This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dual-Purpose Sabre-Rattling

"We believe that NATO buildup on Russia's doorstep, which is reminiscent of Cold War sabre-rattling, is a complete waste of money and resources, diverting them from the real existential threat of international terrorism."
"Given that terrorists make no distinction between Russians and Canadians, as well as reports claiming 151 nationals of Canada are on an ISIS 'kill list', common sense and pragmatism dictate the need to join efforts, as opposed to reincarnation of Cold War containment."
Russian embassy statement, Ottawa
General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Nato's deputy supreme allied commander in Europe until 2014, warned that an attack on Baltic states Lativa, Estonia and Lithuania was a possibility. Russian tanks are pictured in Moscow
General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as Nato's deputy supreme allied commander in Europe until 2014, warned that an attack on Baltic states Lativa, Estonia and Lithuania was a possibility. Russian tanks are pictured in Moscow

It might be a more convincing argument, that Russia feels uncomfortable and put-upon by the too-close geographical presence in its near-abroad by NATO troops if it were not for several items that in and of themselves point to the fact that Russia's actions have brought about the current situation of NATO recognizing its obligation to protect its member-countries because of threats to the sovereign security of those nations through Kremlin-designed activities.

Spurning international condemnation, Russian President Vladimir Putin saw little amiss in annexing the Crimean Peninsula, effectively looting it from Ukraine to benefit Greater Russia; in so doing, he claimed, righting a historical error and restoring to Russia its heritage property. And no amount of censure, nor the imposition of sanctions convinced Moscow to reverse its claims, let alone to stop supporting and inciting ethnic Russian rebels in east Ukraine.

Russia's earlier action with two provinces in Georgia pretty well set the template. The concern in eastern Europe among former Soviet-era satellites is who might be next; Moldova too representing that precedent. As for reminding the world that the civilized portions of it, among which Russia includes itself, is battling a vicious Islamist killing machine and this is where the focus should be, with Russia allied with Western powers to defeat the Islamic State, that too would seem meaningful if Russian jets weren't strafing and bombing Syrian Sunni rebel groups instead of ISIL.

The civilized country that Russia has allied itself with in the Middle East is the sectarian-conflicted Syria of Bashar al-Assad whose penchant for imprisoning, torturing and killing children distinguishes him, including his slaughter of close to a half-million of his own citizens, as a barbarous criminal felon. Yet this is the civilized leader to whom Mr. Putin cleaves, agreeing to view the Sunni rebels in the civil war as 'terrorists' and targeting them as such.

NATO has formulated a protective presence of some message-powerful volume with the installation of super-battalions of one thousand military personnel each in eastern Europe with the U.S. Britain and Germany each leading one battalion, and NATO allies inviting Canada to take command of the fourth. The Government of Canada has not yet responded to the invitation, but as a NATO member it is difficult to imagine it would do so negatively.

This new force and its extraordinary size is considered essential to ensure that Russia thinks deeply before once again violating the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of any of the eastern European countries whose concern for their sovereign state and future has been intensified by Vladimir Putin's drive toward a semi-restoration of Russia's glory within the period of the USSR dominating eastern European nations.

The tense stand-off between Russia, Europe and NATO represents a fall-out of the impetuosity and imperialistic attitude of Vladimir Putin who acts without regard to the consequences in the obvious attitude that he is entitled to do precisely as he wishes and that any reaction to his behaviour in Russia's near-abroad is Moscow's business, not that of NATO.

NATO thinks otherwise, obviously, hence the largest military exercise in Poland the Baltics since the Cold War taking place recently, irritating Mr. Putin no end. Yet he fails to see the connection between his own impulsive, worrying directions to his military when his submarines, military jets and military personnel take injudicious actions against their Western counterparts in episodes of malicious bullying.

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