Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0: 'Russia's surrounded by NATO bases and US missile systems’
Amid heightening tensions between Russia and the West, Vladimir Putin has again faced questions about hacking and influence over the upcoming election in Germany. It came as he met foreign journalists on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Speaking about US missile systems now stationed in Alaska and South Korea, the Russian leader said, “They have elements in their ABM system in Alaska and now in South Korea. Do we have to look at this helplessly and do the same in Eastern Europe? Of course not. We contemplate our response to this challenge.”
Putin said Russia doesn’t put any faith in Western assurances that the ABM system is not directed against Russia and is working on ways to counter the threat to national security and global strategic balance.
RT spoke with author Martin Summers for his views on the unprecedented level of Russophobia that has led to this de facto arms race and what can be done to quell it.
RT: Putin said the level of Russophobia is at an all-time high. What will it take to calm the hostile climate?
Martin Summers: Well, the way you calm a hostile climate is just be the calmest one in the room. All sensible people watching English-language television shows all over the world, if the Russians just carry on just being calm and sensible then people will see who’s being reasonable and who’s being unreasonable. I suggest it’s absolutely unreasonable to suggest that Macron, for example, who won the French presidential election fairly handsomely in the end, in what way is it reasonable to suggest that the Russians fixed that result? It seems absurd on the face of it. And if Trump is supposedly a ‘Russian puppet,’ then why did he carry out the totally unacceptable to my mind airstrike in Syria, which was completely against Russia’s interests? You’d think if he were a puppet he’d be doing exactly what Russia wanted, but he isn’t, is he?
RT: Speaking about Russophobia, Russia is surrounded by NATO bases. Putin even said US forces could be expected in the Kuril Islands if Russia hands them over to Japan. Why is the Western media more concentrated on the supposed Russian threat, than the actual moves by NATO?
Martin Summers: It is war propaganda, not to put too fine a point on it, isn’t it? It’s Russia that is surrounded by NATO bases. And of course, even more to the point are the missile systems in Romania and Poland, which are incredibly provocative. People will remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, and that was when the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba, close to the US coast, and we all nearly went to war.
Similar provocations are now taking place, and nobody seems to be aware of what the implications are. In the British election here, Jeremy Corbyn has been attacked for refusing to say that he would press the nuclear button first because that has always been NATO policy – to threaten the first strike. Now, most ordinary people, if they thought about that for two minutes, would realize that is an absurd posture – we should get rid of it as soon as possible.
RT:Putin said Russia does not show any favor toward any of the candidates in the German election. Similar questions were raised over the US and French elections. Why does such speculation always emerge when there's a key election in the world?
MS: They’re trying to demonize the Russian state and the Russian people. The presentation of Russian politics in the West is extremely one-dimensional. The plurality of Russian politics is not understood. Russia is a modern, democratic society with a pluralistic system with a variety of political parties operating, but you wouldn’t know that to watch our media over here. It’s supposedly some sort of dictatorship, and of course, this type of propaganda is very damaging to world peace. The way to deal with childish allegations is to remain serious and adult.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.