Are the US and NATO Planning to Neutralize Kaliningrad?

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by Germán Gorraiz López, Political analyst

The father of the Argentine Constitution, Juan Bautista Alberdi, in his book “The Crime of War” written in 1872 states that “wars will be rarer as responsibility for their effects is felt by all those who promote and incite them”. This anticipated by almost a century the end of the nuclear escalation that had its turning point in the Cuban Missile Crisis and culminated with Kennedy and Khrushchev signing the Nuclear Test Suspension Agreement (1962) and the implementation of the Doctrine of Peaceful Coexistence.
However, with the Ukrainian conflict we have witnessed the return of the Cold War between Russia and the US (Cold War 2.0), the withdrawal of the US from the INF Treaty and the consequent revival of the nuclear race.

NATO and the Doctrine of Containment
Joe Biden’s harsh statements about Russia (“Putin is a war criminal”) and the implementation of sanctions to achieve the economic suffocation and financial starvation of Russia as part of the Ukraine conflict have ushered in Cold War 2.0 and the return of the geopolitical thesis of George Kennan, known as the Doctrine of Containment. The foundations of this doctrine were laid by George F. Kennan in his essay “Sources of Soviet Behavior”, published in the journal Foreign Affairs in 1947. The main ideas are summarized in the quote, “Soviet power is impervious to the logic of reason but very sensitive to the logic of force”.

Furthermore, following the increase in NATO military forces with new battalions deployed on the European border with Russia, we are witnessing the violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act by which NATO ruled out “the permanent stationing of a substantial and additional contingent of combat troops in Eastern Europe” as well as the recent entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO military structures and the fifth phase of deployment of missile shield in Europe (Euro DAM).

Will Kaliningrad be the epicenter of the new Missile Crisis?

Due to its geographical position, the province of Kaliningrad is an ideal platform for means of electronic espionage and missile batteries aimed at controlling and neutralizing possible hostile actions by the US, which makes it the likely target of a preemptive first strike.

Thus, the former NATO commander-in-chief in Europe, James Stavridis, in an article published in Bloomberg, describes Kaliningrad as “a geographical corner between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the rest of NATO”, rendering necessary “the neutralization of Kaliningrad in the event that the conflict with Russia breaks out so that the Suwalki corridor, which runs along the border between Lithuania and Poland, does not fall under the control of Moscow”.

The fifth phase of the anti-missile shield in Europe (Euro DAM) started with the US deployment of the Aegis Ashore anti-ballistic defense system at the Deveselu (Romania) base, just 600 km from the Crimean peninsula, which entered into service in May 2016. Russia responded by proceeding to install in Kaliningrad Iskander missiles equipped with multipurpose warheads as well as S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, leading the political scientist Vladimir Abrémov to remark, “the province of Kaliningrad will again play the role of pistol at the temple of Europe just like two decades ago”.

Likewise Putin, in a message to the Federal Assembly, issued the warning to NATO that “Russia could also use the Tsirkon hypersonic missile, which has a speed of Mach 8 and, launched from submarines, could reach any US Command Center in five minutes, as well as the Burevestnik cruise missile and the Poseidon nuclear submarine drone”.

However, Biden’s geopolitical short-sightedness in his obsession with subjugating Russia will only increase Putin’s anger. If, following the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, the Kaliningrad exit to the Baltic Sea is closed, we could see a repeat of the Kennedy-Khrushchev Missile Crisis (October, 1962) with its epicenter in Kaliningrad.

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