The heads of state and heads of government of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on 8 and 9 July 2016. The two-day summit was attended by a wide array of world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US president Obama. In addition to Russia, the member countries are expected to discuss topics like anti-terrorism efforts in Iraq and the rest of the Muslim world, the mission in Afghanistan, and defense spending, but also Brexit and cooperation with the European Union.
The NATO summit opened with alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda addressing the public in Warsaw on Friday. NATO members discussed a response to what they see as aggressive Russian actions in Eastern Europe, specifically in Ukraine. Poland and other eastern NATO members have demanded more NATO involvement close to Russian borders. Polish President Duda called for “deepening relations” with those countries and establishing “an enhanced presence in Eastern and Central Europe.” On Friday, Stoltenberg said NATO had stepped up its capabilities in response to the alleged Russian threat.
In his opening statement, Stoltenberg said NATO “does not seek confrontation.” “Russia is our biggest neighbor and the integral part of European security,” he said, adding that the alliance would continue dialogue with the Kremlin. “We don’t want a new Cold War,” Stoltenberg said. “The Cold War is history and should remain history”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused Russia of “unsettling” NATO allies with its actions in Ukraine. In her speech before Germany’s parliament, the chancellor called for both “deterrence and dialogue” with Moscow. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen backed deployment in Eastern Europe and said NATO should deal with Russia “consistently, calmly and soberly” and signal Moscow that it has nothing to fear. The Kremlin actions can be “completely unpredictable and aggressive,” but there is also a Russia that cooperates on the crisis in Iran and Libya, von der Leyen said.
The main focus was the formal ratification of plans to dispatch thousands more NATO troops to Poland and the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—all countries bordering Russia. In remarks made in the presence of Polish President Andrzej Duda, Stoltenberg praised NATO’s opening of military headquarters and missile bases across Eastern Europe as well as the tripling of the alliance’s rapid response force to 40,000 troops. “Our presence will be multinational and a clear message that an attack on one ally is an attack on the whole alliance,” he declared.
The highlights on the first day of the summit, July 8, include agreement to station four battalions of about 1,000 soldiers each in NATO’s east – Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -on a rotational basis, starting next year. Canada will lead the battalion for Latvia, Germany in Lithuania, the United Kingdom in Estonia and the United States in Poland. NATO members also agreed to beef up their cyber defenses.
On July 09, the second and final day of the NATO summit, NATO heads of state approved a major military escalation in Eastern Europe and continuing deployments to Afghanistan. These initiatives, together with expanded NATO military cooperation with former Soviet republics, including Georgia and Ukraine, are all aimed at encircling and preparing for war against Russia. Besides shoring up its presence among NATO’S eastern members to deter any possible Russian strike, “We have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force to 40,000 troops with a Spearhead Force at its core able to move within a matter of days.
The alliance approved the largest military buildup in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. President Petro Poroshenko met with leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy as part of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Regarding Ukraine, while Western allies have stressed that NATO members will reaffirm their support in the struggle against Russia’s war, details are still short on specifics and rhetorical backing has outpaced financial support.
Ukraine has also been disappointed by the West’s commitment to Ukraine. Obama never visited Ukraine. Ukrainians had hopes at the beginning of the year that, looking at Obama’s scheduled appearance in Warsaw, he would take the opportunity after the summit to visit nearby Kyiv in the waning days of his presidency. Instead, Obama has chosen to go to Spain, the largest European country he hasn’t visited yet, and a key NATO ally. He will leave office as the first president since Ronald Reagan not to visit Ukraine while in office.
Stoltenberg talked about Ukraine’s status at another morning press briefing on July 8 during an experts’ forum. “They are focusing on the reforms and will wait with the application until they have moved further and modernize the defense sector, more than is the case today,” Stoltenberg said of Ukraine’s leaders. “We support them with political support and practical support. We will also step up that support at this summit. What is unchanged is every nation has the right to choose its own path. It applies to Georgia, Ukraine and all other nations. Whether Georgia or Ukraine or any other nation is going to be a member of NATO is up to that nation to decide and the 28 allies. That’s a fundamental principle that every nation has the right to decide its own path.”
Stoltenberg dismissed the premise of a question that the multinational troop buildup of NATO allies on Russia’s border shows that the alliance is the aggressor, not Russia. ” We have seen a more assertive Russia.. We are increasing our military presence in the Baltic countries and Poland, but there is no doubt that is something we do as a response to what Russia did in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “No one talked about any military presence of the kind we now see in Poland and the Baltic countries before Ukraine, before the illegal annexation of Crimea. What we do is defensive, it is proportionate, and it’s fully in line with our international commitments.. We have seen a Russia which has been willing to use military force against sovereign nations in Europe with aggressive actions against Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, talked about America’s commitment to Ukraine. “In particular on Ukraine, it’s an important opportunity to reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to stress the urgency of moving forward with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and expressing our continued determination to maintain sanctions on Russia should they not follow through on those commitments,” Rhodes said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Kyiv on July 7, said Ukraine has a long way to go before it is NATO-ready. “And NATO will also welcome Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms, particularly on civilian oversight of the armed forces and its move towards NATO standards. In addition, we have contributed in kind to four of the six trust funds specifically the command and control, the cyber, the medical rehabilitation, and logistics,” Kerry said, Ukraine has a long way to go in order to modernize and reform its defense sector and increase its interoperability with NATO, which is part of the discussion that takes place in the context of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.” Poroshenko called for stronger pressure by the West against Russia, but did not specify what steps he was advocating. “Pressure on the aggressor must be intensified until the Kremlin fulfills its obligations under the Minsk agreements, reverses the illegal and illegitimate self-declared annexation of Crimea, and comes back under the rule of law,” Poroshenko wrote.
During the alliance’s last summit, held in Wales in 2014, the leaders agreed a “Readiness Action Plan” to strengthen the defence of its most vulnerable members against Russia. But NATO remains constrained by an earlier agreement signed with Russia in 1997. Under this “founding act”, the alliance promised not to permanently deploy any combat troops in any member country east of Germany, provided the “security environment” did not change.
Russian President Puitn displayed new brand of Russian assertive politics. In 2014, Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, annexing the territory of a European country for the first time since 1945. Afterwards, Russia invaded eastern Ukraine, starting a war that has claimed 9,000 lives and driven 1.7 million people from their homes. NATO’s eastern members, particularly those who border Russia, want assurances that they will never share the same fate. In one set of war games last March, 33,000 Russian troops practiced how to launch nearly simultaneous attacks on Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. The latter two countries were also the target of simulated nuclear strikes by the Russian air force in 2013, almost every week, Russia dispatches jet fighters and bombers to probe the airspace of NATO’s eastern members.
NATO members say Russia might invade the Baltic States sooner or later. And countries like Estonia, along with NATO are other Baltic members, now feel most exposed to Russian ambitions. The NATO idea is to have one infantry battalion each in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The idea is that they would serve as a “tripwire” for any Russian invasion, demonstrating to the Kremlin that it would have to fight NATO troops and start a war with the entire alliance – including America – if it ever attacked a member state. In this way, the summit in Warsaw aimed to preserve the peace by deterring Russia.
