NATO’s plans to conduct the Defender Europe 2020 military exercise indicates that the North Atlantic Alliance is gathering a strike force near Russia’s borders. It will be one of the largest deployments of US forces, in combat readiness, in Europe over the past 25 years. The drills, scheduled to take place from 20 April to 20 May in 10 European nations, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, will last until August. Approximately 37,000 military personnel, including 20,000 U.S. servicemen, from 18 countries are supposed to take part in the military exercise. Around 20,000 pieces of military equipment and supplies will be sent to the participating nations in time for Defender Europe 2020.
The timing of the provocative U.S.-led military exercise could not be worse, because its culmination is meant to coincide with the 75-year anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941, as a result of which 27 million people from the Soviet Union alone died. Something that Russians have not forgotten about. According to magazine CounterPunch, “all it would take for an attack is one false-flag operation.”
The provocative nature of the Defender Europe 2020 military exercise has already garnered Moscow’s attention. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said: “Neither NATO nor Washington is now hiding the fact that Russia is the “potential adversary” in the exercises.” Hence, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that Russia would respond to the NATO drills.
At the end of February, the United States conducted a military exercise in Nebraska that “simulated a ‘limited’ nuclear exchange with Russia.” It is thus not surprising that supporters of nuclear non-proliferation in many countries are concerned about the fact that the U.S. leadership is seemingly changing its position on the purpose of its vast nuclear arsenal by viewing it not only as a means of deterrence and intimidation but also as a possible weapon to be used in “limited” conflicts.
Since 2015, as the Pentagon’s inflammatory statements about the “threat posed by Russia” increased in frequency, the United States Marine Corps has also become more active near the Russian border. The U.S. military was tasked with deploying its personnel to NATO member states, including the Netherlands, Norway, Great Britain, Italy and France.
Even western media outlets admit that “there are more American soldiers in Europe than during the collapse of the Soviet Union.” And their numbers will further increase during the drills to 40,000, an astronomical number. For the United States, NATO is nothing more than a tool for preserving U.S. dominance world-wide. And at present, Russia’s part of Europe is the alliance’s key target.
Washington has been flooding Europe with more and more weapons thus forcing the Russian Federation to take defensive measures on the border with the North Atlantic Alliance. As a result, Russia has been increasingly targeting NATO’s military facilities in Europe using its defense systems, thus raising the potential threat of an armed conflict facing EU civilians residing near the regions where Washington has been unjustifiably deploying NATO forces and weapons in a provocative manner.
Today, it is perfectly clear that the more traditional means of waging a war are becoming obsolete. Mobilizing large numbers of troops, which is something Washington is trying to draw attention to during the Defender Europe-2020 drills, does not seem necessary in this day and age. After all, cutting edge technologies have changed the way wars are waged and how nations defend themselves from threats from within and without, and newer and more effective tools are available nowadays that allow powerful nations to ensure their interests are protected. And NATO’s plans to conduct such provocative military drills point to the fact that the United States is once again willing to wage not only a political, but also military warfare against Russia using dated approaches.
At the same time, some European media outlets are currently focusing on the fact that “Donald Trump’s presidency has led to the adoption of his ‘America First’ ideas. However, such an ideology is incompatible with that of the EU or the North Atlantic Alliance as both entities were founded on the principles, at least in theory, of equality of member states. And will the United States be prepared to sacrifice the lives of its citizens for Tallinn, Vilnius, Riga or Warsaw by waging a full-blown war against Russia (as envisioned by the scenario the upcoming NATO drills will be based on)?”.
“Our kids get to die for Latvia because it somehow protects the rule of law for them to do that. And I am just asking does an average American understand that we are on the hook for this?,” Tucker Carlson, a popular American commentator on the Fox News channel, asked David Tafuri, a former outside foreign policy advisor to President Obama’s campaign, during the debate about Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty.
And before the Defender Europe-2020 military drills even began, there are already issues among NATO member states.
For instance, there were jokes circulating online about navy sailors from Poland and Spain being unfit for duty as demonstrated during NATO’s BALTOPS 2019 (a multinational maritime-focused exercise). At first, there were leaks to the press about the fact that an assault force from Juan Carlos I, a Spanish aircraft carrier, was unable to land on the unequipped shore of the Baltic Sea effectively. Then, ORP Gniezno, a Polish minelayer-landing ship, damaged its hull during the landing of a NATO amphibious force on the Lithuanian coast in the Baltic region. The aforementioned incident also explains, to a certain extent, why Warsaw is so eager to increase the number of U.S. troops in Poland, after all, its own military personnel has already shown the entire world just how incompetent they are.
Many are already talking about the fact that hundreds of heavy American tanks, which have been brought from the United States for the Defender Europe-2020 military exercise, will damage the existing roads and bridges in Poland. But the costs of such destruction, as a result of Washington-promoted drills, have not been estimated as yet.
A third NATO soldier, a Pole, for the year died in December during training in Latvia.
Five military personnel, serving in NATO’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unit, went missing during military drills, which were held from 4 to 6 February. Assuming that the exercise was still ongoing, the servicemen avoided anyone sent to find them.
Politicians from the Baltic states, Poland and several other nations who dislike Russia pander to the United States by readily agreeing to stage provocative NATO drills and to increase the number of foreign troops on their soil without giving due consideration to domestic policies. The U.S. leadership is only too happy to exploit their Baltic “underlings” by giving them money, which it will surely remind them about in the future. In the meantime, NATO military personnel stationed in various nations are doing as they please. They urinate on monuments, insult locals and use drugs. For instance, there was an incident involving two NATO servicemen using illegal substances in Lithuania, in February.
Just a few days ago, the North Atlantic Alliance was dealt a potentially severe blow, and it came from an unexpected direction – the Coronavirus. On 6 March, a participant in Cold Response 2020, Norwegian-led multinational military drills, tested positive for the Coronavirus. As a result, 1,300 servicemen were placed under quarantine, and European nations that had planned to send their military personnel to the exercise decided to withdraw from it instead. Finland ensured that the first 400 of its soldiers, who were due to travel to Norway, did not do so. The Public Affairs Division of the Finnish Defence Forces issued a polite statement saying that the safety of its citizens was of the utmost importance. After Finland withdrew from the drills (which, incidentally, was meant to start on 9 March), other participants followed suit.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, addressed the military threat posed by Washington and Brussels to Russia in his recent video interview with TASS. He said that if any aggressor in the world dared to attack Russia as Nazi Germany once did the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation would be prepared to defend its borders, as the USSR had done before.
So why did Washington decide to conduct the Defender Europe-2020 military exercise? Admittedly, the leading role played by Russia’s foreign policy in the creation of a multi-polar world is the only reason why the West feels such hate and fear towards the Russian Federation. For the United States the biggest threat is the possibility of losing its dominance world-wide. This is why so many resources are being pumped into hybrid wars being waged against specific countries, which are viewed as a threat to the U.S. hegemony, by means such as color revolutions, criminal activities (the assassination of Qasem Soleimani), and currently the provocative actions against Russia.
By Vladimir Platov
Source: New Eastern Outlook