Originally published in the Greek weekly newspaper “Paraskinio”, issue 611, p. 39, on Dec. 29, 2017
The Cold War between NATO and Russia Rebounds Dynamically
Over the last five years there has been an increase in tension and military expansion from US-led NATO countries on the one hand and Russia on the other. However, rising Russian movements and growth in the Middle East and North Africa are beginning to be a source of concern for NATO leaders over the last few months. Russia has taken advantage of the Obama administration’s remote conflict strategy or the so-called soft power. Thus, Moscow has taken immediate military intervention in the Syrian crisis, coupled with the reconstruction of its strategic relations with many other countries.
In a recent visit to Norway, US General Robert Nelller, US Marine Corps Commander, addressed 300 US Marines stationed there, saying: “I hope to make a mistake but the war is coming and your presence here means you are in battle, in a political battle, in a battle of information. Get ready for a great war, America can change its direction from the Middle East to the East. ” The inflammatory language of General Neller confirms that things are going to be staggered. The US is seeking to increase its military presence in Norway, a move that has led Moscow to warn the country, which said the presence of US troops was related to training and improving relations with NATO countries. The general’s rhetoric followed the announcement of Trump’s national security strategy, which underlined that Russia and China are trying to challenge America’s influence, power and interests.
The Middle East has always been under the influence, control and oversight of the United States. Gulf oil and gas are considered by all US administrations as important for US national security. But Putin’s Russia has a different view. With Obama signing a nuclear agreement with Iran in mid-2015, the US government turned to mild power and withdrawed from the Middle East quagmire. This retreat has led to Russia’s expansionary progress. Moscow, which has significant strategic and military relations with Tehran, has taken advantage of the Iranian need to maintain the Assad regime, which in turn has sent a formal request to Moscow for immediate military intervention in the Syrian crisis. In September 2015, Moscow announced the dispatch of about 4.000 Russian soldiers and more than 150 aircrafts and helicopters. Moscow has also been able to impose a special military base on Iranian territory. Iran’s important role in Iraq has allowed Moscow to rebuild its relations with the Iraqi government, with which it has signed several military deals. In this way, Moscow now has the upper hand in the northern countries of the Middle East. But Moscow did not stop here.
As Europe and US relations with Turkey worsened after a failed coup attempt in mid-2016, Moscow was able to take advantage of this crisis to rebuild relations with Ankara under Erdoğan’s leadership, who felt that NATO countries are trying to impose control in his country. The signing by Ankara of the agreement for the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system is a very dangerous step for military communication between NATO countries.
On a brief visit to Cairo by Russian President Putin 10 days ago, the Egyptian leadership signed a co-operation agreement with Moscow, allowing it to create its own military base in the Egyptian territory. A Western diplomatic source had earlier assured me that Moscow has two military bases in Libya.
As far as the North Korean nuclear crisis with Washington is concerned, in my view, Moscow is clearly exploiting it. In any conflict between North Korea and the US, Moscow will be the biggest winner. The military exercises conducted last summer by Russian troops on the territory of Belarus are considered to be Moscow’s preparation for the future.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said last week that Moscow intervened directly in the US, French and German elections. On a recent visit to Spain, I was informed of a similar Russian intervention on the Catalan issue. This statement shows that, undoubtedly, Moscow has become a force no one can overlook. The consolidation of Moscow’s influence is a clear on the global map over NATO, and its aggression has created a siege on its countries. But the most serious in this conflict is the attitude of the White House. All information and leaks confirm that the Moscow hand reaches the White House leadership, which means that Trump is not the right person to face the Russian bear. We are at the gates of a new war. This is certain. It’s only a matter of time. If NATO does not want to be the loser, it must re-read international developments and restore confidence among the Member States as a first step, otherwise the Russian bear will impose its word on the world.