is subnormal, and the rest of the world's has been held in check by Pax Americana, which never settled on Russia's domain. As America weakens, the rest of the world will rise to the mean and Russia will no longer seem like an outlier.

No. Russia level of agression as you call it, is a response to EU/US efforts, to "steal their domains". Nothing else. America is not weakening btw, this is an utterly ridiculous notion. Russia is weakening...

Estonia is not 'their domain'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonia#National_awakening_and_Russian_Empire

...Swedish empire lost Estonia to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad

so, yes, it has been, for 200+ years.

this same logic applies to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk right? Because if so the Baltics are now German.

I know, I know treaties only count when Russia wins.

No, it's it's own place. That the Russian political class and their press agents in this forum fancy they have a franchise to conquer it, abuse its population, and import alcoholic Russian colonists is immaterial.

Eh, true enough. But Russia expected Estonia to stay neutral.

Ukraie is. Do you think the US would sit back if a revolt overthrew the Democratically elected government of Canada and replaced it with an antagonistic government?

*Ukraine not Ukraie.

Do you think that US would use this as an excuse to annex Yukon and start a war over British Columbia?

"Russia level of agression as you call it, is a response to EU/US efforts, to steal their domains”

Who said that Ukraine or Georgia are Russian domains? Putin and his paid trolls?

Sailer only gets paid out of his pay pal account, Taki's Scrooge McDuck hoard, and what Unz has on hand.

Russia only weakened a little because of the oil price fall.

Welp, hopefully it won't come to that, since Russia is actually pretty weak, but if they really inflict their will on the rest of Europe, I sincerely hope that your ilk gets shot first.

"Small as they are, all together they would be capable of holding the line against Russia by themselves if they coordinate well." -I don't think so. Russia's army is huge compared to the rest of EE, and they have nukes. The intimidation factor of that alone would bring most of EE to accommodate Russia's demands (which would probably not be territorial).

Yes. The current Russian Army may seem like a joke (if we assume it would be on no one's mind to go nuclear) but could mobilize quickly, probably within weeks. They still have hundreds of thousands of trained reservists, and surplus equipment basically lying around everywhere.

"Could mobilize quickly" presumes that they aren't mobilized already in the Ukraine.

Russia is the most populated country in Europe.

I don't think EE could beat the Russian military, but of all the countries out there they hate Russia the most. They are going to fight like hell.

There is no country in Eastern Europe that likes Russia. And i can very much understand them.

Lots of Czechs like Russia. I even saw a "Vivat Putin" scrawled on a highway overpass the other day. Czechs are a particularly craven nation.

@Peter: According to the polls, 80% of Czechs see Russia as a threat (the rest believes in NWO conspiracies). Tens thousands Czechs went out to welcome American Dragoon Ride recently just to send a message to comrade Putin. Anti-NATO protesters were so scarse that even RT couldn't come up with a convincing photograph (i.e. without people waving American flags).

As for cowardice, tell it to this guy (
and many others) http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otakar_Jaro%C5%A1 who was on purpose left in a hopeless situation because the Red Army didn't like non-soviet heroes and democrats.

As I write elsewhere, Russian propaganda may be effective on the domestic front but it really pisses off everybody in Russian self-declared "sphere of influence".

They should give Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia a nuke. They share it. So yeah Russia can invade them whenever they want, but they got to account for that one nuke, which could hide in a car.

I'd like to see a poll of Americans as to who was the aggressor in WWII. Sure, many would identify "Nazis", who, presumably, descended from Mars, but I suspect more would identify Russia than Germany. Europeans, on the other hand, are much more likely to remember that Russia helped defeat Germany and liberate Europe.

Tell that to the Poles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

Where did Jeb Bush go this week to make a speech about Russian aggression?

Indeed, tell it also to the Balts and Finns, and even the Romanians.

22,000 died at Katyn. Compare that to 5,500,000 killed under German occupation of Poland.

Whoosh!
My point was, that even though the Russians did contribute to stopping Germany, much of Eastern Europe wouldn't see them as "liberating" them. Also, Katyn was only one event in the Soviet occupation of Poland.

The total Polish casualties attributed to the Soviets are approx. 200,000 That's still an order of magnitude lower than the damage the Germans did.

My point is both were evil but the Germans were more evil, in a strictly consequentialist calculus.

Rahul,

Russia killed about as many civilians in WWII as Germany

And many more afterwards

Cliff, what do you mean? Soviet civilian losses were almost 10 million directly caused by conflict. Even more if you count famine, etc. Total German civ deaths on all fronts, no matter what estimate you use, don't even come close.

Jan we're talking about how many civilians they killed, not how many civilian casualties they had. Yes Russia was killing a lot of its own civilians though

Dude, no. Germany killed many more civilians. That was kind of their thing.

And I'm not saying Stalin or his generals had a lot puff respect for human life, but compared to the Nazis...

And who knows whether they could have even stopped Germany if they didn't employ such extreme tactics.

Jan, Russians killed over a million civilians in the siege of Leningrad alone when they refused to allow them to evacuate. They sent over a million people to the gulags. Hard to believe they could compete with the Holocaust but they did

Relevant is Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands". Holy hell is that a depressing read. Essential, but depressing.

Do not forget that the Katyn victims were officers and intelligentsia. It was a deliberate Soviet plot to kill Polish elite. Such things are not easily forgotten.

