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NATO Steps Up Provocations Against Russia

June 18, 2015 (EIRNS)—While NATO is exercising more than 10,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the Baltic region and Poland, its leadership, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, are stepping up the rhetoric against Russia. Breedlove lashed out at Russia yesterday, in response to President Putin’s recent announcement that Russia would be adding 40 ICBM’s to its arsenal.

"This is not a way that responsible nuclear nations behave," Breedlove told Reuters during a visit to Poland. Stoltenberg agreed. "They are exercising their nuclear forces more, and they are also using nuclear rhetoric as part of their strategy," Stoltenberg said.

Before heading for Poland, the two leaders also wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which they bragged about the high density of NATO exercises under the name of "Allied Shield.. "Allied Shield will demonstrate that NATO is able to deploy combat forces anywhere within NATO’s territory within days should a crisis break out or if allies are threatened," they wrote. "It will show the world that this alliance is ready, willing and able to deal with whatever challenges it faces." They went on to argue that these exercises are necessary, because the world is changing.

"After the Cold War, we entered a new era of freedom and democracy based on internationally recognized rules. This e experienced unprecedented levels of international cooperation and brought prosperity to billions of people around the globe. This order is now being challenged."

Meanwhile, the leaders of Poland and the Baltic countries are playing their assigned roles in ratcheting up the confrontation with Russia, by demanding that NATO permanently station troops on their soil in violation of NATO’s agreement with Russia. Polish president-elect Andrzej Duda, who takes office in August, has already made this point. Said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics from Sydney, "I think that what we are witnessing is unprecedented since 1962, since [the] Cuban missile crisis," and Estonian president Toomas Ilves paid a visit to US Army Europe headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, on June 16, where he was hosted by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.

Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Debra Lee James has been on a whirlwind tour of Europe this week, demanding that NATO member countries increase their defense budgets to the "obligatory" two percent of GDP level. The reason, of course, is alleged Russian aggression, which, James said in Brussels, "is a blatant challenge to the accepted norms, and it is deliberately creating a thick fog of confusion in order to try and obscure what is going on in Ukraine."

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov responded to all of this by charging that it’s NATO that’s encroaching on Russia’s borders, not the other way around.

"It’s not Russia that’s approaching someone’s borders. It’s NATO’s military infrastructure that is approaching the borders of Russia," he said. This reality, he said, "forces Russia to take measures for securing its interests, its security and also parity."