Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
 In the short term, it simply isn't going to happen. And attempting to hurry things along would only work against European interests. FIrst of all you'd exacerbate the divides, secondly you likely wouldn't actually see an end to NATO, but rather a rump, more hardline one with a shift in US military concentration eastwards. That would in turn make Russia EU relations worse and more unstable.

In the long term - who knows, maybe you'll get a Russian Willy Brandt and a shift in Russian public relations policy towards constant reassurance and apology for the past. That would eventually work, but I don't see it happening for the foreseeable future. Or perhaps over time the EU will be able to take the place of NATO in the minds of the Poles and Baltics, along with the military structures that implies, though without the Russian shift taking place, that wouldn't really change anything from an EU-RUssia perspective, except perhaps for the worse. And remember that NATO was a vital factor enabling the reconciliation and reintegration of Germany in Western Europe. (NATO's triple purpose: Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.)

All in all, I don't quite get Europeans who are simultaneously pro EU integration, pro international stability, pro better EU-Russia relations, and anti-NATO. The last of these policy choices implies giving up on at least one of the first three.

by MarekNYC on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 11:37:46 PM EST
All in all, I don't quite get Europeans who are simultaneously pro EU integration, pro international stability, pro better EU-Russia relations, and anti-NATO. The last of these policy choices implies giving up on at least one of the first three.

This is a claim that requires elaboration. There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations, so it would seem to be that the claim hinges strongly on the notion that NATO is pro-international stability.

This is, of course, the military-industrial complex line ... that a base network of 700+ overseas bases accumulated in part as a result of fighting and winning WWII and then pursuing an encirclement strategy against the USSR, and accumulated in part just because it was possible to get a base in the country ... is somehow pro-international stability.

I think "international stability" here is a euphemism for Pax Americana, and if so it is one of those Orwellian terms that means its opposite, as Pax Americana seems to be one of the primary instigators of international conflict in the world at the moment.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BruceMcF:
There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations
Pro-European integration is easy: the Central-Eastern European nations have strongly anti-Russian and consequently Atlanticist currents. Poland and the Baltics are the prime examples because they share a border with Russia.

The issue of Ukraine's possible EU or NATO accession would be a good test bed for elucidating this question.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:16:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Central-Eastern European nations have strongly anti-Russian and consequently Atlanticist currents. Poland and the Baltics are the prime examples because they share a border with Russia.

My understanding is that this isn't representative of the reality on the ground. The self proclaimed 'elites' of the political circles are anti-Russian (I wonder what the financial arrangements are) while Eastern European society at large is hardly anti Russian.

Statistics on this are welcome.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I read into Marek's
Or perhaps over time the EU will be able to take the place of NATO in the minds of the Poles and Baltics, along with the military structures that implies, though without the Russian shift taking place, that wouldn't really change anything from an EU-RUssia perspective, except perhaps for the worse.
(my emphasis)

Are you saying the Poles and Baltics whose minds we're talking about are the "self-proclaimed 'elites'"?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's indeed what I'm saying : political elites and local media -  often owned by the same foreign (Anglo-Saxon, German) mainstream media which propagates pro-NATO values on the Western end of Europe.

The key to mind control is information control.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's be clear, just like Frank describes how NATO membership is a non-starter in Irenland and Sven relates how there was a short-lived attempt in the last coupld of years to bring NATO membership into the mainstream in Finland, no "serious" political party in Western Europe advocates leaving NATO. For instance, in Spain that debate ended in 1986 and there's a "consensus" since. NATO membership is not an issue. I suppose the same is true in other countries.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:03:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, Nicolas SARKOZY - a known pro NATO advocate (and whose presidential campaign was - I suspect - financed in part by some US military-industrial organisation) wants to take the country back into the alliance without as much as a public debate.

The Socialists are opposed as is the center MODEM led by François BAYROU. Are these 'serious' political parties? BAYROU is calling on the government to organise a referendum on the issue. I would certainly support that. But if it's not on the agenda, it's because the French would vote NO. Vive la démocracie.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France has been in NATO but "out of its military structure", whatever that meant.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 08:24:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It means the US doesn't own French nukes and boots - as it owns the UK's nukes and boots - but France and the rest of NATO still talk to each other.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a reassuring concept for the UK.
by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's called an "'independent' nuclear deterrent".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A small but interesting fact is that there are now about 50,000 Russian-speakers living in Finland and the number could double in just five years, according to a recent report. It is the third most used language.

