Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 04:32 GMT 05:32 UK
Nato is new Russian enemy
The Russian army is feeling the need to show its strength
By Moscow Correspondent, Rob Parsons
The rocky relations between Nato and Russia have, for the moment at least, found level ground again.
But the truce is an uneasy one, in a climate of the worst distrust and enmity between the two former arch-rivals since the Cold War.
And last week, Russian strategic bombers flew into Nato's air defences near Iceland.
The scenario was a full-scale invasion. The unstated assumption was that the enemy was Nato.
In Moscow, the mood is hardening, and the alliance's bombardment of Yugoslavia has deepened Russia's suspicion of the West.
This is a country which cannot forget its past, and the memories of invasion during the Second World War still have the power to traumatise.
Now Russia feels insecure again - aware of its weakness and nervous of Nato's growing strength.
But today the Russian army is a shadow of the force that fought off Hitler.
Military weakness, underlined by Moscow's inability to prevent Nato action in Yugoslavia, is prompting a new emphasis on the one deterrent that still commands the respect of the world.
The Cold War is over but Russia may never have been more dangerous. A nuclear giant, its pride has been badly hurt.
The West cannot afford to let it drift into isolation.