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Sunday, June 19, 2016

East-West Standoff in Europe Becoming Progressively Institutionalized

Pavel Felgenhauer: East-West Standoff in Europe Becoming Progressively Institutionalized

While continuing to exchange barbs, the West and Russia are building a more institutionalized pattern of standoff in Europe that involves increasingly predictable tit-for-tat mirrored actions. NATO forces are running a series of military exercises in the Baltic region, including Anakonda-16, to practice swift deployments of allied forces to counter a possible threat to Poland and the Baltic States. Some 31,000 allied soldiers are involved in Anakonda-16, including a Ukrainian contingent and neutral Swedish and Finnish forces. Russia has denounced these exercises and, in turn, began massive snap exercises this week to test the battle-readiness of troops, staffs and weapon stockpiles in numerous storage bases and facilities for performing mass mobilization. The latest all-Russia snap mobilization exercises seem to be a direct preparation of capabilities to fight a big war (global or large regional—like, say, an all-European conflict with NATO). A standoff in Europe may be forming, like around Berlin during the Cold War, with threat balanced by counter-threat, force with counter-force.

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