François Hollande and Russia’s threat

Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin before a meeting on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in October 2015. (Image: EPA)

Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin before a meeting on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in October 2015. (Image: EPA) 

2016/07/10 • Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

French President François Hollande may say that Russia is not a threat but a partner “who sometimes uses force” as much as he wants. The question is not even if Hollande believes it himself. The main thing is that Moscow does not believe him.

If France really considered Russia not a threat but a partner, it would not have agreed with the decision of its NATO colleagues to deploy four additional battalions in the Baltic States and in Poland. If Russia is a partner, then what is the purpose of these battalions? If Russia is not threatening anyone, then why do the Warsaw summit participants claim that the decision to deploy the troops is in response to Russia’s actions?

In the Founding Act on the relations between NATO and the Russian Federation signed in 1997, one of the most important questions was the non-placement of NATO forces on the  perimeter of Russia’s borders on a permanent basis. The Warsaw decisions do not formally violate these provisions because the battalions will be deployed on a rotating basis. But everyone is perfectly aware of what is really going on. Battalions are the foundation of a military presence that can be increased in the event of  Russian aggression. And if Russia is a partner, then what is the purpose of this foundation ?

It is safe to say that in Warsaw, NATO has decided to move away from the most important provisions of the Founding Act.  But the alliance was not the first one to act. Putin acted first. His actions in the Crimea and Donbas, his constant provocations, his undisguised preparations for war — all this virtually destroyed the essence of the act. Because the Founding Act specifically stated that Russia and NATO were partners. But Putin began to view NATO as a threat. This perception directs the actions of the Russian military machine. This perception drives Russian propaganda. And this nonsense is in the heads of millions of Russians who do not understand that this perception of NATO is not policy.

It is psychiatry.

NATO decided to strengthen its military presence in the  East precisely because Russia has become a threat for the alliance and the civilized world. And until the Putin regime is dismantled, it  will not be a partner of the civilized world. But the alliance itself does not threaten Russia. Moreover, its existence and willingness to respond is a guarantee that sooner or later the Putin regime will collapse and Russia  will be able to join the family of free nations.

And only then will the French president be able to say with a clean conscience that Russia is a partner and not a threat. And to believe it.

Nato meeting

Photo: Reuters. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and officials participating in the summit posing against a background drone of NATO, Warsaw, July 8, 2016


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Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • Dalton

    Wow what drone is this? I’ve never seen them this size.

    • Robert

      Hehehe… you haven’t seen anything yet! …

    • Oknemfrod

      Looks like GA “Avenger” to me (13 meters long), thought I may very well be mistaken.

  • Yoshua Zafoy

    A Russian invasion of Europe is a ridiculous idea. What would it look like ? How deep into Europe would their army get ? How long before they are totally exhausted ? What would the aim be ? To rule Europe ?

    Russia offered Europe a possibility to form a Eurasian Union. A union between Europe and Russia is the only thing that can threaten American power… and had to be stopped.

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      A Russian annexation of the Crimea ‘was’ a ridiculous idea. A Russian hybrid war against Ukraine ‘was’ also a ridiculous idea…

      How deep into Europe would the Russian army get? If Putin is to believed a few days to get to Kyiv, a week to Warsaw…

      To stop the Russian army in the Baltics 7 brigades would be needed – at that’s what is needed for the Baltics to hold out until NATO could bring in reInforcements. Thus 4 battalions would certainly not do the trick. Another 24 would be needed for that. And even those 4 battalions make the Kremlin go into verbal overdrive…

      To be a credible threat to Russia NATO would need a multiple of 7 divisions and not brigades…

      So forget the nonsense that Russia is spouting about the agressive actions of NATO.

      As for the offer of Russia to form an Eurasion Union, nobody in Europe is interested in that. Because nobody is interested in running its economic and social affairs the Kremlin way. Trade with Russia yes, but certainly not the wholesale corruption that permeates Russian economic and social affairs.

      So forget that Europe will ally itself with Russia against to US of A. Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t…

      • Yoshua Zafoy

        At the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 NATO declared that Georgia and Ukraine would be taken in as future members. Russia objected and declared that Georgia and Ukraine are red lines for a NATO expansion.

        In 2008 war broke out in Georgia and in 2014 war broke out in Ukraine.

        NATO is today building up an infrastructure in the Baltics, when that is built all your battalions can easily be deployed there within days.

        Russia will use military force to stop a NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine (right or wrong). NATO knows this and continues to push for the expansion.

      • Yoshua Zafoy

        Divide and Rule

        It will be the dumb Europeans that will do the dying. Today it is the dumb Slavs that are killing each other.