Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 70

Thread: Great Power contentions

  1. #1
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Great Power contentions

    Thought I'd make a thread for looking at the current interplay between the US, NATO, EU, China, and Russia. At present it seems China and Russia are testing to see what the limits of Biden's foreign policy will be.

    Russian activity in/around the Ukraine:
    Increased activity in the Ukraine border.
    https://www.dw.com/en/us-asks-russia...ons/a-57105593

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56616778

    While I don't think that Russia will do anything more overt in the Ukraine soon I think it's banking on a Biden foreign policy that was as weak as Obama and Trump when it came to great power problems. I know we have a Ukraine thread so I think I'll leave this for more general great power contentions.

    China's grey zone incursion into the Philippines:
    https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/22/asia/...hnk/index.html

    With Duterte being a 'friend' of China and enemy of the US it places both the PI and USA in a poor position to do anything. Duterte will likely do little to nothing as he's more or less opposed to the US. The Philippines is weak economically and militarily, even if they were to try and compel fishing boats to leave it is more or less impotent and with Duterte in charge it is very unlikely that this pushes him back to the US camp or to ask for US help. The US and Philippines have a Mutual Defense Treaty in place but these 'gray zone' incursions are difficult to counter.

    China's testing the limits of Taiwan's independence and what support it has abroad:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/chin...-idINKBN2BT055

    https://www.dw.com/en/taiwans-army-i...ack/a-57102659

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...her-than-later

    Taiwan remains the most dangerous powder-keg in Sino-US relations. It seems that China is working to draw a line in the sand so that they can make it clear that they will at some point take back Taiwan by force and that any effort to stop it will not be worth the economic problems. Sec State Blinken's diplomacy blitz around the Asia-Pacific region has done a lot to shore up support as he gauges support from key allies (S. Korea, Japan, Australia, UK, EU).
    It seems to me that China sees the 'the West' as economically vulnerable and politically divided and in a state of irreversible decline so that if were to force the issue and invade (perhaps one of Taiwan's outer islands first) that so long as they don't directly attack outside military forces that no one would dare to get involved. The annexation of Crimea seems an example they can take to show the impotence of the 'the West'
    The recent sanctions and boycotts over the Uighur issue have shown some US leadership and an attempt to take back a moral high ground but do you think the US can garner support over Taiwan too?

    Here's a good read by the RAND Corp if you want to consider what a Sino-US conflict would be like, it's a little out of date (2016) but makes considerations for a 2025 scenario too.
    https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html

    The US track record at standing up for it's allies in a 'Danzig Crisis' haven't been too good, do you think the US would intervene if the PRC invaded Taiwan but didn't directly attack US forces in the region? Doing so would risk the economic health of the US and Europe which in today's political climate may make even a 'just' intervention on behalf of Taiwan difficult in the West as likely no one has a stomach for WWIII on the behalf of an island on the other side of the world which is theoretically part of the same nation.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

    Member thankful for this post:



  2. #2

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Props for not using the word "competition."

    I'm not sure China bothers to take the risk and expense of an amphibious invasion of Taiwan before the US and other countries have already succeeded in forming "values" blocs that marginalize economic and cultural links with China. It's not inevitable that such blocs succeed, nor that they marginalize links to China if they do succeed.

    Crimea, for Russia, had some key features that Taiwan lacks:

    1. Immediate military and strategic benefit for Russia (naval bases)
    2. Recent history of Russian control and infrastructure
    3. Related to above, numerically-dominant ethnic Russian population
    4. Annexation doesn't totally destroy Ukraine or precipitate total conflict
    5. Actually easy to physically seize, geographically and militarily
    Edit: 6. More tenuous, but Putin might have thought it would be easier than it turned out to be to push Ukraine and Europe/US in a favorable direction after the fait accompli.

    Though China is not Russia, it will have noticed the sanctions regime that the Crimean annexation cost Russia, and China perhaps has more to lose.

    It's quite possible that the Taiwan-China relationship looks a lot like the US-North Korea relationship vis-a-vis nuclear weapons: is disarmament worth a full war?
    Last edited by Montmorency; 04-07-2021 at 04:30.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  3. #3
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    I figured contention seemed more appropriate, I thought the space race more a competition, proxy wars and gray zone actions in overlapping spheres of influence seem more 'contentious' to me.

    For China, I think they are banking on everyone's economic dependence on them to limit any real ability to intervene. With the supply chains so tied up in China can even the current countries with manufacturing sectors in Europe and the Americas switch off from China's/SE Asian suppliers?

    Just look at the current micro chip shortage and its affect on manufacturing not to mention all the other medical production shortages over the past year.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgdhp
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Taiwan says may shoot down Chinese drones in South China Sea
    By Yimou Lee

    TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan has spotted Chinese drones circling the Taipei-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea and may shoot them down if they stray too close, a government minister said on Wednesday, a move that could dramatically increase tensions with Beijing.

    Speaking at parliament, Lee Chung-wei, who heads the Ocean Affairs Council under whose purview the Coast Guard falls, said that they had recently spotted Chinese drones circling the Pratas, though they have not flown over the islands.

    "They have never entered our restricted waters and airspace, they've just flown around them at a certain distance," Lee said.

    While China recognises no Taiwanese claims of sovereignty, its aircraft and ships generally stay outside Taiwan's restricted zone, which extends 6 km from its coast.

