Archive for August, 2010

Afghanistan: North Atlantic Military Bloc’s Ten-Year War In South Asia

August 31, 2010 2 comments

August 31, 2010

Afghanistan: North Atlantic Military Bloc’s Ten-Year War In South Asia
Rick Rozoff

In slightly over a month, on October 7, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan will enter its tenth year.

The conflict represents the longest continuous combat operations in the history of the United States and Afghanistan alike. With the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the only time in its existence activating its Article 5 mutual military assistance clause in September 2001 and thus entering the Afghan fray, European nations that had not been at war since the Second World War are now engaged in an endless combat mission.

There are 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, 120,000 of them under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Military personnel from over a quarter of the 192 members of the United Nations.

They include soldiers from almost every European country, several Asia-Pacific states, and nations in the Americas and the Middle East.

NATO has grown from 19 to 28 members since it took control of ISAF in 2003 and has expanded military partnerships with several nations that have deployed troops to Afghanistan, from Australia to Georgia, Montenegro to South Korea, Armenia to the United Arab Emirates.

In the same interim the North Atlantic military bloc has assumed the role of an international, expeditionary, increasingly more multifaceted and politicized armed intervention force, a status that will be formalized this November at its summit in Portugal when its first 21st century Strategic Concept is adopted.

In the middle of August the death count for U.S. and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan passed the 2,000 mark and has grown almost every day since – 2051 by August 31 – with American fatalities accounting for some 60 percent of the total. The U.S. suffered 19 combat deaths in the four days beginning on August 28.

Troops from at least 26 nations serving under NATO’s ISAF have been killed in Afghanistan, a record number of countries to sacrifice soldiers in one nation. 521 foreign troops lost their lives in the Afghan war theater last year, a dramatic increase from the preceding year when 295 were killed. So far this year the number is 478, with 2010 poised to be the deadliest year in the nine-year war for U.S. and NATO forces.

The amount of foreign soldiers killed is matched if not exceeded by the number of Afghan civilians slain by NATO.

On August 15 a NATO vehicle hit a motorcycle in southern Afghanistan, killing five civilians including a woman and her three children.

Two days later NATO troops killed a father and son in a raid in Nangarhar province, triggering a protest that blocked the highway from the capital of the province, Jalalabad, to the capital of the country, Kabul.

On August 21 as many as 1,000 Afghans took to the streets in Baghlan province after NATO raided a house in the Baghlan-i-Jadid district, killing one civilian and abducting two others. “Chanting anti-government and anti-NATO slogans, the protesters warned [they would] hold demonstrations in the future if the killing of civilians is not investigated.” [1]

Two days later officials and residents of the same province accused NATO of killing eight civilians during an early morning raid.

On August 25 an Afghan identified as a police trainee and two Spanish soldiers were killed in a shoot-out at a NATO base in Badghis province. Afterwards thousands of Afghans attempted to storm the base in response to what they viewed as the slaying of an Afghan soldier by NATO troops. Four Spanish soldiers were hurt in the melee. One account of the incident reported that NATO forces opened fire on demonstrators, “killing dozens of people and wounding more than 20 other civilians.” [2]

Two days later NATO aircraft bombed a remote part of Kunar province, and according to provincial police chief Khalilullah Ziayee, “In the bombardment six children, aged six to 12, were killed. Another child was injured.” [3]

The time when NATO could pretend that the International Security Assistance Force was a peacekeeping and reconstruction initiative is long over, the pretext drowned in the blood of Afghan civilians.

Earlier this month the German Bundeswehr announced that it was dropping all charges against Colonel Georg Klein, who ordered a NATO air strike in Kunduz province last September that killed 142 people, by Afghan accounts all civilians. [4] “Investigators found no evidence that Klein had broken any rules.” [5]

On August 29 Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg paid an unannounced visit to “a combat zone in Afghanistan” – in Kunduz province – “the first time a senior German politician has met German troops who are facing off day to day against the Taliban.” [6]

15 kilometers from the rapid reaction force base he inspected, four German soldiers were killed in a firefight this April. Guttenberg participated in “ceremonies paying tribute to German soldiers who had been killed.” [7]

German ground combat operations in the province are the nation’s first since the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945.

Berlin has abandoned post-war limits on the number of troops that can be deployed abroad – moreover to a war zone – and has as many as 4,600 in Afghanistan. 47 Bundeswehr troops have died serving NATO in the country.

On August 23 France lost two troops, a marine officer and soldier, in a firefight 55 kilometers north of the Afghan capital, bringing France’s death toll to 47 also. Paris supplies 3,750 troops to NATO’s ISAF.

Two days afterward President Nicolas Sarkozy, who reintegrated France into NATO’s military command structure last year, stated “France will remain engaged in Afghanistan, with its allies, for as long as necessary….” [8]

On August 21 Britain lost a solider in Helmand province, its 332nd death, the second largest number after that of the U.S.

The Afghan war is also providing the 12 Eastern European countries brought into NATO in the past 11 years as well as new partners in the Asia-Pacific region their first combat in decades. Along with operations in Iraq starting in 2003, new NATO members are involved in warfighting for the first time since War World II and NATO Contact Countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea for the first time since the Vietnam War.

A Polish convoy in Ghazni province came under mortar attack on August 24 and the following day two Polish soldiers were wounded in shelling outside the Four Corners base in the same province.

As Poland’s armed forces were fighting their first war since 1939, the U.S. Air Force deployed airmen and planes from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Poland’s 33rd Air Base near Powidz for seven days of joint training. Operation Screaming Eagle included paratroop and night flying training.

“The training also allowed a chance for members of the Polish air force to receive incentive flights on a C-130J Super Hercules….Polish airmen received the first of five refurbished C-130E Hercules military transport planes in early 2009” [9] from the U.S. for use in Afghanistan and other NATO military missions overseas.

Earlier this year Britain conducted its latest Exercise Flying Rhino war games in the Czech Republic. “The British Army’s largest land-air military exercise” occurred in that country where “Forward Air Controllers [prepared] to coordinate aircraft flying over Afghanistan at 1,000mph (1,600km/h) in an airspace littered with 45kg rounds being fired from the ground.”

“The fast-paced European deployment saw more than 2,000 UK troops linking up with military personnel from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Slovakia and the United States in an operational environment….[A] unified effort was imperative to the logistics of the exercise with 32 aircraft, 600 vehicles and thousands of servicemen and women being moved into the training area.” [10]

In the middle of August the Czech military disclosed it would deploy its first four Pandur armored personnel carriers to Afghanistan. A spokesman for the nation’s General Staff said “The Pandurs were specially modified for tens of millions of crowns to serve in allied operations” and, in addition, “14 Iveco light armoured vehicles will be sent to Afghanistan,” where a Czech unit has already been using 15 of them. [11]

Despite talk of a drawdown of NATO military forces in Afghanistan, new member states in Eastern Europe are being tasked to increase the deployment of troops and ordnance to the war front.

