While NATO’s military commander accuses Russia of irresponsibly stepping up its nuclear threats intended to stun NATO and make the alliance think twice before responding to Russia’s actions, we see clear signs of the approaching new Cold War.
We all know of Russia’s – and we’re talking not just Russia’s leadership, but also common people – idea of the West being rotten and not having clear understanding of democracy and freedom. Furthermore, sometimes it even gets as far as calling the West “fascistic.”
And while the West, particularly NATO, constantly conducts military drills on Russia’s doorsteps, it sure thing escalates the tensions. Especially given the fact that these war games include thousands of troops and are taking place in such countries as Estonia and Lithuania, and Russia seems very fixated on both of them.
The NATO’s operation, which is codenamed Dynamic Mongoose and is expected to last for two weeks, involves forces from the United States, Britain, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Sweden.
Russia can only respond with nuclear strikes
Now, let’s see it from Russia’s side. Russia has been playing its own war games around the coasts of Europe using its aircraft and submarines. Furthermore, there were reports of Moscow’s aircraft crossing into the Baltic states’ air space, which is a highly dangerous thing for this kind of conflict.
And what if one day NATO loses its patience and decides to retaliate with conventional arms. However, Russia wouldn’t respond with conventional arms to that. It would respond with a nuclear strike, which the Kremlin takes pride of.
And while the NATO’s leadership is not successful in persuading its members to spend 2% of their GDP on defense, Russia is more than doubling its defense spending up to 4.2% of GDP in 2015, neglecting such important things like health and social services.
And while Russia has dreamed of the disbanding of NATO, which is basically the cold war defense arrangement against Moscow, the alliance kept expanding closer to Russia’s borders, triggering aggressive actions by Russian President Vladimir Putin first in Georgia, then annexing Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine.
Russia vs. West conflict might spiral into a new arms race
The recently published ‘Russia-NATO: facts and myths’ report investigates the details of historic facts, relations between NATO and Russia as well as the alliance’s true reason for existence, which the report says to be: to confront Moscow as its primary adversary.
According to the report, ever since the late 1980s, Russia gradually withdrew its troops and weaponry from Europe while bringing down its military potential as a whole. And NATO members viewed that as “a natural containment of Russia.”
Furthermore, at the time when Russia decided to withdraw more than 800,000 of its personnel and tens of thousands of military hardware from the former Warsaw Pact and Baltic states, the West “decided to put the stake on ‘a closed architecture’ – NATO enlargement eastwards to the detriment of the development and consolidation of common European institutions,” the report says.
After that, NATO member states “reassured the Soviet authorities that they don’t have any plans to expand eastwards.” However, with Eastern European countries joining NATO “we received assurances that membership of the Central and Eastern European countries in NATO would improve relations with Moscow.”
And the report states that “these affirmations turned out to be a myth. On the contrary, today the security policy of these countries is based on the idea that there is a need for their special protection.”
Since the USSR collapsed, NATO was joined by 12 new members: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland in 1999. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania in 2004. And in 2009, the alliance accepted Croatia and Albania.
Furthermore, the report states that the NATO membership of former socialist countries and former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe has only “aggravated the syndrome of ‘front-line states’ and created preconditions for a new Iron Curtain – from the side of the West.”
The military tensions on Russian borders “weakens rather than strengthens” the security of the new NATO member states, while increasing the danger of “spiraling into a new arms race,” the report says.
May 9 was a display of Russia’s might
Meanwhile, it is obvious that the West will never recognize Crimea as part of Russia as it would destroy the model of the world’s security. However, the West might ignore the fact of Crimea being annexed for quite some time.
Why is Crimea relevant? Because if Putin is not stopped in Crimea, he is likely to advance further into Europe starting with the Baltic states.
Russia is not going to stop with its aggressive actions by itself. If it did, Putin’s reputation would be questioned by Russia’s people, who have been fed by the lies of Russian propaganda about the “bad, rotten West.” And Putin is definitely not looking for this kind of scenario.
That’s the reason why Putin keeps fueling the war in eastern Ukraine by saying (and actually believing in it) that he wages a war against fascism, and that eastern Ukraine is the frontline of that war. Furthermore, Russia’s presence in Ukraine gives Putin a great number of leverages against the West.
And what do you think the May 9’s World War 2 victory celebration was all about? Just mere celebrations? Don’t be naive, it was a display of Russia’s military capability and might. It was a clear message to the West: “Don’t mess with us. We’re the gods of the world.”