The Cold War is dead… and it had better stay dead

| April 15, 2019 | 20 Comments

Blackbird spy plane

None of this ever appears in my local newspaper, probably because it’s either posted online or brought up for a one-minute look-see in the rather vapid evening news reports. If the real news is not being published in print, are we required to go searching for it?  Apparently, the answer to that is ‘yes’, because print costs more to produce than electronic sourcing.

Accordingly, when the following articles came up in Military Times, I read both of them, as they are connected. My only responses to this news are: 1) Is this what Vlad Putin is spending his oil and gas profits on? Because that’s just ridiculous. And 2) Does he really, truly want another war in the Balkans?

This is from March 13th, via Military Times:  https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/03/13/russian-aggression-on-the-rise-in-the-balkans-army-four-star-says/

If this is some attempt to restore the USSR to its former self, that seems like a waste of time, money and effort. Eastern Europe never belonged to Stalin’s Soviet Union. He simply confiscated it when he dropped the Iron Curtain on Berlin at the end of World War II. That was then. Things are different now, and per Reuters, Russia’s Gazprom says 2018 net profit is up 49 percent. That could be put to use to build Russian industry. China figured that out a while back.

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas producer Gazprom, on Thursday reported a 48.7 percent jump in 2018 net profit to 376.7 billion rubles ($5.8 billion) buoyed by higher prices and output. – Feb 21, 2019

Per the MT article, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command, in March, told Congress that Russian belligerence and especially its meddling in the Balkans have increased in recent months but also assured political leaders that U.S. military forces in the region are at the “highest readiness rate” since he took command three years ago.

Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti testified alongside Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger before the House Armed Services Committee. – Article

GEN Scaparrotti also noted that troops near the eastern border of the Balkans seem to be regularly subjected to what he termed aggressive behavior and moves by the Russian troops located in the border area.  Some of the smaller east European countries such as Macedonia and Montenegro are interested in joining NATO, rather than be pushed back into the control of the Russian government.

Moving ahead to this month, the report is now that a chill in US/Russian relations seems to be growing. Since we’ve watched Vlad since he started riding horseback without a shirt to get elected several times, it’s probably safe to say he may be trying to recoup what Gorbachev lost to the bankrupting Soviet government in its attempt at annexing Afghanistan.  This is not a good idea, since the countries that regained their independence and autonomy after the fall of the Iron Curtain generally don’t want the Russians back in town. They don’t even want them back in Tajikistan. Those people want hikers and backpackers and other tourists in that barren but strangely beautiful country full of mountains, glaciers and shallow lakes. And Azerbaijan has its own conflicts to resolve.

The second article is from yesterday.

https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/04/14/the-chill-in-us-russia-relations-has-some-worried-about-stumbling-into-a-military-conflict/

“During the Cold War, we understood each other’s signals. We talked,” says the top NATO commander in Europe, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who is about to retire. “I’m concerned that we don’t know them as well today.” – Article

Where is this going? This appears to be the old Soviet cat-and-mouse game that most of us remember from the Cold War. Real war is not an industry. The Cold War was. Most of today’s military development originated in the Cold War period.

So maybe Vlad is just flexing his biceps. Posturing is a bad idea. Maybe I should invite Vlad to dinner. And where does China come into this, with all their fussing over the South China Sea’s islands? Are they annoyed with Russia? There was a brief period about two years ago, during which a ferry ran cargo from Vladivostok to North Korea and returned to Vladivostok with tourists. Stay tuned….

Category: Cold War, Foreign Policy, Historical, International Affairs, NATO, Russia

Comments (20)

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  1. rgr769 says:

    That SR-71 isn’t a “spy” plane; that is a surveillance plane. It is only a spy plane if you are shot down by the people you are spying on. Just ask Comey and the D-rats. According to them, spying doesn’t exist if you are doing it to your own president, president-elect, or anyone connected to him and his campaign.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      “Spy” has fewer letters than ‘surveillance’. 🙂

    • Mason says:

      As a former lawer, I assume you enjoyed when Comey said the FBI engages in “court ordered” surveillance. It’s not court ordered. It’s court approved. Courts aren’t making criminal cases and ordering the cops to go out and spy on people.

      • rgr769 says:

        Yes, and as an ex-lawer and an ex-milintel officer with some field experience in recruiting people to work (make believe) against their own government, I find his comments to the Progda fake news spokesmouths highly disingenuous. This is especially true when I know the FBI uses counter-intel letters to surveil (spy) on people without any court approval whatever.

        • rgr769 says:

          I might also add, that whenever they do get a FISA warrant, they get to look back at every electronic communication NSA and other government agencies have captured for months earlier with everyone the target communicated with. That is why Nellie Ohr obtained a ham radio license, as she could communicate with anyone anywhere without being monitored by NSA or anyone else. Who knows, maybe she had a burst device to send encoded messages using one-time pads. Any SF commo guy could have trained her how to do that. I could do it now, and I never learned morse code. We had a gizmo in the AN/GRC-109 gear with a qwerty keyboard you could use to put the coded message in morse onto a magnetic tape you played at 300 characters per minute when transmitting.

