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All things Russia and Ukraine...

Discussion in 'Free Fire Zone' started by CAC, Mar 15, 2022.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Golden showers fill his eyes....

    Apologies to the Beatles.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    70 cm of snow ! Yes I have. Across two feet of soft snow and through 3'-4' of drifts. But I wasn't lugging a 40/60 lb backpack and rifle. I got winded after a mile with just a small satchel loaded with hotdogs, mess kit and mustard ! Snowshoes help !
    Hoping to see Finland place a few Patriot systems on your eastern border.
     
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  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    In actuality the previous President was responsible for approving the first "lethal" aid to Ukraine in 2017 after they had been denied such aid by the Obama/Biden administration. Additional aid was provided or approved in 2018,19 and 20. The Javelins and Stingers that made headlines blunting the Russian offensive during the early days of the campaign, were sent during the previous administration. More importantly, the Ukrainian military had received ongoing, intensive training from the US military starting in 2018 (Canada, Poland and Lithuania also provide training teams). This transformed the Ukrainian military into the proficient, professional force that stopped Putin's invasion, which Putin though would result in the capture of Kyiv in two days and control of the country within two weeks.

    Also, the high gas prices are only partially due to the war in Ukraine. At least half of the price increase had taken place, and was already a political issue, prior to the Russian invasion.

    U.S. Troops Training Ukrainian Soldiers, Mattis Says > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News --2 Feb 1018 DoD news story

    From US News 18 June 2019..."The Trump administration will deploy $250 million worth of military aid and equipment – some of it lethal – to Ukraine's armed forces as it seeks to deter Russian aggression amid a recent spike in hostile acts, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday. The new equipment the U.S. will provide includes sniper rifles for Ukraine's special operations forces, as well as grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars and equipment to detect and protect against electronic warfare. The Obama administration and initially President Donald Trump balked at sending lethal weapons to Ukraine reportedly for fear of provoking Moscow, despite pressure from Congress. Trump authorized sending Javelin anti-tank missiles in 2017."

    A picture is worth 1000 words...US Marines train Ukrainian Marines 100 miles from Crimean border, July 13, 2018.


    3d Infantry Division soldiers train Ukrainians in Combat Medicine. 5 years ago..
     
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  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Cheers. Yes, we are buying rockets from Israel to protect our country. I would guess it is like the Iron dome system that they use against Hamas rocketry...
     
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  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    What?
    You mean Orange Man was not colluding with the Russians at that time?
    But Hillary and the DNC paid good money for someone to write that authoritative, factual report. The newsreaders were so vehement about it, it had to be true. Just had to be.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I recall Trump said he was thinking about pulling the US out of NATO because other member countries did not pay enough for their membership. I don't think he was kidding.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    If the agreement was 2% by 2024, why was Trump rattling cages 2016-17? Perhaps, he did not know what year it was.

    The 2% agreement is also mostly a bad joke.
    1. It is only an input measure, not an output measure. So, it is a poor yardstick for what is actually being accomplished for the money spent.
    2. Several European nations have seen their contribution rise, sometimes significantly....Why?
    Not because they have increased spending, but because their GDP has fallen due to COVID.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In a way you must, I think, look at the countries you accept to join NATO. Like Greece and even Italy were running out of money a decade ago, and now as the EU Central Bank is setting the loan % up to 1-2% some countries already saying they cannot handle it. 0% was ok. If they were not able to pay to the government workers how could certain nations pay for NATO membership. I know they should but purely looking at the figures might make you lose your way. I think this is something Putin relied on as well: That we don't have the money to help Ukraine or keep NATO in one piece. At the moment electricity and food prices go up like a rocket but can we let go and not help Ukraine??
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Putin is relying on NATO not wanting to start WWIII. He is obviously prepared to escalate the conflict. Thus, NATO has restricted itself to sending some arms & supplies - But, no NATO "boots on the ground" & no/not enough arms that will tip the scales in Ukraine's favor.

