21:18 GMT06 June 2020
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    The expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance has never enjoyed enthusiastic support of the rank and file, but the lack of public backing has no effect on the decisions NATO makes, author of the book "Bombs for Peace: NATO's War on Yugoslavia" George Szamuely told Radio Sputnik.

    "It is always important to remember that public opinion has very little say in any of [NATO's] military and security decisions. NATO expansion has never been popular with any public in any country. Nonetheless these decisions go forward simply because they are taken by very few people," he said.

    "The fact that public opinion is very unenthusiastic about this and regards this as extremely dangerous will have no effect on whatever decisions are taken," he added.

    NATO embarked on its expansion campaign in the 1990s, which also saw the alliance engage in wars, most notably in Yugoslavia and Libya. "None of them was supported by the public," Szamuely noted.

    But NATO created an elaborate propaganda machine to sell its initiatives to the civil society.

    "NATO does peddle the story that we are purely defensive. If we only use force, it is only for humanitarian ends," the political analyst explained, adding that the media also takes part in spreading NATO's false defensive image and does "not really challenge any of these absurd assertions."

    Although the bloc has recently stepped up its military presence in Europe and is engaged in more war-games close to Russia's borders, it tries to paint a picture of Moscow as the aggressive side threatening its neighbors and responsible for upsetting regional balance and.

    • US Army serviceman jumps from armored vehicle during the NATO Wind Spring 15 military exercise at Smardan military shooting range in Romania on April 21, 2015.
      US Army serviceman jumps from armored vehicle during the NATO "Wind Spring 15" military exercise at Smardan military shooting range in Romania on April 21, 2015.
      © AFP 2020 / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
    • Paratroopers of 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade depart Lielvarde Airbase, Latvia, Sept. 8, 2014, at the conclusion of NATO Exercise Steadfast Javelin II
      Paratroopers of 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade depart Lielvarde Airbase, Latvia, Sept. 8, 2014, at the conclusion of NATO Exercise Steadfast Javelin II
      © Flickr / The US Army
    • Polish tank comander smiles after a NATO Response Force (NRF) exercise in Zagan, southwest Poland on June 18, 2015
      Polish tank comander smiles after a NATO Response Force (NRF) exercise in Zagan, southwest Poland on June 18, 2015
      © AFP 2020 / Janek Skarzynski
    • Estonian army soldiers launch grenade during the NATO military exercise Hedgehog 2015 at the Tapa training range in Estonia May 12, 2015
      Estonian army soldiers launch grenade during the NATO military exercise Hedgehog 2015 at the Tapa training range in Estonia May 12, 2015
      © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
    • Soldiers from NATO countries attend a opening ceremony of military exercise 'Saber Strike 2015'
      Soldiers from NATO countries attend a opening ceremony of military exercise 'Saber Strike 2015'
      © AP Photo /
    1 / 5
    © AFP 2020 / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
    US Army serviceman jumps from armored vehicle during the NATO "Wind Spring 15" military exercise at Smardan military shooting range in Romania on April 21, 2015.

    "All one has to do is think how NATO or the United States would feel if Russia was conducting military exercises in Mexico or Canada. We can't say Russia is anywhere in Europe because Europe has been pretty much swallowed by NATO. There is almost no state in Europe left that is not in NATO. So how would American respond?" Szamuely asked.

    Washington surely would not think that Russian military drills on the US border are nothing to worry about, the analyst pointed out.

    "When Russia does anything in response, Russia is the aggressor. When Putin made his statement regarding the additional 40 ICBMs, NATO propaganda went into the top gear and declared that this is saber rattling, that this is not the way a responsible power behaves. But how else is Russia supposed to behave?"

    Russia has not responded to any NATO provocations, including its groundless military buildup and the bloc's ongoing expansion. "In comparison with other countries, Russia has been a model of restraint," Szamuely concluded.

    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
    © Sputnik /
    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014

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    Tags:
    NATO, NATO expansion, geopolitics, military drills, military buildup, United States, Russia, Europe
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