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-   -   NATO and/or the 'Indo Pacific Shift'? (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/639113-nato-indo-pacific-shift.html)

etudiant 12th Mar 2021 15:16


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11006796)
Putin popular? Then who do you explain things like this?

A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Navalny to two years and eight months in a prison colony in a landmark decision for Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure.

The move triggered marches in Moscow and the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters.

Navalny, who has accused the Russian president and his allies of stealing billions, was jailed for violating parole from a 2014 sentence for embezzlement in a case he has said was politically motivated.

After the verdict, several hundred Navalny supporters marched in central Moscow. Videos by local media or shared on social media showed police in body armour hitting protesters with staves. More than 1,000 people were arrested across the country in the course of the day, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-info.

The court’s decision makes Navalny the most prominent political prisoner in Russia and may be the most important verdict against a foe of Putin’s since the 2005 jailing of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

As for Putin's mentality (and I assume his cronies are the same), try reading this from Psychology Today:

Now, Putin’s contempt for others is spreading far beyond his cabinet to include the entire western leadership, from Cameron to Obama. Putin’s personality and thinking have become grossly distorted by the effects of enormous, largely unfettered power on his brain. Since then, Putin has invaded the Crimea and engineered the swift dissolution of a country.

Interpreting political behaviour in psychological terms is always a risk: Ukraine’s ethnic balance is a fragile one and there is the scent of possible Crimean oil reserves as a juicy incentive for Putin’s political adventurism. But perhaps most politically-useful of all, is the whipped-up nationalist fervour to bolster Putin’s hold over a decaying Russian economy with its ageing workforce and corrupt institutions.

But, after 15 years in power, psychological factors have to be taken into consideration in analysing Putin’s actions and, more importantly, in deciding how to respond to them. And contempt must be considered as one of the most important elements of his psychology. It is not only contempt for what he almost regards as weak—and, possibly in his macho world view, effeminate—western leaders. More important is his contempt for their institutions such as international treaties and laws.

Putin was brought up under a Marxist-Lenninist worldview where there was a strong tradition of regarding such things as instruments of capitalist or bourgeois oppression, to be treated with, well, contempt. He grew up in a culture where the ends justified the means. And this is why he could so easily tear up an international treaty with Ukraine guaranteeing its independence in return for giving up its nuclear weapons.

I do not have the slightest doubt that Putin intends to stay in power at least until 2024 and perhaps beyond. There can be little doubt that his brain has been neurologically and physically changed so much that he firmly and genuinely believes that without him, Russia is doomed. Absolute power for long periods makes you blind to risk, highly egocentric, narcissistic and utterly devoid of self-awareness. They also make you see other people as objects and the emotional-cognitive consequence of all this is…contempt.

It is very likely that he feels contempt for the potential political leaders who might succeed him, just as much as he feels contempt for anyone—for instance Ukrainians—who thwart him. A recent report said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has talked with Putin more than any other leader in the last few weeks, reported feeling “bewildered” by Putin. After speaking with him, the report claimed, she said she was not sure he was in touch with reality, telling US President Obama that Putin was “in another world”.

Summing up in the last paragraph:

So how should the West respond? Psychologically speaking, the very worst response would be appeasement because this will simply fuel his contempt and strengthen the justification for his position. Strong consequences have to follow from his contempt for international law and treaties. This will cost the West dearly, economically speaking, but the longer-term costs of appeasement will make the costs of strong, early action appear trivial in [email protected]

Imho, Psychology Today is not a very confidence inspiring source for evaluating anyone, particularly political leaders. Putin seems to be the faceman who expresses Russian policy, which is demonstrably driven by quite classical nationalism.
Separately, Putin's popularity or lack thereof largely reflects Russia's economic circumstances, which are currently reduced by the slump in oil and gas prices, compounded by the impact of sanctions.




Hot 'n' High 12th Mar 2021 15:25

Hi racedo, always interesting to see your take on such matters. Perhaps I may give you my thoughts on some of the points you raise.


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 11006710)
.....Instead of supporting Russia in the early 90's when the economy collapsed there were way too many happy to rip it off and do everything they could to destroy it. Supporting it you would have an ally, ripping it off would only last for a period of time.

