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I really don't think the US will necessarily tell Poland exactly what missiles they will be installing on their territory, and the bases are supposed to be entirely under US control, with no Polish oversight. It makes sense for Russia to be suspicious since the Iranian excuse is transparently false, and it would also make sense for Poland to be suspicious.

Now that Tusk has accounced he will be talking to the Russians directly about this  there's a good chance the plan will never be implemented.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 06:22:40 AM EST
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Why not just destroy the base with a couple of conventional warheads as soon as it's built?
by vladimir on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 08:39:52 AM EST
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Things like mutual assistance clauses in NATO treaties ? But I think cutting the gas to Poland as soon as blue stream is online should be enough.

by Pierre on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 09:15:44 AM EST
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You think the Germans and French would go to war with Russia if it bombed an American missile base in Poland? I'm sceptical.
by vladimir on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 09:22:49 AM EST
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No, the US would. Or more likely, they would "gradually retaliate" by sinking a patrol boat here, blowing an outpost there... All sorts of really, really silly things. But then bombing the sites would be silly too, when an energy blocus would make it.

by Pierre on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 10:09:46 AM EST
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Bombing the installations in Poland and the Czech Republic would be a military response similar to that of the Americans in the Balkans where, the US reasoning goes, even if NATO acts outside the framework of international law and militarily integrates an area into its fold, Russia will or can do nothing.

Well in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Russians should reason in the same manner. Even if we bomb the two installations, NATO couldn't and won't do anything. This would send a serious message to NATO that Russia is determined to protect its interests and ready to go to great lengths to do so.

by vladimir on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 09:54:08 AM EST
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Leaving aside the fact that Poland has a formal strategic alliance with the US - a state of affairs that, to the best of my knowledge, did not obtain between Russia and any of the Balkan countries, there's a pretty damn big difference between intervening in an ongoing humanitarian disaster like the Yugoslav civil war. Even granting that the military and geostrategic logic would be the same, the political logic would be quite different.

Or, to put it a bit more bluntly: Poland is not a psychologically valid battleground for a war-by-proxy, because it's not some insignificant third-world backwater embroiled in civil war - it's a charter member of both NATO and the Union, which makes it a significant third-world backwater, and it's not an outright humanitarian disaster either (although a case could certainly be made that it's a human rights disaster). It's not a distinction that I particularly care for, but then again, I don't particularly care for war-by-proxy either. Or war in general, for that matter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 09:04:21 PM EST
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Just yesterday Poland was a member of the Warsaw Pact. And today it's part of NATO. Given the absence of a Russian military threat in Europe, America's military buildup on Russia's borders can and is likely interpreted as a preparation for war.

While I don't particularly care for war-by-proxy or war in general either, I think that the Russian military perceives America's muscle flexing on its borders as preparation for war. After all... real men want to go to Moscow, right?

Given that we've established that the US military is managed by generals who have little or no civilian governance (i.e. Wesley Clark, ...) and that American diplomats are prone to making terrible "misjudgments" (i.e. Madeleine Albright, ...) which lead to armed conflict, the likelihood of war breaking out on ex-Soviet territory between Russian and US (backed) forces some time in the near future seems more than real. In the different scenarios envisaged, this seems most likely in Abkhazia, Transdnestr or Crimea.

So, while the US is surrounding Russia, preparing for war, you seem to suggest that a Russian military reaction in Poland should be ruled out... because Poland is a member of NATO? What difference does that make given the situation? I think that the Russians are seriously considering a strike against the US military, either directly - as would be the case in Poland and the Czech Republic, or indirectly, as would be the case in Kosovo, the Bosnian Serb Republic or Iran/Iraq. Why? Because Karpov used to say that the best defense was always in good offence.

by vladimir on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 09:20:24 AM EST
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So, while the US is surrounding Russia, preparing for war, you seem to suggest that a Russian military reaction in Poland should be ruled out... because Poland is a member of NATO?
So, you think Russia should adopt Bush's pre-emptive strike doctrine?

I'm still hoping that Tusk will be a saner Polish PM and this will come to nothing. At least he's talking to both Merkel and Putin, something his predecessor was incapable of doing.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 09:48:48 AM EST
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Between you and me Migeru, I think this is all insane. Nukes in silos, nukes on wings, nukes in space, nukes on subs, nukes, nukes, nukes.
Unfortunately, nobody cares what I think :(
My analysis pointed to what a growing proportion of Russian military leaders most probably think.
by vladimir on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 09:58:20 AM EST
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Had Jacob not deleted his previous diary I could point you to a comment where I quoted a number of ET "salon" posts tracking the German government's position on the missile shield last Spring. Basically, European governments make noises to appease their (rightly) worried populace, and then there's a NATO summit or an EU summit and nobody voices any objections at the top government level. The same thing happened on the CIA secret flights.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 10:05:30 AM EST
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What is it that holds Europe's leading politicians hostage to Pentagon interests?
by vladimir on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 10:10:26 AM EST
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I have no idea.

