How Putin could break NATO, or, ready for “Great Northern War II?”

March 26, 2015
Target: Gotland?

Target: Gotland?

The Great Northern War was a conflict in the early 18th century launched by a coalition headed by Russia that broke the power of the Swedish empire in the Baltic Sea region. The war also saw the establishment of Russia as a Continental power and its annexation of the region we know today as the “Baltic states.”

Today, 300 years later, Russia’s ruler might again use an attack on Sweden (1) to reestablish his nation as a world power and cover his re-annexation of the Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania:

Over the past 12 months Russia’s air force flew a series of aggressive combat patrols over the Baltic Sea, including mock nuclear strikes against Sweden’s capital Stockholm, to assess the reaction time and preparedness of Sweden’s air force. Since October 2014 Russia’s Navy has sent submarines into Swedish territorial waters to assess the capabilities and preparedness of Sweden’s Navy. The results: Sweden is defenseless.

Last week Russia’s air force progressed from testing military preparedness to dry runs for a major air assault. A combination of transport planes and fighter jets flew from Russia over the entire Baltic Sea to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. While Sweden didn’t even manage to get a plane in the air, Italian air force jets flying out from Šiauliai air base in Lithuania intercepted and identified the Russian jets. The Italian fighters were outnumbered 4 to 1.

The obvious targets of Russian aggression along the Baltic Sea, namely Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all share a land border with Russia, so there is no need to mount a large scale air assault to overrun these tiny states. But to keep these three nations occupied and oppressed, Putin must keep the US air force and the US Navy out of the Baltic Sea. This is why Russia is preparing to assault, occupy and fortify Sweden’s Gotland Island.

And why is Gotland (highlighted in red in the map above) needed to keep us from resisting a Russian assault on the Baltics?

If Russia controls Gotland and bases S-300 or S-400 long range air-defense missile systems and K-300P Bastion-P long range anti-ship missile systems on the island, then US air force planes cannot reach the Baltic States and US Navy ships cannot pass the Danish Straits to enter the Baltic Sea. Russia has already S-300 and K-300P stationed in Kaliningrad along with tactical nuclear 9K720 Iskander missiles, but as Poland’s military could overrun Kaliningrad and destroy Russia’s anti-ship and air-defense systems there, Russia will occupy Gotland a few hours before the attack on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania begins.

The author is a writer living in the Ukraine . You can read the rest of the article, which presents an extended scenario in which Russia presents the NATO with a fait accompli and dares it to do something about it. Some of NATO –the US, Poland, Great Britain, and others NATO states as well as non-NATO Sweden– try to mount a counterattack, but are hobbled by Germany’s refusal join or to even allow their territory to be used or crossed by NATO forces, as well as Russian threats to use nuclear weapons against the smaller nations’ cities, which leads Sweden to concede. In Thomas Theiner’s scenario, a Polish refusal to concede leads to a Russian nuclear strike against a Polish city, which in turn brings about the  the end of the war when NATO’s nuclear powers (the US, Great Britain, and France) decline to retaliate. Poland surrenders, NATO breaks up in defeat, and Russia regains its “lost provinces.”

While Theiner’s scenario goes deeper into speculative territory the further he develops his scenario, the initial situation –a surprise Russian attack on Gotland to block relief of the Baltics– is frighteningly plausible:

  • Russia carved off provinces from Georgia in 2008, claiming it was protecting Russian minorities.
  • We have the ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine, another former Russian possession, which began with Russian complaints about mistreatment of Russian speaking minorities there.
  • Russia has also complained about the supposed mistreatment of Russian minorities in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Setting the stage? Russia is already acting aggressively in the Baltic region.

And Sweden has indeed become a target:

Putin is, in my estimation, a predatory aggressive bully who perceives conciliation in others as a sign of weakness, something to be exploited

What a coincidence: Sweden is weak. Its military spending has declined severely on a per capita (2) basis over the last 25 years, and its military is correspondingly small and lacking key capabilities to defend against Russia. While moving to station troops on Gotland and announcing plans to spend more on defense, it is currently vulnerable to rapid exploitation in the event of a Russian attack.

American leadership (meaning President Obama), which would be crucial to any effort to resist Russia and rally NATO, is feckless, appeasement-oriented, and incompetent. And while Theiner assumes the US will try to defend Sweden and the Baltics, I have to wonder just how strenuous an effort President Lead-From-Behind would make, considering he refuses even to meet with the head of NATO. Putin sees this and may well think that now is his best chance to take a huge gamble.

Is a second Great Northern War at all likely to happen? Who knows, but, as I said, I find it all too plausible given the recent past. It’s a possibility that cannot be responsibly ignored.

We have a little less than two years until (we hope) an American president takes office who is interested in foreign affairs and recognizes what needs to be done to protect our interests and the free world’s from predators such as Vladimir Putin.

Until then, sleep well!

Footnotes:
(1) Link courtesy of Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter of March 24th. And I want to thank Jim for the nightmares that gave me.
(2) Data from the SIPRI milex database.


Sweden, Spending Restraint, and the Benefits of Obeying Fiscal Policy’s Golden Rule

March 16, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s really kind of embarrassing to admit the world’s most successful capitalist nation in history could learn a thing or two about sound public fiscal policy from what was once the poster-child nation of Social Democracy. But useful, like many such humblings. One hopes our leaders in DC will learn it well.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

When I first started working on fiscal policy in the 1980s, I never thought I would consider Sweden any sort of role model.