    Asked how the Coast Guard would react if a Chinese drone entered that restricted zone, Lee said they had rules of engagement.

    "After it enters it will be handled under the rules. If we need to open fire, we open fire."

    The Pratas lie at the top end of the disputed waterway, and have become a relatively new source of intrigue between Chinese-claimed Taiwan and Beijing.

    In recent months Taiwan has complained of repeated Chinese air force activity near the islands, which Taiwan's Coast Guard only lightly defends though there are periodic deployments of marines. There is no permanent civilian population, only occasional visiting scientists.

    In October, Hong Kong air traffic controllers warned off a Taiwanese civilian flight flying to the Pratas on a routine weekly supply run, forcing it to turn back.

    The Pratas, the closest Taiwan-controlled territory to Hong Kong, have also taken on extra significance since anti-government protests began in the Chinese-run city.

    Taiwan has intercepted at least one boat close to the Pratas carrying people fleeing from Hong Kong trying to make their way to Taiwan.

    Taiwan's other main South China Sea island is Itu Aba, also known as Taiping Island, which is part of the Spratly archipelago.

    Lee said they have not spotted Chinese drones there.

    Apart from China and Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also have competing claims for islands and features in the South China Sea.

    (Reporting by Yimou Lee; Additional reporting and writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
    Last edited by spmetla; 04-07-2021 at 19:31.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    I don't know what this is.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	9bd17d30d9ee26109a97088b5ba97f989c421637751e5c3373e6181e16fbf55a.png 
Views:	31 
Size:	602.4 KB 
ID:	24674
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	005bb92cd3ea2259d0f58a97a1a034cc1edb1760a765b5ccc606be09e968b35f.png 
Views:	22 
Size:	117.1 KB 
ID:	24675
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  5. #5
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Yeah, that is a weird one from the embassy. Perhaps it just didn't translate well though I think we get the message.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgntp

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Chinese Fighter Pilot Sends 'Airspace' Warning in Latest Fracas With Taiwan
    Kamala Harris moves into her new home
    Tom Brady joining latest trend by launching an NFT company

    A Taiwan air force radio operator attempting to warn off an intruding People's Liberation Army aircraft was told "this is all Chinese airspace" as four warplanes buzzed Taipei's defense radars on Tuesday.
    Kamala Harris moves into her new home
    Tom Brady joining latest trend by launching an NFT company

    A Taiwan air force radio operator attempting to warn off an intruding People's Liberation Army aircraft was told "this is all Chinese airspace" as four warplanes buzzed Taipei's defense radars on Tuesday.

    a flock of seagulls flying in the sky: Two U.S.-made F-16 fighters take off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan during a demonstration on January 26, 2016.© Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images Two U.S.-made F-16 fighters take off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan during a demonstration on January 26, 2016.
    In the brief exchange between 5:19 p.m. and 5:21 p.m. local time, a radio officer with Taiwan's Air Combat Command said in a standard warning: "This is the Republic of China Air Force. The Chinese military aircraft currently flying at 6,600 meters in Taiwan's southwestern airspace, you have entered our airspace and are affecting aviation safety. Turn around and leave immediately."
    The response is partially scrambled, but a PLA pilot retorted: "This is all Chinese airspace."

    The correspondence happened over the aeronautical emergency frequency 121.5 MHz and was recorded using software-defined radio, according to the moderator of flight-tracking Facebook page "Southwest Airspace of TW."

    The administrator shared a similar incident last week, when a Chinese pilot, replying to Taiwan air force warnings, said of the self-ruled island's air defense identification zone (ADIZ): "This is all ours."

    The page moderator, who did not wish to be named, told Newsweek that the Taiwanese air force issued 10 radio warnings to Chinese military aircraft in the island's ADIZ on Wednesday. The warnings began at 4:29 a.m.—the earliest on record this year—and continued until 1:58 p.m. Taipei time.

    Taiwan's defense ministry later revealed that 15 PLA warplanes had flown sorties into the southwest ADIZ. The fleet, which came at different hours, included 12 fighter jets, one anti-submarine plane and two early warning and control aircraft.
    Taiwan scrambled its own fighter jets to intercept, the ministry said on its website.

    However, Taipei did not log the movements of a U.S. Navy EP-3 that was reported in the vicinity around the same time as the Chinese warplanes.

    According to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI)— a Peking University think tank—the American reconnaissance plane transited the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan at just after 3 a.m. local time before flying in a circular pattern south of the Taiwan Strait.

    SCSPI, which tracks U.S. military movements in the East and South China seas, described it as a "rare flight path in rare time," apparently referring to the earliness of the overflight.
    Kamala Harris moves into her new home
    Tom Brady joining latest trend by launching an NFT company

    A Taiwan air force radio operator attempting to warn off an intruding People's Liberation Army aircraft was told "this is all Chinese airspace" as four warplanes buzzed Taipei's defense radars on Tuesday.

    a flock of seagulls flying in the sky: Two U.S.-made F-16 fighters take off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan during a demonstration on January 26, 2016.© Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images Two U.S.-made F-16 fighters take off from the Chiayi Air Base in southern Taiwan during a demonstration on January 26, 2016.
    In the brief exchange between 5:19 p.m. and 5:21 p.m. local time, a radio officer with Taiwan's Air Combat Command said in a standard warning: "This is the Republic of China Air Force. The Chinese military aircraft currently flying at 6,600 meters in Taiwan's southwestern airspace, you have entered our airspace and are affecting aviation safety. Turn around and leave immediately."