There is an alternative narrative to the one you imply (simply the West ripping off the Russian economy) which is that it was the oligarchs (and other Russians) ripping off Russia as you yourself said in another Post. I'm not saying that there were not some in the West who were more than happy to help the oligarchs - greed is universal after all - even Trump ended up being involved in the flow of Russian money into Property in the West. But what is very interesting is how the oligarchs came into being in the first place - to run a cunning plan by the Party to hide funds abroad as the Soviet Union started to collapse. Others are linked to things like the "oil for food" scams of the early 90's - even Putin's name is linked to that one from his time as Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg. What was designed to provide the basics for the Russian people also lined the pockets of those Russians involved. And, via them, their opposite numbers in the West no doubt!


......... he stopped the oligarchs ripping off Russia.......
You are dead right there! Putin certainly brought the oligarchs to heel big time - the same oligarchs set up to siphon off Party funds into safety in the West became greedy and realised they could actually keep the loot for themselves. Again, an alternative narrative to yours is that Putin and the old ex-KGB cronies wanted the loot for themselves, particularly since it was the KGB who'd help set up the corporate infrastructure for that initial flight of money to the safety of the West. They were simply taking back what they saw as theirs. However, in an odd way, that then links in to the next point which I find fascinating......


......... Putin is under no threat at home, ..... invested heavily at home and despite what western media thinks he really is popular for standing up for the people. ........
Here I would agree with you. Many have referred to Putin as being a "mirror" - reflecting back what people want to see rather than what is actually happening. For many that's enough to ensure their support. But for those who see the "mirror" for what it is - such as people like Alexander Litvinenko - well, look what happens. Now, whether the investment is for the good of the Russian people or for the furtherance of Putin's strategic ideals is a moot point; inevitably there is some overlap as you have to provide for your population but the profits then go to a select few. Some of those profits go toward furthering Russian strategic wishes, some remain in pockets. There seems a curious blurring of what is "state money" and what is "private money". Putin seems to see it as one - "Make your profits, enjoy the lifestyle - but I may need you to help fund the furtherance of a strategic goal when I ask". The rich in Russia who survive today have learned to play that game.


.............. When you have been invaded from the West 3 times in just over 100 years and have lost 35 million people via that route then you make a call that a 4th time will not happen. Entierly logical when you look at it that way.
Now, that is actually why all this is going on - as you say racedo, "entirely logical" and, one could argue that all the above has, to some degree, an input into regenerating/preserving Russia's "greatness". Is the West squeaky-clean? Of course not. Does Putin see that he is doing anything wrong? Probably not - he probably sees that what he makes as being fair reward for his efforts in making Russia great again - and that, ultimately, the money is that "blended" or "dual use" money so he'd better make the most of it while he can. Personally, I don't see Russia going to war in the way that was envisaged during the Cold War. For a start, with so much money tied up in the West now, Russia can't afford to rock the boat too much. The "new Cold War" will, I suspect, see power projection through far more subtle means using that financial presence in the West to assist in that work. And things like Nord Stream 2 will be quite a bargaining chip - all part of Russia's "new greatness".

It's actually quite fascinating - if you step back from the emotions. Anyway, just my view - for what it's worth! :ok:

racedo 12th Mar 2021 17:41


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11006796)
Putin popular? Then who do you explain things like this?

A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Navalny to two years and eight months in a prison colony in a landmark decision for Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure.

The move triggered marches in Moscow and the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters.

Navalny, who has accused the Russian president and his allies of stealing billions, was jailed for violating parole from a 2014 sentence for embezzlement in a case he has said was politically motivated.

This is up there with self appointed Jean Guaido as President of Venezuala, Navalny a open xenophobe is not a leading opposition figure, despite the western media claiming it, Vladamir Zhironosky is more popular.Mind you if being a leading opposition figure is 2% in an opinion poll then Screaming Lord Sutch was one.

Russians are well aware of Navalny's team seeking more funds from western intelligence agencies and his open disdain for Russian people.

He is a useful tool for the West, nothing more.

If blaming the courts system as being Kremlin controlled then they must have not got the message in 2013, because even though convicted of embezzlement they allowed him run.

racedo 12th Mar 2021 17:46


Originally Posted by minigundiplomat (Post 11006786)
Agreed, during time I spent in Russia he was exceptionally popular, but I believe that popularity peaked a couple of years ago.

