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Hackers post fake stories on real news sites 'to discredit NATO' (bbc.co.uk)
184 points by elorant 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 183 comments





Disinformatziya.

No document I have ever read covers this topic in more detail than this briefing by Peter Pomerantsev, author of “Nothing is real and everything is possible.”

https://imrussia.org/media/pdf/Research/Michael_Weiss_and_Pe...

This briefing, which is held in the library of Congress, is where I first heard the term “fake news” in 2014. It’s a stunning contextualization of what has been happening in the last decade.


In a strictly military context, is maskirovka. This involves NATO in a non-shooty context, so OP or maskirovka might be valid.

You should read standard military manuels on counterintelligence operations (coinops)

Is it worth reading? Anything different from the CIA's PsyOps?

Unlikely to differ much, at least as of mid-twentieth century practice:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/48612/48612-h/48612-h.htm

> "The lower down the echelon, the nearer the armies of the world came to standardizing psychological warfare organization. They did this for the same reason that they all organize into regiments instead of centuries, cohorts, or tribes. Modern war is a self-standardizing process if the enemy experience is to be copied, enemy techniques improved, allied assistance accepted, and military practice kept up to world standards. Psychological warfare units needed printing and radio sections; to service these sections they all needed intelligence and analysis offices; to distribute their materials they all needed agents and liaison. Black propaganda organization varied more than did white, but it was amazing to Americans, uncovering Japanese subversive-operations units, to see how much the Japanese organization resembled their own."

(White propaganda is material one admits one has written. Black propaganda is material one claims someone else has written. Both go back to well before the last century. Linebarger has historical notes, with examples going back thousands of years. Having been one of the people who "lost china", Linebarger also offers some opinions on why the communist propaganda was more effective than the capitalist in that case.)


Always irks me how the media use the term "hackers" as some usurped terminology to describe criminal acts using technology. For me, it is like calling burglars a locksmith - that don't happen and yet we see the word "hacker" used by the media to describe criminal acts so far removed from the words original meaning that it just pains me and i'm sure many others. More so when the populus definition of that word now parallels what the media have been putting out for years, it just creates whole generations that will never know what a true hacker is.

The meaning of all words changes. It would be ironic if the meaning of the word hacker would be unchangeable, impenetrable.

> The meaning of all words changes. It would be ironic if the meaning of the word hacker would be unchangeable, impenetrable.

Hats off, brilliantly put and the whole aspect that the word hackers got hacked is one that I'll remember with a smile upon this subject. Thank you for that perspective - I'll think better for it.


Indeed, that was insightful - the word "hacker" has been hacked by mass media to re/present a politicized and criminalized interpretation.

The predicament itself feels ironic, in that "hacker" culture reveled in the amoral, going beyond conventional behavior, thinking outside the box, getting around rules and systems, manipulating technology for fun and profit.

In a way, that dark side of the hacker attitude now pervades politics, business, and the media. Public institutions and private organizations are surveilling, cataloguing, identifying trends, and maniputing public opinion and social behavior.

I suppose it was inevitable that "hacker culture" itself was infiltrated and hacked, to serve an ulterior purpose.

A healthy reaction has been the rise of "maker culture". What is old is new again!


Russia's been having too much fun with the whole "russian hacker" thing (unfortunately with the new semantics). The main tv channel even broadcast a dance number on the theme (to the tune of "Jamaica"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrH8xyJG4rc

At least the meaning of "hacker" is now a somewhat-useful sibboleth, distinguishing between the old school and the poseurs? I may be optimistic, but I'm confident true hackers will always eventually learn the true semantics, when they start learning about their antecedents.


ESR's "How to Become a Hacker" is top two hits for "How to be a hacker" and front page for "how to hack" on google.

Question is, how many people look past the first hit?


Having consistent definitions of words over various geographies and time is a good thing, and we should strive to achieve that.

Throwing up our hands at the corruption of words over time is not helpful.


"Hacker" is like "witch" - you can have good witches and bad witches. But to bystanders that don't want their comfortable paradigm upset by any witchcraft, they're all bad.

The dynamic was especially visible in the 90s when sysadmins and even users would often shoot the messenger for pointing out simple security holes.


Although I agree, I'm a little surprised the "true hacker" community hasn't adopted an alternative title to distinguish themselves.

The "true" hacker community calls criminals "crackers". That term seems to have been lost and was never used in the media. There are also more domain-specific terms like "phreakers".

I believe Stallman uses, or at least used, "cracker" for criminal hacker.

But that's also a slur.

Hackers don't care.

USA itself is already souring on NATO, no hackers needed.

Many in the USA are tired of being criticized for being the "world police" yet the same critics also scream when the USA starts pulling its military personnel out of their country (like Germany, most recently).

I say Europe should use their own money to build their own Navy and Air Forces to protect their own interests and make their own trade and travel routes secure. Right now most EU countries are putting virtually none of their budget into military because everything is taken care of by the USA (and they can launder protection of interests through USA as well so USA takes all the heat if something goes wrong).

Maybe people will complain less about the US military when they have to use their own tax dollars to secure their own borders, shipping and air routes, protect their own interests, etc.


Unfortunately for you and the rest of Americans that feel this isolationist tendency, your country will be a part of the world whether you like it or not. A modern conflict that does not involve the US is not the same thing as a modern conflict that does not affect the US.

Also, your opinion of Europe doesn’t seem founded in reality. Since when does European nations not have their own standing armies, and since when are American army resources used to protect European borders and shipping routes? And from who?

The US needs the rest of the world as much as the rest of the world needs the US. You seem to be under the influence that the US is somehow being fleeced by the rest of the world while nobody but you (conveniently enough) contributes anything.


> since when are American army resources used to protect European borders and shipping routes?

Since the 1940s.

> And from who?

Since WW2: Russia. The US military's position in Europe post WW2 enabled the destroyed, fragile nations of Europe to rebuild in the face of a Soviet onslaught to conquer as much territory in Europe as they could.

Also: Serbia, right in Europe's backyard. See: the Kosovo War. [1]

Also: Ukraine today. The sole reason Ukraine exists at all still, is that the US poses a severe threat to Russia were it to attempt a full annexation move using its military. They couldn't be certain how the US might react. Remove the US from that equation, and Russia knows the Western European powers will do nothing to stop it from taking Ukraine (other than protesting at the UN and throwing on some sanctions).

Russia would immediately begin annexing territory in several prominent Eastern European nations, along with militarily challenging several others (eg Poland), were the US to pull its military resources and declare it had no interest in European affairs. The Western European powers would do nothing to stop that and could do nothing. France and Britain have nuclear weapons, which would only be used as a threat if their own territory was at risk (which it would not be; France isn't going to nuclear war with Russia over annexed Eastern European territory). Among Western European nations only Britain and France are capable of operating their militaries beyond their own borders properly, and in those cases they can barely do that. This is fundamentally why it was the US that had to intervene to stop the Muslim genocide in Kosovo, because the Western European powers can't project their militaries well and lack the capabilities the US has.