In countries that are already NATO members, opposition to NATO is considered "unserious". In countries which are not NATO members, opposition to NATO is sold on a "tradition of neutrality" because even there all "serious" people are Atlanticist.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 10:20:13 AM EST
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Individually they are all too dependent on US investment.  Collectively the EU doesn't amount to a whole can of beans in terms of international relations.  Hopefully the reform treaty will make some contribution  to changing this situation for he better.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 10:20:16 AM EST
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The investment is actually going the other way. The US is a "predator economy" consuming much more than it produces. Just look at the US current account deficit.
by vladimir on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 11:28:14 AM EST
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Damned if I know. But I can guess:

  1. Gratitude. This is very much the official line. We should all be thankful to the US for having preserved democracy (a.k.a. capitalist democracy) in the face of Nazism and Communism (nevermind the fact that it was the USSR who broke the back of Germany during the War). While I think many of the people who toe this line know perfectly well that it's bullshit, I'm sure that there are a few committed ideologues that truly believe it.

  2. Cultural affinity. The US is our chief supplier of cultural products. Try leaving a TV on in Europe for an evening. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts (or the other way around, if you prefer hard currency :-P) that you'll be watching at least one American movie. Hell, I'm about as committed to a European future as you get, and I'm still almost half-way American.

  3. The US is the chief exponent of the neo-liberalism (a.k.a. unrestricted gangster capitalism) that many 'serious' - to use Migeru's term - European opinion-shapers are so beholden to. It is not entirely unlikely that much of our upper class simply find that their spiritual home is on the other side of the Pond - after all, it's a deal more fun to be rich in a neo-lib society.

  4. Cold-war tradition.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 09:05:25 AM EST
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You mention the soft reasons, which are fine.
There's also a hard reason which is probably as important if not more - and that's BIG US contracts for military hardware - with or without kickbacks to the key politicians. If Merkel is weighing friction with Russia against a couple of thousand jobs in her constituency, she's likely to choose the latter.
by vladimir on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 01:31:46 PM EST
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I deliberately did not include kickbacks because I don't believe that they're sufficiently common in (Northwestern) European political culture to seriously influence decisions. As for the economic dependency that seems absurd on the face of it - the rest of the world - including Europe - is subsidising the US to the tune of several billion (trillion?) € a year. No, I think it has to be psychological, because in terms of hard incentives, it makes no sense at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 01:47:07 PM EST
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I wouldn't call it economic dependency. Economic sweetener seems more appropriate. While indeed the US economy is subsidized to the tune of $1.3 trillion per year (roughly twice the Pentagon's annual budget), it's important to note that the lion's share of capital flowing into the US economy is private. So whereas Merkel can't say "I'm not going to support US deficits" in order to keep the money in Germany, she can say "I do want the Pentagon to sign a € 2 billion contract with Siemens".
Also, if you take a look at how the negotiations unfolded (see Migeru's post), Merkel was initially against deployment of the sites in Poland & CzRep. only to be swayed in favor later, after negotiations... or arm twisting. You wouldn't expect that from someone who believed in the Atlantic partnership.
To conclude, I think that large contracts are definitely in the play.
by vladimir on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 03:05:28 PM EST
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Of course Merkel could deploy measures to keep private German money out of the US. But I think you've identified another reason for our little list: Dogmatic free-tradeism. There is a decided unwillingness to use restrictions in free trade and free flow of capital for political ends (at least as long as we're talking about restricting trade for white, English-speaking people). That puts Europe at a disadvantage, because it negates the objective economic advantage we have over the US.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 10:18:22 PM EST
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Well, after seeing both Aznar and Blair make big bucks on the US lecture circuit I'm not sure there isn't a lot of cold interested calculation and selling out for personal gain on the part of right-wing European leaders, of late. And Schröder got a job at Gazprom, where he may soon be joined by Putin.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2007 at 02:55:01 PM EST
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Retrieved from Google's cache...
The country that should be most concerned about this, as a neighbour or both Poland and the Czech Republic and the largest EU member state is Germany. However, the Polish at least seem to be as about as wary of Germany as they are of Russia. So, what has Germany done?

Back in March this year we there was a lot of debate in Germany. Take this from March 12:


Reuters: Germany's Schroeder slams U.S. missile shield plans
DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. plans to build a high-tech missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are dangerous and absurd, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Sunday.

