Russia has a right to be concerned by NATO’s spread east towards Moscow

A letter from Brian Gibson:

By Brian Gibson
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 6:41 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 9:49 am
Map of NATO expansion from Wikipedia (credit: Patrickneil + Glentamara)
Map of NATO expansion from Wikipedia (credit: Patrickneil + Glentamara)

I visited with a friend recently. He had a t-shirt with a Ukraine flag on it, and a rather uncharitable opinion about Vladimir Putin also emblazoned on it.

I suggested that if we were to find the nearest Russian embassy and stand out side with “give peace a chance“ signs and sing Kumbaya and hold up pictures of prancing unicorns, did he think that Putin would be influenced by that?

We agreed that it would probably be unlikely.

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Letter to the editor

So it got me thinking: what might impress the Russian leader?

The shameful debacle of the pullout from Afghanistan probably had an effect on Mr Putin: the retreat from the US Baghram air base in the dead of night without informing allies also might have influenced Vladimir – not in a good way.

Leaving behind $85 billion in military equipment might have influenced Mr Putin also, as it represents almost twice the Russian annual military budget of around $50 billion!

It has been said that war is when your government tells you who you should hate, and we are certainly being encouraged to hate everything Russian at present.

I believe that while the current catastrophe in Ukraine is not one month old, it started decades ago.

When I was at school in the 1970s a Russian general having his morning coffee in St Petersburg was comfortable knowing that NATO was 1,400 miles away.

Today the same general in St Petersburg knows that NATO is only 55 miles away and closing: I think he has the right to be a little concerned!

I am trying to be a little balanced in the face of all the anti-Russian hysteria.

I always thought it unwise to poke a stick at a bear, especially a bear with nukes.

I am completely underwhelmed by the current administration in the White House and unfortunately I have to ask the question: ‘Are y’all missing Trump yet?’

Brian Gibson, Comber

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