Also, do not forget that the Red Army waited at Warsaw doorsteps watching the city bleed during Warsaw uprising (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lack_of_outside_support_during_the_Warsaw_Uprising). While the victims are officially counted as the victims of Nazis, every Pole will blame Russians as well.

To this day, "davai chasi" is one of the most recognizable Russian phrases in all regions "liberated" by Red Army. Still losing your wrist watch isn't as bad as losing your virginity to 10 Russian soldiers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_crimes).
While the German atrocities in EE were much worse, even 40 years of communist propaganda couldn't make the Red Army to look like unquestionably good guys in the collective memory of EE nations.

Ah, yes, the phrase was immensely popular, in my already conquered hometown also amended by putting incendiary charges into houses which somehow survived artillery, Katyushas and air strikes. Just for fun. And of course, stealing all the cattle they could; my granddad almost had to shoot Russian Major to save all his villages livestock, wonder why it didn't cure his Communist beliefs.

This is what Poles said:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties_of_Poland#Franciszek_Proch

Under German Occupation: 5,040,000 losses (17.7% of population)
Under Soviet Occupation: 1,050,000 (3.7%)

Sure, they must hate Russians and love Germans

But the current Germany is a peaceful nation that is honestly trying to confront its violent past. Russians do not do that and your comment just proves that.

Almost nobody sees Hitler as a national hero in Germany. On the other hand, Stalin has a solid following in Russia (including some apologetic comments from Putin himself). Also WWII is 70 years in the past Soviet occupation of Poland is just 25 years in the past and the Russian imperialism is current.

I'd wholeheartedly agree about the older German generation, say, 40+ "honestly trying to confront its violent past."

But sometimes I worry about the newer generation. Anecdotally, the new German youth are a lot different from the last Generation. Are they forgetting their WW-II legacy? I hope not but I am not sure.

@Rahul: In schools, Germans are taught about Nazism a lot and I believe that all school children visit a concentration camp as part of their curriculum. However, you are right that the younger generation (30 and less) doesn't feel the remorse anymore (I've been told that by young Germans explicitly). But why should they: even their grandparents were most likely just children during the war or at most teenagers sent to the front. It was their great-grandparents who were responsible, how many generations should the hereditary sin last?

The important point is that both young and older Germans are pacifists they are no threat to Europe anymore.

@Ian

I've heard multiple accounts of the mandatory German school trip to a concentration camp & I'm not sure what effect they are having.

@Rahul: Probably not a big effect. Also, from what I heard, they usually visit camps inside of Germany which are often not much more than memorials + a museum. To see the whole monstrosity one really needs to visit Auschwitz.

But my point was that they at least take the history lessons seriously. How much do kids in other European nations know about WW-II these days? (And do Russians even learn about Katyn? or invasions into Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia?)

Of course the Germans stopped acting like Nazis, well the Russians never quite stopped acting like the Soviets.

Most Poles hate Russians and Germans but in my experience, Poles hate Russians far more. Polish difficulty with both nations goes back well before WWII of course, and the Russian record toward Poles in the 19th century is far worse than the German.

Many East Europeans understand that Germany (Germans) has changed. They don't see that Russia (Russians) has.

Germany is a hugely successful Western capitalist liberal democracy. Russia is a creaking, xenophobic, imperialist oligarch-cozening Putin-run fuel giant.

During WW2 Russia was just a administrative unit of the Soviet Union under the control of the Georigan Stalin. And yes with their invasion of Poland along with Germany the Soviet Union was an aggressor in WW2

Stalin was Georgian, but that doesn't change the reality that the Soviet Union was the successor state to the Russian Empire. Consider Stalin's efforts to minimize the political strength of minorities within the Soviet Union by moving them around geographically, so as to reduce the percentage of native populations in the non-Russian SSRs.

The Soviet Union was a successor state to the Russian Empire but the early Politburo of the Soviet Union was overwhelmingly non-Russian.

This is false. Three of the original seven were Russians. An additional two were Ukranian Jews, one Russiam Jew and one Georgian rounded out the group. This at a time when Lenin dominated the party. The politburo grew in importance with the death of Stalin after which the Politburo was dominated by Russians.

So more than 50% were not Russian. Seems pretty overwhelming to me.

"liberate Europe"

Seize half of Europe and stay for 40 years I think you mean.

The Russians 1945 on were better masters than the Germans 1939-1945 but that is because Russia had its worse mass murder period in the 1920/1930s [See Ukraine, Kulaks etc.] and were only selectively murdering post war.

This whole discussion of "who was worse during WWII nazis or commies" is silly. They were both awful, and all powers present (yes, even the US/EU) commited terrible crimes, such is the nature of war.

"all powers present (yes, even the US/EU) commited terrible crimes": to imply that the US's crimes in the Second World War are remotely comparable to Germany's or the USSR's is an argument so foolish that I suspect you of not believing it yourself.

Sure, firebombings, carpet-bombings, nuking -- that's all child's play.

Poor Mishkin I can only imagine how scared and devastated you felt when the Wall came down. But, but Kruschev promised that we would win. And Marx too. But it was quite some time ago and even you have to admit the better man won. Doesn't mean Russians are worthless, but they picked a fight they had no business picking. Bitterness kills the soul.

thats not what i said dear...

