NATO Invents Russian Threats
In The Baltic - But Putin's Next Big Play Is
While mainstream media
promulgate a fictitious message of Russian
threats in the Baltic, Vladimir Putin’s next
big play lies far to the south, writes
By Oliver Tickell
February 23, 2015 "ICH"
gross intransigence of the EU, the IMF, the
European Central Bank and Germany are
forcing Greece into a powerful new economic
and energy alliance with Russia that will
reshape Europe – and for the better.
We could see
Greece simply renouncing its
manifestly unpayable and unjust €320
billion national debt, and quitting
the Eurozone straitjacket – while
receiving an emergency liquidity
package from Russia to support the
launch of the New Drachma.
Russian President Vladimir
“launch a campaign of undercover attacks to
destabilise the Baltic states on Nato’s
eastern flank”, the Telegraph reports today
– along with all other mainstream news
How do we know this?
Because the UK’s Defence Secretary Michael
Fallon has said so. Lithuania, Estonia and
Latvia watch out – the Russian peril is fast
coming your way.
“There are lots of
worries”, Fallon told the newspaper.
“I’m worried about Putin.
There’s no effective control of the
border, I’m worried about his pressure
on the Baltics, the way he is testing
NATO, the submarines and aircraft … They
are modernising their conventional
forces, they are modernising their
nuclear forces and they are testing
NATO, so we need to respond.”
Covert attack by Russia on
the Baltic states is
“a very real and present danger”,
Now where did we hear that
before? Ah yes. On 16th December 1998
President Bill Clinton said that that Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein presented “a
clear and present danger“ to the
stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety
of people everywhere.
We all know where that
led: the Iraq war followed a few years
later. We also know that the claim was a
monstrous untruth: Saddam had no chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons. So why should
we believe Fallon now? Where is his
evidence? He has none. When you already know
the truth, who needs evidence?
Fallon – and NATO
– should keep their eyes on the ball
But while Fallon’s
attention is focused on the imaginary threat
to the Baltic states, there is another
country that really could be ‘at risk’ – and
not because of cyber-attack, invasion by
‘green men’ or a campaign of destabilisation
emanating from the Kremlin.
No, the EU, the European
Central Bank, the IMF and European finance
ministers have already been doing all the
destabilisation that’s needed – forcing
Greece into a deep programme of austerity
that has seen the economy shrink by 25% over
five years, the closure of vital public
services, mass unemployment and the forced
sell-off of public assets.
And now the Greeks – and
their newly elected Syriza government – have
had enough. This week the Greek prime
minister Alexis Tsipras flatly refused to
renew the €240 billion ‘bailout’ package,
which comes with all the austerity strings,
and he today advanced
proposals for a ‘six-month assistance
package’ free of harsh conditions to give
Greece time to renegotiate its debt.
The standoff continues,
and will be decided tomorrow by EU finance
ministers. It’s not looking good: Germany
has already stated that the Greek proposal “does
not meet the conditions”. But if the
finance minsters don’t agree, then what?
You guessed it: Tsipras
will turn to Russia. Earlier this month
Tsipras and Putin agreed
on a range of bilateral ties, including
the construction of a pipeline that would
carry Russian natural gas from the Turkish
border across Greece to the other countries
of southern Europe.
This follows the
re-routing of the ‘South Stream’ pipeline,
which had been due to cross Bulgaria but was
effectively blocked by the EU’s
retrospective application of energy market
rules, under heavy pressure from the USA.
Last November and December Putin negotiated
the pipeline’s realignment
across Turkey with Turkish President
Erdogan – right up to the Greek border.
Following the agreement
between Putin and Tsipras, which came
complete with an invitation to Moscow on
Victory over the Nazis day, 9th May, the
pipeline link to the major countries of
southern Europe is now complete, at least on
paper. And once it’s built, Greece will
effectively control – and profit from – that
gas supply, and take a strategic position in
Europe’s energy landscape.
But Greece is a
Greece’s increasingly warm
relationship with Russia is already causing
concern among other EU and NATO countries.
German Defense Minister Ursula
von Der Leyen has saidthat Greece was “putting
at risk its position in the NATO alliance
with its approach to Russia.”
This provoked a fierce
retort from Greek Defense Minister Panos
Kammenos who branded the attack as “unacceptable
and extortionate” - noting that “Greece
was always on the side of the Allies when
they pushed back German occupation troops.”
“Statements that replace the
EU and NATO’s institutional bodies are
unacceptable as blackmailing”,
he added. “They
undermine the European institutions except
if Germany’s aim is to dissolve the European
Union and the NATO.”
So if Tsipras’s
refinancing proposal is refused tomorrow
will Greece quit NATO and the EU, to join
the Eurasian Union? Not if Mr Putin gets his
way: Greece is worth much more to Russia as
an ally within the EU and NATO than outside
– where it can veto more trade sanctions
against Russia, block the TTIP and CETA
trade deals with the USA and Canada, and
oppose NATO’s increasing belligerence from
But we could see Greece
simply renouncing its manifestly
unpayable and unjust €320 billion
national debt, and quitting the Eurozone
straitjacket – while receiving an emergency
liquidity package from Russia to support the
launch of the New Drachma.
In fact, we could see a
re-run of important elements of the Ukraine
play of December 2013, when Russia offered
package under which it would buy $15
billion in bonds from Ukraine, supporting
its collapsing currency, and supply it with
deeply discounted gas – £268 per cubic metre
rather than the maarket price of $400.
A $15 billion purchase of
New Drachma denominated Greek bonds would be
a superb launch for Greece’s new currency,
and would firmly cement Greece’s long term
alliance with Russia, providing it with a
valuable long term bridgehead into both the
EU and NATO.
This move would also give
inspiration and confidence to progressive
political movements across Europe that take
inspiration from Syriza’s fight for economic
justice – in Spain, Portugal, Ireland,
Italy, the UK and beyond – and bear the
powerful message: there is an alternative.
And while NATO, the EU,
the USA and their loyal servants, among them
the UK’s Michael Fallon, deliberately whip
up a fictitious threat in the Baltic,
ignoring the real danger they face to the
south, the masterly Mr Putin would once
again make fools of them all.
Oliver Tickell edits
The Ecologist, but this article is written
in a personal capacity.
The Ecologist, 2015