It already does. Sickness inducing is one of the biggest problems with current VR implementations, and one of the main reasons its still in development and not being released to the public.
I think I didn't make my point, because your answer appears to suggest a different problem.
Russia has a serious medium to long term problem on its south-eastern border. As in a problem that is liable to blow in its face in a decade or two. This is not an immediate threat, nor is there a potential for "anti Russian alliance". This would be a Sino-Russian event. I will readily agree that there is no immediate threat there after 2004 solution. Both Russia and China have other problems in short term to deal with on other borders that they would prefer to stick to.
Considering their mutual history, any Russian leader worth his salt should and would be very worried.
I am once again confused how "knocking us out" would improve Russia's positions on its other borders. Military theory suggests the exact opposite - it would have to commit a significant chunk of its military and political power to first conquest, then pacification and containment for decades afterwards. All to grab a large part of one of the least inhabited countries in the world that has minimal strategic value.
I would understand your suggestion if we were talking something like Lithuania, which offers more direct access to European mainland as well as Russian mainland and is fairly containable in terms of size. But Finland? That's just not a strategically sound conclusion in my eyes.
I want to clarify this point: Finland's security has been carried on two key elements:
1. Very believable defence and promise of extremely difficult containment after potential loss.
2. Low strategic value.
On your next point, we are largely in agreement on your assessment of Ukrainian crisis. My only point of contention is that it wasn't that he chose this path, but he was forced on it because that last round of expansion simply offered him no real alternatives. I've heard quite a few European diplomatic bureaucrats give interviews on smaller media sites like vice news weeks after the overthrow and Russia's reaction that "honestly, we fucked it up, because in retrospect it was obvious that we pushed Russia too far into the corner, as they have indeed warned us about this for several years".
You can probably still find relevant coverage, through with all the noise on the issue it would be time consuming.
As for weapon usage, it was actually well known that his troops were using things like riot shotguns. Those are basically standard pump action shotguns but with holes in the sides of barrels which enable them to fire rubber bullets at low velocity. There were some reports of police having to contain armed looters in the city (and there was video footage of this at times) where they faced well armed criminals. But that was typically armed police surrounding a single building. We have a lot of footage of the actual large crowd events, and those don't show these weapons being used.
Infamous snipers only appeared in final days, when Yanukovich was no longer in control of the city, and miraculously didn't hit a single important person of Maidan movement. Most of whom were in the open on the streets. All they killed was about a hundred of nobodies. Which just continued the line of "just enough to rile the crowd, nowhere near enough to contain it". Which is frankly odd for snipers who are specifically trained to take out VIPs in the crowd, not shoot at the nobodies in crowd.
As a point of comparison, Beltway sniper was operating in a peaceful environment where there was no large scale civil uprising that effectively paralysed all policing activity just to contain it.
And I just wanted to point out that militarization of police is a separate issue from racial tensions in US. SWAT killing innocent people by accident and police using significant force suppressing demonstrations happens regardless of race. It just so happens that latest bout of demonstrations happen to feature overwhelmingly black crowds.
Occupy was anything but and it met even more brutal of a fate, because direct news coverage was largely limited to non-mainstream channels.
On your last point, I would have agreed with you if not for one problem. Democracy results in virulently anti-Western government in places where colonialism remains problematic. I find that being the main factor behind the Latin America managing to free itself from vassalisation by US. To put it simply, nothing unites people like a common enemy, and decades of brutal oppression by a single party makes it a very easy thing to band against.
Iran's fate was largely an earlier show of the same problem. After Shah's rule anyone who opposed US, the biggest supporter of Shah would get people's genuine support.
In this regard, Chinese approach appears to be more successful. When they vassalise/colonise, they typically do not attempt to force government change. They specifically run a policy of "locals get to figure out among themselves what kind of government they want, we just want the economic deals that benefit us".
Which is why they are able to function in Greece just as well as they function in East Africa.
