Real Donald Trump Blunder? “Montenegro” Isn’t Montenegro.

 

No president is perfect, else we would allow unlimited terms. I support President Trump’s actions towards Russia, am not discomforted by the Helsinki summit, and believe the upcoming DC summit to be a good thing. I also recognize that the relentlessly hostile network and cable news media make the islands of apparently friendly forums attractive. With all those qualifications, I was jarred by the President’s response to Tucker Carlson on “Montenegro.” I am concerned because of history and because it is clear “Montenegro,” in Tucker’s agenda, is not Montenegro. A quick look at the map shows what I mean.

Of course President Trump should have gone on Tucker Carlson’s show the other night. But Tucker Carlson is in the business of Tucker’s brand, and is not a member of the Administration whose interests may be assumed to fully align with the President’s. Indeed, he seems to be vying to fill the ideological space once dominated by Pat Buchanan. That, or he is providing confirmation on the right of Ben Rhodes’ notorious assessment of reporters:

Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.

Tucker Carlson either does not know history, or heavily discounts the national security seriousness of his loaded “Montenegro” question. Both the Korean War and Desert Storm were closely preceded by ambiguous U.S. signals, read by the aggressors as green lights.

In “3 Lessons From The Korean War For Handling Today’s North Korean Aggression,” Helen Raleigh cautioned against forgetting Russia’s role. President Trump and his team acknowledge Russia is still an important player in Korea. During the Tucker Carlson interview, however, the President did not have top of mind how Stalin misread Truman.

It’s Stalin who gave Kim II-Sung final permission to invade South Korea in 1950. Shen’s analysis shows Stalin was initially against Kim’s invasion plan out of concern that the United States might intervene. What changed Stalin’s mind, according to Shen, were two U.S. events.

First, President Harry Truman announced on January 5, 1950 that the United States would not challenge the claim that Taiwan was part of China. Second, Secretary of State Dean Acheson excluded Taiwan and South Korea from America’s defense perimeter in the western Pacific. Stalin probably believed these public announcements indicated the United States was retreating from East Asia.

Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait was preceded by similar signals and misreads.

On 25 July 1990, the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspie, asked the Iraqi high command to explain the military preparations in progress, including the massing of Iraqi troops near the border.

The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, “inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion” on the disagreement between Kuwait and Iraq, stating “we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts.”

She also let Saddam Hussein know that the U.S. did not intend “to start an economic war against Iraq”. These statements may have caused Saddam to believe he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait.

The New York Times transcript of the 1990 meeting is quite depressing. With both the 1950 and 1990 scenarios in mind, consider the exchange between Tucker Carlson and President Trump:

CARLSON: So, membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member who is attacked. So, let’s say Montenegro, which joined last year is attacked, why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.

CARLSON: I’m not against Montenegro or Albania.

TRUMP: By the way, they’re very strong people. They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive. And, congratulations, you’re in World War III.

I understand that, but that’s the way it was set up.

Now, set aside the never-served-a-day-in-his-live Carlson’s infantilization of men and women who, graduating basic training at age 18, are more competent adult citizens than he will ever be. You see the map. You know Carlson is not raising the actual Montenegro, which is insulated from any real military threat by the territories of larger neighbors. “Montenegro” really means Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and every other smaller state that Russia wants to absorb by hybrid warfare and economic extortion.

The President’s answer, induced by Carlson’s apparently sympathetic lead, is dangerous to the men and women who have volunteered to go in harm’s way. It is every bit as dangerous as the careless 1950 and 1990 words of foreign policy bureaucrats and career politicians. He needs to clean this up, fast. President Trump needs to say Montenegro is not a risk to our security and then riff on the excellent, very tough, National Security Strategy he proudly signed.

President Trump has given Ukraine real military support, with the sale of anti-tank missiles, as well as basic supplies.

In late April, the U.S. government delivered hundreds of lethal Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine for the first time after four years of requests from the government in Kiev to better defend Ukrainian troops against Russian armor.

Moscow has supported a separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine since 2014 in addition to annexing Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula.

