MOSCOW — Many residents of Russia and other nations across Europe and Asia believe that a world war involving the United States is just around the corner, and they’re stockpiling for it, too.
Moscow, in fact, is gripped by “war fever,” former CNN correspondent Jill Dougherty wrote at the Wilson Center website. She travels across Europe frequently and says war fears are increasing among leaders and ordinary people alike.
“Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow,” she wrote. “When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. ‘I went there once,’ he said, ‘to Chicago. I really liked it.’”
Then the driver added, “But tell me something. When are we going to war?”
The fears are being stoked by growing conflicts between countries like America, China, Russia and India.
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At an office building, Dougherty asked another Russian about the mood in the “working class Moscow neighborhood.”
“The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war,” she wrote.
In Russia, the fears are stoked by Vladimir Putin’s government, which is pouring out propaganda against the United States and NATO.
“Here, there is no softening of language; NATO and the U.S. are the enemy and Russia must be ready for attack,” Dougherty wrote.
Russia Today (RT) recently ran a news story with the headline, “Killer airwaves: Russia starts trial of electromagnetic warfare system.” It would, the story says, “guarantee complete neutralization of all enemy electronics.”
A Sputnik News headline read: “New Russian Bomber to Be Able to Launch Nuclear Attacks From Outer Space.”
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“In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia,” Dougherty wrote. “Talk of war is everywhere.”
Russian leaders see NATO – of which the US is a member – as ready to go to war.
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that NATO’s rhetoric at a Warsaw summit “simply howls about the effort to almost announce war against Russia.” NATO “talks about defense, but actually is preparing for offensive action,” he added.
NATO is planning to deploy four new multinational battalions to Eastern Europe – in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – that border or are near Russia.
Sergei Karaganov, a member of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy and Defense Council, told Der Spiegel that Western propaganda “is reminiscent of the period preceding a new war.”
“The help offered by NATO is not symbolic help for the Baltic states,” he said. “It is a provocation. If NATO initiates an encroachment – against a nuclear power like ourselves – it will be punished.”
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