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US May Change Its Baltic-East Europe Policy: Military Strength May Increase

By Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava

15 June, 2015

US defense ministry has decided that Eastern European countries now need the better military preparedness hence strength full military needs to be stationed in this part of the Europe. According to a report in “New York Time” USA may station 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers; and with equipment sufficient for about 150 soldiers may be placed at three Baltic nations; Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and about 750 soldiers may be placed at Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.

This is a significant policy change in the US defense circle though still requiring the Defense Secretary and White House approval, the move suggests that everything is not alright at this front of Europe.

During cold war age Joseph Stalin used to term Eastern European countries as buffer zone. His premise was that first these countries had to be crossed then only Russia proper could be reached. For western countries East European countries were satellite countries of USSR. Now time has changed after the cold war the same area is now likely to be used by USA and NATO to contain Russia.

There are certain plausible reasons which have pushed USA to think to station its army in this area.

Primarily USA and NATO have concluded that Russia as long as remains under the control of the Putin; will remain a threat to their interests in Europe. They think that Russia in any opportunity may invade Ukraine and other associated areas. Ukraine’s president has expressed similar fears. They have in their mind Crimea which they claim has been annexed by Russia.

Moreover they have also come to realize that sanctions on the Russia have produced limited impacts. They know that Russia is not Iran because of its inherent strength in energy resources and with its capacity to influence the events in the global political system.

US and NATO have inferred that Russia can be controlled by increasing military might around its borders as the failure of the sanctions have placed much pressure on the policy establishments there. The G 7 statements have also pointed in this direction. The strict statements show that for US, EU and NATO things have not moved the way they had contemplated for.

Russian diplomacy on the other hand is more proactive. Putin recently visited Italy where Prime Minister Matteo Renzi seems to be in his support. This development puts pressure on the EU and NATO. The Russian policy is to engage those countries which have a little consideration for it. Putin although says he does not entertain idea to attack Ukraine.

This shows that Russia is cooler than the USA at the present juncture, the recent thought of placing its army personnel in the Baltic-Eastern European countries is suggestive of it.

In this background it is necessary to find out the likely direction of the international politics. It is established that US and NATO have serious reservations about the Russian intentions. These are bolstered by the fears entertained by Poroshenko,Ukrainian president .Russia is active at the global level. Its activism at the regional level and attempt to increase relations with China, India and to play a crucial role in Middle East show that USA cannot treat Russia as a minion state.

These developments may contribute in the reemergence of cold war. The first cold war was ideology based where capitalism and communism were two poles. Here next phase of cold war if intensifies, will base itself on the basis of national identities. National identity is synonymous to the existential value of the nation state. USA and its allies with the help of NATO stand at advantage but they also face challenge from Russia . Russian identity and national pride is now at height. These realities often remain unattended in the International Politics.

It is high time that USA and Russia both must redefine their understanding about each other in the framework of the national identity and pride. The identities often lead to expansion and suppression of the other. After the end of first cold war, USA has enriched its identity by controlling the global economy but the emergence of evil of terrorism and partial evolution of multiple states with certain amount of power have restrained the US actions. Russia too is in search of the proper place in the global politics and to regain the lost status of the world poser. Putin is major determining force in this respect who has attempted to establish the real status of Russia.

The policy planners at the both level will have to understand the real causes of the problem. The unnecessary expansion of EU in Ukraine alarmed Russia which took the decision to guard its national interests. USA needs to understand that its expansionism will be resisted by Russia by any means. The idea of positioning of its forces in Baltic- Eastern Europe is not a good policy decision as it will stimulate the sharp Russian response. Instead it must sit with Russian government and find out a durable solution. Germany, France have remained involved in settling the dispute. Their good offices can be used again. The cold war age psychology has great potential to turn the area more conflictful.

Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is Assistant Professor, CSJM Kanpur University(affiliated College) and Vice Chairman CSSP, e mail-vpy1000@yahoo.co.in








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