It was the quintessential cradle-to-grave welfare state, much loved on the left as an example for America to follow.

But Sweden suffered a severe economic shock in the early 1990s and policy makers were forced to rethink big government.

They’ve since implemented some positive reforms in the area of fiscal policy, along with other changes to liberalize the economy.

I even, much to my surprise, wrote a column in 2012 stating that it’s “Time to Follow Sweden’s Lead on Fiscal Policy.”

More specifically, I’m impressed that Swedish leaders have imposed some genuine fiscal restraint.

Here’s a chart, based on IMF data, showing that the country enjoyed a nine-year period where the burden of government spending grew by an average of 1.9 percent…

View original 886 more words


Social Democratic Sweden headed for private health insurance?

January 22, 2014
Wave of the future?

Wave of the future?

The poster-child for European social democracy seems to be learning that government-controlled healthcare just doesn’t work. Via Reason:

According to Sweden’s insurance trade industry organization, Svensk Försäkring:

“The number of private health care insurance policies has increased in recent years. In 2011 about 440,000 people had private health care insurance. Most of these people have their policy paid by their employer.”

The trend continues, with the English-language The Local reporting last week that “One in ten Swedes now has private health insurance.” The site also says, “More than half a million Swedes now have private health insurance,” though that seems to refer to the growth in the number of policies, with many more of the country’s 9.5 million people actually covered by private insurance.

Why the growth? From The Local:

“‘It’s quicker to get a colleague back to work if you have an operation in two weeks’ time rather than having to wait for a year,” privately insured Anna Norlander told Sveriges Radio on Friday. “It’s terrible that I, as a young person, don’t feel I can trust the health care system to take care of me.'”

In a separate article about Sweden’s shrinking welfare state, The Local also noted that “visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients.”

There’s more about Sweden’s move away from Socialism and toward free-market solutions. I’ve written about this trend myself, with regard to education and prosperity in general.

Like many people living on either coast, I have friends who are downright Europhiliac — anything Europe does is better, wiser, and more fair than what’s done in the United States, and we should move toward their model.

I can’t wait to tell my progressive friends how Sweden proves they’re right.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama in Sweden: “Red line? That wasn’t *my* red line!”

September 4, 2013

What’s the Swedish for “Don’t blame me?” Oh, yeah: Klandra inte mig! (1)

At a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Sweden (2), Obama engaged in this bit of historical… “tale-telling:”

“I didn’t set a red line,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference here in Stockholm. “The world set a red line.”

Funny. That’s not how I remember it. Nor is that what the press records:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

That would be the President of the United States, Barack Obama, talking about his administration’s policy. Not the UN Secretary General, aka the “Chief Clerk for the Security Council,” speaking for some mythical “international community.” Just so we’re clear.

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve spent most of your political career voting “present.” When that’s not possible anymore, you try like the dickens to spread the responsibility around so that no one can hold you accountable: “I did not draw a red line; we all drew a red line. (Under his breath) So lay off me, okay?”

It’s the Steve Urkel presidency: “Did I do that??”

Harry Truman weeps.

Footnotes:
(1) Courtesy of Google Translate.
(2) You know, that social-democratic country that’s more free-market than the US.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Great Northern Teddy Bear War of 2012?

August 9, 2012

Agent of Swedish Imperialism

Hey, we’ve had the War of Jenkin’s Ear, why not a diplomatic row over a child’s toy?

Belarus-Sweden teddy bear row escalates

Belarus has taken strong diplomatic action against Sweden following a stunt involving parachuted teddy bears.

Sweden says all of its diplomats have been expelled from Belarus, which has also closed its embassy in Stockholm.

Belarus was angered when a Swedish public relations firm dropped about 800 teddy bears with pro-democracy messages from a light aircraft.

President Alexander Lukashenko sacked his air defence chief and head of border guards over the 4 July incident.

He told their replacements not to hesitate to use force to stop any future air intrusions from abroad.

Belarus is Europe’s last Stalinist state, run by a whack-job former Soviet apparatchik, Alexander Lukashenko. I’m sure, after he passes from the scene, they’ll be reabsorbed by increasingly authoritarian Russia. Meanwhile, I eagerly await Wolf Blitzer’s breathless reporting in a CNN special on The Teddy-Bear Crisis.

And UN observers. Mustn’t leave out the UN observers.

via Slublog

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Say it after me: “If Bush had done this…”

April 17, 2012

This photo has gone viral:

It's okay! We're all leftists here!

From the Swedish paper Fria Tider:

The shocking photos show how several established left-wing members of the Stockholm cultural elite celeberate together with Cultural Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth when she slices and eats a cake depicting a black African woman with minstrel-esque face.

According to sources Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was invited to declare festivities open by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by removing the cake woman’s labiums.

But, see, they’re evolved, tolerant, anti-racist lefties, so there’s no problem. This was just a tolerant, broad-minded example of multiculturalism. Group hug!

Yeesh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Another great moment in the history of “WTF??”

December 5, 2011

A man in Sweden who had both legs amputated has been denied a motorized wheelchair, because…

A man from Nyköping in eastern Sweden has been denied a power wheelchair despite having had both of his legs amputated as the local health authority remained “uncertain if the impairment was permanent“.

What, they think he’s maybe part-lizard, and the legs will grow back? That it’s only a flesh wound?

Like I said, “WTF??”

News like this makes me so look forward to government-run healthcare in the US; I’m sure you’re excited, too.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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