In case of trouble

This diary is about the crisis in Georgia, and the US response.  This diary is not about Sen. McCain, or about Sen. Obama.. it is about Pres. Bush, and his response to the crisis.

I have advocated a gradual ratcheting up of pressure on the Russians to reverse their present course of action.  I have also stated that I support what Pres. Bush is trying to do, at least as I understand it.  This is not a time to be taking potshots at the sitting President... there will be plenty of opportunities to do that down the line.

I understand that my view is a minority opinion here, and I am okay with that.

Along those lines, I note with satisfaction that the US and Poland have just "crossed the rubicon" with respect to Missile Defence.  I am sure the timing of move, and the fact that such a move was made at all, is not a coincidence.

From the NYTimes,

Poland and the United States struck a deal Thursday that will strengthen military ties and put an American missile interceptor base in Poland, a plan that has infuriated Moscow and sparked fears in Europe of a new arms race.

''We have crossed the Rubicon,'' Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, referring to U.S. consent to Poland's demands after more than 18 months of negotiations.

Washington says the planned system, which is not yet operational, is needed to protect the U.S. and Europe from possible attacks by missile-armed ''rogue states'' like Iran. The Kremlin, however, feels it is aimed at Russia's missile force and warns it will worsen tensions.

U.S. officials also said the timing of the deal was not meant to antagonize Russian leaders at a time when relations already are strained over the recent fighting between Russia and Georgia over the South Ossetia region.

In an interview on news channel TVN24, Tusk said the United States agreed to help augment Poland's defenses with Patriot missiles in exchange for placing 10 missile defense interceptors in the eastern European country.

He said the deal also includes a ''mutual commitment'' between the two nations to come to each other's assistance ''in case of trouble.''

"In case of trouble"...I like that expression.  And I am sure the move is really not meant to antagonize Russia... as the unnamed US officials said.  No, really...this is not snark.  I am sure the move is not meant to antagonize...it is meant to convey a message !!

I should also point out that the US has been planning for increased hostilities with Russia for quite some time.  None of this is explicitly stated US policy of course, but one can read the tea leaves.  One such tea leaf is the types of technologies that the Missile Defense Agency has shown interest in recently ~ those technologies are of use only if they are planning on having assets in countries that are expected to be overrun by hostile forces (read Poland and Ukraine being overrun by Russia is the only realistic scenario!!)

I wonder what the next step will be !!

Tags: Georgia, Poland, russia (all tags)

Comments

71 Comments

Go ahead...call me a troll !!

As I am sure some of you will.  Also, feel free to hide-rate this tip jar.  One of the reasons I love this site is that your hide-rating does not make any difference =)

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

As I have stated elsewhere I think these apparently antagonistic moves towards Russia are ill-conceived in a broader geopolitical context.  We are not doing anything to reassure our potential coalition partners that we are opposing Russia in a way that plays to our own strengths and against their weaknesses, in fact it seems we are doing the opposite.  We may even be dividing our European allies in the process for limited short-term point-scoring.  How does this missile defence system promote or fulfil our long-term European strategic objectives?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

well, I disagree with you, but I have no disagreements with you.

My view is that it is morally right to support georgia at this point.  And since it is morally right, the geo political implications will fall in line... as they always do when one chooses the moral option.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

Well I'm happy to disagree respectfully, we have had some pretty good dialogues from time-to-time.  And as far as the morality of our positions that is hard to discern without knowing the underlying motives, which when it comes to Republicans, or at least neo-conservatives, leaves me dubious.  I am more of a 'realist' in foreign policy, morality is often a slippery slope.  When it comes to intervention in genocide, sure, but when assessing conflicting claims, as in Georgia, it is far more difficult to see a clear legitimacy among the various actors, given their recent history and mutual resort to 'ethnic cleansing' and political leverage which takes little account of the quality of life of the innocent who ultimately bear the consequences, and the casualties, on either side.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

I think I understood your emphasis in a previous thread.  I dont grudge you your viewpoints.  Morality and realism cannot be viewed in isolation.  You emphasize realism more than I do... you could well be right.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

And also, I do not condone of those charges of unpatriotism that you referred to in the other thread... that charge is just as silly as the charge of recklessness that I hear!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

I wasn't charging anyone with unpatriotism, as I said it seems that the Republicans are charging Democrats with that claim any time we propose a more nuanced and measured response to a geopolitical challenge, which I feel is wholly inappropriate.  Recklessness, well, that makes more sense to me in this instance.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

Well, I was sympathizing with you on the charge of unpatriotism...