    Play
    Current Time 0:05
    /
    Duration 2:12
    Unmute
    0
    Full screen
    A Simple Timeline Of David Dobrik Allegations And Controversies In 2021
    Click to expand
    The response is partially scrambled, but a PLA pilot retorted: "This is all Chinese airspace."

    The correspondence happened over the aeronautical emergency frequency 121.5 MHz and was recorded using software-defined radio, according to the moderator of flight-tracking Facebook page "Southwest Airspace of TW."

    The administrator shared a similar incident last week, when a Chinese pilot, replying to Taiwan air force warnings, said of the self-ruled island's air defense identification zone (ADIZ): "This is all ours."

    The page moderator, who did not wish to be named, told Newsweek that the Taiwanese air force issued 10 radio warnings to Chinese military aircraft in the island's ADIZ on Wednesday. The warnings began at 4:29 a.m.—the earliest on record this year—and continued until 1:58 p.m. Taipei time.

    Taiwan's defense ministry later revealed that 15 PLA warplanes had flown sorties into the southwest ADIZ. The fleet, which came at different hours, included 12 fighter jets, one anti-submarine plane and two early warning and control aircraft.

    15 PLA aircraft (J-10*8, J-16*4, Y-8 ASW and KJ-500 AEW&C ) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on Apr. 7, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/p4KOVDDcFI pic.twitter.com/TWYcYsCQcg

    — 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) April 7, 2021
    Taiwan scrambled its own fighter jets to intercept, the ministry said on its website.

    However, Taipei did not log the movements of a U.S. Navy EP-3 that was reported in the vicinity around the same time as the Chinese warplanes.

    According to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI)— a Peking University think tank—the American reconnaissance plane transited the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan at just after 3 a.m. local time before flying in a circular pattern south of the Taiwan Strait.

    SCSPI, which tracks U.S. military movements in the East and South China seas, described it as a "rare flight path in rare time," apparently referring to the earliness of the overflight.

    USN EP-3E Surveillance aircraft is operating in the southern airspace of the Taiwan strait since about 03:00 AM (local time). Rare flight path in rare time. April 7. pic.twitter.com/23T1znH8YF

    — SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) April 6, 2021
    Wednesday's PLA flights into Taiwan's ADIZ marks the fifth day such activity has occurred in April and the 67th day this year. Together with Monday's 10 military aircraft, China has now flown 29 sorties around Taiwan in the past three days.

    Analysts say PLA warplane incursions into the ADIZ, which are increasing in frequency and quantity, are part of Beijing's "gray-zone" warfare against Taiwan, which the Chinese government claims is part of its territory.

    China plans to tax Taiwan's meager air force with the routine flights while intimidating the island's population into submission, according to some analysis, while others have noted the political messaging behind each Chinese military operation.

    Earlier this year, defense officials in Taipei revealed the air force had flown 1,000 extra hours deterring PLA aircraft around the island, driving up fuel, maintenance and manpower costs.


    I guess as the article says, this is all a gray zone intrusion too, if Taiwan won't defend their air space with force then the Chinese can turn what they consider theirs de jure airspace into their de facto air space.
    Sort the same with the fishing fleets, if Taiwan uses force they will seem belligerent not to mention it may lead to an escalation they and the US are not ready for.

    In other news Putin extending is term limit again isn't surprising. Guess he'll be there until he's old and senile and likely murderously paranoid like most aging dictators become.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  6. #6
    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alpine Subtundra
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    About Philippines, the cause of the deterioration in the relationship between Manila and Washington was the reluctance of the Obama administration to protect the Philippines against the aggressive foreign policy of China in the southern Chinese Sea. To clarify, I think Obama was right, escalation was not worth it, but Manila was understandably frustrated, so they have been trying a different path, balancing between China and the US.

    In my opinion, this geopolitical change will be the prelude to a wider tendency, as China's influence in the region grows at the expense of America. Many analysts seem to believe that diplomatic alliances are set in stone, but, as cooperation with China becomes more profitable, there's little reason for her neighboring countries to remain attached to an alliance that provides no benefits. Even Vietnam, Japan and South Korea are not exempt from this rule, although, in their case, we are not talking about the immediate future.

  7. #7
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Latibulm mali regis in muris.
    Posts
    11,384

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    I don't know what this is.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	9bd17d30d9ee26109a97088b5ba97f989c421637751e5c3373e6181e16fbf55a.png 
Views:	31 
Size:	602.4 KB 
ID:	24674
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	005bb92cd3ea2259d0f58a97a1a034cc1edb1760a765b5ccc606be09e968b35f.png 
Views:	22 
Size:	117.1 KB 
ID:	24675
    That was not a glib use of metaphor, was it? They actually got in the way of making their own point.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  8. #8
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,747

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    "Sec State Blinken's diplomacy blitz around the Asia-Pacific region has done a lot to shore up support as he gauges support from key allies (S. Korea, Japan, Australia, UK, EU)."

