Military Escalation in Europe Is Like Runaway Train: It’s Time to Slow It Down

This is the first of the two articles we are publishing today on NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 military exercise being held October 25-November 7, 2018.

by Arkady Savitsky, October 29, 2018, via Strategic Culture

Much has been said about the Trident Juncture 2018 NATO exercise being held in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders. This is the largest training event since the Cold War, but it’s only part of a broader picture, in which military war preparations targeting Russia are in full swing. Exercises are being coordinated, along with infrastructure facilities that are being built, expanded, and modernized. For instance, last week the construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar at Estonia’s Amari Air Base, the first military project fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), was completed.

The event was celebrated by US and Estonian air force officials with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than $38 million in EDI funds are being invested in that base. Beyond the training, a joint maintenance facility will also support the NATO aircraft that are conducting air policing in Eastern Europe. The Air Force Times cited US Air Forces Europe Commander Gen. Tod Wolters, who promised that even more funding was coming down the pipe for other projects. “Looking into fiscal year 2019, we are proposing a [European Defense Initiative] budget that demonstrates the US commitment to NATO,” he noted. According to him, “Our total [US European Command] request includes a significant funding increase from $4.7 billion to $6.5 billion.”

The NATO infrastructure modernization plans include upgrades to the Kecskemet Air Base in Hungary so that it can accommodate US F-15 fighters, A-10 attack planes, and C-5 transport aircraft, in addition to building a munitions storage facility at Malacky Air Base, Slovakia and a taxiway at Rygge, Norway. These steps are part of a larger effort to prepare for offensive operations against Russia.

The fiscal 2018 defense budget authorizes the US Air Force secretary to purchase land and build installations in other countries. There are plans to invest some $214 million into air bases in Europe, including a $13.9 million investment in Estonia’s preeminent military air base, Amari, plus the Lielvarde Air Base in Latvia is to receive a $3.85 million investment. The biggest chunk of the money, $67.4 million, goes to the Sanem Air Base in Luxembourg. The Kecskemet Air Base in Hungary will get another $55.4 million investment.

To all this can be added the US Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) for permanent storage in Europe that have been modernized and replenished since 2017. The APS will be sufficient for another armored brigade to fall in on. The militarization of Northern Europe is underway and Poland is being rearmed and prepared to host American bases, such as Fort Trump. The US Air Force is expanding its presence on the European continent, along with NATO’s growing naval might  in the Black Sea.

In October, the Ramstein Air Base in Germany received the largest shipment of ammunition in many years (since 1999). Some 100 containers have been delivered to “support NATO’s European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and augment the Air Force’s War Reserve Materiel in Europe,” said Master Sgt. Arthur Myrick, 86th MUNS munitions flight chief.

NATO is aiming for territorial expansion. Only 36.9% of eligible voters participated in Macedonia’s Sept. 30 referendum over changing the country’s name and thus paving the way for NATO and EU membership. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US Defense Secretary James Mattis, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were part of the West’s “Skopje landings” team that stormed that nation’s capital to influence the results of that vote. The voters said yes, but turnout was stunningly low — poor enough to stoke doubts about the plebiscite’s legitimacy.

On October 18, the decision to rename the country was pushed through the Macedonian parliament. This move also lacked overwhelming support from lawmakers, with the ruling coalition barely able to secure the required majority of 80 out of 120 votes to ram the measure through and jump-start formal accession talks at NATO headquarters. The US ambassador to Macedonia was actually inside the parliament building at the time of the vote, but US officials don’t think that counts as “pressure.”

The restoration of Macedonia’s Krivolak army training center to its full capacity, offering thousands of NATO soldiers a venue for drills, is already underway. Next year, Macedonia will host the Decisive Strike 2019 joint exercise that will involve about 1,000 US and Macedonian soldiers.

Albania is offering its territory for NATO bases. Kosovo is on its way to creating its own army. This is a blatant violation of international law. The UN Security Council has never approved it. But NATO nations support the move. US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Wess Mitchell, believes that “[n]obody can place a veto on Kosovo’s right to develop its armed forces.” According to him, Kosovo “has the right to form professional forces” and this would not pose a threat to either Serbia or Kosovo’s Serbs.