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

Cheers, I misconstrued your remark.  Thanks for your support on that one.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

It's entirely reckless to pursue hard tactics in this instance. We can't prevent a civil war in three places at once and still keep a lid on the situation between Iran and Israel. In fact, if we want to stop Iran, it is by far in our best interest to not pursue an aggressive Russian policy. We need their approval more than they need us.

Besides that, they know we don't want a war, they know the American people wouldn't stomach a war, especially if we are defending someplace like Georgia instead of the USA. What do you consider more devastating, for us to take a passive stance or for us to take an active stance and watch as they march past it? Not that we'd lose militarily, that we don't have the money, will or manpower to fight without instituting a draft and raising taxes by an obscene margin.

by vcalzone 2008-08-14 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Go ahead...call me a troll !!

Sorry, I was unforgivably unclear, I meant an accusation of 'recklessness' made far more sense in this instance.  I pretty much completely agree with you on the points you mentioned.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

You know my opinion Seven.

I only listen to people who are frothing for war, when they have skin in the game.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I did not realize you were voting for McCain.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

You're right.  He does have some skin in the game, but you do not.

One more guess:  IAF?  Am I right?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

He IS a fan of Teddy Roosevelt. Perhaps he sees himself as a latter-day Rough Rider, fantasizing about leading a squad of bombers over the middle east.

by vcalzone 2008-08-14 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

It's all McCain really knows.  His entire service was cold war.  His neural pathways are etched very deeply by his outdated world view.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble
One such tea leaf is the types of technologies that the Missile Defense Agency has shown interest in recently

Can you elaborate?  Provide a link?
by username 2008-08-14 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I am referring to technologies that would prevent any US assets from falling into foreign hands...even if they were to get physical possession of it.  Think of the spy plane incident with China in 2001.  

You can get it from the MDA website (and no, I will not provide an exact link)

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Think of the spy plane incident with China in 2001.

Really?  I thought that they slagged their avionics with phosphorous pouches?  The MDA worked on that?  Surprising.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I am fairly certain they dont do phosphorous pouches on anything that matters anymore...

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Got a link?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble
(and no, I will not provide an exact link)

Because...?
by username 2008-08-14 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

because I have already said enough...

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

...where by "have already said enough" you mean "want to waste your time Googling and guessing."  No thanks.  There are plenty of better online discussions.

by username 2008-08-14 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Sorry... I wasnt blowing you off on account of laziness.  The question you are asking is kinda close to work... I have already said enough, even though the links are public !

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Fair enough.  It's nowhere close to my work, so I'll do a bit of digging.  

by username 2008-08-14 09:06PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

a google search with "Anti-tamper" + MDA would point you in the right direction !!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-15 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Wasn't the 2001 incident a ploy on our part?  That was a fairly obsolete aircraft with apparently none of our latest generation gear on board.  I have always assumed we were merely baiting the Chinese into an incident just to let them know that a new gang was at the helm.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Nah, it wasn't a ploy.  It was just a repeat of the games that the Soviets and US used to play:  How close can we get to each other, without causing an international incident.

The EP-3 was not outdated at all.  It was chocked and blocked full of RF pods and gear, (both ECW, and passive gear).

They were most likely in passive mode, just listening to traffic from the mainland.  If they'd lit up one of those ECW pods, that close to the Chinese planes, they would have fried all of the Chinese avionics.  Those planes would have probably gone down.

The Marines knew what they were doing.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Thanks for the correction, I haven't really kept up-to-date on this stuff but from memory the first EP-3 Aries I was used operationally in the late sixties and I just assumed it was an obsolescent SIGINT aircraft.  I find it interesting that we are still operating old P-3C airframes in this front-line role, I guess the long range, loiter time and engine commonality with the C-130A-H argues in it's favour.

Your comment about the ECW effects is interesting, given that one of the Chinese J-8's did, in fact, clip the propeller of the port outboard engine and apparently went down with the loss of the pilot.   Interesting stuff.  Maybe it was the Chinese testing Bush's mettle rather than the other way around.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Shaun, I wasn't correcting you at all.  Just trying to clear up the misreporting that was done by the MSM at the time.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that they clipped one of the Chinese planes.  I think that there were two in the formation, if memory serves.