In Jan 21 it seems "only" at 65% https://www.statista.com/statistics/...rating-russia/

Clearly he must stand down. Boris Johnson said so, when Boris asked if his own 42% approval meant he should also step down he laughed and said it is different.

WE Branch Fanatic 12th Mar 2021 17:46

With a defence review coming up we keep hearing the phrase 'Indo Pacific tilt' - but what does this mean? Hopefully it will not mean forgetting security issues closer to home.

downsizer 12th Mar 2021 17:50


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11007275)
With a defence review coming up we keep hearing the phrase 'Indo Pacific tilt' - but what does this mean? Hopefully it will not mean forgetting security issues closer to home.

Have you been furloughed or laid off or something?

racedo 12th Mar 2021 17:50


Originally Posted by Hot 'n' High (Post 11007230)
Hi racedo, always interesting to see your take on such matters. Perhaps I may give you my thoughts on some of the points you raise.

It's actually quite fascinating - if you step back from the emotions. Anyway, just my view - for what it's worth! :ok:

A well reasoned and thought out viewpoint. :ok:

racedo 12th Mar 2021 17:53


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11007275)
With a defence review coming up we keep hearing the phrase 'Indo Pacific tilt' - but what does this mean? Hopefully it will not mean forgetting security issues closer to home.

If UK Govt believe it has strategic right to move defence forces around the world cloe to other people's territory then it cannot at same time complain if other people act in their own strategic interests.

WE Branch Fanatic 12th Mar 2021 18:16

International waters are free for all.

My point was am I getting hung up over what the phrase 'Indo Pacific tilt' actually means? Tilt - move in sloping position, which suggests both that it can be put back if needed, and that the base remains where it was - as in 'leaning'. Therefore it does not imply abandonment of NATO/the Atlantic/etc. Forces will be deployed as needed.

Semantics eh?

Role on STDE21!

Lonewolf_50 12th Mar 2021 20:17


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 11006714)
It ended in the east with the collpse of the USSR, the mentality never ended within Senior military Intelligence in the west. Losing an opponent meant their reason for existence, their wealth and the MIC couldn't be allowed to lose out.

I cannot agree with you, and I'll tell you why. The cold war ended at the end of 1995, with the deployment of a Russian Brigade into the northern IFOR sector with an American Brigade. For a brief time, and during a period of positive engagement from East to West, both sides of the old Cold War committed themselves to a thorny European Security Problem(the mess in Bosnia) together.
It amazed me at the time, and delighted me. I never thought I'd see it happen.

Unfortunately, that brief period of attempted shared purpose never built the kind of momentum, in part due to another case of paranoia that was notable by its absence in your post. This wasn't Russian paranoia, it was the paranoia of Russia's closest neighbors.

Russian Paranoia, by the way, goes back long before Operation Barbarosa or WW I - it is centuries old. Look to the east, and the waves of steppe riders who invaded and made Russia into the Golden Horde.

When you have been invaded from the West 3 times in just over 100 years and have lost 35 million people via that route then you make a call that a 4th time will not happen. Entirely logical when you look at it that way.
Indeed, that will induce a certain wariness in the Russian outlook, and if one imagines one's self looking from Moscow to the West I am not surprised to see a profound wariness.

So why was it that you neglected the political fact that all of their neighbors were Paranoid regarding the Russians. (Maybe not Belarus?)

Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ... shall I go on?
Wariness is a Two Way street. While there was some bad policy making after the Wall went down, in terms of attempts to exploit Russia, you are taking an overly narrow view of the geopolitical situation.

The most unfortunate tipping point, I feel, was the 1999 bombing of Serbia. I think that whatever good will had been built up between Russia and the West suffered a blow that was never recovered from in terms of building a modicum of trust.

That's two decades ago. The momentum for building a new pattern of mistrust has not been checked. It saddens me: what could have been.

Beyond that, the pivot to the Pacific that Obama initiated a few years back was, in my view, About Damned Time!
And it's about 20 years late, but I guess better late than never has to apply.

WE Branch Fanatic 13th Mar 2021 14:15

Here is an article by a retired USN Officer about the problem of a limited number of ships and too many places.