UN Security Council Resolution 1244 states explicitly that no other military presence except KFOR and Serbia’s army shall be permitted without the mandate of the UN Security Council. The declaration of independence in 2008 by Kosovo’s parliament without a previous UN-monitored referendum was a flagrant breach of that resolution. Kosovo, which is part of Serbia, is turning into “NATO Land” without the consent of the Serbian government. It has actually been annexed by the alliance. This entity was also created specifically in opposition to Russia. Hashim Thaci, the leader of Kosovo, makes no secret of it. He claims a threat is emanating from “the Russian military bases in Serbia, from Russia’s MIG jets in Serbia and from the Russian military exercises in Serbia.”

Whatever Russia does is being portrayed by Western officials and media as a demonstration of hostile intent. Should Russia sit idly by, watching all these preparations going on in full view? If those are not considered provocative behavior, then what is? Any nation would be concerned if an infrastructure were being built that was designed for offensive operations against it.

The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) is scheduled for October 31. Perhaps any expectation of progress is nothing but the slimmest of hopes. After all, this will be the eighth time the NRC has met in the last two years and no progress in any area has been achieved. But hope is the last to die. The escalation has gone too far. NATO’s war preparations have become too large-scale and provocative and have turned Europe into a hotbed. The time is right for the alliance — or at least its European members who have been negatively affected by these developments — to start talking seriously. On Oct. 31 they’ll have such a chance.

Arkady Savitsky is a military analyst based in St Petersburg, Russia.

Filed under: empire watch, Europe, latest, NATO, Russia
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Yonatan
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Yonatan

One of the cornerstones of the North American Terrorist Organization treaty is that an attack on one NATO state is an attack on all. I wonder if the corollorary – an attack by one is an attack by all – would be well received by the USUK eg the Georgians pull another 2008 stunt at the behest of the US, then Russia could blast the shit out of the USUK. Seems fair?

harry stotle
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harry stotle

NATO certainly have form – with a nod and a wink George Robertson rubber stamped Article 5 of the Washington Treaty which enabled the US to engage in two decades of horrific bloodshed across the Middle East and North Africa.

What in god’s name were you thinking, Georgie-boy?

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

I’m afraid that Robertson has the face he deserves-that of a vicious thug. I am rather sure that his ‘conscience’ does not bother him at all.

Haltonbrat
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Haltonbrat

Labour New was Tory Lite.

Hugh O'Neill
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Hugh O'Neill

A vicious thug, an intellectual dotard and yet another ‘socialist’ politician who swapped his red flag for Ermine trimmings. Such men are ten-a-penny in the part of Scotland from which we both were raised, hence Robert Burns’ “Parcel of Rogues” who sold Scotland for a place at the English table.

Haltonbrat
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Haltonbrat

He was not a socialist. Robertson nor any of Blair’s ministers used the “S” word.

intergenerationaltrauma
Reader

There is no doubt that a group of well organized and well funded “extremists” is posing an ever increasing danger to all of humanity and to the very habitability of the planet itself. The only problem for Western MSM in reporting on this very dangerous situation is that this group of extremists is comprised of the very Western elites who employ them.

Having trouble posting, so I hope this isn’t a second similar comment. The first did not appear to post.

intergenerationaltrauma
Reader

It is certainly abundantly clear that a well funded and well organized group of “extremists” is endangering humanity and the very habitability of the planet. The only problem for Western MSM in reporting on this fact is that those “extremists” are the ruling elites of the West, and their trusted “allies” in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

frank
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frank

Here’s some WiLd SpEcUlAtIoN:

1) Donald Trump is elected for a second term.
2) False flag event along the Europe / Russia border.
3) Donald Trump is shot dead in the US by a Russian patsy.
4) US launches nukes or a ground war from Europe. Either way Russia retaliates with nukes against NATO.
5) Profit!

DunGroanin
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DunGroanin

Nukes are MAD.
War against Russia/China is MAD.

RADIOACTIVITY spreads and lasts 1000’s of years making life impossible.

The world is already at war – and as usual it is new technology and weapons being used – no war is fought with the previous ones high tech.

frank
Reader
frank

People are currently living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, proving that earth will not not necessarily be uninhabitable after nuclear war. I suppose it depends on how many bombs are dropped. It’s also easy to conflate these things with events like Chernobyl.

How long was it unsafe to live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped?

“In the meantime, nuclear weapons are currently in use in the battlefield, which goes unreported.”

DunGroanin
Reader
DunGroanin

These two air bursts were kiddie crackers compared to the thousands of ICBM’s that would go off and imagine how many nuclear powerstations with how many thousands of tonnes of fuel and waste materials would end up in the environment.

I remember when we all got very excited about ‘clean’ Neutron bombs in the 80’s, lol! The new mega cities of the world may well be the killing pens of the future – a quick an easy solution for the plutocrats to get rid off the masses.

