Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Trump seems to be up to his neck with the Russians financially. That is one of the main ideas as to why Trump is refusing to release his tax details.

It is noted that Putin has already had army exercises in the area and indications there has been some softening up de-stabilisation work done in Estonia.

Putin has never made any secret of his desire to re-establish Russian hegemony across much of the old Soviet Empire. That was why he reacted so negatively to attempts to woo Ukraine into the EU economic zone and maybe even NATO.

The US has never ratified the annexation of Crimea, but Trump has already said he'd do so. And he's talked about NATO only being invoked on behalf of countries which pay in, suggesting that the Baltic states have no strategic value and so can be shaken down for protection money. Which I doubt they could afford, so Trump is effectively signing off on invasion

And Putin wants them. So.....

Now we have Poland, which would totally freak out and you have all the ingredients for unpleasantness before February 2017.

Except, of ocurse, Trump ain't gonna win, so Putin won't do anything

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 01:43:03 PM EST
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Not to overcompensate for the western media's russophobia, but this line of argumentation seems rather weak to me.
Trump may very well be a Russian Manchurian candidate but aren't mob ties and not being rich enough good reason enough to not release tax returns? And anyway not being bellicose enough is something you'll get impeached over in the US.

The Russian and NATO maneuvers I'd classify as the usual primate flinging of fecal matter.

The main reason why I don't take the threat of a Russian invasion seriously is as follows:

Not knowing Russian I can't say anything with any confidence about Putin's statements about re establishing the old Empire. However he has been in power for decades and I haven't seen any reckless expansionism into the old Russian sphere of influence. When Georgia attacked the Russians didn't do any land grabs nor really meddled in the local government. When they were faced with the prospect of being turfed out of the Black Sea they grabbed the real estate around their base. They didn't set the old president on a tank and drove into Kiev nor did they annex the east. The latest Russian involvement is in Syria which shares with the above being militarily low risk and in defense of strategic assets(Tartus in this case).
Given this history I consider it really unlikely that the Russians even want the Baltics. As far as I know they are strategically worthless, the population is dominantly hostile toward Russia, whatever strategic resources they hold are a rounding error compared to Russia's reserves and the military operation would hold unprecedented risks compared to anything Putin ever ordered. I'm not sanguine about possible successors but I'm reasonable sure that Putin is the kind of calculating evil that won't risk blowing up the world to grab a few square miles of Baltic real estate.

by generic on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 03:59:09 PM EST
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maybe, but as Trump isn't going to be Prez, it don't matter.

And there's a long way to go till November

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 04:50:04 PM EST
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That assumes Putin is innumerate, which I am pretty sure he isn't. If Russia pick a fight over the Baltic, and the US stays out of it, the Russians still get crushed. Look up the force strengths. In order for "take the Baltics by force" to be in the cards, he'd need not only a manchurian candidate in the US, he'd need one in nearly half the EU governments. Russia isn't the warsaw pact - it doesn't have the planes, the manpower, or the tanks that alliance did.

It has the nukes. That guarantees territorial integrity.

It doesn't prevent the EU from just blowing the entire Russian air force out of the sky if it crosses into the EU with hostile intent, nor from unloading the umpteen thousand tanks that the EU keeps around from a railhead in Poland and rolling the red army back across the border.

by Thomas on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 06:34:21 PM EST
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that sounds good, I like that.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 07:08:06 PM EST
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All of that assumes that European leaders would have the balls to actually take Putin on over an invasion of the Baltic states which are hardly core to the European project, and much closer to the Russian one with many ethnic Russians living there.  I'm not sure that "NATO" would respond much more energetically than it did over Ukraine and the Crimea, even with Hillary in power, although Trump would probably strike a deal for a monopoly of the coastal property rights and a few golf courses.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2016 at 09:10:05 AM EST
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Only a very great fool would plan a war on the assumption an enemy that outmatches you will decline to fight. Putin is not an idiot.
by Thomas on Thu Aug 4th, 2016 at 04:32:06 AM EST
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There is quite a difference between the Baltic states that are members of both NATO and EU and Ukraine and Georgia that has been battle-grounds in the new cod war ever since the West decided that Putin had gone to far (opposing the Iraq war, jailing a few oligarchs, nationalising oil).

Considering that Russia has not gobbled up small states where they already has a military presence, like Georgia, or the eastern ukrainian republics that asked to be annexed by Russia, I don't see where the whole "Russia will annex the Baltics" comes from. Other then projection and Rysskräck from the West, that is.

by fjallstrom on Thu Aug 4th, 2016 at 02:31:23 PM EST
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God, that would be such a bizarre and pathetic war, two largely unmotivated powers in decline throwing largely untested (in that they have never been used against real opponents) weapon systems against each other in a clash over territory that neither side really wants.

I also have my doubts about Russian designs on the Baltics, for all the reasons mentioned in other comments.  It just makes no sense.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 5th, 2016 at 12:43:48 PM EST
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