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NATO: a Dangerous Paper Tiger

NATO: a Dangerous Paper Tiger

NATO: a Dangerous Paper Tiger

The Chinese have a genius for pithy expressions and few are more packed with meaning, while immediately understandable, than “paper tiger”. NATO is one, but paper tigers that overestimate their powers can be dangerous.

Some Russians are concerned that there are today more hostile troops at the Russian border than at any time since 1941. While this is true, it is not, at the moment, very significant. The Germans invaded the USSR with nearly 150 divisions in 1941. Which, as it turned out, were not enough.

Today NATO has – or claims to have – a battle group in each of the three Baltic countries and one in Poland: pompously titled Enhanced Forward Presence. The USA has a brigade and talks of another. A certain amount of heavy weaponry has been moved to Europe. These constitute the bulk of the land forces at the border. They amount to, at the most optimistic assessment, assuming everything is there and ready to go, one division. Or, actually, one division equivalent (a very different thing) from 16 (!) countries with different languages, military practices and equipment sets and their soldiers ever rotating through. And, in a war, the three in the Baltics would be bypassed and become either a new Dunkirk or a new Cannae. All for the purpose, we are solemnly told, of sending “a clear message that an attack on one Ally would be met by troops from across the Alliance“. But who’s the “message” for? Moscow already has a copy of the NATO treaty and knows what Article V says.

In addition to the EFP are the national forces. But they are in a low state: “depleted armies” they’ve been called: under equipped and under manned; seldom exercised. The German parliamentary ombudsman charged with overseeing the Bundeswehr says “There are too many things missing“. In 2008 the French Army was described as “falling apart“. The British Army “can’t find enough soldiers“.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stumbling Blindly into Cold War Two

Stumbling Blindly into Cold War Two

As the U.S. and its Western allies lurch into a new and dangerous confrontation with Russia, the different sides don’t even have a thorough understanding of the history behind the tensions, warns Alice Slater.


NATO’s recent provocative decision to build up its military forces across Europe — by sending four new multinational battalions to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland — comes at a time of great turmoil and intense questioning of global security with new forces for both good and evil straining to make their mark on the course of history.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

This weekend, at the Vatican, Pope Francis held an international conference to follow up on the recently negotiated treaty to prohibit the possession, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons leading to their complete elimination which was negotiated in the United Nations General Assembly this summer by 122 nations, although none of the nine nuclear weapons states participated.

Honored at the conference were members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which worked with friendly governments to hold nuclear weapons unlawful, and has recently been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its successful efforts.

The Pope issued a statement that the  doctrine of nuclear deterrence in which countries threaten to wreak catastrophic nuclear devastation on their opponents should they be attacked with nuclear bombs has become ineffective against Twenty-first Century threats like terrorism asymmetrical conflicts, environmental problems and poverty. While the church once held that such an insane policy could be moral and lawful, it no longer views it as such.  And there are plans for the church to examine the so-called theory of “just war” with an eye to prohibiting the very morality and legality of war itself.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Does Russia Produce ‘Fake News’? Or Does America? Or Both?

Does Russia Produce ‘Fake News’? Or Does America? Or Both?

The biggest difference between American and Russian news-reporting has been a simple factual issue between the two sides, on what incident started the ‘New Cold War’ between the U.S. and Russia. (The original Cold War was between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and had an ideological, capitalist-versus-communist, alleged basis, but this one doesn’t — so, it’s not really a ‘New Cold War’; it is quite different, but it might be even more deadly.)

The U.S. and its allies say that what started it was in March 2014 when “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and “the invasion of Crimea” and Russia’s “conquest of land” by means of that “invasion,” sparked America’s sanctions against Russia and NATO’s military buildup along Russia’s borders; but Russia says that what started it was in February 2014 when Ukraine was victimized, as Russian Television reported it, on 13 March 2014, by:

an armed coup. The Maidan do not appoint these people; rather, it’s the US that does it. It’s enough to look at the newly appointed officials: Parubiy, Gvozd, Nalyvaichenko are all people who followed somebody else’s orders, the orders of the US, not even Europe. They are directly linked to the American intelligence.