    Don't forget France.
    The future of the Indo-Pac contest on the Light side of the force looks set to be defined by "The Quad Plus Two".
    While a number of European nations have started to define Indo-Pac strategies, it is only France and the UK that really matter - in having both:
    A strategic culture built upon an activist foriegn policy.
    And the military assets and reach to contribute meaningfully.

    On Great Power definitions - there are many. But I always liked the following:

    Can a Great Power be defined in the 21st century as a Regional Power that is also a Middle Power? Or, is it only the necessary precondition for what may later become recognised (internally and externally) as a Great Power? Explanation – being a Regional Power without any opposing regional pole allows the freedom to magnify the projected effect of a Middle-Power into that of Great Power…… Example – By solving its strategic problem with Pakistan India would de-facto become a Great Power rather than merely a Regional/Middle Power.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  9. #9
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    I'd say that the middle powers such as France and Germany are able to exert influence as a Great Power via the EU and NATO and the WTO though less so for overt hard power. The UK within the 5 Eyes, NATO, and it's Commonwealth also has the ability to exert influence at Great Power level but only when they are leading a coalition of like minded nations.

    France/EU's focus on the Middle East with a US withdrawal from the levant area with a UK boost to the Gulf and Red Sea allow the US to focus more squarely on Russia/China while supporting/leading efforts elsewhere.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Fortress
    Posts
    11,780

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    This might interest people: the US intel community put out a paper last month detailing various scenarios of what things might be like in 2040.

    Its not a short document, but its really fascinating.

    Pretty much gives five scenarios:

    A renaissance of democracies, where the US leads a resurgence in democracy around the globe.

    A world adrift, where China is the leading but not globally dominant country.

    Competitive coexistence, where the US and China both prosper and compete for leadership in a bifurcated world.

    Separate silos, where globalization has broken down and the world splits into economic and security blocs for protection.

    And finally tragedy and mobilization, where global environmental devastation spurs complete revolutionary change.
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    Visited:
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

  11. #11
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Skimmed through it a bit, interesting read and will need to read it completely at some point soon. Of the five scenarios I fear the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th are the most likely.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  12. #12
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Taplow, UK
    Posts
    8,550
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Scenario 1 seems to be somewhat delusional - since the USA has never really been a free Democracy and voter suppression is still alive and well along with good old jerrymandering. For this to change would require a massive change.

    I don't think China would want to over extend and would rather consolidate - it does a vast amount of trade primarily to keep the domestic audience happy rather than anything else. And there would be regional powers such as India / Russia and Europe in some form or other

    I would imagine separate silos in a sort of love-hate interdependency / competition between different blocks which might even trade as they compete - the USSR bought grain from the USA and Canada after all.

    Whether some parts of the world are ungovernable wastelands (as they are now just worse) or not will be interesting - will there have been the will to rectify the situation or will the edges be patrolled by mercs and drones to keep the masses back. Mind you, the same scenario might hold true in several states in the USA.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Fortress
    Posts
    11,780

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    I was debating if I should post this in the Biden thread or a new thread, but I think this belongs here: Biden is going to announce tomorrow that there will be a complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

    As glad as I am that this futile conflict is ending, I definitely consider the Afghan government to be the 21st century equivalent of South Vietnam and I expect it to fold rather quickly. Definitely within a year or two. Just finished re-watching Ken Burn's documentary series on the Vietnam War so I've been thinking about the comparisons a lot.

    Now where do we go from here? Per the article I linked to, this decision was made in part due to other geopolitical considerations:

    In addition to major domestic challenges, “the reality is that the United States has big strategic interests in the world,” the person familiar with the deliberations said, “like nonproliferation, like an increasingly aggressive and assertive Russia, like North Korea and Iran, whose nuclear programs pose a threat to the United States,” as well as China. “The main threats to the American homeland are actually from other places: from Africa, from parts of the Middle East — Syria and Yemen.”

    “Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point,” the person said. “That does not mean we’re turning away from Afghanistan. We are going to remain committed to the government, remain committed diplomatically. But in terms of where we will be investing force posture, our blood and treasure, we believe that other priorities merit that investment.”
    Naturally Republicans are against this, even though Trump originally had the pullout happening in May. But Afghanistan has been a lost cause for years, and if the past 19 years weren't enough for the Afghan government to get its act together, another 2-5 won't.
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    Visited:
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

    Member thankful for this post:



  14. #14
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Latibulm mali regis in muris.
    Posts
    11,384

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Sadly true. Our one hope of establishing an Afghanistan that might have really worked died on 9 September 2001 -- two days before the attack that triggered the War on Terror.

    I do not believe Afghanistan is conquerable without the use of a level of resources that is unsupportable (and/or a methodology that is entirely unethical by modern standards), and establishing the cultural change needed for the alteration of Afghanistan's self alteration into a modern nation-state does not appear to be any more in the offing now than it was at this same juncture in the previous century.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

    Member thankful for this post:



  15. #15

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Maybe we can support Iran in holding the fort down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Sadly true. Our one hope of establishing an Afghanistan that might have really worked died on 9 September 2001 -- two days before the attack that triggered the War on Terror.

    I do not believe Afghanistan is conquerable without the use of a level of resources that is unsupportable (and/or a methodology that is entirely unethical by modern standards), and establishing the cultural change needed for the alteration of Afghanistan's self alteration into a modern nation-state does not appear to be any more in the offing now than it was at this same juncture in the previous century.
    The only greater alteration would be to pull the US out of its re-exported backwash of corruption and civic lassitude. It should be maddening that not only has the United States done more to wreck the world at large than the Soviet Union and China combined, it's oligarchism has blown back to stupefy and immiserate its own society (the latter indignation is what denotes the patriot).