          • Mason says:

            Yeah, the more I learn about those FISA warrants, the more I dislike them. Too secretive and far too broad.

            • rgr769 says:

              The NSA letters or whatever they call them are worse because there is no oversight whatsoever for those. Also, remember the FBI lawer (Baker)testified to congress there was no legal difference, as far as he was concerned, regarding a predicate for wiretapping/electronic surveillance for a counter-intel investigation and for a criminal investigation. That is totally untrue legally, but these guys all think they are above the law.
              If the FBI/DOJ can get a FISA warrant soley based on that fairy tale of the Dossier; they can get one based on any phony story.

          • Bones says:

            Yes, the Nellie Ohr ham license. Interesting.

            Like you, I was on an ODA, but in the ’80s. We had the PRC-74 or 70 radio for HF and used the Digital Message Device Group for burst transmission.

            I don’t know what they use today, but as a ham myself, I know that there are multiple means to send digital communications in a burst format.

            Here are a few:
            http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html

            I believe also that she probably used this to avoid monitoring of her work connected to the coverup.

            • rgr769 says:

              Bones, thanks for the link.

              We had the PRC-74 as well, but on Flintlock, they made us carry the Angry 109 as back-up in case the SFOB couldn’t get us a resupply of radio batteries. Guess who got to pack the 109’s hand crank generator in his ruck for the infil jump of my four man pilot team?

      • timactual says:

        Noticed that myself, and I’m not even a lawyer. Odd mistake for a lawyer to make, though. I am sure he wouldn’t do it intentionally. We know he never speaks with forked tongue. (I can say that because I am 1/2^20 Injun) ((which is why I can also say Injun)).

    • SFC D says:

      The difference between “spying” and “surveilling” depends on which end of the wiretap you’re on.

  2. Hondo says:

    Continued Russian interest in the Balkans, Baltic States, Poland, Belarus, and the Ukraine doesn’t surprise me. Russia has historically seen itself as the “protector” (read that “ruler”) of all Slavs – whether non-Russian Slavs wanted Russian “protection” or not.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    “Beware the military industrial complex.” “War is good for the economy.” “It’s a small war and a dirty war, but it’s the only war we got.”

    Anybody remember those? Gorby broke the former USSR in A’stan and trying to out spend Reagan. Wonder if Ol Vlad is trying to make history repeat itself.

    We saved Europe twice in the last century from aggression. How many of the Allies we had then would be Allies this time? We could probably count on help from the Slavic & ‘Stan Nations that do not want to be under the Russia thumb again. Just like the bully on the school yard the Ruskkies and the Chi-Coms both will keep pushing just to see how far they can go.

    Patton and MacArthur had the right idea.

    • Reddevil says:

      Well, probably not the Russians.

      This ain’t the Cold War. Although Afghanistan was a part of the Soviet Demise, the fact that we had a solid NATO alliance that included 2 full US Army Corps, with2 heavy divisions and 2 Armored Cav Regiments and enough artillery and combat engineers to sink Guam was what broke the Soviet Union. we also had 2 additional Corps ready to reinforce, and a solid plan with the logistical capability make it happen.

      Things look much different in Europe today.

      Russia wants their empire back, and along with it greater influence in the world. They are not content with just being a regional power, and want to regain Great if not Super power status.

      The belligerence in Europe is a great way to keep us off balance, force us to spend money on military readiness, and maybe even scare some of our NATO allies into leaving the alliance.

      We have a grand total of three brigades on the ground in Europe at any given time now- one airborne, one Stryker, and one Armored brigade on a rotation. These brigades face the Russian Western Military District. Go look it up- there’s a lot of combat power there.

      Any reinforcements we try to deploy to Europe would face very sophisticated Anti-Access/Area Denial weapons. This is one of the reasons we are so keen on keeping the Baltic open, and why the Russians buzz our ships there.

      This is why our NATO allies are so important to us. If Putin decided to take the Baltic stayes tonight, we would wake up in the morning facing a new Europe, and there would be very little we could do about it on our own. NATO brings the Poles and even Montenegro…

      Putin doesn’t necessarily want war, but he wants to challenge the current balance of power in the world and expand Russi That’s why he put troops on the ground in Venezuela, challenging the Monroe doctrine and almost daring Trump to intervene.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Putin’s Russia has no real industry. The Chinese government has been pushing its industrial state into existence since the early 2000s, and is succeeding nicely.

        If Putin could get off the ‘military might is good’ notion and start working on developing Russia as an industrial nation, it’s likely he’d stop trying to reannex the Cold War boundaries in eastern Europe. The problem is that he either can’t, or simply won’t.

  4. SgtBob says:

    In the summer of 1914, diplomats, politicians and generals, like Mighty Mouse, had the situation well in hand. Every one knew what he was doing, and each knew how to read the others. Except they didn’t. Every Balkan clump of tribes and clans holds other clumps responsible for every wrong committed in the last 1,000 years. And every one knows most everything is the fault of the Serbs. Getting involved would lead to no win. We’re still in Kosovo.

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