A systematic military deployment of NATO in Eastern Europe has gradually been taking place for the last few years. The EU and the NATO-allied states of Europe have so far failed to stop this development. Ever since the coup in Kiev in the spring of 2014, it has become clear that US foreign policy is working towards “encircling” Russia, thereby dragging European states into their wake. The meeting of the defense ministers of the NATO states and the subsequent meeting of EU defense ministers at the beginning of November in Brussels left no doubt about the confrontational course pursued.
rt. NATO deployment on the Russian border, which has been clearly recognisable since 2014 at the latest, is being further pursued. Among other things, Current Concerns reported on the June 2017 tank transports from German North Sea ports across Germany and Austria to Eastern Europe. 500 British and US American armoured vehicles were transported to the states bordering on Russia. The various military transports through German seaports such as Bremerhaven since 2014 have been a topic in the media time and again. With the increased presence of US Special Forces in Eastern Europe, another step is now being taken to prepare for military operations (see Current Concerns, issue No 29/30 of 1 December 2017).
At the meeting of NATO defense ministers on 8/9 November in Brussels, it was officially decided to further expand the military infrastructure in the east, so that troops can be moved faster. For example, national borders should no longer be a “bureaucratic” hurdle. This limitless maneuverability was negotiated as a “showcase model” of NATO-EU cooperation (NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 9 November 2017). Besides, two additional NATO headquarters will be established. Tourists have recently noticed the new, well-developed and hardly used highways in the Eastern European countries.
In parallel with the NATO decisions, 23 out of 28 defense ministers of the EU member states decided on 12 November to further coordinate their armies (Pesco), including neutral Austria. One of the agreements is to increase spending on the military budget each year, to push ahead with European arms projects and to implement the long-planned EU intervention force. Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Portugal have not signed this agreement.
The number of troops and weapons already concentrated in Eastern Europe is not discussed in the media. In fact, the many maneuvres of NATO or of individual NATO states in Eastern Europe do not only serve as occasions for concrete emergency training, but also to facilitate the construction of infrastructure and the provision of war material. According to military experts, the NATO potential is not (yet) adequate for an attack today. However, the further deployment increases the danger of war.
In opposition to the Norwegian NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the military expert and longtime former military adviser in the German Chancellery, Erich Vad, denies that a military threat emanates from Russia. Russia is more interested in cooperation with the West (see “Luzerner Zeitung” of 16 November 2017).
An economic war against Russia, prompted by the US, is under way at the same time as the NATO deployment. However, this affects not only Russia, but also the economy of many European countries themselves (while the US industry gladly takes on many of the contracts). At the insistence of individual EU states, EU headquarters has in addition began to take action against the German gas pipeline project Nord-Stream 2. This project would guarantee an additional energy supply to the continent. Otherwise, the missing gas must then be purchased at higher prices from the US ...
Since 2014, media experts have been observing that in mainstream European media, anti-Russian reflexes and stereotypes are systematically being re-established (see Hofbauer, Hannes, Feindbild Russland, ‘Enemy Stereotype Russia’ 2016, ISBN 978-3-85371-401-0). For historians, this is generally considered a typical preparation for war. The transatlantic re-enactment of American guidelines by the European mainstream media that has thus come into play, has meanwhile been more than sufficiently documented and described (Krüger, Uwe, Meinungsmacht ‘Power of Opinions’ 2014, ISBN 978-3-869621241 or <link http: www.swisspropaganda.ch>www.swisspropaganda.ch).
Since the Barnett strategy paper from the US Pentagon has been discussed even in public, possible strategic considerations behind many conflict areas are becoming easier to understand. Obviously it is no longer about “winning” wars in the traditional sense, but about plunging entire regions into chaos (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.), so as to eliminate or control them (Barnett, Thomas P.M.: The Pentagon’s New Map. War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century; Putnam Publishing Group 2004).
It appears rather improbable that European capitals have not yet considered in what way further escalation with Russia would progress. The fact that a future military battlefield would include areas of Russia and large parts of Europe (and certainly not parts of the USA) is clear also to European politicians and members of the military.
The question inevitably arises as to whether the Russian leadership will voluntarily accept a war on its own territory. Any responsible leadership will protect its people and not deliver them up to an ever-growing conflict on their own territory. Russia had to suffer this painful experience several times. So, where would Russia’s military leadership transfer a future battlefield to in the age of “flexible task forces”? To Frankfurt, to Paris, or Zurich …? In Syria, the Russian army has proved that it is capable of militarily capturing, occupying, and holding larger remote areas.
It is also clear that, in the age of nuclear armament, a warlike conflict calls into question the existence not only of the whole of Europe. Russia has unequivocally reserved its right to use nuclear weapons if its territory is militarily violated.
In the tense political situation at the turn of the year 2017/2018, all that can be done is to be very aware and to clearly demand various steps towards de-escalation. But this requires the honest political will of all involved. There are possibilities enough: The means of mutual military observation in the sense of confidence-building measures could be massively enlarged and expanded. The regular meetings within the OSCE with the objective of relieving tensions would have to take place much more often as from now. The nonsensical boycott of Russia can be lifted quickly, so that a “change through trade” may occur. Here clear signals could come from Europe. These would be the first necessary steps to de-escalation, and they could start today – and would also be welcomed by reasonable forces on the other side of the Atlantic! •
(Translation Current Concerns)
rt. The longer the more, it becomes necessary to readjust the coordinates of Swiss foreign and defense policy, so as not to get caught in the crosshairs of geopolitical-military considerations. Certainly the situation has changed again and again in 1848, 1870, 1914, 1939, 1989 or 2001. But even in the year of celebrations of Niklaus von Flüe, the meaningful requirement has not changed: to remain neutral. This requires responding sensitively to external signals in good time and making Switzerland (again) unattractive for a hostile takeover.
rt. The latest publication of the Swedish Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI shows a worldwide increase in defense spending. Since 2010, the number is rising again. 374.8 billion dollars in arms purchases are detected and not all expenditures can be recorded. More than half of global sales go to US corporations. An important role in sales plays the increase in conflict regions or the conversion to more modern weapon systems. In terms of national armaments spending, the US government spends more money than the eight states behind it together in terms of defence spending.
The supposed winners of every military build-up and escalation on earth can thus be quickly identified. These are the corporations of the “military-industrial complex”, as the outgoing US president Eisenhower had warned in 1961. He meant the close personal entanglements between the weapon industry and politics. These include US coprorations such as Lockheed, Raytheon and Boeing. In Europe, these companies are known as EADS, Dassault or Krauss-Maffai. Of course, all shareholders of the listed companies “benefit” from the “business”. But it is unlikely that all European shareholders would personally benefit from the tremendous increase in their defence stocks after the outbreak of war.
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