NATO’s war in Afghanistan is being used not only to integrate the armed forces of over 50 nations into a U.S.-controlled globally deployable military force, but also to expand the Pentagon’s reach into Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, ever closer to the borders of Russia, Iran and China.

Since 2005 the U.S. has acquired seven new military bases in Romania and Bulgaria, including strategic air bases, and launched the world’s first multinational strategic airlift operation at the Papa Air Base in Hungary.

In June the U.S. led 100 personnel from five NATO nations in the first paratroop exercise under the auspices of the Heavy Airlift Wing at the Hungarian base. An American sergeant present at the drills said, “It’s…beneficial for the other countries participating if they were to deploy to Afghanistan, because from the training, they would understand how the U.S. military works.” [12]

Activated in the summer of 2009, last October the Heavy Airlift Wing flew one of its U.S. C-17 Globemaster IIIs into the Afghan capital with military representatives of 42 countries, all 28 NATO members and 14 other troop contributors.

By this April the operation had “moved 2.1 million pounds of equipment essential to surge operations supporting the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

“The international wing has been part of the operation to move more than 6
million pounds of basic expeditionary airfield resources, or BEAR materiel, to build six forward operating bases….” [13]

On August 23 a Hungarian convoy in northern Afghanistan was hit by a roadside bomb and then fired on from several directions. One Hungarian soldier was killed and three wounded in the attack. One of the injured troops later died, Hungary’s first female combat fatality in Afghanistan and undoubtedly ever.

Last week the former Soviet republic of Estonia, with a population of only 1,300,000, announced its largest-ever military vehicle deal, purchasing 80 armored personnel carriers from the Netherlands.

A spokesman from the country’s Defense Ministry stated, “The deal doubles the number of armored vehicles in the Estonian defense forces and is the biggest armored vehicle deal ever made (by Estonia)” The transaction followed by five months the biggest arms purchase in the nation’s history with the “delivery of a short-range surface-to-air missile system from European defense giant MBDA and Sweden’s Saab costing one billion kroons.” (Kroon = 0.0814 U.S. dollars.)

“Estonia joined NATO in 2004 and has been upgrading its defense equipment to meet the standards of the 28-nation trans-Atlantic alliance….” [14]

On August 30 the country lost its eighth soldier in Afghanistan.

Again to demonstrate that NATO has no plans to leave South Asia in the imminent future, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan announced on August 28 that fellow Baltic state Lithuania will deploy military personnel to train the Afghan National Army, partnering with Ukraine, not an official ISAF troop contributor. The former Soviet states signed a two-year commitment to begin in 2011.

A Los Angeles Times feature of August 19 entitled “Romania shows its support for the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan” stated “the U.S. military and political leadership has put a priority on strengthening ties with Romania,” which has turned four military bases over to the Pentagon and NATO in recent years and this February announced it would host American land-based Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic missiles.

While the Netherlands became the first NATO member state to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, since last year Romania has increased its contributions to NATO’s Afghan war effort from 962 to over 1,500 troops, “even as Romania’s economy is suffering and defense spending is being cut.”

“To the Romanians, participation in the Afghan mission is a good way to demonstrate their bona fides as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and as an ally of the United States….” [15]

Earlier this month NATO awarded Romanian troops medals for their role in the Alliance’s first ground war. “The event started with a moment of silence in memory of Romanian, US and Afghan troops killed in Afghanistan.” [16]

Neighboring Bulgaria, where the U.S. has acquired three new bases including the Bezmer Air Base, sent 200 army rangers to Afghanistan in the same week. At the beginning of August Defense Minister Anyu Angelov “announced that Bulgaria was going to change the functions of the Bulgarian troops in Afghanistan, and that instead of guard units, it was going to send a 700-strong combat regiment by the end of 2012.” [17]

Montenegro, the world’s youngest nation (and newest member of the United Nations) with a population of only 670,000, lately deployed its second contingent of troops to Afghanistan. The diminutive Adriatic state became independent in 2006 and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program the same year. The next year NATO signed a pact with Montenegro permitting the bloc’s troops to cross the country, and in 2008 granted it an advanced Individual Partnership Action Plan. Last year NATO followed up with a Membership Action Plan, the final step to full membership.

This year Montenegro became the 44th Troop Contributing Nation for NATO’s Afghan mission, preceded by Armenia – the first member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to be assigned that role – and followed by Mongolia, South Korea and Malaysia, to indicate NATO’s expanded reach into Asia.

On August 24 Australia – a NATO Contact Country partner along with Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – lost its 41st soldier in Afghanistan. With 1,550 troops in the country, Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor.

On the same day Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, announced that Australian troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014: “We will still be there…beyond the two to four years [scheduled for training Afghan army units], for a period of time.” [18]

Last week Singapore deployed a 52-troop Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Task Group to southern Afghanistan, which “will operate out of Multinational Base Tarin Kowt to augment the International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF’s) surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in Uruzgan….” [19]

NATO’s role in Asia is not limited to 120,000 troops in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is steadily deepening military partnerships with an expanding array of Asia-Pacific nations.

It is also consolidating its grip on the three former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, all of which have troops serving under the Alliance in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Transport of Caspian Sea nation Azerbaijan announced earlier this month that “NATO is expected to increase shipping to Afghanistan via Georgia and Azerbaijan,” in particular that “A part of the equipment [of] the troops withdrawn from Iraq…will be sent to Afghanistan via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan.” An Azerbaijani government official estimated that “NATO countries transport 1,500 containers to Afghanistan via Azerbaijan every month.” [20]

In October NATO will conduct a regional training course on border security in Azerbaijan for Central Asian and other countries. According to a news source in Azerbaijan, currently “training is carried out with the involvement of Iraqi and Afghan border guards…at the State Border Service’s base.” [21]

The war in Afghanistan provides long-range integrated combat training for global NATO and a foundation for the U.S. to build a far-reaching military network unprecedented in scope.

Related articles:

Military Watershed: Longest War In U.S. And Afghan History

NATO In Afghanistan: World War In One Country

War In Afghanistan Evokes Second World War Parallels

Afghanistan: NATO Intensifies Its First Asian War

West’s Afghan War: From Conquest To Bloodbath

Afghanistan: World’s Lengthiest War Has Just Begun

U.S., NATO War In Afghanistan: Antecedents And Precedents

1) Xinhua News Agency, August 21, 2010
2) Press TV, August 26, 2010
3) Agence France-Presse, August 27, 2010
4) Following Afghan Election, NATO Intensifies Deployments, Carnage
Stop NATO, September 6, 2009
5) Deutsche Welle, August 19, 2010]
6) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 29, 2010
7) Ibid
8) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
9) U.S. Air Force, August 25, 2010
10) Defence Professionals, August 24, 2010
11) Czech News Agency, August 19, 2010
12) United States Air Forces in Europe, June 17, 2010
13) United States European Command
United States Air Forces in Europe
April 2, 2010
14) Agence France-Presse, August 26, 2010
15) Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2010
16) The Financiarul, August 17, 2010
17) Sofia News Agency, August 18, 2010
18) Xinhua News Agency, August 26, 2010
19) Straits Times, August 27, 2010
20) Azeri Press Agency, August 20, 2010
Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And
Stop NATO, June 8, 2010
21) Azeri Press Agency, August 18, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup

August 29, 2010 9 comments

August 29, 2010

Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
Rick Rozoff

The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently concluded the largest of a series of so-called Canadian sovereignty exercises in the Arctic, Operation Nanook, which ran from August 6-26.

