A former Russian general is warning the West that war with Russia is completely dependent on the actions of the West, which he says has been provoking the Russian Federation. He says that President Vladimir Putin's confrontational attitude of late is a natural reaction to American and NATO aggressiveness. But he also says that Putin is prepared to confront the West "everywhere," which feeds into the fears of an impending World War 3.
The Daily Star reported this week that retired Russian Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky blamed the West for provoking Russia and increasing tensions between the United States (and, by extension, NATO) and the Russian Federation. In fact, Buzhinsky, as well as many military experts, believe relations between Russia and the West haven't been this bad since the Cold War.
Buzhinsky contends that Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing what should be expected of him, given the current state of affairs between the competing powers. He believes that Putin is ready to go to war with the U.S., especially after the accusation leveled by the United States that Russian and Syrian government forces have committed war crimes in the Syrian civil war. And then there was Vice President Joe Biden's warning that the U.S. was ready to launch a cyber attack against Russia, which has been interpreted as a deliberate and direct provocation to Russia.
"Of course there is a reaction," the retired general said. "As far as Russia sees it, as Putin sees it, it is full-scale confrontation on all fronts. If you want a confrontation, you'll get one.
"But it won't be a confrontation that doesn't harm the interests of the United States. You want a confrontation, you'll get one everywhere."
And that -- confrontation everywhere -- appears to have been Russia's diplomatic, and sometimes military, policy for the past decade or so as the country has embarked on a path of escalating militarization, not to mention a commitment to the modernization of its military forces. Russia's claims of aggressiveness from NATO, such as the induction of former Soviet Union (which was dominated by Russia until its dissolution in the early 1990s) countries like the Baltic States and the placing of missile systems in eastern Europe, have been used as justifications for the increased militarization. In fact, as has been noted by the Inquisitr, Russia has engaged in an unprecedented and seeming unending number of military drills and exercises, re-established nuclear bomber patrols on America's borders, and created new military task forces, all, the Kremlin says, due to Western aggression. On the economic front, after Russia annexed Crimea and suffered sanctions because of it, Moscow claimed it was only protecting Russian majorities in the area's population, while the sanctions were seen as unfair and provocative.
And now, with Russia and the United States squared off on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war and where a possible major confrontation between the two powers has been feared since Russia moved to bolster the regime of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad last September, just about every action by the U.S. or its allies in Syria has been contested in some way by Russia.
Vice President Biden's threat of a cyber attack came as ceasefire talks in the Syrian civil war once again failed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Daily Star, "The threats directed against Moscow and our state's leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the U.S. vice president. To the backdrop of this aggressive, unpredictable line, we must take measures to protect our interests, to hedge risks."
Exactly what those measures might be remains to be seen.
There's an old colloquialism that warns: Don't poke the bear. It is usually used in a preventive fashion, where a negative reaction from the victim is to be avoided. Russia, whose national symbol is a bear (appropriately enough), feels as if it has been and continues to be poked, or provoked, by the West. Gen. Buzhinsky is just the latest to warn that Russia will retaliate after being provoked. And yet, thus far, those retaliatory measures have not included launching what could be a precursor to World War 3, although the fear of such an attack among NATO nations persists.
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