Incapable of making either war or peace?

A nation or individual should be capable of fighting if they must and making peace when they can.

The U.S. governing class, at this point in our history, seems incapable of doing either.

NATO & Russia 2017

The NATO alliance was formed to defend the western European nations against a possible Soviet invasion. Each member pledged to come to the aid of any other member that was attacked.

At the height of NATO’s power, there were hundreds of thousands of Americans stationed in Europe who were trained and prepared to fight the Red Army, if necessary.

The United States in the Cold War era was prepared for war, but also capable of negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which reduced the possibility of nuclear war between the great powers.

During the past 20 years, the U.S. government has grown increasingly belligerent toward Russia.  It canceled the ABM and IRNF treaties.  At the same time it has reduced its war-fighting capabilities in Europe, and we the American people have grown weary of military interventions.

After the 9/11 attacks, NATO allies, including France, sent troops to fight in Afghanistan in fulfillment of the self-defense pledge.  France did not follow the U.S. into Iraq, but some allies did.  Since then NATO allies have been less and less willing to support U.S. wars of choice.

So here we are.  Our government is unwilling to negotiate in any meaningful way with President Putin, but also unwilling to fight, except at arms length, through economic sanctions and shipments of arms.

I don’t justify everything the U.S. government did in the Cold War era.  That’s a topic for another time.  And I’m not a war hawk.  Far from it.  But there was a time when we Americans were capable of waging war, and also capable of negotiating treaties and abiding by them, and this is no longer so.

There are two ways of inviting trouble.  One is being too weak to defend yourself.  The other is going around starting fights.  I think we Americans would be willing and able to defend our homeland, but I don’t think the U.S. is capable of forcing our new “rules-based international order” on the world and I for one do not support it.


The US Is Not Ready for a Peer to Peer Fight in Europe by Keith Nightingale, a retired Army colonel, for Small Wars Journal.  [Added 2022/2/23]

Quick Rebuttal to Russian vs. US threat in Europe by Troy Springer, a serving junior Army officer.  [Added 2022/2/23]

Washington Must Prepare for War With Both Russia and China by Matthew Koenig for Foreign Policy magazine.  The voice of the foreign policy establishment.  Notice that he writes about war preparation in terms of military spending and deterrence, not what actual war would mean.

Recognition of Donbass and warning to Kiev – Putin’s address to nation by Tass, the Russian news agency.

What Would Recognition of Separatist Territories in Ukraine Mean? by Yves Smith for Naked Capitalism.

Will Fresh US-EU Sanctions Hurt the EU More Than Russia? by Nick Corbishley for Naked Capitalism.

The ultimate end of NATO by Scott Ritter for New Age Opinion.

Why Biden didn’t negotiate seriously with Putin by Robin Wright for Nonzero Newsletter.  [Hat tip to Steve from Texas]. Good background information.

What’s Really Going On in Ukraine by Benjamin Studebaker.  More good background information.

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4 Responses to “Incapable of making either war or peace?”

  1. wtfbuddy1 Says:

    Interesting times we are in since the fall of the Wall and the ever changing political views from many differant countries. NATO is a good mutual defence alliance since 1949 and only has been used once since then under Art 5. The ABM and IRNF cancelled and not re-negotiated was done by republican presidents. The last president wanted out of NATO and Putins speech, he wants to destroy NATO as well – sure makes you think they were working together now that this new evidence is out there. The NEW Cold War 2.0 or whatever number they assign it, is here and we must adapt. Cheers


  2. Nikolai Vladivostok Says:

    Here’s another link that might interest your readers: the official transcript of Putin’s address before the invasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I don’t have a big problem with canceling the ABM treaty. ABMs are defensive weapons. Nobody imagines that a large-scale nuclear attack could be stopped by them. All it takes would be for a few to get through, and any country would be set back a hundred years with many, many millions dead. Only minor actors like North Korea and any other recent breakout is going to be seriously hindered by ABMs,

    China is uninterested in an ABM treaty and never joined the INF. (For that matter, they have no use for Outer Space Treaty, either.) The extreme accuracy of modern missiles means an intermediate range missile can have a conventional warhead that maneuvers and can follow a moving target. The US does not have such a missile but China brags about how they can destroy our carriers at will with theirs. (I have my doubts.)

    America’s army is not designed for offensive operations. Sure, you can use it that way but consider how much time it took to build up for both Iraq wars. The whole point is to be a ready reserve for Europe should the Russians come pouring over the borders. US troops in Europe are nothing but a tripwire. They show we have skin in the game. Sending 3000 troops to the Baltics and a couple thousand more to Poland and Romania is tactically meaningless. As we can see in Ukraine, the Russians can mass a powerful military force very quickly, but hauling 150K US troops over there would take months.

    If we were to maintain a strong presence in Europe today, the world would scream about our imperialist hegemony.

    Today, NATO is supposed to be able to take care of itself, anchored by Britain and France. But, after decades of peace and prosperity, NATO member governments managed to find more exciting things to spend that money on than military readiness.


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