"The missile defense system planned by the United States and which is to be installed in eastern Europe is politically extremely dangerous," Schroeder said in a speech in Dresden.

"It is viewed, rightly, in Russia, and not only there, as an attempt to establish an absurd encirclement policy, a policy which is everything but in the interest of Europe," he said.

On March 14, Merkel was talking tough...
IHT: Merkel sharpens tone on U.S. missile shield
BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel, sharpening her government's opposition to Poland's decision to accept part of a U.S. missile shield on its territory, said Tuesday that the issue should be submitted to NATO and not decided on a bilateral basis with Washington.

Merkel is to meet in Hannover on Thursday with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, whose aides have threatened to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty if deployment so close to Russia's borders proceeds. On Friday, representing the European Union presidency, she will travel to Poland where she will discuss the plan with Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

"We, and I, will say that in Poland we would prefer a solution within NATO and also an open discussion with Russia," she told ZDF public television.

Nary a week later...

German Concern Over Missile Shield Plans: Merkel Urges US to Consult Allies - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging the US government to engage in a broader discussion about the missile defense shield it plans to erect in Poland and the Czech Republic to protect it from enemy missiles.

"We should always make sure that we discuss everything in a spirit of trust to avoid rifts," Merkel said in a speech to a conference on trans-Atlantic economic cooperation in Berlin. "No one can master the new challenges on their own." She said that applied to the European Union as well as the United States. The German chancellor was in Poland on Friday and Saturday to press its leaders to back a broader discussion on the missile shield within NATO.

Merkel's remarks follow strong comments from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who said it was important not to let the US project spark a new arms race in Europe nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War.

Was Germany coming to its senses? While the Social Democrats made noises about how dangerous this was, Merkel went to the US to make amends and say that she remained the best of pals with Condi Rice. So much for tough talk.
SPIEGEL alert 'Europe Doesn't Need New Missiles' (The World From Berlin, March 20 2007)
Plans by the United States to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe has led to sharp criticism from some quarters in Germany. While the chairman of the Social Democrats says Europe doesn't need new missiles, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her foreign minister would like to see NATO get more involved.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, visited his US counterpart Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday and sought to play down differences between Berlin and Washington on the issue of a US plan to build a missile defense system in Europe.

He described the US need to protect itself as "legitimate" and said that Germany respected this. "It is not a disruption of American-German relations, none whatsoever," he said after meeting with Rice.

(seen here on ET on March 21, 2007)
More NATO involvement? Okay, what does that mean? Well, after NATO's Jan de hoop scheffer said that yet another missile shield would be needed to protect South-East Europe, Solana pitched in to plead for poodlehood.
EUobserver.com | Solana calls for EU-level debate on missile shield
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU states should hold a joint debate on US plans to install a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, the EU's top man on foreign policy, Javier Solana, told MEPs in Brussels on Thursday (29 March), in a lively meeting that opened the question of EU treaty limitations on national sovereignty in defence.
By this time, the Germans government was fully on board! Apparently North Korea has missiles than can hit Europe (clearly with Russian permission).
German Defense Minister in Favor of US Missile Shield in Europe | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 12.04.2007
German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung on Thursday expressed support for the US plan to build a missile shield in central Europe.

The latest developments with Iran's nuclear program reinforce the case for deploying a missile shield to protect Europe from attacks, Jung told Reuters in an interview Thursday.

The United States wants to build a radar station in the Czech Republic and a missile battery in Poland as a shield against possible nuclear attacks from what it calls "rogue states," namely Iran and North Korea.

And then the long awaited NATO meeting happened...
EU states raise no objection to US missile plan at NATO forum - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - US plans to build a shield against intercontinental missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic received tacit approval from the 26 NATO member countries at a meeting on Thursday (19 April), despite opposition to the plan inside the EU and from Russia.

"There were no critical comments on the US system," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said after the first meeting of high-level NATO political representatives on the US plan, held at NATO headquarters just a few kilometres outside the EU capital, Brussels.

Shortly thereafter Putin said he would pull out of the CFE treaty. What would you have suggested that the Germany and the EU do differently?
Followed by this other comment
Oh, the danger has been appreciated in Europe, just not by "serious" people like Merkel, Solana, Jan de Joop Scheffer...
I think Germany should approach it from the other side, and try to buy off Poland and the Czech Republic. If they are looking for construction, let Germany build something in the same depressed areas, and so on.
Didn't I just show you that Germany's government pretended to be worried for a while but sought NATO cover as soon as they could? This reminds me of when the CIA Prison/Flight scandal broke in <gasp> November 2005. For a week Europe's governments made appropriate noises to satisfy the populace, and then Condi Rice was forced to come to Europe on a lightning trip, doring which Europe's leaders demanded, in the strongest possible terms, that Condi please help them deal with the European public. Ahem. It's been two years since anyone has done anything, despite the evidence.

