by JS O’Brien
Sarah Palin told ABC’s Charles Gibson yesterday that she favors admitting Georgia and the Ukraine, both on Russia’s borders, to NATO. When Gibson asked her if she would go to war with Russia to defend Georgia, she said, “”Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.”
Right you are, Ms. Palin, but help doesn’t always mean military help, else the NATO countries would have chosen up sides and embroiled themselves in war when Greece and Turkey went at it over Cyprus. You are technically correct, though, because the defense clause of the treaty reads:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area (emphasis mine).
As you can see, the NATO treaty doesn’t require armed intervention. It requires “assistance.” Palin’s comment seems to indicate that it would likely be war between the US and Russia if she were president. Here are some follow-up questions about that statement, Ms. Palin, if you’d be so good as to answer.
1. If we were to go to war with Russia over Georgia or, say, the Ukraine, how would we go about winning that war with so many of our units in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you intend to pull our forces out of those countries, how would you go about transporting them, and how long would it take? What would you do about the security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan in the meantime? What if, say, Pakistan and/or Iran started harboring and equipping terrorists. What units would we use to attack Pakistan if they’re tied up fighting Russia?
2. Since our forces in Europe are scheduled to be drawn down to only four brigades (two heavy, one cavalry, and one airborne), which specific units would you use against the Russians? Would the ones in Europe now be sufficient to counter Russian military power until help arrives? How would you go about supporting the lightly equipped US Army Stryker Cavalry brigade and the airborne brigade so they can stand up to heavy Soviet divisions?
3. Would you launch a full-out, thermonuclear strike immediately, or would you wait until the Russians use nukes?
4. Given the fact that US and NATO supply depots were positioned to supply units along the now-defunct East German border, and given the fact that a front with Russia in the Urkraine could be as much as 1,200 miles from those supplies, the number of transport vehicles available to us, and the road and rail systems in Eastern Europe, how would you go about supplying our heavy forces there with fuel, spare parts, food, water, and all the other supplies a modern army needs in order to function? If we fought in Georgia, would we have sufficient sea lift capacity to support the troops? How would you protect our roll-on, roll-off and merchant marine ships from Russian anti-ship missiles that would tend to send massive amounts of supplies to the bottom?
5. How could we fight Russia for the long-term without reinstituting the draft?
6. Any attack against Russia would, of course, immediately shut down the gas pipelines from Russia that Europe has to have to meet its energy needs. How would you cope with a sudden energy crisis among our European allies, supply their armies with fuel as well as ours, and deal with the sudden economic crisis such a shutdown would cause in both Europe and among its trading partners in the US?
7. We’re already spending half a trillion dollars more per year than we bring in in revenues. How much extra would a war with Russia cost, and how would you pay for it? More tax cuts?
8. Do you suppose there’s any wisdom in being very careful about the countries we admit to NATO, considering our response options and capabilities, before admitting them?
Naturally, I know you’d rather get these questions from mainstream media outlets but, oddly, they haven’t asked. So, the scrogues eagerly await your response, below.