Nato is about to attack Russia

That’s the impression one may get from reading Stephen Glover’s article. By the sound of him, he gets all his knowledge of Russia from his Mail colleague Peter Hitchens, from whom Mr Glover must also take lessons in logic and rhetoric.

First, a perfunctory de rigueur disclaimer that “Putin is evidently not a nice man. He has cracked down on a free Press, and locked up, and occasionally killed, his enemies… Russia behaved illegally when it seized Crimea from Ukraine in…”

The cause of sensible balance thus served, it’s time for inane apologetics. “However…the peninsular had been long part of Russia until given to Ukraine in 1954”.

He should have followed that erudite observation by saying that, give or take a couple of years, Britain acquired and lost India at the same time Russia acquired and lost the Crimea. Let’s annex Assam then – the logic is exactly the same.

Speaking of logic, would Putin be also justified to reclaim Finland and Poland? Both had belonged to Russia until 1917 and what more reason does he need?

“Then the West…” committed the faux pas of “…wooing Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking population, and is regarded by many Russians as the cradle of Mother Russia.”

India has an even larger English-speaking population and is regarded by many Englishmen as the jewel in the crown. Send the Royal Marines to Bengal.

Surely what matters about a sovereign nation is how it sees itself, rather than how it’s seen by acquisitive neighbours? Czechoslovakia regarded herself as a sovereign nation in 1937, which she stopped being in 1938 because Hitler regarded her as an extension of Germanic culture.

The Russians have a similar historical reason to feel that way about the Ukraine. Kievan Rus’ was more Scandinavian than Russian, and in any case it had disappeared centuries before the word ‘Ukraine’ crossed anyone’s lips. Modern Russia owes much more to the Golden Horde, which, following Mr Glover’s logic, should give her a valid claim to Mongolia and northern China.

And let’s not forget that “Putin has brought a degree of order to Syria, which the West signally failed to do”. Paraphrasing Tacitus, now that we’re in the realm of historical allusions, “they make a desert and call it order”. Mr Glover’s chagrin over Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of civilians is decidedly understated.

Russia, explains Mr Glover, is “a largely Christian country”, even if it does bomb civilians indiscriminately. I suggest that, on the basis of this ignorant statement (Russia’s church attendance is even lower than ours), Putin should occupy Istanbul. After all, the Scandinavian prince Vladimir got Russia’s religion from Constantinople, as Istanbul then was.

You see, I’m learning the art of shaping an argument from the best. Nothing like modern hacks to teach one how to reason logically.

“Nato… signed up the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – right on Russia’s borders… Suddenly, Russian leaders were faced with the reality of American and other Nato troops being stationed on their doorstep. You can hardly blame them for feeling paranoid.”

No one can be blamed for suffering from paranoid delusions – it’s a disease, and in Russia’s case one of considerably longer standing than Mr Glover fancies. Russia has always felt threatened by the West, an irrational feeling her rulers utilised to compensate for the dire conditions in which the Russians have had to live throughout history.

Ever since the reign of Ivan III, the last Grand Duke of Muscovy, the Russians have talked about the West presenting an imminent threat. That justified the consistently aggressive stance Russia adopted towards all her neighbours – including the Baltics.

In recent history they and the Ukraine suffered unimaginably at the hands of the Russians. A quarter of the Baltics’ population perished in the purges. Five million Ukrainians died in the artificial famine created by the Russians in 1932-1933. The culture of all those republics, including their languages, was stamped into the dirt. How much wooing do you think it took for them to want to shake Russia’s dust off their feet?

As to Russia being encircled by Nato, a small-scale example from quotidian life if I may. I’m surrounded on all sides by neighbours, most of whom are younger than me and some considerably bigger (and the men are bigger still).

Yet I don’t feel threatened, much less paranoid. All those youngsters are well-spoken and well-dressed, and none seems to harbour hostile intent. Extrapolating ever so slightly, Mr Glover’s statement would only make sense if he felt that the Russians have a justifiable fear of Nato aggression.

If he actually thinks that, it’s he who’s deluded. Nato is deployed strictly in a defensive formation, consistent with the doctrine of containment it has been practising vis-à-vis Russia since the 1950s.

Then comes another display of ignorance straight out of Hitchens’s book, verbatim. Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s, hence we have nothing to fear from Putin. One can infer on that basis that Italy could take Russia one on one in a war.

