I simply love waking up to headlines like “Russia Could Invade Poland ‘Overnight'”:
The Atlantic think tank warns: â€œEven if Moscow currently has no immediate intent to challenge NATO directly, this may unexpectedly change overnight.â€
It talked up the rapid speed of Russiaâ€™s military operations and warned Poland and its allies that they must be prepared andÂ arm up as a deterrent.
As the study in question says, capabilities and intentions are two different things. It still seems outlandish to contemplate that Putin would attack a country of 40 million people which is both a EU and a NATO member. But the fact that it’s not 1939 anymore and we’re reading these sorts of headlines again is concerning.
What’s also concerning is that a possible President of the United States, and a Republican one to that, is hedging his bets on defending NATO allies:
NYT: If Russia came over the border into Estonia or Latvia, Lithuania, places that Americans donâ€™t think about all that often, would you come to their immediate military aid?
TRUMP: I donâ€™t want to tell you what Iâ€™d do because I donâ€™t want Putin to know what Iâ€™d do. I have a serious chance of becoming president and Iâ€™m not like Obama, that every time they send some troops into Iraq or anyplace else, he has a news conference to announce it.
NYT: They are NATO members, and we are treaty-obligatedâ€¦
TRUMP: We have many NATO members that arenâ€™t paying their bills.
NYT: Thatâ€™s true, but we are treaty-obligated under NATO, forget the bills part.
TRUMP: You canâ€™t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what theyâ€™re supposed to make. Thatâ€™s a big thing. You canâ€™t say forget that.
NYT: My point here is, Can the members of NATO, including the new members in the Baltics, count on the United States to come to their military aid if they were attacked by Russia? And count on us fulfilling our obligationsâ€¦
TRUMP: Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.
NYT: And if not?
TRUMP: Well, Iâ€™m not saying if not. Iâ€™m saying, right now there are many countries that have not fulfilled their obligations to us.
By “paying their bills” Trump means NATO members meeting their target of spending 2 per cent of the GDP on defence. As “The Atlantic” notes, “If Trump is elected in November and is true to his pledge, then few of NATOâ€™s 28 members will qualify for U.S. support in the event of a war. Only the U.S., Greece, the U.K., Estonia, and Poland meet NATOâ€™s guideline.” If only Trump the Businessman was as committed to paying bills.
I’ve blogged about the Putin-Trump love affair twice before; one could say it’s a bit of a personal obsession. I’m not alone, if some of my recent bedfellows are normally not my cup of tea; it’s certainlyÂ funnyÂ to see the left all of a sudden become the Russia hawks and NATO fans, but hey… Now the Clinton campaign is blaming Russians for the WikiLeaks dump of embarrassing DNC emails, which show how the Dem establishment railroaded Bernie Sanders to deliver Hillary the nomination. Russia might or might not be really behind it – it certainly doesn’t change the fact that the Democratic Party is a cesspool of corruption – but if it is, it’s yet another indication how much Putin wants to see pro-Russian Trump in the White House.