Danielle Ryan at RT asks today: ‘Coincidence? Baltic invasion story reappears as Pentagon seeks to quadruple Europe spending’
First she explains why the theme of Russian revanchism may have been put on the back burner, especially an older ‘Russia about to invade the Balkans’ story. But she notes this interesting timing today:
“On February 2, the Pentagon announced it would seek to quadruple its budget for Europe in 2017 to deter “Russian aggression”. On February 3, the UK’s BBC aired a fictitious ‘war gaming’ account of a Russian invasion of Latvia, complete with a nuclear strike on a Royal Navy warship and a planned strike on London — an exercise which one expert termed“psychological warfare”. On the same day, an American think tank, the RAND Corporation — which is partly funded by the US Department of Defense — claimed that Russia would be able to “overrun” the Baltics in 60 hours.
In the weeks leading up to the new media blitz, the Atlantic Council — whose primary founding aim is to defend NATO interests — had gotten the ball rolling again with a piece about Putin’s “next potential target” — which, you guessed it, was the Baltics. The piece was then re-published by Newsweek with the headline: “Counting down to a Russian invasion of the Baltics”.
This happens every time the Pentagon wants more money to play with. Various ‘studies’ about the danger posed by whichever bad guy is in fashion start appearing. Experts suddenly realize that the US military is drastically underfunded in said area of immediate strategic importance. Officials begin making even more outlandish statements than usual. And the media eat it up, apparently completely unaware of the fact that they are being taken for a ride.”
She has a bit of fun with the MSM reporting and op-eds following the new Baltics story, Hitler-as-Putin, all would be fine if Putin weren’t bombing Syria to ‘strategically weaken Europe…(Guardian) we must stop Russian propaganda, more sanctions!!! and arm Ukraine. …Well, you get the drift. Then:
Rational, balanced voices sidelined
Meanwhile, saner, expert voices calling for rational thinking rarely get heard, and when they do, they appear as a mere footnote to the drama. Take Kent University Professor Richard Sakwa’s letter to the Guardian last week, in which he called for a calmer assessment of Russia and argued that its constant ‘demonisation’ would serve to make no one safer.
“We need to understand more and condemn less,” he wrote, arguing that the country’s portrayal as an aggressive power only increases its own perception of threat from outside. He warned that such portrayals “fail to take into account its defensive posture”.
The letter is here, although Sawka teaches at Kent University UK, north of Canterbury. And please don’t miss the Atlantic Council’s predictions and reasoning; it’s glorious nutbar stuff. (You might even think they believe their own hyperbole.)
The BBC show: ‘World War II: Inside the War Room’; it sounds sexy as hell for war porn devotées.
On Feb. 3, Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen was up with ‘The Obama Administration Has Just Recklessly Escalated Its Military Confrontation With Russia; The Pentagon’s announcement that it will quadruple US-NATO military forces in countries on or near Russia’s borders pushes the new Cold War toward actual war, possibly even a nuclear one.’ He has a radio discussion on John Bachelor’s program (40 minutes, ugh).
But the text highlights:
“Except during Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Western military power has never been positioned so close to Russia, making the new Cold War even more dangerous than was the preceding one. Russia will certainly react, probably by moving more of its own heavy weapons, including new missiles, to its Western borders, possibly along with a large number of its tactical nuclear weapons. The latter reminds us, Cohen points out, that a new and more dangerous US-Russian nuclear arms race has been under way for several years, which the Obama Administration’s decision can only intensify. The decision will also have other woeful consequences, undermining ongoing negotiations by Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov for cooperation on the Ukrainian and Syrian crises and further dividing Europe itself, which is far from united on Washington’s increasingly hawkish approach to Moscow.”
He ends by saying that MSM have barely reported any of this, and notes that the subject hasn’t come up in the Presidential ‘debates’.
Now I’d been mocking NATO on Twitter the other day for their…er…muscular weapons and other armaments photos and grotesque names for the new ‘strengthening NATO in Europe’ the other day, and lookie here! I checked back with the Feb. 2 royal blue map and noted that the northermost three Stars are...the Baltics: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia. Funny that. Plus: US trains with Latvian forces, Norway (next door), “Cuts in defence have now practically stopped among European Allies & Canada”, and tra la la.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)