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The Economist Demands NATO Showdown with Russia Now!

March 29, 2014 (EIRNS)—The mouthpiece of the City of London, The Economist, has spoken editorially and the word is: War!

Under the headline “All for One,” The Economist rails against Vladimir Putin and Russia’s supposed aggression against Ukraine and the threat of further Russian incursions into the Baltics. After warning in hysterical terms about the dangers of appeasement, the editorial concludes with marching orders for confrontation sooner than later.

“The greatest provocation to Mr. Putin is to fail to stand up to him, and the least costly time to resist him is now. Emboldened, Mr. Putin could test NATO’s resolve by changing the facts on the ground (grabbing a slice of Russian-speaking Latvia, say, or creating a corridor through Lithuania to Kaliningrad) and daring the alliance to risk nuclear war. More likely he would try destabilization—the sabotage of Baltic railways; the killing of Russians by agents provocateurs; strikes, protests and anonymous economy-wide cyber-attacks. That would make life intolerable for the Balts, without necessarily eliciting a response from the West.

“Either way, if the Balts begin to disintegrate, it would leave the West with a much less palatable choice than it has today: NATO would have to walk away from its main premise, that aggression against one is aggression on all, or it would have to respond—and to restore deterrence, NATO’s response would have to be commensurately greater. That in turn would pose the immediate threat of escalation.

“Better to take steps today, so that Mr. Putin understands he has nothing to gain from stirring up trouble. Barack Obama, visiting the alliance’s headquarters this week, made a start, by reaffirming the principle of mutual protection and saying that some American troops would be shifted eastwards. More is needed. More exercises should take place in eastern Europe. The regions air and cyber defenses need boosting. NATO’s next head, to be appointed in September, should be someone who understands Russia—Jens Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, or Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister. The alliance should work with Sweden and Finland and leave the door open to their membership. And all members should honor their pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defense.

“With its difficult mission in Afghanistan drawing to a close, NATO had been looking for a purpose. Mr. Putin has given it one. If the leaders of NATO countries can show they understand that, then all of Europe will be safer.”