By Grete Mautner

In recent years, a number of Western political figures and media people have been particularly vocal about “aggressive policies” pursued by non-NATO countries. In the list of those alleged aggressors, one can unsurprisingly find Russia, China and a number of other Asian and Middle Eastern countries, who do not want to follow Washington’s dictates. In particular, such countries are accused of militarization and unjustified threats to the international security. However, on the back of such far-fetched accusation, Washington and NATO are rapidly expanding the number of their military bases around the world, while demanding their allies to step up their militaristic efforts, while spending an ever increasing amount of resources on their military forces at the expense of various social programs.

The most striking example of this is strategy is the strengthening US military presence in the Baltic countries, where NATO is not just grabbing the territories that can be overrun in an even of a mythical Russian invasion, but is also taking steps to undermine their identity and independence.

The deployment of four NATO battalions (British, German, Canadian and American) in the Baltic countries and Poland, announced at the recent NATO summit in Warsaw, is only part of the large process of strengthening the collective efforts against Russia. Canada sends soldiers to Latvia, Germany – to Lithuania, Great Britain – to Estonia, the USA – to Poland. The NATO machine has woken up and began to turn towards its eastern flank.

But the Baltic countries and their NATO allies are not going to limit themselves to just symbolic gestures. The slowly unfolding program to strengthen the northeastern flank of the block includes the creation of an instant deployment force, the rotation of additional American brigades in the region, the storage of equipment and ammunition, the growing presence of Western fleets in the Baltic Sea, the deployment of additional combat aircraft in the region, accompanied by powerful air defense assets. Additionally, NATO is now quipping the armies of the Baltic countries with all sorts of weapons.

As early as 2014 the NATO alliance decided to also establish the NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU) in six eastern states, the closest to Russia’s borders: in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The NFIU headquarters have opened its doors back in September 2015, tasked with coordinating the deployment of instant response forces and other combat units.

But Washington doesn’t think that it has done enough, so it has decided to send an additional brigade to Europe, which will be constantly cruising from the Baltic countries to Poland and back. It is believed that this armored unit will be at least 5 thousand people strong.

In 2016, some 800 million dollars was allocated on this program, and by 2017 the White House wanted more, raising its bar to some 3.4 billion dolars.

On April 25, the newest multi-purpose F-35 Lightning II fighter-bombers that was built with the use of advanced technologies arrived to the Estonian airbase of Amari, which can hardly be regarded as an example of Washington’s commitment to the peacekeeping cause in the Baltics.

The people of the Baltic decided to show their gratitude for such “gifts” in every possible way and are already striving to create the most comfortable conditions for new conquerors. The Estonian Parliamentary Commission for State Defense held a discussion of prospects for the developing the region around the military town of Tapa in mid-March in connection with the arrival of NATO units there, the err.ee portal reports.

Hundreds of Estonian conscripts have already been moved from the barracks in the military town of Tapa to live in tens in their vicinity, so that the barracks could be provided for the NATO battalions.

In February, the defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the Estonian mission at NATO Headquarters in Brussels signed an agreement that will allow NATO units to move around the region faster and easier. In particular, NATO soldiers in Latvia will be allowed to go on patrols with loaded weapons. Which comes in handy at the times when Latvia also has almost agreed not to prosecute US soldiers in a event of them committing criminal offenses. This has been stated in the treaty on defense cooperation ratified by the Seimas.

It’s curious to note that back in 2015 Latvian investigative bodies tried to establish a criminal case against US servicemen that cause a major car accident that resulted in five civilians receiving severe injuries. However, no charges were pressed due to Washington’s position, which has been obstructing any legal prosecution attempts against its servicemen abroad. This notion has been confirmed by numerous instances of criminal, yet unpunished behavior that American soldiers shown in Japan, South Korea, Germany and other countries.

Local authorities are expecting to get “economic benefits” from the deployment of an ever increasing number of NATO troops due to the proceeds from the services that are to be provided to the servicemen. In particular, the working group of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Latvia has already made adjustments to the age at which prostitutes can legally provide sexual services.

It should be noted that back in 2008 a scandalous French documentary: Latvia: The Scandalous Sex Tourism in Europe, has provoked a major scandal. The annotation to the movie reads as follows:

In the three-hour flight from Paris – the Latvian capital Riga. It has become a new destination for sex tourists. Its historic center colonized bars and massage parlors. The poverty of this Baltic republic, where the average salary is less than 300 euros, partly explain this abnormality. Some tour operators raise prices for “frivolous” things to do. Here, people live worse and worse, and their capital is considered as a new destination for sex tourism in Europe

But a pretty similar situation can be observed across the Baltic states. Thus, Queen Elizabeth’s troops in Estonia, have recently receive a brochure issued by the British Ministry of Defense that is explaining how they should behave with local strippers and prostitutes. In particular, the high-command urges its soldiers to leave no more than 20 euros and not less than 5 euros in tips to prostitutes. One of the Tallinn institutions, the X Club, is described in the NATO military guide as the place where “the sexiest and hotest girls” who participate in the “craziest erotic show in the world”.

So from whom the Baltic states are being defended?

The former president of Lithuania and now a member of the European Parliament, Rolandas Paksas, has recently summed up the results of the post-Soviet period in the history of the Republic. In his opinion, nothing has been done in the past twenty-seven years. With every year, the population of Lithuania is getting smaller and smaller, while those who haven’t left are experiencing the ever increasing hardship, reports BaltNews.lt. In some sparsely populated areas of Lithuania, there’s up to five inhabitants per square kilometer, the rate that is easily comparable to the one to be observed in some deserts. In terms of the rate of decline in population, the country occupies leading positions in the EU.

After the declaration of independence back in 1991, the population of Latvia has been diminishing at the rate of 23 thousand people per year. These frightening figures were unveiled by the professor of the University of Latvia, academician, demographer Peteris Zvidrinsh. During the years of independence, Latvia lost a total of 700 thousand people. But there was a time when the population of this country reached 2.7 million people, and Riga host over a million inhabitants.

We’re witnessing an active looting of the Baltic states by their new “allies”, who loudly declare their desire to “defend the Baltics”. In the year of 2016, Sweden has allocated half a billion of euros from Lativa. The Netherlands contributed another 60 million euros, and the UK – 44 million. Even Norway withdrew from the economy of Latvia 34 million euros of its foreign direct investment to be spent somewhere else. Latvia should prepare for the crisis that will inevitably erupt in the coming years, says Bank of Latvia President Ilmars Rimsevics. Latvia is now fully dependent on structural eurobonds: if funds are available, the country’s economy grows, if not, it’s crumbling. Not only the indigenous population, but even migrants, are leaving the country en masse. From all the migrants arriving to Latvia within the framework of the EU program on migration, a total of five people has actually remained in the country, press.lv portal informs. This is one family of three people and two more refugees, one of whom is already planning to leave Latvia in the near future.

The population of Latvia and Lithuania have all but lost access to medical services – both countries are experiencing an acute shortage of basic specialists. The reason is that doctors prefer other EU countries to seek employment. The situation can be described as catastrophic, but the authorities are reluctant to do anything, since no spare funds in the budget, and the increase in military expenditures is always a top priority. The patients that are brought to the point of desperation usually take some extreme steps.

Nevertheless, in 2018, the Lithuanian army will get another two battalions. They will be deployed in the western regions of the country, reports the Lithuanian media with a special reference to the mobilization plans of the Ministry of Defense. And the commander of the US ground forces in Europe, Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, gives more and more advice to the Lithuanian authorities on what they should spend their military budget on. He has also announced last March that Vilnius should be spending more on its armed forces…

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