In the American account, Ukrainian democracy started when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was overthrown in February 2014; in the Russian account, Ukrainian democracy ended when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was overthrown in February 2014, and only after (and in response to) that, did two regions (Crimea and Donbass, both of which had voted more than 75% for that man) break away from, and refuse to be governed by, the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which was now being imposed upon them.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sweden, Submarines, and Propaganda

Sweden, Submarines, and Propaganda

Sweden, Submarines, and Propaganda

Sweden’s most recent military cooperation with the US-NATO military alliance involved hosting armed forces of the many countries which participated in Exercise Aurora in September. As noted by Euronews, “Sweden is undertaking its biggest military exercise amid fears of Russian military build up,” and NATO headquarters announced that “In the current security context with heightened concerns about Russian military activities, NATO is stepping up cooperation with Sweden and Finland in the Baltic region.”

NATO is anxious, even desperate, to justify the existence of one of the least-needed and most confrontational military alliances of modern times. In January, before he arrived in the White House, President Trump called NATO “obsolete” but in April went into reverse and said “It’s no longer obsolete,” which was fair warning of what lay ahead in the erratic administration of the most vulgar and spiteful president the United States has ever had.

The fact remains that NATO is indeed ineffective and irrelevant (the notion of Russia invading Sweden is preposterous and, as Der Spiegel observed on October 20, “to be sure, hardly anyone really thinks that Russia might attack a NATO member state”), but its nominal leader, Jens Stoltenberg (the real chief is the US General titled “Supreme Allied Commander Europe”), has assumed the air of a national head of government and whisks expensively round the world making statements that have nothing whatever to do with NATO

One of NATO’s “concerns” in its obsession with Russia is to persuade Sweden to not only increase its already substantial collaboration with the alliance, but to actually become a member — although defence minister Peter Hultqvist is not in favour of such a commitment, in spite of having increased military spending and reintroduced conscription.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump is Moving Toward War With Iran

Trump is Moving Toward War With Iran

With his Iran speech U.S. President Trump has taken a huge step into uncharted territories.

One that implies a 60-75% risk of leading to a US attack on Iran.

Behind him stands the hardline militarists whom he has himself appointed.

Secondly, neo-conservative individuals and think tanks who have brought the world only a series of failed wars and unspeakable human misery since the invasion of Afghanistan.

Third, the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, that is outside real democratic control and pushes relentlessly for ever-increasing armament and wars and serves the public all kinds of weird, fake images of what threatens the US.

Further, pro-Israeli and pro-Saudi lobby organizations and extremely wealthy individuals who buy political influence and thereby destroy the very foundations of democracy and free opinion formation.

Against these numerically tiny elites stand virtually the rest of the world, including NATO allies and the EU.

They’ve all communicated very clearly to the President how important it is for all involved that he re-certifies the immensely important and historically unique Iran nuclear deal of 2015, or the JCPOA.

As is usual for failed US foreign policy there is no comprehensive strategy and no exit strategy. Having no diplomatic relations with Iran for decades, Trump lacks appropriate channels of communication.

He also lacks basic knowledge of the country. (Whereas the Iranians know the West). His bizarre image of the country as presented in this speech bodes ill in every respect.

Seldom has a Presidential speech been so filled with psycho-political projections of one’s own dark sides on the adversary as this.

It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to de-escalate what he has pressed the escalation buttons for today.

The announced policy has nothing to do with an intellectually decent and comprehensive policy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Quietly Bolsters Forces in Poland Breaching Russia-NATO Deal

US Quietly Bolsters Forces in Poland Breaching Russia-NATO Deal

The US took advantage of the ballyhoo raised over the “Russian threat” allegedly posed by joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 military exercise held in September to increase its Army presence in Poland. The alliance again tried to reaffirm its bogus Russia narrative but the Zapad training event was transparent with observers invited and the forces withdrawn to home bases after it was over.

According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, the US 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was meant to have rotated out of Europe with its weapons and equipment left to be manned by troops of the US 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Instead, the 2nd Armored Brigade had been quietly deployed to Poland (Boleslawiec, Drawsko Pomorskie, Torun, Skwierzyna, Zagan) with its own armored vehicles, while weaponry and equipment of the 3rd Brigade had remained and could be manned within 2 hours by bringing in troops from the US Ramstein Base in Germany. An armored brigade combat team comprises about 4,200 troops and includes approximately 250 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers, plus 1,750 wheeled vehicles.