President Trump just sent tanks and paratroopers, along with the all-important logistics units, to Saber Strike 18.

A major U.S.-led military exercise with 18,000 soldiers from 19 primarily NATO countries has kicked off in the alliance’s eastern flank involving Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

The U.S. Army Europe said Sunday the Saber Strike 18 drill is spread around the region until June 15 as “a demonstration of the commitment and solidarity of the Alliance” at the time when Russia’s military maneuvers are increasingly worrying nearby NATO members.

The President’s speech in Poland was magnificent, as have been his other foreign policy addresses around the world. All of this, the Tucker Carlson wing of the commentariate would undo, in the name of avoiding foreign entanglements. Carlson says the USSR no longer exists, but conveniently avoids the over-arching reality of Russian imperial ambition. World War I started with a dispute between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires. Czar Putin considers the end of the Soviet Union the great tragedy of the last century, and he works endlessly to make Russia Greater again.

President Trump knows this, and has directed his team to counter Russia with every tool of national power. His interview with Tucker was a negligent discharge of an information tool. Before Putin or Xi take it as a green signal flare, he needs to firmly extinguish the stray pyrotechnic.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Yet no one here, has yet answered Tuckers quite legitimate question. Why should any American kids die for a little slice of the Balkans?

    NATO’s credibilty:

    If NATO lacks credibility why would anybody want to join it?

    Is NATO good for all its members or not? I guess is the question.  Is it worth it?

    • #31
  2. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):
    I don’t think you have the foggiest idea of what has been going on in Syria. Or the Ukraine for that matter.

    Care to elaborate on this charge?

    I have limited time so will quickly summarize what I know about Syria.

    This accidentally got let out on MSNBC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O2TRzA2ezk

    Jeffrey Sachs lets lose a bombshell on Syria.

    Assad was an elected president, supported by the people. Russia was asked to come in.

    If you have followed my writings about this proxy war, you would know the history.
    Now when the treasure trove of information came about, circa Aug 2016 on, probably via Seth Rich,
    and then Wikileaks broke the information that we would never have learned without Wiki.

    For instance, how Hillary needed to earn her 32 millions of dollars that Qatar and Saudi “donated” to the Clinton Foundation, monies given to her if she would just get some American boots on the ground in Syria.

    Why boots on the ground? Why did Obama, who never once used his bully pulpit prior to the summer of 2013, suddenly need to inform all of us to contact our Congress men and women and plead with them for a new war.

    So we all did just that. But 87% of us told our Congress people we didn’t want any new war. We were fed up with war. Especially since it was coming out that the two wars of Iraq and Afghanistan were going to result in some 9 trillions of dollars added to our deficit. (Hey grandkids and great grandkids- it’s too bad that when you grow up, you have to pay for those wars. It won’t be done by us, uh huh! Not us! As patriotic as we all claim to be, we all want lower taxes!)
    Anyway, why did Hillary know that her buddies in Qatar and Saudi want the war in Syria?

    The Qatars and Saudis wanted it because our Congress put sanctions on Libya such that no American manufactured weapons could go to Libya. So if we had a war happen in Syria, then the weapons could be easily smuggled from Syria to Libya.
    Why Libya? Because Ghaddafi had revealed he was going to take the 320 billions of dollars of gold bullion he had stockpiled and use it to assist the poorer nations in Africa.
    Just what would that do to the poor little itty bitty people inside the International Money Fund? And people inside the the charitable World Bank? How could they go after the resources of African nations if Ghaddafi gave them assistance? So Ghaddafi had to go. (And after he was killed, by having his anus penetrated with a weapon, Hillary found it to be the most hilarious thing she had ever heard.)

    Anyway Jimmy Dore has this very interesting program that explains some major truths.

    Doesn’t the COC forbid conspiracy theories?

    • #32
  3. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive
    The (apathetic) King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Why should we fight for Montenegro is actually a useful question. It’s been well answered by Matthew Continetti. I actually sort of agree with the President on NATO in substance, though certainly not in style. An alliance like this only works if the all the members are willing and capable of fighting. There has to be a better way of getting the other member nations to engage and contribute.

