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Russia’s “Breadbasket” Is Not Part of America’s Vital National Security Interest ^ | Jan 03, 2018 | Bob Barr

Posted on 01/02/2018 9:38:00 PM PST by Oshkalaboomboom

“Make America Great Again.” The phrase became ubiquitous during the 2016 presidential election as both a branding tagline and rallying cry for Donald Trump’s campaign. It quickly came to symbolize an “America-first” attitude in solving the country’s problems; rebuffing the rampant “anti-exceptionalism” demonstrated by the previous administration. Now, “MAGA” (as it is often abbreviated) appears to guide Trump’s every domestic and foreign policy decision; even when its applicability may not be clear.

Just last month, the Administration approved plans to sell sophisticated Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine, bolstering that government’s ongoing conflict against pro-Russian separatists. The move is a dramatic shift in U.S. policy in the civil conflict, as the previous administration refused to offer Ukraine anything other than “non-lethal” aid. As expected, Russia condemned the move as an intentional provocation that could easily escalate tensions not just within the region, but between Russia and the U.S. as well.

Western experts, too, question the military effectiveness of the decision, and believe poking the “Russian bear” may have been Washington’s true motive. “This idea doesn’t flow from a policy or strategy,” Michael Kofman, an expert on Ukraine, told the Washington Post in August of last year, referring to the then-proposed deal for Javelins. According to Kofman, tank battles are increasingly rare; and while they might prove a factor in skirmishes yet to come, the arms deal is more likely meant as a political message to Putin. “The Ukrainians want the U.S. to provide them with a weapon as a meaningful signal in Kiev and the Kremlin,” Kofman noted.

It as well may be a political message to Trump’s supporters in the U.S. Perhaps to show to his detractors that he is not a puppet of Putin, as many have charged? To establish he is his own man? More macho? Less afraid? Great again? These hardly are questions relevant to a debate about the value of involving American military resources in a dispute over an area that had been referred to for centuries as “Russia’s breadbasket.”

There are, however, very real questions that should be asked, and answered coherently and expressly. Of what strategic military, diplomatic, or economic value to the U.S. is providing anti-tank missiles to Ukraine? Does it strengthen (or perhaps weaken) America’s military power? Does it provide the U.S. meaningful leverage in the international community? Or, does it further tie America to another foreign civil war in which our interests take a back seat to those of another government and citizenry?

In other words, what exactly is America’s “vital national security interest” underlying this consequential move? This is the same question many asked in April last year, following Trump’s order to launch some five dozen cruise missiles at what was a rudimentary Syrian Air Force facility; but one that apparently had been the base from which some Syrian jets had taken off to drop chemical bombs on that country’s civilian population.

At that time, we were told – predictably -- that the cruise missile strike was to prevent civilian suffering and to “encourage” Syrian President Assad to cease such actions. It was a “humanitarian” operation. It continued a policy of opposition to Assad’s regime that had been in place during the Obama Administration. All true. But what was the “vital national security interest” that every president in the past three decades has cited as the reason for making such military moves (and which virtually every presidential candidate – including Trump – promised would be the sole reason for committing American military resources overseas)? No coherent answer has yet been articulated regarding Syria; nor now, regarding the Ukraine.

Syrian President Bashir Assad is a bit player on the world stage; propped up by temporary benefactors in Tehran, Moscow, and perhaps a few other puppet masters. It is easy to target and bomb his military installations, and there is little he can do in retaliation. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, is not a bit player and Russia is not a third-or fourth-rate military power.

In other words, there almost certainly will be consequences for Trump upping the ante in the Ukraine-Russia dispute. They may be mild, such as diplomatic cutbacks or rebukes. They may be indirect, such as Russian moves to support anti-U.S. regimes or non-state actors in hot spots elsewhere in the world. They may be long-term, such as strengthening Putin’s already significant political base. And they may have no direct correlation to the Ukraine, but may manifest themselves in how others will seek to draw the U.S. into their conflicts, or perhaps push their opponents to seek aid from sources adverse to America’s actual national security interests.

What we do know from history is that making military decisions without first understanding, thinking through and articulating a clear and rational delineation of America’s vital national security interests, will lead to problematic consequences.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bobbarr
The Cold War is alive and well.
1 posted on 01/02/2018 9:38:00 PM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

War is a racket.

“US military assistance to partner and allied countries amounted to $13.5 billion in 2015, or 28 percent of all US foreign aid spending that year. Most military grants through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) scheme went to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Iraq.”

The revenues go to arms merchants, the weapons go to foreigners, and the debt and ever after interest expense go to the American public.

So much winning!

2 posted on 01/02/2018 10:03:30 PM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Ukraine has great people. Ukraine has 40 percent of the world’s black soil. Ukraine is being dismembered by it gigantic neighbor which also happens to have often been an enemy of the United States.

Of course lots of money from Russia goes to bribing officials and journalists in various countries. It seems to fear our small but very reliable Javelin fire and forget missiles.

3 posted on 01/02/2018 10:13:35 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American than a Russian AK-47 and a French bikini.)
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To: Gunslingr3
I guess you missed the part about the U.S. selling the missiles to Ukraine.
4 posted on 01/03/2018 12:05:29 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Headline: Muslims Fear Backlash from Tomorrow's Terror Attack - Mark Steyn)
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To: Jeff Chandler

The Obama doctrine to punish Christian Nations First is alive and well. Selling armaments to Ukraine for the purpose of killing Russians in the Donbass - the heart of ethnic Russia - proves that Trump can’t control his generals or is complicit. Too many military elites are willing to ignore historic Christianity and want secular Ukraine to triumph over the Orthodox Donbass. They want an EU future for us all. Ukraine is half ethnic Russian and half German with the German half holding dear to NAZI/EU post christian ethnic cleansing dogmas against Russians. If you aren’t a blonde germain Ukranian you deserve to die?

5 posted on 01/03/2018 12:50:45 AM PST by x_plus_one ( I pray Gods eyes may once again gaze upon me and remind me that I am still His child.)
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To: x_plus_one

“Donbass - the heart of ethnic Russia”

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

Oh really. . .where did you get that idea? The Donbass was populated primarily through the discovery and early exploitation of coal, resulting in considerable immigration from Russia in the 19th century.

Russians and Russian speaking Ukranians accounted for 11.7 percent of the population of Ukraine in 1897.

In 1926 Russians constituted 31.4 percent of the inhabitants of the Donbass.

6 posted on 01/03/2018 1:56:26 AM PST by deks
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

The fascist regime in Kiev is incompetent, as is their military.

Providing offensive weapons to these idiots will end badly...for them.

7 posted on 01/03/2018 4:31:47 AM PST by mac_truck (aide toi et dieu t'aidera)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

“Russia’s breadbasket.”

Not necessarily anymore. When the Soviet Union went belly up the collectives had a choice to go private. 7% did, the rest stayed some mode of collective. The 7% produce 40% of the Russian farm produce. Last year Russia had an all time record wheat yield and is looking to be the world’s biggest wheat exporter depending upon transportation issues.

8 posted on 01/03/2018 9:12:39 AM PST by Western Phil
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To: Jeff Chandler

Jeff Chandler wrote:
“I guess you missed the part about the U.S. selling the missiles to Ukraine.”

Money is fungible.
Can you tell me how much money we’ve given them since the coup?
Can you tell me how much they’re going to spend on Javelins?

If the former exceeds the latter guess who is actually buying Ukraine missiles...

9 posted on 01/03/2018 4:32:18 PM PST by Gunslingr3
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