72 votes

What is the motivation for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, at the risk of starting a hot war with Russia?

However, what NATO was doing in the recent years seemed to raise the risk of hot war with Russia. For example, NATO tried to build missile bases in Eastern Europe and even trying to include Ukraine, ...
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61 votes
Accepted

Why does the United States make it public knowledge as to which generals are in charge of various operations?

The U.S. feels secure from assassinations (and honestly, when was the last time you recall a U.S. general being assassinated, so the sense of security is not delusional), and values having visible ...
  • 56.6k
58 votes

Why does the USA have such a large military?

A lot of this has to do with the geopolitical state of the world. World War II changed a lot for the US. The US had been reluctant to enter World War I. President Wilson was reluctant to enter World ...
  • 39.7k
54 votes

Did the U.S. lose the war against the Taliban?

Yes. Unquestionably. They left their enemy in control. Word games about military dominance in the field are besides the point in a guerrilla war. That kind of sophistry has been tried on Vietnam ...
43 votes

Was there risk that Speaker Pelosi's aircraft could have been shot down by the People's Liberation Army?

When you ask if there's any possibility, the answer is always 'yes': politics entails risk. But if you ask whether it's likely the answer is a definitive 'no'. China's tactics over the last few ...
  • 55.6k
40 votes

Why doesn't U.S. use "strategic ambiguity" on whether or not to send troops to Ukraine just like they do for the Taiwan situation?

They are not the same situation, historically speaking. Ukraine's situation needs to be understood in the context of the Cold War. It is similar to the crushing of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Given 2 ...
37 votes
Accepted

Has Russia recognized land currently held by Ukraine as sovereign territory of the LPR/DPR?

Updated answer: President Putin addressed this issue in a press conference around 16:45 UTC on February 22nd: As for the borders, within what borders will we recognize these republics. We recognized ...
  • 84.4k
34 votes
Accepted

Why would Russian troops in Ukraine fly the flag of the USSR? And why would the Russian MoD advertise this?

I see it as antagonistic by local vehicle crews, particularly those who look up to the myth of the old Soviet Empire. Bit like you might see in other countries where they might fly the old flags of ...
31 votes

What is the motivation for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, at the risk of starting a hot war with Russia?

The question with Ukraine is basically down to Ukraine not trusting Russia one bit and trying to join NATO to get under its protective umbrella. It's like the little kid at school buddying up to you ...
29 votes

How did United Kingdom responsibility for the defence of the British Channel Islands originate?

Short Answer The formalistic legal theory is that the King/Queen of England (as Duke of Normandy, 133 years before actually gaining that title) gained ownership and control of the Channel Islands, but ...
  • 56.6k
29 votes
Accepted

What are the flags being flown by this column of Russian tanks?

The first flag shown is the double-headed eagle from the Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire imposed on the Empire's black/yellow/white tricolour. The flag also includes the motto "Мы - русские / ...
  • 84.4k
28 votes

Did the U.S. lose the war against the Taliban?

Yes, but 'win,' 'lose,' and 'war' are word games in a case like this. The US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan with ill-defined motives, caused regime change, fought a protracted counterinsurgency/...
  • 87.2k
25 votes

Why doesn't U.S. use "strategic ambiguity" on whether or not to send troops to Ukraine just like they do for the Taiwan situation?

I'm guessing it's because it's a bit late for that. Facing 200,000 Russian troops would requite a sizeable army that simply isn't assembled. Also, such an intervention is unpopular in the US, from the ...
  • 115k
25 votes

Why does the USA have such a large military?

Since Lyndon. B. Johnson's time, the US forces were calibrated to be able to fight 2-"2.5" wars at once. In Bush's time, Rumsfeld articulated that (before 9/11) as The current strategic ...
  • 115k
24 votes
Accepted

At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, which U.S. forces were immediately ordered to pull back, and from where?

It may have been: Florida National Guard, assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, deployed to Ukraine to train with local forces. 160 members of which deployed in November last year. ...
21 votes
Accepted

Is signing security pacts with other countries within the UK government powers?

Yes - the UK Government may negotiate and sign international security treaties without consulting Parliament as part of its executive power. However, under section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and ...
  • 84.4k
21 votes

Vagueness rather than specificity when the risks are enormous

There is no reason to be that specific. Not being specific forces Russia to confront more possibilities, keeps the US from being painted as warmongers by Russia ("see! they threatened us!") ...
19 votes
Accepted

How do the Russian forces in Transnistria get in and out?

Predominantly through the airport in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, although steps have been taken to reduce the number of troops that require rotation by employing Transnistrian citizens with ...
  • 84.4k
19 votes

What happens with Ålands demilitarised status when Finland joins NATO?

Probably nothing: If Finland were to join NATO without a change in Åland’s status, this would not be the first time that the alliance has incorporated a country with demilitarized zones. The islands ...
  • 115k
18 votes
Accepted

What is "quantum" and why is it "incredibly important for Australia's defense", or for any advanced country's defense for that matter?

There isn't much detail available yet, but Morrison appears to be referring to 'quantum' as one of the advanced capabilities detailed in the joint leaders' statement back in September 2021, when the ...
  • 84.4k
18 votes
Accepted

Are Ukrainian civilians forced to fight against their will?

To quote Wikipedia on conscription in the Ukrainian army: In October 2013 President Yanukovich ended conscription in Ukraine, at the time 60% of Ukraine's forces were composed of professional ...
  • 9,291
17 votes

Why does the United States make it public knowledge as to which generals are in charge of various operations?

While we could think in strictly military terms about the pros and cons of anonymity vs public knowledge, I do think it is largely irrelevant to your question. You say: I don't see why the public, ...
16 votes

Why does the USA have such a large military?

Not all wars are defensive wars, and defensive wars are not necessarily fought at the land border. Because of this, the number of bordering countries isn't really related to a countries military size. ...
  • 32.7k
16 votes

Does any NATO country assume being under an "armed attack" if it suffers casualties due to a radiation leak?

Ultimately, this is a matter of international law, and as we've said many times before on this Stack, international law is customary, not legal. There is no body with the power to unilaterally enforce ...
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15 votes
Accepted

Maintenance of nuclear vs conventional forces: what's the exchange rate?

Conveniently, this is part answered by CBO in Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2021 to 2030: If carried out, the plans for nuclear forces delineated in the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) and ...
15 votes

Was there risk that Speaker Pelosi's aircraft could have been shot down by the People's Liberation Army?

"Was there a meaningful chance"? No. China would have had the capability, and there is always the risk (to use China's metaphor) when one plays with fire, that one gets burnt. Had China ...
  • 96.3k
14 votes

Does North Korea get permission to test-fly weapons over China and Russia?

Doubt it. CNN's map is most likely projecting a ballistic arc to give the reader a sense of the altitude. Russia and China are at least theoretically on board with suppressing North Korea's missile ...
13 votes

Did the U.S. lose the war against the Taliban?

This is a complicated question... First — and technically speaking — the US was never at war in Afghanistan or with the Taliban. For the US to be at war, Congress has to declare a state of war, but ...
  • 55.6k
13 votes

Has Russia recognized land currently held by Ukraine as sovereign territory of the LPR/DPR?

Political recognition primarily means recognizing a government as legitimate, which means having diplomatic relations with this government, concluding economic and military treaties, etc. On the other ...
  • 9,291
13 votes
Accepted

Why is Poland offering its MIGs to the US instead of waiting for their replacements?

Well, not to the US, but the US base in Ramstein, Germany. Part of the reasoning appears to be that they are asking for the US to supply them with used F-16s in exchange. "At the same time, ...
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