Many of these Russian 'immigrants' are highly educated - something that Finnish companies and institutions have been slow to react to.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helsingin Sanomat: Report: Russian-speakers often suffer abuse at school and at work

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are also a lot of ethnic Russians in Latvia - I'm not sure of the figures for other Baltic states, but overall there must be quite a significant Russian population already within the EU.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those people are stateless or at best second-hand citizens and they have been let down by all three of Russia, the Baltic countries and the EU. We have discussed them here on ET before. See


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks - I knew there was  problem, but had not read up on it.  I suspect this is an issue I could raise on the Thinkaboutit site and annoy some of the east Europeans there.  There appears to be quite a strong nationalist and Eurosceptic streak in that collective - I hesitate to use the word community.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means that NATO offers to them an alternative to commitment to the EU and European Integration as such ... one in which they can play off goal conflicts between the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By my count wikipedia lists 27 foreign Airforce bases in 15 countries; 89 Army bases in 8 countries;  27 Marine Corp bases in 7 countries; and 15 Naval installations in 9 countries.

A total, by my count, of 158 bases - a figure Wikipedia acknowledges to be incomplete.  Obviously this does not nominally local bases where some US troops may be based from time to time, temporary bases, black sites, and bases manned by close allies or Corporate contractors.

Do you know what the 700 figure is based on?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 09:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the top of my head I can think of several that aren't included in the list they are generally listed as  bases for local military services, but staffed by US forces. Locals only providing security and Liason.

Secret Bases Part 1 - WWW.SECRET-BASES.CO.UK - © 2009

RAF Croughton near Brackley in Northamptonshire is an old USAF airbase, but no runways have been apparent for many years. The base appears as a significant cluster of aerial symbols. That's because RAF Croughton is the focal point for the US military's communications within Europe.....

Croughton has a transmitter annexe at RAF Barford St. John near Banbury in Oxfordshire. This "disused airfield" is said to provide secure communications facilities for CIA agents and US Diplomatic personnel. The 1:25000 OS map reveals another good old "Wireless Station" label.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It includes things like military attaches in embassies and consulates IIRC.
by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:19:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is from Chalmers Johnson, taken from the Department of Defense annual "Base Structure Report".

"+" because the Base Structure Report is clearly incomplete, in terms of not listing any bases for countries where we know that US forces are based, and also in terms of only listing a central base in locations with multiple bases ... for example, in the 2003 report, Okinawa has one Marine Corps base listed, where there are as many as 10 Marine Corps bases on the island.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the report state how many of the 700+ are outside the USA, and in how many different countries?  I read a report (a while ago - can't find) which stated that the US had a presence in 100 countries - a figure which seemed remarkably high to me.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are the foreign bases listed in the report ... the bases in the US and US territory number in the thousands.

100 countries sounds reasonable to me ... there has never been a foreign base closure commission like the US base closure commission a while back, and the MIC is a pack-rat when it comes to overseas bases ... for one thing, remember that Kitchen Patrol and Toilet Duty are now largely relegated to contractors, which means that most bases are a supply of ongoing contracts for base support operations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 11:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a claim that requires elaboration. There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations,

Pro-European integration - being viewed as acting against countries' most important strategic interests would do bad things for European integration. On the latter point, I'm not saying it helps, but rather that trying to eliminate it would hurt.

by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what's Declan Ganley with his US defence establishment colleagues up to?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As it happens his Polish allies have traditionally been deeply anti-NATO and anti-US.
by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be interesting to see whether they undergo a miraculous conversion to pro Nato views...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... it ... whether it is, say, France and Germany trying to eliminate it, or whether it is the US trying to eliminate it ...

... but even more importantly, actively working to eliminate it and actively working to reinforce it is a false dichotomy. There are actions short of actively working to eliminate it that would accelerate the decline resulting from its obsolescence ... for instance, removing participation in actions outside of NATO borders from the NATO structure would be a big step in the right direction.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For all the triumphalist BS you'll hear out of American mouths, nobody here is claiming that any "Pax Americana" ever existed. Cross-border conflict is way down to be sure, but the number of casualties in the various civil wars that have and are still going on around the world meets or exceeds those of both world wars put together.

Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties. Likely it's military technologies and the assymetric tactical doctrine account for much of this, other reasons might be deliberate civilian targeting (genocide, ethnic cleasning) and what I'll call disorganized military formations that forage off, recruit from, and pass disease among the noncombattants they live among.

Conflict is one of the reasons foreign affiars in general has gotten its hooks into me.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties.

I doubt this factoid is true if you do not (as they did at the time) constrain the definition of war to the conflicts between european powers. When dealing with people without machineguns (Congo, Tasmania and the list goes on) attempted genocide was common. WW2 saw these practices spread to europe, hence the horror.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good point. I hop around books and white papers so much I forget where I've read things...so I cannot speak to the authority of that assertion, but I can say this: when I read it, I immediately absorbed it as if it were true, so I was in general agreement with the author's premise.

Damn, I thought I had that one down, and now I'll have to go back and check it.

Grrrrrrrrrr!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"as they did at the time"

This is a current author. He'd have to be to be speaking to what happened at the end of the 20th century, wouldn't he?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but I assume he uses the start of the 20th century definition of conflict and casualties for those. However, I doubt that the sum of military casualties in 19th century wars matched the sum of killed civilians in the Congo alone.

It is a fairly common mistake, similar to using start of 20th century definitions of democracy. My guess would be that the author is primarily concerned with the atrocities of the 20th century and uses the earlier episode as backdrop for contrast. Am I right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 09:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... when its a trademark, its doesn't have to be true, like Fox News, or Fair and Balanced, or Free Trade Agreement, or Conservative Movement.

Pointing out that Pax Americana means no wars America did not start except in trivial countries which are mostly important as sources of raw materials ... does not contradict the absence of Great Power Armed Conflict, it just underlines the limitations of Great Power Armed Conflict as a framing for violence against people around the world.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to always use the term in an ironic sense but am aware - when writing for a more general audience - that many don't get the irony.  However those are just the people I don't want to get into an argument with about whether the USA is the fount of freedom throughout the world - and thus I am happy to let the irony deficit stand.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian public relations policy towards constant reassurance and apology for the past.

This kind of comment is likely to draw us into a debate about the relative evil inflicted by empires from East to West. Do you really want to go there?

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Marek is speaking about what would be required to placate Poles and so on without necessarily commenting on how justifiable their beliefs are in the current situation.

It seems that there is a strong thread of "Run, run, the Russkies are coming!" in the border states and that judgement  is unaffected by the belief that the Russians have better things to do and bigger problems to deal with than invading Poland.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:08:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Slavs in general were systematically exterminated during WWII by the German - Austrian killing machine.

The Germans are not only coming... in fact, they're already back (albeit in a somewhat different outfit) to many of the places they left back in 1945.

Is anyone advocating that the Germans - Austrians repeatedly communicate regret and apology to these nations... Is that because the 'people' of central Europe have no fear or is it because the local media and governing 'elites' are supportive of renewed German economic and political influence in their countries?

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not saying it's justified, sane or fair. Just saying that it's there. I agree it's a problem.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 08:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After the German atrocities came the Red Army invasion and the installation of Communist regimes, political repression and things like the invasion of Hungary and the Prague Spring.

Very roughly, if you're 30 years old you remember "shock therapy". If you're 60 years old you remember the Soviet satellite regimes. You have to be 90 years old to remember the Nazis. Of course, the Polish Twins were happy to annoy both Germany and Russia, and in the Czech Republic apart from a President whose only political message is "<insert thing Klaus dislikes> is like Communism" they have an ongoing controversy over the Beneš decrees which are perceived to be a symbolic bulwark against the German "return" you talk about.

In addition, Germany did engage in a fair amount of soul-searching in the 1960's. Perestroika might have led to Russia doing the same about now, except that the result of Perestroika was that the USSR imploded instead, followed by "shock therapy" and a nationalistic backlash.

