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NATO rapid-response unit proposed to address fears about Russia
By Julian E. Barnes and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

Seeking to reassure countries that have grown fearful of Russia, Western defense ministers will consider the creation of an easily deployable military force that could be sent into nations feeling threatened, a senior U.S. Defense official said Thursday.

The creation of such a force would take NATO back to its roots as a deterrent against Soviet might after years of concentrating on missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense chiefs plan to discuss the proposal at a meeting today. The Bush administration is pushing the idea as a compromise that could reassure allies without provoking Russia.

However, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped up the Bush administration's denunciation of Moscow, alleging in a speech in Washington that Russia had shown a "worsening pattern of behavior" in which it was "increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad."


by Magnifico on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 06:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gates Urges Cautious NATO Stance on Russia After Georgia Conflict
By Thom Shanker, The New York Times

With NATO divided over how to respond to a newly assertive Russia, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he would urge alliance ministers meeting here to adopt a cautious and deliberate approach that would reassure newer members along the Russian border without provoking hostilities.

Mr. Gates has said he does not anticipate any armed Russian incursions into the territory of NATO member countries, but said Moscow was more likely to pursue strategies of "pressure and intimidation," including restricting its supplies of oil and gas, on which Europe depends.

Mr. Gates made his comments as the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, struck a conciliatory tone in Moscow, saying he hoped that Russia and the United States could find a way to improve relations.

by Magnifico on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 06:15:04 PM EST
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Oh get real.

The EU isn't going to risk a war with Russia and the US doesn't have a modern army, anymore.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 06:30:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does still have a modern air force and navy, though, and too many people seem to think that's all it needs.
by Zwackus on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 06:47:08 PM EST
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With reconnaissance satellites, long-range anti-ship missile armed drones, and medium range ballistic missiles a carrier based naval battlegroup is fish habitat.

The US Air Force hasn't attacked a modern, integrated, anti-aircraft defense since World War II.  

Either way, the attacking forces would be savaged.

(AFC, BBS)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 06:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps an emblematic case was the Russian "attack" on the Kitty Hawk in November 2001 during manouvers in the Korean Sea. The Russian migs broke through the US defenses twice and were gone before the US forces caught on.

Russians and Americans have been having cat fights for decades, up to 280 a year, under-reported "incidents at sea." They're heavy sparing partners- and quite often the Russians get the best. A war with Russia would be a total disaster for the world.

As for the Georgia campaign, the Russian attack was a classic low-level operation. Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of their campaign was the lack of precision bombing. The Russians are deliberately using non-surgical weaponry as an admonition. And if their nuclear warheads are just as imprecise?

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 05:39:23 AM EST
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However, it is said airplane dogfights are passé, too: in a real aerial war, planes would shoot each other off the sky with rockets at a range of dozens to hundreds of kilometres.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 05:49:23 AM EST
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The development of remote controlled aircraft, flying above radar acquisition - "drones" - armed with air-to-air smart missiles coupled with swarm technology - independent agents with cross-coupled communication - is leading to the potential obsolescence of manned attack aircraft.

AFAIK, this system is still in the 'talking' phase.  Throw some money at R&D and it could be developed.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:43:29 AM EST
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AFAIK the nightmarish (because enabling even more reckless wars by people behind screens) idea of automatic airplanes is a dream for two decades now, but it only produced expensive but aborted development projects (a lot of the newer X-planes).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 11:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometime - when I'm not exhausted - and I'll run through the problems and how I would answer 'em.

But not today.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 07:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russians and Americans have been having cat fights for decades, up to 280 a year, under-reported "incidents at sea." They're heavy sparing partners- and quite often the Russians get the best.

LOL, that's not the impression one gets from watching Top Gun ;-)

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I refuse to see any film that has a so-called "scientologist" in the crew.

As for top guns, Karl Rove's "Mission Accomplished" set was stolen from Putin. To clench the 1999 elections Putin piloted a SU-27 over Checheny with a top gun as co-pilot, Maj. Gen. Alexander Kharchevsky.

General Kharchevsky is the head of the 4th flight training center (CBPiPLS) from Lipetsk, where one of the most capable Russian Air Force units is based. Several years ago Kharchevsky visited the United States, where he flew a number of simulated combat missions on his Su-27 fighter against some of the best American pilots. Kharchevsky won all of the 26 missions flown. (It was after Kharchevsky's trip to the U.S. that several Western military aircraft manufacturers, including Lockheed and Saab, declined an offer by Sukhoi Design Bureau to conduct a public one-on-one close combat simulation at an international air show between any of the latest Western fighters and the Su-35 air-superiority fighter.)