You have to remember that for overwhelming majority of the world, it's largely irrelevant what societal structure the global hegemon dominating their government has. It's not going to be democratic for THEM - because having people across the ocean vote for a leader that decides how your country is run is no more democratic than a dictator from across the ocean doing the same thing. That is why much of the developing world talks about multipolarisation of the world and appears to be largely betting on China to provide a counterweight for US. Even large and functional democratic states like Brazil are making this bet. It's simply a realistic bet on the fact that having two hegemons with different systems and agendas means that they will spend more attention on grinding each other down and less attention dominating the rest of the world.
The obvious counter-argument of "but Latin America during Cold War" fails here for a somewhat non-obvious reason: US domination of Latin America basically carried on as long as it could. But as states like Iran demonstrate, such rule is unstable and once sufficient amount of bad will is generated and people are sufficiently united, loss of control is largely inevitable. In case of Latin America, they have an added boon of having emerged democratic, which makes them more resistant to another bout of vassalisation, as easy method of investment in a single leader would not work for long.
It's not like US stopped trying to dominate the continent. Assassination attempts on Chavez are not exactly best kept secret, nor is huge support for specific parties in states like Brazil and Equador. But it just doesn't work all that well after a certain threshold is reached. It seems that modern state systems as a whole develop resistance to outside pressure of specific kind after being exposed to it for prolonged period of time.
I've heard modern historians suggest that concept of nationalism, which is only about two centuries old in its current form appears to simply have made most states heavily resistant to outside pressure and made large invasions and colonisation/vassalisation of old into far more costly projects than they used to be, because individuals actually feel like a part of the state, rather than simply people who don't care about leadership beyond their immediate vicinity.
I didn't mean anything other than what I said by it. Sometimes when you're suggesting being an expert in the field, getting measurement systems confused will destroy your message even if you are otherwise correct.
It would make your comment look a lot more reliable if you at least got your measurement units right.
As noted in the article, it's not the speed alone that is the achievement, but the speed over distance.
There are multiple extremely serious reasons why Russia is extremely worried about China. First there's the territorial dispute that they more or less settled in 2004 over islands on Amur river. Russia was effectively forced to cede a significant chunk of territory to Chinese.
Second is the general state of border regions. I've read some studies that suggest they are now around 90% ethnic Han and 10% everyone else. That is on Russian side. Once you look at the region as a whole, you start seeing the severe strategic threat. It's a very difficult region, mostly taiga forests with very difficult logistics and little populace. And just a bit south you have China that has huge population density and distinct interest in the Siberian resources.
It's pretty easy to see the threat if you look at it from Russian side.
On your point #2, you have to remember that we have in fact ceded territory to Russia back when it was part of USSR, specifically because Stalin saw it of strategic importance to secure Leningrad. Right now, the main threat to Leningrad (modern St. Petersburg) is no longer from us - we are quite far away and the region is swampy, making it very difficult to advance over.
On the other hand Estonia is close and has a far better ground. They are far more dangerous to Russia from this angle.
Our strategic importance to Russia lies mostly in three aspects:
a. We are one of the two sides of the Gulf of Finland that can enable complete naval blockade of St. Petersburg. During WW2 not a single Russian sub succeeded in penetrating this blockade.
b. Our closeness to their Arctic supply lines, specifically Murmansk.
c. Ahvenanmaa/Åland islands and their strategic location in Baltic Sea.
On point a. Russia already has almost no submarine presence in the region. They have only two diesel attack subs total. Even Sweden has more than twice that. They learned their lesson from WW2.
On point b. Nazi Germany attacking from Finnish soil never succeeded in severing the supply lines to Murmansk during WW2. There's also the fact that far more dangerous Norway also has significant presence in the same region, which again reduces our priority.
Point c. is directly linked to point a.
As for Putin, I think you're too focused on looking at it from our side. Looking at the issues from his side, the logic becomes obvious. He wanted to uplift his country which was left in shambles by Yeltsin, and largely succeeded. Having learned from chaos of 1990s, he moved to secure Russia from next potential bout of West effectively raiding Russia (which let's be frank is an apt description of what was done to Russia in 1990s, even according to very people who were behind the plans to transition Russia to Western style economy) by bolstering nationalism and rebuilding links with former allies.