[1] https://www.hrw.org/report/2001/10/27/under-orders/war-crime...


Well, I'm sick and tired of being lambasted by the rest of the world 24/7 and would like to go back to pre-WW2 isolationism.

EU can fend for itself. It doesn't need the US military. And the USA doesn't need NATO. Our military is bigger than the rest of NATO combined.

> Since when does European nations not have their own standing armies

Europe spends very little on their military compared to USA, China, Russia, etc.

> and since when are American army resources used to protect European borders and shipping routes?

US Navy protects merchant ships, oil tankers, cargo ships, fiber optic cables, and more from damage, sabotage, seizure, piracy, and more. If you don't recognize global trade and communications stability provided by US Navy, it's time to be reminded. It's time you protect your own interests with your own money. It's time you deal with Russia on your own without a US presence.

> The US needs the rest of the world as much as the rest of the world needs the US

You just said you don't need "American army resources" because the European nations have their own "standing armies". I whole-heartedly agree. Let Europe use its own military to protect its own interests.

> You seem to be under the influence that the US is somehow being fleeced by the rest of the world

It does seem like "biting the hand that feeds you".

From my perspective EU is like "Cool, USA is taking care of tons of stuff we would normally have to pay for military-wise, so we can use that money instead to provide more social services to our citizens! Also the USA sucks [insert criticisms at every opportunity]"


> would like to go back to pre-WW2 isolationism

And we all know how that turned out..


> since when are American army resources used to protect European borders and shipping routes? And from who?

Are you serious? We spent half of the 20th century risking nuclear holocaust because we wanted to curb Soviet expansion into Europe. Many Americans still have family that were drafted and sent across the ocean to West Germany.


Most Germans would actually be happy if the US closed Ramstein. There was a large uproar in Germany when it came to light that the US is controlling their drones in the Middle East from there.

In Romania, fake news try to say that NATO military bases run a prostitution rings with underage girls. There was a case[1] where a criminal raped and killed a girl in a city near a NATO military base and all the fake news articles were trying to say that the criminal was providing underage girls for the NATO soldiers.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnapping_of_Alexandra_M%C4%8...


Gee, I wonder what nation could possibly be behind this?

Obviously you mean Russia, but China, North Korea, and Iran also have an interest in weakening NATO.

The military alliances of the United States in Asia are not part of NATO.

That doesn't mean China can't see a benefit from chaos within NATO.

Australia may not be in NATO, but there's close coordination anyways.


Australia may not be in NATO but they're still British Commonwealth, and in communion with the UK and Canada (who are founding NATO members) as well as the US.

Pick a fight with Australia and the ANZUS Treaty comes into force, and if the ANAZACs are in a fight, the US and UK will almost certainly be involved.


Right, that's the point. The Asia theatre alliances may not be NATO, but there's enough NATO involvement in them to functionally work the same way.

Nuke Japan? You've picked a fight with NATO. Invade Australia? Same deal.


step behind the curb citizen, nothing to see here

do you think that whole nation is responsible?

[flagged]


Do you have any evidence that FireEye’s report is inaccurate or misleading?

You are making an outlandish claim, that the BBC is lying in conjunction with FireEye. Back it up with evidence, or abstain from gaslighting please.


Do you have any evidence that FireEye’s report is accurate and not misleading? they are the ones that claimed it in the first place.

Also what do you think is more plausible for a western cybersecurity company's bottomline? make Russia innocent or make it guilty? especially when you got the backing of all western governments and media.


FireEye has provided their own evidence[1]. BBC has strong editorial guidelines for dealing with evidence from third-parties[2]. You, however, have provided nothing but conjecture and redirection.

Can you substantiate your claim? If not, it’s fair to classify your comments as obvious attempts to gaslight HN’s readers.

1: https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/fireeye-www/blog/pdfs/Gh... 2: https://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidelines/accurac...


Literally there is ZERO evidence in the report. It's all pathetic nonsense "ghostwriting" about a few accounts upvoting each other on some blogs. The company and others have every incentive to blame these pathetic "ghostwriting" nonsense on Russia to make profit and be relevant. They have no reason whatsover to not do that. Even mentioning that they have no clear evidence against Russia means bad for their business.

They need to update their response book, at this point it becomes too predictable

Wow, how clever. So are you saying Russia never do these types of operations, or do they, but only sometimes? If so, I'd love to know how you can tell the difference.

Russia would know that any fake stories it posts after hacking the BBC will be immediately taken down and corrected. Not only that, but it lets Western governments know Russia has that capability and take measures to counter it. There's a lot more damage they could do with hacked news sites than just "discrediting NATO." They get little or no benefit out of a hack like this.

On the other hand, if this thread is any indication, domestic intelligence agencies which want to foment anti-Russian sentiment can get a lot of mileage out of the idea this is another dastardly cyberattack by the Russkies.


The killing of Russians in the UK and Germany (and elsewhere) was also by domestic intelligence agencies? And the BND and MI6 cooperated on these killings? Otherwise Western governments would know GRU capabilities?

Russia has a strong interest in and pattern of silencing regime critics, so no, I think those killings were almost certainly carried out by Russia.

I'm not sure what their interest would be in using this once-and-done hack to post a bunch of articles about NATO that no one will even read.


Bingo

Say it out loud ?

Always figured those Andorrans were up to something

Well let's hope we find Shran soon enough

Edit: Andorrans, not Andorians


Why are you sure it is a nation. NATO is by no means an uncontroversial entity. Millions of peace activists—including my self—would love to see it abolished.

Although I do admit, the content of the fake news articles seem a little crude to be coming from peace activists. Personally I would post simple truthful anti-NATO, anti-military, and anti-nuclear weapons propaganda if I had the will to break into news web sites CMS.

EDIT: People are rallying against my anti-militarism. I don’t think there is a point arguing that, and such an argument is blatantly out of topic. Here we are discussing that I have a reason to doubt that a nation state is behind these attacks.


The only two routes to peace are hegemony and balance of power. There are no other mechanisms that stop ambitious, ruthless people using force of arms to achieve their aims.

Getting rid of nuclear arms means surrendering to those who don't.


> Millions of peace activists—including my self—would love to see it abolished.

I wonder how Europe will respond when the next Crimea happens? Or if Taiwan gets attacked. It's a real question, and I'd love to hear from a peace-activist.

I'd bet Europe will do nothing. Merkel wouldn't even openly criticize China for stripping away democracy from Hong Kong. European models work well in a world without dictatorships. But as long as we have dictatorships, rigid pacifism is just throwing militarily weaker democracies under the bus. Irrespective of what one thinks about Trump, the US military a dependable ally for (many) democracies. And perhaps the only one with the willingness to act.

(Not an American.)


