Western countries are weak and getting weaker every year and Russia knows this. --->
It seems Russia is watching the world situation closely and in particular what is happening in Europe. Western countries are weak and getting weaker every year and Russia knows this. In contrast, Russia itself has been the only strong European bulwark against open borders, rampant feminism and homosexuality.
Specifically these four points of weakness and vulnerability in the west are to be considered:
1. Financial Concerns
Many western countries are heavily debt laden and may have a financial collapse soon. The euro itself has been on shaky ground for many years now.
2. Social Unrest
The migrant invasion of Europe has brought and will continue to bring major instability and internal conflict to the civil order of various western nations.
Rampant uncontrolled feminism has greatly weakened the strength and decision making power of the governments of various nations.
4. Weak Armed Forces
Various European countries have abolished compulsory military conscription while at the same time have let women join their armed forces. These armies are weak and severely underfunded. Also, many western men are overweight, obese, or generally out of shape in general and would be useless in military fighting if they were drafted overnight.
After the examples of when Russia took over Crimea in 2014 and small parts of Georgia in 2008, it seems to me that Russia is once again waiting for the situation to deteriorate to such an extent that they can make their next move. European civil unrest between natives and migrants, or a serious financial depression (or both) could be just the final weakness Russia is waiting for. They seem to be testing the defenses of bordering NATO countries on a regular basis now, while at the same time warning Finland not to join NATO, and also bringing more troops, naval forces and weapons into their territory of Kaliningrad which is between Poland and Lithuania.
While I’m all for seeing the destruction of feminism and the return of the patriarchy and its values in the west, I’m not so sure that Russia overrunning neighboring countries would produce the outcomes we necessarily would want.
Here’s three recent articles on developments that caught my eye
Quote: NATO jets in Baltics scrambled 3 times last week to escort Russian aircraft
NATO fighter jets serving in the Alliance’s air-policing mission in the Baltics rushed three times last week to identify and escort Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday. The Russian aircraft, including two reconnaissance planes, two Su-27 fighter jets, and a Tu-134 transport plane, were intercepted by NATO jets on June 27, 28, and 30 in international airspace between the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad and mainland Russia. The reconnaissance planes and fighter jets did not have pre-filed flight plans, had their onboard transponders off, and were not communicating with air traffic control centres via radio. The Tu-134 plane had a flight plan, had turned on his onboard transponder, and was maintaining radio communication. The NATO air policing mission in the Baltic region is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia. NATO officials have reprimanded Russia for its fighter jets often flying without pre-filed flight plans and with their onboard transponders off. Additionally, NATO patrols detected two Russian military aircraft near Latvian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea Tuesday, according to the information from the Latvian National Armed Forces. The detected planes are An-26 and Tu-134. By June 20 this year Russian military aircraft and ships have been spotted near Latvia’s border 395 times.
Quote:Russia Fires Dozens of Military Officers in Baltic Region
By IVAN NECHEPURENKO – JUNE 30, 2016
MOSCOW — In a sweeping military shake-up, Russia has replaced the top commanders of its Baltic Fleet, which patrols a region that has become the main fault line between Russia and the West. The exact reasons for the mass dismissal, involving dozens of officers, remain unclear. But the public nature of the abrupt change, announced on Wednesday by Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu, was unprecedented. The fleet commander, Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk; his chief of staff, Vice Admiral Sergei Popov; and the other officers were fired for “dereliction of duty” and “distortion of the real state of things,” according to a statement by the Defense Ministry summarizing what the minister had said behind closed doors to senior military commanders. The statement went on to say that the commanders had been responsible for “serious drawbacks in the organization of military training and everyday activities” and “lack of proper care for the personnel.” “This is the first time in Russia’s modern history that commanders have been dismissed in such a way,” said Valentin Selivanov, a military analyst, retired admiral and former deputy head of the Russian Navy. “These commanders must have made a series of serious mistakes.” The dismissals are all the more surprising because President Vladimir V. Putin, who would have approved them, visited the fleet’s main base at Baltiysk last July and was unsparing in his praise. “The Baltic Fleet is performing its missions well — not just here in the Baltic, where it is based, but is also carrying our flag with honor in other parts of the world’s oceans, too,” Mr. Putin said a year ago.
