With the world standing at the brink of a nuclear war over a NATO member state shooting down a Russian fighter jet, NATO has picked the most untimely moment to invite Montenegro to become its 29th member.
The formal invitation from NATO triggered a furious response in Russia, the foreign ministry of which has already threatened the Alliance with “confrontation,” according to AFP.
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NATO’s invitation to the small Balkan country comes as the tensions between NATO and Moscow have dramatically escalated after an incident that has already been named the most dangerous military encounter between NATO and Russia’s forces in over 50 years.
The move appears to be NATO’s efforts to reassure ex-Soviet states that they have no reason to fear Russia’s invasion. Announcing the formal invitation to Montenegro at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said that the “historic” invitation to the Balkan county was no one else’s business and is “not directed at anyone.”
“It is extremely important to underline once again that every nation has the right to decide its own path, its own security arrangements,” Stoltenberg said, predicting Russia’s furious response. “No one else has the right to interfere in that decision.”
Russia’s response could be devastating for NATO and planet
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday that NATO’s expansion to the east “of course cannot but lead to reciprocal actions from the east, that is from the Russian side, in the interests of providing security and supporting the parity of our interests,” according to the French news agency.
Putin himself has not yet commented on NATO’s latest move, but his response could be devastating for NATO and the world as a whole, in case the Russian President musters up the courage to use nuclear weapons.
NATO’s invitation for Montenegro to join the Alliance comes at the most inopportune time, with Moscow still considering its every option of how to respond to Turkey downing the Russian warplane last week. With many analysts saying Putin is “likely” to opt for a nuclear confrontation with NATO, one thing is certain: NATO’s invitation to Montenegro will not go unnoticed.
“This sort of initiative has the real potential to bring about confrontation. It will not promote peace and stability in the Balkans nor in Europe in general,” the Russian foreign ministry warned, and added that “it will only further complicate relations between Russia and NATO.”
Montenegro is a tiny Balkans country with the population of only 600,000 people, who fought for the country’s independence in 2006 after the bloody war in Yugoslavia and the end of a federation with Russia’s long-time ally Serbia.
NATO will lose, Russians are “invincible”
However, no matter how hard NATO wants to reassure ex-Soviet states that it can protect them from Russia’s invasion, it will always lose in military confrontation with Russia in Europe, according to Julia Ioffe, the writer for Foreign Policy.
In June 2014, NATO carried out “table top” military drills, the scenario of which was Russia’s military pressure on NATO member states – Latvia and Estonia. The results of the exercise were “dispiriting,” Ioffe noted, and added that even if all U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Europe were deployed to the Baltics – including the 82nd Airborne, which is capable of being battle-ready within 24 hours – NATO would still lose against Russia.
“We just don’t have those forces in Europe,” Ioffe cited a senior U.S. general. “Then there’s the fact that the Russians have the world’s best surface-to-air missiles and are not afraid to use heavy artillery.”
But that was not the only time the Russians won in NATO’s war games. NATO’s military drills, which always included the U.S., proved as many as 16 times that the Russians are “simply invincible,” according to a report published in Russia & India Report.
NATO won’t risk New York for Turkey – report
Last Tuesday, the Turkish military shot down Russia’s Su-24 jet in Turkish airspace. The NATO member state claims it had sued 10 warnings in 5 minutes to the Russian jet, but it ignored all the warnings and two Turkish F-16 jets were sent to destroy the Russian fighter jet.
But the Russian Defense Ministry insists its warplane never intruded Turkish airspace, and was flying over the Syrian territory.
With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning Russia not to “play with fire,” hinting at NATO’s 5th article, which states that an attack on one Ally shall be considered an attack on all NATO members, Turkey should not be so confident in NATO’s protection in case of war with Russia, according to analysts of Russia & India Report.
The analysts note that despite the fact that Turkey is supposed to be protected by NATO’s 5th Article, Ankara could find itself all alone in an imminent war with Russia.
While in theory the U.S. and all other NATO member states are treaty-bound to help Turkey in case of war with Russia, the chances that the Americans would be willing to risk New York for Ankara are “smaller than small,” the report noted.
Moreover, it should not be ruled out that the “hothead” Turkey could attack Russia on its own, the report suggests.
“A nuclear exchange will undoubtedly have catastrophic consequences for both sides – and perhaps the entire planet – but there are certain factors that could skew the fighting field in Russia’s favour,” according to the report.
Report: Russia can survive U.S. nuclear strikes, U.S. – can’t
Russia currently boasts 1,643 deployed strategic warheads, while the United States possesses 1,642, according to data exchanged between the Kremlin and Washington on October 1, 2014.
But it’s not about the number, since Russia’s land-based strategic forces have the kind of explosive magnitude that is greater than anything the U.S. has among its armory.
Russia’s SS-18, which has been named ‘Satan’ by NATO, is capable of reducing to ashes an area the size of the New York state. The SS-18 missile carries 10 warheads, each having a force of up to 1000 kiloton, while some of these missiles have a single ‘special’ 20,000 kiloton warhead. To get the idea, that’s 1333 times Hiroshima.
The report also notes that “80 per cent of the American population resides on the eastern and western seaboards,” which means that just a couple of “well-aimed” nuclear missiles – such as the SS-18 – can end all human life in these densely populated coastal strips.
The population of Russia is only half of the U.S. and the people there are dispersed widely across the country, which means human life in Russia can easily survive first and second nuclear strikes in case of nuclear war between NATO and Russia.
Obama could cause ‘devastating war’ with Russia – U.S. Rep
With Putin warning NATO of “serious consequences” for bringing down the Russian warplane last Tuesday, analysts have every reason to believe that the Kremlin is preparing to start a nuclear war with the U.S.-led Alliance over the incident.
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard has recently suggested that U.S. President Barack Obama’s move to place American fighter jets equipped “to target Russian planes” on the Turkey-Syrian border, as well as Obama’s opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, could lead the U.S. into a nuclear war with Russia.
“Russia’s installation of their anti-aircraft missile-defense system increases that possibility of — whether it’s intentional or even an accidental event — where one side may shoot down the other side’s plane,” Gabbard said, according to National Review. “And that’s really where the potential is for this devastating nuclear war.”
The Representative is referring to Russia’s recent deployment of the S-400 defense missile system to the Russian Air Force base in the Syrian province of Latakia.
The S-400 system is Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft defense system, as reported by ValueWalk on Friday. The deployment of the S-400s will enable the Russians to destroy NATO’s aircraft flying at an altitude of up to 3.8 miles and within 372 miles of the base in Latakia on the Syrian coast.
High chances of Putin attacking Turkey, NATO won’t interfere
However, the chances that the Americans would be willing to start a war against the Russians to save a NATO member state such as Turkey are low, according to analysts of Russia & India Report.
This assumption alone means the chances that Putin is going to test NATO’s resolve and start a nuclear war with Turkey over the incident are very “likely,” according to Pavel Felgengauer, Russia’s top military analyst, as reported by ValueWalk last Wednesday.
And in case Putin starts a war with NATO, the only way Russia could win a war against NATO is by going nuclear, Felgengauer noted.
In a yet another alarming sign that Russia is preparing for a nuclear war with NATO, it was reported by ValueWalk on Tuesday that Moscow has already started handpicking nuclear-powered allies for imminent nuclear war with NATO. In particular, Moscow is seeking to build military ties with Pakistan and China.