So while I think the Russian bogeyman is ridiculous, I can understand where the sentiment comes from and how sociologically Marek may well be totally correct that a more cooperative relationship between the enlarged EU and Russia "simply isn't going to happen" "in the short term".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 08:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read Marek's comment again.
(NATO's triple purpose: Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.)

The reason the EU can't replace the NATO is exactly the point that people in eastern Europe fear a dominance of Germany, if the biggest ally in their military alliance would be Germany.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 11:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish nationalists could react to good EU-Russia relations by raising the spectre of the Partition of Poland (among Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia) to great effect.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 11:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Molotov-Ribbentrop might be more relevant in living memory. Yalta even more so.

I doubt anyone in Poland seriously considers partition a possibility. But a certain lack of consistency from the Allies during WWII might still rankle among those old enough to remember the aftermath.

Not that the UK and US were ever likely to declare war on Russia immediately after. It was considered as an option, but rejected for obvious reasons.

But there's a case to be made for mismanagement of the invasion in 1944, which added another 6-12 months to the war and allowed the Soviet incursion into Europe to push far to the West of where it might have reached otherwise.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:17:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Slavs in general were systematically exterminated during WWII by the German - Austrian killing machine.

And the Poles by the Soviet one.

Is anyone advocating that the Germans - Austrians repeatedly communicate regret and apology to these nations

The Germans do, and have been doing so for a good several decades now. And guess what, it's worked.

by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet at the same time they're back to their old mischief. Arming and financing Croatian (extreme right... not to say fascist or Nazi) nationalists, arming and financing Bosnian extremists (ex Handzar Division SS Allies), arming and financing Albanian extremists in Kosovo (ex Nazi Allies).

Financing Ukrainian extremist nationalists? Anyone?

But at least they're repentant. I am much relieved.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:37:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That should be  "It seems to me that there is a strong thread"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 08:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does Russia have to apologize for?

I mean, we can play at this game for a long time; would not then the US also have a whole hell of a lot to apologize for? Or the UK? Or any other number of countries?

The list will be long, and include many current offenders.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 09:36:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For having oppressed Eastern Europe after the Germans did. The most recent oppressor is the one that gets the most bad blood.

Plus, the Germans already apologised in the 1960's.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 09:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think people forget that not only did Russia really suffer from WWII; but also, WWI. The origins of the Revolution saw large swathes occupied by foreign armies, not just Poland but also Belarus, much of the Ukraine and a large and fertile portion of Russia proper. Upon acension to power, they proposed a peace treaty to all other belligerents, were strongly rebuffed by the Western allies and pretty much forced into signing Brest-Litovsk, which stripped away upward of three-quarters of Russia's industrial production, massive amounts of farmland, at the flash of a pen.

I don't think one could imagine such an experience would be forgotten by the early revolutionaries, certainly not Stalin, and what followed should be seen in this light, also, I think.    

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as you keep looking for the original Sin, the other side can always point to an earlier grievance.

The goal here would be for Germany and Russia to work with their "buffer states" to get to a point where they can all live side by side.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The role of the USSR in the defeat of Nazism has almost been written out of popular "Western" history, as has the very real and justifiable Russian fear of invasion by the West after WW2 - much more real than the threat of Soviet Nuclear attack subsequently.  But history is written by the victors, and aren't we all capitalists now - eh - well perhaps for a short time until recently.  Where did I hear the phrase to socialise the commanding heights of the economy first?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One can always educate oneself... Oh, wait!

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
role of the USSR in the defeat of Nazism has almost been written out of popular "Western" history
 

Of course.  It had to be.  Because the strategy on the Atlantic side of the Alliance was precisely to let the Soviet Union to do as much of the fighting as possible, and only come in swinging at the end.  

That is not the sort of thing you can include in patriotic history texts.  

very real and justifiable Russian fear of invasion by the West after WW2
 

Really?  The very real, but always-overruled proposal in policy circles was to fake a provocation and follow with nuclear attack, while the US enjoyed its nuclear monopoly.  This policy proposal lost ground as monopoly was reduced to mere superiority.  

