Stars and Stripes
December 15, 2014
Ukraine considering new push for NATO membership, prime minister says
By John Vandiver
Ukraine’s prime minister on Monday called for more NATO support to reform its military as the country’s crisis with Russia has given new life to a once abandoned effort to eventually join the U.S.-led alliance.
“I do remember nine months ago when we said NATO membership is not yet on our radars,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “I will tell you the screen of this radar has entirely changed.”
“We need to pass reforms and implement reforms that are needed… to meet all standards and criteria that apply to all NATO states,” he said. “This is the roadmap and we will follow this roadmap.”
During Yatsenyuk’s talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister also requested additional support in reviewing and shaping Ukraine’s defense and national security strategy, Yatsenyuk said.
“We need to modernize and overhaul [the] Ukrainian military.”
As violence between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists continues, pressure also is mounting on the Obama administration to intensify its support for Ukraine, which so far has been limited to nonlethal aid.
Last week, U.S. lawmakers approved legislation that authorizes but does not require the White House to send arms to Ukraine, something that political leaders in Kiev have long sought.
It remains unclear whether President Barack Obama will take the next step and send weapons into the country.
Any decision to send in lethal aid is a bilateral decision and not a matter for NATO consideration, Stoltenberg said.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 17, 2014
Seminar on Cyber Security Issues
Seminar on “Cyber Security as Shared Responsibility and First Steps for Cooperation between Civic and Private Sectors” was held at professional Development Center of Defence Ministry of Georgia today.
The training aims to deepen cooperation between governmental and non-governmental sectors working on cyber security issues. First Deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani opened the event. Director of Cyber Security Bureau of the MoD, Andria Gotsiridze and Representative of NATO Liaison Office Svein Amundsen delivered speeches to the participants of the seminar – the high-level officials of the governmental and non-governmental sectors. They talked about the development of cyber security capabilities in Georgia and shared cooperation between state and private organizations in this direction.
The participants of the seminar were also delivered the presentations on the functions and priorities of the Cyber Security Bureau. Later on, the participants discussed existing challenges in cyber security field with the speakers and referred to the importance of close cooperation with state structures.
The seminar was held under the aegis of LEPL Cyber Security Bureau and Professional Development Center of Defence Ministry of Georgia and under the support of NATO-Georgia Professional Development Program.
December 17, 2014
Komorowski signs law on ratification of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
KYIV: Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has signed the law on the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, an Ukrinform correspondent in Poland reports.
The document was signed in Warsaw on Wednesday in the presence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
As reported, on November 28, the Polish Sejm voted overwhelmingly (427 for and 1 against) in support of the ratification of the Association Agreement between Kyiv and Brussels. The Polish Senate unanimously ratified the agreement on December 4.
December 17, 2014
Poland ready to help Ukraine by supplying it with arms, military hardware – President Komorowski
Poland is ready to help Ukraine by providing it with weapons, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has said.
“I know you are very much interested in the weapons issue. So I’ll tell you that I haven’t heard of any embargo on arms sales to Ukraine. If Ukraine is interested in this, surely Poland is absolutely open to such talks,” Komorowski said at a press conference following negotiations with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw on Wednesday.
December 17, 2014
Turchynov wants Ukraine to have “strongest army in Europe”
KYIV: Ukraine needs to create a powerful army and reserves for its Armed Forces, National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said.
“We must have the strongest army in Europe despite economic problems. There is no alternative to this,” Turchynov said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.
“Ukraine needs to create a 100,000-strong reserve of its Armed Forces. The reservists will be attached to military units and, whenever necessary, in a period of war, will immediately join the ranks and protect our country,” he said, adding that the formation of a reserve army was a separate issue and a priority of the NSDC.
“Mobilization will help us renew the powerful 100,000-strong reserves,” Turchynov added.
He said that the hostilities in Ukraine would end only after the liberation of all lands in the south and the east. “Our war will be over only when the entire territory of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, is free,” Turchynov said.
December 17, 2014
Ukraine needs new national security strategy and new military doctrine
Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has said that the country needs a new national security strategy and a new military doctrine.
“Despite the saving of all resources, first and foremost, finances, we cannot save on our Armed Forces, our National Guard, and on our defense,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday, adding that the issue of the defense budget will be discussed at an NSDC meeting on Saturday.
Turchynov said that Ukraine needs a new national security strategy and a new military doctrine, with a clear definition of its major enemy.
Edward Bulwer Lytton
From Devereaux (1829)
I took out the sword, and drew it from the scabbard. “Come,” said I, and I kindled with a melancholy yet a deep enthusiasm, as I looked along the blade, “come, my bright friend, with thee through this labyrinth which we call the world will I carve my way! Fairest and speediest of earth’s levellers, thou makest the path from the low valley to the steep hill, and shapest the soldier’s axe into the monarch’s sceptre! The laurel and the fasces, and the curule car, and the emperor’s purple, – what are these but thy playthings, alternately thy scorn and thy reward! Founder of all empires, propagator of all creeds, thou leddest the Gaul and the Goth, and the gods of Rome and Greece crumbled upon their altars! Beneath thee the fires of the Gheber waved pale, and on thy point the badge of the camel-driver blazed like a sun over the startled East! Eternal arbiter, and unconquerable despot, while the passions of mankind exist! Most solemn of hypocrites, – circling blood with glory as with a halo; and consecrating homicide and massacre with a hollow name, which the parched throat of thy votary, in the battle and the agony, shouteth out with its last breath!…”
To people who have naturally very intense and very acute feelings, nothing is so fretting, so wearing to the heart, as the commonplace affections, which are the properties and offspring of the world. We have seen the birds which, with wings unclipt, children fasten to a stake. The birds seek to fly, and are pulled back before their wings are well spread; till, at last, they either perpetually strain at the end of their short tether, exciting only ridicule by their anguish and their impotent impatience; or, sullen and despondent, they remain on the ground, without any attempt to fly, nor creep, even to the full limit which their fetters will allow. Thus it is with the feelings of the keen, wild nature I speak of: they are either striving forever to pass the little circle of slavery to which they are condemned, and so move laughter by an excess of action and a want of adequate power; or they rest motionless and moody, disdaining the petty indulgence they might enjoy, till sullenness is construed into resignation, and despair seems the apathy of content. Time, however, cures what it does not kill; and both bird and beast, if they pine not to the death at first, grow tame and acquiescent at last.
…These, and the avocations they brought with them, consumed my time, and of Time murdered there is a ghost which we term ennui. The hauntings of this spectre are the especial curse of the higher orders; and hence springs a certain consequence to the passions. Persons in those ranks of society so exposed to ennui are either rendered totally incapable of real love, or they love far more intensely than those in a lower station; for the affections in them are either utterly frittered away on a thousand petty objects (poor shifts to escape the persecuting spectre), or else, early disgusted with the worthlessness of these objects, the heart turns within and languishes for something not found in the daily routine of life. When this is the case, and when the pining of the heart is once satisfied, and the object of love is found, there are two mighty reasons why the love should be most passionately cherished. The first is, the utter indolence in which aristocratic life oozes away, and which allows full food for that meditation which can nurse by sure degrees the weakest desire into the strongest passion; and the second reason is, that the insipidity and hollowness of all patrician pursuits and pleasures render the excitement of love more delicious and more necessary to the “ignavi terrarum domini,” than it is to those orders of society more usefully, more constantly, and more engrossingly engaged.
Wearied and sated with the pursuit of what was worthless, my heart, at last, exhausted itself in pining for what was pure…
“Listen: that man is wisest who is happiest,— granted. What does happiness consist in? Power, wealth, popularity, and, above all, content! Well, then, no man ever obtains so much power, so much money, so much popularity, and, above all, such thorough self-content as a fool; a fool, therefore (this is no paradox), is the wisest of men. Fools govern the world in purple: the wise laugh at them; but they laugh in rags. Fools thrive at court; fools thrive in state chambers; fools thrive in boudoirs; fools thrive in rich men’s legacies. Who is so beloved as a fool? Every man seeks him, laughs at him, and hugs him. Who is so secure in his own opinion, so high in complacency, as a fool? sua virtute involvit. Hark ye, St. John, let us turn fools: they are the only potentates, the only philosophers of earth. Oh, motley, ‘motley’s your only wear!'”
The stillness of noon; the holy and eloquent repose of twilight, its rosy sky and its soft air, its shadows and its dews, – had equally for her heart a whisper and a spell. The wan stars, where, from the eldest time, man has shaped out a chart of the undiscoverable future; the mysterious moon, to which the great ocean ministers from its untrodden shrines; the winds, which traverse the vast air, pilgrims from an eternal home to an unpenetrated bourne; the illimitable heavens, on which none ever gazed without a vague craving for something that the earth cannot give, and a vague sense of a former existence in which that something was enjoyed; the holy night; that solemn and circling sleep, which seems, in its repose, to image our death, and in its living worlds to shadow forth the immortal realms which only through that death we can survey…
December 16, 2014
Poroshenko and Biden discuss US support for Ukraine
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has discussed with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden financial mechanisms to support Ukraine, the press service of the Ukrainian president reported on Tuesday.
“[Ukrainian President] Petro Poroshenko, speaking by phone, welcomed the adoption by the U.S. Congress the Freedom Support Act of Ukraine, which was submitted to Congress during his visit to the United States on September 18,” The reports says.
“The Ukrainian president expressed the hope that in the nearest future this important legislative act would be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama, and that this would testify to the solidarity of the American people with Ukraine.
“The two parties exchanged their views on financial mechanisms to support Ukraine. Biden confirmed the intention of the United States to help Ukraine and its willingness to make every effort to provide funding through the International Monetary Fund.”
In addition, Poroshenko gained further assurances for support from Biden for the implementation of the peace plan in the Donbas and on cooperation in overcoming Ukraine’s economic challenges.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 16, 2014
Farewell Ceremony of Peacekeeping Company to Afghanistan
Farewell ceremony of the Company of IV Mechanized Brigade of the GAF was held at the drill ground of Vaziani IV Mechanized Brigade today.
The solemn ceremony started with Georgian National Anthem performed by the military band of Defence Ministry of Georgia. The personnel of the company of the IV Mechanized Brigade and the invited guests held a minute of silence to the memory of Georgian military fallen for Georgian territorial integrity and in international missions.
High-level officials of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff attended the ceremony as well. Military Attaché of German Federation, LTC Bernard Hopp, Military Representative of the NATO Liaison Office, COL Maximilian Eder and NATO Defence Attaches also attended the farewell ceremony.
Defence Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze and Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze addressed the soldiers. “This mission has great importance for stability of the region as well as for the security of our country. This mission helps our country to get closer to North-Atlantic Alliance and enhance interoperability with NATO. Our military are well prepared and received high scores during exercises. We are confident they will carry out the mission successfully and Georgia’s contribution will appreciated once again”, declared Mindia Janelidze.
At the end of the ceremony Chaplain of the IV Mechanized Brigade, Farther Gabriel blessed the military personnel.
Combined Company of the IV Mechanized Brigade will carry out their mission under the German Command in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.
The Georgian military underwent 13 weeks training in Georgia, as well as 5 month long training on the “Wildflecken” and “Hammelburg” military which consisted of several phases. The Georgian military underwent individual training at the platoon and squad level under the command of German instructors. The Georgian Company along with the Bundeswehr military is also going through combined and situational training. German instructors positively assessed the preparation level and combat readiness of the Georgian military.
