Cracks in the NATO alliance continue to appear. According to Politico new polling data shows, “69 percent of the German public want more cooperation with Russia and only 35 percent with America; a consistent German polling majority refuses to defend Poland and the Baltic states if Russia invaded them.” Germany is also expected to miss the NATO’s requirement of at least 2 percent of GDP in defense spending. President Donald Trump has been critical of NATO members for not paying their favor in the organization.
Daniel Szwec | @szewc_daniel
Historically speaking, the Baltic-Black Sea isthmus, currently occupied by the Polish and Ukrainian states has always experienced extremely strong policical forces, ones set on uniting the region into a single political entity. From having a monopoly on the non-Scandinavian geopolitical European Rimland’s border, to being the crossing of trade routes from North to South, and East to West, the region was already in a political union, in the form of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, during which the region enjoyed enormous prosperity and had the largest aristocratic class in all of Europe. What’s more, the geopolitical longing for uniformity may be seen as one of the major causes for the first world war- the region was split in between the Entente and the central powers- Western Poland belonging to the German Empire, the East of Poland and the Ukraine belonging to the Russian Tsardom, and Galicia belonging to Austria-Hungary.
By Jack Parkos | Ukraine
With the the Kerch Strait crisis heating up, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has requested for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to assist Ukraine in the conflict, asking that they deploy naval vessels to the Sea of Azov.
The Crisis began after Russian Navy vessels attacked Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea. Since then, both sides have accused the other of being at fault. Ukraine claimed that this was an act of aggression by Russia. Meanwhile the Russians claimed that Ukraine illegally entered its waters. Since this incident, Ukraine has implemented martial law for the first time in its history.
Porshenko has claimed that Putin wants “nothing less” than to occupy the Sea of Azov. In an interview with a German newspaper he stated:
Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security,
“We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia. First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov. Germany, too, has to ask itself: What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?”
Ukraine is not an official member of NATO, but the alliance has given support to Ukraine in the past. So far, no action has been taken. Secretary General of NATO Jen Stoltenberg stated that the organization is closely monitoring the situation.
Russia has to understand that its actions have consequences, and that’s the reason why NATO has reacted so firmly against the actions of Russia against Ukraine over several years. NATO Allies have imposed economic sanctions. NATO has, not least because of the actions against Ukraine; illegally annexing Crimea, destabilising Eastern Ukraine. We have implemented the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, also with more presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
And then, NATO Allies and NATO have provided strong political and practical support to Ukraine. We help to modernise the Ukrainian armed forces; we provide some support to the naval forces of Ukraine, and we are constantly assessing what more we can do to provide support and to help Ukraine. We do this partly within the NATO framework, but also some Allies provide some direct support on the bilateral level and we support and encourage that.
So, we are following and monitoring the situation very closely and we constantly assess what more we can do because Russia has to understand that its actions have consequences.
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Daniel Szewc | Poland
There are multiple reasons why China, a country which had to endure the dictatorship of a communist even worse than Stalin, Zedong Mao, managed to lift itself from the ashes, whilst Soviet Russia couldn’t do it.
To get the elephant out of the room, the only variable that is inherently more favorable to China than it is for Russia is geography. After WW2, the USSR’s access to warm water ports was the best in all of Russia’s history, yet it is undeniable that there was a muzzle on the bear. The Greenland-Iceland-UK triangle in the North Atlantic, Bosphorus, and Dardanelle, and the Danish straits being controlled by NATO all stood in the USSR’s way. The American Navy, which stood ready to invade the Eastern Russia coastline, also prevented the USSR from having complete territorial control.
In contrast, the People’s Republic of China had a better situation- an underperforming India busy with Pakistan to the South East, impoverished people to the South, and devastated Japan to the West. This allowed the Revolutionary Army of China to concentrate less on defending its borders than the USSR had to.
Economy and Ideology
From the era of Xiaoping Deng seizing power in the Middle Kingdom, China was an active participant in the global market, since they accepted revisionist Marxist doctrines. In practice, they became communist in name only- the gray market was allowed to flourish, and redistribution was minimized, but the authoritarian control maintained. Gorbachev’s, Jaruzelski’s and Kohl’s “opening to the West”, meant a lack of accepting Western cultural demoralization and the slow economic shift to the left, that is still making its way to this day. China, on the other hand, became America and Europe’s supplier of goods, therefore a complete blockade of them would drastically lower the living standards in America and Europe, and cause Westerners to rise up against their governments. Extreme tariffs against goods produced in the USSR would have a minimal effect, simply because Americans did not prefer Soviet products, and the USSR’s products were unfit for American consumption.
To further explain in how much of an disadvantage China was originally, it is enough to say that they didn’t enjoy de facto home rule for the period of European colonisation, even though the Chinese emperor did de jure administer most of it’s territory- in comparison, the only era that could be remotely called “non-home rule” since the Dimitriadis (an era of Polish foreign rule in Russia during the early 17th century) was the Bolshevik rule- most of the party’s presidium was Jewish during that time, even though most people may not know it- Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) and Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) for example, were the grandkids of Orthodox Jews and changed their surnames to aliases to hide their roots.
China’s line of attack based itself upon prior experiences that they have learned from- as Otto von Bismarck said: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others”
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By Jack Parkos | United States
Trump recently had a meeting with countries in NAT. He was very upset with NATO because many members of NATO had not been paying their fair share, forcing the US to increase spending. When Trump is upset he likes to tweet about it, and boy did he tweet up a storm. Here are some things he tweeted about in the past couple of days:
NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018
Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2018
….On top of it all, Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia. Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2018
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 юли 2018 г.
Trump isn’t wrong on some of this. NATO was founded almost 70 years ago as a strategic alliance against the Soviet Union, with the idea that all countries would work together. But what good is NATO if the United States is one of the only countries paying? Why must we pay the defense of other countries? We basically are defending Europe and getting nothing for it. This is extremely unfair to the taxpayers, as our debt continues to spiral and their money goes across the ocean.
Before, NATO was anti-USSR. Now it is anti-Russia. We are supposed to protect Germany from getting invaded by Russia, but Germany trades with Russia. If Russia is such a threat to Germany, why would Germany trade with them? Why would you want to help the economy of a country of that is supposedly going to attack you? Essentially, we are sending billions of dollars protecting a country from an invasion that likely won’t happen. Modern Russia isn’t the USSR, there are no signs they want to take over Europe. Why are we protecting Europe? What is the threat?
There may some debate as to whether we should continue to support NATO, but we can all agree that while we are in disagreement we shouldn’t be spending this much on it. We are getting screwed over by other countries.
Trump has bombarded leaders at the meetings. He came out saying a lot has been accomplished and that other countries will pay there fair share and ties to NATO are strong. However, we don’t have many specifics on what went in the meeting. We can only hope for the best.
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