Amid these tensions, the thought of a plane crash leading to war seems scarily plausible. It is not just Western officials who fear such an incident could spark war. He said that regular Russian people don't desire war, but rather feared it would become necessary to defend against the implacably hostile United States. The perception is that somebody would try to undermine Russia as a country that opposes the United States, and then we will need to defend ourselves by military means, he explained. Such fears, vague but existential, are everywhere in Moscow. The stakes, they say, could not be higher: Russian military flights over the Baltics are now routine, often with the planes switching off their transponders, which makes them harder to spot and increases the chances of an accident. Ever since, the Republicans, led by their presidential candidates, have over the threat of jihadist infiltration from Syria — even though it now that every single identified assailant in the Paris siege was a European national.
The Republicans have to stop Syrian refugee arrivals, or at least accept only non-Muslim Syrians. GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie of New Jersey was one of the many governors who said Monday that they would oppose settling Syrian refugees in their states; Baltic nations, fearing war, have already begun for it. Also, respondents may not necessarily have had a particular bias against Jewish refugees. Subscribe save! $ 26 Putin's Russia is weak. Aggressive enough to assert Russian dominion over Estonia, but not so aggressive as to be considered a formal act of war that would trigger a Western counterattack. Defeat NATO. This is his most cherished objective, Piontkovsky told me when we talked in his kitchen, in a leafy Moscow neighborhood across the river from Gorky Park. It's an enormous temptation. Polling in this period, including Gallup surveys, was not as scientifically rigorous as it later became. The US is. What does Putin want?
It was in August 2014 that the real danger began, and that we heard the first. For Russia, fearing a threat from the West it sees as imminent and existential, the stakes are unimaginably high, justifying virtually any action or gamble if it could deter defeat and, perhaps, lead to victory. Separately, the ever-paranoid Kremlin believes that the West is playing the same game in Ukraine. But the prize is enormous. To destroy NATO, to demonstrate that Article V does not work, the Baltic republics of Estonia and Latvia are the best place for this, he said. It's happening now, every day. That infrastructure is now gone. All those mechanisms were disrupted or eroded, he said. That [infrastructure] has been degraded since the end of the Cold War because the common perception is that we don’t need it anymore. That the world does not see the risk of war hanging over it, in other words, makes that risk all the likelier. In late April, NATO and other Western officials gathered in Estonia, a former Soviet republic and NATO member on Russia's border that Western analysts most worry could become ground zero for a major war with Russia. At the conference, Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow about NATO's efforts to prepare for the possibility of Russia launching a limited nuclear strike in Europe that, according to the journalist Ahmed Rashid, who was in attendance, he had to be repeatedly reminded he was speaking on the record.
One of the scenarios Vershbow said NATO was outlining, according to Rashid's paraphrase, was that Russia could choose to use a tactical weapon with a small blast range on a European city or a Western tank division. A few weeks later, the Guardian that NATO is considering plans to upgrade its nuclear posture in Europe in response to Russia's own nuclear saber-rattling. One proposal: That month, unmarked Russian troops covertly invaded eastern Ukraine, where the separatist conflict had grown out of its control. The prospect of a major war, even a nuclear war, in Europe has become thinkable, they warn, even plausible. What they describe is a threat that combines many of the hair-trigger dangers and world-ending stakes of the Cold War with the volatility and false calm that preceded World War I — a comparison I heard with disturbing frequency. They describe a number of ways that an unwanted but nonetheless major war, like that of 1914, could break out in the Eastern European borderlands. That it is entirely foreseeable does little to reduce the risk. Even if Russia in fact has no designs on the Baltics, its bluffing and posturing has already created the conditions for an unwanted war. That Putin might attempt to seize some small sliver of the Baltics quickly and bloodlessly. The playbook from Ukraine, where Russia deployed its of postmodern hybrid war, designed to blur the distinction between war and not-war, to make it as difficult as possible to differentiate grassroots unrest or vigilante cyberattacks from Russian military aggression. World war 2 turning points essay.