The Baltic Fleet headquarters is in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, squeezed between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members. In recent years, Russia and NATO repeatedly accused each other of stirring up tensions in the region by deploying more arms and conducting provocative maneuvers. Russia has repeatedly criticized what it calls NATO’s growing presence in the Baltic. The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, confirmed at a news conference in June that the alliance would deploy four multinational battalions in rotation, each consisting of up to 1,000 soldiers, to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to keep Moscow in check. Russia has said that it will not engage in a new arms race with the West, a point repeated by Mr. Putin on Thursday, but that it will be ready to defend itself. “These actions of the Western colleagues undermine the strategic stability in Europe and force us to take retaliatory measures, primarily in the Western strategic direction,” Mr. Shoigu, the defense minister, said during the meeting Wednesday. The Russian response has included adding ships and thousands of troops answering to the Baltic Fleet. With the additional deployments, the number of Russian service members deployed on the country’s western borders could grow by thousands, said Aleksei G. Arbatov, an expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The role of the Baltic Fleet is growing, but it can all spiral out of control,” Mr. Arbatov said. “NATO deploys a battalion, we respond by deploying an army. If we want to make Sweden and Finland join NATO, there is no better way to do it.”
NATO countries in Europe
Note: this map still shows Crimea as part of Ukraine, it’s now “de facto” part of Russia
Quote:Putin’s Military Buildup in the Baltic Stokes Invasion Fears
by Henry Meyer – July 7, 2016
Vadim Kuznetsov says his excursion-boat business along Russia’s border with Poland has been torpedoed by a new Cold War. “They’re scared,” Kuznetsov said of the Poles, once his main customers, who no longer venture across the border for fishing trips. “What have they got to be afraid of?” he asked, his idle boat moored at a jetty. Some of the explanation is anchored just a few hundred meters away at the main base for Russia’s Baltic Fleet. A minesweeper and a guided-missile cruiser give a hint of the biggest Russian military build-up in the region since Communism collapsed. For most of that period, Kaliningrad, an enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, tried to turn itself into a gateway for European investment. But amid Russia’s recent rearmament, the region has increasingly returned to its Soviet-era role as a garrison on the strategic Baltic Sea coast. This time, however, the countries just to Kaliningrad’s east — the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not part of the Soviet Union. How to protect them, which was a largely hypothetical question for the alliance until Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, has now become a central challenge for NATO. Their location, all but cut off from the rest of the alliance by Kaliningrad, has turned them into an oversized version of West Berlin, which had to rely on Western airlifts during a Soviet blockade during 1948-49. Largely surrounded by Russia, the Baltics are too exposed to defend effectively but too important for the alliance not to protect.
“NATO could not have militarily prevented a determined Soviet effort to overrun West Berlin, nor can it militarily prevent a determined Russian effort to overrun the Baltic states. But if the Soviets had overrun West Berlin, that would have meant war with NATO,” said Thomas Graham, a senior White House aide at the time the three countries joined the alliance more than a decade ago. “In theory, the same thing should hold true if the Russians made an effort to overrun any Baltic state.” To help dispel doubts about its commitment, NATO this week will approve plans to deploy four battalions to rotate through the region. But though bigger than what the military bloc has ever placed there before, the units will still be dwarfed by Russia’s forces on the other side of the border. The Kremlin, which is spending 20 trillion rubles (about $313 billion) on an ambitious defense upgrade through 2020, argues that it’s just responding to NATO’s encroachment toward Russian borders. In May, Russia announced plans to put two new divisions in the Western region and another in the south. That could be about 30,000 troops, compared to 4,000 in NATO’s plan. Countries like Sweden and Finland that remained neutral through the Cold War are now considering joining NATO.