Nonetheless, Russia’s war against Ukraine – in its third year – and its illegal military invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula – are driving the political-military alliance’s priorities.
In a recent interview, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that Ukraine should abandon its dreams about joining NATO as he predicted more instability for Europe ahead.
The leaders of the 28 NATO allies and their partners at Warsaw summit agreed on sending four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a rotational basis. NATO’s plan to enhance presence in Europe aims to reassure allies on its eastern flank rather than unleash a new cold war. The conflict in Ukraine, the migration crisis and terrorism are among the most dangerous threats to the Western world.
Although the SCO under Moscow’s leadership is not considered a serious threat, NATO views the formidable Russo-China military tie ups a dangerous phenomenon.
The real cause of tensions around the world and reason for Israel’s aggressive attacks on Palestinians has been the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), established in 1949 to threaten Soviet Union and stop its eastward expansionism. NATO claims responsibility to ensure the security of its member states in both the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.
NATO protects all member countries. Under Article V of this agreement, an “armed attack against one” NATO member “shall be considered an attack against them all”. On the evening of 12 September 2001, less than 24 hours after the 9/11 attacks, and for the first time in NATO’s history, the allies invoked the principle of Article 5 without in fact knowing the nation that attacked USA. But the Neocons readily invented an Islamizing Afghanistan as being the culprit requiring terror attacks by NATO.
Tensions between Russia and the West have skyrocketed in the past two years, with both sides holding large military maneuvers. Moscow and the alliance traded blame for the escalation.
During the two-day summit in Warsaw, NATO members will decide on placing four battalions in Poland and the Baltic countries neighboring Russia as part of the largest military buildup on the alliance’s eastern flank in decades.
Russia is becoming increasingly assertive in the Black Sea. Three current NATO member states (Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria) and one NATO aspirant with close ties to the alliance (Georgia) share the Black Sea with Russia. All these countries have expressed serious concern about Moscow’s growing assertiveness in the Black Sea region.
In response to NATO expansion and its containment policy, Russia often cites a 1997 agreement in which NATO pledged not to create permanent bases in former Eastern bloc states. US officials, however, claim that the troops would be rotated rather than stationed permanently. Stoltenberg said NATO would “project stability,” including in countries that have been confronted by Russia. “We will also affirm our commitment to our partners in the east, to Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, to help them resist outside pressures, and advance reform,” Stoltenberg said.
The NATO concerns are still greater because Russia has conducted a series of military exercises, supposedly designed to rehearse the invasion of neighbouring countries. Some of these drills have involved anything from 40,000 to 80,000 troops. Russia repeatedly said it has no empire ambitions and it won’t revive the Soviet Union.
While Ukraine’s status as victim of Russian aggression is driving NATO priorities, Ukraine remains far from any membership in NATO as it hasn’t even applied to join the alliance.
Existential challenge to NATO as permanent terror body
A serious mistake was made by the USA and those NATO member states – primarily France and the United Kingdom – by their joint invasion of Afghanistan on false pretext only to destroy Islamic regime in Kabul, invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 without a corresponding readiness to engage in post-conflict stabilization. The consequences of this flawed fascist approach have emerged in the form of severe political fanaticism and factionalization, the rise of the Islamic State group and a migrant crisis that has brought thousands to the shores of Europe.
Now NATO has been facing an existential challenge as it has indeed become redundant with the Warsaw Treaty led by Russia was abolished following the end of Cold War. But USA, in order to maintain global military superiority, does not want to dismantle the Western military club saying it is necessary to fight the future threats like terrorism. And in order to prove the argument USA created terrorism by employing Muslims who fought against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and coolly called it “Islamic fundamentalist terrorism’ and directed the media to blast the terror news prominently .
Individual NATO member states such as Turkey, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands have directly taken part in airstrikes against the Islamic State group while others have contributed ammunition and equipment. But given the threat to Europe posed by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, NATO needs to be more involved. At the Warsaw summit, the alliance must express a willingness to augment its role in the fight to roll back and end the terror war launched by Bush Jr.
The alliance currently has 12,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. NATO collectively must commit additional resources to bolster its Resolute Support mission and support Afghan forces. For the USA, their intention to maintain current troop levels in Afghanistan until the end of the yea means retaining 9,800 troops instead of reducing their numbers to 5,500 as planned.
Multinational conflicts in Syria and Iraq led by USA and Russia have generated a refugee crisis of historic proportions that continues to threaten Europe’s security and its cohesion. NATO must play a larger role to address these conflicts and bring peace back to the region. .
Turkey is worried that NATO’s migrant mission in the Aegean is distracting the alliance from these rising threats. Just as Russian military aircraft have harassed and conducted dangerous overflights of U.S. vessels in the Baltics Sea, they have done the same in the Black Sea. Yet the latter does not receive the same attention as the former.
The NATO terror outcomes and destabilization of Arab world, Afghanistan and Pakistan form the western democratic contribution to the world.
In order to allocate more resources for military, the western powers spread Russian threat and war propaganda.
According to western reports, through an act of invasion of Baltic, Russian president Putin is likely to bid to make Russia a great power again. Former deputy commander of Nato General Sir Richard Shirreff in his new book predicts that the West would be at war with Russia within the year. The Kremlin will invade the Baltic States through Latvia and threaten to go nuclear if NATO attempts a military response.
Poland and the Baltic countries call for a strong response to pre-empt another annexation like that of Crimea. The Germans and French would call for negotiations with Moscow. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in direct opposition to the Polish president, insisted that the Russia-NATO Founding Act remained valid.
The NATO battalions are touted as a “spearhead” rapid reaction force on the border with Russia that will tackle a range of possible threats. The force will be used to buy the alliance some time to mount a serious counteroffensive but will not stop any type of intervention in the short term. The deployment was unlikely change the balance of power in the region. It will, however, enhance the capability of Allies to maintain, and if required, implement their collective self-defense commitments
The arguments advanced by Stoltenberg for a confrontation with Russia are political lies—above all, the claim that Russia’s support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine proves it is an aggressive power dedicated to military conquest in Europe. He explained yesterday, “We are increasing our military presence in the Baltic countries and Poland, but there is no doubt that it is something we do as a response to what Russia did in Ukraine.”
The Cold War was the period when military spending in many countries grew almost without control. As a result, in some countries military budgets reached a stunning two percent of GDP. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 it became clear that the threat from the Soviet Union overinflated, but it was used to justify increased military spending in the West. Lobbying groups have again brought up the Russian threat to politicians and the European public.
NATO and USA had all previously made it clear that the 28-nation bloc did not seek a confrontation with Russia or a new cold war, but all their actions point to the contrary
In February, NATO defense minister approved the deployment of NATO troops to Eastern Europe. Total military spending of the NATO members since 1990 has reached €20.2 trillion. At the same time, Russia has spent only €1.3 trillion on defense since 1990. NATO’s demand to increase military spending sounds absurd. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, NATO allies have raised only 5 million Euros in trust fund money for Ukraine, in contrast to Afghanistan, for example, to which NATO trust funds have committed $1.3 billion Euros.
