The Russian Military under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, ramped up its presents in the Arctic regions on Monday.
It will come as no surprise to even the most casual of news followers that East-West relations, as far as Russia is concerned, have been strained as of late. Under the helm of the ever-controversial Vladimir Putin, Russian military activity has been a staple feature in world news over the past several years. Starting with the the 2008 Olympic-time Russian invasion of Georgia to the more recent Russian annexation of Crimea, the Russian military has certainly been busy across the Eurasian continent.
The latest dictate from the Russian President however, has taken Russian military operations to the very northern regions of the globe. On Monday, the Russian military began an expansive set of preparedness drills throughout the arctic regions.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated, in regard to the escalation of Russian military activity in the arctic regions, that,
“The new challenges and military threats require further increase of the armed forces’ capabilities.”
Russia is not alone however in its recent show of military might. According to CBS News, The U.S. is planning on holding its own set of military exercises on Russia’s doorstep. Later this month, U.S. military forces, are scheduled to participate in joint maneuvers with Latvian and Lithuanian forces. Any involvement by the U.S. in the Baltic region will almost certainly be seen by Russian officials as Western meddling in the Russian sphere of influence.
This “tit-for-tat” display of military prowess is of course nothing new for the U.S. and Russia. During the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia (then the Soviet Union) engaged in many various “measuring” competitions. The constant drive to out-demonstrate the other led to many a political drama including but not limited to the Berlin Airlift, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars Program.
During the icy days of the Cold War however, the desire to assert influential dominance was not limited to merely the threat of armed conflict. To many, the Korean, Vietnam, and Russian-Afghan wars are considered to be proxy-wars. The use of this wartime-political categorization is in obvious reference to the wide-spread belief that throughout the Cold War, both Russia and the U.S. used their respective spheres of influence to lure the other into expensive and vaguely defined conflicts. Hopefully, the recent Russian military’s Arctic exercises will stop short of being the start of another proxy-war between Russia and the West.