NATO Must Pull Back Troops From Eastern Europe
The mobilization of NATO's forces in response to Russian aggression is indeed reasonable. Pro says "It is also a violation of the Geneva convention to continue militarization on a nation's border without violations of international law directed against the nation who is militarizing." NATO is indeed responding to Russian military formations. Even now Putin has called for 'snap drills' to test the readiness of his military. These mobilizations are a brazen front and show of force ahead of the NATO summit meeting next month 
But let's get real, we all know why Russia is in the dog house today, the Ruble falling fast. We let Russia get away with attacking Georgia (2008) and annexing the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; but Putin put his hand in the wrong cookie jar this time. The annexation of the Crimean peninsula in early 2014 broke the treaty known as the Helsinki Final Act (1975) when Russian forces violated the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine . The various economic sanctions against Russia are fully justified.
We've been observing Russia mobilizing their forces. In 2015 Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe said "I believe the Russians are mobilizing right now for a war that they think is going to happen in five or six years —not that they're going to start a war in five or six years, but I think they are anticipating that things are going to happen, and that they will be in a war of some sort, of some scale, with somebody within the next five or six years."  It's very possible that Putin is preparing for war because he plans to start one.
NATO is only responding to Russian maneuvering. Russia wants to portray itself as being bullied by NATO, it is not. NATO is the states of of 28 states who see Russia as the bully, funding brutal dictators like Bashar al Assad in Syria. Putin's been kicking his neighbors recently and the former lands of the USSR that now are in NATO have good reason to fear and have every right to call upon the combined forces of the US and Europe defend themselves. Even Canada, one of the most peaceful countries on earth is considering sending troops against Russia .
Russia must acknowledge that they are the aggressor and NATO's actions would not be necessary if they had not shown military aggression in the first place.
NATO's response to the Russian annexation of Crimea was legally justified, that is correct, but one thing that is largely overlooked by Western powers is that a UN sanctioned referendum of a split in Crimea was held federally in Ukraine and even when the referendum won to split and join Russia by 70 %, the Ukrainian government went back on their word and was shamed but not sanctioned by referendum officials of the UN. The Crimean argument is my weakest argument, I submit, although it is the only violation that NATO responded to.
As for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, they were NOT annexed (so please choose your vocabulary more carefully), they are separatist states funded and once occupied by the Russian government. Russia attacked Georgia for 2 reasons. Before 2008, there was a war in Ossetia and Abkhazia that pushed Georgia out. Georgia signed a peace treaty and recognized them as autonomous regions. When a hard liner party came to power, Georgia attacked both nations against advice of the UN. NATO supported the invasion through financing and even stationing troops in Georgia to help in the war hoping Georgia would be a new NATO member state. Russia got involved realizing that this would prove a serious damage to national interests if the Western World was right on Russia's southern border.
Putin would not start a war because he isn't stupid as many biased analysts claim. Putin has never made any comment whatsoever that he would plan on starting a war, nor would any person with any sort of realistic tendencies believe that Russia is dedicated to destroying the Western World. They are, however, very interested in pushing their agenda.
Syria is currently in a civil war that is claimed as fault by the US. The United States started funding small terrorist cells in Syria to oust Assad. Assad is brutal but he is secular. The terrorist groups/rebels that the US funds defect to ISIS as their Wahhabist values are nearly equal towards each other. The US doesn't have a back-up plan for Syria. The 50 groups fighting to end Assad will move to a second phase in the war fighting each other and turning Syria into an even more fractured Libya where the nation is controlled by Wahhabist war-lords. Assad is brutal, but he is the only thing currently preventing a second power vacuum after Iraq. Russia has admitted to the US they will attempt to push Assad out of power but only after the war ends and they defeat the common enemy of ISIS. Otherwise, instability will only grow.
The only neighbors that Putin has directly gotten involved in is Ukraine and Georgia. NATO's highest rise in troops stationed in Europe was between 1991-2005, before the conflicts. I believe NATO pushes a nervous Russia to show they wouldn't bend backwards for them
I would like to thank Pro for debating. I notice on his profile he’s new to DDO, I hope he has many entertaining debates in the future.
On word usage referring to the matter of “independence” of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - my apologies … I meant to say ‘yet to annex’ . Even Pro’s own source says the breakaway regions are “unrecognized governments” only through Russia do South Ossetia and Abkhazia remain ‘independent’.
But anyways – the reason we’re talking about the Caucasus Mountains (and not Eastern Europe) is to establish Russia is a militarily aggressive nation. Pro confirms this when he says “Russia got involved realizing that this would prove a serious damage to national interests if the Western World was right on Russia's southern border.” My opponent admits the aggression was in ‘self defense’ but against whom? Georgia as an Independent Recognized Nation and had every right to join NATO; Georgia needed to end its internal conflicts which I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fueled by Russian meddling in the first place. Today Russia still occupies and controls the borders with Georgia on behalf of the rebel states. And South Ossetia appears to be holding an illegal referendum on joining Russia . It’s very obvious annexation was the plan from the start.