I think it was a MIG-21, wasn't it?  I don't think that it was a MIG-25, and it sure as hell was not an Su-30.  I'll need to check the Google.

The Navy still uses the P-3 Orion for sub hunting, with the MAD boom sticking out of the ass end. It's been around a very long time.

There were never really that good at finding subs.  Sonabouys were much better, so the the P-3s were retrofitted.  SH-60s are much more effective overall, but they don't have very long legs.

They just keep upgrading the avionics on the all the ECW birds.  We're still running EA-6Bs, and that original A-6 airframe was designed in the early sixties.

I always found it interesting that the Marines ran there own large ECW birds, (they run the EA-6Bs also).  It is a very small group, as most of the ECW jockeys don't want to get stuck in a bus.

Cheers Shaun, and thanks for your very lucid thoughts, and strong grasp of foreign policy.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Ooops.  Sorry.  Saw that you called out the J-8.  Sorry for not reading your post carefully enough.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 08:36PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Most of the avionics on the old planes are new.  But the Chinese are (or were) not after the avionics either ~ there are plenty of smart Chinese engineers who can make plenty of fine electronics.  In any case, most of the electronics is fabricated there (or in Taiwan) these days.

But, there are some crown jewels of encryption (GPS is one instance), where getting your hands on the physical hardware is very valuable.  Because, given enough time, you can take the integrated circuit apart, and figure out it's programming... and get the coding.. and then apply it for other reasons.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

most of the electronics is fabricated there (or in Taiwan)

Wrong.  Most of the IC content is made at the fab at Sandia National Labs, but you should know that.  A lot of it's radhard.  Give me the name of a foreign IC manufacturer that makes radhard ICs for the US military.  I would really like that name.

Or were you talking about populating the PCBs?  Cause you're wrong there also.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:09PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Are you talking about the trusted foundries by any chance ?  They are woefully out of date.. ICs made there are of no interest to anyone these days.. including the DoD (although the DoD does not have very many good options here)

Cheers!!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:13PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Are you crazy?

You think that TSMC or UMC are making radhard ICs for the US military?

Or maybe you meant SMIC?  That would really be hilarious.

The only real foundry that I know of here in the US that can handle this stuff, is IBM. Maybe that's what you meant. I can't tell.  

You never provide any specifics.  Just generalizations.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:21PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

This is a small hint... the radhard ICs you talk about is of no interest to anyone.  There are only a handful of ways to make an IC radhard... and everyone knows what they are.

The things that would interest an adversary is the secrets encoded on an IC.. and whether or not an IC has anything of value on it has nothing to do with whether it is radhard!!

Perhaps you have been overly impressed by some guy throwing the word "radhard" around like it was a very important word

Cheers.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Seven.  I'm sorry.  But you do not know what you're talking about.

Are you in the IC industry at all?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:33PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

P.S. TSMC is able to run 32nm HK/MG right now, in pilot capacities, (not enough immersion scanners, and also they've just nailed down a solid activation/anneal flow...I'll send you the paper, if you would like.  It was presented at the VLSI conference by SELETE).  

I find this very interesting, considering the only one who is near them for HVM at this node is Intel.

Still think we shouldn't care about those silly foundries in Taiwan?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

But surely soft-coded, and I'm assuming they're soft-coded because I assume they are changed frequently, encryption keys are the first and most easily destroyed things when capture is imminent.  I thought the days of hardware-encoded encryption technology ended with the Enigma engine, for obvious reasons.  I don't know much about this stuff, to be sure, put the same applies to public 128-bit encryption, doesn't it?

Thanks for the information though, it's pretty hard to get well-informed about this stuff in civvy-street.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Some of it is softcoded (and sofcoded secrets are a problem as well, but of a different nature).

But some of it is hard coded... bottomline is that if a smart organization got hold of some ICs... then it could seriously compromise some of the most precious secrets.  This leaves the DoD in a bit of a pickle: how do you make state of art ICs, when all the state of art foundries are overseas.  That is a far more likely scenario of the Chinese (and Taiwanese) getting their hands on those secrets, than with another spyplane type incident.

There are no good solutions to that, unfortunately!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I guess not.  Ironic, isn't it, that most of the leading-edge U/VLSI designs are the intellectual property of US laboratories but the only way to manufacture them is overseas?  Isn't that a strategic resources problem like the availability of hemp and rubber in the Second World War?  Or doesn't that matter in the security environment of the new global economy.  I mean how much could it cost to build a state-of-the-art U/VLS-IC substrate foundry Stateside?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 09:41PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Ironic, isn't it, that most of the leading-edge U/VLSI designs are the intellectual property of US laboratories but the only way to manufacture them is overseas?