Xinhua News Agency
December 16, 2014
NATO pledges support to Ukraine
BRUSSELS: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday pledged “ongoing political and practical support” to Ukraine when meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at NATO Headquarters, according a statement posted on NATO official website.
The Secretary General praised Ukraine’s commitment to its partnership with NATO despite challenging circumstances.
“Your visit just underlines the strong partnership between NATO and Ukraine. We also very much appreciate that we are able to develop our partnership. And especially because the people of Ukraine have chosen the path of democracy and closer cooperation with Europe,” Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General said that five trust funds created by NATO to help Ukraine improve its own security are now up and running.
“They aim to make Ukraine’s defense forces more modern, more transparent, and more effective”, the Secretary General said. “NATO fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 15, 2014
Secretary General tells Ukrainian Prime Minister ”NATO stands with you”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the Alliance’s efforts to support Ukraine’s government with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at NATO Headquarters on Monday (15 December 2014). The Secretary General praised Ukraine’s commitment to its partnership with NATO despite challenging circumstances, and pledged ongoing political and practical support.
“Your visit just underlines the strong partnership between NATO and Ukraine. We also very much appreciate that we are able to develop our partnership. And especially because the people of Ukraine have chosen the path of democracy and closer cooperation with Europe”, Mr. Stoltenberg said. “And we welcome that. We underline that the decision by the people of Ukraine has to be respected.”
The Secretary General said that five trust funds created by NATO to help Ukraine improve its own security are now up and running. “They aim to make Ukraine’s defence forces more modern, more transparent, and more effective”, the Secretary General said. NATO’s contributions are in addition to bilateral support provided separately by Allies.
Russia’s continued actions to destabilise Ukraine were also discussed. “Mr. Prime Minister, you have shown a real desire to find a peaceful solution to this crisis”, the Secretary General said. “NATO fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Calling the Minsk agreements “the best way to a peaceful solution,” Mr. Stoltenberg praised Ukraine’s efforts to implement the accords, and called on Russia to do the same.
Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that a sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. “NATO will stand by you as you work towards that goal,” he said.
Conrad Aiken: The history of war is the history of mankind, seven thousand million dead on the field of battle
From The Wars and the Unknown Soldier
Dry leaves, soldier, dry leaves, dead leaves;
voices of leaves on the wind that bears them to
impassioned prayer, impassioned hymn of delight
of the gladly doomed to die. Stridor of beasts,
stridor of men, praises of lust and battle,
numberless as waves, the waves singing
to the wind that bears them down.
him of the Egyptian priests, Osynmandyas the King,
easward into Asia we passed, swarmed over Bactria,
three thousand years before Christ.
The history of war
is the history of mankind.
So many dead:
look at them there in the dark, look at them going,
the longest parade of all, the parade of the dead:
between then and now, seven thousand million dead:
dead on the field of battle.
U.S. Army Europe
December 15, 2014
U.S. Army Europe, Ukraine defense officials share lessons learned
By U.S. Army Europe Operations
WIESBADEN, Germany:- Brig. Gen. John Hort, chief of operations, U.S. Army Europe, along with his staff and members of the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation, located at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, participated in a Global Security Contingency Fund — Ukraine planning requirements meeting with Ukrainian National Guard officials, here, Dec. 8-9, 2014.
The purpose of the requirements meeting was to identify Ukraine’s National Guard Unit organization, training readiness and unit end state conditions after training completion.
From The Argive Women (1912)
In Argos they sow the grain,
In Troy blood is their sowing;
There a green mantle covers the plain
Where the sweet green corn and sweet short grass are growing;
But here passion and pain -
Blood and dust upon earth, and a hot wind blowing.
To the hold on the far red hill
From the hold on the wide green lea,
Over the running water, follow who will
Therapnae’s hawk with the dove of Amyklae.
But I would lie husht and still,
And feel the new grass growing quick over me!
[The scene grows dark as they sit.
Their eyes are full of tears.
Presently one looks up, listening,
then another, then another. They
are all alert.]
Who prayeth peace? I feel her peace
Steal through me as a quiet air
Enters the house with sweet increase
Of light to healing, praise to prayer!
From Richard Yea and Nay (1900)
So far as estate went, seeing their country was fruitful, compact, snugly bound between France and Normandy (owing fealty to the first), they might have been sovereign counts…More: by marriage, by robbery on that great plan where it ceases to be robbery and becomes warfare…there was no reason why kingship should not have been theirs…
Differing from the Mantuan as much in sort as in degree, I sing less the arms than the man, less the panoply of some Christian king offended than the heart of one in urgent private transports; less treaties than the agony of treating, less personages than persons, the actors rather than the scene. Arms pass like the fashion of them, to-day or to-morrow they will be gone; but men live, their secret springs what they have ever been.
They saw the flash of a blade.
‘That is strange warfare,’ said Des Barres, greatly interested.
‘There is warfare in heaven also,’ said Savaric. ‘See those two eagles.’ Two great birds were battling in the cold blue. Feathers fell idly, like black snow-flakes; then one of the eagles heeled over, and down he came.
Xinhua News Agency
December 14, 2014
EU, US pledge to strength EU energy security
[The Eastern Partnership program of the European Union (and, behind the scenes, the U.S.) intends to integrate all former Soviet republics in Europe and the South Caucasus except Russia and the Baltic States, the latter already being members of both the EU and NATO – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – into Western economic, political and military structures, thereby isolating and quarantining Russia in former Soviet space and bringing about the destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the former of which includes all six targeted nations except Georgia and now presumably Ukraine (which have already withdrawn) and the latter of which includes Armenia and Belarus. The failure of the now overthrown Viktor Yanukovich government in Ukraine to immediately sign an Association Agreement with the European Union under the auspices of the Eastern Partnership in November of last year led to the coup d’etat in that country and the subsequent 244-day war and related showdown between NATO and Russia.]
BRUSSELS: The United States and the European Union (EU) leaders on Wednesday pledged to strength the energy security of Europe and Ukraine after the EU-US Energy Council meeting.
The meeting was attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterpart EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and Energy ministers from both sides.
An official statement said that the Council discussed ways in which the United States could provide assistance to strengthen energy security in EU candidate countries and Eastern Partnership countries.
It welcomed the prospect of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports to Europe to diversify supplies and further talks on a transatlantic trade deal.
Xinhua News Agency
December 14, 2014
Hungary urges U.S. to halt unfriendly behavior
BUDAPESTa: The United States should end its unfriendly behavior and policy toward Hungary, Hungary’s parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover said on Sunday.
Kover told local wire service MTI that he has sent a letter of protest to the U.S. Senate after Republican Senator John McCain called Prime Minister Viktor Orban “a neo-fascist dictator”, which came on the heels of a U.S. visa ban against several Hungarian tax officials citing corruption.
Washington has employed similar policies against the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia, treating them as a tool in a bid to make its own brand of order “in the immediate hinterland behind the front lines”, he said.
He added that some U.S. foreign affairs decision-makers have communicated a negative opinion on Hungary whenever his Fidesz party was in power over the past 25 years.
“The tone may be more unusual and irrational now than earlier … (and) as allies we expect to see a minimum of a correct attitude on America’s part,” Kover said, adding that the U.S. holds the key to normalizing bilateral relations.
McCain called Orban a “neo-fascist dictator” on Tuesday while unsuccessfully trying to persuade the U.S. Senate to reject Colleen Bell, President Barack Obama’s nominee, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Hungary.
He said Hungary was “a very important country where bad things are going on” following a series of events, including a statement by Orban in support of “illiberal democracy” in which he cited Russia and Turkey as an example.
On Saturday, Kover sent a letter to Vice U.S. President Joe Biden, who is also president of the U.S. Senate, charging McCain with “crude statements reminiscent of the tone used during the Cold War”.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
December 11, 2014
Poland Attributes Purchase Of U.S. Missiles To Regional Tensions
Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has said that long-range missiles Warsaw is buying from the United States are especially needed by Poland because of current tensions in the region.
Siemoniak also complained of “unprecedented” recent activity by Russia’s navy and air force in the Baltic Sea region — saying the majority of the incidents involved Russian operations in international waters.
Siemoniak, speaking December 11 at a signing ceremony for the $250 million deal, said the new U.S. missiles are the most modern military equipment Poland has ever purchased.
The purchase includes 40 joint air-to-surface missiles that are to be integrated into the Polish Air Force’s three tactical squadrons of F-16 fighter jets.
The U.S. State Department approved the deal in October. Delivery is to start next year with the missile systems being operational in 2017.
Based on reporting by AP and tvn24.pl
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)
…I realized how bad my nerves were when one day, marching through the streets of Litherland on a Battalion route-march, I saw three workmen in gas-masks beside an open man-hole, bending over a corpse which they had just hauled up from a sewer. His clothes were sodden and stinking; his face and hands, yellow. Waste chemicals from the munitions factory had got into the sewage system and gassed him when he went down to inspect. My company did not pause in its march, so I only had a a glimpse of the group; but it reminded me so strongly of France that, but for the band-music, I should have fainted.
I decided to leave Litherland somehow, forewarned what the winter would be like, with the mist steaming up from the Mersey and hanging about the camp, full of T.N.T. fumes. During the previous winter I used to sit in my hut, and cough and cough until I was sick. The fumes tarnished buttons and cap-badges, and made our eyes smart. I thought of going back to France, but realized the absurdity of the notion. Since 1916, the fear of gas had obsessed me: any unusual smell, even a sudden strong scent of flowers in a garden, was enough to send me trembling. And I couldn’t face the sound of heavy shelling now; the noise of a car back-firing would send me flat on my face, or running for cover…
At the Peace Day celebrations in the Castle, I was asked, as the senior man at Harlech who had served overseas, to make a speech about the glorious dead. I spoke in commendation of the Welshman as a fighting man and earned loud cheers. But not only did I have no experience of independent civilian life, having gone straight from school into the Army: I was mentally and nervously organized for War. Shells used to come bursting on my bed at midnight, even though Nancy shared it with me; strangers in daytime would assume the faces of friends who had been killed. When strong enough to climb the hill behind Harlech and revisit my favourite country, I could not help seeing it as a prospective battlefield. I would find myself working out tactical problems, planning how best to hold the Upper Artro valley against an attack from the sea, or where to place a Lewis gun if I were trying to rush Dolwreiddiog Farm from the brow of the hill, and what would be the best cover for my rifle-grenade section. I still had the Army habit of commandeering anything of uncertain ownership that I found lying about; also a difficulty in telling the truth – it was always easier for me now, when charged with any fault, to lie my way out Army style…
SHAPE leadership visits Swiss International NCO course
MONS, Belgium: The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe’s top leaders visited the Swiss Armed Forces Advanced International NCO Leadership Course Dec. 11-12 in Berne, Switzerland.
Gen. Phil Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Command Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, Allied Command Operations Command Senior Enlisted Leader, took the opportunity to engage with students on the present and future of the NATO NCO corps.
“The Swiss Armed Forces spearheaded the development and delivery of international NCO leadership education,” said General Breedlove. “Their leadership has earned them a well-deserved reputation as visionaries within this distinct area of professional military education.
