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NATO threatens Russia with invasion

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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

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 adventurism

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.

Tensions

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.

War propaganda

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.”

Terror budget

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.

Observations

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.

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The Greek-Turkish Standoff: A New Source of Instability in the Eastern Mediterranean

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Since 2011, Eastern Mediterranean affairs have mainly been marked by instability due to the civil wars in Libya and Syria. Recently, a new source of tensions further perplexes the situation—the Greek-Turkish standoff. Currently, Athens and Ankara disagree over sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Specifically, they both claim rights in maritime zones which have not yet been delimited. The nature of the problem is not new, dating back to November 1973. What is new is the breadth of maritime zones the two sides disagree upon. The attention has shifted towards the Eastern Mediterranean in the last ten years, while it had only focused on the Aegean Sea before energy discoveries were made in the Levantine Basin in 2009.

Greek-Turkish relations were relatively calm from 1999 until 2016. In 2002, Athens and Ankara launched the so-called “exploratory talks,” a format to exchange views on thorny issues informally. The 60th round of bilateral exploratory talks took place in March 2016 and was the last until now. After 2016, cooperation between Greece and Turkey continued—for example, on the management of the refugee crisis—but the latter employed a different foreign policy approach. Seeing the EU door almost closed and having to deal with the post-coup domestic priorities, President Tayyip Erdogan sought to strengthen his country’s regional role. He placed more emphasis on national security issues and was not hesitant to forge closer ties with Russia and China. He has lacked predictability in international affairs.

Eastern Mediterranean waters could not but come to Turkey’s interest when hydrocarbons were discovered in the Basin. Cyprus followed Israel in proceeding to explore and exploit some reservoirs, such as the Aphrodite field, in close collaboration with some international energy companies. Like any other sovereign country in the world with resources, it had the right to develop them. The Republic of Cyprus had already entered the EU in 2004, but the island remained divided after the Turkish military invasion of 1974. From the very beginning, Turkey disagreed with the practices of the Cypriot government and acted to protect, in its view, the Turkish Cypriot community. Such actions became bolder in 2018. Turkish vessels began researching and drilling in Cypriot waters, although the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus is grounded on international law. The reaction of both the EU and the U.S. was very mild. As a result, Turkish ships uninterruptedly continue their operations as of today. Having been disappointed with the EU’s stance, on September 21, 2020, Cyprus decided not to sign the list of European sanctions against Belarus unless Brussels moves to impose sanctions on Turkey over its violation of Cypriot sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

August 2020 saw Turkey expand the same policy in regard to Cypriot waters, particularly maritime zones south of the island of Kastellorizo. The Turkish government sent the “Oruc Reis” ship to conduct research in disputed waters, according to the terminology of the American administration. It was accompanied by frigates causing Greece’s similar reaction. The research lasted for more than four weeks. On September 21, Ankara did not renew the relevant NAVTEX fueling speculation about its motivations. While maintenance reasons are officially presented as the main reason for the return of “Orus Reis” to the Antalya port, the decision is generally seen as a sign to diffuse tensions in view of the EU-Turkey summit of September 24–25, where the possibility of sanctions is likely to de discussed. Nonetheless, Turkey has declared the vessel could soon continue its mission.

The crisis is far from over. External mediators, namely Germany and the U.S., call for dialogue. Other partners such as Russia, China, France and the UK also advocate for a diplomatic solution. In principle, dialogue remains the only way forward. However, Greece and Turkey have completely different agendas. Turkey opts for negotiations without preconditions on a variety of themes. Experience from history—when the Aegean Sea was the epicentre of attention—shows Ankara is aware that international law would hardly favour its position, should talks only be concentrated on the delimitation of the continental shelf. The Turkish government endeavours to boost its argumentation by publicly talking about the geographic position of Kastellorizo, yet steadily combines other demands along with the proposed arrangement of maritime zones. Greece suspiciously sees this tactic.

Another reason for pessimism is that Turkey complements its position about future dialogue with Greece with some proposals on the island of Cyprus. Specifically, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has talked about the establishment of an equitable revenue sharing mechanism and other schemes with the participation of all parties, including the Turkish Cypriots. Whether the two themes, Greek-Turkish relations and the rights of Turkish Cypriot and perhaps a revival of talks on the Cyprus Question are to be linked, will be seen. As a matter of principle, Athens and Nicosia do not accept the participation of the Turkish Cypriot administration in any negotiations or meetings. And they both see the Cyprus Question as an international and European problem. Having said that, Greece and Cyprus raise provocative Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean at the EU level, whereas Turkey prefers direct negotiations on outstanding issues. Despite this alignment, Athens does not negotiate on behalf of Nicosia.