The U.S.'s biggest crime was not gassing your parents.

This comment coming from a guy called Jan looool MR comentators keep surprising Vladimir P. with their intelligence ;) As I said this whole discussion is silly.

Stop. You are inciting a fascist junta!

What about the Japanese?

"how this entire state of affairs has come to pass": it might in some way be related to the election of three juveniles in a row - Slick Willie, W, and O. God knows how to reverse it; a good beginning would be to avoid electing Hellary.

In favor of the other juveniles running? Or, the grown-ups who the ru(i)n the country on behalf of the juveniles that get elected?

In favor of the other juveniles running?

Webb, Perry, Jindal, Huckabee, Walker, Christie, Bush, and Fiorina are 'juveniles' only in the minds of the egregious.

The rest of them aren't juveniles either, just bad candidates.

Really, now, do you think the powers that be would allow a "responsible adult" (whatever you claim to mean by that) to be elected?

It's a good thing we've got examples of level-headedness from Blair, Brown, and Cameron, after all.

The partisanship and bad faith of the New York Times are sickening.
America was happy to prepare for WWIII because the USSR was bringing nuclear missiles too near to US borders but since the end of communism in Eastern Europe NATO has kept integrating Eastern countrie (which should have been dismantled just as the Warsaw pact) and putting nuclear weapons ever nearer to Russia, despite promises made to Gorbatchev.
I am surprized that such a huge number of my fellow Europeans support a corrupt putschist like Porochenko at the risk of having fusion and fission bombs rained on them.

"I am surprized that such a huge number of my fellow Europeans support a corrupt putschist like Porochenko"

Why surprised? Only a tiny number of your fellow Europeans have the slightest idea who Porochenko is, let alone his character.

Remind me of these nuclear weapons being put closer to Russia? What weapons are we talking about?

I am surprized that such a huge number of my fellow Europeans support a corrupt putschist like Porochenko

I'm surprised Putin press agents waste their air trying to sell their tripe to normal people.

You, Art, are a neocon, not a normal person.

If I were 'normal', I'd be one of the 11% of GOP primary voters who elected to join the Ron Paul revolution or maybe one of the 25,000 people who bought a subscription to The American Conservative or Chronicles

>putting nuclear weapons ever nearer to Russia

You forgot to answer Lord Action's question about these non-existent weapons. Did your bridge need you back?

>at the risk of having fusion and fission bombs rained on them.

Better dead than Red? Some of us feel at ease with Russian nukes aimed at us, it's the natural order of things, unlike having them covertly installed here along with Russian counselors installed within oppressive State Security and Army.

This is related to the monetary system adopted by the Euro countries. It's designed to not have enough money to go around. Of course, this ends up incentivizing inter-country competition in a less than zero sum game. Other countries have to lose in order for your country to win.

In some ways, has the Euro regime made Europeans hate each other more than before?

Are there historical polls of European country sentiment about each other?

Is it not: time passes and people care less all around sans collective existential threat? 25y after the wall, Russia doesnt seem like a threat to Western Europe at least, and dont they join us in G7/8 and so forth?; Western Europe gets nostalgic for a French France, a German Germany, prefers Eastern Europeans to go home & dreams of a stronger Russia to prevent future immigrants (if only one existed for the redt of the world cried France); and, isnt petrol expensive enough already?; isnt the shirtless Judo champion Putin admirable on his horse, bc what we think of as American superficialism and Republican monarchical/repressed homoeroticism just a shared human love of the charismatic alpha male, when he's not making us individually look beta; and so forth?

Europeans are going extinct, and being replaced by net tax-consuming Arabs and Africans. If Russia wants to take that mess over, fine with me.

Russia needs immigrants. There are only so many Tajiks for Russian oligarchs to hire as builders and Russian neo-Nazis to murder.

Births would work too.

Great answer to the question nobody asked. Again, if Europeans cannot be bothered to show up for the future or fund their national militaries, then I don't see the case for American blood and treasure taking up the slack.

Someone's read Spengler (David Goldman, not Oswald). But yes, many Europeans consider themselves way too sophisticated to believe in anything like God or Country, much less the Country next door.

One thing about immigrants in Russia is that they are not a net government liability. Russia doesn't know it--or perhaps doesn't want to admit it--but if Europe closes the gates, getting some of those immigrants would be a very good thing for Russia long-term. They'd have to tone down the xenophobia of course.

And here i thought Putin had hired some trolls... This could be true in your fertile imagination, but outside of that...

Well, survey answers makes last year Poland's cry for help credible:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/culture-leaders-in-poland-report-growing-fear-of-russia-a-1006372.html

They say this now....and will be the first scream if T-14s head towards the Fulda Gap

Let them scream and die. They despise us as a bunch of gun-toting, Bible-thumping yokels. I can think of plenty of things to spend money on besides old, atheistic Europeans.

I wouldn't confound their awful chatterati with the man in the street, but your sentiment is not unsound.

Yes. For example, building a better nuclear defense against 1b+ young, atheistic Chinese...

The young Chinese have had below replacement fertility levels for 20 years. There's are just a shade higher (5% or so) than Europe's.

A very learned man I know who thinks seriously about these things told me that we should be very worried about China. As in, "pull-everything-from-Europe-and-Middle-East-and-ring-China-with-it" worried.

