In contrast with September – December 2014, the aircraft will carry enough ammo for a real fight: a gun, infrared short-range missiles, radar-guided medium-range missiles and an electronic defense system with decoys that are ejected at a threat.
Why did NATO decide to deploy fully armed military planes to the area? Commenting on the jets’ increased combat capabilities, German Air Force inspector Karl Müllner told Deutsche Presse Agentur:
“This is not a tool for escalation. It is just a tool to be on par [with a potential enemy]. And this is a tool to motivate the soldiers engaged in the activity [of air policing]”.
However, there is no need for a rocket scientist to read between the lines: NATO is unambiguously sending a belligerent signal to Russia. And it is another, albeit minor, step in expanding the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe. For years, NATO has been creeping towards Russia citing all kinds of phantom reasons: the Iran nuclear threat, Crimea’s referendum, the Ukrainian conflict etc.
not expandn exercises or bases nato pic.twitter.com/LvWCsZ3P0Y— pete john (@petejohn10) 7 сентября 2015
In addition to that, the three “vulnerable” Baltic States have been restlessly and hysterically exploiting the myth of an “evil Russia," setting a convenient pretext for NATO to boost its military in the region.
However, the Germans might be a little too late with their desire to show how committed they are to the idea of countering Russia. The Syrian crisis and a common enemy in the form of ISIL may bring Washington and Moscow together and help alleviate tensions – meaning Berlin will have to back down.
But the bloc’s long-term strategy is unlikely to change despite the promising Moscow-Washington thaw: the Ukrainian crisis, the latest meteorite crash, the extinction of the dinosaurs and other pretexts will still be used to accuse Russia of threatening the global security and stigmatize it as the arch enemy.