Pushing boundaries: US eyes Russian encirclement via NATO ‘Trojan horse’
RT:What's the problem with NATO doing more war drills? We do live in a dangerous world and practice makes perfect doesn't it?
Rick Rozoff: Right, we have to put matters into context. If we are talking about the most recent NATO war games in the Baltic Sea, so-called operations or exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013. We have to keep in mind it's the largest joint military exercise held by NATO in seven years. And it was with the expressed intent of solidifying what is called the NATO response force, which is a global military strike force and was conducted in two countries - Latvia and Poland - that share borders with Russia. And it was again a large-scale: 6,000 troops, air and naval and as well land and infantry components in countries bordering Russia. It’s not an everyday affair, as your comments may have indicated. If anything analogous to this were to occur on an American border, say Mexico and Canada, and troops from 40 countries, all NATO members, and a number of NATO partners were to engage in joint war games on the American border, you’d hear something from Washington, I’m going to assure you. And this isn't an innocuous everyday affair of one nation, two nations, holding war games; this is the largest military bloc in history, to be honest, with 24 members, with partners of over 70 countries in the world, which is over a third of the nations in the world, and in the UN, for example. So this is a further indication that the US-led military bloc that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, inspires, first of all, to hold what could be construed as reckless and perhaps even dangerous war games near Russia’s borders and at the same time design to further develop and give a body to activate its international response force.
RT:These exercises do not come cheap though - and many European nations aren't in the best shape financially. Is it really worth it for them?
RR: Of course not, this is a phantom, an imagined threat that has been combated. It’s worth noting that the Secretary-General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other NATO officials including the Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow, who is the former US Ambassador to Russia, made comments on the war games conducted in Latvia and Poland were meant to consolidate the gains that have been made over the last 12 years in Afghanistan, where NATO, through the International Security Assistance Force, has consolidated - in its own words - its operability with military forces of over 50 different nations. Can the peoples of Europe, the citizenry of the respective 26 NATO member states in Europe afford this sort of extravagance? No, of course, they cannot. So what we’re left to believe is that the United States finds it expedient to use NATO and it's prepared to underwrite the majority of what it costs to conduct the war games or set up military installations, and further the United States’ geopolitical interests in Europe and in the world.
RT:NATO's just wrapped up exercises in Poland and the Baltic states. Any reason why it picked these specific locations?
RR: If you are talking about the rapid response force, which is a NATO mechanism used presumably to interfere as the NATO intervene militarily, as NATO has over the last 14 years outside of the area of responsibility of the self-declared area of protection of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. What we’re talking about of course is a serious military action, serious as war is, in fact. In south-eastern Europe 14 years ago, in former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan over the last 12 years, in Asia and two years ago in Libya and North Africa, then they have chosen such a sensitive spot vis-à-vis Russia – the Baltic states, the north-west border of the Russian Federation - almost looks like a provocation to me. But the official NATO explanation is that now having established itself as an international military expeditionary force which can conduct military actions in Africa, in the Middle East, in the Gulf of Aden, in the Indian Ocean, in South and Central Asia, now has to re-establish its ability to defend its member-states. Who else but Russia could be intended when NATO states, and, in the case of Latvia and Poland - they have to be able to defend their new NATO member-states such as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland - that any one nation that could be potential aggressor in that context and of course it is Russia. So this is an open provocation vis-à-vis Russia.
RT:Next year NATO will finish up its Afghanistan combat mission, which lasted over a decade. What will all these troops be doing after the 2014 withdrawal?
RR: There is going to be a period of rest and recuperation for the actual ground forces. And keep in mind that the NATO commanders in Afghanistan and US military commanders have mooted about retaining as many as 8,000-14,000 US and other NATO troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. And this is of course an addition to the US sustaining and perhaps even expanding its presence and its strike capability in major airbases that the US has upgraded in Shandan, in Kandahar, and the ground bases outside Kabul, the capital, and so forth. So what the NATO evidently intends to do, and the US in first instance, is having integrated the military structures of over 50 countries - this a very significant event, there's nothing like this even remotely comparable has occurred before in history. We have to be honest about this. There have been no military personnel from 50 countries in any war, not even the WW2, much less on one side, much less in one theater of war and in one nation. So what NATO has done is it used 12 years of indecisive war affair in Afghanistan in order to build up global NATO, in fact. And coming out of that with the NATO summit that was in Chicago, you know, the last NATO Summit in May 2012, immediately before that the NATO announced another partnership program. And this is one is the first that is not defined geographically, such as those in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East region or Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia. In this case it’s called Partners Across the Globe. This is the latest NATO initiative, which includes initially eight nations of the Greater Asia-Pacific region: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia. Mongolia of course, like Kazakhstan, which is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, borders both Russia and China. So what we are seeing is that despite all these efforts to seduce the world into believing it has become an adjunct to the UN, or that it's a peacekeeping apparatus of some sort, has in fact extended itself into a global military force. It may have a limited capacity to extend itself, at least not to what it would choose to. But its intent is still clear. The new NATO headquarters in Brussels which will cost over a billion dollars to construct are going to come online very shortly. Well, there is no intent by NATO to accept another budgetary constraint and other factors mitigating its shrinking, its ambitions are even more grandiose than they have ever been before.
RT:What does the future hold for the organization in general? How can it continue to stay relevant and be an important force in the world?
RR: We will find out at the next summit in Berlin next year, in 2014. What we do know is that at the summit of Chicago last year, one of the more significant decisions was that the so-called phased adaptive approach interceptor missile system that the US - initially under the George W. Bush administration and now fully-integrated with NATO under the Barack Obama’s administration - has achieved initial operational capability meaning plans to base ultimately hundreds of intermediate- and medium-range interceptor missiles on the ground in nations like Romania and Poland, and also on destroyers and other kind of warships in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, I suspect, in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, that the US is using the NATO again as a Trojan horse, not only to take over militarily, but also politically the entire Eastern Europe, the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Every single member of the Warsaw Pact, with the exception of Russia itself, is now a full member of NATO. Half of the states of the former republic of Yugoslavia are now full members of NATO. So what we see is that the US uses NATO to extend military from Berlin, you know, at the end of the Cold War all the way to the Russian border. And the most alarmingly of late is that it intensified its efforts to incorporate Ukraine, which has a sizeable border with Russia, as a major NATO partner. Ukraine is joining the response force, as well as Georgia, Finland and Sweden. Of course Sweden is the only one of those countries that doesn’t have a border with Russia. Finland, Ukraine and Georgia have sizeable borders. What we are seeing is that NATO in one form or another is continuing the push-up to Russia's borders and effectively the military encirclement of the Russian Federation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.