We are speaking very much out of topic. The fact that I’m personally against NATO adds nothing in the debate on whether a nation state was behind these attacks. But lets entertain this anyway[1].

Crimea was annexed by a militaristic nation from a smaller less—but still quite—militaristic nation. Ukraine is neighbored to the west with supporting European nation—some with a really big military, and even nuclear weapons. None of those were able—or even willing—to stop the annexation. In this instance these armies were useless.

China annexed Tibet in the 50s and it wasn’t stopped. What makes you think Taiwan would be any different? China is a dictatorial power that is committing a genocide against a religious minority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is not stopped. What makes you think Hong Kong would be any different?

Please note that invasions, and wars are not the only ways to act against human rights violations. There is also sanctions and boycotts. This was particularly effective to stop the South African apartheid. But alas, the current world powers are unwilling to apply even that to try to stop China from their human rights violations.

---

1. Even though I’ve had this conversation dozens of times, and the idea of military is so engraved into people that the idea that we don’t need it—or worse is harmful—is too alien for people to even contemplate.


> We are speaking very much out of topic.

You do understand we're talking about NATO and Russia, right? I mean, there is no clearer example of why NATO was created and exists up to this day that Russia's attack and invasion of Ukraine. The reason why Russia dedicates itself to weaken NATO is precisely that as well. You cannot talk about NATO without discussing Russia's historical aggression and expansionist agenda towards all its neighbouring states.

Knowing that, and as you are a self described peace activists with an axe to grind against NATO, why do you intentionally turn a blind eye to the very core of the problem?


> Why are you sure it is a nation. NATO is by no means an uncontroversial entity. Millions of peace activists—including my self—would love to see it abolished.

I wonder how so-called "peace activists" look at Russia's invasion of Ukraine and still don't quite grasp the importance of NATO.


This is answered below. In short: NATO did not stop the annexation of Crimea.

What? Are you serious? Do you also believe everyone should just disband their local police force because a neighbouring town experienced a crime?

I would understand using Ukraine's example to argue the exact opposite, but for some reason you believe that a first sign of aggression justifies dismantling all defenses.


Yes I am... What is the point of having a military alliance to protect against foreign invasions if that military alliance won’t protect you from invasion?

This line of thinking would be very relevant if Ukraine was a member of NATO. But since it’s not, could you elaborate? Which alliance do you mean?

You are moving the goal post a little bit. Ukraine is bordered to the west with all NATO members. They have been aspiring NATO members since the end of the cold war, currently hold the status of “intensified dialogue”. European nations have expressed interests in protecting the Ukrainian borders. It was in the direct interest of NATO to uphold that, and Ukraine is willing to receive that help.

There is precedent of NATO interfering in armed conflicts outside of the borders of their member states. They did so in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo during the Yugoslav wars. They also did so in Afghanistan and Libya (come to think of it; NATO has demonstrated it self to be more like an invasion pact then a defensive one). Why didn’t they act in Ukraine? You tell me.

Now again, there are non-intervention ways of punishing Russia for this blatant violation of international treaties, such as boycotts or sanctions. However all of the 10 NATO members that qualified opted to participate in the 2018 FIFA world cup hosted by hostile Russia. How is that for solidarity?


Millions of peace activists, including yourself, have no idea about the danger that would put some eastern European countries.

World peace is not maintained by hugs and kisses. Big sticks keeps peace.


So even if we peace activists are wrong in our ideology, we are still capable of braking into news site’s CMS to inject fake news to further our (in your opinion) wrong agenda.

How does that change anything? ISIS had hackers, that doesn't make them good or anything. I don't want to compare you with ISIS, I'm just trying to make a point.

You keep missing my point. It doesn’t matter if they are good or noble or anything (also ISIS is not a civilian group). It matters that there exist civilian groups that are a) capable, b) willing, and c) have reasons to do something like this.

Civilian anti-military activists are such a group, regardless of how correct, or noble the cause is.

Just to prevent misunderstanding: I am not accusing peace activists of these attacks. I’m just saying that non-state actors have ample reasons and self justifications for pulling this off. And for that matter juvenile teenagers that just so happen to hate NATO for whatever reason might just as well have done this.


We can either spend all week coming up with fake suspects, or we could call a spade a spade based on all the piling evidence.

https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2019/04/26/russian...


> based on all the piling evidence

As you link to an article written by a partial actor over a year before the crime.

Just because an actor is guilty of several crimes, it won’t mean that all similar crimes conducted afterwards are conducted by that same actor.


> Millions of peace activists—including my self—would love to see it abolished.

Why? I would think anyone who truly wanted peace would welcome treaties meant to deter war [1], and would want to expand them globally rather than abolish them. Small wars are still wars, and there's one going on right now one country away from NATO.

https://www.quora.com/What-do-NATO-rules-say-when-one-member...

[1] assuming war is never justified, even to prevent things like genocide.


Maybe it’s not a nation but at the very least it’s a nation is likely turning a blind eye to those who are doing it as it aligns with their interests.

why is the BBC calling NATO Nato? I had to internet search to figure out what they were talking about

https://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art201307021121335...

> Use the abbreviated form of a title without explanation only if there is no chance of any misunderstanding (eg UN, Nato, IRA, BBC). Otherwise, spell it out in full at first reference, or introduce a label (eg the public sector union Unite).

>

> Where you would normally say the abbreviation as a string of letters - an initialism - use all capitals with no full stops or spaces (eg FA, UNHCR, NUT). However, our style is to use lower case with an initial cap for acronyms, where you would normally pronounce the set of letters as a word (eg Aids, Farc, Eta, Nafta, Nasa, Opec, Apec).

For the average reader, I would argue there is little chance of misinterpretation, and BBC certainly agrees. Besides that, because "NATO" is pronounced "nay-toh", they spell it with an initial cap.


Interesting. Is this really not confusing? I haven't seen it done elsewhere. I find it confusing just because of that. Their reasoning for why they do it seems actually reasonable.

EDIT: Actually the fact that their rule is followed by a list of exceptions, because NICE -> Nice, SAD -> Sad would be confusing shows why this style might be not so good after all. Also, whereas N.A.T.O. -> NATO is really just a style change in some sense, because NATO can be still interpreted only as abbreviation, NATO -> Nato feels like stealing a part of the identity from the subject. NATO emphasizes some meaning behind the letters, whereas Nato resigns on that origin.


Perhaps it's confusing to Americans, but it's common among the UK press:

> Use all capitals if an abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters (an initialism): BBC, CEO, US, VAT, etc; if it is an acronym (pronounced as a word) spell out with initial capital, eg Nasa, Nato, Unicef, unless it can be considered to have entered the language as an everyday word, such as awol, laser and, more recently, asbo, pin number and sim card. Note that pdf and plc are lowercase.

https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-a

It appears they are doing the equivalent of considering pronounced acronyms to be proper nouns. Despite the style ambiguity, it makes a bit of sense if you read the text aloud, as the style gives some indication of how to say the word.


