Yes, this is a cold war, but still nobody answered the question, which one is more dangerous: the one that ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the new one, between the Western bloc and Russia. In recent days, frequent certain incidents, and with them came more comments, the authors agree that never since the days of the cold war did not develop such a serious situation.
From time to time friction occurs at all lines of contact between NATO and Russia from the Baltic to Syria. We remember the previous incidents during the cold war in the air in 60-e, 70-e and 80-e years, but now the situation is very different from those times. For example, there are no more buffer zones in the hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, which are separated from each other two opposing world. Once to the border of the Soviet Union has joined a bloc of satellite countries of the Eastern camp, who are now members of NATO and most unfriendly attitude toward Russia. At some points of contact between the army can see each other with the naked eye. It is difficult to assess what would be in case of a real collision, the balance of forces, but there is no doubt that under the new scenario, Russia was indeed surrounded by a cordon of NATO countries. Probably, this Alliance was made when we adopted the former Soviet vassals.
Control over the Black sea
Two of the most vulnerable region, controlled by Russia, that the Peninsula of Crimea and the Kaliningrad enclave on the Baltic sea, which was surrounded by the enemy. These regions are of key importance, but they are difficult to protect, so in the case of large-scale conflict in their defenses will be thrown. Russians do not hide it, but they always say that will never allow military action on its territory. Crimea, of course, belongs to Ukraine, but to Russia is of great strategic importance, that no negotiations about it is simply impossible. As far as the Crimea in fact is isolated, is best evidenced by a large-scale construction project megamoto from Russian territory on the Peninsula, which for centuries are fighting. Such projects can not be solved without extreme necessity, not to mention that any bridge is very vulnerable. Moscow has no other choice, while Crimea remains in a hostile environment of Ukraine, with which Russia conducts overt and hidden hybrid war. And who controls Crimea, controls Black sea. Without the Crimea, the Russians could easily send the entire black sea fleet for scrap.
Another vulnerable point — Kaliningrad on the Baltic sea. About what its geographical position and what could happen in the event of a collision with the hostile surrounding countries (Poland, the Baltic States and their “chief” Germany), best said the recent incident in the skies over the Baltic with the participation of Sergei Shoigu, the defense Minister and the closest ally of Putin. On the way to Kaliningrad F16 fighter approached the plane of the Minister so quickly that it can be remove the mobile phone. So they were flying at the same speed (750-800 kilometers per hour) parallel until intervened su-27 escort Shoigu. The Russians lifted the right wing and showed the rockets that the pilot of the Phantom reacted natural: after all, planned retreat is better than a shameful defeat. Two bombers flew so close that the missiles “air-air”, probably would have been impossible to use. Between them was a distance suitable for shooting the guns, but not missiles.
The red phone or rockets?
It later turned out that the plane was Polish and was performing a routine patrol of the air space. He checked the aircraft, which were not identified by the transponder. NATO, of course, argue that it is a common practice, because no one knew who is the Russian plane. Russian grin: that, of course, you knew who was flying at a meeting in Kaliningrad.
This situation could easily escalate into a conflict, even without malice. And if when approaching accident of one of the planes? What if he fell into the sea? It would be possible to control the effects of such a situation? Than the leaders would in the first place — a red phone or rockets?
While growing tensions and incidents, control mechanisms weaken. Washington announced an early exit from the agreement on medium-range missiles that the Russians responded with a loud statement that the debt is the enemy will remain. What does the abolition of such agreement on the number and deployment of missiles with range from 500 to 5 thousand miles? To understand this, you do not need to be a Professor of geography — it is sufficient to use a compass. It is clear that this agreement does not regulate Intercontinental action, but primarily sets the balance between Russia and the European countries. And then began the great game.
Recently, Washington has openly interfered in relations between Russia and its European neighbors in the most important area of energy cooperation. In the United States decided to adopt new sanctions package against Moscow. These sanctions affect not only the largest gas exporter, but also its European partners, above all German. All the companies that will cooperate with Russia on the construction of the pipeline “Nord stream-2”, will be subject to American sanctions.
Since this pipeline is one of the strategic German projects, German politicians have sounded the alarm, speaking even about retaliatory sanctions against the United States. Using “Nord stream-2”, which will run under the Baltic sea bypassing Poland and the Baltic countries, Germany is going to increase gas supplies for own needs and also to become a gas “hub” for half of Europe. The United States has significant reserves of gas that are going to sell Europe through a network of LNG terminals, which, in particular, is planned but not yet built complex in omišalj.
