Thursday, 16 June 2016

Towards World War 111 - the NATO encirclement of Russia

NATO Begins Encirclement Of Russia

15 June, 2016

NATO prepares a veritable military buildup in Eastern Europe: German soldiers are operating in Lithuania, the British take over Estonia, and US soldiers move in to protect Latvia. The Canadians will be in Poland. Also in the Mediterranean, combat units are being increased. Russia perceives the activity as a threat, but hasn’t yet announced any countermeasures.

At the NATO summit during July 8th-9th in Warsaw, the Alliance will adopt a massive military presence along Russia’s border. Russia is classified by NATO as a threat. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said in Washington that the US and the EU have the right in the form of NATO to defend its territories on foreign soil. Critics of this strategy believe that it’s possible this upgradewill increase significantly the danger of a conflict between the superpowers. Wednesday in Brussels, the defense ministers want the military alliance to take decisions which will then be sealed by the leaders in Poland. NATO wants to strengthen its military presence on its eastern borders significantly, and to position foreign combat troops battalions in Poland and the three Baltic states. Germany is the core of the Association in Lithuania, the British in Estonia, and the United States is expected to be that in Latvia. What remains unclear, however, is who will be sending troops to Poland.

Maybe Canada will take on this task, it was last reported from Polish diplomatic sources as quoted by Reuters. “’The summit in Warsaw will be President Obama’s last (NATO summit) and the U.S. wants it to be a success. It will ensure that the fourth framework country is found, possibly by leaning on Canada,’ the source said. ‘Washington will bend over backwards here.’”

Germany wants to send at least 600 soldiers to Lithuania, which will constitute the core of the local battalion there with about 1,200 soldiers.

The battalions are to include around 1,000 soldiers each, and are not permanently stationed in the eastern countries, but replaced regularly. By means of this rotation, the military alliance wants to avoid a formal breach of the NATO-Russia Founding Act 1997, which prohibits the permanent stationing of a “substantial” number of combat troops in the east. What specifically “substantial” means, however, is controversial. [In other words: Obama wants to be more aggressive than the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 might allow; he wants to violate the treaty in such a way that he’ll be able to say he’s not really breaking the treaty.]

Poland and the Baltic countries want to push NATO to be even more aggressive. They demand among other things, increased aerial surveillance by fighter jets of the alliance partners on the Baltic. Poland had in the past also repeatedly demanded the permanent stationing of NATO combat troops [which would clearly violate the NATO-Russia Founding Act]. The Baltic States and Poland have been feeling threatened since Russia’s March 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

NATO defense ministers will also discuss a new mission in the Mediterranean. What exactly is planned there, is difficult to judge. Officially the rise of extremist ISIS militias and the refugee crisis are given as reasons for that expansion of NATO. ISIS is financed and otherwise supported by Saudi Arabia, the closest ally of the West in the Middle East. A good reason why NATO, the most powerful fighting force in all of the world’s military, have not coped with that group of more or less random ragtag mercenaries, is not known. Russia is fighting on the side of Syria against ISIS and against previously officially the US-backed al-Nusra Front [Al Qaeda in Syria — the Syrian affiliate of the group that did 9/11].

The NATO alliance is looking for a new combat mission in the Mediterranean, as the 11 September 2001 NATO response “Active Endeavor”patrolling the Mediterranean to stop terrorists there, has actually become obsolete. The ministers therefore want to consider whether the mission should be transformed into a more general one to strengthen security in the Mediterranean. Also being considered is to transform that mission to a closer cooperation with the European Union, which maintains its own naval deployment off the Libyan coast against human traffickers and the rescue of refugees in distress under the name “Sophia”. At dinner on Tuesday therefore also the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and government representatives from the non-NATO countries Finland and Sweden will also be in NATO headquarters.

