Tag: nato

Ukraine Requests Assistance from NATO

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.

Image result for sea of azov
Sea of Azov pictured on a map (Credit: Wikipedia)

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,

Petro Poroshenko
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Credit: Wikipedia)

“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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How China Overtook the USA Where The USSR Couldn’t

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.

Geography

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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Helsinki High: Trump and Putin Play Nice in Finland

By Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

Speaking before a room of engaged media in Helsinki, Finland, President Donald Trump & Russian President Vladimir Putin promised a new relationship built on conversation and working together. Standing in front of “Helsinki 2018” decorated podiums and an even number of Russian and American flags to their wings, both men looked stern and imposing as they read through prepared statements.

Putin was first and sounded as upbeat as could be expected:

Today both Russia and The United States faced a whole new set of challenges. The creeping threats of terrorism and transnational crime. We can only cope with these challenges if we work together. Today negotiations reflected our joint wish with President Trump to improve this relationship and restore an acceptable level of trust.I’d like to point out specifically that our special forces are cooperating quite successful together. – Putin

Expounding on his hope for a new relationship between the two nations, Putin praised President Trump’s work on the geopolitical situation in North Korea:

We will make a step towards creating a lasting peace in compliance. We are glad that the Korean peninsula issue is beginning to resolve. To a great extent it was possible thanks to the personal engagement of Donald Trump who opted for dialogue instead of confrontation. The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including the election process. – Putin

He finished in a level tone that expressed hope for a new path forward for US-Russia relations:

It’s quite clear that the bilateral relationships are going through a complicated stage.  We had a great conversation and I hope we start to understand each other better. We made the first important step in this direction. – Putin

Trump and Putin once more showed their effect on the market. By the time Trump began to speak, the DOW Jones was moving up in response to the stoic and lukewarm comments from the Russian President.

Trump took a moment to pay his respect to Putin for the nation’s successful hosting of this summer’s World Cup and congratulated the Russian soccer team on their performance. He spoke openly about a more than 90-minute private meeting between Trump and Putin from earlier in the afternoon:

It went very well.  From the earliest days of our Republic, our leaders have understood that diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility.  Last century our nations fought alongside one another in the second world war. Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that. – Trump 

Trump didn’t wait long before lashing out at his critics back home in America:

As President, I can’t make decisions on foreign policy in a feudal effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. As President, I will always put what is best for America and the American people. – Trump

As the conference opened up to the press corps it was Jeff Mason of Reuters who asked the hard questions of the afternoon. He queried whether Trump holds Russia at all accountable for reported collusion into the 2016 Presidential Election:

Yes I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. We should’ve had this dialogue a long time ago. A long time, frankly, before I got to office. I think we’re all to blame. I think the United States now will step forward with Russia and we have a chance to do some great things. I think the probe has been a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it – Trump

Trump and Putin both brushed aside potential Russian collusion questions. Trump reiterated his dismissal of collusion talks and suggested he beat Hillary Clinton with ease. His ego, even on this international stage, can’t help from preening. Putin also disregarded the continued investigation into the 2016 United States election as a misguided pursuit that only hurts the relationship between countries. He called Russia a Democratic society and pointed out that private citizens acting on their own interests should not be confused with the Russian political state.

Putin went further when he proposed that Mueller’s team go to Russia and watch the questioning of the 12 indicted Russian. Against the backdrop of frustrated reporters, Trump and Putin shook hands for the cameras and walked off stage in partnership.


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Trump is Right: NATO is Cheating Us

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:

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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Paul, Lee Only Senators to Vote Against U.S. Support of NATO

By Kenneth Casey | United States

At around 7:00 EST on Tuesday, the Senate voted on a motion that supports continuing U.S. support and funds to NATO by an overwhelming majority of 97-2, with the only two dissents being libertarian-leaning Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee. With all the buzz and craziness going on about Donald Trump’s recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the vote of the two Senators flew under the radar.

This vote comes about 6 hours after President Trump criticized fellow participating countries in NATO for not paying their expected expenses to the treaty whilst relying on the U.S. for expected funding and defense.

Trump’s rhetoric on NATO goes back to when he was running for president. He was often criticizing our involvement in NATO and was one of the only Republican candidates calling for decreased spending within the treaty.

Rand Paul, who as mentioned prior was one of two Senators to vote against the motion, seemed to agree with President Trump on the issue of America’s involvement in NATO. He tweeted out the following:

Paul’s opposition to the expansion of NATO is unsurprising, as the libertarian senator has long expressed disapproval for our involvement in the treaty. Back in March of 2017, Rand objected to the adding membership of Montenegro to the treaty, which promptly led to Senator John McCain of Arizona accusing Rand of “working for Vladimir Putin”. The Senate ended up confirming support of Montenegro’s addition to NATO, with only two Senators objecting: Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Mike Lee commented on the addition of Montenegro to NATO:

“Of course, treaties and alliances with other countries can be beneficial, but the founders of this country understood their seriousness as well as going to war. That is why both of these powers-the power to make and ratify treaties and the power to declare and execute a war- are shared by the legislative and executive branches, and treaty ratification must be achieved by a supermajority in the Senate.”

-Senator Mike Lee of Utah

Unfortunately for libertarians who want the United States’ involvement in NATO to decrease, for both the purpose of cutting foreign aid and being involved in fewer entanglements overseas, Rand Paul and Mike Lee alone don’t have a ton of power in the Senate. 98 other Senators sharing opposing views which favor U.S. alliances and involvement abroad, so the only way for this to change is by electing more libertarian-leaning Senators.


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