George W. Bush is already under pressure not to “forget our global responsibilities.” The usual suspects have taken their cue from a January 3 Washington Times article by the paper’s military correspondent. Bill Gertz, who is notorious for obtaining and publishing classified information. Gertz, citing a Defense Intelligence Agency report from last summer, claimed that Russia was “moving tactical nuclear weapons into a military base in Eastern Europe for the first time since the Cold War ended” in “an apparent effort to step up military pressure on the expanded NATO alliance.” Gertz called the alleged “movement” of “battlefield” nukes—”tactical” warheads used on artillery shells, short-range missiles, cruise missiles, and torpedoes—the fulfillment of Russian “threats” to respond to NATO expansion.
Gertz’s article prompted official Russian denials and set off a wave of Russophobic internationalist blather at Imperium Central, otherwise known as “our nation’s capital.” State Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon claimed that, if the Russians had moved the nukes into Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea sandwiched between Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), it would “violate” a “pledge” to keep the Baltics “nuclear free.” (What about the post-Cold War understanding between Russia and the West that NATO would not expand eastward?) On Capitol Hill, Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), outgoing chairman of the House International Relations Committee, called the charges “an alarming development that threatens the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.” Gilman said the reports “underscore the need to promptly [sic] enlarge the NATO alliance to include” the Baltic states. The Washington Times followed up the Gertz charges with a January 4 editorial by Jessica Eugate of the Council on Foreign Relations. Eugate called on Bush to “push forward with the historic process of NATO enlargement” and argued that Russia must demonstrate that she is “genuinely willing” to “work with the West” to avoid being isolated.
Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman called the charges a provocation designed to justify further NATO expansion. In addition to the Baltic states, the NATOcrats are eyeballing Georgia, a future unified Rumania (reincorporating Moldova, including the Slavic—and pro- Russian—Dniester region), and Ukraine as potential NATO members, moves that would isolate Russia and stoke further fears of Western domination in this once proud nation now threatened by Islamic insurgency in the South, the collapse of its industrial and technological infrastructure, demographic decline, and the refusal of Western creditors to write off Soviet debts. Many Kremlin watchers are claiming that a cabal of spies, military bureaucrats, and ex-KGB officers is already working up a “mobilization” plan for taking charge of the economy’s “commanding heights” as a response to chaos and external threats.
The return of Russia as tire “Evil Empire” would suit both the Kremlin military security apparatus and Western globalists. “Humanitarian interventions” will likely not be enough to keep the NATO alliance together, especially now that the Europeans arc seriously looking at creating their own defense forces. Meanwhile, Putin is considering deep military staff cuts and reductions in strategic arms that the Kremlin cannot afford anyway. What’s a Russian military bureaucrat to do? The ball is now in Dubya’s court.