Harper, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces General Walter Natynczyk visited the nation’s 900 troops participating in the “Canadian Forces’ largest annual demonstration of Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic” [1] which included “Canada’s air force, navy, coast guard…testing their combat capabilities in the frigid cold.” [2]

Nanook military exercises were commenced in 2007 when Russia renewed its claims to parts of the Arctic and resumed air patrols in the region after an almost 20-year hiatus. They are complemented by two other Canadian military drills in the region, Operation Nunalivut in the High Arctic and Operation Nunakput in the western Arctic.

Canada is formally involved in territorial disputes with two other Arctic claimants: The United States over the Beaufort Sea lying between Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory and the American state of Alaska, and Denmark over the Hans Island between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Denmark’s Greenland possession on the other end of the Arctic.

Four of the five nations with Arctic claims, all except Russia, are founders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization whose charter commits member states to mutual military assistance.

With the melting of the polar ice cap and the opening of the fabled Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans for the first time in recorded history, the scramble for the Arctic – reported to contain 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of undiscovered oil according to last year’s U.S. Geological Survey – is under way in earnest. The military value of the navigability of the passage is of even greater and more pressing significance.

The George W. Bush administration’s National Security Presidential Directive 66 of January 12, 2009 states:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” [3]

The U.S. insists that the Northwest Passage is open to international navigation while Canada claims it as solely its own. Yet Ottawa has accommodated Washington at every turn while persisting in saber-rattling comments and actions alike vis-a-vis Russia.

Sixteen days after the release of the White House’s Arctic directive of last year NATO conducted a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Iceland attended by the military bloc’s secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee, and stated that “Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.” [4]

Although Canada’s territorial disputes in the Arctic are with fellow NATO members the U.S. and Denmark, the three nations have recently coordinated their strategies and in this year’s Operation Nanook have for the first time collectively participated in military exercises in the Arctic region.

In mid-July NATO’s chief military commander and his adjunct, Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Sir John McColl, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, arrived in the Canadian capital at the invitation of the nation’s military chief, General Walter Natynczyk. The three consulted on “how to take the Alliance forward” and Stavridis “conveyed his latest appraisal of NATO’s progress in Afghanistan and commended Canada on its contributions to NATO’s efforts around the world.” [5]

Canadian Defence Minister MacKay stated almost two years ago: “We are concerned about not just Russia’s claims through the international process, but Russia’s testing of Canadian airspace and other indications…(of) some desire to work outside of the international framework. That is obviously why we are taking a range of measures, including military measures, to strengthen our sovereignty in the North.” [6]

A year ago Canada and the U.S. conducted a 42-day joint Arctic expedition to survey the continental shelf for future bilateral demarcation, following a more modest effort along the same lines in 2008 and followed this year by one with U.S. and Canadian ships from August 7 to September 3. The latter was announced two weeks after a Russian research vessel left St. Petersburg on a mission to delimit the borders of Russia’s Arctic continental shelf.

The U.S. State Department described the purpose of this year’s expedition: “The mission will help delineate the outer limits of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean for the U.S. and Canada, and will also include the collection of data in the disputed area where the U.S. and Canada have not agreed to a maritime boundary.” [7] It is being held in the Canada Basin, the Beaufort Shelf, and the Alpha Mendeleev Ridge. The last, along with the Lomonosov Ridge, is the basis of Russian Arctic claims.

On May 14 Canada and Denmark signed a military agreement, a memorandum of understanding pledging to collaborate more closely in the Arctic “through enhanced consultation, information exchange, visits, and exercises,” according to the Canadian Forces. [8] The preceding month Denmark deployed a unit to participate in the Operation Nunalivut exercise in the High Arctic.

The Royal Danish Navy sent the HDMS Vaedderen ocean patrol vessel and the HDMS Knud Rasmussen offshore patrol vessel to join the recently concluded Nanook 10 exercises, where they were joined by the U.S. Second Fleet’s naval destroyer USS Porter and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder “for the purpose of exercising and increasing…interoperability with Arctic allies.”

As for the Canadian contribution, “The Air Force [provided] air movement and mission support through the CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-130 Hercules, CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon, and CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft.

“The maritime component [included] Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Montreal, Glace Bay and Goose Bay; and Canadian Coast Guard Ships CCGS Des Groseilliers and CCGS Henry Larsen.” [9]

Military personnel involved included “About 900 Canadian troops [who patrolled] parts of the Eastern and Northern Arctic by air, land and sea.” Another “600 military personnel from the Danish Royal Navy, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard are also [took] part in the operation.” [10]

In the words of Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong of Canada Command, “They’re our allies. Collaboration is part of what Canada does.” [11]

This year’s exercise was based in Resolute Bay in the Nunavut federal territory where the Harper government is building a new army Arctic warfare training center in Resolute and a deep-sea port for the Nanisivik Naval Facility to be constructed on Baffin Island. Canadian Navy Lieutenant Commander Robert Houle said before the event that “2010’s military operation will push further north than in past years.” [12] That is, north of the Arctic Circle for the first time.

“The US Navy 2nd Fleet, the US Coast Guard and the Royal Danish Navy…joined in the war games in an effort to enhance the allies’ capabilities to cooperate in Arctic waters.” [13]

In fact the NATO allies collaborated to an unprecedented degree, as “Danish and American vessels” conducted “ocean exercises throughout eastern Nunavut.” [14]

After visits by Canada’s defense and military chiefs to inspect the multinational war games, Prime Minister Harper arrived in Resolute on August 25, the penultimate day of the 20-day military maneuvers, to – in the words of one of the nation’s main news agencies – rally the 1,500 Canadian, American and Danish troops present. [15]

Harper’s visit to inspect the exercise occurred only hours after another – potentially dangerous – publicity stunt by his government: Dispatching CF-18 fighter jets (variants of the American F/A-18 Hornet) to allegedly ward off two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear) strategic bombers patrolling off Canada’s northern border, “something the Russian military does frequently.” [16]

Harper’s press secretary, Dimitri Soudas, “said the two CF-18 Hornet fighters visually identified the two Russian aircraft approximately 120 nautical miles north of Inuvik in Northwest Territories,” [17] over international waters.

The timing of the Canadian action, as that of its announcement, was calculated. As was a comparable incident in February of 2009 when then recently installed U.S. President Barack Obama paid his first visit abroad to Ottawa, to meet with Harper, and his host scrambled warplanes to intercept a Russian Tu-95 bomber – on a routine mission thousands of kilometers from the Canadian capital – in a show of bravado and of loyalty to his ally south of the border.