For what it's worth, I've always found this confusing, and every time I encounter it, it slows me down for a second.

I don't know if I'm an average reader or not. I wonder what that even means in this context: I imagine the average reader is probably expecting consistency with other media outlets.

It's especially odd when an organization always insists on capitalizing its own abbreviated title (NATO, NASA, OPEC, etc.) but the BBC refuses to do it. Seems like an instance of esthetics getting in the way of clarity.

Like many minor typographical issues, this one evokes an unnecessarily powerful reaction.


The same rules applies in Swedish, so the correct way, in Swedish, is to write "Ikea".[1]

[1]: http://www.isof.se/sprak/namn/samverkan-inom-namnvard-och-na...


On the topic of capitalization in Swedish, proper practice is to normalize everything.

E.g.: Eon instead of E.ON, Ebay instead of eBay, Iphone instead of iPhone.


Shouldn't that "Bbc" which looks odd to me?

How do you pronounce "Bbc" as a word, not as spelled-out letters?

Beece

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/collegeofjournalism/entries/8f7c...

It’s the house style to avoid too many capitals in prose.

Remember how people used to write N.A.T.O. decades ago but then simplified to NATO? Now they’re simplifying to Nato.


> Remember how people used to write N.A.T.O. decades ago but then simplified to NATO? Now they’re simplifying to Nato.

I wouldn't call it "simplifying": capitalizing it has the same number of characters and is less ambiguous. I was already somewhat aware of BBC's style, but I still mis-parsed the headline and and thought "Nato" was the name or nickname of a natural person.


I don't understand - do you expect everything that isn't the name of a natural person to be written in all caps?

If I write an article about how 'France is having a heatwave' do you get confused and think 'France' must be referring to a natural person?


In the article you linked:

"We retain the middle cap in YouTube and MySpace because we think it prevents readers being confused by a word they are used to seeing in a particular way."

I'm used to seeing NATO, and thought Nato might have been a political figure I hadn't heard of.


After reading this article you weren't sure what Nato was referring to? And thought maybe it was a political figure? Sorry, I can't believe that.

> After reading this article you weren't sure what Nato was referring to? And thought maybe it was a political figure? Sorry, I can't believe that.

At least for me, the confusion was cleared up immediately after looking at the article, but that doesn't mean this style of headline isn't any less confusing. After all, lots of places (like HN) only display the headline.


It's just that a name is a case-sensitive string. If you said 'france is having a heatwave', 'FrAnCE is having a heatwave', or 'FRANCE is having a heatwave', I would be confused.

It's an initialism vs acronym thing: when the initials are treated as a word (e.g. NASA, but not BBC) you don't have to capitalise the whole thing (Hence 'Nasa' is ok). See https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/collegeofjournalism/entries/8f7c... for an explanation.

> initialism vs acronym

oh how interesting, ive never seen this debate before. I guess it confused because, internally, i dont treat acronyms as words. I dont think of NASA as Nasa or NATO as Nato, i find this counter-intuitive.

to think out loud, this seems antithetical to what an acronym is in the first place. NASA is a pointer, not an object. creating a new object Nasa templated from the pointer NASA (not the object the pointer is referencing) makes my head hurt.

the Bbc ( :-D ) does it, so apparently im the exception and not the normal.


> the Bbc ( :-D ) does it, so apparently im the exception and not the normal.

I assume the smiley indicates that you're aware that 'BBC' would actually be correct, and that 'Bbc' is not appropriate (because we say 'Bee Bee See', not 'Bubk'), unlike NATO/Nato ('Nay toe')

Also, I prefer NATO over Nato personally. NATO reads 'Nay toe', while Nato reads 'Nat oh' in my head.


It's language evolution, in part. 'Radar' and 'scuba' are famous examples which have become regular names. At some point all-caps started to look pedantic, I suppose, or odd because their origin was not familiar to people.

Spelling acronyms in title case instead of all uppercase is a British thing generally.

Not sure I agree with that.

The BBC blog about their decision to use Nato (instead of NATO)[0] is from 2013, a month after their decision to make that change, and starts with:

> Barely a week goes by without at least one BBC News website reader asking why acronyms are in lower case: ‘it should be NASA, not Nasa.’

I disagree that this is a British thing generally, and rather it's a conscious stylistic choice made by the BBC. If it was a British thing generally, it holds that there wouldn't have been a need for the blog post at all.

I also don't think 7 years is enough time to bastardise a language (unless you're talking about a dialect, at which point it doesn't always take very long to literally destroy the meaning of words)

[0] https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/collegeofjournalism/entries/8f7c...


Every time I see this affected, illiterate spelling I initially read it as "nattō", the smelly fermented bean preparation.

Once the USA has a sane commander-in-chief again, it's going to need to completely overhaul its approach to the Eastern European region, among other things.

A sane commander that starts useless wars in the Middle East to transfer billions of tax payer money to his donators?

No, we don't think those were sane either.

How far back do you have to go to find a "sane" one? Bush Sr? Eisenhower?

Carter.

Andrew Jackson

Masks off.

Ike

Yes that, so true!

It's been like 17 years since the US started a war in the Middle East. Your talking points are a little dusty.


While I'm an advocate of the US entirely removing itself militarily from the Middle East, none of those properly qualify against the parent's point.

The parent referred to starting wars. The first one doesn't qualify at all.

The US and NATO have intervened in the two civil wars (along with numerous other countries; with France recently pleading with the US to remain in Syria). It's an overreach to claim the US started the Libyan Civil War or the Syrian Civil War, neither is true. The US was opportunistic in trying to squeeze Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad out (with Russia on the other side, trying to prop up the dictatorship). Those civil wars are the inevitable result of decades of extreme oppression by dictatorship, which will always end in armed revolution.


It's likely that the US intelligence was involved in stoking the flames of civil war as a cover to make a military intervention publicly palatable.

> The US and NATO have intervened in the two civil wars

It might have been a civil war at the start, but after that it was a war of the US against two sovereign states. Nothing civil about that.


- Airstrikes are not a war and the US is not at war with Iran (believe me, you'd know if they were)

- Libya was started by France who begged the US to join them on their little sorties, Italy ran air command too, the US was just along for the ride)

- The Syrian Civil War has basically nothing to do with America, blame Russia as the leadership there gassing civilians and genociding undesirables is a Putin stooge.


And still going on...maybe shake that dust off, no?

There are serious constraints on what can be done. Among others, why would any other country make an agreement with the US where the payoff is more than 4 years out? It has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to keep promises.

I think this concern is overblown. It certainly hasn't stopped Canada and Mexico from negotiating the USMCA trade agreement, for example.

