The Baltics: should Britain be rushing to their defence?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by whitecity, Mar 26, 2014.

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  1. How very dare you....:rolleyes:

    Germany are one of the two Framework lead EU countries out of four, shortly to become the only Framework lead EU country out of four, to protect the continent. What could Luxembourg do? Host the NATO dinner tax free? They are very used to, and seemingly enjoy having other nation's armored vehicles running around on their streets.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  2. I think a step needs to be taken back and a greater discussion on what it means to spend 2%. Indeed, if we took foreign aid and influence into account, should we not be spending for example, 3% - what could Luxembourg spend its money on, if it was only defence spending? However, 3% would see money being spent on soft power, and that is to the greater goods in some respects.

    Interesting discussion given our wasteful spending on overseas aid and yet one which Germany wishes to flag up.
  3. If Luxembourg spent 2% of it's GDP on defence, they could take Russia on by themselves.
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  4. Foreign aid for the UK is set at 0.7% of GDP as per the UN recommendation from memory. How that money is used is more pertinent I believe. For example, the refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan etc. Erdogan pulls the plug on the deal, we pull the plug on supporting his camps is an option.

    Mentioned before re Luxembourg. There should be a pot of money that those countries which don't wish to fund large standing armed forces goes into. Luxembourg doesn't need a large standing Army or Air Force but its money could be invested in Cyber Warfare on behalf of NATO
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  5. I agree. Much foreign aid is wasted. However, should it be included in defence spending?

    As to cyber... How many tens of thousands do the Chinese employ? That is one huge money pit... What did you say you didn't do again? ;)
  6. Not unless NATO change what can and can't be included: Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2009-2016)

    The Chinese and Russians literally have thousands (as do DPRK etc.). It needs to be addressed.

    I genuinely have nothing to do with 77 Bde. Just met an old friend from there on Ex last year.
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  7. A major part of the Baltic States economy is providing shipping services for points east, all the way to and from China and everywhere in between. If they convert all their rail lines to standard gauge, then they render themselves uncompetitive with Russian ports. If they convert some of their rail lines to standard gauge and leave the rest as broad gauge, then they have to run two sets of rolling stock, which is expensive and inefficient.

    The Baltic States have a comparatively small population, they are not very big in area, and a large chunk of the disposable income is on or near the coast with access to low cost shipping. Their total population is roughly equivalent to Kyrgyzstan, and their combined GDP to Ecuador. It's really questionable whether the rail system could survive based solely on serving the domestic market.
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  8. Nastiness with whom? The Soviet Union is long gone and Russia is no threat to the US itself.

    The US sees their only potential rival as being China, and any potential "nastiness" the US wants to deal with at arms length is in east Asia, not Europe. This is why they greatly resent what they see as feckless European defence scroungers leaching off the American taxpayer and diverting them from their greater perceived threat.

    If the major European NATO countries met their promised 2% defence targets and could learn to put their military pants on the right way around in the morning, there is no realistic scenario under which Russia could pose a conventional military threat to them, even without any help from the US.
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  9. This particular attention within the thread, does highlight that - maybe - NATO and the EU themselves, should take a STRATEGIC view of the Baltic States rail system to (at least) "tie-in" the Baltic's North-South routes with the rest of (West) Europe.
  10. I'd say Comey and Rogers disagree with that. As Dir FBI and Dir NSA they may have an inkling as well:
    LIVE: FBI investigating Trump-Russia ties
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  11. We've done this.

    Google the RailBaltica project. As some on here know, I have a passion for railways but the RailBaltica project is a colossal waste of money.

    European Standard Gauge will be built from Tallinn to link into RB1 at Kaunas. Unfortunately, the project is predicated on moving rail freight into Europe which is a complete no brainer - rail has been shipping high-value goods into the Czech Republic for near on 8 years and you may be aware that freight has now arrived in Dagenham. Why move boxes via the Baltics

    What the Baltic States could do is provide high speed rail into Northern Europe - 350KPH would see very competitive times with air, and much more environmentally friendly transport method, nope, maximum linespeed is two thirds and they want boxes not people. Of course, heavy freight destroys linespeed... and in truth, freight can not travel at high speed...

    Of course, you could rail in reinforcements in a hurry given you could maintain the line between BeloRus and Kaliningrad...

    Total vanity project and as the Director Technical RB told me, the money is already passing under the table.

    Sensible suggestion? If they are not going to compete with air to Warsaw and Berlin, at least create a circle from say Riga of 160KMs and invest in making that a commuter journey of 60minutes or less. That would be money well spent in the different capitals and lead to higher GDP and improved social cohesion; but where are the back-handers in that?
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  12. Questionable whether (some) European NATO members can or want, to step-up and meet their commitments.

    Should a confused and disorganised EU fall under the influence of Russia (intentionally or otherwise), that in itself would bolster and enhance the position of Russia, which it is hoped the USA is aware of . . . hence the strident USA haranguing of EU NATO members.
  13. I'd take it as given that a significant number of NATO members are quite cynically not going to step up, although I doubt a Trump harangue is going to make jack squat difference. Maybe the EU should raise a defence tax for a central EU army, but then the dodgers would have to vote for it so.....
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  14. I think your latter point is the main thrust. A dissembled Europe unable to reach consensus is only good for Russia. Whether that is bad for the US is patently obvious from trade to tourism to the UN.

    A failure of the lead nation of NATO to stand by the treaty will undoubtedly lead to its break up and that is also bad for the US. Irrespective of the current comments, US Defence Chiefs highly value the alliance.

    I've mentioned many times the principle European nations need to step up and set an example. I've also said there needs to be a mechanism (additional article) to allow a country to be removed be it for failing to meet 2% to stirring up their own kind of nationalism at the expense of other member nations (no, not Scotland :) )