An answer can be found in U.S. Air Force air power theory. That theory asserts that air power is a scarce but mobile resource. These two characteristics imply that it must be subject to centralized management such that can be applied strategically across the theater. This logic can be scaled up and applied to sea power on a global basis. In other words, the nation’s sea power, at least the allocation of it, should be managed by a staff in Washington that has a global perspective. Sea power, given the reduced size of the fleet, is a scarce asset whose application must be managed strategically.

As far as I know we have no plans to permanently assign capabilities to geographical areas - for all of the talk of the Indo Pacific, we still have commitments in the Arabian Gulf, and have a strong presence in the North Atlantic was named as one of the pillars of the Future Navy. We have committed a carrier capability to NATO, and also amphibious forces. None of this means they cannot be deployed elsewhere in the World, but it does mean they cannot be permanently East of Singapore. Given that NATO plans for deploying thirty major warships, thirty squadrons of combat aircraft, and thirty mechanised infantry battalions within thirty days this is feasible.

“The JEF is a partnership of like-minded nations that provides a high-readiness force of over 10,000 personnel. It is committed to supporting global and regional peace, stability and security either on its own or through multinational institutions such as NATO. Made up of northern European nations, the JEF’s prime interest is in Euro-Atlantic security with efforts focused on but not limited to the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic regions where it can complement the NATO deterrence efforts in the region. The signing of a joint declaration to make a substantial commitment to the NATO Readiness Initiative recognises this and the Readiness Initiative’s future contribution to European peace and security.

According to S of S Defence: “A Global Britain will continue to play a leading role in NATO, working with multiple Allies and contributing a range of capabilities, cementing the UK as a Tier 1 military power. That was clearly demonstrated today with the declaration that the Joint Expeditionary Force will contribute to the NATO Readiness Initiative. including through a UK-led land brigade and the UK Carrier Strike Group.”

Asturias56 13th Mar 2021 15:15

Still talk in the Times today of scrapping 3 frigates in Tuesday's announcement

WE Branch Fanatic 13th Mar 2021 16:19

Yet on the Ministry of Defence website, the big news story is two RN frigates and an RFA tanker leading a security patrol in the Baltic.

There have been other operations close to home involving multiple warships and aircraft - such as this one in late 2020 (three frigates, two patrol vessels, two RFA tankers, and Typhoon and F-35B Lightning aircraft involved), or this one last August, or this one last March.

It would be hard to find any part of the Armed Forces that is not busy.



etudiant 14th Mar 2021 21:11


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11007914)
Yet on the Ministry of Defence website, the big news story is two RN frigates and an RFA tanker leading a security patrol in the Baltic.

There have been other operations close to home involving multiple warships and aircraft - such as this one in late 2020 (three frigates, two patrol vessels, two RFA tankers, and Typhoon and F-35B Lightning aircraft involved), or this one last August, or this one last March.

It would be hard to find any part of the Armed Forces that is not busy.

Busy does not justify the effort, it needs a clear rationale and benefit apart from the training/preparation aspect. One can always keep an Armed Force busy, it is just very expensive to do so.

WE Branch Fanatic 14th Mar 2021 23:37

According to The Times:

UK’s new foreign policy — Russia is No 1 danger

Britain will treat Russia as a “hostile state” but China primarily as a commercial “competitor”, according to a landmark review of British foreign policy that Boris Johnson will publish on Tuesday.

The integrated review of security, defence and foreign policy will set out plans to boost spending on Britain’s offensive cyberwarfare capability to combat Moscow and Beijing.


As for the alliance of Russia, Iran, and China:

The China-Russia-Iran axis is consolidated and prepares to confront the interests of the United States around the globe. A good example of what is happening are the second joint naval maneuvers in just over a year that begin this next week in the Indian Ocean. At the end of December 2019, they were held in the Gulf of Oman. And it is not the only level of cooperation of these three countries: Russia and Iran support the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria and coordinate their military actions; The three are operating in coordination in Venezuela and several African countries; they maintain close alliances with other regional powers....

Asturias56 15th Mar 2021 08:39

" The three are operating in coordination in Venezuela and several African countries"

That'll be the mighty Venezuelan Navy who's most recent escapade was to have one of their vessels brushed off and almost sunk by a cruise liner?

rattman 15th Mar 2021 09:46


Originally Posted by Asturias56 (Post 11008825)
f and almost sunk by a cruise liner?