The JCPOA (more commonly known as the Iran deal) constrained Iran's nuclear program, and it was with great disappointment that I watched the administration withdraw. But there were anecdotal reports of transgressions on Iran's part, and the JCPOA was never submitted to the US Senate for ratification, which means it was never a legally binding agreement under U.S. law. Like the Paris climate agreement (most of its signatories saw their GHG emissions increase, but not the US; so much for the effectiveness of such agreements to achieve concrete progress in the fight against climate change).


The incentives and risks look very different in a local free trade agreement than, say, multilateral talks about What To Do About Syria.

Please name some relevant countries who might be willing to bet their internal security that a hypothetical 5 year security promise from the US would definitely be operative after year 4.

But I do hope I'm wrong. I guess we'll see.


>Please name some relevant countries who might be willing to bet their internal security that a hypothetical 5 year security promise from the US would definitely be operative after year 4.

Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Israel and everyone in NATO from Poland on west.

Yes, we're going through a rough patch because the US is (rightfully) sick of playing world police at the same time as China/Russia are on the up but to think that the US and all the other regionally relevant powers (e.g. NATO members for Europe) wouldn't retaliate against an attempt to annex territories in any of those countries is crazy. Also Panama and Egypt (who both have critical global shipping lanes) don't really have to worry about their sovereignty being violated by any nation that the first world would expect to restrict access to their shipping lanes.


> the US is (rightfully) sick of playing world police

That is not a reasonable description of the current situation unless you think that the guy whose party commands a thunderous minority but wins (both the Presidency and the Senate) due to electoral bugs gets to say what we, as Americans, are and are not "sick of".


Indeed, world police is the role any international hegemon plays to secure trade routes and stability. But I wouldn't discredit the idea entirely. NATO does have its requirements and few members chip in their fair share. Furthermore, geopolitical interests are shifting and this fact may be politically useful. Right now, for example, the US, Germany/EU, and Russia are fighting over influence in the central European states with Poland at the helm. Shifting military presence eastward strengthens American influence, blocks Russian meddling, and frustrates German/EU power in the region, though the last is trying to make the US dominance work for them (note Germany's interest in the American-backed Three Seas Initiative).

You attempt a really weird spin when you try to attribute the rough patch to the U.S being "rightfully sick of playing world police". When the current commander in chief threatens nuclear war on Twitter and assassinates military commanders on sovereign soil. It's not really hallmarks of a laid-back foreign policy.

What does Taiwan have to do with Syria?

If we're going to discuss this, let's not play "Goalposts? What are those?"


You said:

>Please name some relevant countries who might be willing to bet their internal security that a hypothetical 5 year security promise from the US would definitely be operative after year 4

I deem Taiwan to be a "relevant country" due to their relevance to the technology industry.


Do you have a source I could read on the Paris Agreement and its signatories' emissions increase? That is interesting.

Quick summary: USA and EU emissions are down, China is up a bit, India is up a lot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_Ch...

EU emissions overall are down, but with large differences between countries. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/9779945/8-08...


Just as a reminder for everyone reading this the JCPOA has been violated for almost a year by Iran and they seem to be much closer at maintaining weapons grade enrichment and warheads.

How the USA should approach Eastern European region?

I'll leave that to people who are trained for such things. I'm just a software guy.

How will you react if the trained people don’t think an overhaul is needed?

I'll trust their judgment. I don't trust the judgment of the current administration.

Periodically you will find a "harumph!" post challenged instead of blindly upvoted, please do your homework

I'm not sure what you mean. Could you elaborate?

Comments upthread were concerned that your least-common-denominator, I-watch-the-news-so-I'll-know-what-to-say, effort-free regurgitation of status quo platitudes has received upvotes on HN. This concern was deepened for parent comment once an actual conversation started and you had nothing to say in support of the proposition you had stated with such vehemence. If you're not going to expend the effort to think about a topic, please also save the effort required to post about the topic.

Do you mean the judgment of people like Samantha Power, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Henry Kissinger, Susan Rice, and Biden's foreign policy team which is largely inspired by and contiguous with that set?

Why do you think the US has any obligation or right to deal with others situation? It's not like the US is a Idol (anymore) for most other nations.

Why is the US interested in Europe at all? Whatever the reason, it's clear that failing to secure the Eastern Flank, even if there is no particular interest in Central and Eastern Europe (though there most certainly is), puts the rest of Europe in danger. A tangible example of this threat was the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 (had the Poles lost, the Soviets would have marched right into Germany and probably beyond). The North European Plain is not exactly untraversable or empty of important East/West and North/South trade routes (it is the geographic center of Europe, remember).

> Why is the US interested in Europe at all?

To encircle and strangle Russia.

That's how Russia sees it, at least, and I have a hard time arguing with that.


Kicking off random wars is obviously not a good idea, but complete neglect and acquiescence to a belligerent power also isn’t working either.

Maybe we should try other things?


US policy toward NATO has been remarkably consistent, despite the confusing rhetoric from the commander-in-chief. The United States still refuses to recognize the Russian government's claim over Crimea, the Trump administration has continued selling arms, including lethal arms and armored vehicles, to the government of Ukraine, the United States conducted a cyberattack against Russia prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and US forces are actively participating in NATO's multinational training exercises and forward deployments in Eastern Europe. A Biden administration is expected to continue these activities.

I agree, I got a bank comfort letter from an Asian client using Sberbank, and found out that the entire bank is on OFAC list!

Russians use this bank like Americans use Venmo.

It just seems like low hanging fruit for a chummy head of state to deal with, because the sanction itself is so hurtful and broad to include the entire institution for over half a decade and never revisiting it.

It is balanced to separate the rhetoric of the head of state from the autonomous and distributed US agencies. Its clear the priorities from the president are self-protection, and the stuff with Russia is just enough to keep investments afloat, while pretty much everything else regarding US agencies and geopolitics is ignored. So all the drama stays at the top of DOJ, Fed, Treasury and what all the divisions do transcends administrations.


I wonder what you're being downvoted for here exactly. As much as the DC foreign policy consensus likes to portray anything short of complete encirclement and expanding NATO right up to Russia's borders as "appeasement," everything you point out is true and a major counterpoint to the idea the Trump administration just gives Russia whatever it wants.

> US policy toward NATO has been remarkably consistent.

Yeah, with Trump moving troops out of Germany because he believes, contrary to all facts, we'd be trying to rip them off.

Not to mention the whole Iraq fiasco with Bush trying to rope NATO allies in a war based on lies.


Yes, there is a level of pettiness at work in this recent decision. What they want to do is shift to a rotational force model and deploy another Armored Brigade Combat Team to Poland every 9 months instead of having an SBCT in Germany. Meaning you have to move 2 ABCTs(~4500 Soldiers and all their equipment) in/out of the theater. The main tactical problem with that is that those forces don't have standoff distance from Russian A2AD weapons.

The underlying causes of these changes are Germany (1) continuing to spend less than 2% of GDP on defense; (2) its 2019 announcement that its pushing back its 2% target date from 2024 (agreed upon in 2015) to 2031; and, (3) continued German support for Nord Stream 2.