Despite the excesses of the Russian fans and the rudeness of the Russians, it is clear to anyone that the gas that flows through pipelines from Russia, is much cheaper than the liquefied gas in marine tankers, transported from the New world to the Old. Better than others know it, the Germans, for which imported energy is vital. Thus began the history of the pipeline “Nord stream 1”, and the former Chancellor, the predecessor of Angela Merkel, Gerhard schröder became the head of the project. Apparently, Germany hoped to take on the role of European leader in the distribution of Russian gas. Whoever controls the transit has the same advantages as the one who controls the field.
Forecast for fall
“Nord stream-2” can become the cause of conflict in the Baltic sea, although today, 72 years after the great war, it is difficult to imagine a war of Europe against Russia, or Vice versa. However, all wary. Even Sweden, which has not fought 200 years, is considering buying the American THAAD missiles, which are officially considered defensive, are in fact offensive weapons. Norway in turn extended the stay of American Marines on its territory. Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania-have long been in the forefront of anti-Russian rhetoric, although they first appeared on the line of contact. It will be interesting to observe how the American ultimatums will Germany respond.
All this has and Ukraine, which had previously been the main transit country for Russian gas to the European market. After the two color revolutions that have broken relations with Russia, the third (square) put Moscow and Kiev on the brink of open conflict. The Russians stole Ukraine once the Russian territory of Crimea and support for two separatist Republic in the East. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians with the support of the Western allies gradually prepare the army to attack the rebels. The problem is that they are right on the border with Russia, and you can expect that they will be many times stronger than 40 thousand soldiers available to Ukraine. According to estimates of Kyiv, in Donetsk, you need at least three times as many well-trained soldiers. There is no doubt that if this conflict starts, it will be a clash between NATO and Russia through local intermediaries. Since nobody can predict the actions and reactions in the course of this conflict, the weapon is silent, except for a sporadic exchange of grenades. Say, military action could begin in early autumn.
Moscow no longer relies on Ukrainian energy transit. The Russians have said that by 2018 will abandon once the main partner. Now the partner country — Turkey. Recently, Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremonial start of construction of the pipeline “Turkish stream” in the depths of the Black sea. The Turks, who depend on Russian gas by almost 60%, will be an important transit player that distributes the gas, however, barring another coup against Erdogan if the country does not descend into disorder.
While the Almighty President Erdogan is holding up well, but glancing in the other direction — in the direction of Qatar, which is the nearest major exporter of LNG. In case of problems with Russian supplies Qatar will succeed with their LPG, to meet at least the needs of the Turks, which is not much storage. That is why erdoğan insists on maintaining military bases in Qatar — small but very rich country, which has recently living under draconian sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia and four other countries. They ganged up on Qatar, ostensibly for complicity with terrorists and cooperation with the worst enemy of the Saudis and Iran.
Plans in Syria
Part of this big game, of course, is Syria. There are already a few years is a struggle for the overthrow of the Russian-Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad, for the division of the country and the opening of free access to the Mediterranean sea to Saudi Arabia. It is not surprising that Riyadh is the main sponsor of the different Sunni movements that prey on Assad destroying the country and used hitherto unprecedented violent guerrilla methods. Russia poprosilasj the war at the last minute, to thwart the main rival (the Saudis) and to maintain control over Syria. The same considerations and guided by Tehran and its allies in the Lebanese Hezbollah.
How are the Saudi-American plans in Syria? Of course, not as intended. Quick change mode failed investments in jihadists now seem increasingly irrelevant, which confirms the behavior of regional players. Turkey turned to Russia, Qatar to Iran and not to the neighbors-the Saudis.
A plan to eliminate the practical monopoly of Russia are not implemented as intended. But the pot is boiling more and more. It turned out that Moscow is not going to give up without a fight from the main source of government revenue. As it can be answered? Again a struggle. There is a “great” recipe, which is exactly the cut off of Russian gas market: we are talking about a full-scale war, “the conflict of the day of judgment”. Call it what you want —a conflict on the Baltic, in Ukraine, the spread of the Syrian war in the middle East. Fortunately, in this conflict there are no winners, so, if you think wisely, to start its just not worth it.