    Putin tried and failed with a quick lightning strike, so now he is doing the slow grind, and it is wearing the Ukraine down faster than it is Russia.
     
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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Especially now as Russia is calling reserves to arms. They can send freely infinite number of men to attack.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The problem is the US was bearing 3/4's of the costs of defending NATO, while defense spending by the rest of NATO, with the exceptions of Britain, Estonia, Poland and Greece, was anemic and in many cases declining. This is understandable because it appeared that threats like the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, that had driven defense spending during the Cold War were a thing of the past. In 2014, when the 2% GDP spending goal was made there were 28 NATO member nations, they comprised over half of global GDP and their combined strength should have dwarfed any potential opponent. Russia appeared to have moderated its aggressive stance and was becoming more economically intertwined with the west. You can understand why Estonia was trying to be prepared they share a border with Russia. Poland has historically suffered numerous invasions due to its central location in Europe. Greece has to worry about Turkey, the second strongest NATO country. Most of the others embraced the peace dividend and didn't want to spend money on equipment modernization, which by agreement was supposed to be 20% of their NATO spending. When "Orange Man" made an issue of it, the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, stated, "A sensible security policy is not just buying tanks, driving defense spending to insane heights, and escalating the arms race... A reasonable policy means crisis prevention, stabilization of weak states, economic development and the fight against hunger, climate change and water scarcity." With the current Ukraine crisis, Germany wishes it had the weapons and troops it decided was not sensible to acquire.
    Secretary of Defense Mattis, not a loose cannon, warned at the time, "Jim Mattis told NATO member countries 15 February 2017 they must increase defense spending by the end of the year or the U.S. might "moderate its commitment" to the alliance. Mattis said NATO must agree on a plan that would see governments increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP. "No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values," Mattis said. "If your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense." Remember, the US was providing 3/4's of NATO spending. It's also not, simply a matter of the size of the US economy, the combined GDP of the non-US NATO countries exceeds the United States' GDP, but their combined spending is only about 25% of what is spent on NATO and in most countries, defense spending has been declining. When the issue was raised by Trump, Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Washington was making a fair demand and called on Germany to increase its defense spending. It also wasn't just Trump that had raised the issue, in 2014 President Obama also expressed concern over the lack of financial commitment by many NATO members when he told EU leaders in Brussels, “If we have collective defense, it means everyone has to chip in, and I have concern about diminished efforts by some in NATO,” he said. “Our freedom isn't free,” he said, adding that it was necessary to “pay for the assets, the personnel, the training... for deterrent force.”

    Now, NATO is actually limited in what it can send to Ukraine without compromising their own defense capabilities. Most countries don't have the extra equipment and munitions stockpiles to do much more than is being done. Russia has huge stockpiles of artillery pieces and munitions and are leveraging this asset to make up for the lack of well-trained personnel (both quality and quantity) and tactical acumen that led to their early reverses. The Ukraine has shown a great deal of tactical/operational agility in their thinking in opposing the Russians. Most recently they've used their US HIMARS to target and destroy Russian ammunition dumps. Russia's lack of a robust logistical capability caused many issues and resulted in heavy losses during the initial invasion. Russia reoriented and started using rail lines to push fuel and munitions forward. This resulted in an accumulation of fuel/ammunition/supplies at rail heads. The Ukrainians only have 8 HIMARS systems (four more are on the way) and noting this new Russian tactic used the range and accuracy of their limited systems to go after munitions depots and headquarters. Ukrainians are being trained in Britain and Poland, and Zelensky has stated he'd eventually like to field a million personnel.
     
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  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You are right, this is the problem...The structure of judging how much a country is spending to support NATO.

    You see, the US was not bearing 3/4s of the costs defending NATO. The US has global military commitments and that 3/4 cost, supposedly defending NATO, actually are US global military commitments - Not NATO ones. The US is not defending NATO with the forces it has in SEATO or elsewhere throughout the globe.