Shaun, sorry, but this is not true.  Seven does not know what he is talking about.  I have been in the IC industry since I left active duty, 12 years ago.

He's pulling stuff from somewhere, but it's a disjointed picture...like he doesn't understand fully.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:51PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I'm gonna' stay out of this 'cuz I'm way out of my depth but it is actually interesting reading the dialogue, at least one of you knows heaps more about it than I do and it's an interesting topic.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 10:27PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

The DoD (and the NSA) have done just what you asked for... set up a state of art foundry in the US.  It is run by IBM in Vermont.  Problem was that it was outdated even before it was operational, and it cost a huge amount of money.

State of art foundries are getting more expensive as the "lithography resolution" shrinks.  And the industry is rapidly moving overseas because capital is cheaper there.  Because of the capital costs, and because of the large masking costs, it is rapidly getting to a stage where the DoD cannot even afford state of art ICs (yeah...sounds funny, doesnt it)

It is a very significant strategic concern.

You can google DARPA & TRUST to get a whole lot more on that.  You may still be able to find (on DARPA's website) a DoD position paper on this dated 2003 or 2004 that provides a lot more detail on the strategic problems, and the various things the DoD was doing to address it.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:01PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

And the industry is rapidly moving overseas because capital is cheaper there.

Dude, this is wrong too.  Where the hell are you getting your information?  The capital equipment costs pretty much the same, no matter where you are, (not accounting for currency fluctuations).

I sell the capital equipment used for Front End processing.

They go overseas because the labor is cheaper, not the capital equipment.

Are you cutting this stuff out of Wikipedia?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 10:11PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Ah, a salesman/woman... that would explain most of it !!

The expression I used was "capital is cheaper overseas".  It is a highly technical term (sometimes people say "cheaper capital costs") that roughly means that it is easier to raise boatloads of money in Taiwan and China than it is in the US.

Labor is, indeed, cheaper overseas.. but that is not the only factor in this particular case.  It is not even the dominant factor.  

I would recommend that same google search for you: DARPA + TRUST.  

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:17PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Dude.  Point blank.   You don't really understand any of this.  You think that if you get capital funding overseas, that you can't move it to the US.  Really?

The migration of the IC industry overseas, (for the last 20 years), has nothing to do with cheaper capital overseas right now.  Can you grasp this concept?

P.S.  I'm an Engineer.  I managed PD for my business unit, as well as the sales side.

Are you a degreed engineer?  I assumme yes, but I can't imagine in what.  You've yet to show me that you understand anything other than the basics of encrytption.

So was the Air Force thing BS also.  Do you make everything up?  

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 10:28PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Oh, I have led a charmed life =)

Yes, I am (was, actually) AF reserve.  No, it wasnt in Georgia...or in any country hostile to the Russians (oh, you are hilarous)  I also had a PhD at age 25... from a fairly decent school in the US.  I would not call myself an engineer, although some people do call me that!

And oddly enough, encryption is one thing that I most certainly do not understand... I am not a mathematician!!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:36PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I am not a mathematician!!

Neither am I.  Taylor series approximations, and some serious crunching power are what I like.

So, was it IAF?  Wanna talk now about your military experience?

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Actually Sir/Madam

I think I have had enough chatting with you for quite some time.  Good luck to you... and to all the conclusions that you jump to!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I figured that you would say that, as soon as I asked that question.

Good luck with that "Making things up" routine.  You probably can fool quite a few people.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 11:01PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

This leaves the DoD in a bit of a pickle: how do you make state of art ICs, when all the state of art foundries are overseas.

So Sandia doesn't count?  BTW, Intel regularly hands over 3 generation old masks for Sandia to use.  I'm sure that Intel would do foundry for the US Government, if asked, (they used to do a lot of Government and automotive ICs, up until they closed Fab 6 in Chandler).

Granted, they're not 300mm, but they don't make a lot, so 200mm is a big enough substrate.  Plus, all of their analog stuff runs just fine on 150mm.

Seven, you are digging a very deep hole.  Stop digging.  

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 09:48PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I am currious...

I'm sure that Intel would do foundry for the US Government, if asked

Why do you think Intel would do foundry work for the US govt.  Give me an insider's picture here...Mr Insider !!