    Keep in mind that the US being the #1 international center and abettor of elite graft undermines its own putative national interests. What an ironic country.

    20 year anniversary, salud.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Member thankful for this post:



  16. #16
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Fortress
    Posts
    11,780

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Well as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    Visited:
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

  17. #17

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooahguy View Post
    Well as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    Only the best.

    Not all forms of military aid produce negative outcomes. Recent research by international relations scholar, Jessica Trisko Darden suggests U.S. military aid may actually decrease the likelihood of some kinds of state violence.[18] In part, this is because some assistance, such as surface-to-air missiles, is not particularly useful for repressing dissidents. However, Darden found that U.S. economic aid was associated with an increased likelihood in levels of mass killings, state killings, and repression, which supports her theory that recipient governments can harness foreign assistance to increase the coercive capacity of their security sectors regardless of the intended purposes of the aid.[19] She found that the coercive effect of foreign assistance was most likely in countries transitioning from authoritarian to democratic systems, as well as in countries with weak state institutions or a recent history of armed conflict.[20] Drawing on cases like South Korea and El Salvador, Darden concluded that ending foreign aid to dictatorial regimes may force them to become more accountable to their citizens and thereby facilitate democratization.[21]

    More investigation of the relationships between all forms of foreign assistance and the maintenance of repressive kleptocratic regimes is needed. Unstable governments prone to deploying state violence against restive populations are susceptible to the strategic corruption that America’s adversaries, chiefly China and Russia, wield to buy international influence. Effective anti-corruption in foreign policy may require the United States to eliminate foreign assistance to authoritarian states and prioritize assistance for accountable governments.

    China and Russia are not the only countries to view corruption as a foreign policy tool. Indeed, America’s Central Intelligence Agency has long leveraged corruption as a tool of control and subversion in diverse settings with questionable results. In the early 21st century, the [CIA] provided President Hamid Karzai with pallets of hard currency worth millions to fund a patronage system that corralled Afghanistan’s contentious landscape of warlords.[22] American reliance on warlords and strongmen was vital to its rapid military victory in 2001 and contributed to post-conflict stability by empowering informal institutions and actors, but it contradicted the long-term statebuilding goals of establishing the rule of law and creating a centralized formal government.[23] The kleptocracy the United States helped build in Afghanistan has pillaged foreign aid and security assistance at great cost to U.S. taxpayers ever since.
    How could anyone think America could teach Afghanistan to be a modern state. What, were we going to push them to absorb Central Asia by conquest?
    Last edited by Montmorency; 04-14-2021 at 00:59.
    Vitiate Man.

    History repeats the old conceits
    The glib replies, the same defeats


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  18. #18
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,747

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooahguy View Post

    Now where do we go from here? Per the article I linked to, this decision was made in part due to other geopolitical considerations:
    Westphalian sovereignty requires states to not to involve themselves in the internal affairs of others, nor too to let third party actors, operating from within their territory, to intervene in the affairs of others.

    Afghanistan - having failed this test in letting Al Qaida use its territory as a base for foriegn operations - was given assistance by the west in order to meet its westphalian responsibilities.

    However, if we cannot build afghan capacity to hold a monopoly of violence then the only remaining option is to wall it off and operate an obama doctrine of drone warfare. Tall poppies get cut.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  19. #19
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    It should be maddening that not only has the United States done more to wreck the world at large than the Soviet Union and China combined,
    That's a very debatable point, the USSR occupation of eastern europe and exportation of stalinism certainly hindered development of half the continent.
    Both the USSR and PRC were exporters of violent stalinist/maoist revolutionary communism to the entire southern hemisphere. While these were successful at undoing the european empires the damage it wrought on social and economic systems throughout africa, asia, and south america has had lasting consequences that are still felt today.

    The US is an extremely flawed power and the unchecked expeditionary actions in the post cold-war era has been damaging but I don't think that it's done more to wreck the world at large at all.

    I don't think China would want to over extend and would rather consolidate - it does a vast amount of trade primarily to keep the domestic audience happy rather than anything else. And there would be regional powers such as India / Russia and Europe in some form or other
    That would make sense if China was trying to act as a rational power, feeding itself nationalist propaganda about the need to right and revenge all who made the century of humiliation happen will make it difficult to remain rational. When these nationalists feel that they have 'arrived' and demand the world order become sino-centric now rationalism will take a backseat. The parallels between China and Imperial Germany's asperations for "a place under the sun" are certainly worrying.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgdhp

    The Taiwan dispute is certainly heating up, my personal prediction is that China will take some sort of unilateral action against Taiwan during next winter's Olympic games. It worked well for Putin during the Sochi games and the Beijing games in the Ukraine and Georgia respectively.
    I wish the US would recognize Taiwan's independence already instead of this ridiculous one China policy, hell I'd support them sending some elements of 1st SF Group and perhaps some Patriot batteries to demonstrate our commitment to Taiwan.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgdhp
    I'm glad the US/NATO/EU are trying to do something about Russia's build up there but a show of naval force isn't really substantial. Were the stronger EU/NATO members to send ground forces to Poland/Romania it certainly show more resolve than naval forces. The NATO and EU rapid reaction forces are fairly small and if nothing else such a show of force would be useful for identifying and resolving the multitude of problems that will undoubtedly be found.

