NATO still has relevance

It seems to me obvious that with the resurgence in aggression of the part of the KGB derived totalitarian state in Russia that NATO still has great relevance in today’s world and specifically in protecting the safety and interests of much more open and democratic states in Europe and North America.
This is the membership list of NATO starting in 1949 when it was first acknowledged that the wartime alliance with the USSR was over and the Stalin regime presented a very serious threat to freedom and life across the globe.
NATO now includes many former members of the now defunct Warsaw Pact and ensures their freedom and in some cases the very existence of the nation. For instance if Ukraine had been a NATO member it would never have lost Crimea to Russian hostile action and is now in the process of losing the eastern half of that nation to Russian aggression.
The current US president with deeply serious questions about his loyalties to the US and the NATO nations at large has consistently acted to downplay the importance of NATO accusing nations that only have a fraction of the resources of the US but are on the frontline with a resurgent Russian Empire of not doing their part. Some of these nations spent decades staring down massive Soviet Armies that would have steamrolled across Europe if the opportunity to do so had ever been present.
I think that is still the case, if NATO forces and resolve are removed from the Baltic states, Poland and the Balkans we could easily see those nations returned either directly to a Russian superpower or their government placed under the direct control of the Kremlin and the Russian state terror police with the renewal by Putin of an organization with the same aspects of the old KGB.

Under Putin’s rule the Russian M.O. for taking over neighbours seems to be centered on first encouraging divisions within these nations then using that as a pretext to send in the Russian military either covertly or openly.

The conflict centered on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two "breakaway provinces" in Georgia. They are officially part of Georgia, but have separate, unrecognized governments. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are supported by Russia. Russia has peacekeeping operations in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. During the five-day conflict, 170 servicemen, 14 policemen, and 228 civilians from Georgia were killed and 1,747 wounded. Sixty-seven Russian servicemen were killed, and 283 were wounded, and 365 South Ossetian servicemen and civilians (combined) were killed, according to an official EU fact-finding report about the conflict.
The career of Sergei Yeliseyev helps to explain why Ukraine's armed forces gave up Crimea almost without a fight—and why NATO now says it is alert to Russian attempts to undermine military loyalty in its eastern European members. His rise to become number two in the Ukrainian navy long before Russia seized Crimea illustrates the divided loyalties that some personnel in countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union might still face. Yeliseyev's roots were in Russia but he ended up serving Ukraine, a different ex-Soviet republic, only to defect when put to the test. NATO military planners now believe Moscow regards people with similarly ambiguous personal links as potentially valuable, should a new confrontation break out with the West.
The Russian government has deployed thousands of armored vehicles and troops into Ukraine to support separatist rebels in the war-torn country's eastern region, Ukraine's top defense official says, despite repeated assertions from Moscow of minimal military involvement there. "It's a real army. They have continuous inflow of munitions," Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian defense minister, told a small group of reporters on the sidelines of an international security conference here last weekend. Klimkin says 2,000 Russian armed vehicles and "a couple thousand" Russian soldiers are operating in the contested Donetsk and Luhansk provinces of eastern Ukraine, known collectively as the Donbas. A simmering proxy war has taken place there since 2014, when Russian-backed separatists began fighting to break the rural provinces away from Kiev. In addition, Russia has deployed artillery, mortars, light weapons and missile systems, like the Sa-11 that reportedly shot down a Malaysian airliner in 2015.
Clearly one of the most dangerous and violent states on Earth, it seems as if the Cold War just took a short break and we are now back in a long term conflict with expansionist forces in Russia. NATO clearly has relevance now equal to anything in the past.

Russia has also seriously upgraded its strategic strike capabilities with the introduction of the RS-28 Satan missile, one of which can take out entire countries.

Russia has conducted a test launch of its Satan 2 nuclear missile, the country's defence ministry said. The rocket was fired from the Plestek Cosmodrome spaceport, roughly 500 miles north of Moscow, officials said. The missile, also known as RS-28 Sarmat, travelled 3,600 miles before hitting its target on the Kura test range, an intercontinental ballistic missile impact area in the Russian Far East. The weapon is said to be capable of carrying 12 nuclear warheads and could wipe out a whole country with a single strike. Three ballistic missiles were also fired from nuclear submarines as part of the drills to test Russia's nuclear arsenal. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin took part in the exercise and personally launched four ballistic missiles.
Kim Jong-un may be a destabilizing force in geopolitics, but Vladimir Putin with his capabilities and clear pattern of aggression over decades presents a much more significant threat to our freedom, security and lives than North Korea ever will. Not only does NATO need to stand firm, it also needs to upgrade its strategic strike and defense capabilities to at least equal and preferably surpass Russia. Russia is also introducing strategic ABM systems that could negate much of the NATO triad nuclear systems. The S-500 is a true space capable weapons system that can intercept any weapons that NATO might launch in response to a Russian attack, which could very well come in the form of hypersonic gliders capable of carrying up to 24 thermonuclear bombs.
Travelling at up to 7,680 miles per hour - theoretically capable of travelling from Moscow to London in around 13 minutes - the highly-manoeuvrable Yu-74 can deliver atomic warheads to a precise target through any defensive shield set up by an enemy nation to block approaching missiles. Tests on another hypersonic aircraft, Yu-71, were completed last year - part of Russia's secret missile program codenamed Project 4202.
Truly troubling times as NATO once again is forced to face down an existential threat posed by a dictatorial regime with all the resources of Russia at its beck and call.

