13:03 GMT +326 February 2017
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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

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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.

    Related:

    Stop Goading Russia, Steinmeier Urges After NATO Military Exercise
    Germany's Minister of Defense Supports NATO Dual Strategy Toward Russia
    While Italy Urges 'to Build Bridges,' Poland Wants More NATO in E Europe
    Putin: NATO Jets Fly Over Baltics Without Turning on Identification Devices
    Tags:
    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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    • avatar
      cast235
      Believe it or NOT, Russia LOVE'S the confrontation. Keeps Russia on the MOVE... You don't see a Russia trying to buy ships from west anymore. No Russia BUILDS them. No more tech, Russia is building it and coming along nicely.

      Cost of living was raised.. BRAVO!!
      the ATTACK on France has probably NOTHING to do with terrorism and more to do with internal factors. Desperation of farmers. Labor laws everyone HATES. Those social pressures will defuse themselves somewhere.
      Russia could get human sociologists and see what I mean. That may be part of teh reason of France attacks.

      About NATO Russia, NATO is beginning to lose because , they see over the propaganda. those cold war mentality leaders, won't comprehend. They grew under ANTI RUSSIAN propaganda. Where ALL was paid by west.. To make Russian and all Soviets believe that west were GOD people and SOVIETS were EVIL.
      SOVIETS had SATELLITE TV!!! To watch west propaganda 24/7. And invented lies. Today is another culture and another world.
      NATO did ONE GIANT STUPIDITY. Create MORALITY and basic human rights with ElU and all west, then do COUPS, Flower revolutions. They actually hate NATO.. NOT Russia. They HATE Russia under propaganda. BUT they beginning to wake up. Population knows exactly who created IS... It was west and NATO.

      SO , why NATO keep the propaganda, the saying that Russia is in E Ukraine and people are waking up, it will be problems.
      As for Russia, NATO is waking a GIANT. One that will create a FUTURISTIC ARMY , that the world had never seen. Just under desperation to survive.
      Enjoy when Russia bring FLYING SAUCERS around. PLANES that will go into space .. And maybe under water. A plane could then go under water and use, cavitation and new propulsion's to move real fast. Then come OFF the water and go flying.. And maybe into space too.

      Economically? IF Russia DEMAND 50/50 trade and investments, Russia will automatically will open a NICHE around the globe.
    • Marc Nonnenkamp
      Correct - it is time for both sides to cease deploying any more troops and to starting talking with each other instead of talking at each other.
    • avatar
      kooka
      I am sure that German "elites" have no different stance than Poland and the Baltics. The author should take steinmeier's words as empty rethoric. To get a clearer judement on the official German opinion which is 100% transatlantic the author should read the new "Weißbuch 2016" which describes the further development of German army or to listen to one or two speeches of angela merkel.
    • avatar
      ivanwa88
      I see this new rhetoric as being 'saving my arse come elections' these vile European leaders who have submitted to US fascist dictates will all lose badly for there errant and highly dangerous antics.

      For Jens to say the complete opposite to what he has being saying for two years now without adjusting stride is ludicrous and quite insidious he should have apologized to Russia and its people first if he wanted any credibility otherwise its all lies to keep his job and then shift stride again in a nano second he should have resigned after his apology if he wanted to be seen as a man blinded by US bullsh#t regretting his actions and the lives lost as a result.
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