JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, the victim? Opposite NATO’s eastern flank, it’s an expansionist West causing anxiety” – Defense News/Matthew Bodner

NATO Meeting file photo

“… NATO has long been Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite foreign boogeyman and, as far as political footballs go, this one has been easy and fruitful to kick around at home. … NATO troops and hardware are being forward deployed to former Soviet satellites in eastern Europe; in June, the alliance unveiled a new initiative – dubbed the ‘Four 30s’ – that will see a significant expansion of NATO’s rapid deployment capabilities; and Germany is considering rearming with an eye on Russia. … Many of the alliance’s members, particularly the newer ones on Russia’s borders in eastern Europe, were rattled by Moscow’s brazen annexation of Crimea and have spent the past four years calling for greater collective action to deter possible Russian moves on former Soviet states now in NATO. Russia, in turn and for a variety of reasons – political expediency and military prudence – has seized on NATO’s efforts to bolster its own defense and spun that into rationale for sustained military expenditures amid economic recession. …”

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[featured image is file photo from another occasion]