NATO's Surge in the Baltics: Trying to Show Putin Who's in Charge?

© AP Photo / Gero BreloerFrom left, Norwegian support vessel Valkyrien, Belgian mine-hunter Belis, Norwegian minesweeper Otra, Dutch mine-hunter Makkum and Estonian mine-hunter Admiral Cowen form a convoy during a NATO deployment in the Baltic Sea along the German Coast, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
From left, Norwegian support vessel Valkyrien, Belgian mine-hunter Belis, Norwegian minesweeper Otra, Dutch mine-hunter Makkum and Estonian mine-hunter Admiral Cowen form a convoy during a NATO deployment in the Baltic Sea along the German Coast, Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - Sputnik International
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The North Atlantic Alliance is apparently contemplating deploying approximately 4,000 troops to Poland and the Baltic states in a bid to deter non-existent Russian aggression, but the move is nothing more than another "provocation" by the bloc, American author Justin Raimondo asserted.

The bloc's plan to increase its military presence close to Russia's borders is "aimed at showing Putin who's really in charge in the former Soviet Union's sphere of influence," the analyst observed. NATO officials are hoping that "the Russian leader will respond in kind," he explained, adding that Putin is "too smart" to do that.

This measure, if introduced, will come at a time when NATO is building up its forces in Europe, particularly around Russia. For instance, in 2014 the alliance created a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) to enhance the existing NATO Response Force (NRF) manned by 40,000 people.

Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea commander, recognizes the dedication and hard work put forth by the ROK and U.S. civilians of United States Forces Korea during the Civilian of the Year awards ceremony at the Dragon Hill Lodge on United States Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea - Sputnik International
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Unsurprisingly, Russia has been concerned with these developments. 

Although, Washington's relations with Moscow have deteriorated to levels unseen since the end of the Cold War, "there really is no reason why that should be so," Raimondo noted. Both countries, he insisted, have shared strategic interests, particularly when it comes to tackling international terrorism.

Raimondo urged Washington to adopt a new foreign policy. This revised strategy should extend "the hand of friendship to Russia, [cut] off our free-riding European 'allies' who refuse to pay their fair share of NATO's costs, and [put] American interests first."

The analyst also maintains that "Turkey must be reined in, and given an ultimatum: stop supporting terrorism in Syria, lay off the Russians, and give up dreams of a 'Greater Turkey' that endanger the peace and do nothing to help ordinary Turks live a decent life."

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