As we approach the end of the age, we have already seen more deaths over the last generation than any other period in history. These days rumors of war circulate daily - in fact its hard to open the news cycle on any given day and not see a new "rumor of war":
In what is being billed as an attempt to repel "Russian aggression" in the Nordic and Baltic regions, the Pentagon has announced plans to boost its European defense in 2017, with a significant ramp-up in joint military exercises with Nordic and Baltic partners, Defense News reported.
As part of the expansion, American forces have arranged for storage in Norway to house heavy equipment, including M1A1 Abrams tanks and amphibious assault vehicles. The US military reportedly deployed this equipment two weeks ago, in classified Cold War-era caves in Norway, in efforts to better equip stations near the NATO-Russia frontier. Norway shares a 121.6-mile long border with the Russian Federation.
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that NATO’s expansion along its border was "insane" and unnecessary. Specifically, President Putin said, "I think that only an insane person who is in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia."
Stephen Cohen, a New York University professor emeritus specializing in Russian studies, goes further, arguing that NATO expansion is a prelude to conflict. "The last time I can remember there was this kind of hostile military force on Russia’s borders is when the Nazis invaded Russia in 1941," said Cohen.
The $6 billion militarization along the border between Russia and Norway is funded, in part, by the “European Reassurance Initiative,” advanced by President Obama in recent weeks, calling for a quadrupling of the presence of the US military in Europe.
The expansion comes after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter declared that Russia is “intimidating its neighbors.” In the past year, US military officials have made whimsical statements about Russia, calling it the "greatest threat" to world security. Spokespersons at the Pentagon and the current NATO commander have referred to Moscow as an "existential threat."
US President Barack Obama is pushing for a significant military increase in Eastern Europe, citing fears of Russian "aggression." As American authors Lawrence Korb and Eric Goepel point out for Defense One, the plan is wasteful and an unnecessary provocation.
"…The [US] Department of Defense has fallen back on a tried-and-true Cold War boogeyman: the threat of Russian aggression against allies in Europe," Korb and Goepel, both with the Center for American Progress, write for Defense One.
President Obama’s recently unveiled $600 billion defense budget includes $3 billion to boost the US military presence in Eastern Europe.
"Obama just asked Congress to fund the biggest military buildup by NATO in Eastern Europe since the Cold War," Korb and Goepel write.
"A NATO buildup of this magnitude also neglects to take into account just how provocative such a move would be; by concentrating troops on Russia’s border, we are playing into Putin’s long-standing criticisms of NATO encirclement."
"Billions that go to support placing more equipment in Eastern Europe and putting an armored brigade on rotation are billions that cannot be spent retraining US workers or rebuilding America’s failing infrastructure."
Turkey’s military is assembling forces it could use to intervene in Syria, wrecking the fragile US-Russia negotiated ceasefire and setting off a wider war, retired US Army Colonel Doug Macgregor told Sputnik.
"The Turks are assembling forces," McGregor, leading US expert on Middle East war and integrated ground combat tactics in modern warfare, warned.
"I am not sure this arrangement is more than a temporary respite from the fighting," he said.
"We are at the beginning, not the end of the fighting in the Levant and Mesopotamia," Macgregor cautioned.