The Trump Transition “TT” at minus 8 weeks.
November has 1 week left, then December has 4, and 3 more in January. Sporadically I’ll put up additional TT posts as any one gets too full to load quickly, or as some event causes me to desire to put a head post up on the topic. On some thread I can’t find now, IIRC Larry requested a posting for the Transition. As I’d been thinking about it too, not so hard to convince me ;-)
Prior similar threads are:
For this one, the big ‘burr under my saddle’ is the whole business with NATO.
Larry linked to an interesting article here:
It is interesting, but IMHO has way too much of an US vs THEM bias. It does correctly point out that to understand your opponent (NOT enemy. Russia is NOT our enemy. We are not shooting them nor are they bombing us.) you need to see things from their point of view; then it promptly runs off to look at things from OUR point of view. Sigh.
Still, it has some good things in it and is worth the read. I’ll start off with one of them:
Why Vladimir Putin Hates Us
Western inability to grasp what motivates our enemies is nothing new
By John R. Schindler • 11/22/16 4:00pm
Of course, why Putin is doing all this, playing dangerous games which could provoke a major war, looms as a big question here, albeit one that Western foreign policy gurus have trouble answering. Our academic international relations experts, who indulge in silliness like game-theory or realist fantasies to explain Putin’s increasingly aggressive policies, have difficulty explaining why the Kremlin—which after all in military or economic terms is vastly weaker than NATO—is acting so brazenly.
The bit I’ve bolded is the ‘good thing’. The lead in 1/2 paragraph is just painting it into a corner of irrationality and being the work of an out of control Putin. But let’s just take a moment before going further to ask: “How much bigger?”
• 2016 estimate 146,544,710
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total $3.685 trillion
• Per capita $25,185
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total $1.133 trillion
• Per capita $7,742
• 2016 estimate 324,720,797 (3rd)
• 2010 census 309,349,689[ (3rd)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total $18.558 trillion (2nd)
• Per capita $57,220 (10th)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total $18.558 trillion (1st)
• Per capita $57,220 (6th)
(Yes, I know that NATO is not the same as the EU, for example, Canada is not counted…nor is Turkey that’s the 2nd largest chunk of NATO military IIRC, but the EU is the big lump outside the USA)
• 2016 estimate 510,056,011
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total $20.75 trillion
• Per capita $40,600
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total $16.97 trillion
• Per capita $33,300
So the EU has about 185 Million more people than the USA, and the USA + EU has about 834.8-146.5=688.3 Million more people in them than in Russia. Or Russia is about 17.5% of the population of the USA & EU combined. Call it about 3/16 the size.
In terms of money, We’ll use Purchase Power Parity numbers (nominal is more fudged, IMHO). The USA + EU is $20.8 + 18.6 = 39.4 TRILLION per year economy. Russia is $3.69 Trillion. Call it about 1/10 the size.
So a whole lot fewer people, with darned little money to spare. Now look on a global map, preferably from the north pole. Russia is 100 % surrounded from their far eastern Pacific coast (Japan a USA base and ally NOT in the above population and money numbers) to Alaska, across the Arctic Ocean with Canada (NATO member) on to Greenland, Iceland, the European continent. Essentially ALL of anywhere it looks to the North, East, and West. South it has generally “western hostile” Muslims to try to placate for neutrality, and China a historical “Frenemy” with sporadic wars and tense peace alternating, some of it buffered by landlocked Mongolia. Just FYI, China has about 10 x the population of Russia and about a $20 Trillion economy too…
So from a Russian perspective, they are entirely surrounded by historically or currently hostile actors with a history of invasion by them and a recent history of “Color Revolutions” instigated by Soros and his fellow travelers in the EU having taken down a series of Slavic Countries to the west. (Czech Republic, Slovakia, the various parts of the old Yugoslavia, Ukraine, etc. etc.) with Russia as “on the menu”. Thus Putin tossing Soros out and banning his “Non-governmental” Organizations…
Now, one more little item to remember: When Eastern Germany was allowed to merge with West Germany, Gorbachev was given an iron clad guarantee that NATO would not extend “one thumbs width” further East. Now Nato borders Russia in several areas.