So, where are we? NATO “deconfliction” talks are continuing and Germany is pushing both Greece and Turkey to engage themselves in new exploratory talks. The most delicate part of the task is not to talk about the need for dialogue but to make dialogue a success before a new military crisis occurs. Russia has also offered to mediate if asked, as the problem is an area of concern for the American administration and NATO first. From a Greek perspective, good ties between Russia and Turkey are a thorn in Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s initiative to mediate. Of course, this can also be a blessing in disguise. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided to publicize his interest in holding a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin at the end of July, while important meetings between Greek and Russian officials took place in recent days. Foreign Ministers Dendias and Lavrov regularly talk to each other. Greece strives to achieve balance between its clear foreign policy choices and the difficult but possible rewarming of ties with Russia, acknowledging the rising role of the latter in the South.

From our partner RIAC

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Why the “Coronavirus Ceasefire” Never Happened

Dr. Andrey KORTUNOV

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Six months ago, when COVID-19 had just moved beyond the borders of China and embarked upon its triumphant march across Europe and North America, politicians and foreign affairs experts started discussing what will happen after the virus is vanquished. The debate that ensued balanced the fears and concerns of pessimists with the hopes and expectations of optimists, with the latter believing that the pandemic and the global recession that followed would inevitably force humankind to put its differences aside and finally unite in the face of common challenges.

Six months later, we can say without any doubt that, unfortunately, the optimists were wrong. The pandemic did not bring about the changes in world politics they had been hoping for, even with the ensuing recession making things worse. And we are unlikely to see any such changes in the near future. Sadly, COVID-19 did not turn out to be a cure-all for regional conflicts, arms races, the geopolitical competition and the countless ailments of humankind today.

These persisting ailments are more than evident in relations between Russia and the West. No positive steps have been made in the past six months in any of the areas where the positions of the two sides differ significantly, be it the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the unrest in Syria, the political instability in Venezuela or the war in Libya. The fate of the New START and the nuclear nonproliferation regime remains unclear. Moscow continues to be the target of new economic and political sanctions. Russia and the West are locked in an intense information war. There are no signs of a “coronavirus ceasefire,” let alone a full-fledged peace agreement, on the horizon.

Of course, Moscow has placed the blame for the lack of progress squarely on the shoulders of its western partners. While this may indeed be true in many respects, we must admit that the Kremlin has hardly been overflowing with ideas and proposals over the past six months. Even if Moscow did want to reverse the current negative trends in global politics, it has not taken any steps on its own to do so. Nor has it proposed any large-scale international projects, or even tried to temper its usual foreign policy rhetoric and propaganda.

On the contrary, the various troubles that have befallen Russia in the “coronavirus era” – from the public unrest in Belarus to the unfortunate poisoning of Alexei Navalny – are explained away as the malicious intrigues of Russia’s geopolitical opponents. For all intents and purposes, the Kremlin is in the same position now, in September 2020, that it was in back in March. The chances of another “reset” or at least a “timeout” in relations have disappeared completely, if they ever existed in the first place.

So, why did the “coronavirus ceasefire” never happen? Without absolving the West of its share of responsibility, let us try to outline the obstacles that Russia has put in the way of progress.

First, in an environment of unprecedented shocks and cataclysms, there is always the hope that your opponent will eventually suffer more as a result than you will. Many in Russia see the 2020 crisis as the final damning indictment of the West and even an inglorious end to the market economy and political liberalism in general.

The recent statement by Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Maxim Oreshkin that Russia is poised to become one of the top five economies in the world this year is particularly noteworthy. Not because the country is experiencing rapid economic growth, but because the German economy is set to fall further than the Russian economy. If you are certain that time is on your side and that you will emerge from the crisis in better shape than your opponents, then the incentives to work towards some kind of agreement hic et nunc are, of course, reduced.

Second, the current Russian leadership is convinced that any unilateral steps on its part, any shifts in Moscow’s foreign policy, will be perceived in the West as a sign of weakness. And this will open the door for increased pressure on Moscow. Not that this logic is entirely unfounded, as history has shown. But it is precisely this logic that prevents Russian leaders from admitting their past foreign policy mistakes and miscalculations, no matter how obvious they may have been. This, in turn, makes it extremely difficult to change the current foreign policy and develop alternative routes for the future. In fact, what we are seeing is a game to preserve the status quo, in the hope that history will ultimately be on Moscow’s side, rather than that of its opponents (see the first point).