Gen. Phil Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe speaks to students of the Swiss Armed Forces International NCO Leadership Course in Berne Switzerland, 11 Dec 14. – Photo courtesy of Stefan Meienhofer
“As each student has discovered during the past two weeks, these International NCO Leadership courses intrigue participants by engaging them on topics vital to the success of every military organization–leadership, mentorship, communication and ethics,” he added.
Firmly committed to the development of its NCO Corps, the Alliance has worked for the past decade to enhance NATO’s NCO education and engagement programs.
“Some of these developments include establishing Command Senior Enlisted Leader positions across the NATO command structure, developing NCO recognition programs such as Allied Command Operations’ Military Members of the Year Award, creating the Bi-Strategic Command NCO Strategy and Guidelines and, earlier this year, launching the first ever internationally endorsed reference curriculum for NCO professional military education,” said General Breedlove.
While the Advanced leadership course is tailored to NCO’s in the rank of OR-8/9 there are many PME opportunities for the NATO NCO corps.
Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office
Red Pill Reports
December 10, 2014
Guest: Rick Rozoff
Rozoff segment begins at 01:00
Rick Rozoff joins JD in the second hour to discuss the true nature of NATO as it pertains to Ukraine, ISIS, Russia and the West. Rick illustrates the connections between the global players, as the push for control over military, political and economic resources makes strange bedfellows and creates new divisions on the international chessboard.
Rick Rozoff lives and works in Chicago and has been an active opponent of war, militarism and intervention for over 40 years. He manages the Stop NATO email list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato) and his website (http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com).
He writes on the threat of international militarization. Especially on the globalization of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Ministry of Defense of Georgia
Defence 13, 2014
Georgian Company Returned to Homeland from Africa
Combined Company of the 22nd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade of the GAF has fully returned to homeland. 142 military servicemen arrived in Georgia this morning.
Deputy Chief of General Staff of GAF, Colonel Roman Jokhadze, Commander of Western Command of the Land Forces, Colonel Mikheil Sadunishvili and Sergeant Major of the GAF, Beso Khatiashvili greeted the peacekeepers at the Alekseevka airport. They congratulated the soldiers on peaceful returning to homeland and successful fulfillment of the mission.
The Georgian military carried out the peacekeeping mission in the capital city of Bangui of the Republic of Central Africa under the French command for 6 months. The main goal of the combined company was to insure security and stabilization of the situation. The Georgian soldiers were also conducting patrolling the area in the vicinity of the airport.
Soldiers of the 22nd Battalion are replaced by the military personnel of the 23rd Battalion of II Infantry Brigade.
December 13, 2014
Yatseniuk, Stoltenberg will discuss restoration of Ukraine’s course to NATO
KYIV: Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will discuss restoration of the state’s Euro-Atlantic course and other first steps of rapprochement between Ukraine and NATO.
These issues are scheduled for discussion at a meeting of the Ukrainian government head with the NATO Secretary General on Monday, December 15, in Brussels, Yehor Bozhok, Minister Councellor of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO told a special correspondent of Ukrinform.
“An agenda of the meeting includes the restoration of the Euro-Atlantic integration, initial steps for rapprochement between Ukraine and NATO. This is, in particular, adaptation of the national legal framework on the status and interoperability to NATO standards, reformation of defense and security sectors, defense industry and the Armed Forces of Ukraine according to NATO standards, development of interoperability of the Ukrainian army and NATO forces,” the diplomat said.
Among other relevant topics, he noted development of Ukraine’s capabilities in cyber defense, plans of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in certain areas of cooperation, involving appropriate counseling, practical and logistical support from the Alliance.
“In particular, implementation of the Annual National Program Ukraine-NATO for 2015 and the Roadmap to deepen interoperability between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO for 2015-2016 years,” the Counsellor said.
In addition, the Ukrainian Premier and the Alliance head can discuss strengthening of NATO’s diplomatic mission in Ukraine.
“Further assistance from NATO to counter the hybrid war of Russia against Ukraine is also important,” Bozhok emphasized.
December 13, 2014
US evaluating options of how best to support Ukraine – Department of State
The US authorities are concerned over the ongoing situation in Ukraine and evaluate the options of assistance to the country, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki has reported.
“The situation, of course, remains fluid and we remain very concerned about the situation on the ground, and we continue to assess how best to support Ukraine,” she said at a daily briefing on Friday.
“Well, our position and our policy position has not changed. Our focus from the outset of this crisis has been on supporting Ukraine and on pursuing a diplomatic solution that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she stressed.
According to Psaki, the US is working closely with its allies and partners in Europe and around the world to help accomplish this aim.
She stressed that the United States provides a range of assistance to Ukraine, including $118 million in security assistance, everything from body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, demining equipment, portable explosive ordnance disposal robots, patrol boats, counter mortar radars. And this assistance also includes advising and training.
Besides, according to Psaki, “confrontational is a better way to use the term to describe the fact that there are continued aggressive actions and movement of humanitarian convoys and armed separatists moving around Ukraine, which is a sovereign country, rather than to characterize so the US Senate-adopted “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014″.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that Moscow is indignant at US threats to impose new sanctions.
Previously, the U.S. Senate approved a bill “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014″ that allows the U.S. administration to introduce new sanctions against Russian state-owned companies, including Gazprom and Rosoboronexport, as well as to provide military assistance to Ukraine.
December 13, 2014
Georgia’s Ex-Deputy Interior Minister Set to Take Same Post in Ukraine
Tbilisi: Eka Zguladze, who served as Georgia’s deputy interior minister under ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration, is expected to become a second former Georgian official to take senior government post in Ukraine after ex-healthcare minister Alexander Kvitashvili took the same post in Ukraine earlier this month.
Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote on Facebook on December 12 that President Petro Poroshenko welcomed his request for granting Ukrainian citizenship to Zguladze. Avakov also wrote that after finalizing formal procedures over citizenship next week, he would ask the cabinet to appoint Zguladze as first deputy interior minister.
Zguladze, 36, held the post of deputy interior minister in Georgia in 2006-20012.
Appointment of former Georgian officials, who served under ex-president Saakashvili’s administration, in the Ukrainian government has not been welcomed in Tbilisi.
Commenting on possible appointment of Zguladze as Ukraine’s deputy interior minister, leader of the Georgian Dream majority group in Parliament, MP Davit Saganelidze, said: “Ukraine, which I love so much, really deserves better ministers.”
“No matter how much we try not to notice, it will anyway stain to some extent relations [between Georgia and Ukraine],” GD MP Saganelidze said.
When consultations about forming the new government were still ongoing among Ukrainian politicians, reports emerged in late November about possible nomination of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is facing criminal charges in Georgia and is wanted by the Georgian authorities, as Ukraine’s deputy prime minister; Saakashvili said at the time that he declined the offer as he did not want to lose Georgian citizenship by obtaining Ukrainian one.
Asked about the issue, PM Irakli Garibashvili said at a news conference on December 9 that even the fact that possible appointment of a person, who is wanted by Georgia, was discussed by the Ukrainian authorities is “regrettable.” Garibashvili also said that “work is underway to prepare” his visit to Ukraine either in January or February.
December 12, 2014
Will NATO ‘Marry’ Ukraine After 20 Years’ Romance?
Why would NATO need Ukraine and where could it take the rest of Europe? Radio Sputnik is discussing it with Rick Rozoff of the Stop NATO International Network.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday to discuss prospects for a further relationship. Presenting the program of his government for 2015, he said the main task for the country next year will be to survive ‘Russian military aggression’ and a deep economic crisis. Kiev says the current crisis has left it with no choice but to seek protection from NATO. Yet, the truth is, the process of Ukraine’s integration into NATO was launched long before Maidan…
Says Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO International Network:
Yes, in 1994, 20 year ago, Ukraine became the first former Soviet federal republic to be recruited into NATO’s post-Cold War era transitional military partnership – one which is called Partnership for Peace. The name of which, of course, is a glaring misnomer, as it’s been in effect used to deploy troops for candidate members in several war zones, including in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and so forth.
But I think it is significant that 20 years ago, which is to say only three years after the formal dissolution of the Warsaw Pact or the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the fragmentation of the Soviet Union into its 15 constituent federal republics, only three years later NATO (at the instigation of the US, undoubtedly) sought out Ukraine as the first former Soviet nation to be brought into that transitional program.
That same Partnership for Peace military program was the one used to cultivate 12 new military, full, members of NATO in the decade between 1999 and 2009, starting with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; seven more countries, including the three former Soviet republics in the Baltics – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – in 2004; and then two Balkans countries in 2009.
So, what we are seeing is that the US, the Pentagon more specifically, and NATO have had their sights set on Ukraine a long time back. So, to claim that massive military expansion in Eastern Europe over the past 11 months of so is in any way specifically a response to the ‘annexation’ of Crimea or the fighting in the Southeast Ukraine is misleading people. The fact is that the US wanted to incorporate Ukraine into the NATO to consolidate the new military Iron Curtain that runs along Russia’s entire western border, from the Baltic to the Black Sea. That’s incontestable.
Now Ukraine is devastated and if we look at the similar examples in Europe, like Kosovo, for instance, there are quite dim prospects that this country is going to get more structured and more stable, and more peaceful. So, would NATO really want this kind of member?
A statement was reported in Polish press and Polish radio by the infamous, if you don’t mind the adjective of my own, Zbigniew Brzezinski – the former national security adviser to Carter administration and major Russophobe geostrategist, who cautioned the West at an event in Poland that bringing Ukraine into NATO would be neither good for NATO, nor for Ukraine. And he is correct.
However, using Ukraine as a territory from which NATO can operate is in many ways much more advantageous than bringing it in as a full member. And first of all, we have to recall that NATO stipulates quite clearly their preconditions for the full membership in the block.
Two of the obstacles, rather, confronting Ukraine currently: first of all, there could be no territorial conflicts in the nation, and there is vis-à-vis Crimea, certainly from the point of view of junta in Kiev, but also there is the fighting around the Donetsk and Lugansk region; number two – there can be no foreign military personnel on the territory of the candidate member state. And by “foreign” I think we are safe in assuming non-NATO. In other words, there could be a proliferation of US, German, French, Italian and British troops, but if there is one Russian peacekeeper anywhere in the disputed area that is considered a foreign military presence.
So, the fact that the Russian Black Sea fleet for a long time has been in the Crimea, automatically would have disqualified Ukraine under any conditions for full NATO membership. So, the obvious conclusion to draw from that is that the Russian Black Sea fleet had to be evicted.
And I’m certain that that was the active intent, based on the orders they receive from the likes of Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev, that was the intent of the new junta in February – to evict the Russian Black Sea fleet and consolidate the nation under a pro-Western orientation so as to bring it into the NATO fold.
So, is it advantageous for Ukraine to be in NATO? No more than for Georgia. And, by the way, we should note that for at least the last decade those two countries formed a couple that we consider to be integratable at the same time and the plan was for NATO to bring them both in simultaneously.
As we know, Georgia also has unresolved territorial conflicts and it still has foreign troops on what they claim to be their territory – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We also know, by the way, that the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, modeled after the Rose Revolution, so-called, in Georgia in the preceding year, brought to the forefront, in the case of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, who is a US-educated attorney graduated from Columbia University, where Mr. Brzezinski taught; and we know that Viktor Yushchenko, who copied his example in 2004, is married to an American, Kathy Yushchenko, who was born and raised here in Chicago. So, there is an American hand in the color revolutions in both countries, and the two are considered to be a doublet to be incorporated simultaneously.