Personally, I just don't know and haven't formed an opinion on China. It does seem the most natural thing in the world for some of China's 35M surplus males to start looking for wives and ways to make a living in Siberia and the 'Stans.

A very learned man really? You should all be afraid of me ;)

China is
1. The most populated country in the world.
2. The largest economy in the world (PPP)
3. The fastest-growing economy in the world (in absolute numbers, not percentage points).
It has a crazy amount of license to do a lot of assertion in its foreign policy. And it's used barely a fiftieth of it.

Russia has nukes.

And I sure hope they use them.

2. The largest economy in the world (PPP)

The World Bank lists the U.S. economy as slightly larger with this metric. Making use of the nominal measure, China's economy is 40% smaller.

China's growth rate is ~6%. America's is under 3%. It is now 2015. You do the math, Art.

"Russia has nukes"

And China doesn't?

China is also poorer than Mexico, utterly dependent on trade with the world community, getting old fast, and its military would have great difficult even getting Taiwan back.

There's no reason to worry about the Chinese invading California, outside of the real estate market.

NATO seems enormously successful to me. That it has challenges that are a consequence of its success does not seem to be a reason for hand-wringing.

Yes, it won the Cold War and restored democracy to the East.

Was the Union Army a failure because Reconstruction failed?

Reconstruction did not fail. On the contrary, it forged a new, united American state which has gone on to unparalleled success.

Hysterical moderns never grasp that the "Nation" in the film "Birth Of A Nation" does not actually refer to the Ku Klux Klan.

Reconstruction failed in that it left 30% [or more, to lazy to look up] of the Southern population subject to violent abuse and deprived of their rights, though no longer slaves.

That was only while they voted Republican, so it doesn't matter.

"seems": surely 'seemed`"?

How did this entire state of affairs come to pass? Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?

The survey details are, I think, a lot more interesting than the NY Times' summary

http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/06/10/nato-publics-blame-russia-for-ukrainian-crisis-but-reluctant-to-provide-military-aid/

The "use of force to defend allies" question, if looked at from the should-not perspective, splits the 8 countries into 2 camps. US/Canada/UK/Poland who have similar should-not scores in the mid to late 30s, and Spain/France/Italy/Germany who have should-not scores close to or above 50%. I think this is a valid way of looking at it given that most of the first group have substantial don't-know scores, a portion of which I suspect could be read as "it depends".

I find it interesting that the country with the least confidence in the US coming to the military aid of an ally is Poland. Out of the 7 they seem to me to be the country most likely to find themselves in the position of having to request it.

Given Poland's history, I'm surprised they aren't more pessimistic.

Yes, they should be ;)

I suppose the Poles remember Yalta.

If humanity escalates toward nulcear war between major powers, this might be a blessing in disguise.

Because if humans are too violent to get this right, they are also too violent to build a positive future.

Nuclear war will then at least prevent them from building a much larger negative future, e.g. by spreading a totalitarian dystipia across the galaxies.

We no longer have the civilizational capacity to escape Earth's gravity well, much less to travel between galaxies.

>We no longer have the civilizational capacity to escape Earth’s gravity well

Sure we do. It's just expensive.

>much less to travel between galaxies.

Not yet anyway.

Part of it is the result of what would in many other contexts be a very positive development.

For the first time in their modern history, those Russians who have stuck with Mother, and Vladimir Putin, have seen their living standards make up the ground lost after the fall of communism and to spare. So when the liberals who might have served as a check on their countrymen's ambitions were silenced or voted with their feet, the Russian man in the street had few reasons to care that much. For the first time in their modern history, Russians were rich---and much richer than most of their former comrades in other former Soviet republics.

Put it this way---if you want to know which countries are on the up and up, look at net migration. Russia's the largest acceptor of immigrants after the US, mostly from much poorer post-Soviet nations. (By contrast, anybody who could leave the USSR generally did so.)

The Chinese are also rich, and also getting more belligerent. It wasn't a matter of if Russia and China would one day be in a position to pick fights with the West (for better or for worse), but when.

Most of Russia's new wealth comes from oil, and Putin wasn't responsible for the oil boom. But were Russians still poor, he would be much easier to control than he is.

Russia is also going to be a key source of Europe's fossil fuel needs in any foreseeable future. Everyone who's been paying attention knows that.

It's easy to stand up to a bully when he can't actually hurt you. For everyone else, Finlandization may be the only realistic option for many countries unable to do short-term without Russian oil.

(Finlandization was a term many Finns resented, by the way. Finland only narrowly escaped re-absorption into the Soviet version of the Russian Empire in the Winter War, and Finnish politicians, regardless of party, didn't care to give Moscow any taste for a re-match the Finns might lose.)

Most of Russia’s new wealth comes from oil

No. Natural resource rents as a share of gdp stood at 24% in 1999 and have fallen to 18% today. The ratio of fuel exports to gross national income (nominal) is higher today (at 18% or so) than was the case in 1999 (12%), so the country is more oil dependent in that sense. Nominal national income (measured in $) has increased more than 7-fold since 1999. According to purchasing-power-parity, 4 fold.

I think is more than 18%. Gaddy and Ickes estimate Russian oil and gas rents to be more than 600B in 2013 which was almost 29% of GDP.