“The Russians said then the plane never encroached on Canadian airspace and that Canada had been told about the flight beforehand.” [18]

Last year Canada’s prime minister and defence minister made the following comments:

Harper: “We have scrambled F-18 [CF-18] jets in the past, and they’ll always be there to meet them.”

MacKay: “When we see a Russian Bear [Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18.” [19]

A few days before Operation Nanook began, July 28, Canada also deployed CF-18 fighters against Russian Tu-95 bombers “as debate rage[d] over whether Canada needs the next generation of fighter jets to replace the nearly 30-year-old CF 18s. The Harper government has committed to buying 65 F-35 stealth fighters at a cost of $9 billion. Critics have said such Cold War-type jets are no longer needed.” [20]

The same source provided background information concerning what is being fought over:

“Canada is in a race with Russia and other Arctic nations to lay claim to the frozen territory that may hold untold treasures.

“Geologists believe the Arctic shelf holds vast stores of oil, natural gas, diamonds, gold and minerals. A 2007 Russian intelligence report predicted that conflict with other Arctic nations is a distinct possibility, including military action ‘in a competition for resources.'” [21]

Regarding the later occurrence on August 24, “The Prime Minister’s Office used the incident to promote Ottawa’s plan to buy 65 stealth fighter jets for $16 billion.” [22]

The discrepancy in (Canadian) dollar amounts is attributable to Ottawa’s attempt in May to underestimate the actual cost of the purchase when Defence Minister MacKay said “There is eye-watering technology now available, and a fifth-generation fighter aircraft will be brought to Canada after the year 2017.” [23], but failed to disclose the total cost.

When in-service support and other additional outlays are included, the total package will be $16 billion, according to a major Canadian newspaper “one of the most expensive military equipment purchases ever.” [24]

In fact the F-35 Lightning II fifth generation stealth fighter project also has been estimated to be “the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program” at a cost of $323 billion for 2,443 of the warplanes. [25]

Last month Defence Minister MacKay confirmed that Canada will buy 65 of the Joint Strike Fighters. At the same time Ottawa announced that the $3 billion Joint Support Ship project will be restarted, as “the military [wants] Joint Supply Ships to be capable of carrying army vehicles and to provide support to ground forces ashore. The ships would also have an air-force element on board, having helicopters and repair facilities for those aircraft. A hospital would also be included on the vessels.” [26]

On August 25 Dmitri Soudas, Harper’s director of communications, trumpeted the news of the non-encounter between Canadian and Russian military aircraft and laid the bravado on thickly – and not without a purpose. His comments included:

“Thanks to the rapid response of the Canadian Forces, at no time did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign Canadian airspace.

“The Harper Government has ensured our Forces have the tools, the readiness and the personnel to continue to meet any challenges to Canadian sovereignty with a robust response.

“This is true today, it will be true tomorrow and it will be true well into the future.

“The CF-18 is an incredible aircraft that enables our Forces to meet Russian challenges in our North. That proud tradition will continue after the retirement of the CF-18 fleet as the new, highly capable and technologically-advanced F-35 comes into service. It is the best plane our Government could provide our Forces, and when you are a pilot staring down Russian long range bombers, that’s an important fact to remember.” [27]

The Associated Press reported on the above statement that “Soudas noted…Canada’s recent purchase of 65 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets from U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. The $8.5 billion purchase, one of the biggest military equipment purchases in the country’s history, was due to be debated at a parliamentary defense committee hearing on Wednesday. [August 25, the date of Soudas’ comments]. The jets will replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of CF-18s.” [28]

According to a Canadian journalist:

“This week…we learned that the Cold War is not, in fact, over and that Russia remains an active threat in the north….Harper’s press spokesman, noted Sovietologist Dimitri Soudas, explicitly turned the Russian flyby into an argument for a $16-billion, sole-sourced upgrade of Canada’s fighter-plane fleet.” [29]

Canada requires an adversary to justify large-scale arms acquisitions. In the past three years it has bought and leased 120 Leopard tanks from Germany and the Netherlands for the war in Afghanistan. It has purchased and used Israeli-made Heron drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) for the same war theater and beyond, one of which crashed near a military base in Alberta last month knocking out power lines.

It has also acquired Chinook, Griffon and Mi-8 helicopters for NATO’s war in South Asia, where it has deployed 2,830 troops and where 151 of its soldiers have been killed.

The Polar Epsilon spaced-based satellite project is being developed for the Arctic, and while in Resolute Bay on Wednesday Prime Minister Harper reiterated that the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, a three-spacecraft fleet of satellites that is the centerpiece of Polar Epsilon, “will provide the Canadian military with daily coverage of Canada’s land mass and ocean approaches ‘from coast-to-coast-to-coast, especially in the Arctic.'” [30]

In June defense chief MacKay disclosed that Canada will spend over $30 billion “to build 28 large vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and navy, as well as 100 smaller ships.” [31]

Canada is, as NATO’s top military commander Admiral Stavridis remarked in Ottawa last month, providing the Western military bloc and the Pentagon indispensable services around the world. In the Arctic as much as if not more than anywhere else.

Related articles:

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic

Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With
Russia In North

Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare

Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad

1) Xinhua News Agency, August 7, 2010
2) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
3) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
4) Ibid
5) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
July 11, 2010
6) Canwest News Service, September 12, 2008
7) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 27, 2010
8) Nunatsiaq News, May 24, 2010
9) Xinhua News Agency, August 7, 2010
10) CTV, August 25, 2010
11) Nunatsiaq News, June 16, 2010
12) CBC News, August 3, 2010
13) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
14) CBC News, August 18, 2010
15) Canadian Press, August 25, 2010
16) CTV, August 25, 2010
17) Xinhua News Agency, August 25, 2010
18) Associated Press, August 25, 2010
19) Encroachment From All Compass Points: Canada Leads NATO Confrontation With
Russia In North
Stop NATO, August 5, 2009
20) Toronto Sun
Quebec Media, Inc. Agency
July 30, 2010
21) Ibid
22) CTV, August 25, 2010
23) Canwest News Service, May 28, 2010
24) Ottawa Citizen, July 12, 2010
25) PBS Newshour, April 21, 2010
26) Ottawa Citizen, July 12, 2010
27) CBC News, August 25, 2010
28) Associated Press, August 25, 2010
29) Susan Riley, The Russians aren’t coming
Ottawa Citizen, August 27, 2010
30) Agence France-Presse, August 25, 2010
31) Xinhua News Agency, June 4, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden

August 25, 2010 2 comments

August 25, 2010

Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden
Rick Rozoff

The longest war in U.S. history and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s first armed conflict outside Europe, as well as its first ground war, is nearing the beginning of its tenth year.

Over 120,000 troops are serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in addition to 30,000 under American command, and the Western military bloc recently confirmed that Malaysia has become the 47th official Troop Contributing Nation (TCN) for the war effort.

Never before have forces from so many nations served under a common command in one country, one war theater or one war.

All 28 full NATO member states have supplied soldiers for the campaign, as have over 20 Alliance partners in Europe, the South Caucasus, the South Pacific, Asia, Africa and South America. With the inclusion of contingents deployed and pledged by nations such as Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Colombia and Tonga as well as the 47 official troop contributors, there are military personnel from every populated continent assigned to the West’s war in Afghanistan.

