Ring Around the Russians, We All Fall Down

NATO Tightens Ring Around Russia

NATO defense ministers, meeting over the past two days in Brussels, took another step towards confrontation with Russia, when they agreed to reinforce their “reassurance” measures along Russia’s western borders. The agreement follows President Obama’s announcement from Warsaw, of intentions to spend an additional $1 billion on the US military force presence in Europe, which was welcomed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He called Obama’s announcement “a clear sign of America’s commitment to Europe, and the strength of the transatlantic bond.”

According to a NATO statement, the defense ministers “agreed to increase the capability, training and readiness of Allied forces to prepare for the longer-term implications of the crisis.” A Readiness Action Plan will be developed which “will include measures aimed to enhance the NATO Response Forces’ level of responsiveness and NATO’s intelligence and awareness; to pre-position equipment and supplies; and to focus NATO exercises even more on specific defense challenges.” These measures are to be approved by the leaders of NATO at the upcoming summit in Wales in September.
Breach of Treaty

According to an AFP report, Rasmussen went out of his way to claim that these increase measures will still comply with the 1997 treaty establishing the NATO-Russia Council, which, among other things, places limits on military deployments in the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet territories by both sides. Rasmussen was likely responding to Russia’s NATO Ambassador, Alexander Grushko, who had said on Monday that NATO’s temporary deployments into Poland, the Baltic countries, and elsewhere already amounted to a breach of the treaty.The two-day meeting also featured sessions of the NATO-Ukraine Council and the NATO-Georgia Council. Rasmussen vowed that Georgia, in particular, would become a member of NATO, and that that decision would be made at the Wales summit in September. Also, on the sidelines, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the defense ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The latest military movements pushing NATO forces closer to Russia include the following:

  • US Strategic Command announced, yesterday, that three B-52 bombers are deploying to Europe for a short, but unspecified period of time “to train and integrate with U.S. and allied military forces in the region.” During the deployment, the bombers “will conduct training flights in the USEUCOM area of operations, providing opportunities for aircrews to sharpen skills in several key operational sets and become familiar with airbases and operations in the region.”
  • The Aegis guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, which moved its home port to Rota, Spain in February, will soon have company. The USS Ross departed from Norfolk, yesterday, to become the second of four Aegis destroyers to be home ported in Rota, and is expected to arrive in about two weeks to become part of NATO’s missile defense system, a system about which Russia has already issued grave warnings. Two other destroyers, currently home ported in Mayport, Florida, will transfer in 2015.

Shoigu Briefed Arab Leaders on Russia’s New National Security Doctrine

A new security doctrine is emerging in Moscow, in response to the Anglo-US destabilizations of much of the world around Russia’s periphery, including through so-called color revolutions. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave a hint of this at the Moscow International Security Conference on May 23, that the West is using socioeconomic problems of certain countries to replace nationally-oriented governments with regimes controlled from abroad: “They, for their part, provide their patrons with unimpeded access to these countries’ resources…. These ‘colored’ revolutions are increasingly looking like combat, and are developed according to the military arts,” he said.
Drive Towards World War III

Defense News reported, yesterday, that on the sidelines of the conference, Shoigu briefed Arab leaders who were attending, on the new Russian doctrine in response to the West’s destabilization drive—which is really a drive towards World War III.”The doctrine holds that the US and its allies are engineering revolutions and uprisings in key areas around the world to destabilize governments and replace existing regimes in order to establish control and exploit natural resources,” Defense News reports. “Furthermore, the doctrine treats the US as a dangerous nation that seeks to dismantle the Russian statehood.” According to the report, high-level military representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates were among those briefed on this new doctrine.

“The Russians are interpreting US interference in countries like Ukraine, and others, across the Middle East like Egypt and Syria, in North Africa, and even Venezuela, as operations to take their natural wealth and convert their population towards a western-leaning oversight,” says Theodore Karasik, director of research and analysis at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. “The Russians, by announcing this new doctrine in such clear terms, are announcing their intent to counter this activity (of destabilizing governments by popular uprising) by conducting additional research and analysis, ultimately coming out with counter policies.”

Obama Administration Pushes New Front on Russian Periphery: Destabilization of the Caspian Area

An undiplomatic statement warning of a rerun of Maidan in Azerbaijan by U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar, in a May 16 interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is seen as another indication that the Obama Administration is seeking to spread further destabilizations and tensions on the periphery of Russia, according to a May 30 article in the internet publication strategic-culture.org.
Maidan Rerun

In addition to Morningstar’s statement that the lesson of the Ukraine developments for Azerbaijan is that there could be a rerun of Maidan there, the article also referred to the May 7 speech of James Warlick, the U.S. Co-Chair of the Minsk Group on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabak conflict, at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, in which he suggested turning the clock back on the Nagorno-Karabak conflict with Azerbaijan, to the time of the signing of the ceasefire at the end of the 1980s, which would would threaten to disturb the status quo, and potentially allow the renewal of hostilities.In the interview, Morningstar hinted several times at a possible invasion of Azerbaijan by Russia or Iran, and asked a provocative rhetorical question: Who, if not America, could help Azerbaijan in such a case, after looking at what Russia has done with Crimea and Ukraine?!

The Azerbaijani presidential administration and the foreign service interpreted the Morningstar statements as interference in internal affairs.

While the author does not mention the British empire control of this process, his assessment is that the Obama Administration activity is part of a process of preventing Russian President Putin from consolidating security arrangements with the region before the September NATO summit in Wales.

The Caspian countries will be holding their fourth summit in Astrakhan, Russia, at about the same time as the NATO summit in Wales. The author’s assessment is that Washington is behind the above Morningstar and Warlick statements, so as to prevent any breakthrough decisions at the Caspian summit that would undermine Washington’s plans to maintain tension in the region, and for that reason will try to prevent Azerbaijan from resolving its problems with Iran (in which Russia has an interest) on the delimitation of the national sectors of the Caspian Sea. He says Washington is also irritated by the fact that Azerbaijan is less opposed to the Russian proposal for a joint naval operational cooperation group on the Caspian for maintaining security.

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