    For instance, the "Orange Man" reduced US troops in Europe to 68,000. That was only 15% of active US military forces. 15% now equals 75%? Calling BS on that. Did not the US withdraw all it's tanks from Europe(or was it just Germany) in 2013, only to start moving tanks back less than a year later. AFAIK, we are now back to 3 armored brigades in Europe. So, please spare me the US is bearing 3/4 of the costs of defending NATO...Unless, you can actually show how much the US is spending defending NATO, and not just simply using the US defense budget.

    That is why I do not get the Democrat/Republican tomfoolery about what the US spends on NATO. Other than political populism to gain support of their respective voters, when it is plainly clear that the US is certainly NOT spending it's entire defense budget on NATO.

    Haven't crunched the numbers, but I would hazard a guess that the US is not putting 2% of it's defense budget into US military forces in Europe.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In a way, sorry, suddenly the US taking suddenly its military force away from Europe and Asia, I bet there would be at least two people who would be smiling...
     
  15. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    This may help.
    upload_2022-7-12_16-16-41.png

    Up to June 2021, the alliance estimated that 10 nations were spending 2% or more of their GDP on defence.

    But latest estimates show now only eight countries are achieving the target with Romania and France falling below the 2% threshold.

    NATO data suggests the UK defence spending as a percentage of GDP dropped by 0.05 percentage points in 2021 to 2.25% from 2.30% from 2020.
    Greece remains the alliance's biggest spender as a share of GDP, contributing 3.59%.
    The US (3.57%) stays second with Poland (2.34%) third and Croatia, Estonia and Latvia (2.16%) joint-fifth.
    Lithuania rounds off the nations hitting the GDP target, with a spend of 2.03%.

    After dropping below the 2% guideline, France (1.93%) is ninth and Romania (1.88%) is 10th.

    Luxembourg (0.54%) props up the proportional spending table with Spain (1.03%) and Belgium (1.07) making up the bottom three.

    Two places above Belgium is Canada (1.36%), while Italy (1.54%), Germany (1.49%), the Netherlands (1.45%) and Denmark (1.40%) are all among the nations below the guideline.

    Iceland, which does not have any armed forces, was not featured on the list.

    Formed in the aftermath of the Second World War, NATO's original goals were to secure peace in Europe, promote co-operation among its members and counter the threat posed by the USSR, also known as the Soviet Union.

    Forces Network
     
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  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That is not what I am looking for.

    How much a percentage of US GDP is spent on defense. The US has global military commitments...So, it's 3.57% of GDP is certainly not going all to defending NATO/Europe.

    What I want to know is...what the US is actually spending to defend NATO/Europe?

    Romania is not spending a portion of their 1.88% GDP defense budget on South Korea, Japan, Australia, Guam, the Mid-East, etc. Certainly, most NATO countries are not committed as globally militarily as the US is, so most of their military budget is actually spent defending Europe(although, veterans benefits & pensions do skew what is actually going to "defendeing" NATO/Europe.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2022
  17. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    The agreement for NATO members is to spend 2% of their GDP on Their Own defense budget. That is not to say we or any other Country pays NATO 2% of their defense amount.

    Since at least the late 1990s, a popular budget bogeyman is occasionally trotted out on Capitol Hill as symptomatic of wasteful Pentagon spending: the U.S. contribution to NATO and other member nations’ lack thereof. Fortunately, facts don’t back this fave sound bite.

    You could hear this during Congressional debates when the first round of NATO enlargement was proposed by the Clinton Administration. A popular question was how much it would “cost” the United States if the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland were admitted to the Alliance.

    More recently, President Trump often declared that NATO members other than the United States didn’t pay their “fair share” of NATO costs or were somehow, “very far behind in their defense payments.”

    The fact is NATO member countries pledge to meet certain thresholds in spending on their own defense which, by making each country stronger, indirectly contributes to the common defense of the Alliance. At the NATO Summit of 2014, each member agreed on a goal of spending 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense by 2024. Member nations further agreed to devote at least 20% of defense spending on major new equipment and associated Research and Development. In the Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, the Biden Administration noted that NATO members had, between 2014 and 2020, cumulatively increased defense spending by $190 billion.