European nations that have maintained neutrality since the end of World War Two and in some cases decades and centuries longer have provided NATO with troops for its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Austria, Ireland and Switzerland have sent nominal contingents under Partnership for Peace (PfP) obligations. PfP member Finland has approximately 150 troops attached to NATO’s Afghan command and Sweden has 500. The Swedish consignment was until lately the second-largest of all non-NATO member states, only surpassed by Australia until over 750 more U.S. Marine Corps-trained Georgian troops arrived in the South Asian nation in April. (Last month Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili said that the 1,000 total troops he deployed were matriculated in the “school of Afghan warfare” for use in future conflicts like those of the five-day Georgian-Russian war of two years ago.)

The main function of the Partnership for Peace program – whose name is counterintuitive, Orwellian and blasphemous given the fact it has graduated 12 Eastern European nations into full membership in the world’s only military bloc and prepared them for deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq – is to integrate nations in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia for NATO operations abroad. The major beneficiary of that process is the Pentagon.

Over twenty nations currently in that category are having their armed forces, military doctrines, weapons arsenals and foreign policy orientation transformed for interoperability with the Western alliance and in particular its leading member, the United States.

The PfP is training the armies of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro and Sweden for the war in Afghanistan and, complementarily, is employing the war there to provide the militaries of those states combat experience and to build a globally deployable force for future NATO operations, including ones nearer the respective nations’ borders. [1] Other components of the strategy include conducting ever more frequent and large-scale war games and other combat training in partnership nations with Afghanistan the immediate battlefield destination but with general applicability for other locations, and expanding the arsenals of PfP states with – NATO interoperable – unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, advanced warplanes and other engines of war.

Al Burke and his dedicated colleagues with the Stop the Furtive Accession to NATO initiative in Sweden are conducting a tireless campaign to sound the alarm over the surreptitious and accelerating drive to integrate the nation into NATO’s – and the Pentagon’s – global military sphere. [2]

For over a year Swedish troops in charge of ISAF operations in four northern Afghan provinces have been engaged in regular firefights, the first combat operations the nation has conducted in almost two hundred years. Two Swedish officers were killed in February, the first troops killed in an exchange of fire with Afghan rebels.

On July 1 the Swedish government ended 109 years of conscription and made the country’s armed force entirely voluntary; that is, Stockholm – to use the approved term – professionalized the military according to NATO standards and demands.

As a result, “All Swedish soldiers will in future be liable to be sent abroad on missions against their will. Any soldiers who refuse could lose their jobs….” [3]

The four unions representing the nation’s military personnel are all opposed to the compulsory overseas deployment provision.

As a press agency reported on the day of the announcement, “At the same time, it was decided to loosen the country’s traditionally strict neutrality to allow participation in more international military operations, like the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.” [4]

Last year Sweden hosted the ten-day Loyal Arrow 2009 NATO military exercise in its north. The war games consisted in part of “the biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnia Bay” [5] and included the participation of 2,000 troops from ten nations, 50 warplanes and a British aircraft carrier. An account of it stated, “The exercise is based upon a fictitious scenario. Within this scenario, elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF)…will be deployed to a theatre of operations.” [6] The allegedly fictitious situation in question was one which could well be applied in the Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia, the South Caucasus, Transdniester and other locations where NATO forces and war machinery could come into direct contact with their Russian opposite numbers.

Late this May NATO’s top military commander made a tour of inspection to Sweden, commending its government for deploying and maintaining 500 troops in Afghanistan. American Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited the country on the invitation of the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Sverker Goranson. He also consulted with the State Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gustav Lind, and the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Frank Belfrage. [7]

A few days later several special representatives from “NATO Partner Nations Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland,” among them Veronika Wand-Danielsson, ambassador of Sweden to NATO, met with French Air Force General Stephane Abrial, commander of Allied Command Transformation (ACT) at the latter’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

The European envoys “were also briefed by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Lawrence Rice of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) on that command’s mission and on the achievements and future of the ACT-USJFCOM cooperation.” [8]

NATO is and has always been designed to recruit nations into a military bloc so the Pentagon can integrate them into its own network as well. Where NATO advances, U.S. troops and bases follow, as with Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland where Washington has acquired air, training, interceptor missile and strategic airlift bases over the past five years.

In June Swedish troops were among 3,000 from 12 countries participating in the annual U.S.-led Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) NATO Partnership for Peace maneuvers, “the largest multinational naval exercise in the Baltic Sea,” [9] which included 500 U.S. Marines, 130 of whom stormed a beach in Estonia, the U.S. Marine Corps’ “first amphibious landing exercise in a territory that was once part of the Soviet Union,” [10] 90 miles from the Russian border.

At the same time United States Air Forces in Europe launched this year’s Unified Engagement “wargame designed to explore future joint warfare concepts and capabilities” [11] in Estonia. Last year’s version was conducted in Sweden.

The American delegation was led by the commander of United States Air Forces in Europe, General Roger Brady, and worked with “counterparts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden to strengthen relationships, and improve interoperability and future cooperation.” [12]

The United States Air Forces in Europe website described the event as a “transformation war game to explore future combined warfighting concepts and capabilities.”

According to Brady, “Because of training seminars like Unified Engagement, the U.S. Air Force and our partners worldwide are better prepared for future operational challenges.” [13]

In mid-June it was announced that “Swedish armed forces operating in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be equipped with their first tactical UAV capability since deploying into theatre….”

Shadow 200 unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) systems, “Already operated by the US Army and Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq,” will be deployed by the Swedish air force within months. [14]

During the same week the Finnish government announced it was presenting a proposal to the nation’s parliament to join the NATO Response Force, following up on a decision of three years ago to do so “as part of a joint decision and simultaneous membership with Sweden.” [15]

The U.S. led the annual NATO Partnership for Peace Sea Breeze multinational military exercises in Ukraine in the first half of July – in the Crimea, near the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol – with Alliance members and partners Sweden, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine.

In late July and early August the U.S. 555th Fighter Squadron with 250 airmen spent two weeks in Sweden conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground exercises with the host country’s air force during which “the U.S. Air Force worked side-by-side with their Swedish allies both in the skies and on the ground conducting more than 180 flying missions that tested their air combat capabilities as well as their precision weapons scoring….”

The deputy commander of the participating Swedish unit, Övlt (Lieutenant Colonel) Harri Larsson, stated on the occasion: “We really appreciate working with the U.S. Air Force because it gives us dimension…training with someone else, other equipment, other tactics, working in the English language, which is not our native language….I believe it gives us a lot of good experience which we can use in the future.”

He added that the air combat exercises were important for integrating the warfighting capabilities of his nation’s Gripen pilots with U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon counterparts. “They can improve their training and we become more interoperable.”

Larsson also revealed the purpose behind the joint maneuvers: “Our government wants us to become more flexible and be able to, on a short notice, go abroad. (Therefore), we need to work with other countries, especially the U.S. (as) the U.S. is the biggest contributor to NATO and the UN. [F]rom our point of view it’s necessary to work with the U.S.”

As the American squadron returned to the Aviano Air Base in Italy, Övlt Larsson said “the F 21 Wing hopes to host its American allies again in the near future.” [16] The F 21 Wing, also known as the Norrbotten Air Force Wing, hosted the fifty NATO warplanes used in last year’s Loyal Arrow war games.

Last week the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead arrived in Sweden to inspect some of the country’s warships and a submarine and meet with his counterpart Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad to “discuss present and future operations between the two navies in the region and around the globe.” [17]

Sweden’s top military commander, General Sverker Goranson, was at the Pentagon on August 5 to meet with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Goranson had earlier studied at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and served as military attache in the United States.

With eleven years of NATO expansion and the Alliance’s transformation into the world’s first internationally-oriented military bloc, no nation in Europe is permitted to be neutral and none can avoid involvement in military missions, including wars, abroad. Sweden is no exception, having joined scores of other previously non-aligned nations around the world in being pulled into the Pentagon’s orbit in the post-Cold War period.

To illustrate how widely the network has expanded, on July 16 military officers from 63 nations enrolled at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College – Swedish military chief Goranson’s alma mater – visited state officials in Topeka, Kansas.

The officers were from Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Botswana, Britain, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda and Ukraine. [18]

Related articles:

End of Scandinavian Neutrality: NATO’s Militarization Of Europe
Stop NATO, April 10, 2009

Scandinavia And The Baltic Sea: NATO’s War Plans For The High North
June 14, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia
July 26, 2009

1) Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army
Stop NATO, August 9, 2009
2) Stop the Furtive Accession to NATO!
3) The Local (Sweden), July 13, 2010
4) Agence France-Presse, July 1, 2010
5) Barents Observer, June 8, 2009
6) Allied Air Component Command HQ Ramstein, April 9, 2009
7) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
May 12, 2010
8) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation
May 21, 2010
9) U.S. European Command, June 7, 2010
10) Associated Press, June 15, 2010
11) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 7, 2010
12) United States Air Forces in Europe, June 8, 2010
13) Ibid
14) Shephard Group, June 16, 2010
15) Defense News, June 16, 2010
16) United States Air Forces in Europe, August 13, 2010
17) Navy NewsStand, August 24, 2010
18) The Capital-Journal, July 16, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Marshals Military Might To Challenge Asian Century

August 21, 2010 4 comments

August 21, 2010

U.S. Marshals Military Might To Challenge Asian Century
Rick Rozoff

The first decade of what more than a generation ago was predicted to be the Asian Century is drawing to a close, marking ten years since the end of the American Century.

China overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy during the second financial quarter of this year and three-quarters of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations, the world’s largest emerging economies, are entirely or primarily in Asia. During its first heads of state summit in Russia last year, BRIC “urged the creation of a new global financial security system.” [1] At the time its members accounted for 15 percent of the global economy and 42 percent of international currency reserves [2] even after the advent of the U.S.-triggered world financial crisis in 2008.

60 percent of humanity lives in Asia and the continent is home to several of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Demographics and economics alike assure a preeminent role for Asia in any natural – which is to say peaceful – course of development.

Asia is in fact part of a broader land mass, Eurasia, which in turn is inextricably connected to the rest of what over a century ago British geographer Halford Mackinder called the World Island: Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The last has recently recorded a population exceeding a billion, making it the second most populous continent.

The Asia-Europe-Africa grouping contains the overwhelming majority of the human race, perhaps as many as 5.6 billion of the world’s 6.8 billion inhabitants. The entire Western Hemisphere, by contrast, has a population under one billion and Oceania’s numbers are negligible.

But for 500 years a small number of nations in the global West and North, a limited contingent of countries that collectively calls itself the North Atlantic community, has dominated most of the world.

With the demise in 1991 of an eastern power that for decades had presented them with the greatest challenge in their history, the Soviet Union, the major Western states, a coalition of all the main past colonial empires and the new American global superpower united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance, viewed the entire world as being ripe for penetration and dominance, starting with the former Eastern European socialist bloc and the territories of the former Soviet Union.

Military formations were used to spread American and Western European influence throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East – NATO and its numerous partnership programs, U.S. Africa Command, ad hoc “coalitions of the willing” – and into the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea basin, Central Asia and South Asia, in which last location the Pentagon and NATO are waging a nine-year-old war with 150,000 troops.

In the past eleven years the U.S. has obtained military, including missile shield, bases and facilities in parts of the world where the Pentagon had never ensconced itself before: Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Colombia.

Just since last year the Pentagon has conducted bilateral and multinational military exercises in and off the coasts of nations like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, East Timor, Finland, Sweden, the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Angola, Burkino Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda in addition to traditional Cold War allies and partners, including holding the first large-scale joint war games in Israel.

This month troops from the U.S. and other NATO nations have participated in military exercises in Mongolia and Kazakhstan, which both border Russia and China.

If Asia is superior with regard to economic growth and potential, resources natural and human, and other factors, the U.S. supersedes it in one key category: An overwhelming advantage in military firepower. The world’s largest expeditionary warfighting machine, U.S. Pacific Command, and its biggest naval “permanent forward projection force,” the U.S. Seventh Fleet, both are concentrated on East Asia.

The Pentagon withdrew troops and even closed bases in Asia after the end of the Cold War, but now it is returning.

In addition to three joint naval exercises in as many months – in the Sea of Japan in late July, the South China Sea this month and the Yellow Sea in September – the U.S. is massively expanding military facilities in Guam, has deployed 60 percent of its nuclear submarine fleet to the Pacific region and is considering increasing its naval fleet from 282 to 346 ships to “beef up U.S. maritime power in Asia.” [3]

In recent days Robert Scher, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, was in the capital of Vietnam to meet with Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of Defense, for the two countries’ “first high-level defense dialogue.”

On August 17, a week after a U.S. warship docked in Vietnam for the two nations’ first joint military exercise, the Pentagon official stated the event was “the next significant historic step in our increasingly robust defense relationship,” and confirmed that the discussions included sharing “impressions of Chinese military modernization.” [4]

The next day the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, was in the Philippines to meet with defense officials from the host nation including the head of the military, Lieutenant-General Ricardo David, and insisted that “the United States will maintain a presence in the South China Sea for many years,” with what he identified as increasingly “assertive” Chinese actions as the rationale for doing so. [5]

In respect to conflicting Philippine and Chinese claims on the Spratly islands, Willard said that the Pentagon “very much looks forward to working continually” with Manila’s military to ensure it is “shaped just right to meet the needs of this very complex archipelago that’s located in a very strategic area of the world.” [6]

This week the Japanese press announced that the nation’s military will conduct war games in December “simulating the recapture of an isolated island from enemy forces,” the first such exercises by the Self-Defense Forces which are “seen as a response to China’s recent naval expansion.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun revealed that “The island-reclaiming drills will be part of joint exercises with the U.S. military and the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet will provide support.” [7]

The drills will be held under a recently elaborated defense program for the Nansei Islands near territory southwest of Okinawa.

