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The USA will defend the Baltics against Russia2008-11-19 14:07
The US Air Force Commander in Europe Roger A. Brady stated that Americans would keep protecting the Baltic countries from air.
It will be remembered that after the August events in Georgia Estonia has become very nervous. Crowds of Russians on the Eastern borders became a nightmare for Tallinn. Local politicians initiated a foretelling contest: when the adversaries will occupy the country and where they will stop afterwards. Most of them agreed that the Russians would occupy the Baltic region within a year or two and will stop somewhere in Lisbon area. The newspapers got to drawing directions of Russian tank blows over the native land. Americans were quick to calm down the alarmed Estonians. From September 30 the country's airspace has been guarded by four American F15C Eagle jets. It goes
without saying they are not capable of checking the Russian invasion. General Brady's visit was to inspect Estonian air forces and give instructions how to act in case of an enemy attack. The commander was shown Emary summer base.
There was a lot of sighing over the equipment of the Estonian air tops. It comprises two Czech training airplanes and three AN-2 carriers of the Caribbean crisis time. In addition to that the general was told that only one plane was fit for flying which naturally did not arouse much enthusiasm. Brady was resolute saying that the Emary base needed urgent reconstruction. Then it would at least be able to receive fighter jets and cargo aircrafts of the NATO allies. His estimation of work to be done amounts to 64 mln dollars.
Tallinn naturally is all for it on condition that the modernization is sponsored by NATO. The US envoy to NATO Kurt Walker was to clear up the situation. He expressed a rather solid opinion that he did not believe in the Kremlin's intention to strike the Baltic states. This is what he said word-for-word: "Russia used the military force in Georgia in order to modify the borders but I do not believe that it is planning to hit the NATO states. The Alliance conveyed a very clear message that the allies would come to the rescue of each member and the aggression against one means an attack against all".
Roughly speaking the West is reluctant to assign EUR 64 mln to protect Estonia from Russia. In fact The West is quite sick and tired of Estonia. On November 12 the US defense minister Robert Gates arrived in Tallinn. He immediately was attacked by a question whether NATO had a plan of Estonia protection in case of a Russian invasion? The minister answered crossly that the alliance was constantly making up plans. The latest discussion on security in the Baltic region took place in September. And there are no grounds to believe that since that time the Russian threat has become more real.
Nevertheless the fear of Estonians turned out to be catching. The secretary of Lithuania's Foreign Office made an explanation of this kind: "If Europe cannot stick to one position and secure the withdrawal of the Russian Army from Georgia Russia will have a chance not only to firm itself up in the Transcaucasia but also provide conditions for further provocations. One day it might come to a miserable end for the entire Caucasian region and the EU policy in the Caucasus, Asia and Eastern Europe".
Therefore Lithuania too has a dread of the occupation. It seems that the Russian tank assault is as necessary to the Balts as a whip to a masochist.