Comment: As a matter of fact, NATO has provoked Putin

Expert examines the US Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter after certification arresting gear at a military airbase in Lielvarde, Latvia, May 19, 2016.

In Poland, one month before the NATO summit in Warsaw, conducted the largest and multinational military exercises over the past ten years. The exercise “Anaconda-16″ are held, with the participation of 31,000 troops from more than 20 countries and are intended to demonstrate the unity and performance North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The US Army will play a key role in the exercises involving mechanized regiment, based in Germany, which will simulate a mission to save the Baltic States from Russian attack.

The exercises come after the United States launched the first of two controversial missile defense installations in Eastern Europe. The following year, the Pentagon plans to quadruple defense spending in Europe to $ 3.4 billion and intends to form an armored brigade in Eastern Europe - in addition to the already unwrapped NATO forces, which will now be deployed in Poland and the Baltic countries.

The Kremlin’s reaction to the military maneuvers near Russia’s borders is predictable. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to Romania for participation in the US missile defense system. Large-scale maneuvers will only fuel the Kremlin fears that Russia is surrounded by hostile forces. European opponents of the war, too, will not have long to find new evidence of American aggression.

The escalation of confrontation reminiscent of egg puzzle. NATO claims that a return to containment and deterrence is the unfortunate result of Putin’s 2014 attack on Ukraine. The Kremlin and its allies respond that military intervention was necessary to prevent the inexorable expansion of NATO to the east. All debate on the Ukrainian conflict begins and ends on the role of NATO.

In the case of Ukraine, NATO is a red herring. The former Soviet republic has never been a serious candidate for NATO membership, as almost a fifth of Ukrainians support membership in the alliance, which follows from the poll conducted on the eve of the Ukrainian crisis.

NATO actually lost the Kremlin, when Germany and France blocked the direct route to the membership of Georgia and Ukraine in 2008, when Russia occupied two breakaway regions in Georgia as a prelude to the annexation of the Crimea and created two puppet states in Eastern Ukraine. In order to be accepted into NATO, the country the applicant may not have any - any unresolved territorial disputes.

It is easy to forget that she was a united Germany, which initially pushed for the expansion of NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, not a diabolical conspiracy of the Pentagon, the issue hotly debated on both sides of the Atlantic. Although alarmed Western triumphalism after the Cold War, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called it a “myth” that the western leaders have promised not to expand NATO.

After being at the forefront of the Cold War for more than four decades, the Germans sought to expand the security bubble NATO as far east as possible. West acted on the naive assumption that Russia had a common interest in the newly independent countries of Eastern Europe are transformed into stable, prosperous democracies. In fact, the Kremlin - even before Putin - preferred buffer zone of weak, divided kleptocracy that had no chance to join Western institutions, or serving as an example for Russia.

“Expansion” is not the best word to describe the expansion of NATO, because it means that the 12 eastern European countries that have joined since 1999 were once passively involved. Being trapped in the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union after the Second World War, Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs and Hungarians went for the best insurance around. Ultimately, the decision to join NATO was made sovereign, democratic states that are unable to defend themselves, but for which the neutrality is not an option.

Moscow is not doomed to antagonism with the West. Russia has entered into an alliance with the Western European powers for more than two centuries. When he was running for his first term in 2000, Putin said none are considered NATO as an enemy, and he will not rule out joining the alliance - as an equal. These last three words are key to understanding his anger with NATO today.

From the viewpoint of the Kremlin’s view, it is infinitely worse to be ignored than be considered a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, Putin’s rise coincided with the presidency of George W. Bush, who ran roughshod over friends and enemies. So Putin’s proposals were rejected. Moscow Membership in the UN Security Council, the Group of Eight and NATO-Russia Council was useless … Open this link via Google Translate

7 June 2016

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