On May 1, 2003 (or the day before), Bush co-piloted a plane onto the USS Lincoln to announce the Mission had been accomplished. He however resorted to a normal guy pilot, a very American thing to do.

A proper film would pit the two pilots against each other, maple syrup and apple pie. I'll go see it if there's no fuckwit scientologist in the cast. Hell, I'll even write the script. Dick'll be the evil guy.

PS. It was Kharchevsky who "sank" the Kitty Hawk.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What that is saying is not that the US doesn't have a first-class navy or airforce, but rather that currently the balance between defensive and offensive weaponry is heavily slanted in favor of defense, at horribly asymmetric costs.

One can read recent weapons initiatives in the US as ways to get around that.  If you believe some of the hype, the more or less canceled F-22 Raptor was supposed to be the key to cracking modern air defense networks, and its cheaper and less effective replacement, the Joint Strike Fighter, is supposed to have a good chunk of that capability.

Then there are the various anti-satellite weapons the US has been developing, to deal with the satellite tracking issues.

None of its ready for use, though.

And your downthread comment about the US Army is right as well.

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 07:30:18 AM EST
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The F-22 has not been canceled. Actually it is already in service with operative units. Only 20 or so, but more are rolling of the line.

And if the F-22 is as good as the US propaganda claims it is...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 08:23:34 AM EST
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by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:16:26 AM EST
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The link doesn't work for me, but by all means buy Gripen instead. ;)

Not that the Americans are selling the F-22 to anyone, but the F-35 has gotten into developmental trouble... ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bomb, bomb, Iran [or other place as required]

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 06:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:02:41 AM EST
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Who has a modern army then? I mean the US has the most advanced military technology and is spending the most money on military.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 07:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The equipment has been heavily used in Iraq, some of it is worn-out, some damaged, all of 'em need down-time for replacement and repair.  They've stripped the US of second-line equipment - from the National Guard and Reserve Units.  

The quality of people being brought into the military has lowered.  They are losing the NCO corp (the heart of a fighting force) because of Iraq.  The quality of the Army has lowered.  The suicide rate is appalling.

The US is spending a ton of money, per year, but that is spread-out over the standard bills just to have a Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp, National Guard (Territorials,) and their associated Reserve Units.  Billions of dollars per month goes to Iraq.  And so on and so forth.

Yes, the US spends a lot, too much IMHO, on its military but it's a 'holding action,' as it were.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 09:35:02 PM EST
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It is still without any question what so ever the most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen.

The equipment has been worn down some, but that just mean more money to the military industrial complex.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 08:25:25 AM EST
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It's a very useful tool when the US wants to take on the military might of Haiti and Honduras.

Against sturdier foes armed with the very latest weaponry and a limitless budget - like Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan - its record isn't quite as convincing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:19:54 AM EST
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Iraq had its ass kicked, so did the Taleban. The North Vietnamese had no chance against the Americans in a conventional war and only launched that when the Americans were leaving.

But no, I've never claimed the Americans were good at counter-insurgency.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 09:37:10 AM EST
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Kind of the point, isn't it?

One might say there is an established doctrine of how to beat the US military: Allow them into the country and then conduct guerrilla/insurgency warfare until they leave.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 10:26:46 AM EST
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Counterinsurgency is an awful horrible thing to live through and the only people who do it are insane warlike dirt poor countries with huge birth rates and nothing to lose, except blood.

(And with the high birthrate that doesn't really matter).

In more developed nations where people actually want to live reasonable lives, like in Georgia, an insurgency is hard to imagine no matter how much the neocon press has been writing about it.

And when push comes to shove, if someone starts an insurgency against you, you very likely have done something very wrong.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 10:51:03 AM EST
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Civilian deaths and destruction in modern wars is far greater than the purely 'military' deaths.  Think of the destruction during World War II - still on-going these many years later! - caused by aerial bombing of cities, transportation nexus, manufacturing areas, & etc.

when push comes to shove, if someone starts an insurgency against you, you very likely have done something very wrong.

Yeah.  Like invading their country.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 11:12:57 AM EST
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Yeah.  Like invading their country.
Exactly my point.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 11:41:31 AM EST
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Where's the money going to come from?

Seriously.  The Bush administration and the GOP (neo-lib, conservative) dominance of economic policy over the last decades has gutted the US.  There isn't enough money to fight two wars, maintain a global military presence, bail-out the financial sector, pay for the weapons systems now coming on-line, and re-supply & equip the Armed Forces.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 10:19:50 AM EST
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America is full of money. It just has to be... redistributed.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 10:52:30 AM EST
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The money is and has been redistributed: from the population to the oligarchs.  More monies thrown at the military would only acerbate this and the other economic problems the US is experiencing.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 at 11:30:00 AM EST
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