Third, six and a half years after the crisis in Ukraine broke out, we are essentially left with a frozen conflict. Turning the large and unwieldy state machine around, rewiring the somewhat heavy-handed state propaganda machine, and changing the policies that determine the everyday actions of the army of “deep state” officials is tantamount to changing the trajectory of a supertanker carrying a load of hundreds of thousands of tonnes. It is perhaps even more difficult, however, to change the opinion that has taken shape in Russian society in recent years about the modern world and Russia’s place in it. Just because the Russian people are tired of foreign politics, this does not mean that they will enthusiastically support an updated version of Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new thinking” of the second half of the 1980s or the ideological principles of Boris Yeltsin and Andrei Kozyrev’s foreign policy of the early 1990s.

Fourth, the balance of power between the agencies involved in the development and practical implementation of Russia’s foreign policy has changed significantly in recent years. The role of the security forces has been growing in all its aspects since at least the beginning of 2014. Conversely, the role of diplomats, as well as that of the technocrats in the economic structures of the Russian government, has been dwindling with each passing year. It is the security forces that are the main “stakeholders” in Donbass, Syria, Libya and even Belarus today. It would be fair to say that they have had a controlling interest in Russia’s foreign policy. The oft-quoted words of Emperor Alexander III that Russia has only two allies, its army and its navy, perfectly reflect the shift that has taken place in the balance of powers between these agencies. We should add that this shift was largely welcomed and even supported by a significant part of Russian society (see the third point). Of course, the siloviki are, due to the specifics of their work, less inclined to compromise, concessions and basic human empathy than diplomats, economists and technocrats.

All these factors preventing the conceptual renewal of Russia’s foreign policy can equally be applied to its geopolitical opponents. Politicians in the West are also hoping that time is on their side, that Moscow will emerge from the crisis weaker and more vulnerable, and thus more malleable than it was before. They also believe that any unilateral steps, any demonstration of flexibility in relations with the Kremlin, will be met with an even tougher and more aggressive policy. Negative ideas about Russia have also taken root in the minds of people in the West, and foreign policy is being “militarized” there just as much as it is in Russia.

Thus, neither the coronavirus nor the economic recession will automatically lead to a détente, let alone a reset in relations between Russia and the West. We are, in fact, moving in the opposite direction, once again running the risk of an uncontrolled confrontation. However, this unfortunate situation is no reason to give up on the possibility of signing new agreements, even if COVID-19 will no longer be in our corner moving forward.

From our partner RIAC

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Defense

India’s strategies short of war against a hostile China

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Since India’s independence several peace and border cooperation agreements were signed between the India and China. Prominent among them was the Panchsheel Agreement signed in 1954. A majority of the agreements were signed between 1993 and 2013. Recently genuine efforts were made by PM Narendra Modi by engaging Xi Jinping at the Wuhan and Chennai summits. But China is nowhere near to settling the border dispute despite various agreements and talks at the military and civilian levels.

After the 1962 war peace was largely maintained on the Indo China border. During the Mao and Deng era consensus building was the norm in the communist party. XiJinping appointed himself as chairman of the communist party for life. Today power is centralized with XiJinping and his cabal. Through Doklam and Galwan incidents Xi Jinpinghas disowned the peaceful principles laid down by his predecessors. China’s strategy is to keep India engaged in South Asia as it doesn’t want India to emerge as a super power. After solving a crisis on the border China will create another crisis. Beijing has declining interest in the niceties of diplomacy. Under Xi Jinping China has become more hostile.

China has been infringing on India’s sovereignty through salami tactics by changing the status quo and attempting to own the border territory. At Galwan on Xi Jinping’s birthday the PLA demonstrated hooliganism by assaulting Indian border positions. China violated the 1996 and 2005 bilateral agreements which states that both armies should not carry weapons within 1.24 miles on either side of the border. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar mentioned that the standoff situation with China in Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh is “surely the most serious situation after 1962.”China is constructing infrastructure, increasing forces and deploying weapon systems on the border.

Options for India

India led by PM Narendra Modi has implemented a realist foreign policy and a muscular military policy.India ended the age of strategic restraint by launching special operations and air strikes in Pakistan. Since the Galwan incident India has increased the military, diplomatic and economic deterrence against China. India is constructing military infrastructure and deploying weapon systems like SU 30 MKI and T 90 tanks in Ladakh. India banned a total of 224 Chinese apps, barred Chinese companies from government contracts and is on the verge of banning Huawei. Other measures include excluding Chinese companies from private Indian telecommunications networks. Chinese mobile manufacturers can be banned from selling goods in India.

India should offer a grand strategy to China. India has a plethora of options short of war. Future talks should involve an integrated strategy to solve all the bilateral issues and not just an isolated resolution of a localized border incident. All instruments of military and economic power and coercive diplomacy should be on the table.