Another thing that is important to know, as much obliquely, as it is being poured at Viktor Yanukovych right now in the Western media and by the Western government officials trying to portray him, in essence, as a Russian puppet or something of this sort. He, Yanukovych, made Ukraine the first non-NATO country to supply a military vessel for NATO’s permanent naval surveillance and interdiction operation in the Mediterranean, Operation Active Endeavor.
Then, shortly thereafter his government supplied a vessel, again, the first non-NATO one to do it, to NATO’s now permanent naval operation off the Horn of Africa, in the Arabian Sea, Operation Ocean Shield, and up until the coup d’état in February this year in Ukraine, Ukraine was one of four non-NATO countries that was going to be incorporated into NATO’s new international Response Force. The other three being Georgia and another double, if you will, Finland and Sweden.
So, we see that the integration process with Ukraine has been underway for a long time. We have to remember that the Leonid Kuchma government supplied 2,000 troops for the occupation of Iraq after 2003, as part of arrangements under NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. So, Ukraine was already well underway towards being integrated into NATO. And what it appears is that the US may have overplayed its geopolitical hand in the area and set back its plans to bring Ukraine as the full member into NATO.
But what is NATO’s ultimate goal? Is it to attack Russia or, perhaps, use different tactics on Russia?
I’ve been long saying, and I think even an amateur military strategist or a student of military history can tell you, you don’t besiege a country, unless you intend to starve it out or attack it. And since the major round of NATO expansion in 2004 where they brought in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, they immediately, within weeks, if not days, set up a permanent what they refer to as an air policing operation in Lithuania. What these are, are air patrols by advanced-generation warplanes.
Initially, there were four planes. That’s been brought up now to, I think, six times that number, if I’m not mistaken. It is in the neighborhood of 20 or 24 warplanes, permanently, patrolling the Baltic from Lithuania. A comparable air base has been upgraded and turned over to NATO and the US in Estonia. A new one is on its way in Latvia as well.
The US has taken over, essentially, the Lask air base in Poland, where it is rotating F-16 warplanes, in addition to 48 F-16s they’ve basically compelled the Polish government to purchase at the beginning of this [century]. You know, Poland does not have 48 F-16s for any other reason, than to confront Russia.
Similarly, in Bulgaria and Romania in 2008-2009 the US secured 8 major military bases, including at least 3 large-scale or major, potentially strategic, air bases. And this goes on all the way down the line. The world’s first multinational strategic airlift operation is conducted by the US and NATO out of an air base in Hungary now.
So, the entire western flank of Russia, let me please emphasize that again, the entire western flank of Russia is now witnessing an increase in NATO military activities – the opening and upgrading of new military bases, the deployment of 600 US paratroopers to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the rotation of US F-16s from Italy to Poland, the permanent Task Force East (a multiservice military operation, operating out of Bulgaria and Romania), a Black Sea Rotational Force (component of the US Marine Corps in the same area) and we could go – incidentally, four years ago the deployment of the US Patriot Advanced Capability-3 longer-range interceptor missiles in Poland, some 30 miles from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad.
So, what is indisputable, and I think the significant fact right now is that… And that doesn’t even take into account the building of the US interceptor missile system where they are going to be deploying advanced, a new generation interceptor missiles in Poland and Romania, as well as the surveillance, radar facilities. So, you know, given all that (and I have by no means exhausted the deployment of NATO facilities and equipment, and personnel in the area), the inevitable conclusion I would have to draw from that is that somebody is preparing for a war with Russia.
And I might cite an article yesterday from Stars and Stripes, which is the official newspaper of the American armed forces, that talked about a recently concluded war game in Germany, the scenario for which was a nation invades Estonia, and it resulted, amongst other things, in missile strikes and cyber warfare. And I’ll leave it to your listeners’ imagination which country is intended as the aggressor in that scenario.
But this is a suicidal scenario for the US! Russia is not Libya, Russia is not Iraq. We are a nuclear power.
Rick Rozoff: I’m fully aware of the fact that Russia is a nuclear power. But I also know that the US has perfected the method of game theory, if you will. This is very cynical and, ultimately, it may be a catastrophic and even an apocalyptic gambit on the part of the US, but the intent is to test Russian resolve, see how they respond to various events. If they appear to be willing to concede, then keep pushing and escalating the pressure to see how far they can get away with it.
Look, the US in the post-Cold War period, but particularly in the last 15 years, they engineered a 78-day air war against the European country for the first time, incidentally, as an of aggression against an European country since Hitler’s and Mussolini’s wars of the late 1930s and early 1940s. It put on display for the entire world the impotence of the world community to intervene to stop that war.
And then, shortly thereafter we have the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the devastation of Syria, the overthrow of governments in the Ivory Coast and Yemen, and an attempt to replicate that model in a very bloody manner in Syria, and on and on. Unless the world community draws the line, the US has no incentive to stop.
And in this case Europe and its European allies are held hostage.
They are held hostage is the kindest interpretation of that. I think one should rather look into the curriculum vitae, into the biographies of the heads of states of Europe. You will discover, for example, that the head of the state of Estonia, whose country is the imaginary victim of something that could trigger WW III, is an American citizen – Toomas Ilves. He was raised in the US, he worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that is, at the very least, for the State Department.
Up until a few years ago his counterpart in Lithuania was Valdas Adamkus, another American citizen, who lived here in Chicago for decades, who also worked for the US federal government. And at about the same time the head of state of Latvia was a woman who was raised in Canada and worked for the federal government.
You know, first of all, we have to understand who we are talking about when we are talking about the heads of states and other political figures in Europe. We are talking about people who belong to transnational think tanks and planning bodies. The US Atlantic Council, for example, which is the major think tank promoting NATO development and expansion around the world, has its counterparts in 30 or 40 other countries, including most every European country. They have essentially seduced, if not bribed or recruited, most every political leader in Europe. First of all, we have to be clear about that.
The fact that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday had to finally have some harsh words about German political leadership, and I’m thinking in particular of what he said vis-à-vis Chancellor Angela Merkel, I think should expose this charade that there is an independent foreign policy orientation in Europe and, somehow, that a person like Chancellor Merkel is one person when she is wearing her EU credentials and another one when she is wearing her NATO credentials. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The EU and NATO are effectively merging not only their military but their foreign policy orientations and programs, including sharing military commanders, sharing the military bases, sharing military assets. You know, it is a very delicate question right now where NATO ends and the EU begins. So, I think that anyone sitting in Moscow who believes that there is some essential difference between the EU orientation of European leaders and the NATO one, better go back to the drawing board and reevaluate their perspective. They’ve made a dangerous, if not a fatal mistake.
We have to keep in mind, when this whole tragedy in Ukraine began in November of last year when the Yanukovych government did not refuse, but simply delayed the signing of what was called an Association Agreement with the EU, one that was being pushed by the US, I need hardly add. And for anyone who’s seen the document, it has a very strong military component. It would effectively integrate Ukraine into Western military structures, whether there was an EU or a NATO stamp on it, it almost doesn’t matter, because the two – the EU and NATO – are united under a program of the 1990s called the Berlin Plus agreement which effectively merges the militaries of those two organizations.
December 11, 2014
MPs Endorse Mandate Extension for Georgian Troops in Central African Republic
Tbilisi: The Parliament approved with 85 votes to 1 president’s proposal to extend mandate of Georgian troops’ participation in the EU mission in the Central African Republic till April, 2015.
About 140 Georgian soldiers joined the EU military mission in the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) in June, 2014.
The number of Georgian soldiers in the mission will be halved to two companies starting from January. Soldiers from the 23rd battalion of the 2nd infantry brigade of Georgian armed forces will serve in the mission till April; they will replace soldiers from the Batumi light infantry battalion, who are in the Central African Republic since June.
Secretary of the National Security Council, Irine Imerlishvili, told lawmakers at a parliamentary session on December 11, that the mission was originally to be completed by the end of this year, “but the European Union requested us to prolong the presence of our troops there.”
Georgia is the second largest contributor of troops to the mission after France, she added.
This is the first time when Georgia got involved in the EU military mission in frames of common security and defense policy after signing the framework agreement between Georgia and the EU in November, 2013 on Tbilisi’s participation in EU crisis management operations.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 11, 2014
NATO Secretary General hails Gulf partnerships in Qatar
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for deeper political and practical cooperation with Gulf partners in a visit to Doha, Qatar on Thursday (11 December 2014). The Secretary General and ambassadors of NATO’s 28 nations were joined by the 4 partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates) at a seminar to mark the tenth anniversary of this partnership.
“NATO’s relations with its Gulf partners have grown deeper and stronger,” the Secretary General said…
The North Atlantic Council – Istanbul Cooperation Initiative seminar is being held not only to celebrate ten years of partnership, but also for a discussion of shared security challenges (including terrorism and extremism, maritime security, and cyber security) and possible ways to address them together. Ambassadors will take stock of the partnership to date, and consider the road ahead.
Thursday’s conference followed the North Atlantic Council’s visit to Amman, Jordan earlier in the week, where the Secretary General and ambassadors marked the twentieth anniversary of the Mediterranean Dialogue partnership.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 11, 2014
North Atlantic Council and Gulf partners discuss greater cooperation to deal with security challenges
The 28 members of the North Atlantic Council and its partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative discussed common security challenges and ways for closer cooperation to deal with them during a conference on Thursday (11 December 2014) in Doha, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of this partnership.
“We want to build on our partnership,” the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during the conference in Doha, Qatar, in the presence of Ambassadors of NATO countries and the four Gulf partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates).
Mr Stoltenberg said that “the best way to tackle the security threats we face is to work together. The more we cooperate, the safer our shared neighbourhood will be.”
At the conference, the Secretary General set out three priority areas for increased cooperation between NATO and the Gulf region. First, Mr. Stoltenberg called for greater cooperation between military forces, raising the example of the Libya campaign as an example of NATO and Gulf partners working effectively side-by-side. Secondly, the Secretary General urged more cooperation on maritime security, and invited Gulf partners to join NATO’s “Ocean Shield” counter-piracy mission. Finally, Mr. Stoltenberg spoke of a need to deepen NATO’s political consultations, both with individual partners and with the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Secretary General called such consultations a “solid basis for our practical cooperation”.
The Secretary General held talks with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss shared security challenges, particularly the threat of violent extremism posed by the terrorist group ISIL. Mr. Stoltenberg said it was important for regional countries to play their part in the fight, and that NATO stands ready to assist its partners with defence capacity building. “We all have a role to play,” he said. The Secretary General and the Emir also discussed other challenges including piracy, human trafficking and weapons proliferation.
Mr. Stoltenberg also held separate meetings with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, and Defence Minister Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiyah.
December 12, 2014
Operation Trident Lance
Is Kaliningrad NATO’s Real Target?
By Diana Johnstone
Rick Rozoff’s vitally informative site, Stop NATO, just forwarded a Stars and Stripes report on “NATO’s largest training exercise since the end of the Cold War”.