Mr Glover’s strategic thought probably provides for such an outcome. After all, Russia is pathetically weak because Nato spends more on defence, and “Nato troops (including 800 British soldiers) [are] being sent in sizeable numbers to Eastern Europe.”

It has been known since before the invention of gunpowder that it’s not the overall military power that matters, but its concentration on a critical strategic direction. The Germans, grossly outnumbered and outgunned by the Russians in 1941, proved this by routing the Soviet regular army and taking more than 4.5 million POWs between June and December, 1941.

So what “sizeable numbers” are there? The formidable force of 800 British soldiers is augmented by a US brigade of 3,500 recently deployed close to Russia’s borders.

By contrast, Russia has amassed 330,000 motorised troops on her western border. They are equipped with 10 times more tanks than Britain, Germany, France and the US contingent in Eastern Europe have altogether.

But wait a minute, Russia has a “sole 30-year-old aircraft carrier – a rust bucket… The U.S. has ten modern aircraft-carriers. Even Britain will soon have two.”

Fine, a carrier commissioned in 1990 is a rust bucket. But do let’s apply this agism to all of them. So what do we call those five US carriers that are older than the Admiral Kuznetsov and those four commissioned in the same decade? Why, we call them modern of course.

And saying that “Britain will soon have two” means that at present she has none, which makes a mockery of the country’s entire history: for the first time since 1815 France is stronger than Britain at sea.

Unlike Britain, Russia has never depended on being a major naval power. Neither did Genghis Khan’s Horde. Nevertheless both countries did reasonably well militarily by relying on an overwhelming land presence.

The only thing that makes even remote sense about Mr Glover’s article is its conclusion that the West, specifically President Trump, should try to find some peaceful accommodation with Russia before letting ICBMs fly.

He should have left it at that, sparing us his pathetic analysis. But then those column inches need to be filled, don’t they?

8 thoughts on “Nato is about to attack Russia”

  1. “Fine, a carrier commissioned in 1990 is a rust bucket. But do let’s apply this agism to all of them. So what do we call those five US carriers that are older than the Admiral Kuznetsov and those four commissioned in the same decade? Why, we call them modern of course.”

    Kuznetsov lost two warplanes during carrier operations within a short period. Remaining warplanes deployed then to Syrian air bases. Threats on paper often do not materialize. Same with submarines. Russian submarine activity up 50 %. Most “activity” as defined consisting of voyages lasting from two hours to two days at the most. American subs when on patrol a minimum of two months at sea. You all can easily see the comparisons.

    1. That two planes were lost during carrier operations says something about the planes but not necessarily the carriers. As I wrote, Russia is not now and never has been a major naval power. Underestimating her land strength, on the other hand, is a great mistake. One hears statements like “So what that they outnumber Nato tanks 10 to one? Half of their tanks won’t even start.” Perhaps. But even in that purely hypothetical case they’ll still outnumber Nato five to one. Also consider the fact that, should a land war break out, it’s logistically easier for the Russians to bring reinforcements in than for American to fly all those Abrahams tanks across the ocean and then transport them by rail across Europe. But the greatest factor to consider isn’t a physical one but the aggression and willingness to fight. In June 1941, Russian tanks outnumbered Germans one seven to one, and their quality was much higher. Yet Russian soldiers didn’t want to fight, and their commanders didn’t know how. Hence a rout ensued. Today I’m not convinced that Nato countries and their leaders are ready for thousands of zinc coffins, something which for Putin wouldn’t even be a consideration.

  2. It seems to me that the Russians don’t really like Russia, they have all that space that is largely uninhabited by their dwindling population.

  3. On the balance of the ‘threats’ to European Western civilisation by Islam, mass migration and Russia the latter comes a very poor third.
    about which should we in the West and in particular, England, be more concerned?
    That depends on where you live. The perspective of the minority white residents in Lancastrian ancestry in Burnley or Blackburn, Leicester or Rotherham is unlikely to share the concerns of his or her counterpart in Vilnius about the ‘threat’ from the ex-KGB colonel. As the EU, led by Germany, has been happy to stoke the embers of conflict with Russia, they should, logically, be prepared to address any concomitant retaliation.
    Britain’s priority should and must be extracting itself from the machinations of the EU, a socialist construction as evil as as Soviet Russia in the ’80s and ’90s’ and addressing the real threat of its own destruction from within.

