‘NATO seeks encircling Russia in Cold War 2.0’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. © Francois Lenoir
The Western alliance’s policy towards Russia is aimed at several things: restoring the hegemony it had before, punishing Russia, and boosting the military budgets of NATO members, says former Belgian MP Lode Vanoost.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday the alliance's military presence in Eastern Europe is the largest in decades. This year NATO is planning to deploy four new battalions in the Baltic States and Poland.

NATO is tripling its response force to 40,000 troops and a $3 billion increase in spending is estimated for 2016, with the Secretary General stressing that it must keep growing each year.

The current NATO exercise in Poland is one of the largest with 31,000 troops taking part.

NATO exercises seem to get bigger every year, and are part of the organization’s long-term strategy, which was agreed at the Wales summit in 2014, says Ludo de Brabander, Vrede peace movement spokesperson.

According to the anti-war activist, there’s “a real contradiction” between NATO’s plan to a boost military the presence on Russia's borders and statements it is not seeking confrontation.

Every time NATO officials tell us that these kinds of actions are not aimed towards Russia, not a new arms race, every time it is repeated,” Brabander told RT. However, he went on, “it is an arms race; it is a confrontation policy, an enlargement policy of NATO since the 1990’s.”

Such steps are seen as provocative by Russia which fears its security is being threatened, the activist observed. 

Former Belgian MP Lode Vanoost compared the current situation to what he referred to as the “first Cold War.”

I would never have imagined that all the same the same lies, the same pretenses would be repeated so bluntly,” he said commenting on NATO rhetoric. “The first Cold War was about forcing the Soviet Union… to enlarge its defense budget at the expense of its economy,” Vanoost said, adding that it was one of the reasons why the USSR collapsed.

Now the West seeks to “punish” Russia for the “disobedience” it demonstrated recently, Vanoost said.

President Putin was clear: ‘You have crossed the red line in Ukraine, in Georgia by trying to enlarge NATO there. We will never accept it’,” he said.

The Western military alliance policy is aimed “at encircling Russia,” Vanoost argues.

The West attempts to “reestablish the hegemony they feel they’ve been losing over the past 10 to 15 years.” And that refers not only to Russia, but to some other BRICS countries.

What is happening in Brazil – that is also part the same agenda,” he believes.

Boosting military budgets is another reason why Russia is being portrayed as a threat, Vanoost said. 

On the one hand side, Russia could simply ignore what is going on, but “things do not work that way.”

That might give the impression that Russia is weak and doesn’t dare to react. So they have to react by increasing their defense budget as well,” he concluded.

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