The forces that took part in the exercise, called “Trident Lance”, mostly came from the Joint Multinational Training Center in Grafenwöhr, Germany. Command elements from Poland, Greece and Turkey also took part, while U.S. Army in Europe provided a hefty logistical contribution, the Army newspaper said.
NATO land forces commander Lt. Gen. John Nicholson said that the exercise showed that NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) has finally reached full operational capacity.
Ready to go!
To go where?
“One aim of the exercise, Trident Lance, was to test how well a fully operational LANDCOM — which is charged with improving the effectiveness and reaction time of the alliance’s land forces — could respond to an international crisis. In this case, the scenario dealt with the hypothetical invasion of NATO member Estonia,” Stars and Stripes reported.foolsjohnstone
Of course Russia is not going to “invade Estonia”, an absurd hypothesis. There is no conceivable evidence or reason for a “Russian invasion” of Estonia.
But examine a map of the Baltic. There, very discretely, lies Kaliningrad. A small enclave of half a million people belonging to Russia. It used to be Königsburg, a part of Germany, lost in the Second World War. Wedged between Poland and Lithuania, it is already hit by damage to its trade with the E.U. resulting from U.S.-imposed sanctions. The prospect of recuperating Kaliningrad/Königsberg through some manipulated incident could be a factor in the present official German anti-Russian position, which goes against German economic interests and about half of German public opinion.
A war to conquer Kaliningrad would be started by some contrived “international crisis” to “respond” to.
It would be sold as a natural response to Russia’s recuperation of Crimea. The comparison was already floated back in March by The Moscow Times.
But Crimea was recuperated without bloodshed, by a peaceful referendum of the citizens who voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, their traditional homeland, at a time when the legitimate government of Ukraine had been overthrown in a vehemently anti-Russian coup.
A NATO operation would be quite different.
How it would end, I do not venture to guess.
Cassandra has her limits. And hopes she is wrong.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book, Queen of Chaos: the Foreign Policy of Hillary Clinton, will be published by CounterPunch in 2015. She can be reached at email@example.com
The Blood of the Young Men (1919)
Give us back the close veil of the senses,
Let us not see, ah, hide from us
The red blood splashed upon the walls,
The good red blood, the young, the lovely blood
Trampled unseeingly by passing feet,
Feet of the old men, feet of the cold cruel women,
Feet of the careless children, endlessly passing…
Day has become an agony, night alone now,
That leisurely shadow, hides the blood-stains,
The horrible stains and clots of day-time.
All the garments of all the people,
All the wheels of all the traffic,
All the cold indifferent faces,
All the fronts of the houses,
All the stones of the street —
Ghastly! Horribly smeared with blood-stains.
The horror of it!
When a woman holds out a white hand
Suddenly to know it drips black putrid blood;
When an old man sits, serene and healthy,
In clean white linen, with clean white hair,
Suddenly to know the linen foully spotted,
To see the white hair streaked with dripping blood.
O these pools and ponds of blood,
Slowly dripped in, slowly brimming lakes,
Blood of the young men, blood of their bodies,
Squeezed and crushed out to purple the garments of
Poured out to colour the lips of Magdalen,
Magdalen who loves not, whose sins are loveless.
O this steady drain of the weary bodies,
This beating of hearts growing dimmer and dimmer,
This bitter indifference of the old men,
This exquisite indifference of women.
Old men, you will grow stronger and healthier
With broad red cheeks and clear hard eyes —
Is not your meat and drink the choicest?
Blood of the young, dear flesh of the young men?
Ah, you women, cruel exquisite women,
What a love-fountain is poured out for you,
What coloured streams for your pleasure!
Go your ways, pass on, forget them;
Give your lips and breasts to the old men,
The kindly, impetuous, glowing, old men!
They who will love you indeed, indeed, dears,
Not as we do, drained of our blood, with weeping.
Sell yourselves, oh, give yourselves to the cripples,
Give yourselves to the weak, the poor forgotten,
Give yourselves to those who escape the torture
And buy their blood from the pools with weight of
Give yourselves to them, pass on, forget us;
We, any few that are left, a remnant,
Sit alone together in cold and darkness,
Dare not face the light for fear we discover
The dread woe, the agony in our faces,
Sit alone without sound in bitter dreaming
Of our friends, our dear brothers, the young men,
Who were mangled and abolished, squeezed dry of
Emptied and cast aside that the lakes might widen,
That the lips of the women might be sweet to the old men.
Go your ways, you women, pass and forget us,
We are sick of blood, of the taste and sight of it;
Go now to those who bleed not and to the old men,
They will give you beautiful love in answer!
But we, we are alone, we are desolate,
Thinning the blood of our brothers with weeping,
Crying for our brothers, the men we fought with,
Crying out, mourning them, alone with our dead ones;
Praying that our eyes may be blinded
Lest we go mad in a world of scarlet,
Dripping, oozing from the veins of our brothers.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 9, 2014
North Atlantic Council in Jordan: Mediterranean Dialogue is ‘more important than ever’
[NATO has already identified Libya as a future member of the Mediterranean Dialogue with, if the West and its Persian Gulf allies succeed in their designs to overthrow the government of Syria, that country and Lebanon to follow, thereby making the entire Mediterranean Sea Basin NATO’s uncontested territory.]
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, with the 28 Permanent Representatives of the North Atlantic Council and the Chairman of the Military Committee, Gen. Knud Bartels, marked the 20th anniversary of the Mediterranean Dialogue on Tuesday (9 December 2014) in Amman, Jordan. They were joined by ambassadors of the seven nations (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) participating in the partnership forum. In an unstable world, “the security of NATO countries is closely linked to the security and the stability in the Mediterranean and the Middle East,” the Secretary General said during a special seminar commemorating the anniversary. “That makes the Mediterranean Dialogue more important than ever.”
During the seminar the Secretary General set out three areas where he saw room for enhancing cooperation with Mediterranean Dialogue partners. He said that NATO could offer partners more assistance on the defence and security sectors, and called for increased ability of armed forces to work together, as well as for deeper political consultations. “Our partnership is strong; let’s make it stronger,” Mr. Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General also held talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh to discuss current security challenges in the Middle East and closer cooperation. He thanked Jordan for hosting the Mediterranean Dialogue meeting. The Secretary General also said the Alliance was grateful for Jordan’s decision to be part of the NATO Response Force as a partner nation. He said Allies were grateful for the contributions Jordan has made to regional stability and to the partnership it has with NATO. Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO is ready “to assist Jordan when it comes to, for instance, cyber defence, but also when it comes to different kinds of exercises. And we have agreed to develop that kind of cooperation even closer.”
During their visit to Amman, the Secretary General and ambassadors will also have an audience with His Majesty King Abdullah II. Mr. Stoltenberg will separately meet with Jordanian Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Dr. Abdullah Ensour.
From Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929)
Translated by Eugene Jolas
Keep awake, keep awake, for there is something happening in the world. The world is not make of sugar. If they drop gas-bombs, Ill have to choke to death; nobody knows why they are dropped, but that’s neither here not there, we had time to prepare for it.
If war comes along and they conscript me, and I don’t know why, and the war’s started without me, well, then it’s my fault, it serves me right. Keep awake ‘mid the strife, we’re not alone in this life. Let it hail and storm, there’s no way of guarding against it, but we can defend ourselves against many other things. So I will not go on shouting as I once did: Fate, Fate! It’s no use revering it merely as Fate, we must look at it, grasp it, down it, and not hesitate.
U.S. Army Europe
December 9, 2014
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment to lead Land Forces in next Operation Atlantic Resolve rotation
By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Stuttgart, Germany: U.S. Army Europe will transition responsibility for the Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) Land Forces training mission Dec. 15 from the Texas-based 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment assumes responsibility as the next rotational U.S. Army unit to take part in ongoing multinational land forces exercises across NATO’s eastern border to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Advance elements of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry regiment have already arrived in the Baltic nations and Poland to prepare for the arrival of the unit’s personnel and equipment. The squadron is expected to complete the deployment of its personnel and equipment to the four nations by the second week of January.
1/1 CAV will rotate back to its home base in Fort Hood, Texas, in time for the holiday season.
Operation Atlantic Resolve demonstrates U.S. commitment to NATO Allies following Russian aggressive actions in Ukraine.
“As the main enabler for NATO land forces in the U.S. European Command, we are absolutely committed to assuring and defending our NATO allies. We’ve been executing Army operations with a combination of forward stationed and rotational forces since early spring of 2014,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commander. “Our commitment to each other and interoperability are stronger than ever. USAREUR is the leadership laboratory for the Army as we have the unique advantage of working side by side with our Allies and partners every day.”
In close coordination with the host nations, both allied and U.S. Army units will conduct a transitional period over the holiday break from mid December to early January…
U.S. Air Force
December 10, 2014
Incirlik provides important NATO capability
By Jim Garamone
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey: Readiness is the main mission for Airmen stationed at this sprawling air base in southern Turkey, according to Col. Craig Wills, the commander of the 39th Air Base Wing here.
This Turkish base has served as an asset to NATO and will celebrate 60 years of existence in 2015. It has hosted many different missions.
During the Cold War, Incirlik was a bulwark against the Soviet Union. It was a key segment of the air bridge delivering aid to humanitarian crises in Turkey, Pakistan, the Middle East and Central Asia. The base also served as the headquarters for Operation Northern Watch — the no-fly zone over northern Iraq that ended in 2003.
Today, the base’s mission may change again, and Airmen here must be ready, Wills said.
“My main mission is combat readiness,” the colonel said. “We play a big role in maintaining NATO’s capability because everyone knows they are here. Our job is to make sure capabilities are ready to fly.”
The civil war in neighboring Syria has affected Turkey…
In response to this threat, Turkey asked its NATO allies for help. U.S., German and Dutch Patriot missile batteries are now based in a number of places in southern Turkey. A Spanish battery soon will join the effort. Incirlik Airmen provide some of the support for this air defense mission.
The base also supports joint U.S.-Turkish intelligence cooperation in support of coalition efforts against ISIL and Turkey’s security and stability in the region.
“There are activities that we are already undertaking jointly from Incirlik, concerning Iraq,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently told the Milliyet newspaper.
These activities are fully coordinated with Turkey and support joint military requirements in the region, a defense official said.
Wills said he does not know what the future will bring for Incirlik Airmen.
“If you look at the history of this base, there have never been too many years where NATO or the Turks or the U.S. didn’t find it in their interests to use Incirlik,” he said. “And I would imagine the future will be a lot like the past — it’s only a matter of time before the base plays an important role.
“That role could be military assistance, it could be building partnership capacity, it could be combat operations or it could be just support,” he continued. “We just have to be ready.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 10, 2014
NATO and Mediterranean partners discuss partnership, regional security with the King of Jordan
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the 28 Permanent Representatives to the North Atlantic Council discussed regional security and NATO-Jordan cooperation during talks with His Majesty King Abdullah II on Wednesday (10 December 2014) in Amman, Jordan. The high-level NATO delegation was in Jordan to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Mediterranean Dialogue, and was joined by the ambassadors of the seven nations (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) participating in the partnership forum.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan
The Secretary General and the ambassadors of NATO countries and the Mediterranean Dialogue nations discussed with his Majesty the King current security challenges, including the threat of terrorism and extremism. Mr. Stoltenberg expressed NATO’s gratitude for Jordan’s continued close partnership in the Mediterranean Dialogue. He also thanked the King for Jordan’s efforts to enhance regional security and stability, and said that the Alliance looks forward to enhancing its partnership with Jordan, including efforts to increase joint exercises and enhance capabilities.
