NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels
Yesterday, the NATO foreign ministers suspended "all practical and military cooperation" with Russia and ordered plans to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe.
As part of that increase the US requested Romanian President Traian Basecu to increase the number of US troops and planes it has stationed at Mihail Kogalniceanu air base situated on the Romanian Black Sea coast. The base was taken over and been used by the US since 1999, mostly as a transfer point. It sits some 275 miles across from the Russian Black Sea fleet stationed in Sevastopol, Crimea.
In addition, as part of suspending cooperation with Russia, NATO's secretary general Anders Rasmussen earlier last week said the alliance suspended plans to escort Russian ships ferrying chemicals for making poison gas out of Syria. How's that for a bit of irrationality. But acting sensibly and without creating hysteria aren't what the West-read the US government- are all about.
It's all part of the mano e mano bluster and response to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the presence of Russian troops conducting training exercises near the southern and eastern borders of Ukraine.
In its statement to the press the NATO foreign ministers said, Russia needed "to take immediate steps" to return to compliance with international law". Considering the US is the primary juggernaut in NATO the statement is laughable on its face as the US disregards international law with impunity. It's ludicrous for it to accuse any country of not being in "compliance with international law".
As for Russian President Vladimir Putin he'll hardly be intimidated by NATO's troop and exercise plans in its member states in Eastern Europe. But the red line for Russia and I believe non-negotiable is Ukraine never becoming a part of NATO and having nuclear weapons on its soil.
Though we hear Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia clamoring for more "boots on the ground" as some sort of deterrence, the idea of Russia invading a NATO country should be seen as a fantasy from the now dead cold war era, yet something the US corporate media seems intent to resurrect.
For now it's a "Kabuki" type dance than actual confrontation between NATO and Russia with Ukraine in the middle.
The country has a presidential election scheduled for late May and a new constitution needing to be written and enacted. Considering the instability that continues in Kiev, particularly the aggressive actions by the ultra nationalistic, neo Nazi "Right Sector" against the US conspired, unelected government, some realistic East-West diplomacy, rather than military bellicosity, needs to happen beyond the recent confabs between Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to keep the Ukraine crisis and possibly the world from spinning out of control.
The world did spin out of control in 1914 and the result was the catastrophe of W.W.I.
Today's world sits at a precipice if war in 2014 occurs with nuclear arsenals on both sides.
As I wrote previously in this space, "A nuclear war would be insane." [i]
[i] "A Nuclear War Would Be Insane", by Dave Lefcourt, OPEDNEWS, March 18, 2014.