On August 19 the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that the Senkaku Islands, contested by Japan and China, are “subject to the Japan-US security treaty” and that Washington and Tokyo would “respond together” to any attack there. The ministry’s press secretary said, “It is natural that Japan and the United States respond together.” [8]

A senior Japanese Defense Ministry official stated “We’ll show China that Japan has the will and the capability to defend the Nansei Islands.” The war games will include “Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighters, which have advanced air-to-ground and antiship attack capabilities, and Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C antisubmarine patrol aircraft” as well as C-130 Hercules transport planes, airborne brigade units and F-15 Eagle fighters.

“The planned exercises are a groundbreaking move….It will also be a good opportunity to reinforce cooperation between U.S. forces and the SDF.”

An article in the August 20 edition of a major Japanese daily stated: “It must be demonstrated to China, which has been strengthening its military capability and plans to expand its sphere of influence, that the SDF and the U.S. military form a watertight defense array.” [9]

This week Japan’s Defense Ministry said it would “keep paying attention to China’s military trend” and “Taiwan renewed its call…on the U.S. to sell it advanced weaponry as it joined Japan in vowing to keep a close eye on China’s rising military power.”

“Taipei and Tokyo were reacting to the release of a U.S. Defense Department report which warned that China’s expanding capabilities are changing the strategic balance in East Asia.” [10]

On the same day that the preceding account appeared, the Indian press disclosed that New Delhi will order a “large” amount of U.S. Javelin third generation anti-tank guided missiles used in last year’s Yudh Abhyas 2009 bilateral combat exercises with 1,000 U.S. and Indian troops, which featured “17 Stryker vehicles – the largest deployment of the vehicles outside of Iraq and Afghanistan,” and which showcased “the Javelin Anti-Tank Missile system, employed to defeat current and future threat armored combat vehicles.” [11]

Regarding the proposed Javelin acquisition, one of India’s main newspapers wrote: “Much to the dismay of Russians and Europeans, India is increasingly taking the FMS [foreign military sales] route to ink big arms deals with the US. The biggest on the verge of finalisation…is for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift for upwards of $3 billion.” [12] President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit India in November to secure further arms deals which by some reports will establish the U.S. as the nation’s main weapons supplier, replacing Russia in that role.

On August 19 one of Australia’s main newspapers carried an opinion piece by Greg Sheridan, recently appointed by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. its Australian Scholar, in which he wrote:

“The US has five full military treaty allies in Asia: Japan, South Korea, Thailand, The Philippines and Australia, and one de facto ally, Singapore, and an increasingly critical strategic relationship with India.

“It is also developing a strong strategic relationship with Vietnam….It is also working hard on Indonesia and Malaysia….”

He quoted U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at June’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore affirming that “My government’s overriding obligation to allies, partners and the region is to reaffirm America’s security commitments in the region….The strength of US commitment and deterrent power will be expressed through the continued forward presence of substantial US forces in the region.” Sheridan added, “You can’t get much more explicit than that” concerning the “complex security equation in the Asia-Pacific.”

The Australian analyst summed up his argument by calling for “a greater US naval and air force presence” in Darwin on the Timor Sea. [13]

The rise of a dynamic, integrated and dominant Asia in this century is inevitable and inexorable. Any attempt to retard or thwart it by military force from outside the continent will produce catastrophic consequences.

1) Voice of Russia, June 17, 2009
2) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 17, 2009
3) U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
Stop NATO, August 7, 2010
4) Agence France-Presse, August 17, 2010
5) Chosun Ilbo, August 20, 2010
6) Bloomberg News, August 18, 2010
7) Yomiuri Shimbun, August 20, 2010
8) Agence France-Presse, August 19, 2010
9) Yomiuri Shimbun, August 20, 2010
10) Agence France-Presse, August 17, 2010
11) Embassy of the United States, India, October 19, 2009
12) Times of India, August 17, 2010
13) The Australian, August 19, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Global Strategy: Defeating Potential Challengers In Eurasia

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

August 19, 2010

U.S. Global Strategy: Defeating Potential Challengers In Eurasia
Rick Rozoff

“Eurasia is…the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.”

In its annual report to Congress on the Chinese military this week, the U.S. Department of Defense “voiced alarm over China’s military buildup,” with particular emphasis on what was described as the nation “investing heavily in ballistic and cruise missile capabilities that could one day pose a challenge to U.S. dominance in the western Pacific.” [1]

The report, originally to have been presented on March 1, bears the title of Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010 [2]

While commenting favorably on China’s increased “contributions to international peacekeeping efforts, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and counter-piracy operations,” it focuses extensively on what was noted above: That the nation’s military capacity may keep pace with its economic growth and pose a challenge to the domination of the western Pacific Ocean region that the U.S. gained after World War II and, as with Europe and now Africa, to an almost uncontested degree after the end of the Cold War.

Washington’s incremental and to most of the world imperceptible subordination of Europe through NATO expansion began in the early 1990s and has been completed over the last eleven years, since the war against Yugoslavia and the incorporation of the first former Warsaw Pact nations into the American-controlled military bloc in 1999.

Troops from 20 NATO new member and candidate states from Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia were deployed to Iraq after the U.S. invasion of 2003, then in the last days of 2008 transferred to Afghanistan where they serve under NATO command. To date 38 nations in Europe (inclusive of the South Caucasus) have provided forces for the Afghan war. Every European nation (excluding minuscule microstates) but Cyprus, in part because of its divided status and Turkish opposition, is either a full NATO member or involved in partnership programs with the bloc. Former Soviet and Yugoslav republics Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro (the world’s newest – universally recognized – nation) have advanced Individual Partnership Action Plans and Georgia and Ukraine specially crafted National Annual Programs for integration into the Alliance. The U.S. has subjugated Europe through NATO.

With the launching of U.S. Africa Command on October 1, 2008, the Pentagon has consolidated individual and multilateral partnerships with almost every country on the continent in an effort to, in large part, diminish Chinese and Russia influence.

The Middle East has followed the same pattern, with only Iran and Syria not drawn into the Pentagon’s and NATO’s (with the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative) military network. Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan host U.S. and NATO forces and Persian Gulf states Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are military partners of the U.S. and the North Atlantic military bloc. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt have supplied military personnel for the Afghan war.

Developments over the last twelve years have seriously called into question Washington’s control of the southern half of the Western Hemisphere, and in 2008 the Pentagon reactivated its Fourth Fleet (which had been disbanded in 1950) for the Caribbean Sea and Central and South America as part of the U.S. response to an increase in independent foreign policy orientation by several nations in the region.

2010 has signalled Washington’s return to Asia and, in particular, concerted and mounting actions to challenge its main economic rival in the world: China.

The Pentagon is currently conducting large-scale war games in South Korea, the second major joint exercises since late last month, and on August 18 Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman announced that the U.S. will hold anti-submarine warfare maneuvers with South Korea in the Yellow Sea, which borders Chinese territory to the north and the west.

