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NATO's Northern Flank is getting nervous...

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  • NATO's Northern Flank is getting nervous...

    VILNIUS, Lithuania -- The three Baltic countries -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- are asking NATO to permanently deploy ground troops to their nations as a deterrent against an increasingly assertive Russia.

    The countries' defense chiefs requested a brigade-size unit of NATO troops -- one battalion of 700-800 troops in each country -- in a joint letter this week to the supreme allied commander in Europe, said Capt. Mindaugas Neimontas, a spokesman for Lithuania's chief of defense.

    "It is necessary because of the security situation," Neimontas told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It's not getting better in our region, so it will be a deterrent."

    The Baltic countries -- former Soviet republics that regained independence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union over two decades ago -- have been alarmed by Moscow's intervention in Ukraine and the increasing activity of Russian forces in the Baltic Sea.

    NATO forces, including from the U.S., have also stepped up military exercises in the Baltics and other Eastern European nations in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the request would be "assessed carefully," but gave no commitment beyond that.

    Speaking to reporters at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Antalya, Turkey, Stoltenberg underlined that the alliance has already increased its military presence in the Baltic region and is in the process of establishing quick response forces that will make it easier to reinforce the Baltic states if needed.

    "The main message is that NATO is ready. And NATO is prepared. And we will defend all allies against any threat," Stoltenberg said.

    Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the European Union, said the Baltic request was motivated by "local politics rather than a genuine security situation."
    "Because nobody is threatening the Baltics -- at least, nobody that I know of," he said.
    If, Mr. Chizhov, no one is threatening the Baltics, what is Vladimir Putin doing in the skies of the Baltics?

    Being an airline pilot in the Baltics isn't an easy job these days. As well as freezing winter temperatures and heavy fogs, there's a growing risk of crashing into a Russian spy plane or military bomber.

    That, at least, is the view of the government of Sweden, which protested over the weekend that a Russian reconnaissance plane had come dangerously close to an airliner flying from Copenhagen to Poland.

    The near-collision occurred because the spy aircraft had turned off its "transponder" – the device that alerts commercial radar systems to a plane's presence. It is the second time a near miss has happened this year, and, according to Peter Hultqvist, the Swedish defence minister, it is only a matter of time before catastrophe occurs.

    Mr Hultqvist's warning follows similar ones from Jens Stoltenberg, Nato's new secretary general, who told The Telegraph only last month that Russia was routinely despatching long range bombers to probe Europe's borders, again with scant regard for the safety of passenger jets.

    So what is Russia playing at? Is this a dress rehearsal for an invasion, a scenario that the Kremlin feels it needs to practice again given the fallout with Nato over Ukraine? That is certainly one way of looking at it: similar manoeuvres were practised a great deal by both Russian and Nato military aircraft during the Cold War. However, when it comes to war gaming in the Baltics, Moscow sees it not so much as an invasion, as a case of taking back what rightfully belongs to Russia.

    During Soviet times, the tiny but strategically useful Baltic states were subjected to a process of "Russification", whereby large numbers of Russians were sent to effectively colonise them. By monopolising many of the key positions in power, they ensured unquestioning loyalty to Moscow, but at the same time built up a growing sense of resentment among the ethnic Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians over whom they ruled. So when the Soviet Union began to collapse, all three states lost little time in declaring independence.

    Two decades on, they are among the most enthusiastic new members of Nato, membership of which they regard as a guarantee that they will never live under Russian rule again.
    The Kremlin, however, regards their membership of Nato as an act of gross betrayal, and since Vladimir Putin's rise to power, has frequently reminded them that in Moscow's view, they are part of Russia's backyard whether they like it or not.

    In 2007, when ethnic Russians in Estonia rioted over plans to remove a Soviet era statue from the capital, Tallinn, Russian activists launched a large-scale cyberattack on the Estonian government websites, which experts believe was orchestrated directly by the Kremlin.

    Kremlin-backed satellite TV channels also broadcast propaganda aimed at the large community of ethnic Russians still living in the Baltics. They make a up a third of the populations of Latvia and Estonia, and frequently complain of being second class citizens.