NATO needs more and more money as it seeks to send battalions to every country if finds a “threat”, but now Poland and the Baltics. In fact every country that does not support USA in its global terror war is treated in Washington as a threat. The force should be composed of at least 2,000 troops, ideally closer to 4,000. Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States have already agreed to lead three battalions, and the Visegrad Four – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary – have in a separate initiative committed a total of 600 troops to the Baltics.
Why NATO wants its members to increase military spending? The only reason for this requirement is that the United States wants an arms race against Russia and China. Europe should not be involved in this process because Europe is not interested in supporting Washington’s ambitions to deter China.
The summit argued the European countries should not increase military spending and instead invest in the EU’s defense capabilities, confusing everybody, to oppose the new NATO norm of two percent and adopt a two-percent norm for the EU, including one percent of GDP for defense and one percent for global social and environmental challenges
Does NATO aim at a world war?
One thing is quite certain: USA does not want to end its misguided terror wars even the destabilization of many Muslim nations and loot of their vital resources, including oil, as they coerce the nations to buy their terror goods directly and through their agent for the third world Israel.
The danger that such a conflict could erupt at any time, whether by design or inadvertently, emerged very directly in last month’s massive NATO military exercise, Operation Anaconda, involving 30,000 NATO forces in Poland. Moscow responded by mobilizing a comparable number of troops in western regions of Russia, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow reserved the right to take whatever measures were necessary to defend itself.
What has been going on in the name of terror war is NATO’s permanent war. NATO plans for military action in countries ranging from Libya to Georgia and Ukraine, Afghanistan and the regions bordering China are to be the subject of extensive discussion in Warsaw.
The way Obama escalated terror war in Mideast only shows the USA has no intention of ending the fake terror wars only to kill Muslims. The full list of targets identified in NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s opening remarks spans much of the globe. He served notice that NATO would step up military action in Iraq and Syria and expand its deployments in the Mediterranean and across NATO’s entire “neighborhood.”
The purpose of these political lies is to present the imperialist powers’ war drive as a defensive effort to preserve “peace and stability,” even as it threatens to unleash a war of unimaginable dimensions.
The aggressor in Ukraine was not the Kremlin oligarchy, however, but Washington and Berlin, which ousted an elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine by orchestrating violent, right-wing nationalist protests in Kiev. Washington had spent $5 billion to promote the Ukrainian opposition.
NATO Gen Shirreff points towards the short war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, the annexation of the Crimea two years ago and the separatist strife in eastern Ukraine as part of a grand plan of Russian expansion. Far from laying the basis for a peaceful and democratic capitalist development, Moscow was the opening act of a protracted crisis of the entire nation-state system in Europe and internationally.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the NATO does not intend to refuse to cooperate with Russia. “We are unanimous in the position that continuous security in Europe is only possible with Russia, and not in opposition to it. The central place for dialogue with Russia remains the NATO-Russia Council,” Merkel told the Bundestag. Gen Shirreff asked USA to position personnel and weapons in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. NATO is, in fact, in the process of doing just that to the chagrin of the Kremlin which holds this breaches the pledge made by the Alliance to Boris Yeltsin’s government in 1997 that it will not have permanent troop presence in any of the former Warsaw Pact states.
NATO defense shield
NATO has put in place NATO defense shield in Eastern Europe, targeting Russian territory. The idea is to attack Russia and not let Russia retaliate back to USA or Europe. However, Russia has put in place advanced technology to deter western missiles and destroy them before they reach Russian territory.
NATO defense shield now in Romania is meant to check any possible Russian missiles. Defense shield gives the NATO member states the power to intercept any missiles fired from Russia once war broke out. But now Russia has said they are going to retaliate and eliminate the threat and that means they will actually destroy the shield in Romania which then the west will use as a pretext to go war with Russia. In the run-up to the summit, the Polish president called for the formal scrapping of the Founding Act.
The Warsaw summit’s plans amount to the final repudiation, more or less explicitly, of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act, in which NATO pledged that it would not exploit the dissolution of the Soviet Union to rearm in Europe and pursue an aggressive strategy against Russia. The act stated that NATO would undergo a “historic transformation,” “radically” reducing its military forces and ensuring that NATO and Russia “not consider each other as adversaries.”
NATO and EU, mediated by the USA, cooperate against Russia. In 2014, NATO suspended practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia amid strained relations over the Ukrainian crisis, as the Alliance accused Moscow of involvement in the conflict. Political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council, however, was not halted. Russian reaction caused serious economic weakening in Europe. The Greeks, Italians and Spanish make clear that their economies had already suffered enough from the sanctions on Russia after the annexation of Crimea.
NATO has been building up its military presence in Eastern Europe, using Moscow’s alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.
Over the last quarter century, the Eastern European countries and the former Soviet republics were thrown open to capitalist exploitation and imperialist intrigue, joining NATO or the European Union. Particularly after the 2014 Kiev putsch, with the emergence of a pro-Western Ukrainian regime, Russia has found itself surrounded by hostile states allied to NATO and thrown back militarily to the positions it held 75 years ago following the Nazi invasion of the USSR. In this crisis, the policies of all of the capitalist factions are deeply reactionary. The Kremlin oligarchy’s attempt to use the military to pressure the imperialist powers for an accommodation only heightens the war danger.
A further factor driving the aggressive policies of the imperialist powers is the increasingly bitter and intractable crisis within NATO itself, exacerbated by the June 23 British vote to leave the EU. Washington and several Eastern European states, including Poland, have called for an even more aggressive policy towards Russia.
Germany, followed by France and Italy, on the other hand, are proposing a more independent foreign policy, i.e., independent of Washington, involving a rapid expulsion of Britain from the EU and a ratcheting down of the confrontation with Russia.
Stoltenberg’s rationalization for mass military deployments to Eastern Europe by all of the major NATO powers is extraordinarily reckless and sinister. The best way to secure the NATO alliance, according to Stoltenberg, is to permanently threaten Russia with nuclear war by ensuring that any local conflict involving Russia in Eastern Europe immediately escalates to all-out conflict between Russia and the entire NATO alliance.
Russian military jets have carried out more sorties in a day in Syria than the US-led coalition has done in a month. The Russian navy has launched ballistic missiles from the Caspian Sea 900 miles way. Russian advances in military technology is routine and does not mean that Kremlin is about to launch an attack, although it may add to the argument for increased defence spending.
Unlike American presidents with hidden agendas, President Putin is not a bad person the media make out him to be and he has actually been constantly warning NATO ever since they started talking about installing the missile defence shield in Eastern Europe that all they are doing is undermining the security of their nations. NATO especially the US just kept saying it’s not targeted at Russia but they are there to only target Iran. Anyone with a bit of common sense knows that is load of crap meant to fool Moscow.
Twenty-five years after the much heralded victory of capitalism and the USA in the Cold War, USA and world imperialism have shown mankind the true “benefits” of capitalism: ever increasing social inequality and poverty, the promotion of national chauvinism and racism, the drive to dictatorship, and the looming danger of a nuclear Third World War. But America could not the entire world.
The July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw marks an extraordinary escalation of the ongoing wars in Mideast into a global war drive of the capitalist-imperialist powers—above all, the economic, political and military campaign against Russia launched two years ago. The USA and Germany backed putsch toppled a pro-Russian government in Ukraine, leading to the current conflict there.