The move was taken against certain background. NATO has already deployed four multinational battalions across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In a separate move, the US military sent the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team along with a corresponding aviation brigade, to Gdansk on a year-round basis in September. It was the first time two armored brigades with full complement of soldiers and equipment were deployed in Europe under the pretext of supporting the exercise dubbed Operation Atlantic Resolve.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Sentences Wall Street Journal Reporter To Jail For Terrorist Propaganda

Turkey Sentences Wall Street Journal Reporter To Jail For Terrorist Propaganda

A Turkish court has just fanned the flames of an incipient diplomatic crisis between the US and NATO’s most problematic member, when it found a Wall Street Journal reporter guilty of engaging in “terrorist propaganda” in support of a banned Kurdish organization. Ayla Albayrak was sentenced to more than two years in prison for writing a 2015 story about clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists in the country’s restive southeast.

While charges have been pending against the reporter – who presently resides in New York and was convicted in absentia – for more than a year, the decision will promptly be interpreted by the US as the latest recrimination in a spat that began last week when Turkey arrested a local employee at the US consulate in Istanbul on terrorism-related charges, alleging he was a supporter of Fehtullah Gulen, an Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in the US who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed for last year’s coup attempt. The arrest prompted the US to suspend visa issuance for Turkish citizens, a move that was swiftly reciprocated by the Turkish government. On Monday, Turkey announced charges against another US embassy employee, sending the Turkish lira crashing the most since the July 2016 failed “coup”, while local stocks and bonds tumbled in sympathy.

WSJ Editor in Chief Gerry Baker slammed the Turkish court’s decision” “This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” said Baker. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

NATO “Concerned by Russia’s Military Buildup Close to Our Borders”

NATO “Concerned by Russia’s Military Buildup Close to Our Borders”

The Secretary-General of NATO said this on October 9th, speaking in NATO member Romania, right across the Black Sea from Russia’s region of Crimea (which had always been part of Russia except for the brief period 1954-2014, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 — i.e., the Soviet dictator had made Crimea ‘Ukrainian’, and only in 2014 was a plebiscite actually held there in order to determine what the people there wanted, and more than 90% chose to be restored to the Russian Government). He said, on October 9th, that NATO is “concerned by Russia’s military buildup close to our borders”, but NATO actually had expanded up to Russia’s borders; in no way had Russia expanded up to NATO’s borders. NATO’s leader was importantly misrepresenting history, there.

In fact, Romania, itself, used to be a member of the former Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact military alliance of nations, which had been set up by the Soviet Union in response to America’s having established in 1949 its NATO military alliance with Western European nations. After the Cold War ended, on Russia’s side, in 1991, and has been secretly continued by the U.S. Government and its allies right up to the present time, Romania became a member of the NATO anti-Russian alliance in 2004, under George W. Bush’s Administration. But Bush’s father, President George Herbert Walker Bush, had, as the U.S. President, established, in 1990, the foundation for what NATO now is doing in Romania, against Russia — even though Russia had, in fact, ended the Cold War on its side, in 1991.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Are Washington’s Clients Getting Cozy With Moscow?

Why Are Washington’s Clients Getting Cozy With Moscow? 

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, has been cooperating with Russia in Syria against Washington’s interests since last year and has recently placed an order for the Russian-made S-400 missile system.

Similarly, the Saudi King Salman, who is on a landmark state visit to Moscow, has signed several cooperation agreements with Kremlin and has also expressed his willingness to buy S-400 missile system.

Another traditional ally of Washington in the region, Pakistan, has agreed to build a 600 mega-watt power project with Moscow’s assistance, has bought Russian helicopters and defense equipment and has held joint military exercises with Kremlin.

All three countries have been steadfast US allies since the times of the Cold War, or rather, to put it bluntly, the political establishments of these countries have acted as virtual proxies of Washington in the region and had played an important role in the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, which is a NATO member, bear in mind that the United States has been conducting air strikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the failed July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General Bekir Ercan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert, according to a report by Eric Schlosser for the New Yorker.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia Does Not Exclude Possibility Of War With NATO

Russia Does Not Exclude Possibility Of War With NATO

Just days after the conclusion of Russia’s largest military exercise ever (which US military chiefs believe broke ‘observer rules’) and NATO’s massive war games, Pravda reports a recent Russian Defense Ministry report says that Russia is preparing for the possibility of a military conflict with NATO countries.

