The US and Russia have restarted the Cold War – probably to the delight of the Military-Industrial complex, because the Cold War means increased military spending which is good for business when your business makes guns or bullets or bombs. That leaves the rest of us to groan about the wasted money and lives. But.. what’s this about a Cold War? NATO and the U.S. have been beefing up military presence all along Russia’s eastern border, from Latvia through Ukraine, and as far south as Romania and Bulgaria. At the same time Russia has built up forces along the Ukraine border, and the civil war in Ukraine shows no sign of abating. At the same time, America has boots on the ground in Western Ukraine performing training of troops fresh from battle and maybe don’t need training. At the same time Russia and Ukraine are continually going back and forth over natural gas agreements, some months Russia is refusing to sell natural gas to Ukraine, and other months they’re back in business, but the general story is allegations and finger pointing but no solution to the natural gas conflict.
One of the backdrops to the war over Ukraine is natural gas supplies not just to Ukraine but to other parts of Europe. I’ve gone over this before – and another time – US Government officials and EU officials are worried about Europe being beholden to Russia for fossil fuel (natural gas) supplies. Europe doesn’t have significant fossil fuel (natural gas) supplies of its own, and Norway’s fields are beginning to run low. The Congressional Research Service published a report a couple years ago (see the earlier posts linked above) going over all the potential sources for natural gas for Europe that doesn’t involve buying it from Russia. That same report described Europe’s Energy Security as a National Interest of the U.S., short hand for “we’re willing to go to war” over this issue.
The coup which overthrew the Yanukovych government in Ukraine could have been partly intended to serve that purpose. Ukraine has extensive shale deposits which could possibly be fracked to produce a natural gas boom in Eastern Europe that could make Ukraine rich and relieve Europe from buying natural gas from Ukraine. Unfortunately the Western oil companies that would have done the fracking deed have pulled out of Ukraine. However, it’s obvious a huge part of the rationale is a global power game – the US and EU and NATO wants to hem in Russia, and has made agreements with most of the former-Soviet-client countries.
Cold War? Did someone say Cold War?
What’s happened as a result? The post-coup Ukrainian government is facing an internal war which is receiving some amount of aid from Russia. Russia may or may not have been sending troops into Ukraine – they deny it, but many news outlets say they have done so. A recent video report from Vice News uses social media postings by Russian soldiers to show evidence that Russian soldiers are sent into Ukraine to help tip crucial battles. At the same time US troops are stationed in Western Ukraine training Ukraine’s troops, again Vice News provides a good video report which focused on saying Ukraine’s troops are already experienced and don’t need additional training. The Daily Beast looked into one question – is the U.S. training pseudo-Nazi’s, because there were pseudo-Nazi’s leading the Ukraine coup, who were thought to have been backed by the U.S.
But let’s not get distracted – it means that U.S. troops and Russia troops are operating in some capacity in the same country, on opposite sides of what’s essentially a civil war.
It’s not just Ukraine. Recently the U.S. military held a joint exercise with Latvian troops over invasion from Russia. That exercise included a B-52 bombing run less than 200 miles from Russia’s borders. Vice News had a good video report, and the NY Times has a long report going over not just the Latvian exercises but the whole story of the reawakening of the Cold War.
NATO has been setting up rapid reaction bases in every country in Eastern Europe. US military has held exercises with Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Moldova, and other countries. The US has beefed up its military bases in Romania, including an anti-missile base.
In other words, a military buildup is happening along Russia’s border with the rest of Europe.
Meanwhile the U.S. populace is being kept distracted with supposed scandals like someone’s sex change operation, or a woman pretending to be african-american, or whatever.
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