The Sept-11 hoax perpetrated essentially by anti-Islamic forces in USA let the NATO forces invade and destabilize an Islamizing Afghanistan and gave rise to terrorization of international politics.
NATO faces unprecedented challenges from both east and south. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused the alliance to refocus on its original raison d’etre of territorial defense. But unconventional threats from nonstate actors and humanitarian crises fueled by ongoing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa are pushing NATO to become alert and upgrade military equipment. .
The summit’s main military objective is to threaten Russia with invasion by massively expanding NATO forces’ presence along Russia’s borders. More broadly, it seeks to formalize NATO’s transformation into an alliance intervening aggressively around the world, beginning with war preparations against Moscow.
The summit finalized the exact contributions from member states amid what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described as a challenging regional security situation.
What these conflicts have revealed is an existential crisis of the entire system of international alliances and all of the institutions of European capitalism.
The air defenses installed by the Russia in Syria and eastern Ukraine would make it extremely hazardous for the West to carry out strikes against the Assad regime or Ukrainian separatists. Any open and prolonged Russian conflict with an Eastern European country might lead to the destruction of the NATO alliance itself.
Why should Russian he President risk all the gains with a risky hot war with an invasion of the Baltic States which, unlike Ukraine and Georgia, are members of NATO and can invoke NATO assistance?
Russia has said it would destroy the missile shield in Romania but if it really does then that would give a pretext cum justification to go for war with Russia.
NATO is also interested in holding another NATO-Russia Council after the Warsaw summit on July 8-9, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed the next Russia-NATO Council would be held in Brussels on July 13 and would be focused on the Ukrainian crisis and the situation in Afghanistan.
The escalating crises of NATO and the EU are a warning and a challenge to the international public. The unfolding crisis in Europe threatens humanity with a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Its prevention depends on the people developing a politically conscious international movement against NATO terror war and for the overthrow of capitalism and establishment of humane socialism.
USA and Russia will not have direct war of any kind – now or any time in the near future. Apparently, all five plus one veto members have informally agreed to avert and avoid any war among them because that would lead to a world war, officially.
US Nuclear Policy Upgraded
Experts and politicians are familiar with several variants of the 2018 NPR. The Huffington Post published a draft in mid-January. On February 2, in the run-up to the February 5 deadline to meet the central limits of the US–Russia New START treaty, the NPR was officially presented in the Pentagon by representatives of the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Energy. The full text of the document was then briefly deleted from the Pentagon website.
On February 6, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis personally presented the NPR to the House Armed Services Committee. Witnesses point out that this version differed slightly from the previous one. One of the main changes had to do with the appearance of a chart showing how the US is lagging behind Russia, China and North Korea in upgrading its nuclear arsenal (see Fig.1). In the first draft, the entire Korean Peninsula was shown in the colours of the North Korean flag; in the next version, the chart represented Taiwan as a Chinese territory; in the following one, Russia “lost” the Kuril Islands in their entirety. The latest variant of the chart appears to be true to life, but this minor incident may indicate a certain degree of inattention to detail on the part of those who compiled the document. It is worth mentioning that the NPR summary has also been published in Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French: this suggests that Washington believes it extremely important to inform its allies and adversaries about the US approach to nuclear arms.
The Russian Factor
The Trump administration’s nuclear doctrine specifically emphasizes the degradation of the system of international politico-military relations in the second decade of the 21st century, a process characterized by the quantitative and qualitative increase of challenges and threats to US interests. This situation resulted from the international activity of “revisionist powers”: Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. The document repeatedly mentions this “revisionism”, so it is worth listing the nuclear-related accusations Washington is levelling against Russia.
The NPR accuses Russia of three main “sins”:
- breaching the INF Treaty by testing and deploying a long-range ground-based cruise missile;
- pursuing a “escalate-to-deescalate” strategy. This strategy implies delivering a limited tactical nuclear strike should the threat of losing a conventional conflict become imminent, in order to subsequently impose the terms of conflict settlement on the adversary. This concept belonged exclusively to the realm of journalism until recently, even though renowned experts did discuss it actively and aggressively, albeit somewhat sceptically;
- upgrading its nuclear arsenals, including via the development of various exotic delivery platforms. Everyone seems already accustomed to fantasies about hypersonic glide vehicles, but the mention, in this context, of a strategic intercontinental torpedo with a megaton-class warhead (known as Status-6) is puzzling and unexpected.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s reaction to the publication of the new US nuclear doctrine came in the form of a prompt and fairly apposite comment: “Russia’s Military Doctrine clearly limits the possibility of using nuclear weapons to two hypothetical defensive scenarios: first, in response to an aggression […] involving the use of nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction, and second, in response to a non-nuclear aggression, but only if Russia’s survival is endangered. The 2014 Military Doctrine introduced a new term, the ‘system of non-nuclear deterrence’, which implies preventing aggression primarily through reliance on conventional (non-nuclear) forces.”
The comment continues: “We are deeply concerned about Washington’s no-limits approach, under which it might use nuclear weapons in ‘extreme circumstances’, which are not limited to military scenarios in the new US doctrine. […] If this is not the doctrinal enhancement of the role of nuclear weapons, what then does Washington imply when it uses the term with regard to Russia?”
One may mock the lexical peculiarities of the Russian comment, but it does contain a commendably succinct and exhaustive description of the country’s nuclear doctrine. It should be stressed that the Foreign Ministry was merely reacting. Had it been proactive in explaining the country’s stance on nuclear weapons and their qualitative and quantitative parameters to partners, opponents and society, all questions regarding Russia’s conceptions and arms may have been resolved before making their way into the NPR and similar documents.
Such positive promotion of Russia’s strategic non-nuclear deterrence concept merits in-depth analysis. In his speech at an open session of the Defence Ministry’s Board in late 2017, General Valery Gerasimov, Russian Chief of the General Staff, provided an exhaustive description of the “non-nuclear deterrence components” being formed in Russia as applied to the weapons systems currently employed. These include the S-400 SAM system, the Bastion coastal anti-ship missile system, submarines and sea-surface ships armed with Kalibr missiles and also, with certain reservations, the Iskander-M theatre missile system (“operational-tactical”). It is worth mentioning that all the aforementioned systems are, to varying degrees, dual-capable, i.e. they can be tipped with nuclear warheads. The problem of dual-capable nuclear/conventional arms is growing ever more acute. In particular, one of last year’s publications by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, under the editorship of James M. Acton, is devoted to this topic.
The US Response
Washington is planning to employ a combination of the following elements in order to deter Russia:
- the US nuclear triad (intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers);
- non-strategic nuclear forces from the USA and other countries in Europe, i.e. B611 aerial bombs and the nuclear sharing concept, which Russia has been criticizing for many years;
- the nuclear forces of British and French allies.
This approach appears to be a serious obstacle to the future of bilateral strategic offensive arms reduction. At the same time, it may also prove instrumental in overcoming the seeming deadlock. Washington, in effect, is introducing its allies’ nuclear arsenals into the Russia–US strategic stability equation, meaning that Russia now has every reason to take these arsenals into account in future talks. Moscow will certainly have to introduce into the equation some of the Russian nuclear components that have until now remained outside the scope of limitation and reduction agreements, and were even excluded from the transparency principle. However, certain progress is possible here, provided that third nuclear countries (ideally China as well) are involved in the process.