The Baltic States are warning of the very same threat from Russia that is ripping Ukraine to pieces.

Signs of an intensifying Moscow-led information campaign have the Lithuanian government worried that Russia is laying the groundwork for "kinetic operations" — a euphemism for combat — similar to its recent actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Lithuania's defense minister and military communications officials told The Guardian that they were "taking very seriously" Russia-organized propaganda efforts to undermine stability in the Baltics, which consist of Lithuania and its northern neighbors, Latvia and Estonia. "Russia is a threat," Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis told The Guardian. "They are saying our capital Vilnius should not belong to Lithuania because between the first and second world wars it was occupied by Poland."
The Putin regime is applying the very same tactics to NATO alliance members that it did to non members like Georgia and Ukraine. And it has also made a direct attack at the US center of power by compromising the US Commander-in Chief, who has been making ridiculous claims such as we should pull NATO forces out of Eastern Europe, create a joint cyber-security task force with Russia and that he believes the Russian government over his own intelligence services on a fundamental issue. Russia is clearly the biggest threat the west now faces when you look at the modern weapons that Russia is rapidly deploying aimed at the west, cyber attacks at all levels against the west and more and more Russian bombers making hostile incursions into NATO airspace to both intimidate us and gather information on how to best attack NATO members in the future.
Britain’s Royal Air Force scrambled two fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers near U.K. airspace on Monday, in another illustration of ongoing tensions. The RAF confirmed a “quick reaction alert," deploying Typhoon aircraft from the Lossiemouth base in Scotland as two Tupolev TU-160 Blackjack bombers approached Britain. “The Russian aircraft were initially monitored by a variety of friendly nation fighters and subsequently intercepted by the RAF in the North Sea," the air force said. “At no point did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign U.K. airspace." The incident is one of several in recent years as Russian military planes test NATO and British air defences. Russia’s military has also sought to probe the resolve of naval forces, with warships being diverted to monitor passing naval vessels. Last week, the HMS Westminster, a Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate, was ordered to intercept two warships and two supporting vessels passing near U.K. waters.

Belarus is also on edge given the aggressive and violent nature of the Putin government as seen in attacks on its neighbours.

The first day of major joint war games between Russia and Belarus began in confusion Thursday, as the militaries of both countries announced the Russians would be moving in opposite directions. The defence ministry in Moscow first announced that units of the Russian first tank army were rushing toward Belarus - a statement swiftly denied by the Belarusian military, who insisted the Russian tanks were heading to training bases in their own country. The confusion only exacerbated fears that the Zapad war games taking place largely in Belarus are a cover for a Russian assault, like those that preceded the annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Poland another NATO member is preparing for a long period of tension and threat from the resurgent Russian terror state under Putin.

Lasers, small drones, and more troops are among the ways Poland is preparing for 15 years of rising tensions — and perhaps even war — with Russia, according to a new report from its Ministry of Defense. “Taking into account the asymmetry of military capabilities between Russia and NATO’s eastern flank members, such a situation creates a direct threat for Poland and the region," reads the unclassified summary of the report, published in Polish and English. “It is not unrealistic that Russia could incite a regional conflict and dragging into it one or several NATO countries. Russia is also likely to provoke proxy wars in various parts of the world in order to exert pressure on the Western countries…It is highly probable for Moscow to incite social tensions and frozen conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia."
The Putin government and the Russian state he now has total control over is not friendly to the west, NATO or the very concept of peace. NATO is an essential presence in Europe now to prevent a conflict that could easily grow to consume our lives here. Once again, the Russian government is going to be deploying large numbers of new ICBMs that can not be intercepted and one of which could destroy most nations. A couple getting through to the US would take out all its major cities. At the same time the Putin government is carrying out very effective cyber warfare that has placed his man in the White House.

Internally Putin largely recreated the KGB which poses a threat to anyone inside Russia who might challenge the regime in any way and is a constant weapon used to deadly effect against any nation or group that the Kremlin does not like.