Wednesday’s audience followed a Mediterranean Dialogue seminar in Amman on Tuesday. On 9 December, the Secretary General also held talks with Jordanian Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Dr. Abdullah Ensour, and met separately with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
Stars and Stripes
December 10, 2014
NATO Land Command fully operational, says commander
By Michael S. Darnell
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany: NATO’s Allied Land Command has finally reached full operational capacity, LANDCOM commander Lt. Gen. John Nicholson said at the close on Wednesday of NATO’s largest training exercise since the end of the Cold War.
One aim of the exercise, Trident Lance, was to test how well a fully operational LANDCOM — which is charged with improving the effectiveness and reaction time of the alliance’s land forces — could respond to an international crisis. In this case, the scenario dealt with the hypothetical invasion of NATO member Estonia, which borders Russia at NATO’s northeastern corner.
To that end, more than 3,700 troops took part in scenarios, simulated with both computer and traditional training events, that included everything from missile strikes to cyber attacks.
The bulk of Trident Lance was based out of the Joint Multinational Training Center in Grafenwöhr. Command elements from Poland, Greece and Turkey also took part, while U.S. Army in Europe provided a hefty logistical contribution.
Nicholson was joined by Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Phillip Breedlove and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation French Gen. Jean-Paul Palomeros in talking about how Trident Lance reflects the new reality of military operations in Europe.
“Two years ago the head of states and government of NATO decided to reinvest in training and exercises because they felt that we needed to regain our readiness after two decades of operations and to keep the lessons that we have learned through the operations,” Palomeros said. “Today, this connective forces initiative is a reality, and we see that through this exercise.
Even though this exercise has been in the planning stages for years, growing tensions in eastern Europe have given it added importance, Breedlove said.
“As you have seen over the past few months, Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine have triggered the alliance to begin a series of assurance and adaptation measures to assure our allies and adapt our military organizations to the new security environment in Europe,” he said.
“Trident Lance is a part of what will be a persistent and continuous level of activity, to include exercises large and small to ensure our forces are prepared to respond on short notice when needed.”
Nicholson added that some of the lessons learned from Trident Lance would be applied as NATO LANDCOM stands up its future rapid-reaction force.
“We’ve learned a tremendous amount through the exercise, but we’re also confident that coming out of this exercise we’re very capable, and we as an alliance are capable, of conducting large-scale land operations.”
December 8, 2014
US used Afghanistan as testing battleground: Analyst
A political commentator says the US has used Afghanistan as a testing [and] battle ground in order to advance its military agenda in other parts of the world.
Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO International Network, said in an interview with Press TV from Chicago that the United States used Afghanistan as a “testing and battle ground” in order to integrate the armies of several countries fighting under the banner of the NATO military alliance.
The commentator said the US-led forces were now being redeployed in a number of countries such as Finland, Poland, Lithuania and Georgia in order to contain Russian influence in Eastern Europe.
Rozoff also noted that the US presence in Afghanistan has “fueled terrorism” and “increased opium production” in the troubled region.
Several militant groups now fueling violence in the region were previously “trained and funded” by Americans during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he added.
He said the US-led forces have never been interested in preserving the “national sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” of Afghanistan
He suggested that countries such as Iran, China, India, Pakistan and Central Asian states could play a positive role in “maintaining the peace and stability” across the troubled region.
The commentator concluded by saying that the “US has been part of the problem, not the solution,” in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Frederick Peterson, a congressional defense policy advisor and another guest participating in the debate on Press TV, defended the US record on the Afghan war.
Peterson said the US forces have been assisting Afghans in order “to preserve their freedom and independence” and tackle the ongoing violence and “lawlessness.”
The US has said it will keep an extra 1000 troops in Afghanistan in 2015 after the planned withdrawal from the war-torn country. That will take the number of the US troops in Afghanistan to 10,800 after the partial withdrawal.
From Drums Under the Windows (1946)
If one only knew, he thought, there’s a helluva lot of moaning in the world today; and it would grow; grow till the common people came to themselves. Humanity’s music would be sad as ever, but it wouldn’t remain silent much longer. New thoughts were being born, not only in a cry, but in smoke, flame, and cannon-fire. Half the Christian world had just discovered that the other half no longer deserved to live. The slime, the bloodied mud, the crater and the shell-hole had become God’s Kingdom here on earth. Deep trenches led to the delectable mountains…In every ravine, on every hill, through every golden cornfield tens of thousands of Irish wriggled and twisted to death, their dimming eyes dazzled by the flame from a scarlet poppy, their dulling ears shocked by the lilting notes from a rising lark. The ghosts of them who fell at Dettigen, Fontenoy, and Waterloo were clasping their colder arms around the newer dead.
December 9, 2014
Ukraine to cancel its non-bloc status – Yatseniuk
KYIV: Ukraine’s non-bloc status will be cancelled and the state will adopt a new law on the foundations of domestic and foreign policy.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said this at a Cabinet of Ministers meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
“The law that was passed as a bribe to Russians, on the so-called non-bloc status of Ukraine, should be cancelled. Ukraine will adopt a new law on the foundations of domestic and foreign policy, where the non-bloc status will be cancelled and the Ukrainian army should meet NATO standards,” he said.
To this end, he said, Ukraine will approve every year an annual Ukraine-NATO action plan.
December 9, 2014
Ukraine loses six servicemen in past 24 hours
KYIV: Six Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and seven more have been wounded in the area of the anti-terrorist operation in east Ukraine over the past 24 hours.
National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) spokesman Andriy Lysenko said this at a briefing on Tuesday.
“As a result of armed clashes we have lost six Ukrainian soldiers, and seven more have sustained injuries,” Lysenko said.
December 9, 2014
192 Ukrainian soldiers killed in east since September 5 – General Staff chief
A total of 192 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed in the army operation area in the country’s eastern regions since a ceasefire was declared there in September.
“Today it is the fourth time we have declared a truce, a so-called “regime of silence.” All in all, 192 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since September 5,” Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander and General Staff Chief Viktor Muzhenko said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.
December 9, 2014
Georgian Soldiers in Africa- The President demands to expand the mandate
The President of Georgia says Georgian soldiers should stay in Africa. Giorgi Margvelashvili demands to expand the mandate of the armed forces for 3 months.
The request of the Commander in Chief is already at the Parliament. The Secretary of the Security Council is going to visit the Parliament in nearest future.
The Mandate of Georgian Soldiers in Central Africa expires on January first. Tomorrow morning hundred soldiers from the Vaziani will fly to Central Africa to take part in Peacekeeping Mission.
December 9, 2014
In Tbilisi, German FM Pledges Berlin’s Support for Georgia’s European Path
Tbilisi: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hailed close bilateral ties with Tbilisi, reiterated Germany’s support to Georgia’s European integration, saying that the country is closer to visa-free regime with the EU, and also expressed Berlin’s support to Georgia’s NATO integration, noting that Germany was behind substantial package of cooperation, which was offered to the country at the alliance’s summit in Wales.
Steinmeier started his two-day visit to Tbilisi, his second one this year, on Monday with a meeting with his Georgian counterpart Tamar Beruchashvili. Later on Monday evening he met President Giorgi Margvelashvili; he will meet PM Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference after talks with his Georgian counterpart, the German Foreign Minister said that relations between the two countries are very intensive now and bilateral ties have never been so close.
“I promise that we will actively support Georgia’s European path and choice,” Steinmeier said, adding that the Georgian authorities are “continuing European course.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
December 5, 2014
General Paloméros at the European Parliament
On the occasion of the launch of European parliamentary work, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros was invited to address one of Parliament’s subcommittees on Security and Defence.
On this occasion, SACT said: “The urgent need for European Nations to stop the budget cuts and to reinvest in their Defence has been stressed by the Heads of state and Government in Wales. Therefore, the Allies pledged to spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on defence and 20% of their defence budget on inventions including those related to Research and Technology. […] there will remain a crucial need to invest these future resources very smartly in a concerted manner both inside the EU and NATO,” he said.
General Paloméros confirmed by his intervention that the European Parliament on many occasions showed its attachment to the role of NATO as a guarantor of stability and security in Europe and the world, and as a forum of transatlantic dialogue. He pointed out that it now is time to deepen the relations between NATO and the EU, two organisations that are united by a strategic partnership, as reaffirmed at the Chicago Summit, and to strengthen the mutual cooperation between European respective institutions.
The European Parliament supports the idea of developing a more intense partnership between NATO and the European Union in view of reinforcing the security interests of the Euro-Atlantic area, while respecting the independence of both organisations [sic].
From Epitome 58
Translated by Thomas De Quincey
What is so dreadful, what so dismal and revolting, as the murder of a human creature? Therefore it is, that life for us is protected by laws the most rigorous: therefore it is, that wars are objects of execration. And yet the traditional usage of Rome has devised a mode of authorising murder apart from war, and in defiance of law…Now, if merely to be present at a murder fastens on a man the character of an accomplice; if barely to be a spectator involves us in one common guilt with the perpetrator; it follows of necessity, that, in these murders of the amphitheatre, the hand which inflicts the fatal blow is not more deeply imbrued in blood than his who sits and looks on: neither can he be clear of blood who has countenanced its shedding; nor that man seem other than a participator in murder who gives his applause to the murderer, and calls for prizes in his behalf.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 5, 2014
Georgian Unit is Ready to Join NRF
“Alfa” Company of the 12th Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade has already finished training to join NATO Response Force.
“Alfa” Company conducted demonstration exercise on Vaziani firing range. Observer group composed from the Georgian military assessed level of preparedness of the company. According to the preliminary assessment of the National Assessment Group, the company successfully accomplished its task and is interoperable with NATO units.
Deputy Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Colonel Roman Jokhadze, Commander of the Eastern Command of the Land Forces, Colonel Alexandre Kiknadze, Commander of the I Infantry Brigade, Colonel Giorgi Shengelia, members of the National Assessment Group and representatives of the Office of Defence and Cooperation (ODC) attended the final exercise.
According to the simulated scenario, insurgents hinder the central government of the imitated country to run the country. NATO Response Forces is helping the local government to regain control over the region. Georgian Company intelligence detachment received information that hostile forces fortify in the village where they arranged IED factory and weapon cache. Georgian military decides to conduct cordon and search operation.
Since August 2013 till now, Georgian military underwent special trainings as in Georgia as well as in Germany. The trainings in Hohenfels were conducted in the framework of NATO Operational Capabilities Concept. Evaluation of the level of preparedness of the Georgian servicemen was carried out in the United States Joint Multinational Command Training Center.
Prior to Germany, the company underwent intensive training in Georgia. During ten months they underwent training in protection, clearing, cordon; convoy, also, search and rescue operations.
Azeri Press Agency
December 8, 2014
GUAM – United States Joint Statement adopted
Baku: GUAM [Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova] – United States Joint Statement was adopted, as a result of the meeting of the representatives of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of GUAM with the representatives of the Government of the United States of America that took place in the margins of OSCE Ministerial meeting in Basel, APA reports.
