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The NATO-Russia face off in Syria

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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Reprinted from RT

From Russian attack helicopters sighted at Syrian airbase
Russian attack helicopters sighted at Syrian airbase
(image by YouTube)
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So a Su-30 enters a few hundred meters into Turkish airspace for only two minutes over Hatay province, and returns to Syrian airspace after being warned by a couple of Turkish F-16s.

Then all hell breaks loose as if this was the ultimate pretext for a NATO-Russia war.

NATO, predictably, went out all rhetorical guns blazing. Russia is causing "extreme danger" and should immediately stop bombing those cute "moderate rebels" the coalition of the dodgy opportunists refuses to bomb.

But wait; NATO is actually too busy to go to war. The priority, until at least November, is the epic Trident Juncture 2015; 36,000 troops from 30 states, more than 60 warships, around 200 aircraft, all are seriously practicing how to defend from the proverbial "The Russians are Coming!"

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Still, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu -- he of the former "zero problems with our neighbors" doctrine -- actually "warned" Moscow that next time Ankara would respond "militarily."

Until, of course, he backed down; "What we have received from Russia that this was a mistake and that they respect Turkey's borders and this will not happen again."

The incident could have been easily defused -- via military to military communication -- without the posturing.

But Ankara -- NATO's eastern flank -- is under immense pressure from "Exceptionalistan." It's no accident Pentagon supremo and notorious neocon Ash Carter "conferred" with Ankara about the incident. Carter of course is the most stellar practitioner of the official Beltway diktat; "By taking military action in Syria against moderate groups' targets, Russia has escalated the civil war."

"Sultan" Erdogan, right on cue, and straight from Strasbourg (no, he was not campaigning for the European Parliament) doubled down: "Assad has committed state terrorism, and unfortunately you find Russia and Iran defending (him)."

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And yet "Sultan" Erdogan won't go down in history as the catalyst for the much-awaited NATO-Russia Hot War 2.0. At least not yet.

Only bomb if we say so

Enter Dr. Zbigniew "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, growling in a FT Op-Ed that Washington should "retaliate" if Moscow does not stop attacking US assets in Syria. "US assets" means CIA-trained "moderate rebels." And after all, "American credibility" is at stake.

Dr. Zbig -- Obama's prime foreign policy mentor -- insists bombing CIA-trained "rebels" accounts for "Russian military incompetence." And the American counter-attack should be to "disarm" the "Russian naval and air presence." Now that's how you go for a NATO-Russia Hot War 2.0.

Dr. Zbig admitted though that "regional chaos could easily spread northeastward," and then "both Russia and then China could be adversely affected." Who cares? What matters is that "American interests and America's friends... would also suffer."

This is what passes for prime geopolitical analysis in the "Empire of Chaos."

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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