    • #33
  4. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Skyler (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):
    I don’t think you have the foggiest idea of what has been going on in Syria. Or the Ukraine for that matter.

    Care to elaborate on this charge?

    I have limited time so will quickly summarize what I know about Syria.

    This accidentally got let out on MSNBC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O2TRzA2ezk

    Jeffrey Sachs lets lose a bombshell on Syria.

    Assad was an elected president, supported by the people. Russia was asked to come in.

    If you have followed my writings about this proxy war, you would know the history.
    Now when the treasure trove of information came about, circa Aug 2016 on, probably via Seth Rich,
    and then Wikileaks broke the information that we would never have learned without Wiki.

    For instance, how Hillary needed to earn her 32 millions of dollars that Qatar and Saudi “donated” to the Clinton Foundation, monies given to her if she would just get some American boots on the ground in Syria.

    Why boots on the ground? Why did Obama, who never once used his bully pulpit prior to the summer of 2013, suddenly need to inform all of us to contact our Congress men and women and plead with them for a new war.

    So we all did just that. But 87% of us told our Congress people we didn’t want any new war. We were fed up with war. Especially since it was coming out that the two wars of Iraq and Afghanistan were going to result in some 9 trillions of dollars added to our deficit. SNIP
    Anyway, why did Hillary know that her buddies in Qatar and Saudi want the war in Syria?

    The Qatars and Saudis wanted it because our Congress put sanctions on Libya such that no American manufactured weapons could go to Libya. So if we had a war happen in Syria, then the weapons could be easily smuggled from Syria to Libya.
    Why Libya? Because Ghaddafi had revealed he was going to take the 320 billions of dollars of gold bullion he had stockpiled and use it to assist the poorer nations in Africa.
    Just what would that do to the poor little itty bitty people inside the International Money Fund? And people inside the the charitable World Bank? How could they go after the resources of African nations if Ghaddafi gave them assistance? So Ghaddafi had to go. (And after he was killed, by having his anus penetrated with a weapon, Hillary found it to be the most hilarious thing she had ever heard.)

    Anyway Jimmy Dore has this very interesting program that explains some major truths.

    Doesn’t the COC forbid conspiracy theories?

    Anything stated in my post or in Jimmy Dore’s podcast is vetted by actual news articles.

    Example: Trump ends clandestine funding for ISIS?

    Citation: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/world/middleeast/cia-arming-syrian-rebels.html

    • #34
  5. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Since we are unwilling to risk nuclear war for most issues, the use of limited and partially deniability military forces, combined with all the other instruments of national power you do not address, allow Russia and China to incrementally expand their spheres of influence at our expense. President Trump’s National Security Strategy, and the actions across the whole of government, recognize and effectively address the current reality.

    Without a DIME [Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economy], our military might isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

    Did my comment fail to mention diplomacy? I don’t think that it did, I mentioned our alliances for example. My response did not miss, nor dismiss, DIME.

    But given that you mentioned the President’s National Security Strategy can you link it? And can you explain why, if it is good, is a result of the President’s intellect, and not his administration, because Trump has taken several steps in policy that are to the USA’s detriment across the DIME standard–like tariff wars, sinking TPP, complimenting rogue regimes, criticizing the USA, and our allies flippantly.

    • #35
  6. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    I have limited time so will quickly summarize what I know about Syria.

    This accidentally got let out on MSNBC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O2TRzA2ezk

    Jeffrey Sachs lets lose a bombshell on Syria.

    Assad was an elected president, supported by the people. Russia was asked to come in.

    Care to explain how Assad was elected? Care to also explain why a supposedly popularly supported and elected President would experience a Civil War, that managed to sweep through his nation with ease and required foreign intervention to protect him?  

    • #36
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Since we are unwilling to risk nuclear war for most issues, the use of limited and partially deniability military forces, combined with all the other instruments of national power you do not address, allow Russia and China to incrementally expand their spheres of influence at our expense. President Trump’s National Security Strategy, and the actions across the whole of government, recognize and effectively address the current reality.

