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‘NATO calls Russia an aggressor, at the same time Russia finds itself surrounded by NATO troops’

‘NATO calls Russia an aggressor, at the same time Russia finds itself surrounded by NATO troops’
The Western military bloc is hiring actors to play Russians in exercises that look to be preparations for an incursion into Russia; there is no reason to be mounting such fire power on Russia's border, says Mike Raddie, journalist and peace activist.

Security in Eastern Europe in the face of so-called "Russia's aggression" and the fight against ISIS are the main topics to be discussed at a meeting of NATO leaders in May.

In fact, NATO seems so sure of a threat that it is offering jobs to Russian-speaking actors to play civilians in future military drills.

RT: The German company Optronic HR confirmed recruiting Russian speakers for upcoming NATO drills involving US troops. What do you make of this practice?

Mike Raddie: Yes, I saw this today. It’s interesting the rational the recruitment company has put forward for this. Obviously, NATO, they say that they are looking for actors to play the part of Russians in a realistic exercise. I don’t know why they need specifically Russian-speaking actors to do this. It makes me think maybe the NATO troops don’t have any imagination at all and they can’t accept an exercise fighting Russia if there are no Russian speakers in the facility. So, it seems a little bit odd. I think there are other reasons for this, as well. And maybe we’ll go into those.

RT: What kind of scenarios NATO would be playing out here?

MR: I think they are modeling incursions into Russian territory. Obviously, we know that NATO troops are surrounding Russia at the moment. All across the Baltic nations, at least 200,000 NATO troops across that border region. But also towards the south, towards Afghanistan. And we know that in the past when there has been conflicts, even when Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, our proxy forces, the mujahedeen, which Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had been arming and supporting for so many years, they made incursions, maybe 20-30 kilometers inside Soviet Union territory at a time. And I think this is a similar exercise. They are looking to make sure that their troops are prepared because it looks like it is either an invasion imminent or they are planning some kind of false flag attack to make it look like Russians were responsible for some military action around in the world somewhere, maybe in Afghanistan, maybe somewhere else when in fact it is NATO forces and US and UK probably doing the incursions themselves.

We know that the Russian military and the Russian president, they are seen as the boogeyman in the West, certainly the Western media. But the global south sees Russia as a defender of human rights around the world. The fact that the Russian government has stepped into Syria and came to the aid of the Syrian government, legitimate Syrian government of President Bashar Assad that is a real stick in the craw for the US. Their plans have been thwarted in Syria, and I think that the fact that Russia has played such a clever strategic game, not just in Syria, but in the region itself, this is not going down well in Washington and London. Their plans have been thwarted and they are having to change their plans all the time because of the diplomacy of Sergey Lavrov and Putin, and also the military strength shown and the solidarity shown with the people of Syria.

I was wondering when I read it that this is a pretty bizarre story. I wonder whether NATO should not rent a part of Russia’s territory and play it out there in a kind of reality show or something. I can’t take it serious. This is ridiculous and this is extremely consuming of taxpayers money to play out a war-like situation with live people that you pay for day to play the role of farmers and shopkeepers. It is signaling that we may need to exercise for a situation when we have NATO troops on Russian territory, or Russian-speaking territory. It’s sending a very bad, very awkward, very confrontational and unnecessary signal to Russia. - Jan Oberg, director of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research

RT: Michael Fallon says there’s Eastern threat that needs to be deterred. How does this rhetoric help peace and security in Europe?

MR: Absolutely not. This is the escalation that everyone is fearing at the moment. Fifty or 100 years ago if there was such a build-up of troops, it would be classed as an invasion and the country surrounded would strike out, as it must. Because it would see the security implications. Obviously, when you surround Russia - and it is not just Russia that is surrounded, it is Iran, China, as well - when these countries are surrounded – this is not the defense of the West that is at stake here, it is a defense of Russia, China, Iran and Syria…The Western media portraying this typically as “Russian aggression” despite the fact that Russia is practically surrounded on all fronts… There is no reason for the West to be mounting such firepower on the Russian border if they were not planning some kind of incursion or invasion.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.