Monday, March 03, 2014

Ukraine and NATO, what not to do

This piece by former deputy assistant US defsec Ian Brzezinski is making the rounds. In it he argues that NATO ought to look at several options regarding Ukraine, all of which put in potentially direct conflict with Russia.
Security assistance to Ukraine: A package of military help, including anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, ammunition and other supplies should be foremost on the table. Ukraine’s military stands among the country’s more pro-Western establishments, with nearly two decades of interaction with the NATO through the alliance's Partnership for Peace program. Ukraine has regularly hosted NATO exercises and last fall contributed a company to the alliance's Article V exercise, STEADFAST JAZZ, in Poland.

Deployment of NATO surveillance capabilities in Ukraine:  The deployment of NATO sensors, including air-to-ground surveillance assets, to Ukraine would be a clear demonstration of allied commitment to Ukraine. As passive systems they would not threaten Russia, but they would enhance Ukrainian defenses by providing greater awareness of the movement and presence of Russian forces.

Activation of the NATO Response Force: The NRF is the alliance's rapid response force. President Obama recently committed a permanent US contribution to the force that can deploy on immediate notice a brigade land component backed by combat air and air support elements, and special operations forces, among other capabilities. The NRF ought to be activated, if necessary under the pretext of an exercise at NATO's joint training base in Poland, just as Russia initiated a major exercise as it launched its incursion into Crimea.

Deployment of NATO Naval Forces to the Black Sea: The NRF includes a maritime component that, with other NATO naval assets, should be deployed to reinforce the interests of allies and partners in the Black Sea.
 Why? Because,

If NATO continues to limit its role to consultations in this crisis, its relevance as a security institution will be significantly diminished.
Ah, so it isn't so much about containing or avoiding war in Ukraine, it's about NATO relevance and if NATO isn't going to fight the Russians someday, what good is it? So in order to preserve the Alliance, NATO country leaders should risk a hot war with the Old Enemy because preserving the Old Alliance is the most impotent important thing ever. This is really how these people think?

How about this? If shooting war starts in the Ukraine, leave NATO out of it. Put resources into the the UN in terms of sorting out the refugees and producing a cease-fire as quickly as humanly possible. If the West is that keen on its liberalism and preventing war, it should work through the liberal institutions it created to avoid or mitigate war.

Foregrounding NATO is feeding into Putin's perversion, which seems bent recreating of the risky world order of his youth. Nostalgia for nukes or something.


Alison said...

That same argument about defending NATO's importance was made at Airshow MacKay's Halifax International Security Forum in November 2010.
At the time one solution offered was the pre-emptive bombing of Iran.

And so it goes ...

Meanwhile A map of Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine

Boris said...

I saw another map somewhere about the relative Russian energy dependence of various European countries. Russian leverage is I think centred on this. The solution to this is the same one to climate change: no more fossil fuels.

Scanner said...

I have nightmares of the US 6th Fleet passing through the Bosporus, complete with giant aircraft carrier and nuclear weapons. We already have Russian Naval buildup. Good thing Ukraine got rid of it's nukes in the 90's.

Alison said...

Boris : This one ?

the Keystone Garter said...

I know the first step towards a utopia; an improvement upon MAD. The NSA is afraid a proliferation of quantum encryption will limit their ability to eavesdrop upon their adversaries. The opposite is true: quantum encryption is a necessary component of a successful WMD sensor network. The might of market forces and semiconductor mass production should be harnessed to enable enough quantum encryption to run a global pervasive select-WMD sensor network. Bioweapons implements, Skynet AI infrastructures and software, and a few other radical technologies should be the first targets of a sensor network that is only capable of searching for such technologies (using Mind's Eye AI to avoid people surveilling people for the most part). The sensor network must continue functioning so things like EMP factories will need to be surveilled. This all means WMD sensor info, once the building blocks of anarchy are defined, gets to existing chains-of-command. They will have to strike/appehend those seeking this select group of WMDs. If I can't think of an improvement to MAD I'd leave the existing nukes alone for now and let diplomacy and better leader screening run its course.

Using these sensors for uses other than the select WMD list (about a dozen technologies but bioweapons and AI dominate) should invite a measured response that may include WWIII. N.Korea style export restrictions may work, EMP air strikes may disable the renegade sensor network. Tyrannical behaviour suggests increased offensive war risk and increased odds of developing select-WMDs on home soil; it might not be enough to trade sanction and wait to grow stronger as this accepted corporatist strategy can lead to an unstable arms race, can lead to dangerous technologies in one's arsenal, might lose the race to prevent pandemics or AI.

Quantum illumination is key. Such a sensor network can't be hacked and transfers the risk to bad administrative structures. It is likely a direct sensor tool as well as the communications medium. Single-photon sources should be heavily subsidized. It already looks like silicon carbide will scale cheaply. Maybe CNTs, maybe nanodiamonds can be cheaply (trillions or more sensors ready in 20 yrs) self-assembled from proteins and soot or something, maybe room temperature quantum dots...but it looks like wireless sensor communication using silicon carbide will be cheap enough to work. And by focusing only on certain technologies, enablers of "select-WMDs", the odds of tyranny are low and the odds of a treaty are high. This is a direct subsidy to all positive parts of these dual use technologies such as gene therapy, vaccine R+D (eventually untreatable diseases will dominate and it won't be so wise to R+D designer strains), many AI technologies....things like brain implants are also select-WMDs. The sensor network enables tyranny and it also helps win aginst existing police-military. I'll have alist of what to surveil. A bureaucracy of patent office type staffers will be needed to approve or deny the use of much dual-use technology; taxes will rise in the USA to fund these employees and rich people will have their homes surveilled for such implements and they will be able to verify nothing else is surveilled. Optical computers is a point of inflection. I would like to lobby for such lasers but is tougher to TEMPEST them; maybe they can be made to be as visible as video cards, IDK. Some technologies can and should prevent others and I know which ones. Some of the bioweapons specific precursors it is unwise to share publicly. This list and the proliferation of sensors to potential tyrants is my main concern here. EMP proliferation should be a big issue as long as those supporting wind and solar are elected.

This is the only solution that preserves the positive 1/2 of dual use technologies, and minimizes tyranny. It risks WWIII in forcing select-WMD sensoring but it should be implemented immediately; there isn't anyone who will suggest an improvement in time.