‘NATO’s message: New arms race is underway, better accept it’

NATO soldiers attend a NATO military exercise at Raposa beach, near Setubal, Portugal October 20, 2015. © Rafael Marchante
By holding military exercises NATO is sending a message to Russia and preparing public opinion in the West that Russia constitutes an existential threat to the US and, therefore, there must be a new arms race, says Brian Becker from the anti-war ANSWER Coalition.

The US Navy tested its anti-missile defense system during an exercise in Europe on October, 20 successfully intercepting an anti-ship cruise missile fired from the Scottish coast with the help of tracking from allied ships. The sea exercises involved ships from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Britain.

RT: NATO makes little secret that Russia is the reason behind these exercises. Do you think it is an effective way to send a message to Moscow?

Brian Becker: I think the US government and NATO are sending a message to Russia, but they are also sending a message to their own populations at home. And the message is this: “A new arms race is underway and you better just accept it.” Even though millions of people in the US are still unemployed and there is a great amount of homelessness, and even though social service budgets are being cut - the US government and federal government with the Pentagon are ramping up for a new arms race which will cost trillions of dollars every year. And yes, of course, they have an arms race to justify it, a pretext is needed. And in 2015 the Pentagon released its quadrennial military doctrine report announcing that Russia is now the number one threat to the US – not ISIS, not so-called Islamic extremism – it is the Russian government. In every sense the coup d’état that was engineered by the West and particularly by the US that overthrew a neutral government in Ukraine in February 2014, the arms race and all of the other predictable political events that go with it is fully under way. And that what these new military exercises demonstrate.

© Christian Hartmann

RT: Can we expect these exercises to be constant from now on?

BB: Yes, they have to. In other words what the US is doing through the war exercises is not shoring up threatened countries in Eastern Europe and Central Europe who are presumably shaking in their boots by the Russian threat. What they are really doing is preparing popular opinion in the West and in the US that Russia really does constitute an existential threat to America; and that’s - there must be another generation of nuclear weapons, another generation of arms race, another vast expenditure of the American national budget into the military-industrial complex. So, yes, there will be many more war games, more exercises. Again, NATO sends Russia a message about aggression in Eastern and Central Europe – that is not happening. It is really about preparing public opinion at home and also shoring up its alliances in Europe so that Germany and France don’t become independent of NATO and start to seek their own relations with Russia which, of course, would be in their own national interests. 

RT: Do you think this is a sign of weakness from NATO in a sense they feel they have to do this to encourage the public to side with them? What is your view? Is this a show of strength or, perhaps, something else?

BB: It is a show of strength that also has to be justified and that is where public opinion comes in. There has to be a justification for such a massive escalation including sending to Germany perhaps the B-61-12 thermonuclear weapon - the deadliest weapon in the US arsenal - violation of international arms agreements with Russia - something that will change the balance of power in Eastern and Central Europe. All of that is being done really to consolidate a new military escalation and, of course, it must be justified with public opinion which really the American people don’t want to keep spending a trillion of dollars every year for more and more war, weapons and destruction. That is not that popular here.

LISTEN MORE:

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.