    As of 2020, the last year for which NATO has released statistics, eleven of the 30 member nations met the 2% of GDP goal. These nations are Estonia, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom, and United States. And three more countries seem poised to meet the 2024 deadline: Croatia, Hungary, and Turkey. In the 2020 statistics, the United States spent 3.73% of GDP on our own defense. Greece was second, spending 2.68% of GDP on its defense. Estonia was third with 2.33%. The United Kingdom was fourth with 2.32%.

    Of note, Germany spent 1.5% of GDP on its own defense in 2020 and didn’t appear prepared to significantly increase spending prior to 2024. Now, in apparent response to the Russian war against Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged 100 billion Euros for his country’s armed forces in 2022, almost doubling the level spent in 2020 (51.4 billion Euros).

    NATO members also make direct cash payments for what are referred to as “Common Funding Arrangements.” These payments are a more accurate reflection of the “cost” of being a member of NATO and are based on the Gross National Income (GNI) of each member. The payments support NATO’s staff and operating costs of alliance headquarters, NATO’s military budget (the costs of the alliance’s integrated command structure), and the NATO Security Investment Program, helping improve military capabilities of newer member nations.

    These annual contributions from alliance
    a member of NATO and are based on the Gross National Income (GNI) of each member. The payments support NATO’s staff and operating costs of alliance headquarters, NATO’s military budget (the costs of the alliance’s integrated command structure), and the NATO Security Investment Program, helping improve military capabilities of newer member nations.

    These annual contributions from alliance members don’t cover the costs of NATO training exercises or military operations. When these costs arise, they are generally funded by participating individual nations.

    The total cost for the Common Funding Arrangements in 2020 totaled 2.46 billion Euros — roughly $2.76 billion. The contributions from the United States, based on GNI, account for roughly 16.3% of that total or roughly $442 million. Germany is the other largest contributor to the Common Funding Arrangement, matching the United States and covering roughly 16.3% of total costs. The United Kingdom contributes 11.3%. France contributes 10.5%. Italy contributes 8.8% and Canada 6.9%.

    All these statistics don’t give us a clear answer to the question: How much money does the United States spend on NATO? We can point to the “Defense Burdensharing/NATO” line in the Fiscal Year 2022 President’s budget request. That number was $640 million and appears to include both the U.S. portion of the Common Funding Arrangements, plus another $205 million in military construction. But a complete answer is much more difficult to winkle out. What are the costs of NATO training exercises? How about military operations in Europe in response to Russian attacks in Ukraine? Annual contributions to NATO don’t cover these exercises or contingencies.

    And then there’s the so-called European Deterrence Initiative, (EDI) requested at just under $3.7 billion in FY22. This is a program to, “[c]ontinue to enhance the capability and readiness of U.S. Forces, NATO Allies, and regional partners of the U.S. for a faster response to any aggression in Europe and transnational threats by a regional adversary against the sovereign territory of NATO nations.” It’s hard to argue that this program isn’t an additional “cost” to NATO membership, although it isn’t required under any NATO agreement. It’s equally difficult to parse exactly what portion of this program benefits the United States alone, rather than our allies.

    We’re budget watchdogs. We’ve spent more than a quarter of a century pointing out wasteful federal spending, including at the Pentagon. We know what waste is. But in a Pentagon budget request of roughly $727 billion – and a national security topline of just under $770 billion – direct NATO burdensharing costs of $640 million don’t seem out of line. We’ll keep a suspicious eye on budget dodges like EDI (especially when it was part of the old Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) slush fund) and keep publicizing the details.

    U.S. Contributions to NATO Budgets - Taxpayers for Common Sense
     
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  18. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Since the US GDP is nearly 23 Trillion I'll let someone else do the math :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Thanks, that is closer to what I was looking for.
     
  20. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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