The United States plans to expand military cooperation with Poland and Baltic states to show “support” for its allies after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Wednesday. ”This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to support our allies,” including expanded aviation training in Poland and increasing the US role in NATO’s air policing mission over Baltic countries, Hagel told lawmakers.
NATO’s top commander and head of the US European Command, General Philip Breedlove, also planned to confer with Central and Eastern European defense chiefs, Hagel said. ”This is a time for wise, steady, and firm leadership,” Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“It is a time for all of us to stand with the Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity and sovereignty, and their right to have a government that fulfills the aspirations of its people.” At the same hearing, General Martin Dempsey, the US military’s top-ranking officer, said he had spoken to his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov earlier Wednesday, urging “restraint.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has dismissed reports Kiev is allegedly in talks with the United States over a possible deployment of missile defense systems in Ukraine. ”There are no negotiations on this issue and there’s not even a hint of them,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Eugene Perebiynis was quoted by Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying Wednesday. Perebiynis said Kiev and Washington were in talks on possible financial aid to Ukraine, with no strings attached. Earlier in the day, local media, citing Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus Mykhailo Yezhel, reported missile systems were on the table as part of the aid talks. Yezhel served as Ukrainian Defense Minister from 2010 to 2012 under the leadership of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
- Ukrainian Ambassador: U.S. missile defense in Ukraine in exchange for financial aid is on negotiating table
- Russia stations missiles near border with Poland, Lithuania
- Moscow: missiles in western Russia legitimate
- From 2012: NATO Launches Missile Defense Shield
- From 2012: Russia Threatens Preemptive Strike if NATO Builds Missile Defense Shield
- From 2012: NATO Interested in Missile Defense Cooperation with Ukraine
- From 2008: Ukraine Ready To Work With West On Missile Defense
Russia’s incursion (invasion if you prefer) into Crimea, with prospects for movement into Eastern Ukraine, is the culmination of US/NATO policy since 1991. The unraveling of the USSR and its Soviet bloc (the Warsaw Pact) dismantled the largest empire in modern history. Even more striking, it was the most peaceful dissolution of a major empire in history. The fact that an empire stretching over a dozen time zones that included hundreds of ethnic groups with concrete historical and contemporary grievances with each other broke up without a bloodbath is nothing short of a miraculous – and a reflection of the destruction of spirit and even of economic understanding that marked the distortions of Stalinism, neither capitalist nor socialist but a bureaucratic collectivism whose final stage proved to be kleptocracy.
Part of the reason that this went off with such little violence was due to the mutual desire of President George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War’s threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Gorbachev for his part recognized that the Warsaw Pact nations needed to be let go, in order to free resources to build up a more middle class consumer economy. Demilitarization was to be achieved by disarmament, all the more remarkable in view of the largest human losses suffered in world history from military invasion had occurred just two generations earlier. Germany became the focus, pending its reunification in1990. It had invaded its neighbors every generation or so since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. In World War II it laid waste to the USSR and left 25 million of its people dead. Other East European nations, including Romania (and, along with victims of Stalinist oppression, e.g., the Baltics and Ukrainians, welcomed the Nazis and fought against Russia). The NATO alliance thus remained the main threat that had held the Soviet Union together
So Russia had vital security concerns that could only be met by assurances that NATO would not move into the Warsaw Pact states, where so much Soviet blood had been shed in World War II. President George H. W. Bush (#41) made assurances that if the Soviets were to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, Russia must be assured that the NATO would not fill the vacuum. But his successor, Bill Clinton, broke this promise by quickly taking the former Warsaw Pact states into NATO, and then moved into territory formerly occupied and incorporated into the USSR with the Baltics. It should have been foreseen – and probably was inevitable – that these new entrants wanted NATO, given their own experience with Soviet occupation. But the eagerness of a triumphalist United States to surround Russia militarily rather than disarm led Russian leaders to feel betrayed by the US breaking its word.