    Without a DIME [Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economy], our military might isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

    Did my comment fail to mention diplomacy? I don’t think that it did, I mentioned our alliances for example. My response did not miss, nor dismiss, DIME.

    But given that you mentioned the President’s National Security Strategy can you link it? And can you explain why, if it is good, is a result of the President’s intellect, and not his administration, because Trump has taken several steps in policy that are to the USA’s detriment across the DIME standard–like tariff wars, sinking TPP, complimenting rogue regimes, criticizing the USA, and our allies flippantly.

    See OP. Read the NSS and you will see President Trump’s fingerprints all over it. 

    • #37
  8. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Since we are unwilling to risk nuclear war for most issues, the use of limited and partially deniability military forces, combined with all the other instruments of national power you do not address, allow Russia and China to incrementally expand their spheres of influence at our expense. President Trump’s National Security Strategy, and the actions across the whole of government, recognize and effectively address the current reality.

    Without a DIME [Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economy], our military might isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

    Did my comment fail to mention diplomacy? I don’t think that it did, I mentioned our alliances for example. My response did not miss, nor dismiss, DIME.

    But given that you mentioned the President’s National Security Strategy can you link it? And can you explain why, if it is good, is a result of the President’s intellect, and not his administration, because Trump has taken several steps in policy that are to the USA’s detriment across the DIME standard–like tariff wars, sinking TPP, complimenting rogue regimes, criticizing the USA, and our allies flippantly.

    Trade agreements are another way to transfer the sovereignty of the American citizen away to the Banking cabal that attempts to rule all. Same thing with the idea of ending tariffs.

    Trade agreements as they currently exist, are odious due to the fact that they exist for all eternity. There is very little in the way of pulling out of one. They establish such wasteful silliness as assessing the state of Calif some 800 millions of dollars ruled to be the “damages” to a  Canadian firm when by 1999, the “R”s in this state got our governor to ban the noxious toxin MTBE. Yes, according to NAFTA, we had to pay for the fact that we would no longer be using or purchasing a toxin!

    BTW, having China produce the steel that the American military needs is certainly not a way to bolster an ability to settle disputes through fighting a conventional war rather than a nuclear war. When the diplomacy fails in some future Cuban missile styled crisis, we certainly can’t posture for a conventional war if we have to beg our enemies for steel, can we?

    • #38
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    The (apathetic) King Prawn (View Comment):

    Why should we fight for Montenegro is actually a useful question. It’s been well answered by Matthew Continetti. I actually sort of agree with the President on NATO in substance, though certainly not in style. An alliance like this only works if the all the members are willing and capable of fighting. There has to be a better way of getting the other member nations to engage and contribute.

    Part of the challenge is sorting out what “military spending” and “military capability” means. The 2 percent GDP formula includes a stipulation that 20 percent of the 2 percent is to be spent on equipment. Why? So the 2 percent is not just sucked up in a jobs and pension program like a crooked public union scheme. However, beating the drum for 20th Century heavy mechanized forces will not provide real security, as Putin has moved on to a different kind of warfare, rendering tank brigades largely irrelevant. I’ll post separately on the potential of transportation infrastructure development to provide more defense bang for the buck.

    • #39
  10. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Since we are unwilling to risk nuclear war for most issues, the use of limited and partially deniability military forces, combined with all the other instruments of national power you do not address, allow Russia and China to incrementally expand their spheres of influence at our expense. President Trump’s National Security Strategy, and the actions across the whole of government, recognize and effectively address the current reality.

    Without a DIME [Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economy], our military might isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

    Did my comment fail to mention diplomacy? I don’t think that it did, I mentioned our alliances for example. My response did not miss, nor dismiss, DIME.

    But given that you mentioned the President’s National Security Strategy can you link it? And can you explain why, if it is good, is a result of the President’s intellect, and not his administration, because Trump has taken several steps in policy that are to the USA’s detriment across the DIME standard–like tariff wars, sinking TPP, complimenting rogue regimes, criticizing the USA, and our allies flippantly.

