Does The West Have A Vision For The Western Balkans?

Large, burly men sat in the front rows of the parliament building in Banja Luka last December, their bulging muscles revealing elaborate tattoos under their black T-shirts and hoodies. These were the “little green men” of the Balkans — only they were not little and wore black outfits instead of green camouflage uniforms. They certainly looked intimidating, sitting in the parliament of the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Members of a group called “Serbian Honor” (Српска ЧАСТ), they claim to be involved in “humanitarian” work in Republika Srpska and neighboring Serbia.

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NATO's Worst Nightmare: Russia's Kaliningrad Is Armed to the Teeth

Since the accession of the Baltic nations into NATO, the region of Kaliningrad has been considered a strategic hotspot. Sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, it is one of the major Russian ports that has access to Baltic Sea. Due to its location, Russian missiles and ships stationed in the region have the capability to deny significant areas of operation to American or European forces. Russian units stationed in Kaliningrad have a very strong preemptive strike capability against the Polish and Baltic militaries, as well as any of their North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners in the region. Of all of these threats, the biggest one Russia poses from Kaliningrad is their deployment of Iskander-M ballistic missiles. NATO, including the nearby Baltic nations and Poland, currently have very little ability to counter these Russian forces.

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Hodges: Do Everything To Become Indigestible For Russia

Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges, Pershing Chair of Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, told Voice of America’s Ia Meurmishvili that NATO has reacted strongly to Russia’s aggression, and that the Alliance has not been as strong as it is now for a long time. LTG Hodges also spoke about Russia-NATO relations, upcoming NATO summit, the Black Sea region security and Georgia’s defense concept.

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