Think Chernobyl, Windscale, the test sites are safe? Think again.

frank
Reader
frank

The idea that thousands of bombs will be dropped is just speculation. My point is that the so called idea of mutual destruction by way of nuclear holocaust might not actually be a deterrent as it’s not guaranteed to happen.

Jo
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Jo

Will there be a follow article after nato Russia council meeting please….and this one too

MINSK, November 1. /TASS/. The policy of deterrence, which NATO is conducting against Russia, hampers normal cooperation between the parties, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko on the sidelines of the Core Group Meeting of the Munich Security Conference, which Minsk is hosting.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/1028915

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

NATO is NOT ‘deterring’ Russia. It is attacking it, as it has done for nearly thirty years. With unremitting aggression and lying by presstitute vermin like the Fraudian scum.

grafter
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grafter

More lunatic behaviour by America pulling the strings of their NATO proxy governments. Whipping up fear and loathing towards the very country which defeated Nazi Germany and saved us all from the fascist plague. Today Mike Pompeo accuses China of “disregarding international laws and seeking to impose “decades of pain” around the globe.” .. totally in denial of American crimes worldwide. A fine example of the psychopathic mentality if ever there was one. Their economy is based on the export of death throughout the globe with trillions of taxpayers money being devoured by their arms “industry”. When will the peoples… Read more »

D'Esterre
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D'Esterre

grafter: ” When will the peoples of Europe see through this dangerous charade ?” Indeed. We’re a helluva long way away, but we have family in Central Europe, UK and Russia. We’re baffled by what seems to be the supine European acceptance of the continued US occupation of Europe. The war is long over: isn’t it past time for the Yanks to get their backsides out of there? And isn’t it also past time that the ordinary people of Europe demanded it? “Whipping up fear and loathing towards the very country which defeated Nazi Germany and saved us all from… Read more »

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

The Thanatopian elite are easily the most vicious psychopaths ever to tread the Earth. And the Trumpistas are the worst of the worst. But they will be the last. The hatred of China is the perfect example of their genocidal racism and xenophobia.

Francis Lee
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Francis Lee

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Anglo-Zionist empire is pushing Russia to make a choice between surrender or war. The ‘crazies in the basement’ (neo-cons) as Bush Senior once called them, are now ensconced in the Executive Suite and the Oval Office completely out of control and driving this suicidal agenda forward. Whether sanity will prevail is a moot point; as yet there are few signs of it. The MSM have become the indispensable ideological and political propagandists for this insanity with a daily diet of Russophobic bile; a compulsory two-minutes-hate for mass consumption serving to ramp up the… Read more »

D'Esterre
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D'Esterre

Francis Lee: “including the 1% who have purchased bunkers in New Zealand…” Heh! We’re in New Zealand. We’re pretty sure that the notion of fallout bunkers here is a furphy. If this sort of thing were going on in serious numbers, we’d know about it. Hard to keep secrets in this country, especially nowadays, with well-developed social media. Though there was this story recently: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12120090 When les Froggies bombed the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985, Inspector Clouseau and his lady had their arses handed to them pretty soon afterwards by the local cops; with the assistance of a… Read more »

Hugh O'Neill
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Hugh O'Neill

Morning, Francis. Many thanks for your superb post and the link to Yeats’ poem which made me go in search of it. I found the first verse even more pertinent and the image of the falcon circling in gyres out of contact with the falconer speaks (to me) of the MIC/CIA/Pentagon/NATO/MSM hawk beyond control of any government let alone their hapless electorates. Thomas Merton’s collective term “The Unspeakable” perhaps sums up this murder of crows, or maybe I mix my metaphors too far?

John2o2o
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John2o2o

“Anglo-Zionist”? What, are you an American or something? I know how the Yanks love to push responsibility for their actions onto others. (Eg, Russia being blamed for everything bad that happens in America, and even blamed for good things like Hillary not being elected). Look, I am English and British. The British Empire is gone. The United States is not “anglo” these days. In fact these days it is probably as much “hispano” and what of the African-Americans? Plenty of them leading the US empire. If you want to blame Israel fine, but leave us Brits out of it. “American-Zionist… Read more »