And this is an honest question... an honest answer would be very much appreciated!!

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Well, as an insider to an outsider, there is no good business reason.  They existed that business in about 1999, because they wanted to focus on core business, (it was still very profitable).

I don't imagine that they would, unless there was a national crisis.  In a crisis, they probably would...and in a pinch, the Feds could use the SEMI fab in Texas, (after tossing out all the non-US personnel).

What is your beef with Sandia, anyway?  They can run 90nm - 65nm.

They don't need multi-billion gate, multi-core MPUs.  The vast majority of ICs are way less than bleeding edge.  And most of them are just Op-Amps, LNAs and other other high performance analog ICs built on Gallium Arsnide.

Please just answer one of my questions, clearly.  Please!

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Oh well, I suppose that is an honest answer.  But it was not very helpful.

I am not a a semiconductor industry insider.  I would not even qualify as an outsider.  But I do have a very strong professional interest in that industry.

Perhaps you are not aware, but neither Intel, nor IBM (their Vermont facility notwithstanding) will do any development work for the US.  That is not consistent with their business plan, unfortunately.  Sandia is okay, but what Sandia makes is either out of date, or much too expensive.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

Sandia is okay, but what Sandia makes is either out of date, or much too expensive.

1)  Expense has nothing to do with this.  Shit, Lockheed is still making stuff for the DoD, and their stuff is astronomically expensive.

2) So, you think that 65nm is out of date.  It's probably the geometry of the Core 2 Duo that's sitting in your little computer right now.  45nm is currently HVM cutting edge, and it usually takes 3 - 5 years for any defense project to utilize a generational shrink.  Do you know what equipment that they buy?  Have you been in their fab?  Even once?  Ever seen their MEMS stuff while you were there?

Seven - You may study this industry from the outside, but you really don't understand it.  You just don't.  I've been living this industry for too long to fall for BS.

Sorry.

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-14 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

One last thing, if it is IAF?  Do you have any views on the Kashmir region that you would like to share with us.

Just checking...

by snark adam excuse 2008-08-15 12:51AM | 0 recs
I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

in the attempted Poland deal.  Until now.  The Russians finally created justification for the deal.  It's not that I expect these missiles to protect us from Iran or Russia or anybody else.  It just moves the rook pawn closer to the enemy king at a time when the enemy king is getting frisky.  Some strategic price must be paid, and I don't think the Russians like having missiles of any kind closer to their doorstep.  

But we still need a real foreign policy, and this is nothing.  Just a necessary tit for tat, we being in such very short supply of tit right now.  

I suppose we could pull troops out of Iraq and move them to refortify NATO bases in Europe -- maybe we could call it a SURGE.  At some point, we have to reverse the Bush/McCain policy of hollowing out our military for the purpose of bolstering a failed attempt to make Iraq into the next Las Vegas.  

The problem we have is that our distractions with all this neocon game of Risk have weakened our foreign policy tremendously.  

Can you imagine Eisenhower partying with Kruschev while Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary in 1956?  The fact that it took them a while to realize how Katrina-esque that scene is tells you, they haven't thought seriously about foreign policy for years.  "Georgia was attacked by Russia?  Russia who?"

by Dumbo 2008-08-14 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

The problem is that our development is a tempo behind, our position is off-balance and we haven't castled yet.  In foreign policy, as in chess, an undeveloped attack rarely achieves a winning position.  Let them consume a move or two while we get our king-side house in order so long as we are wary of any dangerous combinations.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

I dont think anyone is talking about war, or "attack" here.  

The Defense Secy talked about how the US had worked very hard for 45 years to avoid war with the Soviets...

but they are ratcheting up pressure.  I think that is the proper response... as long as they ratched it up in a measured pace.

I should ask you something:  

you have critiqued the events that led up to the current crisis.  But you have not (to my knowledge) disclosed what your preferred course of action is.  What, in your opinion, should be done ?

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

I don't have an issue with supporting Georgia's right to self determination, certainly, against Russian pressure, in fact I believe that is the appropriate course.  But that doesn't seem to be what's at stake here, either.  But I strongly believe we have to act in concert with our European allies in this theatre, and not just by knocking their collective heads together or threatening them.  If I thought we had a coherent strategy which had a broadly-based consensus among our European allies with clear commitments to mutually agreed outcomes I would feel much more comfortable about a little 'bear-baiting.'  Personally I don't think NATO is the right vehicle for containing Russia's ambitions in Europe, for a variety of reasons, and I disapprove of the attempt to recruit a broader membership among former Soviet Republics as being unnecessarily inflammatory, possibly risky and certainly counter-productive.