The agenda on Wednesday also includes the future of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. According to current plans, the US wants to reduce the number of its troops in Afghanistan from its current 9800 to 5500. Whether Obama will hold to that objective despite the poor security situation in Afghanistan isn’t yet clear.

The New Cold War - NATO Plans 40k Force, Bases on Russia's Border

15 June, 2016

The military alliance has called for permanent bases on Russia’s border manned by 4,000 troops and an additional 40,000 rapid deployment force, but how will the United States pay for their latest round of war mongering?

On Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that NATO will deploy four 'robust' international battalions to Poland and the Baltic states to counter fears of 'Russian aggression.'

The program, to be agreed to by NATO leaders at the July 8-9 summit in Warsaw, calls for permanent bases along Russia’s border, with nearly 4,000 permanently-stationed troops to function as a "tripwire," and an additional 40,000-troop NATO Response Force that can be deployed into combat within days.

NATO’s plans to establish a permanent force along Russia’s eastern flank, a violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, has been viewed by Moscow as the latest provocative measure by a Western alliance that gives every appearance of clamoring for a return to the Cold War.

The ramp-up follows the unprecedented Anaconda-2016 war games in Poland, featuring over 30,000 troops, led by German forces on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

Both Poland and Romania have been leading the charge for NATO expansionism along Russia’s border, claiming that regional security is in peril following violent political unrest in Ukraine. Both Warsaw and Bucharest are demanding a troop presence and calling for missile-defense shields.

Polish and Romanian leaders have aptly employed Russophobic rhetoric to strengthen their domestic hand and also look to benefit their national economies by garnering increased military investments to create local jobs.

One year ago, as the drumbeats of the new Cold War began, Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned that "some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia and they just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid."

President Putin went on to blast the ‘Russian aggression’ talking point, saying, "I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO."

Nonetheless, Moscow now faces an increasing military buildup on their borders, by NATO leaders with either designs to incite conflict or profound misconceptions about Russia’s intentions.

On Wednesday, Radio Sputnik interviewed foreign policy analyst Dr. Martin McCauley to discuss NATO’s inflammatory posture toward Russia and what it holds for the future.

"From the American point of view, they would like NATO to have a more expansive global role and to be able to get member states to spend more of their own money," said Dr. McCauley. "The other members are reluctant to spend more, despite US calls for each country to put forward at least 2% of their GDP for defense."

The analyst stated that most European member states remain content with allowing the United States to foot the bill, allowing for national funds to be used for domestic, economic, and political concerns. Currently, only Britain has committed to spending 2% of their GDP on defense, whereas other key NATO allies, like Germany, contribute less than 1.3% of their economic output to the alliance.

"If you look at Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, they are the countries calling for more investment and a greater NATO presence, leading to the permanent battalions of 4000 troops to be stationed on Russia border," said the analyst.

"These countries are also calling for a total force of 40,000 later on, which almost certainly will be confirmed during the NATO summit in Warsaw next month."

"The big question is, who is going to pay for this?" asked Dr. McCauley. He observed that both Eastern and Western Europeans intend to spend as little as possible on defense, while relying almost solely on American military beneficence, but the status quo has been disrupted by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s arguments that, "America has spent too much money already and that NATO is past its sell-by date so it is up to Europeans to spend more."

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Dr. McCauley suggested that there is a sharp divide among European countries on whether Russia poses enough of a threat to justify a significant increase in defense spending, with countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary arguing that there is no risk of Russian invasion and no justification for the expenditures, while Poland and the Baltic states claim that Moscow presents an immediate threat.

The analyst posited that the United States and Poland will likely be forced to increase their defense spending disproportionately, as they will have a hard time convincing Europeans of 'Russian aggression.'

Dr. McCauley pointed out that protests against NATO deployments in Greece, a country in a fiscal crisis, are a result of military spending increases that have forced drastic cuts to domestic necessities. The analyst expects similar uprisings across Europe for the same reasons, as the EU economy faces additional shocks in years to come

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