You're supposed to be asking questions, not offering comments!

The figures on fuel exports and national income are from the World Bank.

Mostly accurate summary, except for the stuff about the oil.

Some days it's very easy to envision a world where Russia takes over all of Europe, China all of Asia and the US all of the western hemisphere. I'm not sure about India...;~) Each of the spheres would be self contained with the world in a Mad Max environment.

On other days I see Putin leaving office feet first as the Russian saying goes and the world progressing nicely.

But on most days I go back to not caring. Really, I could care less. Life is too short to worry about all the hobgoblins trotted out on a daily basis.

Is much easier to imagine the world where China takes over all of Siberia :)

Nukes! And Vladivostok is the southernmost city in Russia.

Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania.

Whenever a story on Russia breaks on this blog (or anywhere, really) I have to remember to take the comments section with a bigger grain of salt than normal. The Russian troll army is definitely good at their job. One story I liked: http://www.rferl.org/content/how-to-guide-russian-trolling-trolls/26919999.html

Saying "troll" doesn't amount to an argument. There are two worldviews in competition: a highly centralized, multicultural, imperial US on permanent war-footing, or a decentralized, relatively homogenous, republican US that tells the rest of the world to stand on their own two feet.

Where do you think Putin took his idea for the troll army?? ...

I don't know what to think. Did he give any indication where he got the idea?

Was the USSR conservative? Maybe I don't understand the term. They were trying to spread communism around the world. Isn't that radical?

Yes it is, but libertarians back in the day made a point of not noticing, Murray Rothbard in particular. It's their shtick.

It is; Trotskyite, in fact. A lot of aging social democrats in the US made the short, happy leap from socialism to Trotskyite democratic revolution and registered as Republicans. Hence the "neo" conservatives which certain people say do not exist.

A lot of aging social democrats in the US made the short, happy leap from socialism to Trotskyite democratic revolution and registered as Republicans. Hence the “neo” conservatives which certain people say do not exist.

A great many people have weird obsessions. One is with the datum that Seymour Martin Lipset, Nathan Glazer, and Irving Kristol were members of a Trotskyist discussion circle at City College of New York 75 years ago. Lipset is dead, Kristol is dead, Glazer is past 90, and all three abandoned Trotskyism during the 2d World War. Lipset and Glazer were purveyors of an unremarkable mainstream viewpoint from about 1960 onward and Kristol was such a decade earlier.

Rothbard is dead, too, yet, you still whine about him.

No, I point out his manifest crankery.

And I'm not claiming that our whole political discourse and our foreign policy has been hijacked by Rothbard and his friends.

If NATO's Article 5 is no longer operative than NATO has become meaningless. And is it just possible that many Europeans just don't think that Europe (or European culture, whatever that is) is anything worth fighting for?

If Europeans don't care about the future of Europe enough to trade some present comforts for future viability then why would the USA, or anyone else, care enough about it to be willing to risk going towar to defend it?

I was about to make the same points myself. I believe there two factors here. There are those in the US that relish in the role of the US as the self-appointed global policeman. And then there are those (rich NATO countries) that freeload off of the US defense umbrella. Both of these can reinforce each other to some extent.

And coming soon: an adult discussion of what exactly the North Atlantic Treaty requires its signatories to do. Feeling sorry for people who don't spend on defense or take it seriously may not be seen as an adequate reason to go to war.

But what kind of action so unequivocally constitutes an attack that the 28 members of NATO will agree that it is an attack and therefore warrants action?

Turkey and Greece cozy up to Russia so a natgas pipeline can transit their countries to feed Europe.

Russia is up to its neck in Ukraine anyways and its economy has crashed.

Considering the EU’s lack of defense spending, Americans should be hardly willing to put lives and treasure at risk for people who frankly don’t seem to care one wit about who controls them.

http://www.focus-economics.com/countries/russia

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/russia/gdp-growth-annual

Russia's in a disagreeable recession. No need to state matters floridly.

I think you are forgetting the fact that many European/NATO countries participated in Operation Enduring Freedom etc. Middle East wars when article 5 was called upon.

In the case of Russia/Ukraine, I really can't much fault with Obama's handling outside the fact the US participated in the early protest.

1) I am tired of NATO unde-spending on military and the US is to willing to overspend on military. I still say cut the corporate tax rate to 10% and cut the same amount in military spending to offset this.

2) Why should we lead on Ukraine/Russia? It is Europe risk not ours.

The U.S. shouldn't have put any sanctions on Russia (except for, perhaps, a few personal ones).

The German and Italian armed forces are worthless so no loss.

There is nothing wrong with NATO's ability to defend the Baltics that a US brigade and some fighters in the Baltics cannot fix. Ask North Korea about tripwires.

Bullying Georgians or Ukraine, both very weak states is one thing, having Russian "volunteers" engage US troops is something different. Putin is a small minded bully, not an idiot.

The most likely outcome if we do take for granted Russian revisionism and expansionism, European unwillingness to support collective defense, and American retrenchment is a bad case of nuclear proliferation. Poland, for instance has a higher GDP than Pakistan, greater technical abilities, and much easier access to dual use technologies. If we take North Korea circa 1990-2005 or South Africa circa 1970-1980 as our baseline for states that can afford nuclear weapons programs, a breakdown in collective security will almost certainly result in nuclear proliferation. This will most likely look the Iranian progression - not actual assembly of nuclear devices, but very high levels of fissile material accumulation, development of independent missile systems, and ultimately short time frames to breakout.