The sides underscored the need for progress toward the peaceful resolution of the conflicts in the GUAM region.
The document says that the threat or use of force currently affecting the Member States of GUAM remains a serious concern.
The Sides reaffirmed their commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the GUAM Member States. The Sides agreed to continue dialogue on these conflicts in the appropriate forums.
From Hypatia (1853)
For somewhat more than four hundred years, the Roman Empire and the Christian Church, born into the world almost at the same moment, had been developing themselves side by side as two great rival powers, in deadly struggle for the possession of the human race. The weapons of the Empire had been not merely an overwhelming physical force, and a ruthless lust of aggressive conquest: but, even more powerful still, an unequalled genius for organisation, and an uniform system of external law and order. This was generally a real boon to conquered nations, because it substituted a fixed and regular spoliation for the fortuitous and arbitrary miseries of savage warfare: but it arrayed, meanwhile, on the side of the Empire the wealthier citizens of every province, by allowing them their share in the plunder of the labouring masses below them. These, in the country districts, were utterly enslaved; while in the cities, nominal freedom was of little use to masses kept from starvation by the alms of the government, and drugged into brutish good humour by a vast system of public spectacles, in which the realms of nature and of art were ransacked to glut the wonder, lust, and ferocity of a degraded populace.
But if the emperors had become Christian, the Empire had not. Here and there an abuse was lopped off; or an edict was passed for the visitation of prisons and for the welfare of prisoners; or a Theodosius was recalled to justice and humanity for a while by the stern rebukes of an Ambrose. But the Empire was still the same: still a great tyranny, enslaving the masses, crushing national life, fattening itself and its officials on a system of world-wide robbery; and while it was paramount, there could be no hope for the human race. Nay, there were even those among the Christians who saw, like Dante afterwards, in the ‘fatal gift of Constantine,’ and the truce between the Church and the Empire, fresh and more deadly danger. Was not the Empire trying to extend over the Church itself that upas shadow with which it had withered up every other form of human existence; to make her, too, its stipendiary slave-official, to be pampered when obedient, and scourged whenever she dare assert a free will of her own, a law beyond that of her tyrants; to throw on her, by a refined hypocrisy, the care and support of the masses on whose lifeblood it was feeding? So thought many then, and, as I believe, not unwisely.
Between the bare walls of a doleful fire-scarred tower in the Campagna of Rome, standing upon a knoll of dry brown grass, ringed with a few grim pines, blasted and black with smoke; there sat Raphael Aben-Ezra, working out the last formula of the great world problem —’Given Self; to find God.’ Through the doorless stone archway he could see a long vista of the plain below, covered with broken trees, trampled crops, smoking villas, and all the ugly scars of recent war, far onward to the quiet purple mountains and the silver sea, towards which struggled, far in the distance, long dark lines of moving specks, flowing together, breaking up, stopping short, recoiling back to surge forward by some fresh channel, while now and then a glitter of keen white sparks ran through the dense black masses…
December 7, 2014
Debate: Why US wants more troops in Afghanistan?
The United States has announced that it wants to keep more troops in Afghanistan than what was previously planned for 2015.
According the outgoing Pentagon chief, Chuck Hagel, 1,000 more troops would remain in Afghanistan, bringing the US troops level to a total of 10,800. The original plan was for 9,800 troops to stay in the country after 2014.
In this edition of The Debate, Press TV has conducted an interview with Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO International Network from Chicago, and Frederick Peterson, congressional defense policy advisor from Washington, to see why 13 years after the US attack on Afghanistan, this country is still unstable and insecure.
From The Last Puritan: A Memoir in the Form of a Novel (1935)
When a private at first in the ranks, and soon in various more responsible posts, he realised how exactly how war was like football. He remembered all the false reasons which his mother and other high-minded people used to give to justify that game: that it was good for the health, or for young men’s morals, or for testing and strengthening character; whereas he knew by experience that after the playing season every blackguard was as much, or twice as much, a blackguard as before, every sneak a sneak and every rake a rake. So now the same outsiders apologised for this war, saying that poor Serbia had been outraged, or poor Belgium invaded, or the Lusitania sunk; all of which might be grounds for resentment. Yet the soldier feels no resentment – except perhaps against his own officers – and has suffered no wrong. He simply hears the bugle, as it were for the chase; endures discipline, when once he is caught in its mesh, because he can’t help it; and fights keenly on occasion, because war is the greatest excitement, the greatest adventure in human life. Just so, in little, football has been an outlet for instinct, and a mock war. The howling crowds were stirred vicariously by the same craving for rush and rivalry, and were exactly like the public in time of war, cheering each his own side…
“Old-fashioned: no doubt I am old-fashioned. Weh dir, dass du ein Enkel bist. I was born old. It is a dreadful inheritance, that of mine, that I need to be honest, that I need to be true, that I need to be just. That’s not the fashion of to-day. The world is full of conscript minds, only they are in different armies, and nobody is fighting to be free, but each to make his own conscription universal…My people first went to America as exiles into a stark wilderness to lead a life apart, purer and soberer than the carnival life of Christendom. We were not content to be well-dressed animals, rough or cunning or lustfully prowling and acquisitive, and perhaps inventing a religion to encourage us in our animality. We will not now sacrifice to Baal because we seem to have failed. We will bide our time. We will lie low and dip under, until the flood has passed and wasted itself over our heads…”
“I have submitted to all their conscriptions. I have played all their games. I am playing their horrible game now. I am going to fight the Germans whom I like on the side of the French whom I don’t like. It’s my duty. Yet in my inner man how can I be a conscript; and how can I help denouncing all these impositions and feeling that such duties ought not to be our duties, and such blind battles ought not to be our battles?”
The multitude of the fallen during those years had made death so familiar, that it was almost without pain, with a sigh of resignation at unforeseen inevitable evils, like bad weather and taxes…And the worst of it is, as Vanny in those days often had occasion to observe, that with the passing act, as for instance with this war, the purpose it might have had, or might be supposed to have had, passes also and becomes irrelevant…
Stars and Stripes
December 2, 2014
NATO, Afghanistan launch post-combat mission
By Slobodan Lekic
BRUSSELS: NATO and Afghanistan on Tuesday formally launched the new training and advisory mission that will take over from departing alliance combat troops on Jan. 1.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the long-anticipated decision during a meeting of alliance foreign ministers in Brussels.
“Today we have decided to launch the Resolute Support mission…to train, assist and advise the Afghan National Security Forces,” Stoltenberg said.
Ghani paid tribute to the NATO troops who were killed or wounded in the 13-year war in Afghanistan. More than 3,400 NATO troops have died and more than 30,000 have been wounded.
“We welcome the end of the combat mission, but more significantly, we welcome the non-combat mission,” Ghani told the foreign ministers.
Ghani’s openness to NATOs’ continued involvement in Afghanistan contrasts sharply with the attitudes of his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, who had become increasingly hostile toward the U.S. and NATO presence.
Karzai’s disdain toward the West and a protracted election battle to determine his successor had raised doubts as to whether the Resolute Support mission would go forward at all.
Key was the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States and a Status of Forces Agreement with NATO laying out the terms for a follow-on force to remain in Afghanistan next year. Karzai had refused to sign. Ghani did so immediately after forming a unity government in September with his election rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who is the chief executive in his Cabinet and accompanied him to Brussels for the NATO meeting.
Ghani said the Afghan army and police — built up, trained and financed by the U.S. and its allies — were ready to assume full responsibility for national security next year.
“But despite our firm commitment, we are not yet able to do everything alone. Your continued support will therefore be key in ensuring that our collective gains will be enduring,” Ghani said.
Afghan forces, which number about 350,000 have been taking heavy casualties this year at the hands of Taliban insurgents as international forces withdrew. Without the superior armaments and air power Western forces provided, Afghan forces have been hard-pressed to keep insurgents at bay, let alone defeat them.
For the new mission, Washington has pledged nearly 10,000 troops — mainly trainers and advisers — along with a contingent of anti-terrorism forces. NATO allies and partner nations are expected to contribute about 2,000 more advisers.
Taliban leaders have vowed to continue fighting until all foreign troops have left the country. In recent weeks, insurgents have conducted a series of attacks in Kabul and across the country in an apparent effort to undermine the Afghan security forces and faith in the government’s ability to provide adequate security.
“The Resolute Support mission now marks a new phase in NATO’s support for the Afghan security forces,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “The recent wave of Taliban attacks shows how vital it is that the international community remains firm in its support.”
Although the new mission will be primarily to train and advise, U.S. officials have said the United States would also continue to provide some level of air support for Afghan troops battling the insurgents, because the Afghan air force isn’t likely to become fully capable for another two years.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, NATO established an initial rapid-reaction force that will serve to reassure allies in eastern Europe concerned about Russia’s intentions and deter any threats against them.
Stoltenberg told reporters the initial rapid-reaction unit, consisting of several hundred troops from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, is intended to be an interim solution until NATO’s so-called Spearhead Force becomes operational in 2016. Current plans call for that to be a brigade-strength unit with 4,000-6,000 troops.
“But we need to be ready in the meantime,” Stoltenberg said, and the interim rapid-reaction unit ”will be available early next year to provide the quick-reaction capability we need, straight away.”
The units are intended to provide assurances to countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all of which have a common border with Russia.
Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula earlier this year and its continuing support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has unnerved NATO allies once under Soviet domination and soured relations with the 28-member alliance, which has found new purpose in showing support for allies on Russia’s periphery.
A statement issued after a meeting of NATO and Ukrainian officials earlier Tuesday, condemned Russia’s “deliberate destabilization” of eastern Ukraine, including providing tanks and weapons, and its military buildup in Crimea.
Stoltenberg said the alliance had set up several trust funds to help Ukraine improve its military capabilities in logistics, command and control, communications and cyberdefense. Funding will also be provided for the retraining of former soldiers and rehabilitation of wounded troops.
But the alliance has stopped short of providing weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces, as demanded by some U.S. politicians.
Sinclair Lewis: The only thing not absurd about wars was that they kill a good many millions of people
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
In July, 1939, when Doremus had been in Montreal a little over five months, and a year after his sentence to concentration camp, the American newspapers which arrived at N.U. headquarters were full of resentment against Mexico.
Bands of Mexicans had raided across into the United States – always, curiously enough, when our troops were off in the desert, practice-marching or perhaps gathering sea shells. They burned a town in Texas – fortunately all the women and children were away on a Sunday-school picnic, that afternoon. A Mexican Patriot (aforetime he had also worked as an Ethiopian Patriot, a Chinese Patriot, and a Haitian Patriot) came across, to the tent of an M.M. brigadier, and confessed that while it hurt him to tattle on his own beloved country, conscience compelled him to reveal that his Mexican superiors were planning to fly over and bomb Laredo, San Antonio, Bisbee, and probably Tacoma, and Bangor, Maine.
This excited the Corpo newspapers very much indeed and in New York and Chicago they published photographs of the conscientious traitor half an hour after he had appeared at the Brigadier’s tent…where, at that moment, forty-six reporters happened to be sitting about on neighboring cactuses.
