17:38 GMT15 August 2020
Listen Live
    Military & Intelligence
    Get short URL
    by
    451496
    Subscribe

    In the three decades since the end of the Cold War, NATO has expanded eastward toward Russia’s borders, staging large-scale drills and deploying potential dual-use strategic weapons systems such as the Aegis Ashore missile defence platforms in Poland and Romania. Through it all, the alliance has the nerve to accuse Moscow of aggressive intentions.

    Russia has some pretty good historical reasons to fear a NATO invasion, even if the idea “sounds crazy” to Americans, believes military observer and journalist Peter Suciu.

    In a recent article for The National Interest, Suciu points out that “while the idea of NATO attacking Russia may seem farfetched to most Americans, the Russians have reasons to fear an invasion from the west. Over the past several centuries Russia has been repeatedly invaded by such powers as Poland, Sweden, France and Germany.”

    And the US doesn’t get off the hook in terms of aggression against Russia, either, the observer admits, pointing out that Washington “also too took part in what could be seen as an ‘invasion’ of sorts when troops were sent to Russia during the nation’s Civil War in 1918.” Suggesting that that mission was actually intended “to prevent the German advance and to help reopen the Eastern Front following Communist Russia’s acceptance of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk,” Suciu noted that in reality, US troops found themselves fighting Russians in the form of the newly formed Red Army.

    US forces on parade in Vladivostok, Russian Far East, 1918. US forces intervened in Russia's north and the Far East as part of a multi-nation force including British, French, and Japanese forces to crush the fledgling Soviet republic between 1918 and 1922.
    © Wikipedia /
    US forces on parade in Vladivostok, Russian Far East, 1918. US forces intervened in Russia's north and the Far East as part of a multi-nation force including British, French, and Japanese forces to crush the fledgling Soviet republic between 1918 and 1922.

    Two decades after that, the Soviets faced off against Nazi Germany, its allies, and the material and economic resources of all of occupied Europe, facing the largest and most brutal invasion in human history. The war led to the loss of as many as 26.6 million Soviet lives, and the destruction of hundreds of cities and thousands of villages, and roughly 30 percent of the country’s entire national wealth, including much of what was built during the costly and difficult industrialization of the 1930s.

    Liberation of Kiev
    © Sputnik / George
    Liberation of Kiev

    In the late 1980s, after Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to withdraw Soviet troops from Germany and to end Soviet influence over Eastern Europe for the sake of ending the Cold War, US officials repeatedly promised that NATO would not expand eastward beyond a reunified Germany. On February 9, 1990, Bush-era Secretary of State James Baker famously promised to Gorbachev that the alliance would more “not one inch eastward” beyond Germany’s eastern frontier.

    But the US broke its promises, and, since 1999, has swallowed up every member of the former Warsaw Pact, along with three former Soviet and three former Yugoslav republics.

    “Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is arguably more vulnerable while many of its former communist-era satellite states- including Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with the Czech and Slovak Republics – now being members of NATO,” Suciu suggested.
     US Navy flag bearers, backdropped by the radar building of a missile defense base, during an opening ceremony attended by U.S., NATO and Romanian officials at a base in Deveselu, Southern Romania, Thursday, May 12, 2016. Russia has expressed concerns that the Aegis Ashore anti-missile systems in Poland and Romania could be converted to station offensive Tomahawk cruise missiles.
    © AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda
    US Navy flag bearers, backdropped by the radar building of a missile defense base, during an opening ceremony attended by U.S., NATO and Romanian officials at a base in Deveselu, Southern Romania, Thursday, May 12, 2016. Russia has expressed concerns that the Aegis Ashore anti-missile systems in Poland and Romania could be converted to station offensive Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    “Thus, it is not surprising that the Russian bear would be sharping its claws – by upgrading its naval fleets and conducting regular military drills and exercises, while also developing new hardware such as its T-14 Armata tank and its hypersonic undersea missiles. Such military hardware could be seen not for their offensive capabilities, but rather as deterrents to ensure that Russia does not face yet another invasion from the west,” the observer concluded.

    Related:

    NATO Chief Urges Berlin to ‘Protect Peace and Freedom’ by Stationing US Nukes
    NATO Doubled Military Activity in Arctic Region in Past 5 Years, Russian Diplomat Says
    Moscow Warns Russia-NATO Ties Will Become More Complicated if US Moves Troops From Germany to Poland
    Ukraine Becomes NATO Partner With Enhanced Opportunities
    Community standardsDiscussion