Eastern Europe alone cannot hope to match Russia in a conventional fight nor does it seem that extensive casualties from guerrilla warfare (e.g. Chechnya) does much to deter Russia. Nukes then should be the expected end game if Russia is seen as both aggressively threatening and untrustworthy.

Crying Lithuanian hipsters (claimed to be) drafted in uniform:

http://www.boredpanda.com/army-men-portraits-lithuanian-draft-conscription-neringa-rekasiute-beata-tiskevic-hasanova/

Nah, they just got them to wear the battledress under the pretense of ironic photoshoot and then told them that Portland and Williamsburg don't exist.

At the height of the Cold War, America's military forces in Europe totaled well over a quarter million troops. Now we're down to roughly 70K. Excess US defense expenditures throughout the Cold War exceeded several trillion dollars in today's money.

It's rather galling to hear the Germans and Italians saying that they wouldn't come to the aid of a NATO ally in trouble when we spend trillions of dollars protecting them from Russian/Soviet aggression for decades...

Americans and Canadians are willing to die to defend Poland. Why are Germans unwilling to do the same?

Well, I'm not.

That is, I'm not willing to die to defend Poland.

Why are Germans unwilling to do the same?

Because they fancy they're above all that. Also, they have for more than forty years had so few children that they're resistant to any of their sons following anything but the most optimal occupational path (when viewed with a certain set of lenses).

You mean they don't want to sell their children as cannon fodder to defend American client states? Those monsters!

Poland, which is right next door to Germany, which has a population of 38 million, and which produces over $800 bn worth of goods and services each year counts as an American 'client state'?

Well, OK. If Germans are contemptuous of everything going on outside their own skin, they're properly treated like people whose disposition is just that. And that means anything goes.

Yes, the same way Cuba, less than 200 km from Florida, was a Soviet client. Many South American dictatorships were bigger and more populous than Poland, and no sane person would say they were not American clients.
"which has a population of 38 million"
It is cute, I admit, it is almost like a real country (a real country smaller than the typical Brazilian state, but anyway...). Should the Germans extend garantees to Nepal (27 million inhabitants); São Paulo, Brazil (41 million people) and Guangdond province (twice Poland's GDP)? What are those toys States good for? Poland was part of the Russian Empire, many revered Russians from Tsiolkovsky to Dzerzhinsky and Rokossovsky were from Polish stock. If Americans want to die to preserve Varsovia's regime and deny the verdict of History, it is their business. Live and let die.

You are just an offensive Russian troll. But why not give you a history lesson anyway.

Poland is older than Russia unless you count Kievan Russia but last time I checked, Kiev is in Ukraine. The country was independent for most of its history the partition of Poland happened towards the end of 18th century and Russia got "only" 1/3 of it. This land is Belarus and partly in Ukraine these days.

Saying that Poland was part of Russian Empire is stupid.

Warsaw is in Belarus?

Warsaw wasn't annexed by Russia during the partitioning. My claim still stands.

The first Partition happenned before an independent America existed. The second and the third ones happened before most states had been admmited to the Union. Russia has a better claim to Poland than the USA will ever have to Hawaii and New Mexico. Russian behavior towards Moldova, Georgia, even Ukraine is unnaceptable, but Poland and the Baltics are traditionl parts of the Russian state, and no one can make Russia give them up.
Suffices to say that Pilsudski, the Polish dictator, and Dzerzjinsky, the founder of KGB frequented the same school. By the way, Verne intended Nemo to be a Polish anti-Russian rebeld instead of an Indian anti-British one. Poland only was revived after the collapse of the Russian Empire (even then, Pilsudski failed in his attempt of reclaiming Lithuania), before that, the old Kingdom of Poland had became Russian territory, after the Third Partition. Not to mention that much of the old Polish territory is now Russian, ceded by the Polish communist government to their Soviet masters and much of the new Polish territory is German, taken from the defeated Germny.

> Poland and the Baltics are traditional parts of the Russian state, and no one can make Russia give them up.

This screwed up imperialist and plainly wrong interpretation of the history is exactly why Russia is rather unpopular across the countries it occupied after WW-II. Baltics and Poland could be subjugated only by an outright invasion and this is something that Russia doesn't dare to do even to Ukraine (much poorer country).

> Poland only was revived after the collapse of the Russian Empire

and Austrio-Hungarian Empire and German/Prussian Empire (you really do have a selective reading of the history)

"This screwed up imperialist and plainly wrong interpretation of the history is exactly why Russia is rather unpopular across the countries it occupied after WW-II. Baltics and Poland could be subjugated only by an outright invasion and this is something that Russia doesn’t dare to do even to Ukraine (much poorer country)."
The Baltics' case is even more obvious than the Polish one: they were, in their entirety, almost since time immemorial, Russian territory. The "Polish" Pilsudsky was born in Lithuania and never succeed in retaking his birthplace.

Xanax is your friend.

@Thiago: You fail to realize that occupying your neighbors "for time immemorial" (you seem to have a short memory in Soviet Russia) will not make you particularly loved. No wonder the Baltics rushed to join EU and NATO in '90s.

