21:47 GMT +322 September 2019
Listen Live
    Estonian soldiers take part in an annual military exercise together with several units from other NATO member states

    Anti-Russia Hysteria Prompts Baltic States to Depend Less on NATO

    © AFP 2019 / RAIGO PAJULA
    Politics
    Get short URL
    0 1929
    Subscribe

    The Baltic states still persist in their paranoid illusion of an upcoming invasion by Russian "little green men", boosting their military spending and preparing for "doomsday."

    Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are beating the drums over the "inevitable" Russian invasion: giving up their hopes for NATO troops' permanent presence in the region, they are preparing to confront the "danger" on their own; however, they have yet failed  to present any evidence confirming Russia's "malicious plan."

    "With western Europe reluctant to permanently base troops in the region, the Baltic countries, and even regional powers like Poland, are increasingly relying on their own resources — although a NATO base with German, American and other allied troops permanently located in the region remains the goal," journalists Jan Cienski and Linda Kinstler noted.

    Indeed, the Baltic states have recently increased their defense spending: Estonia is one of a few NATO countries that spent up to 2 percent of its GDP on military purposes, planning to boost military expenditures by 7.3 percent from 2014 to 2015; its neighbors – Latvia and Lithuania – have raised their military spending in 2015 by 14.9 and 50 percent respectively. 

    At the same time Poland kicked off an ambitious ten-year $42 billion defense project including a missile defense shield, anti-aircraft systems, submarines, combat drones and armored personnel carriers.

    This military spending spree has been evidently sparked by a heavy anti-Russian propaganda campaign in Western media, some experts noted.

    "No doubt there will be a fight. Estonians are stubborn people, and they're still living through their traumatized memories of 1939-40 (when the country was incorporated into the USSR)," said Raivo Vare, an Estonian former politician as quoted by Jan Cienski and Linda Kinstler.

    Interestingly enough, Finland with its 1,340 km (833 miles) long border with Russia has not been gripped by a Russophobic hysteria: according to polls an overwhelming majority of Finns believe that it is highly unlikely that Russia would threaten Finland's security. It should be noted, however, that the period of 1939-1940 was no bed of roses for both the USSR and Finland: just before the Second World War the two nations fought in the Finnish-Russian War.

    It also remains unclear why "traumatized" Estonia is referring to the memories of 1939-40 and at the same time remains silent about the occupation of the Baltic states by Nazi Germany in 1941-1944. Following the logic of Estonians, they should also keep in mind the possibility of an advance from the West.

    According to Neil Clark, a journalist, writer and broadcaster, relations between Russia and the Baltic states have long been based on friendship and mutual respect. And it is NATO who is escalating tensions in the region through its military maneuvers near Russia's borders.

    At the same time Western "hawks," who kicked off an anti-Russia propaganda campaign last year and groundlessly blamed Moscow for everything, including the crash of the notorious MH17 flight and appearance of mysterious submarines in the EU waters, are manipulating historic fears of Russia for their own geopolitical interests.

    Meanwhile, Estonia has ordered CV90 tracked fighting vehicles from Sweden, Javelin anti-tank missiles from the United States and €113 million worth of infantry fighting vehicles from the Dutch.

    So far, the warmongering hysteria is currently playing into the hands of arms manufacturers and their numerous lobbyists in the US and the European Union.  

    Related:

    Russian, Belarusian Experts to Check Military Activity in Estonia
    NATO Naval Drills in Baltic Sea Involve 20 Warships
    NATO Jets Scramble to Intercept Russian Transport Plane Over Baltic Sea
    Lithuania Says Flight of 2 Russian An-22 Escorted by NATO Jets Was Agreed
    Latvian Military Claims to Have Spotted 2 Russian Warships, Sub Near Border
    Tags:
    military drills, NATO, military buildup, hysteria, Javelin anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles, missile defense, Second World War, MH17 Crash, Baltic Region, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Poland, United States, Russia, Latvia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik