July 7, 2016 –
Ruslan Ostashko, PolitRussia –
Translated by J. Arnoldski
Dear friends, did you know that the countries of the West will soon have to pass a difficult exam on confronting Russia? No? I didn’t know either before I read about this in an article in The Financial Times in which the expectations of the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw were described. British media are demanding that the summit’s participants somehow show Russia who’s the boss and convince Putin that the NATO countries, despite their own problems, are ready to fight against Russia as a united front.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I read in this article that one of the key topics of discussion at the summit will be the deployment of four (F-O-U-R!) battalions in the Baltic states and Poland in order to scare Putin and convince him that it is impossible to invade the Baltic countries. I don’t even know what’s funnier: Western analysts’ assurance that 4 battalions of NATO are something terribly strong, or the fact that Russians are supposed to be dreaming in their sleep of capturing Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. This leaves the impression that our neighbors have some kind of very advanced case of megalomania. Well, judge for yourselves, should we take the Baltic countries? Instead of their ports, we have our own ultra modern Ust-Luga port. Our neighbors have no industry left. Nor agriculture. What’s left? Tuna and Laima Vaikule? No thanks. In fact, Russians have long since switched to fish from Kaliningrad so, even from a gastronomic point of view, the Baltic countries are of no interest.
I must admit that the idea of four NATO battalions defending the Baltic countries from the Russian army seems to me to be a brilliant joke. It’ll turn out like in the famous joke about the lunatic who drives crocodiles away by clapping so he won’t have any crocodiles in his bathroom. It works great. But we’ll see how it will work out for the Baltic states. Western media will write that Putin hasn’t taken Vilnius because he’s afraid of four NATO battalions. This reminds me of the triumphant bragging of Yatsenyuk, who told Ukrainians about how effective his anti-tank ditch would be against the Russian army. Apparently, NATO officials are actively adopting Ukraine’s experience in conjuring virtual victories over imaginary threats.
But if we look at things seriously, then we see that NATO is faced with several problems which could very likely send the alliance into the dustbin of history, and these have been indirectly acknowledged even by NATO’s propagandists working in British media. Great Britain’s exit from the EU opens the way for a Franco-German project of establishing a European army which will not submit to Washington, and after its emergence united Europe will have the chance to reject American security services. This means that geopolitical racketeering under the guise of NATO might come to an end.
There is yet another problem. The influence of isolationists, such as Donald Trump represents, is growing among the American elite. In the case of a Trump victory in elections, NATO would be left stiff since Trump has openly called for radical cuts to NATO’s budget and capabilities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany is already saying that NATO should stop saber-rattling at Russia’s border, and British journalists are writing with horror about what could happen to NATO if Eurosceptic isolationists will win in elections in France or Germany.
It can be said that the NATO summit in Warsaw will be a collective session of psychotherapy for America’s nervous allies, while the Americans want to show themselves and others that everything is alright with them and that NATO is very much alive. From the outside, this looks funny, but as they say, “what would the kid play with” if already satisfied with provocations at Russia’s borders. The most likely outcome of the summit will be another instance of saber-rattling in joint exercises and loud statements that Europe needs the alliance to deter Putin. But NATO just doesn’t have enough force and courage for any kind of real, radical operations and this is the main good news of the forthcoming summit.