Your rhetoric here may be good for boosting your ego but it is a rather terrible diplomacy.

"but Poland and the Baltics are traditionl parts of the Russian state, and no one can make Russia give them up."

-Whaa...?! Ukrainians have always been bigger friends of the Russians than the Balts and Poles, who always either wanted to be independent or join Germany. Or both.

And, to Ian, Warsaw was ruled by Russia for a full century.

"Russian behavior towards Moldova, Georgia, even Ukraine is unnaceptable"

-Nonsense. Most of it is acceptable.

Feliks Dzierżyński revered? Here's to hoping, that money Prigozhin's paying you will bring you some personal misfortune. Buy some krokodil.

Most of modern Poland was never part of the Russian Empire - most of it was under Austrian or German rule. Even parts of Poland now in Ukraine were never Russian, including Lvov, which the Soviets grabbed in 1939, and which has proved to be the poison pill that destroyed the Soviet Union* and will now be the graveyard of Putin's hopes of resurrecting Russia.

*Seriously. Without the support of the anti-Russian Western Ukrainians in the Polish territories absorbed after WWII, Kravchuk would not have had the popular support in Ukraine to agree with Yeltsin to dissolve the Soviet Union in 1991. Everything that has happened to Russia since 1991 almost seems like divine justice for the crimes Russia committed against Poland from to 1939-89. Of course, in retrospect, swallowing the Baltic states also proved to be a stupid long term move by Stalin.

@Krigl: I was talking about the Russian-led Soviet Union in his case. Many Russian/Soviet important historical figures were from Polish stock. As much as Poles want to forget that, Poland was a part of the Russian Empire.
@ Peter Akuleyev: "Most of modern Poland was never part of the Russian Empire – most of it was under Austrian or German rule."
The Polish communists ceding their Eastern territories and grabbing the German ones doesn't hurt, does it? A Polish state has so little reality that its inter-wars dictator was Lithuanian-born, reminescent of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which ceased to exist more than a century before.
"Everything that has happened to Russia since 1991 almost seems like divine justice for the crimes Russia committed against Poland from to 1939-89."
For the Poles were the only people oppressed by the Soviet leaders... Maybe the only people oppressed in all men's history...

Well, I didn't see all this dying when Russia invaded Georgia and Ukraine, I don't see any dying when parts of Moldova and Georgia are under Russia-backed puppet regimes.
American leaders are cowards, they will never dare to stand up to Russia.

Neither of those countries were in NATO.

Maybe three is the charm, then. Though luck, Georgia and Ukraine.
Yet, does anyone really believe the USA will fight for the Polish regime?

Thiago,

If America and her NATO allies failed to defend Poland against a foreign attack on its soil, all hell would break loose.

Credibile commitments matter in international geopolitics.

When you say you're going to do something but then fail to act, people stop trusting you. Right now, the only thing holding back a global arms race is the strong belief among world leaders that America is the world's only superpower with the strength and willingness to defend all of her allies in the event of war.

If Poland, a large, moderately important European democracy on the border with some scary regimes can't depend on American help...what kind of message does that send to South Korea and Japan?

American garantees to Japan, Korea and Taiwan (none of them a NATO member will have to stand by themselves, I fear. Maybe America will fight for Japan and the Sensaku Islands, maybe it won't. But it is almost unconceivable it will fight for an artificial toy State with almost no history of independence in the last two centuries.
"Credibile commitments matter in international geopolitics."
The key word here is "credible". America's commitment to the Polish regime is not credible and should not be made. Will America try to correct the mistake with another-bigger- mistake?
I don't think so.

To paraphrase Stalin, "It is not a crime to be stupid, but Comrade Thiago abuses the privilege"

But it is almost unconceivable it will fight for an artificial toy State with almost no history of independence in the last two centuries.

No clue who you refer to here. Poland and all of the Baltic states have signature nationalities and languages. None are the least bit artificial. Neither are the nationalities in question at all indistinct (as are, example, Macedonian Slavs or White Russians). Poland has been sovereign for over ninety year, the Baltic states for north of 40 years. Bit longer than "almost no".

"Slavs or White Russians). Poland has been sovereign for over ninety year, the Baltic states for north of 40 years."
That is, in 200 years, the Baltics were independent for as much time as Franco ruled Spain or Salazar ruled Portugal, a long, distinguished history, I see
(by contrast, the Castros, the PAP and the Swedish Social Democrats have ruled their countries for more time than the Baltics have ruled themselves in the last two centuries). In fact, Brazil spent more time under one Emperor than Poland spent free from the Russians since the Third Partition. Brazil spent more time between consecutive presidential elections (29 years due to a coup) than any of the three Baltisc has spent in uninterrupted independence since Russia conquered them. Those are the facts of the matter.
We have here artificial countries invented by Wilson & Co after the World War and the Civil War weakened Russia, America and its allies did the same America did to Mexico two centuries after the conquest of the Estonian state by the Swedish: took what it wanted by force. Poland has the same right to indepence as the Brazilian Pomeranians (who still call themselves Pomeranians centuries after their forefathers' country ceased to exist). If one Geopolitical fossil must be reamimated, why not Pomerania? Maybe the Germans should give the Brazilian-Pomeranians "garantees" or a time machine.