The Baltics fear Russia’s military buildup over Ukraine will lead to Moscow sowing more trouble in their region after it curbed important exports last year and buzzed their borders, forcing NATO to scramble jets dozens of times. The former Soviet republics of Estonia and Latvia have their own large ethnic Russian minorities and are alarmed by President Vladimir Putin’s justification for Russian actions in and around Ukraine as protection for Russian speakers there. While all three Baltic republics have joined NATO – and Lithuania next year should be the last of the three to adopt the euro – these small countries are largely dependent on energy from Russia and have strong trade ties.
“Thanks be to God, we are NATO members,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters on Monday. Grybauskaite said she was concerned about Russian military exercises in Kalinigrad, a Russian enclave tucked between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic sea and headquarters of Russian Baltic fleet. ”We are following the situation with (Russia’s) increased military readiness and drills at our borders,” said Grybauskaite, adding Lithuania and Poland could bring up the issue with NATO.
A repeat of a situation like in Crimea is highly unlikely in the Baltics because of the region’s NATO and EU membership, which Ukraine does not have. ”The risk is much lower for Russia intervening in the Baltic states,” said Michael Taylor, a senior analyst for Europe at Oxford Analytica. “It will be a real challenge to the U.S. and EU, and the West will not be able to ignore that,” But Russia has long complained the rights of ethnic Russians are being undermined in the Baltics and they have long been vocal in warning of Russian soft power assertiveness. Ahead of Latvia joining the euro this year, foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics was unequivocal – entry was an “insurance policy” over Russia.
Both John Kerry’s threats to expel Russia from the G8 and the Ukrainian government’s plea for Nato aid mark a dangerous escalation of a crisis that can easily be contained if cool heads prevail. Hysteria seems to be the mood in Washington and Kiev, with the new Ukrainian prime minister claiming, “We are on the brink of disaster” as he calls up army reserves in response to Russian military movements in Crimea. Were he talking about the country’s economic plight he would have a point. Instead, along with much of the US and European media, he was over-dramatising developments in the east, where Russian speakers are understandably alarmed after the new Kiev authorities scrapped a law allowing Russian as an official language in their areas. They see it as proof that the anti-Russian ultra-nationalists from western Ukraine who were the dominant force in last month’s insurrection still control it. Eastern Ukrainians fear similar tactics of storming public buildings could be used against their elected officials.
Kerry’s rush to punish Russia and Nato’s decision to respond to Kiev’s call by holding a meeting of member states’ ambassadors in Brussels today were mistakes. Ukraine is not part of the alliance, so none of the obligations of common defence come into play. Nato should refrain from interfering in Ukraine by word or deed. The fact that it insists on getting engaged reveals the elephant in the room: underlying the crisis in Crimea and Russia’s fierce resistance to potential changes is Nato’s undisguised ambition to continue two decades of expansion into what used to be called “post-Soviet space”, led by Bill Clinton and taken up by successive administrations in Washington. At the back of Pentagon minds, no doubt, is the dream that a US navy will one day replace the Russian Black Sea fleet in the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Balaclava.
- NATO Secretary General: ‘We Condemn Russia’s Military Escalation In Crimea’ (Video)
- Senator John McCain: ‘West must condemn Russian involvement in Ukraine’ (Video)
- Senator Lindsay Graham: ‘Putin Is On The Wrong Side Of History’ (Video)
- No military option in Ukraine: British Foreign Secretary Hague (Video)
- International community tells Russia to pull its troops out of Crimea (Video)
- The crisis in Crimea could lead the world into a second cold war
- Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.): NATO Needs to Move Now on Crimea
- West’s puny response to Ukraine crisis will not deter Vladimir Putin
- Putin tells Obama Russia has right to protect interests in Ukraine
- Obama warns Russia against Ukraine intervention, says ‘there will be costs’
- Kerry Threatens Russia: All Options on the Table
- Kerry: Russia behaving in ‘19th century’ fashion
The provincial government in Pakistan’s northwest state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has said it has ended a more than three-month blockade of a NATO supply route to Afghanistan over contentious US drone strikes in the country, citing change in policy, Aljazeera reported. Until Thursday, the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, had been blocking the route to pressure Washington to end drone attacks targeting armed groups in the region bordering Afghanistan. Khan himself has led these protests and has been a vocal critic of drone attacks in Pakistan.
