NATO’s offence

Blog No 97.

“We know year by year what’s going to happen, and they know that we know. It’s only you that they tell tall tales to, and you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries. You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger – this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.”  Putin addresses western journalists prior to last week’s NATO conference in Warsaw.

rapid trident
Soldiers from 13 nations line up for Operation Rapid Trident 16’s opening ceremony.

Perhaps the keynote of post WWII and Cold War relations has been the continued and ruthless drive by the USA to become the sole superpower. The flip-side has been a Russia striving to ensure it retains its independence and does not get subsumed by its alluring and intolerant opponent. Recently, Murdoch’s Fox News, that purveyor of unadulterated truth, published a gloating piece on the USA’s latest victory in this struggle:

https://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/06/27/us-nato-thumb-noses-at-russia-with-massive-war-games-in-ukraine.html

Far more in this genre has been filling the screens and newspapers of western readers since the July NATO conference in Warsaw set out further guidelines for painting Russia into its corner.

Actually despite all the razzmatazz at Fox News, these ‘massive’ NATO exercises, involving a mixed unit collection of 2,000 odd troops, are puny. They should be seen in proportion to the ‘aggressive’ Russian forces they are ‘designed to deter.’ The Baltics might be impressed by the display of martial might – but the Russians won’t be. (Russian Armed forces – front-line 766,000 and reserves 2,450,000.) The only (and utterly plausible) military threat Russia has to face from its western frontier is a sometime in the future, first nuclear strike. Failing that, fighting on interior lines of communication and against such a haphazard and ethnically diverse international, conventional force as any that NATO could muster, Russia is impregnable. Both Russian and NATO leaders will be well aware of the fact.

If not for Russian consumption, what purpose do these exercises serve? These exercises are PR exercises intended for consumption by NATO’s own populations. If it is purely to sucker more governments, including the USA’s into buying American armaments, that would be no more than business as usual. The most recently retired American commander in Europe, whose term saw a steady up-tick in this public flaunting of NATO’s armed ‘might’ was the inappropriately named, General Philip Breedlove. Now retired, the more favours Breedlove did for them while serving, the more likely he will be to gain lucrative board appointments with American defence contractors. The extent to which Breedlove, in his brinkmanship, was prepared to defy the wishes of his more cautious President was recently revealed by Wikileaks. https://theintercept.com/2016/07/01/nato-general-emails/

Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) US General Philip Breedlove speaks during a press conference at the military airport near the town of Sllatina on July 30, 2014 during his visit in Kosovo.
The dashing warrior: recent Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) US General Philip Breedlove

Of course, those responsible for Russia’s defence cannot afford to simply dismiss this hastened drumbeat of NATO’s warlike preparations as the usual drumming up of business by America’s military-industrial complex. Russia’s worry will be “is it with a longer-term and more malign intent? Are western populations being put on a fear and alert basis in order to prepare them to accept the necessity for an American owned and operated, missile defence screen to be set up on their territories?”

With the limitless funding of America’s R&D into high tech defence/offence weapon systems, such a screen could seriously upset the balance of nuclear power between the protagonists. The recent deployment of an American operated, ballistic missile defence screen in Romania (claimed by the Pentagon to be defending Europe against Iranian missiles!) with another scheduled in 2018 for Poland, adds credibility to Russian anxieties. https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a20902/russias-unhappy-about-new-american-anti-missile-system/

missile defence
A U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania, Thursday, May 12, 2016.

Should the USA ever achieve a position from which it could realistically call into question, Russia’s ability to deliver a second-strike riposte with those of its ICBM’s that had escaped an American first strike, Russia would no longer be able to pursue an independent foreign policy. With its far smaller nuclear forces, China, too, would no longer be able to resist whatever pressure America decided to place on it. The American Empire’s Stars and Stripes, as representative of the world’s only superpower, would fly triumphant over all mankind. For the American Neo-cons, the end of history would be at hand.

Recently a paper was published by a senior retired Italian Air force officer expressing bewilderment at NATO’s current policy for the defence of Europe and suggesting what that policy more sensibly should be. https://www.euronews.com/2016/06 first strike enabling, /27/why-nato-is-missing-the-point-with-russia/

As a simple military man, he misses the point of what NATO’s policy is all about. NATO is not about the defence of Europe, but America’s world dominion – even should it cost the destruction of Europe in order to achieve it.

This hyperlink gives an insight into the dangerous undercurrents in USA East-West policy making  and of which, the Russians must be  well aware when making their threat assessments. https://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45041.htm

And this is Putin’s reaction: https://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45055.htm

While this is happening to Russia, a very similar threat to China is emerging as the USA deploys an anti-ballistic missile shield on the South Korean border with North Korea. While this screen is too close to possible North Korean launches to offer any defence against them, it, together with similar sites in Japan is perfectly placed to make the Chinese feel insecure in the face of a possible US first strike on their relatively small ICBM nuclear force, after which which they would be left unable to offer any riposte.

 

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