During this time his leadership clearly considered many deals made with the West to be made in good faith, even after they were breached one after another, mostly unilateral action from Western parties (i.e. agreement on conventional forces in Europe, enlargement of NATO, etc). Diplomatic sources appear to mostly confirm that Russian side made it very clear that any Ukraine was their "red line", for understandable reasons - Crimea is their main warm water port, and Ukraine was their chief military supplier.
Then the EU deal basically forced Ukraine to choose either Russia or EU. Yanukovich was apparently dithering and even willing to accept the EU side until Russians basically outlined the consequences that deal would unleash on Ukraine, like end of preferential income tariffs from Russian side as to avoid EU companies would simply use Ukraine to bypass Russian tariffs. Yanukovich balked, young Ukrainians thinking they could become like Poles and just migrate to UK/France/Germany to work if deal went through saw this as a vote for status quo instead of modernisation. This was the image that was clearly sold to many on Maidan. Months of protests followed.
The "weapon usage" part you're talking about, including the still-mysterious snipers that showed in the last days indeed occurred only in final days. Authorities didn't need "tanks" to break Maidan up early on. US approach of militarized police with heavy riot gear and APCs would have been more than enough. That did indeed happen when major demonstrations were attempted, but largely left out of main stream media. Shock treatment, scare most people off, leave only the most invested in and movement will die to lack of people.
In Ukraine they instead they started very soft and slowly hardened the approach all the way to the end. Which is the worst approach to this kind of event, as it is effectively both allowed and forced the movement to become more and more brutal and militant in response.
The rest is history.
On your last point, you are absolutely correct. I do not mind the "Western| view of the world, as I mostly share it. After all current US culture is basically a mix of European cultures with significant changes that come from frontier culture aspect of it. I mostly find it acceptable, in many parts far closer than that of Russia for example, which is an mix of European and Asian cultures. Much of their Asian point is quite alien to me, far more so than frontier aspect of US.
My main gripe is with its overwhelming forcefulness in approach to global issues. But if you were to ask me if I think that another state would do a better job as a world hegemon, my answer would be "unlikely".
Essentially I have a problem with having only one global hegemon who feels so powerful that it becomes a dictator. In this regard, a new Cold War may actually be a blessing in disguise as it would force multipolarity back to the world and hegemons struggling for control would have to become less malevolent and more benevolent to maintain control.
Again, your first suggestion is absurd. How would Finland pose a strategic threat to Russia that would be greater than that of China in the South-East, or NATO in the West? Do you have any idea what kind of a tectonic shift in security climate this kind of shift would require?
This is not 10%. This is not even 0.1%. We're talking about likelihood like that of a comet wiping out humanity. Even Stalin didn't see Finland as important enough to take back in the days of USSR being extremely powerful. All he needed from strategic standpoint was to secure the vicinity of former Leningrad as well as supply lines to Murmansk. Both were of significant strategic importance and held in WW2.
Beyond that, the only strategic importance that Finland holds to Russia is as direct ground access to Sweden and Norway.
Putin has shown himself to be an extremely astute strategist so far. What you are suggesting on the other hand would require insanity on levels of Caligula combined with strategic stupidity of Bush Jr.
Rest of your points:
1. Several European states operate strategic airlifter aircraft. Most of them US in origin. These can be leased if necessary, the issue was that US simply offered a better rate because it had direct interest in French pacifying the region ASAP.
2. But they are not populists. That's the entire point. The party has been around for well over 20 years now, and all head figures are long term politicians with significant amount of experience. The only reason that international media paints them as "populist" is because that's the umbrella under which all anti-EU parties are generally shoved across Europe.
In reality, their main platform is about re-empowering older male workers, mainly those in heavy industry. Those have seen a significant squeeze for a while now as automation pushes on while investment is going to cheap labour countries. Their anti-immigration wing is actually fairly small and mainly headed by a fairly level-headed MEP who didn't even run for Finnish parliamentary election.
That is why party enjoys heavy support mainly among male demographic of working age that is typically working blue collar or lower level white collar jobs, with limited support among higher white collar workers, and very little support among female voters.