America is publicly penalizing Germany for the above reasons, which will likely disincentivize similar actions by nations receiving US troops from Germany and other host nations in Europe. Moreover, it seems some troops are likely slated for rebasing in the Indo-Pacific which will bolster US' power there.


I think the defense spending reasoning particularly ironic, given that half of the troops being moved out of Germany are going to Italy and Belgium, which spend a far smaller share of GDP on defense than Germany.

I think the move is really poorly thought out if the goal is to penalize Germany and discourage their behavior. Because what is Germany losing? The political embarrassment of having troops leave? Is that really worth the billions it will cost to move troops? Because I feel like if the US was willing to spend billions to apply political pressure to Germany there could have been much more effective ways to go about it. And then there's the damage this does to the security of Europe broadly. If this in any way reduces our ability to deter Russia, that hurts all of NATO, not just Germany.


Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't Italy having economic problems and struggling with austerity measures back before covid? If a state is on the edge of bankruptcy comparing it to the strongest economy in Europe that isn't exactly a fair comparison is it?

> which will likely disincentivize similar actions by nations receiving US troops

The only thing this will lead to is a breakup or a massive relevancy drop of NATO. Europe is already emancipating themselves, the US will continue to lose influence - to the benefit of China and Russia, of course.


What about the US blowing up the Middle East, where Germany and much of European countries having to deal with the refugees as a consequence of those wars? I think countries like Germany have been penalised enough by the US for not picking up the slack for the refugee situation.

The flows of refugees from Syria to Turkey and Greece were largely due to the fallout of the Syrian Civil War, which the United States was neither responsible for starting, could not have prevented from starting, and could not have stopped once it began.

Most refugees in Germany and most of Europe come from Afghanistan and Iraq. Which nation(s) started the wars there?

Iraq started the Iraq war when it invaded Kuwait.

Al Qaeda started the Afghanistan war.


Heard of Timber Sycamore?

So Germany is not deliquent on NATO payments? Or that doesn't qualify?

There aren't "NATO payments" per se.

However, it is a common defense treaty, and as such each member is expected to contribute a proportionate amount to their own military. Most recently the agreed level was 2% of GDP, which Germany has consistently fallen short of. Both Obama and Bush complained about it as well, but they both had a reasonable understanding of how things worked.


Who is receiving those NATO payments?

The "defense" Industry?

No it is not.

Germany is not delinquent on NATO payments, at least not on the formally agreed-upon budget contribution of 313 million € (https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-match-us-contribution-to-na...).

The thing you (and Trump) are meaning is the total defense spending as percentage of GDP. Germany cannot be "delinquent" here by definition! Every country is legally free to spend whatever it wants on defense. The "2%"is an informal goal only, not backed by any international treaty!


AFAIK there are no "NATO payments". There's just an expectation that NATO countries will spend 2% of GDP on defense, and most European countries are far behind that. Germany however has increased its spending in recent years and is getting closer to the mark.

Trump just doesn't understand the geostrategic position of the U.S., where troops stationed in critical countries prevent invasions which would upturn its imperial economic order. Trump thinks the U.S. has stationed troops in SK, Germany, Taiwan for the countries' interests, where they were clearly deployed there to defend its own.


International security arguments are bullshit. We spend money on weapons in order to spend money on weapons. That tiny interest is the tail that wags the entire dog of security theater throughout politics, media, and academia.

If we had a democratic system we wouldn't waste so many resources on armaments. That's why the military-industrial complex destroyed our previously somewhat-democratic system.


Or he has decided US interests have changed.

Eastern Europe (outside of Russia) has been quite happy with NATO’s increased involvement on their borders. I hope this does not change, and don’t anticipate it will under Biden.

Not sure about that. Obama halted the deployment of the missile defense shield in Poland/Czech Republic and reset the US relationship with Russia. Anyone who understands Russia knew that was about as idiotic of a move you could have made (barring any kind of strategic aim to lull Russia into demonstrating its intentions in Georgia and Ukraine, but I doubt foreign policy is that forward thinking, and American Euromaidan just reveals its duplicity). Given Biden's eastern ties, I would not be surprised if he halted any plans to move US troops eastward.

This Russian propaganda is obviously targeting President Trump's plans to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO. Something Obama has been extremely weak on. He cancelled Missile Defense after opposition from Russia (famously promising "Vladimir" “more flexibility” on the issue after his "last election"). Eastern European leaders were warning Obama about Ukraine way before it happened but he wouldn't listen. And before that Georgia, but Obama was dead-set on his Russian "reset" and wanted to sweep these issues under the rug.

> He cancelled Missile Defense after opposition from Russia

Anti-ICBM defenses in Europe undermine MAD, and if I were to believe the pro-nuclear-weapon people, (who insist that we are all better off pointing thousands of nukes at eachother), MAD is the only thing that has been keeping the world in relative peace for the past 60 years.

Serious question: Do you want to live in a world where MAD no longer works, but we still have all those thousands of nuclear weapons?


There's already a Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania.

The United States has no official policy of mutually assured destruction.

If you're asking me - everything should be done to make sure one can win in a potential nuclear war. MAD sounds like glorified defeatism to me. President Reagan had a great Strategic Defense Initiative but it has been shelved in the 90s. Now Space Force could be an attempt at bringing a lot of that back in a way that will be much harder to get rid of by future administrations. To not be working on such systems is (not necessarily mutually) "assured destruction".


I don't care about what the official policy is. I care about the outcomes.

Your reasoning means that the most optimal move for Russia would be to nuke you, today, before your anti-MAD system is in place. It will, after all, save more Russian lives then being attacked by an unassailable adversary in the future.

The fact that you consider nuclear war to be winnable is horrifying. The whole point of it is that everyone loses. That's not defeatism, that's the only sane way to deal with two sides having end-of-the-world weapons.


> Your reasoning means that the most optimal move for Russia would be to nuke you

No, I doubt Russia would dare use their nukes. Again the facility in Romania has become operational in 2019, no nuke from Russia so far. The one Obama cancelled was supposed to be in Poland. Roughly similar distance from mainland Russia.

> The fact that you consider nuclear war to be winnable is horrifying. The whole point of it is that everyone loses. That's not defeatism, that's the only sane way to deal with two sides having end-of-the-world weapons.

Expecting to lose without putting up a fight is defeatism. Nobody wants a nuclear war. But nonetheless I'm very happy that the US and other militaries are preparing for this scenario. Switzerland has a system of nuclear bunkers that can house more than its current population - I think that's very smart. It's not set in stone that humanity would end after such a war. Some projections even see most Americans surviving.

And don't discount a scenario where America can totally neutralize an adversary's nuclear capability with new tech. This should be (and probably is) the goal. We don't even know that much about the current capability.