In a statement, Khan’s party said it ended the protest after seeing a change in the US drone policy. Their decision also comes days after a Pakistani court ordered authorities to end the blockade of transit goods into landlocked Afghanistan. The party’s top leadership also “felt that the pressure of the blockade had already resulted in a shift in the Obama administration’s drone policy and as a result drones had been stopped for the present”, the statement read. It also said it ended the protest to respect the court order.
Party official Fiaz Ahmad Khalil said the blockade lasted 97 days. “We are happy that the American government has stopped drone attacks, and we are also positively responding by ending our protest,” Khalil said. Khan’s party launched the blockade after a US drone strike in November killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
- Pakistan: US Won’t Let Us Finish Iran Gas Pipeline
- US Claims to Curb Drone Strikes at Pakistan’s Behest
- Former Pakistani general says US seeks to ruin his country
- Robert Fisk: The world cannot turn a blind eye to America’s drone attacks in Pakistan
- Former military ruler Musharraf in court for treason trial
- Musharraf admits to have accepted ‘some’ US conditions after 9/11
- US-desired operation’ to be against country’s interests, says Imran
The United States on Wednesday warned Russia against a military intervention in Ukraine as it renewed demands that Moscow withdraw troops from disputed enclaves in another former Soviet republic, Georgia. The U.S. also urged Georgia to further integrate with Europe and NATO in calls that come amid growing tensions between Russia and the West over the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president.
In pointed comments likely to fuel already heightened Russian suspicions over Western intentions in its backyard, Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia should be “very careful” in how it proceeds in Ukraine. In addition, he announced additional, but unspecified, U.S. assistance “to help support Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic vision.” And, he denounced Russia’s continued military presence in the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the cease-fire that ended the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict.
Kerry, speaking at a meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission at the State Department, insisted that U.S. policy toward Ukraine, Georgia and the other states that once made up the Soviet Union is not aimed at reducing Russia’s influence in its neighborhood. Instead, he maintained that U.S. encouragement for former Soviet states to integrate with the West is driven by America’s desire to see them succeed as robust democracies with strong economies.
“We don’t make that urging … as some sort of zero-sum game between the East and West or between us and any other party,” Kerry said. “We simply want people to be able to exercise their freedom of choice and be able to maximize their economic opportunities. That doesn’t mean that it can’t also mean engagement with others.”
On Friday, Feb 14, 92 prisoners escaped from their prison in the Libyan town of Zliten. 19 of them were eventually recaptured, two of whom were wounded in clashes with the guards. It was just another daily episode highlighting the utter chaos which has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.
Much of this is often reported with cliché explanations as in the country’s ‘security vacuum’, or Libya’s lack of a true national identity. Indeed, tribe and region seem to supersede any other affiliation, but it is hardly that simple.
On that same Friday, Feb 14, Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter announced a coup in Libya. “The national command of the Libyan Army is declaring a movement for a new road map” (to rescue the country), Hifter declared through a video post. Oddly enough, little followed by way of a major military deployment in any part of the country. The country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan described the attempted coup as “ridiculous”.
Others in the military called it a “lie.” One of those who attended a meeting with Hifter prior to the announcement told Al Jazeera that they simply attempted to enforce the national agenda of bringing order, not staging a coup.
- Edward S. Herman: NATO’s war on Libya
- Obama Order: Libya an ‘Extraordinary Threat’ to US Foreign Policy
- Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?