Let us now discuss the materiel portion of the NPR: the assessment of America’s needs for nuclear delivery platforms.
The Trump administration believes that America is nowhere near being “great again” when it comes to nuclear weapons. This opinion is not entirely true. Nevertheless, the NPR calls for creation and deployment of new systems in addition to the new B-21 Raider bomber, LRSO air-launched cruise missile, GBSD intercontinental ballistic missile, new Columbia-class submarine (all effectively launched under the Obama administration), and the modernization/service life extension programmes for existing nuclear warheads, which are nearing completion. The document identifies the need for nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missiles and lower-yield warheads for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The NPR also sets the rather vague objective of developing advanced nuclear delivery platforms and “alternative basing modes”, which may imply mobile ground-based (or airborne!) launchers. Sea-launched cruise missiles are meant to fill the gap caused by the INF-Treaty-related limitations, both in response to Russia’s “transgressions” and in other theatres saturated with missiles of nations not bound by the treaty. Notionally, low-yield warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles are meant as a deterrent against attempted use of tactical nuclear weapons in conventional conflict.
The NPR authors believe the US president will thus be able to deliver a nuclear strike that would not result in a full-scale nuclear war. It remains unclear how Washington’s adversary is supposed to distinguish an incoming low-yield munition from a full-blown first-strike weapon. The single-missile argument does not hold water, because a single launch from a submarine with subsequent air burst is considered a classic tactic for blinding enemy early warning and missile defence radars, to be followed by the multiple-launch application of the entire arsenal. Curiously, the UK had such sub-strategic submarine-launched ballistic missiles in its armoury more than 20 years ago. Discussions continue as to whether these munitions are effective. It would appear that the preservation of the “nuclear taboo” proves the usefulness of such munitions. On the other hand, the existence of “serious” strategic weapons in the arsenals of several leading world powers seems no less convincing a reason why nuclear arms have not been used in anger to date.
Apart from the aforementioned aspects of nuclear arms development, the NPR pays special attention to less publicly known components of the US nuclear arsenal: the nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) system and nuclear warheads.
The US NC3 system has long been in need of modernization because it consists largely of slightly modified Cold-War-era technology. At the same time, the NPR emphasizes the increase in, and qualitative changes to, the threats in outer space and cyberspace, the two key command-and-control arenas that apply not only to nuclear arms. To bring the NC3 system up to date and make it reliably stable, the NPR calls for massive reforms, the deployment of new subsystems, and the introduction of protection against all types of threats. It is in this context that the document contains the extremely controversial thesis stating that nuclear weapons may be used in response to a conventional attack on critical infrastructure, even a cyberattack against NC3 systems. The connection between nuclear arms and cyberthreats is becoming a particularly hot topic. It appears that within the debates involving the NPR, the sides would do well to at least reach a mutual understanding of the problem, if not work out common rules of the game.
The NPR contains detailed and tightly deadlined targets for the National Nuclear Security Administration (which formally reports to the Department of Energy but operates independently) to prolong the service life of existing warhead types until 2030 (this may require upgrades, as illustrated by the example of the W-76 warhead for the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile). Also by 2030, the USA must produce up to 80 plutonium pits, which are critical to the manufacture of nuclear charges. In fact, these targets were generally described back in 2007–2008, and their importance was reiterated following the signature of New START in 2010–2011. The USA is not planning to conduct any nuclear tests (with the exception of those required to ensure the safety and efficiency of the nuclear arsenal). On the other hand, Washington does not intend to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty either.
The new NPR pays somewhat less attention to non-proliferation, nuclear terrorism and arms control than the previous versions, and mainly focuses on the rivalry between the superpowers.
According to official estimates made public in late 2017, full implementation of the US nuclear modernization programme will require up to $1.2 trillion through the year 2046. Coupled with massive spending on missile defence (incidentally, the Department of Defense will shortly release a Missile Defense Review, whose title conspicuously omits the word “ballistic”), and the growing needs of all conventional military branches, the planned expenses might be streamlined by postponing the implementation of some projects and completely abandoning others, which is not unknown in the history of the US defence industry.
The Doctrine as the Catalyst of Discussion
The modernization of nuclear weapons is inevitable and even advisable for all nuclear powers. Russia, for one, continues to deploy and develop advanced nuclear systems. Universal nuclear disarmament remains a thing of the distant future; shiny new missiles appear to be safer to handle than rusty old ones, and they are better at deterring potential adversaries.
A number of provisions contained in the NPR make one reconsider the existing attitude towards the role of nuclear arms in the contemporary system of international politico-military relations and start devising new conceptual approaches. It would be an utter mistake to return to “escalation dominance”, the “missile gap,” and other antiquated Cold War theses, which are hardly applicable to the contemporary polycentric nuclear world.
Nuclear weapons as an aspect of great power competition were too quick to disappear from the international agenda (together with the very notions of competition and great power), with the focus shifting towards various global problems associated with sustainable development. The new US NPR clearly indicates the fallibility of this approach. At the same time the discussion spurred by the publication of this document gives one hope for the emergence of a new approach to building a stable multipolar world.
First published in our partner RIAC
Assessing United Nation’s commitment to “resolve conflict”: The need to re-strategize Peacekeeping missions
Numerous peacekeeping missions conducted by the UN “drastically” failed to “maintain peace and security” in the “conflict-rigged” regions. The article focuses on the peacekeeping missions conducted by the UN during the late 1990s, while carefully “assessing the operational mechanism” of the UNTAG in Namibia and its interaction with UNPOL and CIVPOL while keeping in mind the “geo-political” impact of a “failed intervention” and later providing “viable pragmatic solutions” to ensure a “successful implementation of peace-building and peace-keeping initiatives”. Peace-keeping mission’s success depends heavily on “regional political actors”, whereas to ensure a smooth “democratic transition”, support from international aid organizations, non-government institutions remains vital.
Although, “carefully preparing rehabilitation and restructuring programs” while “timely monitoring and evaluating its implementation”, coupled with a “viable pragmatic framework of the peacekeeping mission”, are some of the primary factors responsible for ensuring “regional political cooperation” in an effort to maintain peace.
In the last decade, the world witnessed formulation of various Peacekeeping missions especially strategized to re-vitalise “peace and stability in the region”. However, in the light of frequently increasing international and regional stakeholders such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), power countries such as the US, Britain, Japan, Germany, international institutions such as the European Union (EU), League of Arab States (LAS), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and African Union (AU), United Nations remains the principle agency whose participation in peacekeeping missions, is “vital”. Today, over 15 peacekeeping missions are deployed under the leadership of UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the principle agency of the UN, which inspite of “formidable expertise and experience” continues to face immense criticism for “fulfilling partial or fraction of expected results”. The criticism highlights two “significant facts”: UN has a habit of “repeating the same mistake in every new mission”, highlighting the “failure to achieve numerous objectives” stated in the “over-ambitious mandate” of UN missions particularly in Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Haiti. On the contrary, a large segment of “socio-economic development initiatives” remains “unachieved” as witnessed from its bitter experience in Rwanda and Sudan.
