by Gaius Publius
Before you read this piece, ask yourself, how likely is it that Russia would invade, with tanks and troops, the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Would that not be the start of World War III? Yet that's the fear that's being passed around as an excuse for what you're about to read.
Reuters (emphasis mine throughout):
Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east
Britain said on Wednesday it will send fighter jets to Romania next year and the United States promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland in NATO's biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.
Germany, Canada and other NATO allies also pledged forces at a defense ministers meeting in Brussels on the same day two Russian warships armed with cruise missiles entered the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Denmark, underscoring East-West tensions.
One, the U.S. is much more a threat to bomb or invade another nation than Russia is. Two, why shouldn't armed Russian ships sail in international waters? Ours do all the time. Three, again, do you really think Russia would be crazy enough to invade a first-world (read, ethnically Caucasian) country on Europe's eastern doorstep? First-world countries only consider moves like this in third-world (read, ethnically darker) countries, like Syria, or Iraq, or … you name it, there are plenty of examples.
Speaking of Syria, this may be a reason for the latest threatening moves. From the same article:
In Madrid, the foreign ministry said Russia had withdrawn a request to refuel three warships in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta after NATO allies said they could be used to target civilians in Syria.
The ships were part of an eight-ship carrier battle group – including Russia's sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov – that is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.
(Did you catch that? Russia has one aircraft carrier, just one. One in its whole navy. Some military threat.)
This Baltic invasion stuff is nonsense. The article continues to announce even more Western military build-ups, including troops to be sent to Estonia — as “deterrence.” The only thing I see being deterred is (a) Russian intervention in Syria, and (b) the sale of Russian natural gas to Europe, a market the U.S. wants to secure for U.S. companies.
Ginning Up Fear of a Baltic Invasion
The context, or excuse, for all this was laid down after the Russians retaliated for U.S. interference in Ukraine (for more on that, see here and here). And while we're on the subject of U.S. interference and Ukraine, watch for the name Victoria Nuland, the wife of neocon and Iraq War architect Robert Kagan, as the next administration's appointees are announced. Nuland was deeply involved in our Ukrainian adventurism and is expected to get a high-level appointment in the next Democratic administration, perhaps as Secretary of State or National Security Adviser.
Russia retaliated to Western interference in Ukraine by promoting a referendum in ethnically Russian Crimea that ended in Russian annexation. The West retaliated to Russian annexation of Crimea by ginning up fear of a Russian invasion in the Baltics.
Not kidding. Fears of a Russian invasion in Europe were widely circulated and carried for months in Western journals and papers. Newsweek, for example, from January 2016:
Counting Down to a Russian Invasion of the Baltics
Although Russia's economy is reeling and its military forces are increasingly engaged in Syria and Ukraine, NATO commanders, governments and analysts are concerned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's adventurism has not run its course. Most anxieties focus on the Baltic states as Russia's next potential military target.
Russia has many advantages in the Baltics. The situation of Russians there, particularly in Estonia and Latvia where many Russians remain non-citizens, provides Moscow with an issue with which to stoke tensions. …
Furthermore, Russia's conventional and nuclear deployments cover the entire Baltic Sea area. From its fortified base at Kaliningrad, Russia can project power not only into the Baltic Sea but also to Poland and even Germany.
By all accounts, Russia enjoys a wide margin of conventional superiority over NATO. Indeed, NATO commanders publicly and privately profess that given the strength of Russia's capabilities on land, sea and air, NATO would suffer enormous casualties in any effort to defend the Baltic states from attack.
And given the publicly discussed defects in NATO and individual Western intelligence cited in Western media, it would be relatively easy for Moscow to launch an invasion during one of its vaunted “snap exercises” without the United States detecting it in time.
“Counting down”? It reads as if it were dictated from the State Department.
This will not end well. The U.S. wants the Russians out of Syria, wants Western natural gas to flow to Europe, and is apparently willing to rattle many sabres to do it. Also cages. Some of those cages contain bears.
This will not end well.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis