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August 17, 2008

Comments

dan

You agree with Obama's position on abortion? So WE are responsible for not providing health care, daycare and other government benefits that would allow these poor unfortunates to take their pregnancy to term? Has this socialist no shame? Do we as humans bear no personal responsibility for our actions?

dan

You agree with Obama's position on abortion? So WE are responsible for not providing health care, daycare and other government benefits that would allow these poor unfortunates to take their pregnancy to term? Has this socialist no shame? Do we as humans bear no personal responsibility for our actions?

dan

You agree with Obama's position on abortion? So WE are responsible for not providing health care, daycare and other government benefits that would allow these poor unfortunates to take their pregnancy to term? Has this socialist no shame? Do we as humans bear no personal responsibility for our actions?

kim

We could also put a cruise missile, conventionally armed, into the Roki Tunnel and change the whole strategic calculus. Turkey won't stand in our way if push comes to shove.
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kim

Waddya bet Balad can already do air control over Georgia?
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M. Simon

Which we'd have to maintain against a massive conventional military, albeit a not very effective one, with a 12,000 mile supply line for us and a 200 mile supply line for them.

I guess you're right Charlie. That's how we lost VietNam. We couldn't keep our troops supplied. If only we had learned our lesson then. American's can't supply their troops over a 12,000 mile supply line. It is a wonder we lasted 12 years in that country.

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Sarcasm aside - I don't expect the counter attack to start (if necessary) until "The Comfort" arrives in theater. Let the Russians develop habits. Let the Georgians observe. Let the aircraft bring in tools of the trade and keep the Russians out of the air (they want to avoid accidents as much as we do).

We are 5 minutes into the first quarter. It is a 60 minute game. Assuming no overtime. Russia's former vassals are uniting and Georgia may soon be a NATO member. If Turkey doesn't object you know where they stand.

M. Simon

Cecil,

You know I think I heard that story re:Afghansitan '01.

It is too bad that our military is run by a bunch of dumb f***s. There is no way they can figure out how to get the Russians out of Georgia. All you have to look at is the fact that the Taliban government controls Afghanistan.

So yeah. I think you are right. We should just hand Czechoslovakia to the Germans and avoid war. Ooops. Wrong war. At least I got the idea right.

Cecil Turner

It is too bad that our military is run by a bunch of dumb f***s. There is no way they can figure out how to get the Russians out of Georgia.

Not sure where you're going with this, but it's hardly compelling. I did exactly this sort of planning for a good part of my military career, and I can't figure out a way to do it. (And I don't consider myself a dumb f***.) If you can come up with a master plan, please trot it out for us so we can all get smarter.

As to the Afghanistan comparison, the fairly obvious difference is force levels. The Russians can mass hundreds of tactical aircraft over Georgia if they want, and their best are just a bit worse than ours. We couldn't muster a tithe of that. Sorry, but neglecting ridiculously bad options like lobbing nukes, it just ain't feasible.

kim

Master plan, bomb the Roki Tunnel and talk turkey to Turkey. Publicize irregular atrocities under the purview of the Russians. Remind the Europeans that they are pawned. Growl back. Putin is a bully and a typical one. The schoolyard rules; you don't have to tell the teacher to humiliate the bastard.
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Cecil Turner

Master plan, bomb the Roki Tunnel and talk turkey to Turkey.

    Bombing the Roki Tunnel is inadvisable:
  1. tactical aircraft can't approach it without unacceptable risk;
  2. cruise missiles aren't really designed for such (they'd probably be able to blow up the entrance, but the damage would be fairly superficial);
  3. using nuke-capable cruise missiles, stealth bombers, or the like aimed at the border of the twitchy nuclear power is generally considered bad form.
And even if you did, what did you accomplish? The Russians are already south of the tunnel, and can resupply by other routes (e.g., Georgian Military Road), sea, or air until it's repaired. The Georgians can't fight the Russians already in place, so interdicting reinforcements doesn't really add. And once they're on guard, a second strike isn't feasible. The Russian response options are myriad, and unpleasant. If we're going to run a simulation of this one, I want the Russian side.

On the second point, Russia can bomb Turkey into the stone age any time they wish. The Turks are well aware of this fact. Not sure what you'd say to 'em, but I suspect the response would be along the lines of a famous Cheech and Chong act ("honorable General-san . . .you out your f***ing mind!").

Your IW options are reasonable (and in fact are what we appear to be doing). We could be banging the PR drum a bit harder, but the rhetoric is pretty stiff.

JM Hanes

Frankly, I think sabre rattling over Poland is a sideshow. Russians have destroyed military bases around Goti and positioned themselves around Tblisi, effectively cutting the Georgians off from Poti, which, oddly enough they've just taken a preliminary stab at seizing. That major port city is tantalizingly close to Russian "satellite" Abkhazia, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's included in the Russian vision of extended buffer zones so brilliantly negotiated into the cease-fire agreement by Sarkozy.

Russians have been handing out passports in the Crimea for some time now; I suspect Ukranian moves may be considerably more significant than Polish reaction. Reported Russian activity in regard to refurbishing Syrian ports on the Mediterranean are also worth contemplating as a reflection of the underlying strategic imperatives here. The idea that Georgian membership in NATO provoked the Russian bear discounts the essential pragmatism at the heart of Russian policy. NATO membership is an very practical obstacle to Russian ambitions, which clearly include control of the Black Sea -- with implications which cannot be understated, but which have being largely ignored in the pop-psyche diplomatic analysis which has charaterized assessments of Russian reaction to U.S. incursions on its fabled near abroad.

JM Hanes

Whoops, wrong thread.

kim

The irony is, JMH, that we could eat them alive militarily, sans nukes, and comme political will. It wouldn't be easy, and we would end up with an arm torn off, but there is little comparison in conventional capability.
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kim

All good points, Cecil, and I'm sure you are right. I'm just convinced that the professionalism of our military would beat theirs in a prolonged fight. And Putin will back down if he's facing a crowd.
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kim

I'll also bet we can do AC/W better than they can in Georgia, either locally of from Balad. I'm not as sure as you are that the Tunnels of Roki-too are so invulnerable. We can make resupply difficult for them. But, you're the expert.

Putin, as in the MAD days of yore, has too much to lose to push it.
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kim

Sorry for the awkward reference to the Bridges of Toko-Ri. I knew you'd get it.
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Cecil Turner

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's included in the Russian vision of extended buffer zones . . .

Neither would I, at least to the extent of forbidding the presence of Georgian troops. I doubt they're looking to grab it permanently (though one never knows). From a naval base viewpoint, the main port is shifting to Novorossiisk, as they're being pushed out of Sevastopol by Ukraine. (And I doubt they'll rethink that one.) But they're also leaning on Ukraine over recent restrictions in ship movement, and there's some disturbing news that looks a lot like an attempt to manufacture a casus belli:

Russia finds Ukrainian car plates at Georgian army base [. . .]
The suspicious discovery, which could signal that Ukraine was involved in the recent conflict in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia, was made in Senaki, in western Georgia.
At this point only the very dim are accepting Russia's "Georgian aggressor" story at face value, which makes this fall a little flat. But if I were Ukrainian, I'd be very concerned. And in both cases it appears to me the Russian goal is to overturn "color revolution" governments and install puppet states (or at least daunt them from further overtures to the West).

M. Simon

The Russians can mass hundreds of tactical aircraft over Georgia if they want, and their best are just a bit worse than ours. We couldn't muster a tithe of that.

Cecil,

I think shoulder fired air defense missiles would complicate Russian air support.

Rumor has it that Russia has lost 3 aircraft with another 8 - 10 severely damaged. There is a reason they pulled air support from the theater of operations.

'Nother rumor: 50 sorties against the pipeline maybe 1 or 2 hits. The Russian Air Force does not seem to be doing well against what might be considered light to moderate opposition.

My guess? The ghost of Herman Goering is in charge.

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