    EDIT:
    US Cancels warship deployment to the Black Sea:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgntp
    Last edited by spmetla; 04-14-2021 at 22:23.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  20. #20
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Taplow, UK
    Posts
    8,550
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    I suppose the USSR / China were never thought to be doing more than destabilising things. The USA always has itself as the Good Guy - and it is the disconnect between results and ideals that is most cavernous.

    I'm not sure why Taiwan should be recognised as a separate country - they themselves after all claim all of China and very much don't see themselves in that way; countries rarely recognise every splintered province as another country since that might be reciprocated.

    As to whether China attacks, I personally think to do so would be so hellishly expensive in lives / resources / military prestige - and at the end of the fight they'd be the proud owner of a wasteland. Mainland China would certainly win if it wanted to, but the cost would be dreadful as contested marine invasions on narrow coasts are - unless it first obliterated the entirety of the country with missiles. Ukraine was taken by surprise, Taiwan has been preparing for an attack for something like 50 years.

    And apart from Taiwan, they could attack Russia (a nuclear power with almost nothing but nukes to do in the event of an attack), India (a nuclear power over the tallest mountains in the world), Korea (destabilising the North) or what else? Japan? Vietnam? Afghanistan? Gunboat diplomacy is much less profitable now - certainly compared to economic or cyber options. The Belt Road initiative is far more likely to spread their power than trying to conquer bits of it.

    Europe in general hasn't the capability - let alone the desire - to meaningfully stand up to Russia. Most forces are hollowed out and the effective bits being used overseas. As you say, all that can currently be done is to send troops to be used as human shields since there's not the sort of air infrastructure and heavy armour / artillery that would be required to withstand Russia trying. And which European countries want to bear the brunt of a war with a country they currently purchase gas from over a country they barely have any interest in at all?

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

  21. #21
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Actively suppressing dissent in their spheres isn't too good either. The squashing of the Hungarian revolt, the Czech revolt, the Cultural Revolution etc...
    The US definitely likes to see itself as the Good Guy, we all know that's not always the case. On the whole though it's actions are usually to preserve the status quo/world order. It certainly has done military actions for its own sell interest (or perceived interest) like the Iraq invasion, various drone strikes/assassinations, Bay of Pigs, etc...
    The proping up of dictators like the Shah of Iran, Marco in the PI, Park in SK, and so on are certainly against US values but those seem to be a result of trying to do valued based diplomacy with China. The US limited it'd support to the Nationalist Chinese because it was so corrupt and had horrible records of human rights too, however once the US saw that the alternative was Maoist China exporting revolution to every country in the region the US began to tolerate/support just about every anti-communist dictator around the world. Since the end of the Cold War though the US has been able to reduce its tolerance of dictators outside the middle east where apparently we see them as bastions against Islamic nationalism/universalism.

    As for why recognize Taiwan, well for one it has been operating as in independent country since WW2 (I'm not including pre-WW2 Nationalist boundaries). Why should the PRC have Taiwan? It wasn't a part of the Qing empire when the PRC and ROC were formed as it was under Japanese occupation. As such it has zero history under the PRC and there's no need to start now just because the Chinese have maps that say two regimes ago it was ruled by mainland China. This isn't like recognizing South Ossetia, Abkazia, Transdnister or Northern Cyprus as separate countries. The ROC has a long history as an independent country and conducts most trade and business as such. Why should they be denied a future outside of a totalitarian China if they want one? They've seen what happened in Hong Kong, why should they be forced to accept that as their future?

    Wars are usually not about cost/benefit, if thy were they would be far more rare. Besides, I don't think China would outright invade Taiwan but instead invade the outer islands of Taiwan (I'm thinking Kinmen). This would likely be enough to demonstrate to Taiwan the lack of resolve of the rest of the world while at the same time not being so bold that failure is even conceivable. Chipping away at the outer territories of Taiwan until it's isolated by sea and air is the likely PRC tactic. A bold move like invading Kinmen though would show cracks in US commitment if Taiwan doesn't defend Kinmen by all means necessary (doing so would likely be suicidal without US support).

    As you say, all that can currently be done is to send troops to be used as human shields since there's not the sort of air infrastructure and heavy armour / artillery that would be required to withstand Russia trying.
    Showing commitment to even the concept of using force, even if not prepared would create a new calculation for Russia in conducting further actions. Right now Europe is likely just seen as a pushover (outside of sanctions). Some sort of resolve, even if risky but short of sending troops into the Ukraine to defend it would likely demonstrate that perhaps the Europeans aren't pushovers.
    Last edited by spmetla; 04-15-2021 at 05:09.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

    Member thankful for this post:



  22. #22
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,451

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    On the whole though it's actions are usually to preserve the status quo/world order. It certainly has done military actions for its own sell interest (or perceived interest) like the Iraq invasion, various drone strikes/assassinations, Bay of Pigs, etc...
    Not sure all the meddling we've done in Central/South America would qualify as preserving the status quo. The GOP and corporate media like to make headlines by citing the current migrant "crisis" at our southern borders, but noone talks about the decades we've spent destabilizing (or supporting coups) in Latin America, resulting in the breakdown of social and economic norms, hence the mass exodus north. It might not be as visually dramatic as our subversive activities in the Middle East, but the results are just as bad, or worse, IMHO.