The article emphasis on the need for UN take a “responsible leadership role” in “resolving international conflicts”, disregarding the “pressure from international political arena” or “acute criticism received from military and security experts” on recent “unfavourable outcomes” from peacekeeping missions. The answer to these “unfavourable outcomes” lies within the successes achieved by the UN peacekeeping missions coupled with numerous successful “resolutions” passed the UN Security Council. The particular case of Namibia and the measures successfully implemented by the then UN Transition Assistance Group while ensuring“ peaceful transition of power” through “elections” and paving a way for a “democratically elected government”, are vital to assess and formulate future peacekeeping missions. The article’s focus is to “carefully understand and assess operational mechanism of the UNTAG” which made it a successful peacekeeping mission while understanding the factors responsible for making the mission a success and “simulating those factors in the peacekeeping missions of today”.
History of Namibia and UNTAG formation
To analyse the factors responsible behind UNTAG mission’s successful, it is important to understand the history of Namibia and the scenario which resulted in the formation of UNTAG. The question of “political stability in Namibia” is as old as the UN itself, perhaps older. Series of dialogues, discussion sand multiple responsible actors advocating for a “peaceful solution” in Namibia, were largely “responsible factors” of its success.
The political quest to control Namibia began with the invasion of British led South African Union forces defeated the then German troops during World War I. Although, the “disputed” Namibia came under the supervision of League of Nations “mandate”, the then British dominated troops of South African Union enjoyed “political and administrative” control over the region. However, during post-World War II, the International Court of Justice “over-ruled” the de-facto political and administrative control of South African Union forces on Namibia terming it “illegal and violation of all international laws”, brushing the judgment aside, South Africa continues to treat Namibia as its own “province”. In an effort to achieve independence from the then South African “occupation” of Namibia, a violent faction in the name of South Africa People’s Organization was formed.
Clearly mentioning the “international status” of Namibia, the then United Nations Security Council passed numerous resolutions between the year 1966 and 1968. Namibia was now under direct UN administration, whose responsibility was given to the then formed UN Council on South West Africa. After completing numerous “fact-finding missions”, the UN Council on West Africa agreed that “the South African occupation of Namibia was illegal” and in 1975 declared to “democratically conduct elections under the UN supervision”. While three members of the P5 countries plus Canada and Germany “debated for a peaceful independence”, the then “apartheid gripped” South Africa wanted to retain its “occupation” on Namibia. United Nations, then officially recognized SWAPO as a “responsible stakeholder and partner in peaceful discussions”, in 1976.
The official formulation of the UNTAG peacekeeping mission was complete in early 1978, whereas its mandate was completely “strategized” by the end of the same year, with a principle focus of “carrying out peaceful democratic transition of power while declaring Namibia’s independence”. However, the official deployment of UNTAG was delayed for eleven years only to be implemented after a temporary ceasefire between SWAPO and South African troops in April 1989. The time taken by UN to successfully deploy its peacekeeping mission was largely contributed to the Cold-War which will be significantly addressed in the later section of the article. The UNTAG peacekeeping mission lasted for one complete year and its formal closing came only when the state assembly received a formal declaration from then UNTAG Special Representative on 21st March 1990.
Essential elements of success
To draw an initial assessment of the UNTAG mission in an effort to compare it with other UN peacekeeping missions, it is imperative to first understand the nomenclature of its mandate. The Mandate not only states the “operational mechanism of UN troops on the ground, but also acts a framework strictly defining the actions of UN personnel”, including their “rule of engagement” while highlighting “objectives of the mission” with an interim timeline.
The principle discussion during the “formulation of any UN Mandate” largely rests on Chapter VI or Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Chapter VI explicitly states the use of military force only in cases when “fired upon” while explicitly mentioning a formal “ratification of all stakeholders”, meanwhile Chapter VII states the use of necessary military force without “formal ratification of any stakeholder”. Today, experts continue to argue on the successes achieved by peacekeeping missions implementing Chapter VII of the UN Charter, as the mission remains “independent” and free to initiate any formal military engagement while inducing “political pressure” if necessary, in an effort to “maintain peace and stability in the region”. The Rwandan genocide is a perfect example, as the mission received only the mandate of Chapter VI making it “impossible to initiate a direct confrontation” with violent factions. In this scenario, the mission failed largely because of an unmatched mandate.
Although, it extensively depends upon the “intensity of conflict and presence of responsible stakeholders”, the mandate including Chapter VI proved to be vital, in case of UNTAG in Namibia, and a perfect example to “implement successful peace and stability in a region” without the direct use of military action.
Furthermore, the responsibility to “build and secure negotiations” further increase the stakes of responsible parties, which can be highlighted from “extensive diplomatic engagements between SWAPO and South Africa.
However, no individual can predict the “the success of peacekeeping mission solely from either Chapter VI or Chapter VII mandates”. Although, the difference will be created when the “mandate is able to fulfill the operational requirements of a peacekeeping mission”. This “burden of responsibility” only lies with the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council.
Role of international communities
Experts have “traditionally” credited the success of UNTAG peacekeeping mission to “effective communication and coordination” between the then members of United Nations Security Council. This statement is essentially correct, as the global dynamics were “fluid” then, in the light of the Cold War. With “principle of uncertainty” hanging over the mission, the then member nations of the Security Council adopted the 1978 UN Security Council Resolution 435, while ensuring “legal necessities” of the mission and formally deploying the UNTAG forces by the end of Cold War.
In the light of Cuban troops withdrawal from Angola, the then policy makers at the UN were not willing to take any chance of “outgoing clashes” between SWAPO in Namibia and angered Cuban forces, thus delaying the deployment of UNTAG peacekeeping force for over eleven years, even after successful ratification of the then Resolution 435. In the meantime, South Africa was taking desperate “maneuvers” in an effort to retain its “colony” under the apartheid system, rallying behind the then Reagan administration through a strategic partnership agreement: South Africa, however “hesitantly” accepted the UN led leadership of Namibia while forming an alliance with the US to prevent communism from spreading from Mozambique to Angola and South Africa. South Africa made a “political maneuver”, establishing relationship with Washington in the light of the latter’s “involvement in South Africa’s domestic politics”.
Washington on the contrary, needed South Africa’s support, in an effort to address the issue of Namibia’s independence, needing a formal consent from South Africa under the Chapter VI of the UN Charter. Washington refrained to infiltrate militarily in Angola and Namibia, as these “geographies” did not hold much “political value”. Furthermore, Washington could not afford another proxy war especially when the “political and economic” stakes were high, after its recent “costly gamble” in Vietnam.
Taking the communist perspective, which were then Cuba and Angola, with Soviet Union supporting them, Soviet Union could not maintain a grip in Cuba. The winds of “communist politics” were drastically changing course. Moreover, South African military units along with forces of Frente Nacional da Liberaçao de Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) soldiers, financially aided by Washington, began “aggressive” military attacks on Soviet backed Cuban and Angolan troops within Angola. This resulted in “politico-military campaign” supported by both blocs. In 1984, the then President of Angola, declared the withdrawal of its troops, only under three conditions:
a)South Africa must remove all its troops from Angolan territory.
b)Implement Resolution 435, but only under the leadership of UN.
c)Immediately cease all US and South African intervention in Angolan domestic politics.