A well-connected Russian newspaper is reporting that Vladimir Putin plans to unite his domestic security, foreign espionage, and counterintelligence agencies into one superagency, in effect recreating the old Soviet KGB. If true, it suggests Putin is seriously worried about his future — and that he dramatically misunderstands the risks in this maneuver. The circumstantial evidence that this or a similar measure is in the works has been steadily growing. The Federal Security Service (FSB), the agency likely to dominate this new body, has been acting with unusual confidence, even arresting senior figures from other services. Russia’s chief investigator, Alexander Bastrykin, who has opposed this plan, is reportedly about to be sacked. Besides, this fits a wider picture of a drift toward authoritarianism. The last time the creation of a security superagency was raised was in 2012, in parallel with the proposal to form a National Guard to control the streets. At that time, Putin shelved both ideas. In April, though, he unexpectedly announced the formation of the National Guard, a force of 200,000 riot police and security troops and another 200,000 security guards, under one of his closest allies, Gen. Viktor Zolotov. It will be fully operational within a year and has units across the country, ready to respond to any signs of protest. Now independent commentators and opposition figures alike are sure the changes to the security services are also happening — and even more tellingly, Putin’s spokesperson refused to rule out the idea when given the perfect opportunity to kill the story.
It's clearly ridiculous to refer to Russia under Putin as democratic nation or even one respectful of basic principles that have been encoded at the international level for decades. Putin clearly does not respect the right of Americans to select the leader of their choice, or whether or not Britain should remain in the EU. Having trump in the White House and Britain isolated makes perfect sense from a hostile to the west Kremlin mindset. Russia has probably never really been a democracy, Yeltsin clearly didn't get the concept when he decided that instead of figuring out how to make a democratic system made up of people elected by the public who are responsible to them work, he imposed his absolute rule. And Russia has been a downhill slide to one man taking total control of the country the way Putin has who is now spreading his version of rule by violence and intolerance around the world. His man in the Oval Office is using the same rhetoric that Stalin did in condemning the free press as "enemies of the people" as stated so clearly by Republican Congressman Jeff Flake. We are at war with Putin's Russia and have been for a very long time... and we are losing.

It’s also possible - I’d say highly likely given the evidence - that elements of what is now the Russian government were in part behind the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The murkiest of these relations, however, has been the connection between al-Qa’ida and Russian intelligence. While the outlines of the story have been known for years, and even admitted by Moscow and the mujahidin, details remain elusive. Moreover, asking important questions about this relationship seems to be an issue few appear interested in probing deeply, even in the United States. That Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s right-hand man and the leader of the global jihad movement since bin Laden’s death in May 2011, spent almost a half-year in the mid-1990s in the custody of Russian intelligence is admitted by both sides and is a matter of public record. Just as significant, Zawahiri’s Russian sojourn occurred at a pivotal point in the development of al-Qa’ida; the shift in strategy, resulting in attacks on the “far enemy" (i.e. the United States), the road leading to 9/11, occurred after Zawahiri’s imprisonment by the Russians.
Zawahiri has been tight-lipped about his half-year in Russia; his numerous writings and pronouncements about his life barely mention the tale. “God blinded them to our identities," he explained. The FSB agrees that they failed to identify the leading holy warrior. “In 1997, Russian special services were not aware of al-Zawahiri," elaborated an FSB spokesman in 2003: “However, later, using various databases, we managed to identify this former detainee."[5] There are many reasons to doubt the official story told by both sides in the affair. In the first place, Zawahiri was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists in 1996, having played a leading role in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981; the doctor’s role in the subsequent public trial was televised in many countries. He was hardly a secret mujahid. Furthermore, it is difficult to believe that a security service as proficient and thorough as the FSB did not have its interest piqued by the appearance of three Arab mystery men, bearing multiple identities and cash, in the middle of a warzone.
After al-Qaeda's chief planner spent a half year with Russian intelligence he then went on to take the terrorist organization to an unseen level of activity across the globe, blowing up US embassies, targeting US warships then the heart of the US economic, political and military leadership with the most successful "terrorist" attack in history. These were all Cold War priority targets of the Russian military and spy services btw. A former KGB and FSB officer that Putin had murdered also corroborates this version of events.
Appearing alongside high-profile opponents of Mr Putin, Mr Litvinenko continued to make allegations about his former bosses. Perhaps most notably, he alleged that al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri was trained by the FSB in Dagestan in the years before the 9/11 attacks.
This resulted in exactly the kind of chaos and total distraction the Russian government, intelligence services and military needed to rebuild and then once again challenge the west directly for control of not just Europe but the rest of the planet. Putin is working to regain as much of the territory of the former USSR he can. He's doing everything he can to break up the E.U. and NATO, and he now has the US Executive Branch totally compromised with what we know already. trump has been under investigation for his activities since before he even assumed office, which has only been compounded by his actions in office. Such as firing the director of the FBI the day before he was to meet with high level Russian officials who he told openly that he had just fired the head of the chief US investigative bureau to take the heat off him in regards to his relationship with the very people he was telling this to. trump obviously places more importance on the interests and desires of the Russian government than he does on the US. Russia has never had such influence on western nations as it does now. Russia had never stopped being at war with the west... it's more than time to wake up to the real threat. Terrorists are attacking western nations in large part due to a conflict that the Russians started then sat back and laughed their asses off about. Talk from the trump administration about withdrawing from NATO commitments and that Putin and Russia are friends of the US, the E.U. and NATO are the result of his collusion with the Russians, not the facts.