Having said that I largely agree that South Ossetia needs to be brought back within the authority of the Georgian government in spite of Russia's mischief, but I don't see that as something which will be achieved by a tactical application of force but as part of a broader diplomatic engagement with Russia which includes collective pressure on Iran, the scrapping of our Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System in Europe, agreements on limits to membership of former Soviet republics to NATO, renewed bi-lateral agreements limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, broadened nuclear disarmament agreements and support for the inclusion of Russia in the WTO.  We share a space station, for pity's sake.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

Ah, a heavier emphasis on carrots!

Well, I wont grudge you on your positions... it is definitely well thought out.  Most people who have accused me of "recklessness" would rather just sit back and watch.

But, to borrow an old phrase that you once used, I think you are quibbling on the fine print.  I suspect that, behind the public fingerwaggings, the diplomats are scurrying back and forth discussing various incentives.

JFK, if you recall, never publicly discussed the incentives he offered to the Soviets during the Missile Crisis.

As to your specific positions... I agree that NATO is not the right vehicle for this.  And neither is the UN.. it has to be an informal coalition, perhaps centered around an economic bloc such as the G-7/8.

I can quibble with some of your specific incentives, but I agree with the gist of your arguments.

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

I agree it would better be an economic bloc, the G-8  membership is a likely starting place, excluding Russia, of course.  We actually don't seem to disagree much on the broad strokes.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 11:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

Perhaps you can start another diary with those comments expanded out into a discussion.  The path forward is much more important than a discussion of the past.

I would be happy to rec that diary as well.  I would be happy to initiate such a diary as well, but... we both know that your diaries will likely get much more attention because of your better writing abilities, and because of your better interpersonal skills =)

by SevenStrings 2008-08-15 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: I was opposed to the saber-rattling inherent

<blush>

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-15 03:19PM | 0 recs
Yay, chess analogies!

Well, as you are probably aware, the best way to fight off a greedy flank attack, like some doofus doubling his rooks and going after a b-pawn on a half-open file, is to open up the center.  Suddenly, all those pieces piled up on one side of the board become out of place.

And that's what the Russians did to us.  We were chasing some silly pawn on the b-file (Iraq), lining up our rooks and maneuvering our knights over to h5 and h4, storming that damn pawn, and suddenly, WHAM!  The Russians open up the center!  Their e-pawn pushes forward and attacks, then captures our Georgia d-pawn.  With Russia's major and minor pieces suddenly more maneuverable and within range of our poorly protected f pawn (eastern Europe), we are forced to decide whether we really ever wanted that b pawn that much in the first place (no) or if we need to recommit our pieces back to our own center and kingside for defensive purposes, as humiliating as that may be.  

Just sayin'...

by Dumbo 2008-08-14 10:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Yay, chess analogies!

Exactly, funny you should mention that's exactly where I think we are at.  And we were in such haste with our valiant queen-side march-of-the-pawns we neglected to castle and still haven't moved our king's bishop.  Bummer.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-14 11:04PM | 0 recs
Easy to support increased pressure on Russia

hard to support the missile defense boondoggle.

by JJE 2008-08-14 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Easy to support increased pressure on Russia

I am with you on that.  The missile defense boondoggle is.... (insert suitable adjective here)

by SevenStrings 2008-08-14 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: In case of trouble

I think the greatest single threat to world peace is the potential nuclearization of Iran.  In a best-case scenario, a nuclear-armed Iran would probably become much more aggressive throughout the region, knowing that it held the ultimate weapon.  In a worst-case scenario, Iran's nuclear technology could spill into the hands of other groups, such as Hezbollah, potentially leading to a nuclear holocaust.

I have absolutely no interest in pressuring Russia to help guarantee Georgia's right to rule over a couple of hundred thousand people who have no interest in being ruled by Georgia, in exchange for losing any hope of Russian cooperation over Iran.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia are gone to Georgia, no matter what we wish or want (I personally think that's fine, but even for those who think otherwise, there is nothing to be done about it.)  I think we need to reach an accommodation with Russia on this issue that says (privately, if not publicly) we will not challenge them on South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, in return, they should not challenge Georgia's sovereignty outside of those territories.  

by markjay 2008-08-15 09:57AM | 0 recs

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