It remains a fact that, “Post-Cold War period brought a tremendous shift in international politics” which also ended the “stalemate in UN Security Council” making it “effective” to take decisions again. Furthermore, in case of Namibia’s independence, the role of UNTAG peacekeeping mission was vital and received a significant support from international communities (all actors) ensuring a “positive result”. The need for members of the UN Security Council and other international communities to support any UN peacekeeping mission, is absolutely vital, without which, the peacekeeping mission will not be able to deliver necessary progressive results.
Role of regional communities
The success of the UNTAG peacekeeping mission was not only possible because of an extensive support from international communities, the necessary support from regional and domestic cooperation remained vital during “electoral proceedings”. The theory to conduct elections in a conflict state has been “discussed and debated rigorously, many questioning the UN’s state building initiatives, however, in Namibia, without “opening the doors to free and fair elections, UNTAG peacebuilding successes couldn’t have achieved. From a point of “traditional analysis”, there are three key points policy makers must remember. Some may be unique for Namibia, while other case analysis can be “effectively used to reinforce on-going peacekeeping missions while formulate effective operations in the near future”.
a) To begin with, the “root cause of the issue” along with cooperation and coordination between multiple regional stakeholders at various levels provided strength to the “peacekeeping initiatives” right from the beginning. The “stance” taken by multiple stakeholders were “clear” highlighting the difference between “contested parties” and parties “voicing to achieve a same goal”, which separated the “two conflicted parties from other groups”. This eased the efforts taken by the UN military Observer units to monitor ceasefire. Moreover, bilateral communications between the “contesting stakeholders” through mediation from an international inspector, United Nations in this case, easily communicated between the two.
b) It would not be incorrect to state that, the issue in Namibia was “largely one-sided” especially in the context of “regional political turmoil”. Border skirmishes, violent ethnic clashes and resources distribution, did not affect the peace process. The incumbent peace-keeping missions in Sudan and missions in Rwanda, the threats to peacebuilding were extensive.
c) Moreover, the Namibian government institutions, before the deployment of UNTAG peacekeeping forces, were “structurally functioning”, as the institutions did not receive extensive damages in the civil war. With a large section of government institutions still functioning, across the country, UNTAG were able to “operate and carry out constitution election successfully” using such “institutional support”. It is important to note that, the supervision of UN mission in Congo largely failed because of absence of vital “institutional infrastructure”, which were decimated in subsequent civil wars.
While carefully assessing the role of “civil society in the success of UNTAG peacekeeping mission”, it is imperative for domestic entities to play a responsible role, to ensure the success of peacekeeping missions. These domestic entities included regional, local and national political organizations, the press, civil society institutions, non-government agencies, government entities and various minority groups. The responsibility taken by local masses during elections, changed the course of Namibian history. As a matter of fact, the voters appearing to cast votes outnumbered even the UN voting estimation exceedingly by 50:1. The total recorded turn out was at 97 percent.
Besides “cooperation and coordination” from international and domestic stakeholders, the objectives of the UNTAG peacekeeping mission followed by relentless efforts undertaken by its personnel, resulted in successful constitution elections. The mandate of the mission “coupled” the effectiveness and the efficiency of UNTAG personnel in Namibia, which gave desired results. It is imperative for the mission to fulfill “operational goals”, even overlooking the people’s “suspicions”. It is also important to note that, beside UNTAG, there were no “successful” peacekeeping missions that democratically conducted constitutional elections; “UNTAG was swimming in unchartered territories”. If the elections turned out to be a failure or “rigged”, would not only have dissolved the legitimacy of political institutions but could have raised questions on the ability of UN peacekeeping while “extensively” compromising UN position of “neutrality”. Besides South Africa, almost every stakeholder had “certain hidden agendas” forcing them to support UNTAG.
Apart from this “complex political understanding”, there was an “effective and efficient” cooperation and coordination between different military officers, advisors, civilian staffers and UNPOL officers. The mission was not only to observe a ceasefire, but it largely extended to “conducting free and fair elections” which needed the support of UNPOL and civilian staffers. The triggered an “intensely complex, integrated multidimensional response” coupled by “extensive and rigorous communication” within all sectors and command units within UNTAG headquarters. This indeed was a “complex scenario”, especially when the deployed troops hailed from different countries with different command structure and expertise.
Besides communication and integrated command structures, the mission responsibility largely depended on “skilful resourceful officers”, who maintained a direct communique with their headquarters in New York, will facing “numerous threats to peace”.
However, there were series of “frequent rigorous” clashes between SWAPO and South African military units, and fighting began intensive with every clash. This occurred during the initial deployment of UNTAG observers, in a time when the personnel strength was half. The peacekeeping initiatives were further reinforced with diplomatic communique, which resulted in a meeting between UN diplomat and the two “contentious” parties. SWAPO then began to actively participate in DDR (Disarmament, De-mobilization and Reintegration), only when UNTAG was in full strength. With complete in strength, UNTAG headquarters responded actively while establishing an effective communication with all UNTAG mobile and command units, in an effort to quickly resolve the conflict. The failure of timely communication resulted in loss of numerous lives during UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda. Policy makers must note that, communication plays a vital role in de-escalating conflict.
The UNPOL acted as a bridge, connecting commanders in UN HQ directly with the masses. The observers deployed under civilian police units, were strictly instructed to not to take an action directly, rather focusing on the development of local police units, South African police, until the independence of Namibia.
The civilian police units were strictly tasked to maintain “peace, security and the rule of law ”while remain “unbiased” throughout the time. This was quite a difficult task. The local masses were not aware about the civilian police structure, new to their environment, building trust remained vital. Civilian police units conducted numerous peace building public centric initiatives, in an effort to gain trust. South Africa tried to portray a “negative image” about civilian policing, while strengthening their tactics of “guerrilla warfare” in an effort to counter police with an objective to create chaos. With an effective communication with UNTAG HQ and other command and mobile units, the UN successfully countered the insurgency through diplomatic means.
Furthermore, the success of the mission extensively depended on “winning hearts and mind”, the cooperation of the masses and their coordination with the UNTAG observers remained vital. As stated in aforementioned arguments, the mandate of UNTAG was strictly political; “free fair and democratically” conduct constitutional elections. In the past UN peacekeeping operations, “conducting free and fair elections” was no less than a nightmare for officers and commanders of UN. Indeed democratically conducted elections boosts the moral, but if the election fails, the domino effect created by the failure to conduct free and fair elections will instigate cataclysmic events. After the formal declaration of elections, the masses are “vulnerable to violence”. During this time, UN HQ discusses multiple challenges, especially those faced during formulation of a timeline, voter registration and counting procedures, selection of the electoral system, plus the availability of a suggestion/complain box. The responsibility is not limited to only “conducting elections” but ensuring that the electoral candidates do not violate any laws established or install dictatorial control over the government, remains vital for peacekeeping officers to address. UNTAG successfully addressed all the aforementioned “challenges”. Since, Namibian masses had no “electoral” experience, hence, the masses were given “extensive” electoral education. UNTAG HQ successfully distributed numerous multi-lingual pamphlets and distributed them throughout the country. The officers closely worked with religious establishments and local policy leaders in an effort to create awareness among the masses, while spreading the agenda and purpose of the UN mission. Despite facing serious financial challenges, UNTAG successfully achieved its mandate. Considering all stages (from monitoring to implementation), not one issue pertained. The UNTAG officers demonstrated highest “responsible behaviour and completed their task with outmost professionalism while maintaining timely and effective cooperation and coordination with command and mobile units”.
