The United States European Command (EUCOM) has announced an updated military strategy in Europe. The document suggests six priorities for the coming three-five years. One of them is to “deter Russian aggression.”
The key foothold to deter Russia and its growing influence will be the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as well as a number of states along Russia’s borders pursuing evidently anti-Russian foreign policy and Euro-Atlantic vector of development. U.S. tries to build a “sanitary cordon” along Russia’s western borders or use the geopolitical principle of “Anaconda” creating a ring of unfriendly countries around Russia, a coalition that will stretch from the Baltics via Ukraine, Georgia up to Azerbaijan. Not so long ago, Turkey also joined that anti-Russian coalition.
U.S. is increasing its military and political presence in those countries creating a myth, a fake information about “Russian threat,” Moscow’s “revenge seeking” and attempts to revive the Russian Empire, though President of Russia Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that the Kremlin does not seek to reassemble the USSR or reanimate the Russian Empire. However, U.S. does not listen to Moscow’s logical arguments, as it seeks to “frighten” its satellites and increase its military and political presence in the strategically important region and create a “buffer” zone between Russia and the EU heavyweight countries – France and Germany – to prevent combination of the Russian resources and Germany (European) technologies. That union or tandem is very dangerous for Washington. Stratfor (“shadow CIA”) founder and CEO George Friedman wrote about such “horrific prospects” for Washington in his analytical reviews.
After the Kiev Maidan (paid for by the U.S. embassy in Kiev), U.S. has actively turned Ukraine into the most anti-Russian country in the post-Soviet space – the key foothold of the anti-Russian “Mannerheim Line.” NATO members Poland and Latvia have joined Ukraine’s Russophobia. Poland that has become “right-winger” and anti-Russian after the recent elections is now trying to make true the cherished dream of Marshal Piłsudski - Intermarium doctrine - on its eastern borders, but in the form of the Lithuania-Poland-Ukraine brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG). Brave Brand military exercises of the joint brigade started a few days ago in Lublin. The exercises will be held in three stages. The military will be fulfilling tasks in multi-national environment, exchanging information between the brigade headquarters, and properly distributing the tasks to the Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian battalions.
These countries will be deterring Russia in the region - from the Baltic Sea up to the Black Sea, along with efforts to reduce their energy, gas, and transit dependence on Russia (Poland and Lithuania will be importing gas from Norway). Ukraine strives to build new logistics in the Black Sea-Caspian region with the support of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Ukrainian goods will be supplied to Georgia via Ilyichevsk port and then to Azerbaijan via railway. It helps to remember that these countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) are members of GUAM – an organization that looks to create alternative energy and transport corridors along Russia’s borders to reduce the dependence of these countries from Russia. U.S. actively supports GUAM’s reanimation as an anti-Russian, anti-Eurasian factor that, as Washington thinks, will split the CIS, impede the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) integration, and not let these countries join the EEU in future.
After Turkey’s Air Force downed the Russian warplane over Syria, Ankara has joined the countries of “anti-Russian axis.” Turkey supports Jihadists in Syria making an alliance with Saudi Arabia and Qatar and creating an anti-Russian, anti-Iranian coalition in the Middle East. The goal is the overthrow Bashar al-Assad, not to let Moscow increase its influence in the region (withdrawal of Russia’s military bases from Syria), as well as de-Christianization of the Middle East, in particular, the ethnic purges of Armenians in Syria, Lebanon, where the Armenian communities are rather active and united. Unfortunately, little remained from the Armenian community in Syria. They fled to Armenia, EU or neighboring Lebanon to avoid a new genocide.
To recap, Turkey has been blocking Moscow’s strategic partner in the South Caucasus – Armenia- since 1993 and creating a military-political and economic alliance Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan, a new energy and transport corridor passing by Russia. Ankara in a tandem with Kiev supports the Crimean Tatars - the ones that have anti-Russian orientation - trying to play the “Tatar card” in its Pan-Turkism and Neo-Ottoman plans.
As for the Transcaucasian wing of the “anti-Russian” axis, Georgia has what it calls unresolved problems over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while the independence of Sukhumi and Tskhinval was recognized by Moscow. Russia has troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and provides security of those countries and their population (most having Russian citizenship) based on bilateral treaties. Moscow has actually left no chance to Tbilisi to return Abkhazia and South Ossetia by force. Georgia chose the Euro Atlantic vector of development and allowed the construction of a NATO educational center in its territory (it is symbolical that the center is located at the former Soviet/Russian military base Viziani) turning into a foothold for NATO-U.S. in the region. As to Azerbaijan, it has lost Karabakh and blames Moscow “for everything” - for supporting Armenia economically and in the military-technical field (Armenia is a member of the CSTO, EEU, CIS, and Russia’s 102nd military base in located in Gyumri, Armenia). Azerbaijan has become a satellite, a tandem country for Turkey, taking its lead from the foreign policy of that pro-NATO and pro-American country.
Actually, the anti-Russian Mannerheim Line, the “anti-Russia axis” is expanding with the support and lobby of the United States. As envisioned by Western strategists, it should form a Russophobic space between the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea in prejudice of the countries and peoples in that wide region. It is at least naïve to think that Russian will be just following that fatal process. Moscow has already taken counter-measures in August 2008, in Crimea, Donbass, and Syria and will do more, should the need arise.
Artyom Balasanov, expert at VERELQ Information and Analysis Center (Yerevan)