Practically speaking a "MAD" approach benefits Russia much more than anybody else. Their military is rather unimpressive. Russia's nuclear capability is the only way Russia can seem strong and keep getting away with everything they do. Countries like Russia cannot be trusted to comply with any nuclear agreements. When the West stops its work on nuclear related technologies it only gives countries like Russia an edge.


> No, I doubt Russia would dare use their nukes. Again the facility in Romania has become operational in 2019, no nuke from Russia so far.

There's a difference between stopping a small percentage of missiles, and a large percentage of missiles. One does nothing to stop MAD. The other is a categorical change in the balance of power. It's like the difference between cutting off 5% of your air supply, and cutting off 80% of your air supply. You barely feel a difference from losing 5%, surely you can do it again and again and again...

But let's turn this question around.

Suppose that Russia announces that it has begun working on ICBM defenses. Once complete, they expect to protect themselves from 98 to 99% of American missiles. These defenses will be complete in 12 months - faster than you could build your own equivalents.

What do you do? Do you just sit around, and let them become the only nuclear power that can do as it pleases, as it renders all of your weapons useless? Do you let it have free reign in diplomacy, with the ability to threaten and extort anyone it wants, without any fear of retaliation whatsoever? Do you just sit around, and wait until 'oh, golly, gee, those reds can now kill us all anytime they want to, with no blowback to them, shucks, I guess it is what it is'?

Do you start building your own defenses, only to be attacked before they are ready, because they aren't interested in sharing a monopoly on consequence-free nuclear diplomacy?

Or do you 'dare to use your nukes', and attack first, before their defenses are ready?

I legitimately don't understand how the Russians can be seen as both such a wily, treacherous, capable adversary - while also taking steps to back them into a corner, where the only self-serving logical solution you leave them is for them to attack you first. I don't understand how you can endorse taking steps that push the world towards a nuclear war, while at the same time assuming that your adversaries will not respond to your brinkmanship with brinkmanship of their own.

And it, quite frankly, horrifies me, because you are willing to bet hundreds of millions of lives on the theory that your adversary will not carry out a logical, self-serving, outcome-maximizing response to your actions.


If Russia (or China) becomes militarily superior to America I would consider that the end of the free world as we know it.

As of right now America's capabilities in every domain are vastly superior and I hope it remains so.

Again you believe that America's and other countries' nuclear capability is essentially the same and nuclear war means total destruction for everybody. I don't believe that.

I think Russia wouldn't dare because they would simply lose.

If you look at the history of Soviet propaganda with regards to nuclear, they often promoted these ideas of total destruction. Say back in the day they promoted the (now mostly discredited) concept of "nuclear winter". Russia actively wants Western fear and disarmament because that's the only way they can be "strong".

There is no alternative to an arms race. Russia and China won't simply become beautiful peace loving countries overnight if America slacks off. If anything assures nuclear war it's America being weak.

Plus you're assuming some perfect rationality where Russia (or some other country) couldn't possibly just launch an attack for a stupid reason. It's always a possibility. You want to try to win in that situation too. Under MAD you're just hoping it won't happen.


> If Russia (or China) becomes militarily superior to America I would consider that the end of the free world as we know it.

Of course you do! You don't believe that MAD works!

But you are avoiding answering my question. What would you do in the scenario I drafted? Would you attack first?

> Again you believe that America's and other countries' nuclear capability is essentially the same and nuclear war means total destruction for everybody. I don't believe that.

Among the permanent security council members, it is essentially the same. The UK's tiny arsenal could trivially kill ~200 million Americans, give or take some. Russia's is fifty times its size.

What evidence, besides your belief do you have, for the United States not losing more than three quarters of its civilian population, if attacked by six thousand nuclear weapons?

> I think Russia wouldn't dare because they would simply lose.

No, everybody would lose. The reason they haven't done anything is because it is not an inflection point. Localized missile defenses that will stop a small fraction of a small fraction of potential attacks are not an inflection point that breaks MAD. They are something to complain about, not something to go to war over.

But just because cutting off 5% of your air supply doesn't result in serious problems for you, cutting it off again, and again, and again, and again will eventually reach a critical inflection point.

> If you look at the history of Soviet propaganda with regards to nuclear, they often promoted these ideas of total destruction. Say back in the day they promoted the (now mostly discredited) concept of "nuclear winter". Russia actively wants Western fear and disarmament because that's the only way they can be "strong".

Just because the reds said it, doesn't mean they were wrong.


> But you are avoiding answering my question. What would you do in the scenario I drafted? Would you attack first?

I'm just telling you I find the question irrelevant. If you're threatened with total destruction and think you can win of course you should attack.

> Among the permanent security council members, it is essentially the same. The UK's tiny arsenal could trivially kill ~200 million Americans, give or take some. Russia's is fifty times its size.

There are many more variables involved than just the size of the arsenal. The notion that everybody will just fire all their nukes at once is unrealistic. Silos can be attacked, comms can be disrupted, things can malfunction, there are a TON of things at play. Just looking at the nuclear stockpile makes no sense. In every military domain US has superior capabilities. No reason to believe that in case of nuclear war Russia would outperform the US. And after you're done firing nukes traditional military still matters.


> I'm just telling you I find the question irrelevant. If you're threatened with total destruction and think you can win of course you should attack.

Great. Now, put yourself in Ivan's shoes. NATO has encircled you, militarily and economically. Your military is second-rate, at best. But you do have six thousand nuclear weapons, which mean that nobody is stupid enough to mess with you.

... And then Uncle Sam starts building anti-nuclear defenses on your borders, with the long-term aim of eliminating the sole means of defense that you have.

If you're Ivan, to use your own words - of course you should attack! And what's the overall result? A missile defense system that is intended to save American lives actually ends up ending them, because its existence causes a nuclear war. It completely fails at its stated purpose!

> No reason to believe that in case of nuclear war Russia would outperform the US.

Outperform is completely meaningless in this context. Outperform means the difference between 68% of your population being killed in a thirty minutes, compared to 82% of the enemy's (With two thirds of the remainder dying over the next week). That's not winning. That's not outperforming on any metric that matters.

Once you're done firing nukes, you're country's traditional military doesn't matter because you no longer have a country. What you have is a humanitarian crisis, multiple orders of magnitude worse then whatever stupid geo-political spat your foreign ministries were arguing over.


Again, as I said, I don't believe Russia has a reason to believe they'd win hence further advances in anti-nuclear defense only lessen the chance of them attacking not increase it.

If one side ends up controlling the other or there's a favorable truce to one side that side wins. All war is nasty and results in terrible destruction. Doesn't mean there's no winner at the end of it. I can throw random percentages around too. According to one simulation ("Crisis Relocation Program 2B") from the 80s given a few days of advance notice up to 80% of Americans could survive a nuclear war with Russia. One should strive to reduce potential casualties as much as possible. Do relocation programs, shelters etc "violate MAD" in your book too? Because they certainly lessen the D part.