3. Maidan didn't start as a movement to overthrow the government either. I recommend rehashing on its history. The overthrow only happened after it was not heavily suppressed like Occupy was, and instead was allowed to grow for a very long time under minimal suppression and eventually received paramilitary support from the outside forces.
That's what happens to popular movement. They start as one thing, and end up as something entirely different. If you want another example, I recommend looking at Syria. That's an even more extreme example of foreign support transforming movement from something that starts as a largely peaceful demonstration to demand change in people's lives into a violent movement that aims to topple government and causes a civil war.
That is why response wasn't snipers. It was underequipped security forces with no lethal weapons. For months. Under a shower of deadly weapons ranging from molotovs to pipe bombs laced with nails. After the end game phase, the guys doing it were proudly showing off their weapons. Makeshift, and very much deadly. Guys on the other side were filmed a lot, and until the final days were using standard riot gear - shields, armour, batons. And complaining to everyone who would listen that they are not allowed to use sufficient force to end the protests.
That is likely what resulted in escalation. They were allowed to use just enough force to piss people off, and not enough to actually end the protests. In US on the other hand, already militarized police and far more brutal justice system (by European standards) suppressed protests very rapidly through overwhelming force. That is before it got out of control and people started arming themselves.
It is fairly telling that you call those toppling democratically elected government through paramilitary force "allies", and the main reason why most states are very weary of US intervening in their domestic policy in any way. I understand the strategic reason why - but that is exactly how you turn a peaceful state in a failed state in state of civil war.
And it's not US that pays for the consequences of that.
Moving on, I think you misunderstand my evaluation of hegemonic state of US. Once you become a global hegemon, the matter of your security becomes about being able to remain one. This is because both your economy and your society become dependent on remaining as one. Consider the rapidity with which US deposed of any weaker state trying to disrupt the petrodollar.
On case of South China Sea, you need to look at Chinese history. If not for the crazy emperor that burned their fleets, they rather than white Europeans would have likely been the ones to dominate the world today. And considering just what said white Europeans did to them when they were weak, they will have every internal justification they can ever need to push foreign military off their key naval routes.
On your point of US engagement, I would readily agree with you. But you cannot realistically expect a natural state (i.e. state that evolved from its long term history and common ethnic background) to suddenly accept becoming a multicultural state. US had to essentially wipe out the local ethnicity to achieve a stable multicultural state, and then basically conquered any smaller state that dared to try to stay independent, until it hit Canada in the North and Mexico in the South.
European states have thousands of years of common history where they are in various stages of war and peace with one another. The only way to unify them as you suggest would effectively require someone like Stalin or Hitler.
Something tells me that someone would not be a kind of person to readily cede "head hegemon" seat to another nation.
On your last point, I would recommend researching on how life cycle of a fighter jet works. It's typically around 30 years or so. We're not looking to to replace current fleet until late 2020s. F-18s we currently have just recently got another mid life upgrade.
After standard life cycle ends you'd have to zero-time the frame and absorb increased maintenance costs, which is generally more costly than getting new aircraft. That is the reason why we didn't just upgrade MiG-21s and Viggens we had and got F-18s instead some 15 years ago.
That is where the aircraft numbers come from as well. A nation of 5 million with no aims to join bombing campaigns or project force outside its borders needs far less aircraft than a nation that uses said aircraft to project force. Budgetary constraints. The bulk of our military spending has always been on training reservists, we have universal conscription for men just like Swiss do.
On a last note, I just wanted to say thanks for your insight. It's pretty rare to find someone with ability to look at things from "the other side of the pond" without much of irrelevant punditry.
That is a massively convoluted logic. "If this multinational organisation collapses and this single small state attempts to replace it with large multinational organisation".
Do you realise just how self-contradictory your suggestion is? Alliances among smaller states by their nature are not started by single small states, but by collaboration between them. This is because alliances need significant political force behind them to be pushed through, and unlike large hegemonic states, smaller states do not wield political power to have this amount of political force.
I'm guessing you're so locked into imperialist line of thinking that you are unable to comprehend the difference between a hegemonic and non-hegemonic state, attributing hegemonic traits to everything. This is a major flaw when thinking on macropolitical level.
