NATO advances on Russia’s border under the cover of Western media propaganda
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge
The Western media’s ongoing campaign to demonize Russia appears to be paying dividends as Poland this week invited the US military into its house. And not for some overnight slumber party, mind you, but forever.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the invitation, entitled ‘Proposal for a U.S. Permanent Presence in Poland,’ sounds as if it were written by a group of defense sector lobbyists on Capitol Hill.
Echoing the Western media's delusional talking points on Russia – complete with “hybrid warfare through its annexation of Crimea, cyberattacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and…aggressive actions in Georgia” – the Polish Ministry of Defense said it would pay $2 billion for the pleasure of hosting US soldiers on its territory.
In the past, nations spent billions to defend themselves from foreign occupation; today they happily write out checks to make sure it happens. Poland, in line with NATO dictate, already dishes out 2 percent of its annual GDP on defense spending.
Are we now supposed to believe Warsaw must outsource to defend its borders, especially when the threat of invasion is a figment of its media-influenced imagination?
The attentive reader, meanwhile, would have caught the most telling line in Poland’s invitation as to why the NATO vassal states are trembling with fear in their over-sized boots: “Russia is seeking to strengthen its political and economic relations with key European countries at the expense of U.S. national interests.” GASP!
Why, how dare those wily Russians employ the subtle, age-old art of diplomacy and capitalism, depriving NATO of its excuse for hanging around for half a century after its expiration date, while at the same time competing directly against US corporations in Europe? Why, it’s so un-American!
Perhaps some readers, and especially those born in the late 19 century or thereabouts, might be tempted to believe that at least one prudent Western journalist would advise caution, reminding Warsaw that Russia – a country that is certainly no stranger to invading armies - may actually respond to the threat of a potential adversary setting up camp smack on its border.
Those readers would be advised not to hold their breath.
In an opinion piece for Bloomberg discussing Poland’s invitation - which, oddly enough, was reportedly sent by the Polish Ministry of Defense without the express approval of the Polish President – Leonid Bershivsky argues that Poland should move ahead with its grand plan because “there’s nothing…Russia could do in response.”
Huh? Since Bershidsky did not miss Vladimir Putin’s state of the nation address on March 1 when he offered a peek at some of Russia’s latest military developments, it would seem that Bershidsky was being deliberately disingenuous with his readers about Russia’s apparent lack of options. After all, Russia could deploy on a permanent basis nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region, which would certainly not give the Polish people much cause for comfort.
Before continuing, it needs to be emphasized that Russia has been building advanced weapon systems not because Russians are an inherently aggressive race hell-bent on invading its neighbors. Absolutely not. The reason for the rapid research and development of those systems was because, as Putin himself explained, the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. That regrettable decision was followed up by Washington’s refusal to cooperate with Moscow on America’s European-based missile defense shield, a system which presents a direct threat to the strategic balance.
“In the end, if we did nothing, this would render the Russian nuclear potential worthless,” the Russian leader said. “They could simply intercept all of it.”
Meanwhile, at the very same time the US was bolting down its missile shield, the NATO franchise was encroaching on Russia’s borders, exactly as Washington promised it would never do. The Americans, while being responsible for triggering an actual arms race with Russia, attempted to conceal their muddy tracks by conjuring up the bogeyman of ‘Russian aggression’ to explain everything.
So obviously, Bershidsky, a Russian-born journalist based in Germany, is very mistaken. There is quite a lot that Russia can do in the event that Poland gives the US military permanent residency on its territory. And since the obvious Russian response would be to beef up its side of the border, and develop evermore fearsome weapons to check NATO’s inexorable slide eastward, Bershidsky’s argument comes off worse than foolish; it’s outrageously dangerous.
Like the propaganda leaflets dropped on enemy territory from the sky, the Western media is bombarding the citizens of Eastern Europe with the myth of ‘Russian aggression,’ which, as the fairytale goes, is on the verge of staging an attack on European territory.
Yet even Bershidsky begrudgingly admits that Russia would gain nothing by invading its neighbors, like the Baltic states or Poland.
“Any conceivable benefits of trying to take over resource-poor nations with a mostly hostile population pale before the risk of a full-blown conflict with NATO, even if the alliance’s engagement is not 100 percent assured,” he argued.
However, as is the maddening tendency for so many Western commentators these days, Bershidsky views the world primarily through the lens of US interests and thus offers a misguided remedy to a nonexistent problem.
“The U.S. doesn’t stand to lose anything by accepting Poland’s generous proposal and gradually relocating troops there from Germany,” he states, oblivious to what Poland stands to lose by ratcheting up tensions with Moscow.
He then contradicts his above argument, showing a kneejerk commitment to the ‘Russian aggression’ narrative: “A move of this kind would be consistent with stated U.S. goals, such as deterring Russia… The American military presence should be aligned with its allies’ sense of being threatened. This anxiety gets stronger the closer a country is to Russia’s borders.”
In reality, the “sense of being threatened” gets stronger the more a country accepts the Western mainstream narrative at face value. In fact, it is NATO that could be gearing up for some sort of military misadventure, particularly in Ukraine, which Poland – not Germany – shares a border with. After all, why else would the US agree to sell Ukraine its Javelin anti-tank missiles? And while we’re at it, why were high-ranking US officials on the ground in Kiev just as that country was beginning to crack up, going so far as to decide behind the scenes who would assume the reins of power? Is that not the very definition of ‘meddling in the affairs’ of a foreign state?
But I digress.
Bershidsky argues that the US military should take up Poland’s offer of permanent deployment because “[T]he front line with Russia has moved east.” What he fails to mention, however, is that the front line has moved east due specifically to NATO sprawl. That peculiar line of reasoning brings to mind a popular internet meme that was making the rounds not long ago. It showed dozens of little US flags dotting the periphery of Russia with the comment: ‘How dare Russia move its country so close to our military bases!’
Indeed, Poland my share a border with Russia, but it shares a far greater and more influential border with US-led NATO, whose very existence depends upon its members accepting the illusion that Russia is a clear and present danger. The duty of journalists is to point out the obvious fallacies of such beliefs, which are totally disconnected from the reality, instead of uncritically and unequivocally embracing them.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.