Editorial: the outcome of Russia's crazy game

Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

Referring to US deputy defence secretary Robert Work, The Wall Street Journal wrote on April 29th that in response to Russian aggressiveness NATO would boost its presence in Baltics and Poland by four battalions i.e. a contingent of 4,000 men. This still is too little when compared to Russian western military district of up to 350,000 men or the close to 100,000 of troops who have in recent years participated in exercises on Russia's western edge. Much more important, however, is the message therewith sent to Kremlin. 

For the first time since NATO expanded into Eastern Europe, steps are being taken in order to do away with the «power vacuum» on the so-called Eastern wing with balance hopelessly against the alliance. Very importantly, thereat, the additional units come not from USA alone but, on top of the traditional allies of Americans the Brits, a battalion is sent from Germany – thus far rather sceptical regarding increased NATO presence in Baltics.

By now, however, Germany has substantially reassessed its Russia-policy as, basically parallel to news of a Bundeswehr unit placed to the defenceless NATO Eastern flank, chancellor Angela Merkel said via press rep that G8 as format is hereby dead and buried with Russia no longer fit to participate in the prestigious club of the great and mighty. To that, Russian foreign ministry sent word that they do not want to participate anyway which is difficult to believe remembering the enthusiasm with which Russian politicians came out in media about the invitation into the wealthy nations club at end of 1990ies and beginning of 2000ies.

In reality, these are nothing but the bitter fruits of the recently aggressive and inadequate foreign policy by Putin’s as up until the anti-Ukrainian aggression, Russia and its President were treated in the West as strategic partner and placing troops in Poland and Baltics was not on agenda in Washington, London nor Berlin.

The aggressiveness and provocative behaviour of Russia has led to a tense situation and there is a whole lot of regions with a direct standoff between NATO nations or their allies and Russia. Regrettably, in this new cold war, a front line has been drawn in the Baltics and Baltic Sea which Russian leaders treat as their inland sea. There are other such spots on world map like the news these past few days from Syria that the Russia-backed Shia common front has defied the ceasefire to again launch blanket bombing of their largest city Aleppo. Very ominously, conflict spots like Nagorno-Karabakh and Eastern-Ukraine are still smouldering as well.