Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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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