Today’s blog is about what must be the single most disconcerting events of the last year. In continuation of the Putin vs. Stoltenberg, it was announced today that
Before we begin, and for the record: I do not particularly like Putin. Happening to know more about his past than the average person would, I think there are plenty of reasons to dislike his actions.
That said, the announcement that
Nato is to bolster the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe…Six bases are being set up and a 5,000-strong “spearhead” force established. (BBC News)
Is very dangerous.
While the free (western) world see Russia as a criminal state, taking over the Crimea and arming rebels/sending fighter to the Ukraine, I think some clarification is in order.
Russia has three issues with the West:
Simply put, Russia was stunned (and is upset) that when the Warsaw Pact collapsed, NATO did not disband as well. After all, NATO was established to defend the west from the threat of Russian aggression.
Second, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, several countries that were a member of the Warsaw Pact have joined NATO. Russia sees that as a dangerous encroachment on its traditional belief that the countries around Russia are seen as the ‘near abroad’. This view effects its prior views on the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, etc. In fact, the ‘Rus’ in Russia is from the name of the tribes which once resided in and around Kiev, today in the Ukraine.
Finally, and still very fresh in the mind of Russian, is the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II). Russia lost millions of its sons and daughters to that war, and was one of the Allies. While Ukraine, and its people, mostly gladly joined the Germans, and even volunteered to serve in the infamous SS. So, how come the West is siding with the enemy?
Most would agree that a force of 5,000 people, as in the NATO declaration of today, would not be a really meaningful deterrence to Russia. While reassuring countries like Latvia and Lithuania, I suspect that this move will generate great consternation and immediate counter-action by Russia.
What we should be doing is lowering the flames, not raising them. In fact, if we do it smartly, it will pull some wind out of Putin’s sails internally.
Just my 2 cents. Your thoughts?