Top NATO officials have been making near-daily statements hyping the need to remain hostile toward Russia, in keeping with what German DM Ursulla von der Leyen described as NATO’s core “principles.” Those comments are continuing after yesterday’s report of President-elect Donald Trump talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Trump and Putin agreed to normalize ties, which sparked a flurry of new NATO statements warning that they still have major problems with Russia, with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowing NATO would “never respect or accept” Russian control over the Crimean Peninsula.

 

They also hyped concern about Russia being a military threat in Eastern Europe, where NATO has deployed 300,000 ground troops, and also condemned Russia, saying they are to blame for the humanitarian problems in Syria.

 

Sen. John McCain, ever a foe of diplomacy, also spoke out to condemn normalization of ties with Russia, insisting that America is too great of a nation to end its support for regime change in Syria, adding that any improvement in Russian ties would amount to “complicity” in the Assad government’s “butchery of the Syrian people.”

 

Trump has already made clear he intends to back off schemes to arm Syria’s rebels, and has said he believes having a decent relationship with Russia wouldn’t be a bad thing. With much of the putative justification for massive NATO military spending centering on being perpetually on the brink of war with Russia, it’s clear that many have a serious interest in seeing the status quo continue.