    As far as China invading Taiwan, an interesting perusal of different courses of action:

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/...ar-with-taiwan
    Last edited by ReluctantSamurai; 04-15-2021 at 06:51.
    High Plains Drifter

  23. #23
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,747

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Re: Afghanistan - the view from who famously knows a bit about it:
    https://twitter.com/RoryStewartUK/st...48165190729728

    Re: Taiwan - I'd be more willing to take their continued sovereignty seriously if they would do the same.
    They don't, and it betrays an ambivalence that would cause me to shrug my shoulders were it not for TSMC.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  24. #24
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Fortress
    Posts
    11,780

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    Re: Afghanistan - the view from who famously knows a bit about it:
    https://twitter.com/RoryStewartUK/st...48165190729728
    I disagree with this take. I maybe would have agreed a year ago when the Afghan government was holding firm, but in 2020 there seems to have been a Taliban resurgence even with a US troop presence, seizing large swaths of government-held countryside so now all that's left are the cities. They also nearly took the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah, only preventing the takeover of the city by promising not to do any more airstrikes on Taliban in the area. And that was with 4-4,500 US troops in the country and people are now saying that 2-3,000 would be enough. We can't just keep people there in perpetuity hoping that one day the Afghans get their act together. In another tweet the OP states that perpetual US presence in Afghanistan could be like the continued presence in Germany. But Germany isn't a warzone so the comparison doesn't hold up. The past 20 years have shown that international terror groups don't need Afghanistan to operate and plan attacks so I don't see that as a justification either. It's time to leave.
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    Visited:
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

    Member thankful for this post:



  25. #25
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Taplow, UK
    Posts
    8,550
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Yes, it is one thing having an outpost in a friendly / neutral country compared to having troops in one that is actively hostile.

    To point out the obvious, the USA / NATO etc should never have bothered going into Afghanistan and the longer that is spent in that quagmire the more resource is squandered. It took hundreds of thousands of troops to win in Malaya against an insurgency and there at least the borders are the sea, not porous ones with other countries - and even if enough military might was used to subdue the place, what then? Or was the thought if we point enough guns at them for long enough they'd suddenly want to emulate us? Their culture is currently so different from what we view as acceptable in the West the best that can be hoped for is relative peaceful coexistence which we ignore pretty much everything that takes place against the local populace. But we have a lot of experience in doing that so we should cope.

    If the argument the "better over there than over here" then Syria is a much better outpost / festering warzone to have - although I thought that this mentality was the whole point of the slavish support of Israel in the area.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

  26. #26
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Fortress
    Posts
    11,780

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Of course in hindsight we should have never invaded Afghanistan, but even though I was young I remember the jingoism of the immediate post-9/11 world. We were itching to get back at those who did those attacks so I don't think there was serious forethought into what happens after the Taliban is toppled. Plus there still was the idea that we were so star-spangled awesome that as soon as we toppled those oppressive governments, everyone would want democracy.
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    Visited:
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

  27. #27
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    To point out the obvious, the USA / NATO etc should never have bothered going into Afghanistan and the longer that is spent in that quagmire the more resource is squandered. It took hundreds of thousands of troops to win in Malaya against an insurgency and there at least the borders are the sea, not porous ones with other countries - and even if enough military might was used to subdue the place, what then? Or was the thought if we point enough guns at them for long enough they'd suddenly want to emulate us? Their culture is currently so different from what we view as acceptable in the West the best that can be hoped for is relative peaceful coexistence which we ignore pretty much everything that takes place against the local populace. But we have a lot of experience in doing that so we should cope.
    I still think that invading Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and Al Queda was worth it. The mistake was getting into nation building which is something the US has a very poor track record on. If the the mission had remained a SOF/CIA mission once the Taliban was removed from power by the Northern Alliance and US Coalition then it wouldn't have had this mission creep of the US trying to provide security for the local population. We were never going to be seen as liberators and even in the areas were we were welcomed (the Tajik and Hazara regions) the ignorance general bullying methods used by average US Soldiers/Marines made enemies of people that initially saw us as at least allies against the Taliban.
    Hell, we should even have considered bringing the king of Afghanistan back as that'd add legitimacy to the Afghan government and he'd have some sway with the Pashtun tribes which largely are what form the Taliban.

    Malaya took lots of troops, time, but most importantly a clear vision and promise of Malayan independence. Not to mention that the commonwealth troops used at least had a broad 'colonial' understanding that while not too culturally aware was at least not completely ignorant of the region. Other thing there is that because it was an 'emergency' and not a war that insurance companies still had to cover for the terrorism done by the communists which meant that employment kept up and there wasn't a flight of capital which would have made the situation untenable.

    An Afghanistan with only low footprint elements of SOF and the CIA working to only fight the Taliban instead of nation building and area security missions together with some funding and backing for a new Afghan government *might* have worked. The resulting Afghanistan would probably more resemble the other 'Stans' to the North but would likely have been more successful than the current GIROA government that's there and once the Taliban/Al Queda threat was diminished to the point of not being a global threat we could have left. As for dealing with the pro-Taliban regions, more autonomy for the different provinces sorta like the Moros got with the Philippines might have resulted in an acceptable peace.