- Libyan PM announces ‘compromise’ after militia ultimatum
- Militias’ ultimatum heightens Libya tensions
- Disillusionment in Libya Over Vote on Charter Assembly
- Libya to compensate women raped during 2011 uprising
- NOC: Libya’s oil output falls to 390,000 bpd due to protests in west
- Libya MPs ‘agree on early elections’
- Niger extradites ex-Gadhafi official to Libya
As the Obama Administration continues to try to insinuate itself into the Ukraine protest movement, they have felt to issue multiple statements in recent days denying that it is a “proxy war” or anything Cold War-like. It’s not really clear who the denials are designed to convince, as whatever you want to call it, America’s policy in the Ukraine remains profoundly Russo-centric, and for years America’s relationship with Ukraine has been colored entirely by a desire to back the side that’s not pro-Russia.
Russia’s interests in the Ukraine remain relatively straightforward, supporting the politicians popular in the Russian-speaking east, and those who back Russia keeping its naval base in the Crimea, the historic home of the Russian Navy. US policy, by contrast, is to back whoever Russia isn’t backing, pushing their membership in NATO seemingly just because Russia opposes that membership, and because it would force the nation to relocate its navy further south. In the past that’s included the color-coded revolution of early 2005, the embezzlement scandal-ridden government in 2009-10, and the current protesters.
But while nominally backing protesters for the sake of backing protesters, US officials have increasingly cozied up to the neo-Nazi elements trying to hijack those protests toward violent revolution, openly meeting with their leaders and praising them as the voice of a “free” Ukraine. If that policy decision isn’t being done simply to spite Russia, it is a profound shift from the traditionally anti-Nazi stance of modern US foreign policy.
- Ukraine crisis: Why Russia and EU both stand to lose
- Obama, Vladimir Putin discuss Ukraine deal
- US hails Ukraine deal, wants immediate implementation
- Ukraine protesters call for Yanukovych’s immediate ouster, denounce peace deal
- Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich Reportedly Flees Kiev
- Ukraine peace deal halts violence but crowds still angry
- Polish FM warned protest leaders: ‘Sign deal or you will all die’
- Ukraine to Release Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
- Ukraine default risk rises as Russia bond sale canceled
- ‘Don’t be doormat’ Russia warns cash-starved Kiev
- Russian media paint a dark picture of Ukraine
- Ukraine’s western pro-European cities warn they could break away
- The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine
- Senators Press Obama for Sanctions Against Ukrainian Officials
- Euromaidan: The Dark Shadows Of The Far-Right In Ukraine Protests
- John McCain Meets Oleh Tyahnybok In Ukraine
- Ukrainian far-right group claims to be co-ordinating violence in Kiev
- Secret Tape Reveals US-backed Plot to Topple Ukraine’s Democratically-Elected President
- Victoria Nuland Admits: US Has Invested $5 Billion In The Development of Ukrainian, “Democratic Institutions”
- US NGO Uncovered in Ukraine Protests
- Documentary: The Revolution Business
- Meet the Face of Ukraine’s Protests, ‘Yulia’ Video Goes Viral
- Ukrainian ‘Protesters’ Backed by Kony 2012-Style Scam?
- Documentary: Ukraine Burning
We’ve been here before. For the past couple of months street protests in Ukraine have been played out through the western media according to a well-rehearsed script. Pro-democracy campaigners are battling an authoritarian government. The demonstrators are demanding the right to be part of the European Union. But Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has vetoed their chance of freedom and prosperity.
It’s a story we’ve heard in one form or another again and again – not least in Ukraine’s western-backed Orange revolution a decade ago. But it bears only the sketchiest relationship to reality. EU membership has never been – and very likely never will be – on offer to Ukraine. As in Egypt last year, the president that the protesters want to force out was elected in a poll judged fair by international observers. And many of those on the streets aren’t very keen on democracy at all.