To successfully achieve the mission-mandate, timing was imperative. Timing played a phenomenal role in the success of UNTAG mandate:
a)UNTAG HQ maintained it separate timeline syncing it with the timeline established to conduct elections, which began on the day of its deployment. Furthermore, the role of the stakeholders and their presence were all accounted for, making UNTAG the only agency to conduct elections.
b)Most importantly, the time between the ratification and acceptance of the 1978 Resolution of 435 and UNTAG peacekeeping missions formal deployment in 1989, eleven years were significant for UNTAG to simulate and prepare.
Policy makers must note that, the actual deployment structure remained the same even after its deployment in 1989.This structure was further reinforced with “ready to support” stakeholders. This made UN’s image as a principle agency to carry out peacekeeping missions “concrete” as it relentlessly pursued the then members of the UN Security Council to ratify and adopt the Resolution 435, while “extensively engaging” with all stakeholders.
Moreover, a large section of UN peacekeeping officers, extensively worked on identifying viable pragmatic policies to conduct free and fair Namibian elections in these eleven years. This ensured a “constant flow of information, management of information while maintaining constant and effective communication between the stakeholders. In this case, the preparations were “exceedingly lengthy” and “available time was cautiously and judiciously” utilized in relation to the “mandate and operational mechanism along with personnel management and communique”, which ultimately resulted in the success of UNTAG mission.
Today, peacekeeping missions conducted by UN, continues to face “questions on its legitimacy”. Many experts, think tank policy specialists and political leaders world-wide not only “consider it as an intervention” but also raises questions on “moral and ethnic grounds”. Superimposed by past unsuccessful peacekeeping missions the perception of general masses have drastically changed. Some raises questions on the missions “sustainability”, while many questions the “dilemma of democracy or the rise of dictatorial regimes”.
Policy makers and expert military strategists continue to face numerous challenges in “devising an appropriate peacekeeping strategy”. Every mission is new and seek different approaches, especially in its complexities, stakeholder’s approach and superimposing mandates. Although, one factor that could determine the success of peacekeeping mission, “operational mechanism”, which certainly exists in every mission, if “harness effectively and efficiently” with a right mandate, has the potential to drive mission successfully. However, it will not be incorrect to say that, UNTAG did not face any “complex hostile environment” as compared to UN missions in Rwanda, Sudan and Somalia. However, the successes achieved during UNTAG mission in Namibia, highlights certain “facts” applicable in all future UN peacekeeping initiatives.
a)It is absolutely vital for members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to formulate a “mission centric mandate”.
b)The success of any peacekeeping mission largely depends upon cooperation and coordination at international, national, local and regional levels. This step should be further reinforced by “creating community centric development programs/initiatives”.
Then comes the “eccentricity of timing and pre-planning.
If the mandate is achieved before the estimated established time, the confidence of the people will increase and so does the missions/organizations authenticity and legitimacy. Policy makers must prepare thoroughly, assess and simulate all probable/possible scenarios, in an effort to increase their “effectiveness” to respond to “unprojectable situations”, which are always “possible” during UN peacekeeping operations.
Long way to common European Security and Defense
On 14-15 February, 2018 NATO Defense Ministers will meet in Brussels again to discuss the main threats the world faces nowadays. NATO consists of 29 member states but 22 of them are simultaneously the EU member states. Speaking in general, the decisions, taken by NATO, are binding on the EU. On the one hand, NATO and the US, as its main financial donor, and Europe very often have different goals. Their interests and even views on the ways to achieve security are not always the same. The more so the differences exist inside the EU either.
A European military level of ambitions has grown significantly in recent times. Decision to establish a European Union defense pact, known as a Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defense (PESCO) at the end of the previous year became a clear indicator of this trend. It is the first real attempt to form the EU independent defense without reliance on NATO.
Though the EU member states actively support the idea of closer European cooperation in security and defense, they do not always agree on the European Union’s work in this area. In reality not all the states are ready to spend more on defense even in the framework of NATO, which requires spending at least 2 percent of their GDP. Thus, according to NATO’s own figures, only the US (not an EU member state), Great Britain (leaving the EU), Greece, Estonia, Poland and Romania in 2017 met the requirement. So other countries probably would like to strengthen their defense but are not capable or even do not want to pay additional money for a new EU military project. It should be noted that only those countries that have a great dependence on NATO support and have no chance to protect themselves, spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense or show readiness to increase spending (Latvia, Lithuania).
Such EU member states as France and Germany are ready to “lead the process” without increasing in contributions. They have higher level of strategic independence than the Baltic States or other countries of Eastern Europe.
For example, French military-industrial complex is capable of producing all kinds of modern weapons – from infantry weapons to ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and supersonic aircraft.
The more so, Paris maintains stable diplomatic relations with the Middle East and African States. France also has the reputation of a long-standing partner of Russia and is able to find a common language with Moscow in crisis situations. It pays much attention to national interests beyond its boundaries.
It is also important that recently Paris presented the most elaborated plan of creating by 2020 the integrated pan-European rapid reaction forces primarily for the use in expeditionary operations to enforce peace in Africa. The military initiative of French President Macron contains 17 points aimed at improving the training of troops of the European countries, as well as increasing the degree of combat readiness of the national armed forces. At the same time, the French project will not become a part of existing institutions, but will be implemented in parallel with NATO projects. France intends persistently “promote” the project among the other EU allies.
Other EU member states’ interests are not so global. They form their politics on security and defence in order to strengthen the EU capabilities to protect themselves and attract attention to their own shortcomings. They can offer nothing but few troops. Their interests do not extend beyond their own borders and they are not interested in dispersing efforts for example through Africa.
The EU leadership and member states have not yet reached an agreement on the concept of military integration, the start of which was given since the adoption the decision to establish a Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence.
In particular, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, proposes a long-term approach to stimulating a closer integration of the European military planning, procurement and deployment, as well as the integration of diplomatic and defence functions. Such a slow progress is more comfortable for NATO officials, who are alarmed by the revolutionary French project.
That is why Secretary General Stoltenberg warned his French counterparts against rash steps toward European military integration, which could lead to his mind to unnecessary duplication of the alliance’s capabilities and, most dangerous, generate competition between the leading weapon manufacturers (France, Germany, Italy and some other European countries) while reequipping the European army with modern models to bring them to the same standard.
Thus, while supporting the idea of closer cooperation in military sphere the EU member states have no common strategy. It will take long time to come to the compromise and to the balance in creating strong EU defence system, which will complement the existing NATO structure and will not collide with it. A long way to common views means for Europe a long way to own European defence.
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