two important facts about the fast increasing number of incidents with Russian military might at the European border
First, it takes a long time to prepare this, it is not done like this on a hunch which means that it is planned, coordinated, prepared and agreed upon - even at the same moment Putin is saying he just wants peace and so on. So there are two faces to Russian foreign policy. The practical guy and the tactical guy. You can chose who to believe and who to trust. If you think that practical things (the economy) will be more important than the military tactics you still think that there is not much to it and that peace will prevail (like good sense). If you prefer to look at the military tactics, than you better start preparing for the worst so you send a message that this guy better starts becoming practical because otherwise he will end up in a dead-end street as his bluff has been called.
And the more further away or the bigger the incursions, the longer the planning and the preparations.
And the real question is the following : if all this has been planned long time in advance, what else will come ? And what is the endgame ?
The first important fact is that this is NOT incidental, this is planned and is part of a longterm strategy based upon a number of suppositions. Understand the strategy and the suppositions and you have a first choice of possible responses.
Secondly, the number of incidents is not 30, no for Europe it is MUCH HIGHER over the last year. We are already at 100 military incidents in our airspace and before our coasts.
"Allied jets have intercepted Russian fighter aircraft along Europe’s fringes 100 times this year, three times the 2013 total, according to NATO. The increased activity coincides with the U.S. and the European Union accusations that Russia is fueling the separatist conflict in Ukraine, where a September cease-fire is wobbling. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/poland-renews-ba...grow.html
THis means that every THREE days there is somewhere at our NATO borders a military incident with a Russian military aircraft, submarine or warship (some nuclear). I repeat - so you understand it - every THREE days.
So when military commanders start getting nervous and worried, you have to ask yourself how you would react if somebody is knocking on your windows and doors every three days and sometimes is standing in your hall way or kitchen and leaving afterwards saying, sorry - no harm done.
This is way beyond 'tension' and way beyond 'military incidents'.
This is an explicit military strategy of creating a permanent atmosphere of military tension.
And you only need one ship, submarine or fighter plane to make the mistake of beginning to fire to find ourselves in a totally different situation. And this has happened before. Only at that time the lines of communication between the White House and the Kremlin were still open and there were enough backchannels. With a permanent cutting of ties in all spheres between NATO and the US and the Kremlin at the other side one can hope this will still be the case (even if Obama wouldn't do something military without thinking months about it)
It does mean for Belgium which has foreseen new cuts in its military forces that it would take years to adapt afterwards to the new international environment and its NATO obligations. Or we should just say that we don't want a Belgian army and want to pay a part of an European Defense Force or NATO force (or combination). But that is a bit difficult if you don't have One Commander in chief but 26 (as if the Governors of the US would decide where US troops would be send abroad).