Saturday, May 21, 2016
NATO Establishes a Safe-Zone to Counter Russia
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
This week NATO Foreign Ministers agreed to build-up forces to contain what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. This will be the biggest build-up of NATO forces since the end of the Cold War, its purpose, to contain Russia with a defensive posture.
"Deter and Dialogue"
The NATO strategy is to move more troops into eastern European countries to reassure allies they will not be abandoned if Russia should decide to repeat operations that created the Ukraine crisis. In a press conference, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: "We will discuss how NATO can do more to project stability...and at the same time address how NATO can continue to adapt to a more assertive Russia to find the right balance between defense and dialogue." Secretary of State John Kerry was said to be encouraged that NATO is pursuing a defensive posture on its eastern flank.
"NATO is open to a political dialogue with Russia but we will refrain from business as usual until the Minsk agreement [is] fully implemented," Kerry added. Under the Minsk agreement Russia must end support for separatist pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine and withdraw its soldiers and military equipment from the country. In return the European Union and the United States must remove sanctions against Russia. This is unlikely to happen soon, however, because of continuing conflicts in the region. Washington won’t admit it but the drop in oil prices due to fracking hurt Russia more than the imposed economic sanctions.
Prior to Russian intervention, Ukraine got NATO’s attention after years of complacency after the fall of the Soviet Union. The EU was not capable of handling a full invasion from Russia. Despite previous promises from the West, especially the United States, NATO has failed the Ukrainian people. In fact, the build-up is taking place only out of concern that Russia may directly threaten NATO territory.
Russia believes NATO’s action is just a cover for encroaching on its borders and plans by the United States to deploy a European missile defense shield to protect the continent. Yet it’s difficult to imagine that Putin should be concerned about aggression by the United States. After all, it’s only a matter of asking Poland about the honor and courage of the current White House occupant.
NATO is taking this action while ignoring the Muslim terrorist invasion of Europe, Paris and Brussels. These should have been a wake-up call. Russia may be an intermediate threat. All Putin has to do is wait.