15:21 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Flags fly at half mast at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 23, 2016.

    Why a Thaw Between Russia and NATO is Possible

    © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
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    There are signs indicating a slight shift in NATO's strategy towards Russia. Western Europe now does not believe in the "Russian menace" while some Western politicians have called upon the EU to regard Moscow as an ally rather than a geopolitical rival.

    NATO is an alliance of different countries with different priorities, prominent journalist and independent political analyst Deena Stryker notes in her article for New Eastern Outlook online magazine.

    "In 1989 my book 'A Different Europe, a Different World,' (Une autre Europe, un autre monde) was published in France. It anticipated Europe's reunification and suggested that Europeans should replace the Atlantic Alliance with full participation in the Eurasian Community, in which the Soviet Union, far from being a threat, was simply one of five giants, the others being India, China, the Middle East and Europe, each of equal weight. It has taken twenty-five years for the leaders of Western Europe to arrive at a similar conclusion," Stryker writes.

    What does the author mean?

    Journalists and political observers have called attention to the fact that while the NATO Warsaw Summit was expected to label Russia as an imminent threat to Europe, thus far justifying the deployment of permanent bases in the Baltic States and Poland, something different had happened.

    In her article for the Guardian, British writer and broadcaster Mary Dejevsky highlighted that ahead of the Warsaw Summit NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg "expressly denied that Russia presented 'any imminent threat to any NATO ally' — note the word 'any' — insisting strong defense should be accompanied by 'constructive dialogue.'"

    "Let me start by stating that we don't see any imminent threat against any NATO ally," Stoltenberg emphasized answering Baltic News Service media outlet which cited non-existent "threat" posed by Russia to Eastern Europe.

    "The cold war is history, and should remain history," Stoltenberg underscored.

    Dejevsky also stressed the fact that NATO decided not to establish permanent bases in the East: instead additional troops will be rotated.

    Apparently, these developments would have never happened without pressure from the Alliance's member states.

    While the bloc's Eastern European members, such as the Baltic States and Poland, continue to beat the war drums over the mythical prospect of a "Russian invasion," Western Europe has taken a different stance.

    In his interview with Sputnik, Executive Intelligence Review editor Jeff Steinberg pointed to the fact that in the course of the Warsaw Summit German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Francois Hollande noted that Russia is neither an enemy nor a threat to Europe.

    Remarkably, in his earlier interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Steinmeier denounced NATO's Anaconda-16 drills held near Russian borders as "saber-rattling" that does not add to the European security.

    Former NATO Defense Committee Chairman and former German Air Force and German armed forces chief of staff General Harald Kujat also raised his voice in support for Russia at the summit.

    "Kujat told German media that Russia should be viewed as a friend and even an ally. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, he said, should have been invited to Warsaw," Steinberg told Sputnik.

    It is worth mentioning that NATO's European members are currently more concerned about an upcoming Brexit and looming financial crisis, than about a phantom Russian "menace."

    Due to the fact that the bloc is really "an alliance of many countries with different priorities" NATO has begun to resemble a colossus with clay feet. Apparently, therefore the EU is considering the possibility of creating an independent European military force.

    Meanwhile, Russia is not sitting on its hands: Moscow is building bridges with its neighbors in order to ensure security on its western borders.

    Dejevsky emphasized that before the Warsaw Summit Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Finland and discussed aviation security measures in the Baltics among other issues.

    Furthermore, on July 14 Moscow offered the bloc a number of confidence-building measures to ensure security in Eastern Europe, in particular in the Baltics, during the Russia-NATO council in Brussels, as Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a weekly press briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

    Dejevsky and Stryker emphasize that nobody in the West really want the repetition of the Cold War.

    Those NATO members who are championing the idea of a "Russian threat" should wake up and "realize that the twenty-first century sun rises in the East, enabling a carefully constructed but flawed union to be transformed into something more durable — and peaceful," Stryker remarks.


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    security, cooperation, NATO Warsaw Summit 2016, NATO, European Union, Jens Stoltenberg, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Francois Hollande, Germany, Europe, United States, Russia, Eastern Europe, Finland, France
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