    See OP. Read the NSS and you will see President Trump’s fingerprints all over it.

    The National Security Strategy is typical Republican foreign policy with a few Trumpist rhetorical changes. That is not the sign of Trump’s fingerprints over it. I don’t see any “bigly” or “pulling our troops out of Korea or Germany” or any other campaign promises. The only consistent part in it is Trump’s desire for tariffs under the “reciprocal” trade clause.

    The examples I mentioned before do contradict with a majority of what is pointed out in the NSS. Just as one example the NSS mentions supporting US values abroad and opposing regimes hostile to those values, Trump has repeatedly complimented dictators for their opposition to our values in public. It’s your average establishment republicans, the administration, that is doing the yeoman’s work while Trump blusters away and contradicts it the majority of the time.

    Kudos to those serving in the administration for their work, but not to the president.

    • #40
  11. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    CarolJoy (View Comment):
    BTW, having China produce the steel that the American military needs is certainly not a way to bolster an ability to settle disputes through fighting a conventional war rather than a nuclear war. When the diplomacy fails in some future Cuban missile styled crisis, we certainly can’t posture for a conventional war if we have to beg our enemies for steel, can we?

    Do you have evidence that the USA is dependent on Chinese steel? How much steel is purchased for consumption by the USA that is Chinese made? How much steel of the steel consumed in the USA is USA made? Answer those questions and then see if the USA is dependent on China.

    • #41
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Since we are unwilling to risk nuclear war for most issues, the use of limited and partially deniability military forces, combined with all the other instruments of national power you do not address, allow Russia and China to incrementally expand their spheres of influence at our expense. President Trump’s National Security Strategy, and the actions across the whole of government, recognize and effectively address the current reality.

    Without a DIME [Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economy], our military might isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

    Did my comment fail to mention diplomacy? I don’t think that it did, I mentioned our alliances for example. My response did not miss, nor dismiss, DIME.

    But given that you mentioned the President’s National Security Strategy can you link it? And can you explain why, if it is good, is a result of the President’s intellect, and not his administration, because Trump has taken several steps in policy that are to the USA’s detriment across the DIME standard–like tariff wars, sinking TPP, complimenting rogue regimes, criticizing the USA, and our allies flippantly.

    See OP. Read the NSS and you will see President Trump’s fingerprints all over it.

    The National Security Strategy is typical Republican foreign policy with a few Trumpist rhetorical changes. That is not the sign of Trump’s fingerprints over it. I don’t see any “bigly” or “pulling our troops out of Korea or Germany” or any other campaign promises. The only consistent part in it is Trump’s desire for tariffs under the “reciprocal” trade clause.

    The examples I mentioned before do contradict with a majority of what is pointed out in the NSS. Just as one example the NSS mentions supporting US values abroad and opposing regimes hostile to those values, Trump has repeatedly complimented dictators for their opposition to our values in public. It’s your average establishment republicans, the administration, that is doing the yeoman’s work while Trump blusters away and contradicts it the majority of the time.

    Kudos to those serving in the administration for their work, but not to the president.

    I’m sorry your perspective, both of the NSS and of news, is so slanted. Your claims about the NSS are simply not so.

    • #42
  13. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    I’m sorry your perspective, both of the NSS and of news, is so slanted. Your claims about the NSS are simply not so.

    There it is. The argument of bad faith. Please, quote where the NSS reveals Trump’s preferred policy statements from during the campaign trumping typical Republican foreign policy dogma? Please cite the differences between it and Bush II NSSs. 

    You are asserting something you have not proven.

    • #43
  14. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    rendering tank brigades largely irrelevant.

    There is no doubt the Russians would prefer to use less conventional military means  to pursue their strategic objectives. However, the Russians retain a tank force of over 20,000 vehicles. Given the paucity of money and maintenance capabilities, how many would be mission capable is open to debate. Still, the idea that 4G Warfare, or whatever we are calling it this week, has made mobile armored ground forces largely irrelevant, is misreading the situation.

     

    • #44
  15. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The WWI discussion is interesting, but misses some of the complexity.

    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression.  Competent armies have contingency plans.  I imagine that we have many of them.

    My personal view is that the Russians get insufficient blame for starting WWI.  The entire Balkan region was a mess, principally due to the decline of the Ottoman Empire.  Both Austria-Hungary and Russia had imperial ambitions in the area.

    Serbia gave Austria-Hungary ample provocation for war.  Russia came to the defense of Serbia.  Not literally, as Russian armies couldn’t directly reach Serbia, but in the most meaningful way — by mobilizing its army.  The military and transportation technology of the time made early mobilization critical.  This had been demonstrated by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War (1870).

    Here is the key timeline, all in 1914 — starting 104 years ago tomorrow:

    July 28 — Austria declared war on Serbia

    July 28 — Russia mobilized (partial)

    July 30 — Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia to halt mobilization, or Germany would mobilize

    July 30 — Russia mobilized (general)

    August 1 — Germany mobilized and declared war on Russia

    August 1 — France mobilized

    August 3 — Germany declared war on France

    August 3 — Belgium denied permission for German army to pass through to French frontier

    August 4 — Germany invaded Belgium

    Germany attacked Belgium because it was the only viable route to France.  Conflict between Germany and Russia would automatically obligate France to come to Russia’s aid, which France did.  Germany knew that it would be facing a two-front war, and the German military leaders believed that their best chance was an overwhelming attack on France to knock it out of the war, before Russian forces could be brought to bear against Germany.  Remember that Russian forces had the farthest to go to reach the battlefield, and the least advanced transportation system.

    Germany’s plan to defeat France rapidly was not crazy.  It was successful in 1870 and 1940.

    There were significant leaders inside Germany who advocated war, and were eager to use the Austria-Serbia conflict as a pretext for war.  But there were others in opposition.  The German ultimatum of July 30 to Russia certainly suggests a last-ditch effort to stop war.

    Here are a few sources: Wikipedia timeline; Wikipedia on the July Crisis; This Day in History.

    I doubt that the attack on Belgium actually caused Britain to enter the war.  It was certainly used for propaganda purposes, but I think that Britain’s true motivation was the strategy that it had followed for about 800 years: oppose the strongest Continental power.  At the time, that was Germany.  Britain’s principal goal was to prevent the emergence of any single dominant Continental power.

     

     

    • #45
  16. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    On the Montenegro question, the obvious answer has already been given: to preserve the viability and credibility of NATO.

    Why do we need NATO?  Well, what was the point?  Ismay said it best: “to keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”  Ismay was a British lord, Churchill’s personal military adviser during WWII, and the first Secretary General of NATO.

    Substitute “Russia” for “the Soviet Union” and you have today’s rationale for NATO.

    For over 100 years, the greatest danger to the US has been the establishment of European hegemony by a single nation.  Perhaps this risk is now second to the danger of a rising China, perhaps not.  Either way, a European hegemon is a major risk.

    There are only two nations with the capability of dominating much of the European continent.  Germany and Russia.

    NATO keeps Germany “down” by: (1) placing significant US forces in Germany itself, and (2) convincing Germany that it doesn’t need an extremely strong military to defend itself against the Russian threat.  What would Germany do in the absence of NATO?  I can’t speak for Germany, but I know what I would do in their place: create a very strong military and a large nuclear arsenal.  Germany could do this in a very short period of time, and everything would work.

    NATO keeps Russia “out” with the threat of coordinated defense by the entire continent, plus the US.

    I think that it is naive to believe that this sort of military threat is not necessary to preserve the peace.  Human nature does not change.  We are never more than a catastrophe and a heartbeat away from savagery.

    • #46
  17. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    The WWI discussion is interesting, but misses some of the complexity.

    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    My personal view is that the Russians get insufficient blame for starting WWI. The entire Balkan region was a mess, principally due to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Both Austria-Hungary and Russia had imperial ambitions in the area.