1. Strategic airlift capacity exists in Europe. It's simply under NATO umbrella right now. US was cheapest to get the lease from, and US needed French to stabilize without having them get involved. Suggesting that French would have been unable to airlift relevant hardware without US aircraft is ignorant to the extreme.
2. Then you do not know their political agenda. Consider that much of international coverage of party has been for shock sales value, and as a result is quite a far cry from values they actually represent. Also consider that I actually am a citizen of this state, and have significant amount of insider information that you are unlikely to be in possession of.
That sort of force is something they not only desire, but are actively trying to drive. They are very much pro-defence forces and pro-military to the point where they effectively demanded (and got) defence minister post in current government. This is typically a post that is reasonably light in Finland, and often went to small "helper parties", like ~5% polling Swedish party in last government, so actively gunning for it was fairly unusual for a high level politician. Yet Ville Niinistö is probably the most qualified defence minister we had in a long time - he has PhD in military history and an active participant in voluntary country defence movements.
And with knowledge of military history comes the responsibility of understanding why it's important to stop the current threat to Europe on the southern borders.
3. That was my point. Euromaidan's militant movement was utterly unacceptable by normal democratic standards. It was a militant and unconstitutional overthrow of elected government. As a point of comparison when similar movement was attempted in US in the wake of 2007 crash but with far less militant attitude (with largely similar agenda of topping corrupt system that enabled it), it was brutally crushed by far greater application of force.
The main reason for overwhelming support it received in the West was importance of Ukraine for US as a part of its encirclement of Russia. The "overthrowing of democratically elected government in spite of all agreements and last minute deals" and the sheer violence of the movement is typically whitewashed in Western media by focusing on peaceful part of it. Interestingly the exact opposite approach was practised by the same media toward Occupy movement. Consider the reasons why.
The rest of your argument is just silly talk with no content. The reason for "pivot to Asia" is because China is rising to challenge US force projection capability in the region, and starting to be actually able to do so in its immediate vicinity. South China Sea issue is a great example of this, if this was just about marine resources, parties would have likely come to an agreement already. But freedom of being able to navigate military armadas through shipping lanes that are critical to strategic survival of China is non-negotiable for US. Losing this right would cripple it's ability to blockade China without impacting the rest of the region when needed, and as a result significant diminish its hegemonic grasp.
The point of becoming hegemon has nothing to do with what you suggest. All sovereign states are primarily driven by their long term survival. primary reason for becoming hegemonic is to ensure long term survival by pacifying your areas of interest with overwhelming force.
If anything, that means that it gives you greater ability to manipulate which you use to manipulate more than before. You seem to think that only manipulation available to states is behind the scenes diplomacy, when manipulative interaction between sovereign states ranges from cultural expansionism to direct military action to aforementioned diplomacy.
P.S. You last paragraph is a great example of why I'm talking about "hysterical fear of Poles and Balts". They look at Russia and still either see USSR, or even worse tsarist Russia. Former are afraid of military that no longer exists in anywhere near the same capacity, while latter see another chance for rise of Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Which still holds the dubious honour of being the invader who managed to hold Moscow for longest time of all invaders. Which in turn creates strategic fears of invasion on Russian sides.
And as a result, you have two sides controlled by hysterical fears based on their long common history and outside actors who play on those fears to accomplish their strategic goals in the region.
And then you have my homeland, sitting North of the aforementioned parties and worrying that two hysterical idiots who are afraid of one another will actually come to blows instead of looking at the situation in objective matter. Which would destabilize the whole region.
There is one last point that I feel you are missing. Your state, like most states is not monolithic. It has many faction which prioritise different things. Consider support for Maidan movement, and which US interests supported it and which didn't see it as anything more than a bother for business as usual.
Again, you suggest the arbitrary percentage of attack. And again, I go back to asking you: what is the Russia's strategic interest in such an attack? Why would it want to effectively surrender all its NATO borders and its extremely difficult Chinese borders to engage all of its military in a single northern campaign against a neutral state that has shown remarkable resilience to that kind of attack in the past. And even if such a campaign were to be successful, what is the benefit to Russia and why would it outweigh all the problems caused by this attack?