You’d never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings. One of the three main opposition parties heading the campaign is the hard-right antisemitic Svoboda, whose leader Oleh Tyahnybok claims that a “Moscow-Jewish mafia” controls Ukraine. But US senator John McCain was happy to share a platform with him in Kiev last month. The party, now running the city of Lviv, led a 15,000-strong torchlit march earlier this month in memory of the Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose forces fought with the Nazis in the second world war and took part in massacres of Jews.
Editor’s Note: The video below was recorded on January 30th, one day after the above article was written, but it contains some interesting comments from Stephen F. Cohen that relate to the Seumas Milne piece above, particularly after 9:00
A prosecutor is standing by her decision to invoke a rarely used Illinois law to charge three protesters with terrorism in 2012 — days before NATO’s Chicago summit. After jurors acquitted them Friday of all terrorism charges, prosecutor Anita Alvarez said she had no regrets. She told reporters she’d file the same charges again without hesitation.
Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly were accused of plotting Molotov cocktail attacks on President Obama’s campaign office and other targets. While acquitted of terrorism, they were convicted of lesser counts, including arson. They could still spend years in prison. But defense attorney Thomas Durkin says the terrorist-count acquittals was a blow for Illinois’ terrorism statute, passed after the 9/11 attacks. He calls the prosecution “a waste of state resources.”
While most of the world expresses concern about security at the Winter Olympics, NATO is reacting angrily to Russia’s security buffer around Sochi, claiming it is in violation of international law. Russia has set up a temporary buffer of checkpoints for the games, and they cross the border into the neighboring Republic of Abkhazia. Though the Abkhaz government is totally fine with this and is cooperating, NATO ally Georgia is mad.
That’s because Georgia claims Abkhazia doesn’t exist and is actually a breakaway part of their territory. NATO won’t recognize Abkhazia either, and termed the move a “violation of Georgian sovereignty.” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen objected to security checkpoints, saying “the 21st century is for bridge-building, not fence-building.” That may well be a clever slogan, but with terrorist groups openly threatening the Olympic Games Russia seems more interested in security.
As a practical matter, Abkhazia has vied for independence since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Georgia has insisted that Abkhazia belongs to them, but as a practical matter has not been able to quell secessionist efforts there, and after the brief 2008 Russo-Georgia War both they and South Ossetia have had some international recognition as independent republics.
The US has deployed a ballistic missile defense destroyer to Spain to boost NATO’s anti-missile shield in Europe. The move, allegedly aimed at curbing the Iranian threat, has sparked talks about Russia possibly scrapping the START nuclear treaty. The deployment of the Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook, equipped with the Aegis shipboard integrated combat weapons system, was announced by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Munich Security Conference.
“An important posture enhancement is European missile defense in response to ballistic missile threats from Iran,” Hagel said, adding that the US is committed “to deploying missile defense architecture there,”as a part of Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). Hagel also said that over the next two years, three additional Aegis-enabled missile defense-capable destroyers will join the effort to protect NATO countries on the European continent.
“Despite fiscal constraints, the budget that we will release next month fully protects our investment in European missile defense,” Hagel said, reiterating views he also expressed on a visit to Poland earlier last week. “There are some capabilities that the United States military will continue to invest heavily in,” Hagel told the Munich conference. “We will continue to be the world leader in those kinds of capabilities.” In his Munich speech, Hagel also mentioned that China and Russia “are rapidly modernizing their militaries and global defense industries, challenging our technological edge and defense partnerships around the world.”