    Serbia gave Austria-Hungary ample provocation for war. Russia came to the defense of Serbia. Not literally, as Russian armies couldn’t directly reach Serbia, but in the most meaningful way — by mobilizing its army. The military and transportation technology of the time made early mobilization critical. This had been demonstrated by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War (1870).

    Here is the key timeline, all in 1914 — starting 104 years ago tomorrow:

    July 28 — Austria declared war on Serbia

    July 28 — Russia mobilized (partial)

    July 30 — Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia to halt mobilization, or Germany would mobilize

    July 30 — Russia mobilized (general)

    August 1 — Germany mobilized and declared war on Russia

    August 1 — France mobilized

    August 3 — Germany declared war on France

    August 3 — Belgium denied permission for German army to pass through to French frontier

    August 4 — Germany invaded Belgium

    Germany attacked Belgium because it was the only viable route to France. Conflict between Germany and Russia would automatically obligate France to come to Russia’s aid, which France did. Germany knew that it would be facing a two-front war, SNIP

    Germany’s plan to defeat France rapidly was not crazy. It was successful in 1870 and 1940.

    There were significant leaders inside Germany who advocated war, and were eager to use the Austria-Serbia conflict as a pretext for war. But there were others in opposition. The German ultimatum of July 30 to Russia certainly suggests a last-ditch effort to stop war.

    Here are a few sources: Wikipedia timeline; Wikipedia on the July Crisis; This Day in History.

    I doubt that the attack on Belgium actually caused Britain to enter the war. It was certainly used for propaganda purposes, but I think that Britain’s true motivation…. oppose the strongest Continental power. At the time, that was Germany. Britain’s principal goal was to prevent the emergence of any single dominant Continental power.

     

    Although your post is an excellent one, and I agree with much of what you state, I need to point out the following:

    Although the eastern area of Europe, especially environs about Serbia, was a complete shambles, often unification doesn’t lead to peace. Just 18 years after WWI’s end, both Look and Life magazine heralded Herr Hitler’s unification of not only Germany but Austria to boot. The USA was hardly opposed to the man’s desire to “liberate” Czechoslovokia either.

    And yet despite all the unity, we still ended up with a war that took the lives of 50 million people.

     

    • #47
  18. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    …but the existence of many, many documents from that time DO conclusively demonstrate that the German government (from the top to at least the middle to upper ranks) were just waiting for an excuse to fire up a major offensive conflict.

    Note, for example, that while they had spent a lot of time and effort in creating and preparing for offensive wars (mostly variations of the Schlieffen Plan), they hardly nodded at the idea of a defensive war on either front.

    • #48
  19. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    cirby (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    …but the existence of many, many documents from that time DO conclusively demonstrate that the German government (from the top to at least the middle to upper ranks) were just waiting for an excuse to fire up a major offensive conflict.

    Note, for example, that while they had spent a lot of time and effort in creating and preparing for offensive wars (mostly variations of the Schlieffen Plan), they hardly nodded at the idea of a defensive war on either front.

    And military experts weighing in on The War’s time frame all felt that it would be over quickly, as it would be fought by cavalry.

    A rather “Duh” assessment of what actually happened.

    • #49
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    cirby (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    …but the existence of many, many documents from that time DO conclusively demonstrate that the German government (from the top to at least the middle to upper ranks) were just waiting for an excuse to fire up a major offensive conflict.

    Note, for example, that while they had spent a lot of time and effort in creating and preparing for offensive wars (mostly variations of the Schlieffen Plan), they hardly nodded at the idea of a defensive war on either front.

    Whilst straying far from the OP, I will note that, despite the detailed timetables for troop movements, the German General Staff’s logistics plan was fatally flawed. A large volume of nitrogen, needed for replenishing munitions , had gone into fertilizer, and was on rail sidings ready for download. It would have gone onto German farm fields, but a German patriot, a young, prominent industrialist spotted the strategic oversight and had orders issued to secure the rail cars and redirect them to munitions plants. Walther Rathenau was ethnically Jewish, but pronounced himself to be of “German faith,” meaning a sort of civic religion. This proud nationalist was murdered by ultra-nationalists in 1922.