Or is that what you were refering to?  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 05:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought about this:

George S. Patton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After the surrender of May 8, 1945 eliminated the threat of Nazi Germany, Patton was quick to assert the Soviet Union would cease to be an ally of the United States. He was concerned that some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated from POW camps by the Soviets, but were never returned to the US. In fact, he urged his superiors to evict the Soviets from central and eastern Europe. Patton thought that the Red Army was weak, under-supplied, and vulnerable, and the United States should act on these weaknesses before the Soviets could consolidate their position. In this regard, he told then-Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson that the "point system" being used to demobilize Third Army troops was destroying it and creating a vacuum that the Soviets would exploit. "Mr. Secretary, for God's sake, when you go home, stop this point system; stop breaking up these armies," pleaded the general. "Let's keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to these people, the Soviets. This is the only language they understand." Asked by Patterson -- who would become Secretary of War a few months later -- what he would do, Patton replied: "I would have you tell the Red Army where their border is, and give them a limited time to get back across. Warn them that if they fail to do so, we will push them back across it."

Or as I heard it summarised elsewhere "Now, lets continue to Moscow!"

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Molotov-Ribbentrop and the incredibly brutal occupation that followed. The Soviet occupation of 1939-41 was just as bad for ethnic Poles as the German one, adjusted for time and population. And then the the long postwar occupation. You also forgot reassurance; rather than mourning the loss of empire, you'd need them saying what a good thing it was - over, and over again.
by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm no expert on this, as you are, and no doubt occupation of any sort is horrible, as it certainly must have been in Russia in the various occupations following the revolution, mostly (but not only) German.

But it seems to me that, when the civil war was raging, all the while the Germans had the Russians by the balls (and Lenin recognised this, see Luxemburg on the subject), a few of those Polish battalions who'd been fighting alongside the Tsar's Russian troops prior to the revolution, went over to the other side of the civil war.

Maybe this is just a legend, but I don't think it is. In any event, the people (well, person really) who ran the Soviet Union after things settled out of that civil war had a long memory in addition to being a homicidal paranoid maniac.

Long story short, unless the popular will of the people say otherwise, talking spit about history and assigning blame is the province of the various elite who have too much time on their hands, like me today...

 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Long story short, unless the popular will of the people say otherwise, talking spit about history and assigning blame is the province of the various elite who have too much time on their hands, like me today...

But that's what we're talking about. What could be done to reassure Polish public opinion. Now, it is true that the elites are even more Atlanticist than the population, in the sense that among the former only the extreme right is opposed (and in recent years even they have been somewhat muzzled by their alliance with the twins), still, there is a deep paranoia about Russia, and a resulting support for alliance with the US among the population as well. This really isn't that hard to understand. Two centuries of colonial rule, occasionally a very brutal one, leave their mark.

by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:40:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
redstar:

But it seems to me that, when the civil war was raging, all the while the Germans had the Russians by the balls (and Lenin recognised this, see Luxemburg on the subject), a few of those Polish battalions who'd been fighting alongside the Tsar's Russian troops prior to the revolution, went over to the other side of the civil war.

Maybe this is just a legend, but I don't think it is. In any event, the people (well, person really) who ran the Soviet Union after things settled out of that civil war had a long memory in addition to being a homicidal paranoid maniac.

Looks like it could be / should be at least truish. During world war one Germany set up a puppet state, Kingdom of Poland. When tsarist russia collapsed, the polish troops probably did not feel themselves obliged to serve a new russian government and might have either fought under a white general or joined (or attempted to join) the puppet state. It would at least fit the general pattern in that war zone at the time.

While checking around to see if there was a polish equivalent of the Czech Legion I found this sobering quote:

A total of 2 million Polish troops fought with the armies of the three occupying powers, and 450,000 died. Several hundred thousand Polish civilians were moved to labour camps in Germany. The scorched-earth retreat strategies of both sides left much of the war zone uninhabitable.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 04:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, some changes will take eons - everybody know NATO is more dead than alive but nobody will hurry organizing its funeral. The organization will try to do one thing, then another ridiculous thing, then some members will object to (let's say patrolling Somali coast or drug trafficking or illegal immigration) because these are not NATO concerns and in the end it will be paralysis. maybe Afghanistan mission will be the end of glorious history of alliance as the last mission.
by FarEasterner on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 10:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series