    1. Retaliation to what exactly? The West generously welcomed into its fold several victims of protracted Russian brutality that yearned to be free. Only madmen would regard that as a hostile act, and it takes rather ill-informed folly to believe that the madman has a point.

      Unlike you I’m not prepared to rate the threats confronting the West in descending order. All those you mentioned are indeed threats and deadly ones, especially that of destruction from within. But please don’t think for a second that events in Vilnus are none of our business. Remember Neville Chamberlain glibly dismissing “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”. Thousands of Englishmen died, learning the hard way.

      The West has survived so far thanks to a system of post-war collective security, Nato. Should the Russians attack some Nato members and the rest do nothing about it, that system would be dead in the water — with possibly fatal consequences in the face of all other threats.

      My feelings about the EU are no warmer than yours, but the single-point perspective works better in painting than in international affairs. Because the EU is evil and the Muslim dangerous Russia’s threat doesn’t diminish.

  4. “The West generously welcomed into its fold several victims of protracted Russian brutality that yearned to be free.”
    Really? Were the implications and consequences of extending the boundaries of NATO up to the Russian border fully understood, contemplated or debated at the time of their admission? The EU, German led, was of course happy to extend again its hegenomy over the states it had long sought to dominate and control.
    As for British ‘appeasement’ in the 1930s; there was, and is, much truth in Chamberlain’s comment. The interests of Britain, its Empire and indeed Europe were badly served by a fatuous declaration of war in support of Poland, especially after the balance of power had tipped decisively in favour of Nazi Germany after the capitulation in Munich.
    Britains’s current interests are not best served by remaining in an EU dominated by a resurgent, socialist Germany, NATO itself has long been suborned to EU interests. Indeed there is a real danger that the EU and its supporters will use the spectre of Russian revivalism to prevent Brexit.
    The extent to which Britain should involve itself in an argument between Russia and Germany over the control of eastern Europe should be tempered by the lessons learned at such great cost in the 20th century.

    1. When Chamberlain made the comment that, according to you, had much truth in it, the Allies could have driven their tanks into Berlin practically unopposed. And when Germany was busy in Poland, there wasn’t a single tank on her western border. Yet the allies sat on their thumbs. Remember what happened next? Now what you’re effectively saying that we don’t need Nato, and if Putin wants to help himself to Eastern Europe, he’s welcome to it. That’s the danger of letting one single issue, that of the EU, dominate one’s thinking. Using Russia to prevent Brexit would take some fancy footwork, and I can’t see offhand how that can be done. In terms of defence policy, the whole thing about the EU is that it wants to supplant Nato in Europe. The way to be anti-EU in this area is to be pro-Nato, not to support its de facto dissolution as you seem to be doing.

      1. Well, France and Britain might have driven their tanks into the Rhineland, if there had been any there and the Siegfreid line hadn’t been constructed. Equally Russia might have done the same if they had achieved a rapprochement with Czechoslovakia or subsequently hadn’t entered into the Brest-Litovsk pact with Hitler to partition Poland.
        “That’s the danger of letting one single issue, that of the EU, dominate one’s thinking.”
        Not in my case, Mr Boot. Though it certainly seems to apply in respect of your view of Russia.
        I experience and understand the threat of Islamic fundamentalism on a daily basis, compounded as it is by a politically correct, anti-nationalist EU.
        Indeed your concerns may have genuine merit. The ‘threat’ of invasion from Russia may even be real. Germany is certainly taking the opportunities presented, by the election of Trump, by the unrest in Ukraine and the Baltic states, to seize control of the EU’s foreign policy and exert military dominance, at the expense of at the expense of a NATO organisation that is nowadays little more than an adjunct of the European Commission and its expansionist policies.
        Naturally the US rightly objects to funding the militaryily impossible defence of a hostile and penny pinching EU through a NATO patently incapable of defending the new territories which it so rashly committed to but is in fact, incapable of protecting. Britain, bereft of adequate independent Defence forces, (one aircraft carrier may arrive at sometime, with or more likely, without working aircraft, the other will serve as a helicopter carrier or more likely, refugee overspill accommodation) faces the possibility of de facto absorption into a militarised EU, with no option of a Brexit delayed for the greater good.
        At least if nothing elese we can agree that a Trump/ Putin discussion may be of value.

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