While Russia’s defense ministry said the Zapad exercises would involve 12,700 Russian and Belarusian troops, about 70 aircraft, up to 250 tanks, 200 artillery systems and 10 warships; Military.com reports that the U.S. Army’s commander in Europe says Russia broke up its Zapad war games with Belarus into parts to avoid having international monitors watch the weeklong exercises last month.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said Monday that the two countries deployed “way over 12,700” personnel, the limit beyond which Europe’s OSCE security organization should be allowed to send observers.

Hodges said: “My guess is that there probably were over 40,000 service members.”

He told reporters at NATO headquarters that Russia and Belarus “broke it up into all these little exercises” but that “these were all connected, because this was a whole of government effort.”

Meanwhile, what the NATO commander forgot to mention is that just days before the dreaded Russian “Zapad 2017” exercise was set to begin, NATO’s own Steadfast Pyramid 2017 military exercise kicked off in Latvia on Sunday, with 40 senior commanders from NATO states, as well as Finland and Sweden. They are expected to train how to “plan and conduct operations” amid the bloc’s buildup in the region.

Steadfast Pyramid 2017 and Steadfast Pinnacle 2017, involving more than 40 senior officers from NATO member states, plus Finland and Sweden, will take place at the Riga-based Latvian Defense Academy, the country’s national news agency LETA reported on Sunday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

John McCain Is Pushing For War With Russia: “What Has Been Set Into Motion Is Still In Motion”

John McCain Is Pushing For War With Russia: “What Has Been Set Into Motion Is Still In Motion”

mccain1

The “Founding Father” of Ukraine
Could only be Senator John McCain
As Civil War splits East and West
Johnny smiles and takes a breath
(A few brain cells short) …nonetheless,
His plans unfolding once again.

 

What has been set into motion is still in motion and coming around for a second lap.  The consortium of John McCain (the ringleader with the Soros connections), acted with the “authority” of Barack Hussein Obama II and “independently,” aided by Victoria Nuland (commissioned by Hillary Clinton, also acting on behalf of Soros) and Lindsay Graham (a ventriloquist dummy in the hands of McCain).  What a team!  Arseniy Yatsenuk quacked and chirped under orders, until it was determined that he was too weak.

Yatsenuk couldn’t stem the tide of fighting between the self-proclaimed autonomous Eastern districts of Ukraine and the Kiev government.  The IMF had offered to pay the Gazprom bill of $9 billion to Russia, and Ukraine was well on its way in 2014 to becoming a part of NATO and another IMF puppet of Europe.  The Separatists had other plans, though, and Russia aided them and offered to support them in the manner of South Ossetia in the Georgian War of 2005.

The IMF realized that Yatsenuk was not strong enough to hammer down the Separatists, and guarantee the enslavement with interest to pay the $9 billion.  The IMF realized that under Yatsenuk, perhaps the entire country would either revolt, be permanently split, or that the Russians might come in.  Soros had a vested interest in all of this: Soros wanted to purchase billions of dollars-worth of contracts, leases, and buy options for the paltry sum of $50 million.  US interests (and hence Soros’ interests indirectly) and those of the IMF were falling by the wayside.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Faces Threats for Inking Landmark Arms Deal with Russia

Turkey Faces Threats for Inking Landmark Arms Deal with Russia

Turkey Faces Threats for Inking Landmark Arms Deal with Russia

The long awaited deal has taken place. A deposit has already been paid. Turkey has finally signed the $2.5bn (£1.9bn) contract with Russia to buy S-400 advanced missile defense system. With a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles), the system can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one, at an altitude of up to 30 km.

The system is not operationally compatible with the systems used by NATO countries, which gives Turkey a military capacity independent of the alliance. NATO commanders will not have control over it. The identification friend or foe (IFF) equipment won’t prevent Turkey from using it against NATO aircraft and missiles. Reaching full operational capability will require Russian personnel to be stationed in Turkey on advice, assistance and training missions.

The technology transfer component of the S-400 deal is especially important as it would allow Turkey to rapidly expand domestic defense industry with Russia’s help. Russia would supply two batteries and help Ankara build two more such systems. A few years ago, the US refused to let Turkey produce Patriot air defense systems on its soil and the deal was off.

Ankara does not have industrial infrastructure to produce air defense systems. Russian specialists will have to come and build it from scratch. As a result, Russia will get access to the defense infrastructure of a NATO member state. The agreement to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey, which is to be launched by 2023, is another example of fruitful economic cooperation.

