All efforts to make this weekend’s Warsaw summit about the Brexit appear to have failed, and the US has shifted NATO’s focus back to increasing military buildups in Eastern Europe, all the while harping on about Russian “aggression” and the threat of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states.
NATO-Russia relations seem worse than at any time since the Cold War, with many fearing that the continued NATO escalation on the Russian frontier portends another protracted, and costly period of massive tensions with the Russians.
Russian officials, for their part, dismissed the buildup as part of NATO’s “anti-Russia hysteria,” saying the NATO leadership was “absolutely short-sighted” for continuing the moves. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov mocked NATO claims of Russian “aggression,” noting that “we aren’t the ones getting closer to NATO’s borders.”
US officials linked with NATO have been eagerly talking up the new acrimony, primarily seeing it as an excuse for increased military deployments and another chance to push NATO members in Europe into increasing their military spending, likely including buying costly US-made arms.
On the other hand, NATO’s military leader Gen. Petr Pavel dismissed the idea that Russia was about to invade, insisting no one in the alliance had any intelligence to suggest that as even a remote possibility, and adding that the buildups are a “political” decision, not a military one.
Ultimately, the biggest obstacle to making this another Cold War may be a financial one, as the “threat” of Russia is plainly illusory, with the Russian government spending less on their military than multiple NATO members by most measures. Sinking more money into militarizing NATO just doesn’t make sense, and many members are unlikely to go along with it.
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