D'Esterre
Reader
D'Esterre

John2020: “I am English and British. The British Empire is gone. The United States is not “anglo” these days.” Indeed. The population of the US has drawn very heavily upon migration over the centuries from Europe and countries other than the UK. However. The roots of the US polity lie in the UK; English is still the official language. Or one of the official languages. And last I looked, the UK was still heavily involved in the US military enterprise; is not the UK a founding member of NATO? Therefore presumably the UK is up to its fetlocks in NATO’s… Read more »

frank
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frank

“The Special Relationship is an unofficial term often used to describe the political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military, and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The term first came into popular usage after it was used in a 1946 speech by Winston Churchill. The two nations have been close allies during many conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the War on Terror.” “The Five Eyes , often abbreviated as FVEY, is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand,… Read more »

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

It’s not you John-you don’t count. It’s the ruling elites and their financial racketeering that does.

rilme
Reader
rilme

The British Empire has not gone. It has gone underground. The USUKisrael conspiracy is behind most of the trouble today.

Chris Carlson
Reader

War is certainly coming. The signs are all there. Clearly there are forces at work that cannot be stopped. It is grinding forward. First it was slow, but now things are moving more quickly. Military preparations are being made by leaders whose minds are not swayed by reasoned arguments for peace. They love power above all else, and Russia and China are a threat to their power. The economy in the West is beginning to falter, which threatens their control of the whole world, (As much of their control comes from their financial dominance). But they have their “ace in… Read more »

harry stotle
Reader
harry stotle

“War is certainly coming. The signs are all there. Clearly there are forces at work that cannot be stopped. It is grinding forward. First it was slow, but now things are moving more quickly.” – I fear you are correct.

Countervailing forces are no match for the Empire and despite howling at the moon every day the alternative media has become increasingly marginalised – meanwhile the MSM does its usual job of saying, oh look, a squirrel.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Forget ecological collapse. Forget thermo-nuclear war. Forget the vicious class hatred of ‘austerity’. Get outraged over ‘black-face’ at the Lewes bonfire festival!!!

rilme
Reader
rilme

“Sooty and Sweep”!
Outrageous!

rilme
Reader
rilme

As Lady Isabel Barnet said, “Oh, he’s YELLOW!”

Harry Law
Reader
Harry Law

I suppose the best reaction to the West’s provocations is Putin’s laughter at an interviewers assertion that.. NATO claims a Missile system was built not against Russia, but Iran. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ux3oiWELIQ

Harry Law
Reader
Harry Law

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas beginning in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” But US colonization of Europe with bases and nuclear missiles with a flight time of minutes to Moscow is supposed to be non threatening and Russia should just ‘suck it up’, the ‘West’ has gone stark raving bonkers. Soon they will be telling us we need to scrap… Read more »

Fair dinkum.
Reader
Fair dinkum.

Someone should remind the US psychopathic warmongers, that any war in Europe or Asia is going to spill over onto US soil, via long range missiles and terrorist blitzkriegs.
That’s when hell will truly break loose.

Schlüter
Reader

It is driving one mad to see how eager European polititians are to make their Continent a battle ground! Mostly because of corruption and blackmail (they fear for their lives and are afraid of US terrorism). Thus they do not turn to the alternative of “Eurasian Cooperation”!
„Geo-Politics: The Core of Crisis and Chaos and the Nightmares of the US Power Elite“ https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/geo-politics-the-core-of-crisis-and-chaos-the-nightmares-of-the-us-power-elite/
Regards

elenits
Reader

Schleuter, the Euro politicians (who like the US politicians do not represent the will or interests of their peoples) are also making a lot of money out of this in arms sales & kickbacks, not only bribes. I note that the US government is actually – this time – buying land and not just occupying it. What can that mean? Call me a cynical Greek but I do not believe there will be a ground war, and certainly not nuclear war. So I ask: if so much money is being spent, bases built, arms augmented and so many US troops… Read more »

vexarb
Reader

A few years ago I guessed — from bellicose hints in the MSM — that the Anglo Zio Capitalist Empire was planning to launch The Final Solution against Russia & China in 2033, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the AZC putsch that destroyed the Social Democratic Weimar Republic and installed in Germany the NaZi party “our bulwark against Communism”. (Which accounts for the Z in NATZO). The information in this article confirms that NATZO plans are well on track for their Final Solution to the Russian Problem. The AZC hope that a united EU$A will succeed where Karl of… Read more »

John2o2o
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John2o2o

Not Anglo! It’s a US or American Empire. Stop dodging responsibility Yanks.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

We will not get anywhere near 2033.

vexarb
Reader

Mulga, I am irremedibly optimistic. We have a whole 15 years to prevent WW3, and 200 years to prevent the 6th Mass Extinction.