America rose to defend her hearthstones, including all the hearthstones on Park Avenue, New York, against false and treacherous Mexico, with its appalling army of 67,000 men, with thirty-nine military aeroplanes. Women in Cedar Rapids hid under the bed; elderly gentlemen in Cattaraugus County, New York, concealed their money in elm-tree boles; and the wife of a chicken-raiser seven miles N.E. of Estelline, South Dakota, a woman widely known as a good cook and a trained observer, distinctly saw a file of ninety-two Mexican soldiers pass her cabin, starting at 3:17 A.M. on July 27, 1939.
To answer this threat, America, the one country that had never lost a war and never started an unjust one, rose as one man, as the Chicago Daily Evening Corporate put it. It was planned to invade Mexico as soon as it should be cool enough, or even earlier, if the refrigeration and air-conditioning could be arranged. In one month, five million men were drafted for the invasion, and started training.
Thus – perhaps too flippantly – did Joe Cailey and Doremus discuss the declaration of war against Mexico. If they found the whole crusade absurd, it may be stated in their defense that they regarded all wars always as absurd; in the baldness of the lying by both sides about the causes; in the spectacle of grown-up men engaged in the infantile diversions of dressing-up in fancy clothes and marching to primitive music. The only thing not absurd about wars, said Doremus and Cailey, was that along with their skittishness they did kill a good many millions of people. Ten thousand starving babies seemed too high a price for a Sam Browne belt for even the sweetest, touchingest young lieutenant.
…As month by month they saw that they had been cheated with marked cards again, they were indignant; but they were busy with cornfield and sawmill and dairy and motor factory, and it took the impertinent idiocy of demanding that they march down into the desert and help steal a friendly country to jab them into awakening and into discovering that, while they had been asleep, they had been kidnaped by a small gang of criminals armed with high ideals, well-buttered words and a lot of machine guns.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
December 3, 2014
Secretary General: NATO and the European Union are ”stronger together”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with the new President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, at the headquarters of the Council in Brussels on Wednesday (3 December 2014). The meeting took place only a few days into Mr. Tusk’s new mandate.
Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO and the EU share 22 members, as well as the same values and challenges, to the east and to the south. The two leaders discussed Russia’s continued destabilisation of Ukraine and their impact on Euro-Atlantic stability. The Secretary General said, “Russia has violated fundamental principles. That borders cannot be changed by force. Disputes should be settled by talks, not by tanks. And the era of spheres of influence is over. Those principles are the basis of the peaceful Europe we have built for two decades – together with Russia.”
Mr. Stoltenberg stated that a strong NATO ensures stability in Europe, and a stronger Europe also contributes to a strong NATO. He underlined the importance of continued close cooperation for a stronger defence, and mentioned the European Council next year as a “crucial stepping-stone.” He called for NATO and the European Union to continue to work in mutually reinforcing ways, “so that in a dangerous world, we can and must be stronger together.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Land Command
December 1, 2014
Allied Land Command takes part in Exercise Trident Lance 2014
IZMIR, Turkey: NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) is participating in Exercise TRIDENT LANCE 2014, which is currently underway at the Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
The exercise, which involves close to 4,000 personnel, will test NATO’s ability to coordinate and execute a NATO-led Article 5 Collective Defence operation in a multinational environment. It also serves to certify land-based command and control elements for potential NATO operational deployments based on high-intensity, war fighting conditions.
“Our job at Allied Land Command is to ensure the land forces of NATO are ready to deal with any threats to the Alliance,” said Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, LANDCOM Commander. “Over the next 2 weeks, we will be conducting an exercise which will be the first multi-Corps NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, focused on protecting the territorial integrity of NATO members.”
TRIDENT LANCE includes NATO’s SKOLKAN scenario, a scenario that requires Article V collective defence of a NATO member within a notional European region. The scenario was commissioned by Supreme Allied Commander Europe and designed by the Joint Warfare Centre. The scenario challenges the command and control structure, while overcoming gaps to process and capabilities. Events to be redressed and enhanced, as NATO Forces and troop contributing nations negotiate the best ways to defend sovereign territory and a NATO member.
The challenges presented in the fictional SKOLKAN scenario include hybrid warfare, theatre-ballistic missile defence, cyber defence and chemical, biological and radiological defence.
“The ability to operate together, specifically multinational forces conducting complex operations, is critical,” said Lt. Gen. Nicholson. “The ability to have an expeditionary logistics capability, air and ground forces integration, and the ability to rapidly deploy to threatened areas require adaptation on the part of the Alliance to be able to do that. And this training is a step to improve our skills.”
Exercise TRIDENT LANCE 2014 wraps up on 13 December.
Story by SHAPE and HQ LANDCOM Public Affairs Offices
December 3, 2014
Georgian FM Meets NATO Secretary General
Tbilisi: Georgian Foreign Minister, Tamar Beruchashvili, met on December 3 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.
Beruchashvili said after the meeting that “regional security challenges”, among them Russia’s new treaty with breakaway Abkhazia, and implementation of package of enhanced cooperation, which was agreed at the NATO Wales summit in September, were discussed.
NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, will be visiting Tbilisi to hold meetings with the Georgian leadership, as well as opposition representatives, on December 4.
December 3, 2014
NATO Envoy, Georgian Officials Discuss Implementation of ‘Substantial Package’
Tbilisi: NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, said implementation of a substantial package, endorsed by the Alliance at the Wales summit for Georgia, “is going well.”
Appathurai met in Tbilisi on December 4 PM Irakli Garibashvili; Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze; State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze, as well as parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili and representatives from opposition UNM party.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting the state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Appathurai said that the focus of his discussions with the Georgian officials was implementation of package of enhanced cooperation to help the country prepare for NATO membership.
“I can tell you it [implementation of the package] is going well on the Georgian side and on the NATO side,” he said.
The elements of this package include assisting defense capacity building in Georgia through “embedded trainers”, joint exercises and setting up of a joint NATO-Georgia training center in Georgia.
“There will be a lot more Georgia in NATO and lot of NATO in Georgia,” Appathurai said.
“We welcome very much the speed with which Georgia has been working to define this new joint training center,” Appathurai said, adding that NATO defense planning experts are already in Georgia, working closely with the Georgian colleagues on this issue.
He said that what now has to be defined is in essence what kind of training will be provided, what kind of military units and what size of units will be getting training in this center and how it will be integrated into Georgia’s own requirements and its other partnership activities.
Answers to these questions, Appathurai said, will also help Georgia to decide the best location for this center. “I know there are only few options,” he added.
Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze said after meeting the NATO secretary general’s special representative that he hopes the implementation plan of the package will be finally approved at NATO-Georgia Commission session, which is planned in February on the sideline of NATO defense ministerial meeting.
“We will spare no effort to implement this plan, which is aimed at strengthening of our defense and security capabilities,” Janelidze said.
Appathurai said that the Georgian Defense Ministry “is focused very much” on implementation of this package.
Asked about a statement of chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Elmar Brok, that NATO should focus on strengthening its collective defense and that “this is not the time to discuss the membership” of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, Appathurai pointed that Moldova is a neutral country and NATO membership is not an issue there, while Ukrainian leadership makes focus on reforms; in respect of Georgia, he said, 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision stands, according to which Georgia will join the alliance once it fulfills necessary criteria.
Appathurai said that the package with its “concrete steps” is “explicitly” designed to help Georgia for NATO membership. He said that focus is now on implementing the package, which will also help to implement the Bucharest Summit decision.
“So in that context Mr. Brok is right – there is no point in discussing membership, our point now is to discuss implementation, which will help Georgia prepare for membership,” Appathurai said.
Commenting on newly signed treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia, Appathurai said that NATO shares Georgian analysis of this so called treaty.
“We do see it as a substantial new step in Russia taking control of this region,” Appathurai said.
Asked if he sees it as an impediment to Georgia’s path towards NATO membership, Appathurai responded: “No.”
“This complication was already there, when even at the most recent summit [in Wales in September] the Allies reconfirmed the Bucharest decision that Georgia will become a NATO member,” Appathurai said.
‘Concerns over Perception of Politically Motivated Prosecutions’
Asked about ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania’s allegations that the arrest of MoD and general staff officials was politically motivated that target him, NATO secretary general’s special representative responded that Georgia should avoid even the perception of politically motivated prosecutions.
“We are concerned about a perception of politically motivated prosecutions,” he said and also noted that he cannot comment on individual cases.
“It is crucial to avoid of course the reality of politically motivated prosecutions and, as an extension of that, a perception of it,” Appathurai said.
“If this perception becomes widespread and deeply engrained in NATO capitals, it can become an obstacle on Georgia’s path towards NATO membership,” he said and added that it’s important for the Georgian government to be as transparent as possible.
Democratic reforms, as well as reforms in the justice system were discussed at a meeting with parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili, Appathurai said.
“The speaker has very clear and I think very constructive ideas on how to ensure national consensus on very important issues like Georgia’s foreign policy orientation but also reforms to the justice system and other internal governmental procedures,” NATO secretary general’s special representative said.
“He [Usupashvili] plays a very important role within the [GD ruling] coalition, but also we think, within the society more broadly in ensuring consensus and bringing parties together,” Appathurai said.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
December 4, 2014
Meeting with James Appathurai
NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia pays an official visit to Georgia. First Mr. James Appathurai met with Minister of Defence Mindia Janelidze.
A key topic of the meeting was discussing implementation details of the Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the NATO Wales Summit. The sides focused on the commitments undertaken by Georgia with regard to realizing the new package of enhanced cooperation with NATO. As Minister outlined, timely implementation of the package is a main priority of the country and expressed hope that NATO will help Georgia to carry out the directions set out in the package. Mr. Appathurai stressed that Ministry of Defence goes in a right direction: “We have from the recent NATO Summit a blueprint of implementing the package which will help Georgia move closer to NATO membership. Ministry is focused very much on implementation on making it real, detailed and what each step will be putting the resources in place. NATO is already participating very actively and we are already identifying the people who will be coming in here, defining where the joint training center will be – that’s a Georgian decision of course, hopefully we can define it together. There will be further high-level visits to focus on implementation.”
Discussions referred to the current reforms in the Ministry of Defence and the future plans. As Mr. Mindia Janelidze highlighted, the transformation process will continue successfully and Georgia remains committed to contribute to the NATO and EU-led international operations. Next year Georgia will engage in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan and NATO Response Forces.
Mr. James Appathurai thanked the Georgian side for participation in international peacekeeping missions: “I also passed the message to the Minister – this is to thank Georgia for the contribution your country is making to NATO-led mission and continue to make but also to other operations in other theaters like in Africa. This is a small country that makes a huge contribution. Georgian forces are in some very difficult areas and we know how difficult that is. You will see a lot more of NATO in Georgia, we see a lot more Georgia in NATO every year and we continue to be the case.”
Minister summed up the results of the meeting: “It was a very fruitful meeting. First, we have reviewed the issues of current cooperation. A key topic of the discussion regarded the NATO Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the Wales summit and its implementation process. NATO Headquarters and Mr. Appathurai as the NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative will be actively engaged in the elaboration of implementation plan. I hope that it will be finally agreed and approved at the NATO-Georgia Commission session due to be held during Defence Ministerial in February of next year. We, in our turn, will do our outmost to realize the substantial NATO-Georgia package that is actually directed to strengthen defence capabilities and security of our country.”
In the framework of the visit, the NATO representative will meet Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Davit Usupashvili and parliamentary majority and minority members.