“In the Baltic States – and elsewhere – Russia is feared,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistoe said last week after a meeting with Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader responded that NATO’s buildup was a risk to his country’s security. “All this creates an obvious threat for us that no one wants to notice,” he said, suggesting that if Finland joined the alliance, Russia could respond by moving troops closer to its border. Russia already has contingency plans for an attack on the Baltic states, as they belong to a hostile military alliance, according to a person close to the Russian Defense Ministry. The Kremlin could intervene militarily to defend ethnic Russia minorities there, for example, though this scenario is highly unlikely, the person said. Even short of a full-scale attack, uncertainties about NATO’s ability to defend its members cast a shadow across the entire region. In 2007, for example, Estonia suffered a cyber-attack that crippled its highly computerized government and economy over a period of several weeks. Western officials blamed Russia, though the Kremlin denied any role. “What the Russians would like to do politically is to undermine the confidence the Baltic states have in NATO’s Article Five guarantee,” said Steven Pifer, who served as U.S. deputy assistant of state from 2001-2004, referring to the treaty provision on mutual defense. Some say the Kremlin has succeeded in creating a climate of insecurity without actually needing to fight. Putin “wants to divide Europe, divide NATO, and he’s got a multitude of policies that he keeps pursuing to achieve those ends,” said Michael McFaul, who was U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2011-2014. “Raising the specter of conflict in the Baltic states increases the debate in other capitals in Europe, is this such a good idea for us?” At the same time, major additional NATO deployments in the region could provoke a further Russian buildup as the Kremlin seeks to protect St. Petersburg, the country’s second-largest city. “It’s a vicious circle,” Finnish President Niinistoe warned in his appearance with Putin last week. Kaliningrad’s isolation from the rest of Russia also creates risks, as the Kremlin might try to seize the 100-kilometer wide strip on the Polish-Lithuanian border known as the Suwalki gap that separates the enclave from Belarus, a Russian ally. In the Cold War, NATO defense efforts focused on the Fulda gap, a strip of the border with East Germany through which invading Soviet tanks were expected to move. Risks to the Baltic countries’ security seemed remote when they were brought into NATO in 2004. “Russia was seen as a potential, even if problematic, partner and no one was thinking about it as a military threat,” said Pifer. Fears in the region grew after the 2008 war in Georgia, on Russia’s southern border, the Kremlin’s first major use of forces outside the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But by the next year, the U.S. was in the midst of its “reset” policy aimed at improving relations with Russia and had little appetite for confrontation. The conflict in Ukraine changed everything, as leaders in the U.S. and Europe warned that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was a threat to security across the whole region. NATO began discussions that led to the deployment to be announced at the Warsaw summit. Still, NATO officials admit those forces would hardly be enough to stop a Russian assault.
“Current NATO plans aren’t enough,” said retired general Ants Laaneots, who commanded Estonia’s forces from 2006-2011. Together, the three Baltic countries, whose combined size and population equals the U.S. state of Missouri, have about 28,000 troops, mostly lightly armed and with very little air or sea fighting capability. A Russian lightning strike would be able to reach the capitals of Estonia and Latvia in 36 to 60 hours, said a report by the RAND Corporation think tank, which was based on a series of war games staged between summer 2014 and spring 2015. “The balance of forces in the region is such that Russia has the potential to present NATO with something of a fait accompli in the Baltics,” said RAND’s David Shlapak. Forces stationed in the region, including more than 50 ships and two submarines and advanced S-400 air-defense systems, together with other land, naval and air assets on Russia’s western flank, would allow it to effectively close off the Baltic Sea and skies to NATO reinforcements, defense experts say. “Air space is going to be contested in a way the U.S. and its allies haven’t had to deal with for over two decades,” said Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. Seized from Germany at the end of World War II, when it was known as Koenigsberg, Kaliningrad would be a key base in any Russian operation in the region. “Before the U.S. takes any aggressive actions against Russia, they should think very carefully what they’ll get in response,” said Boris Kosenkov, head of the Kaliningrad veterans’ association and a former general who served in East Germany in the 1980s.