Before the jingoistic cheer leading and Russia-hating catcalls start pouring from the poorly informed but enthusiastically irrational peanut gallery, let's take a moment to review a few important FACTS. Maybe FACTS are not quite as spectacular or emotionally satisfying as burping up bilious gas balls of MSM propaganda, but they can provide PERSPECTIVE.
During the 90s, following the dissolution of the USSR, the military flights and air-space patrols and probing by Russia as part of their stand-off with the West __ mirrored 24/7 by the U.S. and NATO with similar fleets of fighters, bombers, reconnaissance planes, refueling tankers __ stopped completely. The reconnaissance and war readiness exercises by the Western powers, however, continued uninterrupted.
to this unbroken protraction of war readiness by the West, Russia
started up their long range bomber patrols again July and August 2007,
returned to guarding its air space and borders, keeping a sufficient
number of planes in the air to let the West know that they were not to
be permitted carte blanche superiority in the skies near Russian air
This means, for over 15 years Russia suspended a major component of the Cold War years confrontation, taking itself completely off of a war footing. Rather than take advantage of this historic opportunity, the West continued, and if anything increased, its intimidation of Russia, which by both choice and circumstance __ its empire had disintegrated and the country itself was in dire economic straits __ tried to pursue peaceful relations.
90s Russia was understandably preoccupied with putting its house back
in order and trying to rebuild the functional framework of a nation.
With calculating deftness but in direct violation of recorded assurances
made to Russia that NATO would not move "one inch east"
of Germany __ a trade-off for Russia's quickly withdrawing its troops
from East Germany to permit an orderly, uncontested reunification of the
German nation __ NATO at the prompting of the U.S. proceeded to rapidly
expand its geographical orbit. Today it includes Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia. All of these countries are considerably more than an inch east of Germany.
Then in December 2001, the U.S. announced that it was unilaterally pulling out of the ABM Treaty, signaling that it claimed the right to now put anti-ballistic missiles in any country in the NATO alliance. This move was unprovoked, meaning there was no specific incident or level of tension between Russia and the U.S. prompting such a sudden breach of the agreement, one that had been in force since 1972. Ominously, this was the first time in U.S. history that America had walked away from such a major agreement.
Since the U.S. at the time and for many years afterwards, claimed that the anti-ballistic missiles were purely to prevent rogue nations like Iran and North Korea from attacking Europe, Russia offered to become part of a unified system of missile defense of Europe, offering its own sophisticated missile tracking radar to the mix.
America turned down this offer from the Russians.
While there is much more, sometimes less is more.
Here less is enough.
Encapsulating . . .
NATO moves its military alliance and bases to Russia's borders. The U.S. starts deploying ABMs near Russia's borders. The U.S. wants no part of Russian cooperation in optimizing those systems against the "enemies".
Who is Russia to conclude is the real enemy being targeted by these ABMs?
What is Russia to conclude from the relentless move east right up to its borders of the military forces of NATO?
What is Russia to conclude from what appears to be a "containment" policy directed at them, currently implemented by twenty-seven major military installations, with possibly more yet to come?