An undercover Chicago police officer involved in targeting and arresting three young men on trial in the state of Illinois for terrorism and other felony conspiracy charges admitted on the witness stand that he was the only one to ever explicitly say anything about “terrorizing” the city during a NATO summit. Brian Jacob Church, Brent Betterly and Jared Chase, known as the “NATO 3,” traveled from Florida to Chicago for protests that were planned against the NATO summit in May 2012. They had previously organized with Occupy groups in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Two undercover cops from the Chicago police department’s intelligence unit, Officer Nadia Chikko and Officer Mehmet Uygun, became protesters and infiltrated the activist community that was preparing for demonstrations around the summit, particularly a large demonstration on May 18. The state alleges the three young men took beer bottles and filled them with each with gasoline, a quarter of the way, and filled them with cloths to make Molotov cocktails to throw at police. However, recorded conversations from wire devices Chikko and Uygun wore call that narrative of the alleged criminal act into question.
Three-quarters of Germans are hostile to the idea of increasing the country’s military missions abroad, a poll for Deutsche Presse-Agentur showed. The survey by YouGov pollsters on behalf of dpa found that 45 per cent of Germans believe the country’s military is already too active abroad, while an additional 30 per cent of those polled think current foreign deployments are just right.
Only 12 per cent, by contrast, think the German military is not doing enough abroad. The poll, which interviewed 1,010 people, was published one day after UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urged Germany to show more leadership. Germany currently has nearly 5,000 personnel abroad, mainly in Afghanistan, Kosovo and in naval operations.
Completion of a new NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, could be in jeopardy as construction costs overruns could reach 245 million euro ($325 million), the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last week.
On its website, the alliance said the new building would “be able to accommodate NATO’s changing requirements into the future.” The cost was estimated at 750 million euro (about $1.05 billion).
But the consortium that won the contract for the construction came in with a bid of only 460 million euro, according to the Der Spiegel report.
Now, the consortium is seeking an addition 245 million euro, according to NATO project manager Tony Carruth. Additionally, completion of the bulding will probably be delayed by 9 ½ months, Carruth said.
The consortium of firms building the headquarters is at risk of insolvency, Der Spiegel’s report says.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels agreed on Thursday on the general need to increase cooperation on defense issues, but not on how to do it.
“Cooperation in the area of military capability development is crucial to maintaining key capabilities, remedying shortfalls and avoiding” duplication, a joint statement released at the end of the first of two days of summit talks said.
They also called on EU states to “deepen defense cooperation by improving the capacity to conduct missions and operations,” based on a “more integrated” European defense industry.
“The Cold War should be over for everyone” says Angela Merkel. What’s specifically on the German Chancellor’s mind is the current uproar in Ukraine over a government decision to forego a closer economic relationship with the European Union.
The New York Times hastened to agree with Merkel, decrying “Russia’s attempts to bludgeon former vassals into continued economic dependence” and pining for the days when “Mikhail Gorbachev talked optimistically about a post-Cold War Europe stretching undivided from the Atlantic to the Urals.” All well and good, but somehow both the paper and the politician ignore that most elephantine of Cold War relics in our midst – NATO. The Times may well be genuinely oblivious to the incongruousness of the anti-Soviet alliance thriving twenty-four years after the opening of the Berlin Wall, but Merkel certainly isn’t. After all, she owes her job to it.
[...] For NATO, the goal is expansion. The prize is access to a country that shares a 1,426-mile border with Russia. The geopolitical map would be dramatically reshaped by the Agreement, with Ukraine serving as the new front for Western missile defense at the doorstep of Russia. Should the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran fall apart, Ukraine could be employed in larger regional disputes, too.
As an EU deal appears imminent, few people are asking questions about NATO’s role in the deal, which was meant to facilitate jobs and trade. Economic conditions in Ukraine are dire: $15 billion in IMF loans suspended, danger of default and a zero growth forecast.
While NATO is not specifically mentioned in the draft of the “Association Agreement,” the proposal, which was posted online (and translated to English here) by the Ukrainian cabinet in August, pledges convergence of foreign and security policy.