From the Russian POV, NATO has violated all agreements, expanded into Slavic lands, often via politically manipulative “color revolutions” and then insists on imposing “European Values” by which is usually meant the Soros Selected set of anti-Nation and anti-tradition and anti-Church and anti-European Culture destructive ideologies. Then we go and put anti-missile missiles in Poland (that shares a border with the part of Russia named Kaliningrad) where NATO was promised not to be.
Just how would the USA react if Russia had just put a missile battery in Mexico as part of the Warsaw Pact? Hmmm? Or perhaps put some in Syria? How about when Turkey shifts from NATO to a Russian alliance and then lets Russia base in Turkey, think NATO and the USA would be just fine with that? And we out man and out money them about 6:1 and 10:1 respectively.
NATO’s second-largest military power is threatening a dramatic pivot to Russia and China
Nov. 22, 2016, 9:10 AM
Turkey is looking into joining a Chinese- and Russian-led alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Sunday at the end of his official tour of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Erdogan said he met with SCO leaders over the weekend and expressed his interest in joining the Eurasian political, economic, and military alliance as an alternative to joining the European Union, which has not been receptive to Turkey’s repeated bids for membership that began in 1963.
France, Germany, and Belgium — home to Brussels, where the EU is headquartered — have long opposed Turkey’s accession into the EU. Erdogan’s reluctance to sign on to certain membership requirements and his increasingly authoritarian leadership over Turkey have also sparked concern among European leaders that he is not committed to a Western conception of human rights and civil liberties.
Perhaps the EU will learn that forcing their brand of “Secular Humanism with Corporatism and non-Democracy” on folks is driving them away… Especially those that like their “guns and religion” and their “crude nationalism”…
Other than that one bit of “Wha?”, the Observer article is pretty good. It does point out the strength of the Russian Orthodox church in shaping the Russian culture (Communism never could quite erase it). It does point out how adroitly Russia has used what little non-nuclear military it has to place NATO on notice “This far, and no further”:
He’s done it again. The honey badger in the Kremlin just moved more advanced missiles into position on Russia’s most westerly fringe to own the Baltic Sea. This week Moscow admitted it has deployed cutting-edge Bastion anti-ship missiles to the Kaliningrad exclave, north of Poland, plus equally advanced S-400 air defense systems to shoot down aircraft and missiles as far as 250 miles out.
With this move, the Kremlin has established control over the Baltic Sea, most of Poland and the Baltic republics—NATO members all. Russia now can exert anti-access and area denial—what the Pentagon calls A2AD for short—at will, meaning that any NATO aircraft or ships entering the region can be hit long before they get close to Kaliningrad. For Western military planners, this is nothing short of a nightmare, since Moscow can now block NATO reinforcements headed east to counter, say, Russian military moves on the vulnerable Baltic republics.
That scenario, wherein Moscow’s forces overrun a Baltic republic or two before NATO can meaningfully respond, is judged alarmingly plausible by Alliance planners, yet nobody should be surprised that Vladimir Putin has done this. One month ago, when he moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M ballistic missiles into Kaliningrad last month, initiating a Baltic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Obama’s response was…nothing.
It is also very important to note that Russia DOES have enough nukes to make the EU and USA “historical artifacts” (but between France, Britain, and the USA, little would remain of a post nuclear war Russia either, and most of that would be speaking Chinese shortly…)
So yes, read the article, and then ponder those relative sizes of NATO and the USA and the EU and Russia.
Finally, just please tell me again why the EU needs the USA to “protect” it? On our dime?
They have way more people than we do.
They have a larger economy on PPP basis and about the same on nominal.
They have two nuclear powers (Britain and France) at least until Brexit is finished, and most of the EU countries have what it takes to build a nuke if they wanted to. (It isn’t hard, really, and France has all the tech hardware needed).
So bigger than the USA, with more money and more people and in some ways more skill (think language ability and spy craft).
Tell me again why it’s MY wallet that needs to pay for their protection?
In short, I’m of the opinion that President Trump has it quite right. You want the USA in this game with you on your side, pony up your share of the bucks, beans, and bodies. I make that at least 1/2.