NATO insists members of the alliance are obligated to use military hardware that is interoperable with each other’s systems. But the S-400 deal is not the first time the principle of interoperability is not observed. Greece purchased Russia’s S-300 missile system several years ago.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“What Did They Expect?” Turkey Pivots From NATO, Signs Russia Missile Deal

“What Did They Expect?” Turkey Pivots From NATO, Signs Russia Missile Deal

Confirming, and sending the clearest sign of his previously discussed pivot toward Russia and away from NATO and the West, on Tuesday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system, and paid the first installment. The deal cements Turkey’s recent rapprochement with Russia, despite differences over the war in Syria, the downing of a Russian fighter jet over Turkey in late 2015 and the assassination of a Russian ambassador earlier this year, and comes as Turkey’s ties with the United States and European Union have become strained to the point of breaking.

Although the missile purchase from Russia was made public several months ago, Erdogan’s announcement was the first confirmation that Turkey had transferred money to pay for the S-400 missile system.

“Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia,” Erdogan said in comments published in several newspapers on Tuesday. “A deposit has also been paid as far as I know.”

As the NYT writes, “the purchase of the missile system flies in the face of cooperation within the NATO alliance, which Turkey has belonged to since the early 1950s. NATO does not ban purchases of military hardware from manufacturers outside the American-led alliance, but it does discourage members from buying equipment not compatible with that used by other members.”

According to reports in the Russian media, Turkey is to get four batteries of S-400 launchers complete with targeting radar and control posts. Some aspects of the deal are reportedly to be finalized, but Russian officials said the contract furthers Russia’s geostrategic interests.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Behold a Pale Horse, and its Rider is Death

Behold a Pale Horse, and its Rider is Death

The US national debt is now over $20 trillion, and Washington is fomenting more wars.

The entire world is helping Washington foment wars—including two targeted countries themselves—Russia and China—both of which are helping Washington foment more wars. Believe it or not, both Russia and China voted with Washington on the UN Security Council to impose more and harsher sanctions on North Korea, a country guilty of nothing but a desire to have the means to protect itself from the US and not become yet another Washington victim like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Serbia, and Ukraine overthrown in a US coup and now poverty-stricken.

I once thought that Russia and China were checks on Washington’s unilateralism, but apparently not. Both governments have been knuckled under by Washington and both voted to punish North Korea for striving to be sufficiently armed to protect its sovereignty from Washington.

Why are Russia and China repeating their same mistake that they made when they supported Washington’s no-fly UN resolution for Libya, a resolution that Washington and NATO stood on its head when they launched air attacks that helped the CIA organized “jihadists” overthrow Libya’s progressive government and murder Gaddafi?

Russia knows that it is surrounded by US nuclear and military bases. So does China. The question is: have Russia and China capitulated out of fear? Or is their cooperation with Washington a ruse while they prepare their own strike on Washington, or are the two misguided governments trying to cooperate with Washington a la sanctions so as to avoid having to confront a US military attack on North Korea?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Risk of NATO’s H-Bombs in Turkey

The Risk of NATO’s H-Bombs in Turkey

Exclusive: As the world nervously assesses North Korea’s claims about having a hydrogen bomb, another danger point is in Turkey where an erratic leader could seize NATO’s H-Bombs, warns Jonathan Marshall.


Even in this contentious era, one proposition still enjoys near-universal support: the United States should make it the highest priority to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of hostile states.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses citizens in front of his residence in Istanbul on July 19, 2016. (Photo from official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)

It’s far too late to stop North Korea from getting the Bomb, despite all the militant rhetoric coming out of Washington. But we still have a chance to prevent an erratic Middle East strongman from holding the United States hostage by threatening to seize dozens of deadly hydrogen bombs.

I’m referring, of course, to Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

As I warned more than a year ago, he controls overall access to NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility — a stockpile of some 50 B-61 hydrogen bombs at Incirlik air base in southeastern Turkey. Each weapon has a yield of up to 170 kilotons, nearly 12 times greater than the atomic bomb that wiped out Hiroshima in 1945.

The bombs are a holdover from the Cold War, with no current strategic rationale. They represent a growing risk to U.S. security, not a safe deterrent.

As Erdogan’s relations with the United States and Western Europe go from bad to worse, the case for withdrawing those weapons of mass destruction from his reach grows ever more urgent.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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