- What the Neocons Want from Ukraine
- Russia Promises Ukraine Cheaper Gas, $15 Billion Loan
- Ukraine deal no threat to Russia, says EU
- Interview with Jeffrey Sommers: Ukrainians Protest Oligarchic Rule that has Stripped the Country of its Wealth
- Ukraine ruling party demands government reshuffle
- John McCain tells Ukraine protesters: ‘We are here to support your just cause’
- Ukraine protests backed by William Hague
- Documentary: Ukraine Rising
- Ukraine asks EU for €20bn in return for signing Association Agreement
- Russian Duma says West interfering in Ukraine
When U.S. leaders and pundits talk about NATO, they describe it as the linchpin of world security and the manifestation of Western liberal values. In other formulations, the U.S. is graciously bestowing a kind of welfare program to its allies in the form of security and protection throughout the European continent because, well, that’s just how much we care about our fellow man.
In reality, NATO is about U.S. control and domination, and a recent report at Foreign Policy demonstrates this fact quite well. Apparently Turkey, a NATO member, has been trying to finalize a deal with a Chinese company to build its first long-range air and missile defense system. This infuriated officials in Washington to the point that they drew up legislation that would ban Chinese-built missile defense systems within NATO.
- U.S. defense bill boosts funding for missile defense to $9.5 billion
- Putin eyes $700bn to advance Army
- Russia Moves Nuke-Capable Missiles to EU Borders
- US, NATO express concern over Russian missile deployment near border
- Russia Warns of Nuclear Response to US Global Strike Program
- Putin Again Slams US Missile Defense Plans
- U.S. Shoots Down Russia’s Push to Scrap Missile Shield
- Russia Ends Cooperation With NATO
- NATO war games worry Moscow
- Pushing boundaries: US eyes Russian encirclement via NATO ‘Trojan horse’
- Russian Missile Forces Holding Snap-Check Drills
- Russia Slams ‘Cold War’ Spirit NATO Exercise
British warplanes and other military assets will be handed over to European Union countries under sweeping plans to create what Conservative MPs believe will become a “Euro Army”.
David Cameron is under pressure to block the EU’s growing military ambitions, which Tories say pose a threat to Nato and could undermine Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States.
In what Conservatives fear could be an irreversible step, the Prime Minister is preparing to commit Britain to deeper military cooperation across the EU at a summit in Brussels later this month.
The deal would pave the way for developing a new fleet of unmanned drones, promoting the deployment of EU rapid response “battlegroups”, and drawing up new cyber warfare and maritime security strategies next year.
Kerry was a major proponent of the New START treaty with Russia, which the Senate ratified after a long debate in December 2010. As secretary of state, he has supported negotiating a follow-on treaty with Russia that could place further limits on the two countries’ stockpiles of strategic and tactical deployed nuclear weapons.
But Kerry knew last year that Russia was in violation of the INF Treaty. That pact, signed by President Reagan, bars development, testing, or deployment of missiles or delivery systems with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
[...] The exact manner of the Russian cheating remains unclear and highly classified, although there have been several reports that Russia has tested and plans to continue testing two missiles in ways that could violate the terms of the treaty: the SS-25 road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and the newer RS-26 ICBM, which Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has called “the missile defense killer,” a reference to U.S. plans to expand ballistic missile defense in Europe.
The State Department declined to confirm or deny that it believes Russia is in violation of the treaty and declined to comment on the 2012 briefing with Kerry.
NATO is constructing a bold, new headquarters in Brussels, but the $1 billion project is raising eyebrows at a time of economic hardship and military spending cuts. It also suggests the Western military bloc is here to stay.
The sprawling steel-and-glass complex, which features four extending claw-like structures extending on both sides and a grandiose 105-foot-high (32 meters) entrance, will be headquarters for more than 4,000 NATO staff from the 28 member states starting in 2016.
Although the old NATO headquarters was built in 1967, and is said to have outlived its usefulness, critics are questioning the timing of the lavish new construction, coming as it does amid a deep economic crisis for many European nations.
[...] Matthew Klimow, a NATO deputy assistant secretary-general, said the new headquarters was “far from extravagant.”
