The Washington Post reports: On a recent night at this air base where NATO fighter pilots keep a constant vigil against the Kremlin, the alarms that warn that Russian planes were veering toward NATO airspace wouldn’t stop going off.
At least 13 Russian warplanes coursed through the skies. And the NATO fighter jets kept rushing into the air to meet them. By the end of the night, Finland and Estonia said their airspace had been violated — and in the sea below, a powerful nuclear-capable missile system was on its way to a Russian naval base in the enclave of Kaliningrad.
Just ahead of the U.S. presidential elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be pushing his conflict with the West to new heights. He has declared an end to a plutonium-disposal agreement with the United States. Two weeks ago, he stationed new cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, further bolstering a territory that already was bristling with weaponry. And Aleppo is bracing for a renewed Russian bombardment that may begin soon. Many Western policymakers say he may be taking advantage of end-of-term distractions in the White House to exert as commanding a position as possible before a new president takes office Jan. 20. [Continue reading…]