The Russian advance in the picture

This article is a translation of "De Russische Opmars in Beeld"

These days it is once again open season in the media because Russia (‘Putin’) is holding military manoeuvres on its territory, including Crimea, and in its territorial and international waters. These menaoeuvres are here being reported, along with everything else that is happening in Russia, without ever noting the fact that the pressure on that country by the West has been systematically increased and has meanwhile reached a critical limit. 

Source: US Mission to NATO 

On the map above, from the American mission at NATO, we can see where US military units are active at this point. And then it does not even include that massive manoeuvres are being held in the extreme north of Norway.

Besides these provocative actions by the US and the NATO allies that have joined after 1991, in spite of all agreements, the former Soviet republic of Georgia too is being encouraged to adopt a more forceful position against Russia by demonstrative American fleet visits. The Russians respond to all of this with manoeuvres and statements which without any doubt are intended to underline the dangers of these provocations.

In fact Russia had already made clear in 2008, when Georgia mounted an attack on South Ossetia, which had seceded from it, that the limit had been reached. Not only was the Georgian attack, which had caused much bloodshed, repulsed, but Russian special forces raced to the south of the country to destroy Israeli drone bases, created for an attack on Iran. The Georgian minister of defence at the time, Kezerashvili, had an Israeli passport and Russia wanted to make it impossible that there would be a front in another Western war of aggression right on its southern border.

Meanwhile there is an agreement in Ukraine, but the NATO commander, General Philip Breedlove, continues to make bellicose statements and does not stop accusing Russia of aggression. In the weekly, Der Spiegel, William Pfaff reports, there is an account of protests against these warlike statements lodged by the German ministry of foreign affairs to the NATO secretary-general.

After all, with so many manoeuvres on the Russian perimeter in progress, the NATO commander has a special responsibility, because in the Baltic states especially there are forces in abundance that will not shirk from a real provocation.

Yet Breedlove’s statements, Pfaff writes, are always cleared in advance with the White House and the Pentagon, so the question arises why Obama persists in this risky strategy. Is the aim, regime change in Moscow? War and breaking up the country? The answers to these questions are not discussed in the American media and here we can add those in The Netherlands.

The increased American and NATO pressure has the effect, especially, in the Baltic states, to abandon all attempt to reach some sort of compromise with the Russian minorities. In Estonia and Latvia in particular these minorities are substantial (24 and 28 procent of the population). The contested demands to obtain civil rights ensure that large groups, especially older people, are still being treated as aliens.

There are also renewed commemorations of SS units in the Baltic states which fought with the Nazi’s and Lithuania has dropped an investigation into the secret CIA prisons on its territory where ‘terror’ suspects have been interrogated. These interrogations were subcontracted to Europe and elsewhere to be able to apply methods that in the US itself are outlawed, so torture. Lithuania like Poland and Rumania was one of those EU countries that were ready to enable these torture practices.

All this is being sanctioned after the fact when Dutch military units participate in provocative military posturing and parades on the Russian border.

Kees van der Pijl

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