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Poor Ukraine. The Czechoslovakia of a new century. Poland is probably looking at its Western Allies and getting a bit nervous.

Red Army masses on Ukraine border: 80,000 troops and missile launchers spark invasion fear Read more at the Daily Mail. (Good story with related vids, worth the clickage)

ukraine.jpgAnd we shouldn't get kinetic on it, which is just an ugly truth. But we should be dusting off the maps and reorienting east, and moving tripwire forces into Poland. Not just aircraft, but ground forces, too. Not that I really think Putin is going to try to do anything other than Ukraine.

For now.

But if we and other NATO nations put ground forces into Poland, it sends a signal, and changes the calculus of Putin trying to intimidate Poland and the Baltic nations.


I don't see us being able to do anything for Ukraine. Conventional forces would bring with them a logistical nightmare. If it came to it, I don't see the Navy being able to pull a "Red Storm Rising" effort to keep the Atlantic open as our ASW capabilities have seriously atrophied, at best. I don't see us burning Russian Little Girls, which is the only avenue open. Slinging nukes at Soviet Russia will simply get American Little Girls burned. If Beth got mad at you for shooting that flare, I know she's be irritated with you if you sent a nuke at, say, Voronezh. Seriously, I don't see that we have any options open that would allow us to help the Ukrainians. At the same time, I think Putin is going to take everything to the Dniepr and along the Black Sea through Odessa, leaving only Ukraine proper, which is mostly old Galicia. I don't see it ending well for Ukraine. I can also see Russia becoming a pariah again.
 Quartermaster, this is an interesting situation for us, as a so-called, "Superpower". No matter what we do, it will be wrong. We do not have "The Blood and Treasure", that we once had. We have burned a lot of capacity over the last 30 years. If we are going to war, let's do it in a way that meets our US Constitutional responsibilities.

In the end, I think your first sentence speaks the ugly truth
I don't see us as being able to even present a good symbolic gesture on the economic sanctions front either.  In spite of assertions to the contrary, I don't believe that the supply and distribution patterns for alternative supplies of oil and natural gas could readjust quickly enough to save western Europe from a long cold winter and assorted other disruptions to their already stressed economies if the Russkies were to do a natural gas embargo. 

For ourselves, with our dwindling military so dependent on space assets for its remaining capability, and our space program in turn so dependent on Russian launch capability and Russian engines for some of our remaining launch capability, there is much that they can do to hurt us peacefully.  Not to mention that we are highly dependent on Russian good will for any transit routes other than Pakistan to support our remaining forces in Afghanistan, and being able to withdraw them without leaving behind too many heavy, expensive toys.

For the Russians' part, they could dramatically rub our faces in symbolic gesture by refusing to transport any more of our astronauts to the International Space Station.

I don't think Duane Delacourt has much to offer on this one. (For you younger readers, Duane Delacourt was the Doonesbury cartoon character, Secretary for Symbolism in the Carter administration.)
I can see Putin getting away with taking the Crimea back.Taking all of the Ukraine might be more expensive than his Georgia incursion.Ukraine is an economic millstone due to mismanagement.The drills I think are intended to force Kiev to accept Russian control of the Crimea. 
Navig8r, pushing fracking may not pay dividends this year, but it would be a useful longer-term approach.

The problem is that it doesn't matter what strategy is touted; this president (as SKK pithily pointed out) is content with waving his purse at Moscow.

Hey! Remember when Bush was gonna help Poland with a missile defense? Remember how Moscow had a cow, and the progs sat on their hands, or sniped at Bush?

So do I.

While I don't miss Peanut Jimmeh yet, I'm starting to miss Slick Wilie.

Casey, don't get me wrong.  I am completely in favor of developing our own resources, to include fracking.  I agree that long-term, it would give us a lot more options in similar situations.  I was only commenting on the short term possibilities for this one. The comment on Duane Delacourt was not a longing for a return to those days, it was a sad comparison to unfortunate similarities between our present situation and the Carter years.

I agree with JTA that putting a few troops in Poland would be a real good thing to do now.
 I believe there are many questions involved in this situation with the Ukraine. What are the benefits of having the Ukraine become a part of Russia, from the Russian point of view? First of all, this is the Russian version of the "Bread Basket". Second, look at the different energy sectors in this region. But what is downside of this choice. You actually could call this the "Middle East of Russia". I would hate to be the map maker of the future for this region. It could turn out to be worse then then the Russian solution for Afghanistan. If my memory serves me correctly, the Russians didn't do so well in Afghanistan. I really don't think anybody wants to touch this situation except by remote control. I still agree with Quartermaster's view of our options in solving any of the problems. If we plan any long-term commitment to the region with "boots on the ground", the logistics will be an absolute nightmare. If anybody had an insight, I believe that person would be "John, the Armorer", he's the expert on situations like this. By the way, John, the Armorer, how did I do on your test?

All I did was follow his example, he just punted the football down to us and I returned the favor back to him. John, have fun!
That map looks like Army Group South in the Spring of 1942.
The bottome line is if we do anything to Putin our precarious supply situation and tenability of our forces in Afghanizstan becomes quite questionalbe.  The Stans will lose any reason to help us and Russia will become dominant in an area the British tried to keep them out of for two hundred + years. This is what comes from foolish defense decisions over the years and effectively disarming.  Perhaps if the Constitution had been followed over the decades we wouldn't be in this mess.
I am currently finishing a book loaned to me by some nameless friend call the Savage Continent by Keith Lowe. It is the story of the last years of the forties in Europe, from the ending days of World War II until things settled down to the Cold War face off that lasted until 1989.

Most people know about the Occupation of Germany and the aftermath of the Holocaust, but they know very little about the ethnic and regional turmoil that characterized the end of World War II. What happened in the Balkans in the 1990's happened throughout Europe at the end of the war and plenty of unfinished business got swept under the rug during the Cold War. The Ukraine is a prime example, but there are many others. Great time to be cutting the Army back to 24 brigades - Brilliant !
Just a quick throw it against the wall to see if it sticks idea. That is if we had a NCA with enough intestinal fortitude. Send one (1) HUMMV with a 5 foot by 6 foot US flag on a long pole manned by one (1) O-1 and one (1) E-5 volunteers. Troll it along the front of Russian troops. I suspect there would be some midnight oil burned at STAVKA.
 It has to be an O6 with an E9  driver.  Grade inflation, plus we have wayyyyy too many of them, anyway.