No almost it did actually sink

WE Branch Fanatic 15th Mar 2021 20:59

A NATO publication: 2021 Cutting the Bow Wave

The Atlantic Nexus

The North Atlantic, Arctic and Baltic regions form a strategic ‘Atlantic Nexus’. As recently demonstrated in the Russian navy’s 2019 Exercise Ocean Shield, assets from both the Northern and Baltic fleets can be redirected to concentrate force across this area. The character of the Atlantic Nexus has changed remarkably since the Cold War. Then, as now, NATO’s critical challenge in the North Atlantic is to protect the sea lines of communication and transatlantic resupply in a conflict by keeping Russian forces contained above the Norwegian Sea. But the Arctic, once valuable only as the cover for Russia’s nuclear - powered, ballistic missile - carrying submarine force, is now a contested civil and economic space. Furthermore, the Baltic dilemma is inverted from its Cold War manifestation: then NATO’s strategy was to keep the Soviet Navy from breaking out into the Atlantic through the Danish Straits or the Kattegat; today, the strategy focuses on ensuring that NATO maritime forces can break in to help defend its Baltic Allies.

The Atlantic Nexus disappeared from NATO’s agenda after the demise of the Soviet Union, and until recently few were adept in the art of transatlantic maritime resupply. Since 2014, NATO has recognised the challenge and in 2018 empowered MARCOM as the 360 - degree Maritime Theatre Component Command while establishing Joint Force Command Norfolk with the mandate to secure Atlantic sea lines of communication. The US Second Fleet has been stood up again with a strong Arctic and North Atlantic focus. The German navy is developing a Baltic-facing maritime headquarters at Rostock with the ambition to take on coordination and (during a conflict) command roles for Allied naval forces in the Baltic. The Polish Navy is developing a similar capability.

At the heart of this Atlantic challenge is the submarine threat. Recent years have seen an explosion in studies on the need to protect transatlantic sea lines of communication against the Russian submarine force as part of NATO’s credible deterrent posture. These have been paralleled by conversations and planning inside the Alliance. Unsurprisingly, reinvigorating NATO’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability is a high priority for NATO and MARCOM. More than any other form of naval warfare, ASW operations must battle the elements as much as an adversary. The sheer size of the oceans presents difficulties for both attacker and defender, not least as the result of the reduced fleets of surface ships, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft on all sides. New technology also portends a change in both the lethality of submarines and the possibility of detecting them by non-acoustic means.

But there is a second dilemma in relation to the Atlantic Nexus: the peacetime impact of the Russian navy’s ‘Kalibrisation’ coupled with these forces’ presence in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This leaves the western flank of Europe potentially vulnerable to missile attack from the sea. Although of limited use in a protracted and major conflict, such naval forces fit well with a hybrid strategy based on a short-war model that seeks to intimidate the Alliance into backing down in a crisis.

Effective deterrence in this scenario depends on NATO’s ability to counter that threat and assure Allies through its credible naval capability and persistent presence when needed, before crisis occurs. That requires a fully resourced Standing Naval Force and close coordination among Allied forces operating under national command.


The defence of Norway and Iceland presents unusual joint challenges that have maritime power at their core. Both countries occupy critical strategic space in the Atlantic Nexus. Carrier strike and amphibious power projection provide the main, although by no means exclusive, sword and shield in contesting the North Atlantic in a conflict. New questions abound: how can NATO best use aircraft carriers in the North Atlantic given today’s technologies? How does the Kalibrisation of the Russian fleet alter both Russian and NATO strategy? Arguably, Norway and Iceland are even more valuable to the Alliance deterrent posture today than during the Cold War, given NATO’s need to reinforce its ability to operate in contested northern waters against credible adversary forces.

WE Branch Fanatic 15th Mar 2021 23:10

From the same article:

Operationally, NATO's current deterrence challenge is to sense danger early, project forces rapidly and further remove any belief of an easy win or fait accompli from an adversary’s calculus. No one can win a long war of attrition with the NATO Alliance, and potential adversaries know it; the test of deterrence today is precluding a misguided attempt to launch a short war for limited goals. NATO needs not only to have the means to make that case, but also to communicate that message effectively.

pr00ne 16th Mar 2021 14:24

Quote from reply to a question from the PM this afternoon, "at least after the review we will have 24 frigates rather than the 15 we have now!"

Which is interesting as we actually have 13...


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