Let me give you the following situation:

Relations have worsened with Mexico over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall and staunch the influx of illegal immigrants. As a result, Mexico has turned to Russia. Yesterday, the first of the 87 Russian tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Tampico on Friday. The equipment and 3,500 Russian troops are to be deployed along Mexico’s northern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential United States aggression on Mexico’s border.

The arrival of the equipment and troops marks the start of a new phase of Russia’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an Russian armoured brigade combat team in Mexico on a nine-month rotational basis.

Other allies of Russia are also increasing their presence in Mexico, with Iran sending fighter jets to the Baja Peninsula, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armour will deploy to Juarez in the spring.

Are you okay with this? Is this a hostile act? What should the United States do?

Let me venture a wild guess–this would spark hysteria in the United States and most Americans would be alarmed and outraged by these actions by Russia and Iran. This would be further proof that Russia is intent on world domination and the United States has no choice but to take strong action to challenge this attempt by Russia and Iran to get a military foothold in North America.

Okay, now let me tell you the truth.

The largest shipment of US brigades since the fall of the Soviet Union is arriving in northern Germany.

The first of the 87 tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Bremerhaven on Friday.

The equipment and 3,500 US troops are to be deployed along Nato’s eastern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential Russian aggression in eastern Europe.

The arrival of the equipment and troops marks the start of a new phase of the US’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armoured brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. . . .

Other Nato members are also increasing their presence in eastern Europe, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armour will deploy to Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.

This event has received hardly any news coverage in the United States. I suspect that only around 1% of our population are aware that this is going on. What in the hell are we trying to do?

We have never been invaded by Mexico. I do not count the cross border raids 100 years ago by Pancho Villa as an invasion. And, if we are honest, we essentially invaded/occupied Mexican territory and appropriated it as our won. Put yourself in the position of the Russian military and intelligence bureaucracies. The last time foreign troops started putting tanks and artillery on their western border was May of 1941. One month later they were invaded by the Nazis and more than 20 million Russians–let me repeat that number, at least 20 million–died in the ensuring war. The United States has never experienced that degree of devastation and loss and it is no exaggeration to state that the Russian people, not just Vladimir Putin, are very paranoid about foreign military activity on its borders.

Then consider the following facts. Last year the United States carried out air strikes in 7 countries:

bombs-dropped1

How many countries did the Russians bomb? Only one. Syria. And they did so at the express invitation of the Government of Syria.

My point is simple. If you were Russian and you were listening to the heated rhetoric coming out of Washington and London condemning all things Russian and vilifying Vladimir Putin as a Hitleresque character and then you saw this level of increased military activity by the west on your border. Would you feel the need to prepare for war?

It is time for these children masquerading as Senators and Representatives to stop with the bellicose threats and the demonization of Russia and Putin. Instead, it is time to act like adults, understand the Russian concerns and take responsibility for our own threatening actions. If not, we run a real risk of sparking a war that could end with the use of nuclear weapons.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.