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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: February 3, 2017
Posted: February 3, 2017 at 9:12 am
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Originally posted here:
Posted: at 8:48 am
ZAGAN, Poland On a snowy Polish plain dominated by Russian forces for decades, American tanks and troops sent a message to Moscow and demonstrated the firepower of the NATO alliance on Monday.
Amid concerns that President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO is wavering, the tanks fired salvos that declared the 28-nation alliance a vital deterrent in a dangerous new world.
The tank rounds of “The Iron Brigade” of the 4th Infantry Division were not directed towards Russia, but the signal to the Kremlin was clear: “Don’t mess with Poland, or any other NATO member an attack on one, is an attack on all.”
The 87 tanks, 144 armored vehicle and 3,500 troops represent the biggest U.S. deployment in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
Three years ago, when separatists loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine eventually leading to its annexation, the U.S. didn’t have a single tank in Europe.
That’s what brought this force to Poland; to bolster the defense of Eastern Europe against any further incursions by Putin.
“This is the largest ever U.S. deployment in Poland and it’s about deterrence,” Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, told NBC News. “An outright attack by Russia is unlikely, but the best way to keep it unlikely is to do what we’re doing here today.”
He watched the half-hour live-fire exercise with Polish President Andrzej Duda and many lawmakers who’ve been campaigning for years for a permanent U.S. presence to deter Russian troops on their border.
Russia sees the deployment very differently; not as a warning, but as a provocation, a “security threat,” according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
But in the past year, Russian forces have carried out massive military exercises and deployed missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons on the Polish border.
Tensions are rising between a resurgent Russia and a nervous NATO, including some members which were once part of the Soviet Union.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev even warned Friday that “it all looks as if the world is preparing for war.”
“More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought to Europe,” the 85-year-old wrote in Time magazine. “NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank.”
A map showing the location of Monday’s joint exercise in Poland. Google Maps
Hodges made clear NATO believes the threat from Russia is real.
“Russian aggression takes many forms,” he said. “Cyber, misinformation, threatening other countries, Russian snap exercises. We’re serious this is not just a training exercise. It’s to demonstrate a strategic message that you cannot violate the sovereignty of members of NATO … Moscow will get the message I’m confident of it. ”
The alliance’s troops have been deployed across several NATO states in recent weeks; with German troops arriving in Lithuania which was part of the Soviet Union a quarter century ago and occupied by German Nazi troops during World War Two.
U.S. soldiers march with their flag in Zagan, Poland, on Monday. Natalia Dobryszycka / AFP – Getty Images
British troops are reinforcing Estonia and Canadian troops have been sent to the third Baltic state, Latvia.
The message from all these vulnerable countries to Russia is the same; think twice before you make a move here; either by sending troops across the border (the ultimate red line for NATO), by cyber warfare or by inciting ethnic Russians against the Baltic governments.
At least two large NATO exercises, involving tens of thousands of troops, are planned for the summer.
Last year there were more than 150 exercises in Europe, an escalation over other years.
One of President Barack Obama’s last acts was to quadruple the funding of American forces in Europe to $3.5 billion in 2017.
Originally posted here:
NATO Shows Firepower in Poland as U.S. Allies Worry About …
Posted: at 8:48 am
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance and the new U.S. administration agree on the need for dialogue with Russia “from a position of strength.”
Stoltenberg said on January 31 that in phone conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis, “they all conveyed the same message: that the United States remains committed to NATO and the transatlantic bond.”
“The message of the new administration is that they also want dialogue with Russia but from a position of strength,” he added.
Relations between NATO and Russia have sunk to lows not seen since the Cold War amid tension over Moscows annexation of Ukraines Crimean Peninsula in 2014, its backing of insurgents in eastern Ukraine, its involvement in the Syrian conflict, and other issues.
Trump, who took office on January 20, has called for improved relations with Russia and has rattled Europe with criticism of NATO and praise for Britain’s plans to leave the EU.
He has called NATO “obsolete” but also said the alliance is still “very important” to him.
See the original post:
NATO, U.S. Want Dialogue With …
Posted: at 8:41 am
Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
Just one week in office, President Trump is already following through on his pledge to address illegal immigration. His January 25th executive order called for the construction of a wall along the entire length of the US-Mexico border. While he is right to focus on the issue, there are several reasons why his proposed solution will unfortunately not lead us anywhere closer to solving the problem.
First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.
Second, the wall will be expensive. The wall is estimated to cost between 12 and 15 billion dollars. You can bet it will be more than that. President Trump has claimed that if the Mexican government doesnt pay for it, he will impose a 20 percent duty on products imported from Mexico. Who will pay this tax? Ultimately, the American consumer, as the additional costs will be passed on. This will of course hurt the poorest Americans the most.
Third, building a wall ignores the real causes of illegal border crossings into the United States. Though President Trump is right to prioritize the problem of border security, he misses the point on how it can be done effectively and at an actual financial benefit to the country rather than a huge economic drain.
The solution to really addressing the problem of illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and the threat of cross-border terrorism is clear:
remove the welfare magnet that attracts so many to cross the border illegally, stop the 25 year US war in the Middle East, and end the drug war that incentivizes smugglers to cross the border.
The various taxpayer-funded programs that benefit illegal immigrants in the United States, such as direct financial transfers, medical benefits, food assistance, and education, cost an estimated $100 billion dollars per year. That is a significant burden on citizens and legal residents. The promise of free money, free food, free education, and free medical care if you cross the border illegally is a powerful incentive for people to do so. It especially makes no sense for the United States government to provide these services to those who are not in the US legally.
Likewise, the 40 year war on drugs has produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost. It is estimated that since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars to fight what is a losing battle. That is because just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.
We already know the effect that ending the war on drugs has on illegal smuggling: as more and more US states decriminalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, marijuana smuggling from Mexico to the US has dropped by 50 percent from 2010.
Finally, the threat of terrorists crossing into the United States from Mexico must be taken seriously, however once again we must soberly consider why they may seek to do us harm. We have been dropping bombs on the Middle East since at least 1990. Last year President Obama dropped more than 26,000 bombs. Thousands of civilians have been killed in US drone attacks. The grand US plan to remake the Middle East has produced only misery, bloodshed, and terrorism. Ending this senseless intervention will go a long way toward removing the incentive to attack the United States.
I believe it is important for the United States to have secure borders, but unfortunately President Trumps plan to build a wall will end up costing a fortune while ignoring the real problem of why people cross the borders illegally. They will keep coming as long as those incentives remain.
Read the rest here:
Ron Paul Suggests A Better Solution Than Trump’s Border Wall | Zero Hedge