We know of at least two instances where Russians were close to erroneously launching nukes . Only stopped due to personnel disobeying procedures. It's almost inevitable one day someone somewhere will launch a nuke for whatever reason. Better be ready when that happens. Your strategy only kicks the can down the road and provides no way out. While in the meantime giving Russia and other adversaries all the reasons to keep continuing with their aggression. Is nobody allowed to ever attack Russia because of "MAD"?


You seem unable to imagine yourself in anyone else's position. You hypothesize that Russia will always meekly back down, yet you can't envision a situation in which USA would even compromise. Even worse, your repeated insistence on USA being militarily "vastly superior" shows that you're completely trapped in the mythology and unable to imagine yourself in the your own actual position. USA doesn't win wars. We haven't won a war in my parents' lifetimes. What our military exists to do is spend money. That's why it always "wins" the yearly how-much-money-did-you-waste-on-weaponry competition: no one else is competing! In Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, we have seen that regardless of the marketing, when USA attacks it does so without hope of obtaining any of its stated or unstated objectives. It's always just a bonfire of money and human lives.

"Russian propaganda?"

Well, I think that's the first time I've been called Russian propaganda. I got a good chuckle out of that.

EDIT - I misunderstood the comment. I'm leaving my original reply intact above, however, for clarity.


No, it refers to the story.

Ah, my mistake.

> Trump's plans to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO. Something Obama has been extremely weak on.

I think you're going to need to start citing that, I'm not aware of any such plans. Certainly nothing that rises to the level of action (e.g. announcing the removal of a third of the US forces in Germany, as happened last week).

This is just a whataboutist response. While there is criticism to be made everywhere about all things, the idea that the Trump administration has NOT been extraordinarily compliant to Russian demands is just ridiculous.


> Polish defence minister says the US will deploy 1,000 soldiers in Poland to oversee forces on NATO's eastern flank.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/poland-deploy-1000-tr...

The article even uses the term "NATO's eastern flank."


Get 12,000 soldiers home from Germany, deploy 1,000 in Poland and call it strengthening the eastern front.

That math doesn't check out at all.


It checks perfectly. Germany isn't part of the eastern flank, Poland is.

Germany has absolutely no need to have US soldiers stationed in their territory. They're fully capable - in all regards - of defending their own nation. Adding soldiers to Poland is strengthening the eastern flank because Poland is in Eastern Europe, Germany is not.

If the US removes 100% of its soldiers from Germany and adds only 3,000 to Poland, that also would be strengthening the eastern flank.


1. Germany isn't on the Eastern Front. Poland actually borders Russia (the exclave on the Baltic.)

2. The US is in the process of building a military base in Poland.

> In 2018, Poland proposed that the United States open a permanent military base within its country. The Polish government would finance around $2 Billion of the cost of hosting American forces, if the proposal was accepted by the United States. Poland has proposed either Bydgoszcz, or Toruń, as potential base locations.[18] Since 1999, Poland has sought closer military ties with the United States.[19] In June 2019, both sides agreed to send 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland.[20] In September 2019, six locations were determined to host approximately 4,500 of the U.S. military in Poland, including: Poznań, Drawsko Pomorskie, Strachowice, Łask, Powidz and Lubliniec.

3. Some of those troops will be moved from Germany to Poland.

> On 24 June 2020, Trump said at a press conference with Duda that the United States plans to move some U.S. troops from Germany to Poland.[22][23] Trump said that "Poland is one of the few countries that are fulfilling their obligations under NATO — in particular, their monetary obligations — and they asked us if we would send some additional troops. ... I think [putting more US troops in Poland] sends a very strong signal to Russia."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland–United_States_relations

Honestly, if you can't bother to do basic research about the situation, it's better to not comment on it.


Indeed.

> 1. Germany isn't on the Eastern Front. Poland actually borders Russia (the exclave on the Baltic.)

The Kaliningrad exclave is quite small, but it poses a real danger when the Suwalki Gap is taken into account. Given Belarus' friendly ties with Russia, there is only a small band of land that needs to be cut off to trap the Baltic states. It's important to secure that stretch. Ideally, Belarus would serve as a buffer, but that's a very difficult thing to achieve. Also good would be the ceding of Kaliningrad to Poland and Lithuania (historically, that region was a vassal of the Polish Crown). Perhaps in exchange for recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Good luck with that, I guess.

Ideally, the Central European states east of Germany can play the US, Germany/EU, and Russia off each other to guarantee that the region is free from hegemonic dominance. Historically until the late 18th century, Polish dominance guaranteed stability and peace in the region. As both historical heir and as the largest country of the block, it is important the Poland resume its historical and geopolitically necessary role if Poland and the other states represented in the Three Seas Initiative are to remain free and prosperous. The stability offered would also benefit European stability by creating a bulwark against both Western and Eastern imperial ambitions.


Germany is not on the eastern flank of NATO, many of the troops being withdrawn will be relocated closer to Russia [0] . And again the move was spurred in part by Germany's pipeline with Russia - Nord Stream 2. Which clearly shows the Trump administration is taking stronger steps to punish NATO members which cooperate with Russia.

> Trump administration has NOT been extraordinarily compliant to Russian demands is just ridiculous

Yes, this is completely false. The Trump administration has been tougher on pretty much everything involving Russian interests. From Ukraine, Iran, Syria, sanctions on Russia, to yes strengthening the eastern flank of NATO.

[0] https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Speeches/Speech/Article/229...

"The current EUCOM plan will reposition approximately 11,900 military personnel from Germany – from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000 – in a manner that will strengthen NATO, enhance the deterrence of Russia, and meet the other principles I set forth"


He moves us Europeans to carry more of their own weight, which is both good for Europeans and the US.

Other than Russia, does any other nation state have a major problem with NATO?

Is there any reason to be opposed to the existence of NATO other than: "I'd really like to invade country X, but can't because it's mean retaliation by x,y,z & n"


Not just nation states, but plenty of citizens—in and out of NATO member states—have plenty of reasons to have quite a few problems with NATO, and other military alliances, and any military, and state supported violence in general.

You mean reasons like being invaded or bombed by the NATO or NATO members?

Or like NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe giving an order to attack your country's paratroopers [0]?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Clark#Pristina_Internat...


If the recent HN story of Apple taking 30% of refunded purchases is any indication, fabricated stories have a frighteningly strong staying power.

What was especially sad was that a highly knowledgeable group of people (HN) were misled and deceived by the Apple story (which could have been easy verified). If HN is so easily misled, how much more likely is the general population vulnerable to these foreign-government-orchestrated intentional information war campaigns?


> highly knowledgeable group of people (HN) were misled and deceived

Just because you work a high paying job and you're very good at it, that doesn't mean you are impervious to deceit.


>a highly knowledgeable group of people (HN)

Threads don't attract the same people. It's reasonable to suppose that the vast majority of people that didn't believe the story didn't participate at all - they said to themselves "this looks dumb/boring/improbable" and clicked on something else.




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