As in, how did you derive that 10% number?
1. Again, no we do not. The reason you need that huge budget is because you need to project intercontinental conventional force. I recall math being done on your nuclear carriers alone - you need six-seven of them to keep one stationed in a region permanently. That is why you have as many as you do.
Europe's needs are the security of Mediterranean and Eastern borders, plus maintenance of Arctic. That means minimal force projection. In addition to this specific states need minor intercontinental force projection. that is French and their African client states, Brits and Falklands/Malvinas, but as we have seen recently with French, they have no significant problems with their current spending. UK is currently more questionable, though the deterrent they achieved in previous war added with financial problems of Argentinian state suggest that Falklands are safe for now.
2. They would be happy to spend money to defend entire Europe however, if that was indeed a pan European defence. Our current defence minister who comes from that party has openly stated that he favours alliance with Sweden (which they are currently working on by the way) and previously stated that it would be a very good idea to have a pan-European defence initiative.
Since in Italy this initiative would be used to turn illegal immigrants away, that would sit very well with the party. They love those kinds of things, as do their constituents.
On your last point, may I remind you that Europe has been successful in almost all its containment of Polish extremism so far? We successfully defused their attempts to destroy EU's secularity, we effectively forced their right wing anti EU party (which currently holds presidency again) to conform to European standards and even establish significant trade relations with Russia in spite of a lot of their teeth grinding and the fact that their former president still routinely accuses Russia of killing his brother. This in spite of us knowing from the cockpit recordings that it was his brother's drunk defence minister that forced pilots to try to land aircraft when airport told him in no uncertain terms that it wasn't equipped for landing in that kind of bad weather.
The problem is that US is very skilled in using both its image as "protector" as well as manipulating what is effectively it's client states in EU, that being Poland, Baltics and UK to push EU in desired direction. That is why they are afraid of UK exit so much - without it, their influence within EU would be cut at its knees, as Poles and Balts alone are far to weak to be able to influence EU in the way they need it to.
P.S. I'm not saying they "created" the crisis. I'm saying they took the current situation, and acted to make it to suit their needs. Just like they did with 9/11. It's pretty irrelevant if the crisis is natural or created in that sense - what matters is how you use it.
In a few years, that kind of uprising would no longer be supportable in the same way because of geopolitical balance shift from competition between EU and Russia to cooperation between EU and Russia. That would mean that the last second deal would not have been breached as it was, and we wouldn't be in a mess like we are in now because president representing people the of Eastern Ukraine would not have been overthrown and have Western Ukrainian leadership installed in his place. Instead we'd have had peaceful transition as was the deal and maybe some sort of actually good deal for Ukraine instead of current status quo where it has no future.
You seem to be unable to answer this question: Why would "Putin" invade Finland (in more rational minds, it's usually countries, not leaders that invade)? What is the strategic reason for this action? Because right now, it's literally the dumbest move Russia could make in terms of offensive actions - all other borders are far more dangerous to defend and most are far easier to attack.
Yet you keep insisting he would. Why? Countries don't invade without strategic reasons. Even US military policy, as nuts as it seems at times always follows strategic interests.
On your points:
1. The reason why US needs the current budget is because it's a worldwide hegemon. As such, it needs little defensive force and massive ability to project force far away from its borders. That is why its military costs trump the rest of the world combined - force projection is massively more expensive than national defence and projection capability within immediate vicinity of one's borders. No other country in the world is in the same situation, as they have to actually have at least some, and in case of Europe most of their strategic worries focused on territorial defence and force projection in immediate vicinity.