As for buying off Poland and the Czech Republic... that seems hardly necessary

US president starts Europe tour amid Czech protests - EUobserver.com
Two thousand anti-missile shield protestors picketed government buildings in Prague on Monday (4 June) night as US president George Bush landed in the Czech republic to start a week long European tour, with Mr Bush set to chide Russia over democratic standards in a major speech on Tuesday.

Czech demonstrators held up signs saying "Bush number one terrorist" in what has become a familiar sight on his European visits since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with 1,500 Czech police - including counter-terrorist and sniper units - all-but shutting down central Prague in anticipation of larger protests today.

Opinion polls show two-thirds of Czechs do not want the US to build bits of a new missile shield in the country, amid fears of worsening relations with Russia and becoming a target for anti-US terrorist groups. The shield - to be operational by 2012 - will also see US missiles in Poland, despite similar fears in Polish society.

Assuming 1) Germany actually doesn't want the shield; and 2) the Czech government listens to its people; there should be no need for bribes. But what bribes can Germany offer that can outweigh giving the Czech President access to the US lecture circuit as a Climate Change expert? I mean, come on!

On Germany bribing the Poles, what did you smoke for breakfast today?

The only solution is to vote the serious peopleidiots out of office.

Central European Socialists Sign Anti-Missile Shield Declaration | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.09.2007
The socialist leaders of six central European nations signed a declaration on Friday, Sept. 14, condemning US plans to base its missile defense shield on European soil.

In what will be a massive blow to the United States' plans to base its missile defense shield in Central Europe, left-wing leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia plus Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) chief Kurt Beck condemned the plan and issued a joint declaration stating their opposition in no uncertain terms.

"We are concerned about the decision to deploy the system and are at one with the large majority of our populations in rejecting it," read the declaration.

Sorry I lost the links to the original ET threads where these blockquotes were taken from - TribExt doesn't work on the google cache.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 10:18:24 AM EST
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thank you!
by vladimir on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 11:19:41 AM EST
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A Russia-US confrontation in Poland will not be a limited war. The German-Polish border is less than two hundred km from Berlin, for Chthulu's sake! Every single European country is going to view an attack on Poland - however justified - as a declaration of war on the Union proper. As you said yourself, Poland was a Warsaw Pact state not so very long ago. Even leaving aside the fact that attacking Poland would be a stab right next to the heart of Europe, consider the implications for the Baltic states or Slovakia. Even Finland might get scared enough to mobilise!

When Argentina tried to touch the Falklands - the most worthless piece of real estate this side of the Siberian Tundra - the British sent a carrier task force to unleash all the daemons of Hell on them. Try, for a moment, to imagine the reaction from London, Berlin and Paris to an attack on a major member of both the Union and NATO. They'd go ballistic so fast that the sonic boom would blow out windows in the Kremlin. (And let's not even consider that messianic madman in the White House.)

The US can drop bombs on some ex-Yugoslav country, and nobody gives a damn. The US can assault Vietraq and get little more than strongly worded letters of disapproval from most European capitals (nevermind the 'new Europe' cheerleaders!). Israel can annex the West Bank and turn Gaza into an open-air prison, and nobody turns a hair. Hell, Russia can even commit slow-motion genocide in Chechnya and the most any civilised country does about it is hold a conference once in a while. But touch white people who speak a semi-decent English, and you open all the gates of Hell. It's not fair and I don't like it one bit but that's how it is.

No, if Russia wants to flex its military muscle without risking a major war, it'll be something down in the Caucasian rim. Georgia or Azerbajan or somewhere like that, which is deep enough inside the Union's sphere of interest to get the point across, but not close enough to home to get a NATO CTF dispatched to the Black Sea. We'll probably see a bunch of shiny new MiGs in the Iranian airforce too.

Vladimir Putin, unlike some other current leaders of major powers I could name, is not certifiably insane. Competent Tjekists don't raise the stakes unless they're damn sure they'll win the game. And in a large-scale confrontation between Russia and the Union and/or NATO, neither side would win.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 08:52:27 AM EST
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I really don't think the US will necessarily tell Poland exactly what missiles they will be installing  

There will be a list given to the Polish government.  The US may even announce a list publicly.  

Both will be false.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 02:18:46 PM EST
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