“It is a functional building that will allow us to say to the world that NATO is ready for 21st-century challenges,” he told Reuters during a media tour of the new complex.
Poland and the Baltic states are hosting the largest strategic war games the defense alliance has held in ten years. The NATO Response Force will practice defending the Baltics from an unidentified foreign invader.
The ‘Steadfast Jazz’ exercise, launching on Saturday, gathers some 6,000 troops from all NATO members as well as non-member states – Finland, Sweden and Ukraine. Around half of them will participate in live exercise training, which will involve dozens of armor, aircraft and naval vehicles. The other half of the personnel are headquarters staff, who will take part in command and control drills.
The week-long war games are designed “to make sure that our rapid-reaction force, the NATO Response Force (NRF), is ready to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Eastern European members of NATO have been seeking to host large-scale alliance drills for years, and ‘Steadfast Jazz’ is the largest since 2006. The scenario of the games involve an unidentified foreign nation invading Estonia over a territorial dispute, and the alliance deploying its rapid-response force to fend off the aggressor.
- JFCBS conducts Main Planning Conference for Exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 (NATO)
- U.S. Offers Dialogue But No Legal Pledge to Russia on Missile Defense (NTI)
- General Breedlove: Europe a proxy for projecting US force (Voice of Russia)
- Russia Slams ‘Cold War’ Spirit NATO Exercise (RIA Novosti)
- Russian Missile Forces Holding Snap-Check Drills (RIA Novosti)
- Putin inspects biggest post-Soviet war games (BBC)
- Russia builds up, U.S. down (Washington Times)
- Russia test-fires range of nuclear-capable missiles (Space Daily)
- Russia threatens Nato with military strikes over missile defence system (Telegraph)
- U.S.-NATO Missile System: First-Strike Potential Aimed At Russia (Moscow Times and Stop NATO)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has nullified a 2011 order that created an interagency working group inside the Kremlin that focused on fostering missile defense collaboration with NATO, the Voice of Russia reported on Thursday.
The Russian leader also revoked a April 2012 presidential degree that created a special envoy for missile shield discussions with NATO — a position formerly held by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who also led the Kremlin working group. The elimination of the interdepartmental group and the special envoy position signal that Moscow is moving further away from resolving its longstanding concerns with the implications of NATO’s plan for European ballistic missile defense.
Moscow, meanwhile, this week moved forward agreements to deepen air defense cooperation with two former Soviet republics in accordance with efforts to develop countermeasures to the evolving NATO missile shield.
Construction has begun on a U.S. base in Romania that will form part of a ballistic missile defense system that has angered Russia.
The Deveselu base in southern Romania is expected to be operational in 2015. It will house SM-3 interceptor missiles and radar equipment.
James Miller, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, attended a ceremony Monday at the base.
He said that “as the (NATO) Alliance has entered new times, it has also addressed new threats. One of these is the threat of ballistic missile attack.”
The U.S. government says the missiles will have no offensive capability and will only target incoming ballistic missiles launched by a hostile country.
Russia considers the interceptors a threat and has cited them in blocking cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.
The United States is “seriously concerned” about Turkey’s decision to counter possible missile threats from Syria and elsewhere with the help of a Chinese defence system.
The declaration by Francis Ricciardone, the US ambassador in Ankara, is the latest sign of tensions between Turkey and its Nato allies and shows concern in western capitals about a growing distance from its traditional partners in Europe and the US.
Ankara said last month it would enter into talks with a Chinese corporation about co-production of a long-range air and missile defence system.
In doing so, Turkey turned down bids by companies from the US, Europe and Russia for the deal, valued at US$4 billion (Dh14.7bn) according to reports. The reports said the Chinese company won because it offered a competitive price and the possibility of a technology transfer during the joint production of the missile defence system known as FD-2000.
But Turkey’s preference to deal with the China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) is threatening to create problems with the West.