    Security analysts believe that this could one day give the Kremlin just the excuse it needs for a military annexation, just as the invasion of Crimea earlier this year was carried out to protect the interests of "ethnic Russians" in Ukraine.
    The problem with that proposal is that a brigade, by itself, is a tripwire force. It's not big enough to stop anything, but it is big enough to die en mass and produce an emotional call for revenge. The trouble with that is that its always easier to hold ground than it is to retake it. Furthermore, if it is not backed up by air forces and defenses, it will be difficult to support and resupply.

    It's long passed time to admit that the Cold War was only paused, and that it has resumed. We should be thankful that it's move several hundred miles to the east this time.

  • #2
    The cold war ended and the U.S.and other nations were utterly incompetent in exploiting the change of affairs.

    מה מכילות החדשות?

    • #3
      The Russians never got the memo.

      מה מכילות החדשות?

      • #4
        Originally posted by Commodore View Post
        The Russians never got the memo.
        I'm pretty sure they noticed the contraction of territory and the loss of puppet states. That's why they are desperately flexing their muscles now. Have they actually won a war they could walk to in the past 35 years?

        מה מכילות החדשות?

        • #5
          Originally posted by JDJarvis View Post

          I'm pretty sure they noticed the contraction of territory and the loss of puppet states. That's why they are desperately flexing their muscles now. Have they actually won a war they could walk to in the past 35 years?
          Only the ones that we didn't contest.

          מה מכילות החדשות?

          • #6
            I am just thankful Russia doesn't act like the US. Russia is actually concerned about it own security, and not from a bunch of radical islamists who are pissed off because we invaded musliim nations, but from a nation that breaks it word and cannot be trusted, the good old united states of the elites.

            If we surround them completely with NATO which has no purpose to even exist today, except to oppress Russia, shoving a nation into a corner, and if Russia reacts by putting nuke up your nose, well, it is your own fault, for the idiocy.

            מה מכילות החדשות?

            • #7
              Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post
              I am just thankful Russia doesn't act like the US. Russia is actually concerned about it own security, and not from a bunch of radical islamists who are pissed off because we invaded musliim nations, but from a nation that breaks it word and cannot be trusted, the good old united states of the elites.

              How did Georgia threaten Russian security? Or Ukraine? Or even Chechnya? Russia's problem is that it still thinks it's western border is the Fulda Gap.
              Originally posted by Blue Doggy View Post
              If we surround them completely with NATO which has no purpose to even exist today, except to oppress Russia, shoving a nation into a corner, and if Russia reacts by putting nuke up your nose, well, it is your own fault, for the idiocy.
              NATO was never a territorial threat to Russia or any of the Soviet "Republics". We depended on the ability to ship reinforcements from the continental US to be able to hold Western Europe. There hasn't been an offensive capability to liberate Eastern Europe since Patton died.

              But by all means, keep swallowing the delusion the Russian's are selling. It's different than what the Western media is saying, so it must be true.
              Last edited by Commodore; 05-18-2015, 12:22 PM.

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              • #8
                The Russians can't really control Chechnya or all of Georigia. NATO could manage to hand them a decided defeat, it all really depends on how much Putin is willing to lose and rollback to on peace treaties following any Russian aggressions.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JDJarvis View Post

                  I'm pretty sure they noticed the contraction of territory and the loss of puppet states. That's why they are desperately flexing their muscles now. Have they actually won a war they could walk to in the past 35 years?

                  They also most likely noticed the years of economic collapse after the end of the cold war which ended with the rise of the Oligarchs who managed to steal shitloads of stuff from the Russian state not that I expect the right wingers on here to have anything bad to say about them as they are super rich and obviously better than us all and we can't moan about the super rich.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PeterUK75 View Post
                    They also most likely noticed the years of economic collapse after the end of the cold war which ended with the rise of the Oligarchs who managed to steal shitloads of stuff from the Russian state not that I expect the right wingers on here to have anything bad to say about them as they are super rich and obviously better than us all and we can't moan about the super rich.
                    Russia was run by gangsters before the communists, it was run by gangster communists, and its run by gangsters now.

                    But that has squat to do with Putin's aggression now.

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