    • #50
  21. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    cirby (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    …but the existence of many, many documents from that time DO conclusively demonstrate that the German government (from the top to at least the middle to upper ranks) were just waiting for an excuse to fire up a major offensive conflict.

    Note, for example, that while they had spent a lot of time and effort in creating and preparing for offensive wars (mostly variations of the Schlieffen Plan), they hardly nodded at the idea of a defensive war on either front.

    Germany could not fight a defensive war. They had neither the space nor the forces. Their only realistic option was to quickly defeat either France or Russia, first. With the exception of Britain, every major power in Europe had an offensive plan. This is not to say the Germans weren’t wrong. It’s pretty well established that the Kaiser could have chosen to pull back Austria, instead he backed them.

    Don’t forget, the general presumption of all the belligerents was the troops would be “home before the leaves fall”.

    • #51
  22. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    On the Montenegro question, the obvious answer has already been given: to preserve the viability and credibility of NATO.

    Why do we need NATO? Well, what was the point? Ismay said it best: “to keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Ismay was a British lord, Churchill’s personal military adviser during WWII, and the first Secretary General of NATO.

    Substitute “Russia” for “the Soviet Union” and you have today’s rationale for NATO.

    For over 100 years, the greatest danger to the US has been the establishment of European hegemony by a single nation. Perhaps this risk is now second to the danger of a rising China, perhaps not. Either way, a European hegemon is a major risk.

    There are only two nations with the capability of dominating much of the European continent. Germany and Russia.

    NATO keeps Germany “down” by: (1) placing significant US forces in Germany itself, and (2) convincing Germany that it doesn’t need an extremely strong military to defend itself against the Russian threat. What would Germany do in the absence of NATO? I can’t speak for Germany, but I know what I would do in their place: create a very strong military and a large nuclear arsenal. Germany could do this in a very short period of time, and everything would work.

    NATO keeps Russia “out” with the threat of coordinated defense by the entire continent, plus the US.

    I think that it is naive to believe that this sort of military threat is not necessary to preserve the peace. Human nature does not change. We are never more than a catastrophe and a heartbeat away from savagery.

    This is a great argument for NATO in 1985. The reality is the Germans reduced their forces by over 70% since 1990. The percentage of GDP spent on defense is half of what’s it was in 1989. Half in an economy that has grown massively in the past 30 years. I have no problem with our NATO participation. I do when we pay a disproportionate share at a time when Euope’s Great powers use our defense dollars as a subsidy.

    • #52
  23. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    cirby (View Comment):

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):
    The existence of Germany’s Schlieffen plan does not conclusively demonstrate German aggression. Competent armies have contingency plans. I imagine that we have many of them.

    …but the existence of many, many documents from that time DO conclusively demonstrate that the German government (from the top to at least the middle to upper ranks) were just waiting for an excuse to fire up a major offensive conflict.

    Note, for example, that while they had spent a lot of time and effort in creating and preparing for offensive wars (mostly variations of the Schlieffen Plan), they hardly nodded at the idea of a defensive war on either front.

    Whilst straying far from the OP, I will note that, despite the detailed timetables for troop movements, the German General Staff’s logistics plan was fatally flawed. A large volume of nitrogen, needed for replenishing munitions , had gone into fertilizer, and was on rail sidings ready for download. It would have gone onto German farm fields, but a German patriot, a young, prominent industrialist spotted the strategic oversight and had orders issued to secure the rail cars and redirect them to munitions plants. Walther Rathenau was ethnically Jewish, but pronounced himself to be of “German faith,” meaning a sort of civic religion. This proud nationalist was murdered by ultra-nationalists in 1922.

    The General Staff’s road march tables proved to be inaccurate. There was insufficient road space for the forces allocated to the Belgian arm. Not to mention that staff war games identified a shortfall of 3 army corps dedicated to the offensive. 

    • #53
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