"You fail to realize that occupying your neighbors “for time immemorial” (you seem to have a short memory in Soviet Russia) will not make you particularly loved."
The Baltics and Poland were under Russian rule before your forefathers had brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Much before Texas, Hawaii and Alaska were American.
Well, Putin is not loved in Warsaw ? Though luck, he will have to live with that, the same way Mr. Obama lives with Texas or Mr Bush lived with Massachusetts (and, that is my point, the other way round).

Dear @Thiago you are a troll but you are an entertaining one.

If you want to join this pissing contest then you should probably know, that some 1500 years ago my forefathers made a very sensible decision to leave the steppes of what is now Ukraine and move west to what is now Czech Republic. I do not think that any of them ever looked back. That's just to give you some idea what a (still relatively young) European nation thinks about the significance of 200 years.

The crossing of the Atlantic was my own idea not my forefathers and it came much later.

And while we are at the pissing contest, some 1150 years ago my forefathers decided that Christianity was the way of future for and they invited Cyril and Methodius to christianize Slavs. Think about it next time you use cyrillic or the next time Putin invokes Russia's great Orthodox-Christian values.

Meanwhile, Moscow Duchy had several hundred years before it was even formed and several more hundreds of years to get independence from Mongols. Shouldn't Mongols have the rightful claim over Russia according to your logic? By the time, Russian Tsardom formed, we had some 700 years recorded of history as a sovereign state. And yes, that 40 years under your rule were pretty s#!@@y. So what? This is now 25 years in the past and nobody would care if you didn't insist on pissing off all your potential friends by unfounded claims about "your sphere of influence".

Not only Rurik's rule in Novgorod is older than any so-called Polish state, but the Russian people has been for interrupted centuries the ruler of its current territories-and more-, compare and contrast with the toy states that only exist because foreign powers wanted to hurt Russia and spent the last two or three centuries being as autonomous as the Sioux are. Poland was the "independent" country with a Russian Defense Minister, compare that with uninterrupted centuries of existence of an independent Russian State if you can...
The Poles and the Baltics just can't bring themselves to admit that the Russian people brought them Civilization, institutions, industrial and scientific progress. As much as it hurts politically correct susceptibilities, we must face the facts: Not all states are created equal; History matters, even to those who have none; Civilization matters, even to those who have none. No matter how much the Poles, the Baltics and their masters would like to erase 200 or 300 years of history, they happened, and policy should be based on reality instead of being based on revisionist whims of rebelled hordes. Giving the Poles and Baltics their own states is as stupid as giving Texans one because Texas was independent for 10 years. Again why aren't we giving the Brazilian-Pomeranians their own "national home" (as opposed as the Poles, they USED to have a real state), freeing them from the "Brazilin yoke"?

The answer is simple: the military-Industrial complex does not call all the shots in Germany. In US, the situation is a bit different as we have seen in 2003/4. Also I'm glad germans are not willing to die for Poland... that would sound creepy for Polish ears ;)

The answer is simple: the military-Industrial complex does not call all the shots in Germany.

Simple. And stupid.

Simple and true, unfortunately. :(

The military-industrial complex gets the same number of votes as everyone else in America.

Considering how often we've been begged to defend Europe from Germany (as we were begged for intervention by Kuwaitis, Shia and Kurds from 1991 to 2003), German reluctance to take up arms is understandable. But try to remember the Berlin airlift and the Fulda Gap, too.

That's ignoring the last 70 years of history.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/09/russias-global-image-negative-amid-crisis-in-ukraine/

81% of Poles viewed Russia unfavorably in 2014. Only 72% of Americans felt the same. Poles were more hostile to Russia than any nation surveyed.

Regarding Putin specifically, only 8% of Poles believed that he was making the right decisions regarding world affairs.

Maybe you should ask Americans and Canadians why they're willing to. Their response seems odder than the Germans.

Barack Obama believes in German Exceptionalism. Not sure the Poles do.

People have been sneering at the idea of a US funded peace dividend for a long time. While I used to believe one western democracy with global force projection capabilities was a necessity, more recently I've been sneering at that attitude myself. I'm at least ready to put it to a test. I would like the real state of affairs to be that 100% of Europeans think the US would not act in their defense and that they'd be right about that. Save us a ton o' cash we could use for other things.

This is an old essay but I wonder whether you've seen it and would care to comment, given current trends?

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2008/09/we_are_all_mercantilists_now.html

All these comments! And they all miss the point.

Euros are socialist-welfare-program dependent cowards who will bend over for anybody.

Putin, African hordes, anybody. I mean who cares in Europe. Won't exist soon anyways. With abysmal reproduction rates. ISIS will have a field day. All those cathedrals...

And the U.S, won't be far behind on the road to third-worlddom. What with the First Muslim Socialist President soon to be succeeded by the First Female President, then the first Gay President, then the
First Lesbian Transexual President and so on ad infinitum...

What to do? Convert to orthodox Judaism and move to Israel?

It's not that important. Putin governs a weak Russia. They can make a little trouble on their borders, that's about it.

Same with China.

We're all capitalists now.

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Europe says a lot about the threat from the Russian side, it looks like blackmail against the United States. A good way to rearm not use ~ penny. This is especially true of the Baltic countries. They know that Russia will not attack, but an imitation threats, to get some money and weapons. Idiots are those who believe them

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