    Russia retaliates, tells 10 U.S. diplomats to go
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...?ocid=msedgntp
    Russia to consider Biden plan for Putin summit
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56746138

    Just a tit for tat response to the new sanctions, it seems a summit between Putin and Biden is still likely to happen. Glad that that there will still be talks at the top, just curious as to what the US goals would be. I doubt that anything would get the Russians to withdraw from the Crimea or stop supporting the eastern separatists. The other 'frozen conflicts' from the fall of the USSR still have the same borders with the only exception being Armenia/Azerbaijan which was only changed through war. The only way I see Ukraine regaining Crimea is if they were to try and take it back themselves, something they are incapable of doing and something I have no desire to see NATO or the EU attempt doing either.
    Last edited by spmetla; 04-17-2021 at 03:40.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  28. #28
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Taplow, UK
    Posts
    8,550
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Yes, Bin Laden hid in Afghanistan... but he was a rich Saudi. Revenge didn't include any action against the Saudis since on this matter, it seems Realpolitik won out And it should have done with Afghanistan. In essence the Taliban (the sovereign government of the country) refused to extradite someone - something many, many countries refuse to do all the time. And with the Afghani, this is also cultural. The response is not to go and get them with extrajudicial assassinations. I'm almost certain there are laws that civilised countries sign up to to not do that sort of thing.

    Toppling a government and replacing with another rarely works out the way you want it since it is generally clear who did the toppling and being a puppet of a foreign power isn't something people will tolerate. Given you have driven probably thousands to the ousted "heroes" and the regime will not have democracy (since they'll most likely vote in the last lot given a chance in several areas at least) you are once again supporting a totalitarian leader of a pseudo-colony with most people in to take as much money before the country with legindary ADHD gets bored and goes and kills some other people. And of course you'll not truly have managed to rid either the Taliban nor Al-Queda. The country is massive, CIA spooks don't fit in and unless you want to play whack-a-mole with kill teams it isn't going to work (which again will either require a massive amount of logistical support or are going to be fighting the locals on home turf.

    Russia almost wants to be back in the news and seen as a Great Power and the only way for them to do that is to act like a toddler (albeit one with nukes). Few countries televise their invasion plans so unless this is a cunning plan they just want some quality time with Uncle Sam.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
    If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

  29. #29
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Kona, Hawaii
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    As much as I dislike the Saudis it's not like they worked or harbored Bin Laden, they'd expelled him a decade before 9/11. That so many of the hijackers were Saudi though should have resulted in a lot more pressure on them to clamp down on extremism. Their funding of extremist clerics throughout the world continues to be a factor in people radicalizing.

    I agree on the problems of toppling governments, regime change is extremely difficult, you can't really end a war if there's not one you can make peace with. Even in WW2 we needed Admiral Donitz and Emperor Hirohito to surrender so that their people could accept the war as done. In hindsight all that was really needed was ousting Al Queda from Afghanistan, once the more or less fled to Pakistan the efforts in Afghanistan should have really only been some limited support to the Northern Alliance to help them win the civil war. Putting pressure on Pakistan to keep tabs on Al Queda and not shelter Bin Laden would've been more useful than the billions spent there in the decade before Bin Laden's assassination raid.

    Russia definitely is acting like a toddler, I doubt they're doing anything new in Ukraine. The troop buildup is probably most useful for seeing if Biden's backing of NATO has any more teeth beyond the words of support and like you said, to get to the table with uncle sam.

    What do you guys think of India, it's got potential for Great Power status but it's widespread poverty, poor infrastructure, and fractious internal politics seem to limit it's ability to grow. I know the US is looking to India as a balance to China but I can't see that happening any time soon outside of the limited border disputes.

    Also, what do you think of Russia's tepid reactions to China's silk road initiatives? Russia has historical and cultural ties to central asia but China's larger purse will probably erode Russia's ability to influence those nations. Russia has seemed to align itself with China so that it can piss off 'the west' but without the economic might to really sustain that effort. Russia has a lot of territory that used to belong to the Qing Empire so I can't imagine that they see China as a long term ally as they are the last colonial European power remaining in East Asia.
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/16...ad-initiative/

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  30. #30
    Hǫrðar Member Viking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Hordaland, Norway
    Posts
    6,449

    Default Re: Great Power contentions

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Few countries televise their invasion plans so unless this is a cunning plan they just want some quality time with Uncle Sam.
    It is unclear how much Russia stands to gain by moving troops clandestinely. Ukraine and Russia have already been informally at war for years, with Ukraine on a permanent war footing. Even if Russia did attempt to move the troops with greater discretion, they could still be discovered. Troops moved stealthily would certainly look suspicious, and could set off alarm bells that could lead to a decisive short-term mobilisation on the Ukrainian side.

    Russian troops could now sit on Ukraine's borders for at least month before they do anything. The Ukrainian military, on the other hand, might not necessarily strengthen or fortify much more than it likely would have done during that time (or already have done in the last years), anyway.

    At the time of writing, Putin himself might not even know what's next for the Russian forces. With one set of signals, he could withdraw the troops; with another, he could order an assault.
    Last edited by Viking; 04-17-2021 at 23:04.
    Runes for good luck:

    [1 - exp(i*2π)]^-1

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO