DocWatts

What Lefties Get Wrong About NATO

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Posted (edited)

Vaush (correctly, in my view) calling out a blindspot for some on the Left.

 

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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Does NATO help socialism or not? 

 


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Vaush underplays the fact that in a nuclear arms race (which NATO vs Russia is) strengthening defense is an escalatory move. One side cannot just keep raising their defenses and then acting surprised when the other side counters by raising their offenses. It would be foolish in this scenario for the defense-raising side to cry, "But we were just being defensive! We weren't hurting anyone. But you guys are the bad guys because you started going offensive!"

Defense and offense are entangled. If the West has overwhelming defensive capabilities and keeps raising them every year, Russia will be forced into an offensive posture, and start looking to create a defensive buffer zone.

Yes, NATO is primarily defensive. However, what is not acknowledged is that raising defense in such an overwhelming way is legitimately threatening and perpetuates an arms race.

"But Russia has nothing to fear!" is not a serious position. If Russia was not proactive the US and NATO would certainly stage a coup and depose their government. This much is obvious. The US is not going to stop until it has a pro-US government in Russia.


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1 minute ago, Leo Gura said:

What Vaush is underplaying is the fact that in a nuclear arms race (which NATO vs Russia is) strengthening defense is an escalation move. One side cannot just keep raising their defenses and then acting surprised that the other side has to counter by raising their offenses. It would be foolish in this scenario for the defense-raising side to cry, "But we were just being defensive. We weren't hurting anyone."

Can there be a possibility of something like WW2 with NATO Countries on one side and Russia backing countries on the other? 

 


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Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

Vaush underplays the fact that in a nuclear arms race (which NATO vs Russia is) strengthening defense is an escalatory move. One side cannot just keep raising their defenses and then acting surprised when the other side has to counter by raising their offenses. It would be foolish in this scenario for the defense-raising side to cry, "But we were just being defensive. We weren't hurting anyone. But you guys are the bad guys because you started going offensive!"

Defense and offense are entangled. If the West has overwhelming defensive capabilities and keeps raising them every year, Russia will be forced into an offensive posture.

This dynamic seems less like something NATO went out of its way to cultivate, and far more due to Russia losing its captive satellite states after the USSR broke apart.

Back during the Cold War NATO and the Soviet block had somewhat comparable populations (600 million vs 400 million), but that was was only due to compelling half of Europe to join the Soviet Bloc against their will. Whatever semblance of a balance of power that may have existed during the Cold War was lost when Eastern Europe gained its independence.

This seems much more a consequence of Russia being in a much weaker strategic position after the USSR broke up, than due to the structure of NATO.

It seems that th we dynamics would have been in place even if NATO didn't expand eastward (though I recognize that this exacerbated Russia's security concerns).

Is there something I'm missing?

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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19 minutes ago, DocWatts said:

This dynamic seems less like something NATO went out of its way to cultivate, and far more due to Russia losing its captive satellite states after the USSR broke apart.

Back during the Cold War NATO and the Soviet block had somewhat comparable populations (600 million vs 400 million), but that was was only due to compelling half of Europe to join the Soviet Bloc against their will.

This seems much more a consequence of Russia being in a much weaker strategic position after the USSR broke up, than due to the structure of NATO.

It seems that th we dynamics would have been in place even if NATO didn't expand eastward (though I recognize that this exacerbated Russia's security concerns).

Is there something I'm missing?

1) I agree that the West is more developed than Russia/Soviet block. However, from a purely pragmatic POV it doesn't matter because just because the animal you've backed into a corner is rabid does not make the animal any less dangerous to you. It does little good to respond with, "Yeah, we backed this dumb rabid animal into a corner, but we are so much more evolved than this animal. No one wants to be friends with this animal anyway." Okay, fine. You are morally superior. But now war.

Yes, Russia is much weaker. Which is exactly why it is more easily threatened and needs to take its security much more seriously than the West.

2) NATO and the West played a big part in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the pillaging of Russia. This is a bit like beating a handicapped kid and stealing his money. Some day the kid will fight back.

3) You are sorta dismissing the point about NATO expansion. Russia's point is that if NATO expansion had stopped there would be no war with Ukraine. Now, you can dispute that. You could say that Putin would have invaded his neighbors anyway. Maybe that's true. But also consider... maybe it's not true. How do you know? In recent negotiations between Biden and Putin before the war, Putin's demands were pretty clear and simple: Stop eastward NATO expansion, stop moving missiles to Russia's boarder, legally promise that Ukraine will not join NATO. This is what he wanted. He was effectively laughed out of the room. So what would you do if you were Putin?


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Posted (edited)

What will NATO gain by destroying Russia? 

What exactly is NATO going to do to Russia if unchecked? 

 

Edited by Preety_India

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5 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

What will NATO gain by destroying Russia? 

What exactly is NATO going to do to Russia if unchecked?

NATO doesn't want to destroy Russia, NATO wants to corner Russia and force Russia into a US-lead Western world order that serves the US first at the expense of Russia.

The US sets the rules of the Western world order which are of course most favorable to the US. Obviously this is not in Russia's interest.

Within the Western world order Putin's government would be overthrown because it doesn't serve US interests.


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1 minute ago, Leo Gura said:

NATO doesn't want to destroy Russia, NATO wants to corner Russia and force Russia into a US-lead Western world order that serves the US first at the expense of Russia.

This looks like upside down logic. Won't NATO want to corner Russia even more after Russia invades and starts wars like the current one? 

How are relations with NATO less hostile after this war? 

NATO and US are very powerful. Russia cannot stop the inevitable. If this is Russia's stage Red offensive, it will only backfire. 

 


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5 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

This looks like upside down logic. Won't NATO want to corner Russia even more after Russia invades and starts wars like the current one? 

How are relations with NATO less hostile after this war?

It's not less hostile, but it's a matter of principle.

Is someone punches you, you punch back on principle. Not because it will make things less hostile but because you need to show that you will not allow yourself to be bullied.

Who in the West will want to fuck with Putin after this war in Ukraine? Now when he negotiates he's taken more seriously.

Yes, it's not a good situation because it's an arms race. So both sides are stuck in a losing situation. NATO feels more justified in expanding now, which makes Putin feel more justified in being aggressive. This is a classic arms race.


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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

3) You are sorta dismissing the point about NATO expansion. Russia's point is that if NATO expansion had stopped there would be no war with Ukraine. Now, you can dispute that. You could say that Putin would have invaded his neighbors anyway. Maybe that's true. But also consider... maybe it's not true. How do you know? In recent negotiations between Biden and Putin before the war, Putin's demands were pretty clear and simple: Stop eastward NATO expansion, stop moving missiles to Russia's boarder, legally promise that Ukraine will not join NATO. This is what he wanted. He was effectively laughed out of the room. So what would you do if you were Putin?

That's a fair point, it was never my contention that Russia doesn't have legitimate security concerns about NATO expanding eastward. Short of retracting NATO membership from its Easternmost members, I'm not sure what's to be done short of not expanding NATO any further towards Russia's borders.

Yet at the same time the attractors in the situation would likely be the same even if NATO's borders were the same as they were 25 years ago, due to the power imbalances at play.

Assuming the internal dynamics between Russia and the US still played out the same way in that scenario, the two hegemonic power blocks would still have mutually incompatible long term goals. Hell, Russia's role as a oligarchic petrol state alone would likely cause it to resist efforts to combat climate change, if nothing else.

Edited by DocWatts

"The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." - George Lakoff

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Just now, Leo Gura said:

Is someone punches you, you punch back on principle. Not because it will make things less hostile but because you need to show that you will not allow yourself to be bullied.

7 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

 

That you only do when the opponent or Bully is less powerful than you. 

When the bully is more powerful, then you either have a peace treaty or you surrender. 

 


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3 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

NATO doesn't want to destroy Russia, NATO wants to corner Russia and force Russia into a US-lead Western world order that serves the US first at the expense of Russia.

Eh, again I think this soft power argument does have some truth but it’s somewhat overblown cause Russia definitely had some cards of their own.  Russia could of played to their strengths and avoided a lot of this if they focused fully on getting Europe hooked on Russian gas. Finish Nordstream 2. Putin coulda sat in his mansion and watched Europe guzzle away and further dismantle their nuclear and coal power plants. Green initiatives were pushed there which were kinda built in the EU around getting energy from Russia. In a way this was half done but I think some imperialist intentions are at play here. I’m not sure I entirely buy the argument Russia woulda been a non aggressor if NATO didn’t expand. 

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5 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

That you only do when the opponent or Bully is less powerful than you. 

When the bully is more powerful, then you either have a peace treaty or you surrender.

Well, this is exactly where you and Putin differ. You have accepted that Russia is to forever remain less powerful whereas Putin believes that Russia should be a great world power and will rise again.

You have to really understand Putin's perspective here: He truly believes that Russia deserves to be very powerful and he's willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. This is no different than what the US or China believes about itself.

Also, Russia is not less powerful in the sense that it has enough nukes to destroy any country or the whole world. It's less powerful in specific ways such as economically or in conventional warfare.


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6 minutes ago, Lyubov said:

Eh, again I think this soft power argument does have some truth but it’s somewhat overblown cause Russia definitely had some cards of their own.  Russia could of played to their strengths and avoided a lot of this if they focused fully on getting Europe hooked on Russian gas. Finish Nordstream 2.

You are asking Putin to give up Ukraine to the West for that. I don't think you understand how important Ukraine is for Putin geo-politically. You are asking Putin to trade an oil pipeline for nukes and missiles pointed as him from Ukraine. I don't think he likes that deal.

Putin is the richest guy in the world (by many accounts). I highly doubt that what motivates him is a few billion more dollars. He's beyond needing money. Something deeper motivates him.


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9 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

Also, Russia is not less powerful in the sense that it has enough nukes to destroy any country or the whole world. It's less powerful in specific ways such as economically or in conventional warfare.

In my opinion, this war is a strategic error. Russia should focus on building economy. Putin and Russia will regret this after the war has ended. Russia has more to lose and zero benefit. 

 


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1 hour ago, Leo Gura said:

If Russia was not proactive the US and NATO would certainly stage a coup and depose their government. This much is obvious. The US is not going to stop until it has a pro-US government in Russia.

It’s not obvious. It’s your opinion, which we disagree with.


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17 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

In my opinion, this war is a strategic error. Russia should focus on building economy. Putin and Russia will regret this after the war has ended. Russia has more to lose and zero benefit.

Perhaps you are right.

We'll have to see what is gained and lost. The biggest question will be: Will Putin gain preventing Ukraine from joining NATO?

12 minutes ago, How to be wise said:

It’s not obvious. It’s your opinion, which we disagree with.

It's not merely my opinion. The US has tried to depose Putin, probably more than once.

Hilary Clinton's position was basically to overthrow Putin. Which is why he hated her so much. And I'm sure it wasn't just Hilary Clinton. There are probably plans right now in the CIA for how to depose Putin.


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41 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

that serves the US first at the expense of Russia.

Can you prove this?


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11 minutes ago, How to be wise said:

Can you prove this?

You really need me to prove to you that the US uses its global hegemony to benefit itself first and foremost?

The entire point of becoming a global hegemon is that you get to set the rules to favor you country's economic development and security. This is what all international politics is basically about. It's about posturing to become the top dog with the leverage to overpower all other countries in negotiations. The more power you have the better negotiating terms you get.


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