Finally, just what is NATO for these days? To protect a larger, non-Democratic dictatorial EU Empire against a much smaller Russia that has been in retreat and on the ropes for 30 years? To fund “Regime Change” and “Color Revolutions” as Soros dictates? To expand the EU Cultural Diktats and EU Economic Hegemony ever further East?
I’m dead serious on that. I can’t see a darned thing that NATO is needed to achieve. The EU has all the “stuff” and money needed to protect itself from Russia, and I’m tired of the Europeans saying “Here, we’ll hold your coat while you go fight them for us.” for all sorts of pointless conflicts from Ukraine to Syria to Iran. (Admittedly, we in the USA lead the hoard into that one, but frankly I’d rather we’d not had as many folks urging it on…)
IMHO, it’s time for Europe to put on their Big Boy Pants and start humping their own water to the front. On their Euro.
Then there is this rich bit:
Russia and Islamist terrorist groups are increasingly targeting the EU with propaganda – the warning in a resolution approved by MEPs, which aims to combat anti-Europe campaigns.
It says Moscow spreads propaganda through media and other means – seeking to incite fear and divide.
“What this report is trying to do (is) pointing (point) a finger to (in) at least one direction or let’s say one-and-a-half directions, to Russia and to ISIS,” said Eugen Freund, an Austrian centre-left MEP.
“And to explain how various Russian entities, Russia TVs, Sputnik and so on are trying to influence the audience in Europe. They are trying to split Europe and the United States, they are trying to belittle what the United States, what the European Union is doing.”
The resolution says propaganda aims to discredit EU institutions.
Moscow’s been quick to react, with President Vladimir Putin claiming the move says a lot about democracy in the West.
“We are observing some – totally obvious – degradation – in the political sense of this word – of the perception of democracy in Western society. In this case, at the level of the European parliament,” he said.
MEPs say Russia has stepped up its anti-EU propaganda since annexing Crimea. They are now suggesting more awareness raising, education and investigative journalism.
Note no mention of the fact that Crimea WAS Russia until Khrushchev (a quasi-Ukrainian) gifted it to Ukraine (likely illegally). That was during my lifetime, BTW, so not a long time ago. Add in that Ukraine was being moved onto a NATO track and, well, having a chunk of your own Russian Population occupied by a major enemy is, er, a bit of an issue. Pointing out those historical and cultural facts is now “propaganda” to the EU. The same EU that wants to destroy European nationality and the US American Nationality as well (thanks to Soros and his fellow travelers in the Club Of Rome).
So the very UN-democratic, authoritarian Empire-in-the-making of the EU, who has tossed away security guarantees to Russia and, via NATO eastward expansion, thrust military presence right up to their border, all the time spouting hatred of Russia, that EU want’s to ban Russian media as “propaganda”… That’s just rich.
BTW, I’ve found RT Russia Today to be a better source of information about Europe than the USA media. Furthermore, since CNN, MSNBC, PBS, et. al. have been “outed” as All Globalist Democrat Propaganda All The Time, and near as I can tell, RT was more accurate on all things Trump and US Elections, I’m finding it just a wee bit hard to swallow the idea that DW and The BBC are pristine truth tellers…
From my POV, it looks far more like the EU is a creation of a Globalist Cabal with the intent of destruction of the nation state and ‘world domination’ with suppression of democratic ideals and liberties. Britain has managed to wiggle a nose out from under the smothering blanket of it, we’ll see if the escape can be completed. The USA has a bit of hope, what with getting the most ‘connected’ Soros banked globalists put out of power, IFF Trump can hang on and do what he says. Given that context, having a bit of a friendly talk-and-tea with Russia might be one of the best things Trump could do. I know that watching RT is far far better than the junk that passes for news on MSNBC and CNN.
Then maybe a statement that the USA will be paying at most 1/2 the NATO costs and 1/2 the staff of any NATO “thing” might be another nice touch. Be it standing army in Europe or an adventure in the Middle East. Who knows, faced with the cost reality in lives and treasure, peace might break out…