By Jim Kouri
In a surprise to many who remember the Cold War years, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his government is interested in having the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) build and staff a base in Russia, according to a Wednesday statement.
The proposed location will act as a NATO warehousing and distribution facility on Russian territory, because such a hub would benefit his country, said the former Soviet KGB official.
The base would be built in the central city of Ulyanovsk, which would aid NATO in the delivery of equipment and other consignments to and from Afghanistan.
Putin stated that Russia would definitely not participate in any of the combat operations in Afghanistan, but that down the line Moscow would benefit from peace in that war-torn country.
“Now there numerous NATO troops in Afghanistan. They need help. Let them keep fighting there and we will help them,” Putin stated.
The President stressed that he wished Russia to help deliver NATO’s consignments rather than to send troops to Afghanistan.
“It is a pity that all the states participating in Afghan events are thinking how to escape from there,” Putin said.
“Perhaps Putin forgets the results of Russia not pulling out of Afghanistan when they were the occupiers. It contributed to the fall of the Soviet Empire,” said Mike Baker, a political consultant and historian.
While NATO is expected to allow Russia’s involvement, some veterans find the arrangement ironic.
“Is the irony of this proposal lost on NATO and U.S. military officials? NATO was created as a defensive organization against the treat that Russia and its Iron Curtain countries posed to the West,” said former Army Major Donald McDuff, now a retired law enforcement officer.
“Perhaps the question we need to ask is: do we need all of these organizations? The United Nations, NATO, and other global organizations that slowly eat away at national sovereignty?” asked McDuff.