2. I never claimed Europeans see themselves as one nation, because we certainly do not. Implying that someone suggests that implies assumption of severe ignorance of reality on that person's part. I do not believe I said anything to merit this kind of assumption so far. I merely pointed out that it would be a natural extension of current integration drive in EU to also synchronise defence. NATO tries to just that, and it usually half way fails simply because it's way of doing things is too much about dictation. It would be much more acceptable to population and national leadership if it wasn't a US-lead organisation that didn't have a single defensive campaign in its history and mainly focuses on ensuring that US conquests across the world have European military and logistics support. But instead a pan-European organisation designed specifically to secure Europe's borders would be far more acceptable to population and politicians, as they would have far greater control over organisation's strategic goals. Considering the current immigrant crisis in Mediterranean, we could really use such a force that could just deploy heavier hardware on porous outside borders of Greece, and start blockading Libya at sea. Border organisations are simply not designed for that sort of action.
On your last point, you are probably correct, but you're really missing the reason why this is so. Europe actually came dangerously close to being able to politically disconnect from US's foreign policy umbilical cord a few years ago. We've seen many individual states openly refuse to participate in US attacks on other countries and even freezing of TTIP negotiations after Snowden's revelations that EU negotiation position was completely exposed to US negotiator through spying. This was something unheard of a couple of decades ago, and almost impossible to imagine in current climate of FUD.
It's likely one of the main reasons why Ukrainian poison pill was activated when it was activated to put a political wedge between EU and Russia. It needed to be done before the enough of the fears between the two were put to rest and cooperation between the two became extensive enough to make activating said poison pill unworkable. And in current climate, it is indeed impossible for NATO EU states to disconnect from US foreign policy, no matter how brutal it becomes. At least for foreseeable future.
"Moral responsibility" in a war is an oxymoron.
Case to point: current drone assassination program which kills and maims women and children en masse..
That is actually correct. Land mines kill and maim a lot of civilians to this date in many states, including for example Vietnam, where most mines were airdropped from US bombers.
How many commanders, bomber crews, or really any US military have you heard of being held responsible for this?
This isn't limited to US either by any stretch of imagination. Russians did the same thing in Afghanistan (as did US) for example. Not much responsibility there either.
Mines killing and maiming people are a huge problem across the world. Look it up.
An interesting but understandable angle. I would however point out the counterpoint as to why this would actually be overwhelmingly positive for us.
We have been among the few nations calling for European, rather than Atlantic defence forces. Essentially none of the "project force in far away lands to help with US foreign policy" and full focus on securing Europe itself. Due to heavy presence of NATO in Europe, the only support so far came from Sweden. The rest are too invested in NATO at the moment.
If Germany was to actually start distancing itself from NATO, that would mean a significant increase in the argument of pan European defence force to replace it as security guarantor in Europe. As a result, this would be an overwhelmingly positive change from our perspective in medium and long term.
Short term would likely be negative due to potential for creation of security vacuum as you mention. That and the fact that regardless of everything else, the umbrella of "Western world" is very important in the world where Asian "know who over rule of law" style culture is rising through both China and Russia. After the Snowden's revelations, already having driven a significant wedge between the two, Europe had to be given Ukrainian poison pill to push it back to US. If split were to become even more significant, US would have to compensate even harder to reel Europe back in, because it needs Europe to maintain its world wide hegemony, which is already in decline.
And hegemons in decline are very dangerous. Especially in modern world with modern weaponry. So sudden movements from Germans to distance themselves from NATO and US would indeed cause some very dangerous ripples through world security.
What does Putin have to do with this?
This is Markin, the well known token ultra nationalist retard who works as a spokesman rather than investigator. He's a bit like Rush Limbaugh in US, only with a whole lot less audience. Pens private op-eds every once in a while. He was mentioned a couple of times during a prime time show we had here in Finland about relations, basically dismissed by everyone as someone who likes attention and only gets it by publishing private over the top op-eds.
Thing is, those guys apparently have it worse than most soldiers. In modern warfare, most soldiers rarely if ever see the immediate consequences of them firing on the enemy. You shoot at targets far away, and you rarely get to see the consequences until much later. Specialist roles like artillery, support crews, bomber pilots and so on don't really ever get to see it. They just perform actions they're trained to perform without ever seeing the consequences directly. This allows mind to abstract "death" from "my performing actions" to a great degree, protecting the mind from empathic reaction toward the enemy.
The only ones that really get to see most of the actual death as a result of their actions in modern warfare are snipers, medics and now drone pilots.