Pro brings up that NATO’s highest rise in troops was from 1991-2005, this is eleven years ago. This does not excuse Georgia (2008) or Crimea (2014). Besides of course NATO presence would increase in 2005, 7 Eastern European nations like Estonia and Latvia joined NATO in 2004 . Russia isn’t going to engage in a full scale war with the West, Russia is going to continue doing what is has been: Quickly seize strategically important land to eventually annex. It makes sense, controlling the southern front through the Caucuses, controlling the warm water port of Crimea, generally trying to influence Ukraine and other Baltic states to side with itself over NATO, it all makes sense. But doing those things like destabilizing peaceful neighbors is not acceptable and gives NATO cause to gather more troops on the Eastern Front to deter future aggression.
I think I’ve already established the criteria for saying NATO is justified in assembling forces in Eastern Europe. Russia is not “nervous” - Russia under Putin is ambitious. NATO is not plotting to destroy Russia - so it has always amused me when I read NATO building anti-missile defense systems is interpreted as hostile by Russia . Defense systems as hostile, funny right? Russia isn’t looking after self defense, Putin is angry because he lost the ability to threaten his neighbors with missiles. . NATO is a defense pact and has no intentions to violate Russia’s national sovereignty with either invasion or nuclear weapon.
PS: I didn’t want to address Assad/Middle East because of space and was off topic, but Assad started the Civil War when he started killing peaceful protesters .
**DUE TO CHARACTER LIMITS SOURCES ARE IN COMMENT SECTION**
Your statement of 'yet to annex' is based on Georgia's words, and no other nation's words provided by your own sources. The break-away regions are only supported by Russia and a handful of other nations although Russian backing of these 'states' comes at the reasoning that NATO's attempt to recruit Georgia came before the wars. You cannot expect a nation to not respond with at least some sort of military response when a major military organization is attempting to manifest forces at your backdoor. Again, your own source of the Georgia profile admits of NATO's attempt at recruiting Georgia before the conflicts and intervention of Russian forces.
Russia has only been labeled a military aggressive nation after build-up of NATO troops. A nation as powerful and rebellious to western ideologies and conformists statutes would expect one of their organizations to attempt to subdue the 'Russian Bear' as much as possible, even if it is under the pretense of defense. Your statement of the referendum in South Ossetia is illegal and that I admit. Although if you check my arguments, I haven't said that their is a legality of actions on any sides in Georgia. I instead have attempted to make the argument that these actions made were all a response of NATO build-up in the Russian sphere of influence. "It's very obvious annexation was the plan from the start." is a VERY personalized opinion, I believe on your part. If Russia wanted to, they would have annexed these regions since 2008. Instead Russia has not because as stated before by me and by news agencies, Russian or not, Russia's support for these areas are in a response to non-provocative NATO build-ups in the region. The support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia isn't to expand Russian influence, necessarily, but to counter Western influence which has been expanding on the Ex-Soviet front since before Russian violations of international law were NATO's reasoning for build-up .
Crimea was not a total response to NATO in Ukraine. The annexation in Crimea was also from injustice by the Ukrainian government and further justified by Ukraine denying Crimea (even before annexation) of voting rights, parliamentarian, district, or republic for having their own referendum which was later reviewed and accepted as 'un-tampered' by the UN . In your argument, you continue to refer to the term of 'eventually annex' which has not been proven by Russia as their intentions only with the exception of Crimea which was due to a denial of Ukraine to recognize a UN sanctioned referendum. Regions like Transnistria, Donbass, and Novorossiyan Confederation have had their own non-UN sanctioned referendums which were denied by the Ukrainian government but was not met with Russian military response. As for military defence, those missile systems can be re-programmed for offence by any nation. Just like the Cuban Missile Crisis claimed as defencive.
(Sources in comments)
The statement ‘yet to be annexed’ is not just by me, any rational political observer can see the Russian occupation and support given will come at an eventual cost. South Ossetia is already trying to join Russia as previously noted, and Abkhezia is slowing being absorbed as well . Just because these two regions were not as hastily annexed as Crimea does not mean their eventual annexation was fated the very moment Russia declared these nations - that are entirely dependent on Russia - “independent”. This strategy, take a small chunk of strategically important land that’s not worth an all out war will be successful so long as Russia does not attack an official NATO ally. This is why Putin doesn’t like NATO. As he pushes further west or south, he finds his bully tactics won’t work.
Pro again admits that Russia was the aggressor, fearing further NATO influence along its borders. I’ll repeat again, Georgia is a recognized country, and has every right to join NATO. Russia did not have the right to attack Georgia even to prevent Georgia from joining NATO. NATO does not threaten the territorial sovereignty of its neighbors unlike Russia. Pro also calls the buildup “non-provocative” by definition non-provocative means it does not provoke. By Putin’s own agenda Georgia and Ukraine were attacked and portions of their land seized under Russian authority. I repeat again, the Eastern European nations that have joined NATO have every right to resist Russian influence. For NATO to abandon the eastern theater would be a betrayal of its members and out of the question. My opponent says major troop buildup ended in 2005, how does this justify attacking Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014? Putin doesn’t need justification to attack his neighbors, that’s why they seek NATO deterrence.
What Pro says about Ukraine’s treatment of Crimea is false. Under Ukraine Crimea was an autonomous region, it was not allowed to break away of its own accord (even in the US we don’t recognize that states having a choice to leave the Union), but as an autonomous region it had many more freedoms in local matters than the rest of Ukraine. The source he cites does not talk about Ukraine’s treatment of Crimea, but about the election of current President. Any perceived injustice in the Crimea affair is because Russia violated its agreement with Ukraine to respect its territorial sovereignty.
This has been a fun debate, thank you.
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