Foreign Policy

China expects other nations to follow bilateral agreements and international treaties while it conveniently violates them. India should abrogate the Panscheel agreement given China’s intransigence and hostility. China claims 35,000 square miles of territory in India’s northeast, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. China occupies 15,000 square miles of India’s territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the Himalayas. India’s primary objective is to take back territories like Aksai Chin. While the secondary issue is the resolution of the border issue and China’s support to Pakistan. India can leverage the contemporary geopolitical climate to settle all issues. India can target China’s soft underbelly characterized by issues like Taiwan, Xinjiang and the economy. China raises the Kashmir issue at international organizations. As a countervailing measure India can raise Xinjiang at international organizations and conferences.

China has been militarily and diplomatically supporting Pakistan against India. Pakistan is a rentier and a broken state that sponsors terrorism. India can establish bilateral relations with Taiwan thus superseding China’s reunification sensitivities. China has territorial disputes with 18 countries including Taiwan and Japan. India can hedge against China by establishing strategic partnerships with US, Australia, Japanand Vietnam.

Military policy

An overwhelming military is a deterrence for China’s belligerent foreign and military policy. The 1990Gulf War demonstrated the capabilities of high technology weapon systems. As compared to China’s rudimentary weapons systems India has inducted 4th and 5th generation weapons like the SU 30 MKI, AH 64 Apache and T 90 tanks. The deterrence capacity of fighter aircrafts is reduced as they cannot target China’s coastlines due to their restricted range. Full deterrence can be achieved by ICBMs and nuclear powered submarines. With these weapons India can target centers of gravity like Shanghai and Shenzhen.

China is not a signatory to arms limitations treaties like Start I and Start II. China continues to expand its nuclear weapons stockpile and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) like DF 21 and DF-26B which are banned by the INF Treaty. India is a law abiding stable democracy in an unstable region with two hostile nations on its flanks. US and Russia can relax the arms control mechanism considering India’s’ impeccable record on peace and non proliferation. This will allow India to buy Russian weapon systems like Zircon and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, Topol and Bulava ICBMs and Yasen and Borey class SSBN submarines. While US can sell SSBN submarines and C4ISR gathering platforms like RC 135 and RQ 4 Global Hawk.

China remains a security threat for Asia. As China foments instability the APAC region from South Asia to South China Sea remains volatile. The Quad can be expanded to include Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia and multinational naval exercises can conducted in the South China Sea.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. China fought small wars with India, Vietnam and Soviet Union. Vietnam defeated the PLA at Lang Son in 1979 with advanced weapon systems and guerilla warfare. India can increase militarily cooperation with Vietnam. China attacked the Soviet Union on the Ussuri river leading to heavy PLA casualties. Historically relations between Russia and India have been close. As a result of the Indo Soviet Friendship Treaty China did not support Pakistan during the 1971 war. India can enhance its military and diplomatic ties with Russia to the next level.

Strategic partnership with US

Its time for a partnership between the world’s largest and the world’s biggest democracies. India and the US have a common objective to preserve peace, maintain stability and enhance security in Asia. India’s reiteration at leaders’ level and international forums that both countries see each other as allies for stability in the APAC region is not enough. India has to go beyond the clichés of the need for closer ties.

Due to the China threat the US is shifting its military from Europe and Middle East to the APAC region.US and India can establish an Asian equivalent of NATO as China’s destructive policy frameworks and threatening postures remain a strategic threat. India should enhance and deepen cooperation with the US intelligence community in the fields of MASINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, TECHINT and CYBINT. Both countries can form an alliance of democracies. If China militarily or economically targets one of the member country then the alliance can retaliate under a framework similar to Article 5 of NATO. Thus power will be distributed in the APAC region instead of being concentrated with China. A scorpion strategy will ensure that China does not harass its neighbors. The strategy involves a military pincer movement by India from the west and US from the East against a hostile China. India can conduct joint military exercises with the US in Ladakh. China cannot challenge Japan and Taiwan due to the US security agreements with these countries.

Conclusion

The world has entered the age of instability and uncertainty. The 21st century is characterized by hybrid warfare through military and coercive diplomacy. South Asia is not a friendly neighborhood where peaceful overtures lead to harmonious relations. China is a threat to India even in the context of a friendly relationship. Diplomatic niceties have no place in India’s relations with China. India can impose costs on China which can be more than the benefits offered by normalizing relations. The application of measures short of war without engaging the PLA will reap benefits. India can fulfill its national security requirements and global responsibilities through a grand strategy.

A policy of engagement and deterrence is crucial against an antagonistic China. While India attempts to develop cooperative ties with China it will need to continue to enhance and implement its military and coercive diplomatic strategies. China does not represent a direct military threat to India but at the same time one cannot deny that challenges remain.

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