In the last few years, tensions between the East and West has been on the rise. One might think that the Cold War would be a thing of the past, yet terrifyingly, current situations show that this struggle of power between the US and Russia has not yet been settled. Putin is gaining allies by the day and the US is fearing that Russia might get the upper hand in global dominance and become number one.
Just recently in the month of January 2017, NATO has been placing US shipped military vehicles and troops on the borders with Russia, namely in the following countries: Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. The US argues that this moving of troops to the East of Europe is vital for the protection of Europe from Russian aggression. Opinions regarding this act differ very much. Jeremy Corbin, of the UK Labour Party, has voiced his disagreement with this building up of NATO troops on the Russian border and as a result has been accused of being a collaborator of the Russians. Beata Szydlo, the Prime Minister of Poland, on the other hand, welcomed the US troops and “hope(s) they feel at home”.
This act of the West forced Russia to mobilize troops along its Western borders and in the enclave of Kaliningrad. One has to keep in mind the fact that a clash between these troops and the Russian ones would be taken as an attack on all NATO members, which could result in a major war. Although, the intention of NATO with this manoeuvre is to protect the inhabitants of Europe, tense times such as this, might require diplomatic intervention rather than military. In the words of Jean Monnet, “better to fight around the table than on the battlefield”.
Besides the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by vote, Russia has not shown any other intention of further expanding its borders into Europe. This Russophobia can be thanked to mainstream media and the constant accusations of the West, to which Putin has not responded aggressively, but is this act of NATO a step too far? The West has accused Russia of numerous things, amongst them of hacking the US elections, of hacking into power grids, cyber-attacks against Britain and the list increases by the day.
Recent events, such as Ukraine and Syria, were sometimes referred to as the US- Russian proxy war. Placing military equipment off the border of Russia is only an act of provocation, which might result in a serious conflict, devastating the regions where it would take place.
Hopefully, after the 20th of January things will change when Trump takes seat in the White House. He is known to have praised the Russian President and stated that he is looking forward to working with him to solve pressing world issues. For the sake of the World, let’s hope that the two keep their words, but until then, the peace and security of Europe hangs on this balance.
Matyas is 24 years old and studying International Relations as my MA degree at the University of Szeged in Hungary. His main areas of interests are European and global security issues. Also, he is involved in extracurricular activities, such as MUN and similar conferences, and is a founding member and current Secretary at YouthCult Association. After finishing his studies he wants to work at one of the European Union’s institutions or United Nations.
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