Whitman mentioned that “The latest military exercise, planned for early September, followed a visit by Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Seoul last month.” [3]

The past few weeks have seen a series of commentaries in the Chinese press on escalating U.S. military presence in Northeast Asia and the South China Sea. [4] The tone of many of them, often by major military officials and strategists, is one not heard since the Cold War, and the beginning of it at that.

Terms that have appeared in the articles include gunboat diplomacy, brinkmanship, hegemony, unilateralism, bullying tactics, muscle-flexing, Cold War mentality, super war machine and Asian NATO.

A recent feature in Global Times entitled “Dreams of empire a trap for modern powers” asserted the now monthly U.S. war games on either side of the Korean Peninsula – the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan – are “definitely aimed at China,” and that Washington is attempting to reclaim its sphere of influence in East Asia after its seven-year involvement in Iraq (the same will soon be true for Latin America as well) and “sending a reminder” of its military power to the region. The piece, however, also said that “China and Russia are both unable to accept such claims. China’s several military exercises and Russia’s extremely large-scale military maneuvers are responses to the US’s ‘strategic reminder.'” [5]

The same publication wrote on August 18: “The Pentagon, facing budget pressures due to the economic downturn, naturally wants to keep China as a lasting military threat.

“The US continues to flex its military muscle by surrounding China with its military bases, engaging in a war in neighboring Afghanistan, and continuing to sell weapons to Taiwan.” [6]

In the same vein, an editorial in People’s Daily said that “By giving the aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s free access to the Yellow Sea and South China Sea, the United States seems to tell the world that the ‘Asia-Pacific [region] and the [Pacific] ocean are still dominated by the United States.'” [7]

China Daily reported that analysts have recently commented that “The disturbed waters around China reflect how changes in the political landscape between China and the United States are laying the foundation for a future Asian power struggle.” Shi Yinhong, senior scholar of American studies at the Beijing-based Renmin University, was quoted warning that “the US possesses long-term military advantages and sticks to its hegemonic ideals.”

The same piece said concerning the threat of the U.S. soon deploying the USS George Washington supercarrier – which has “cruised along waters surrounding China, covering nearly 2,000 nautical miles in East Asia during the past two months” including in the South China Sea – near China’s northeast coast that “Beijing is within striking distance of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea.” [8]

People’s Daily said of the pretext Washington employs for its increasing and presumably permanent military intrusion in the area, the sinking of a South Korean warship almost five months ago: “The United States made a lot out of the Cheonan incident by making use of joint exercises to re-control the situation in Northeast Asia. It also took advantage of the…attitudes of the ASEAN Regional Forum and some ASEAN countries and greatly played up the so-called [Chinese] ‘threat’ to speed its return to Southeast Asia….[I]n light of the country’s recent display off the South China Sea, the escalating actions appear to be more a strategic show of strength rather than just a reaction to one particular incident.” [9]

A Chinese analysis of August 18 presented the developments discussed above in a concise historical and geopolitical context:

“US intervention in the South China Sea disputes isn’t incidental. It’s the outcome of the Barack Obama administration’s ‘return to Asia’ strategy. Some American analysts argue that China expanded its influence in Southeast Asia as the US was focused on the ‘war on terror’ after the 9/11 attacks. Their logic is simple: any potential challenger to Washington in Eurasia should be the target of US global strategy….By getting involved in the South China Sea disputes and fanning trouble between China and its neighbors, Washington aims to contain Beijing and re-establish its global hegemony.” [10]

What is at stake in the seas off the coasts of the Koreas and in the South China Sea is more than the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan and more than just East Asia.

The observation that the U.S. will not tolerate any competitor or future rival in Eurasia, and that the control of that vast tract of land from the eastern Atlantic to the western Pacific is the key to global domination, is not typical of language often heard in China. It is rather that most associated with Zbigniew Brzezinski in recent years. The latter has been held in high esteem in China as he was National Security Advisor in the Carter administration, running U.S. foreign policy behind the back of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, when Washington transferred diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China on January 1, 1979.

In his 1998 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Brzezinski triumphantly gloated that “The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power.” [11]

The leadership of China, first courted by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in 1972, saw Brzezinski as the man most responsible for weakening Beijing’s and Washington’s main adversary at the time, the Soviet Union, with his support of anti-Soviet forces from Afghanistan to Poland and the undermining of Moscow’s allies in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

With the USSR out of the way after 1991, though, it should have dawned on Chinese officials that the first sole and truly global power would sooner or later be knocking on their door as well. It has taken almost two decades, but just that is occurring.

It is not as though they were not notified, either.

The opening sentence of Brzezinski’s introduction to The Grand Chessboard states: “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power.”

In the book’s introduction and in its second section, “The Eurasian Chessboard,” the self-styled geostrategist, customarily grouped among (and perhaps at the top of) what are called America’s foreign policy realists, offers sweeping and grandiose claims symptomatic of acute individual as well as national megalomania.

His comments include:

“For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power. Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia — and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”

“How America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”

More to the point in regards to the current situation, he brashly asserted that “America is now Eurasia’s arbiter, with no major Eurasian issue soluble without America’s participation or contrary to America’s interests.”

“All of the potential political and/or economic challengers to American primacy are Eurasian. Cumulatively, Eurasia’s power vastly overshadows America’s. Fortunately for America, Eurasia is too big to be politically one.

“Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.”

With the Russian government conceding point after point to Washington of late – including U.S. and NATO air, infantry, naval and interceptor missile deployments, exercises, bases and installations on the Baltic and Black Seas, in the South Caucasus and Central Asia – and India all but formally recruited into an Asia-Pacific version of NATO, China is Washington’s main “potential political and/or economic challenger” in Eurasia and hence in the world.

It is not so much a matter of China choosing to play that role as being cast in it nonetheless. For no other reasons except its economic power, its size and its location.

As Brzezinski stated over twelve years ago, “How America copes with the complex Eurasian power relationships — and particularly whether it prevents the emergence of a dominant and antagonistic Eurasian power — remains central to America’s capacity to exercise global primacy.”

The U.S. is reacting to China’s rise by moving its unmatched military machine into the latter nation’s neighborhood and consolidating an Asian NATO to surround it as the original North Atlantic military bloc, now global in its scope, does Russia.

To have expected anything else is to have been either inveterately naive or, as the self-proclaimed commander-in-chief of the world’s sole military superpower Barack Obama recently branded his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, willfully blind. [12]

1) Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2010
2) The Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of
China 2010
3) Reuters, August 18, 2010
4) Part II: U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation
Stop NATO, August 17, 2010
5) Global Times, August 15, 2010
6) Global Times, August 18, 2010
7) People’s Daily, August 17, 2010
8) China Daily, August 18, 2010
9) People’s Daily, August 17, 2010
10) Xinhua News Agency/China Daily, August 18, 2010
11) The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives
12) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea
Stop NATO, July 16, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Part II: U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation

August 17, 2010 3 comments

August 17, 2010

Part II: U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation
Rick Rozoff

On August 16 the U.S. and its South Korean military ally began this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises in South Korea. The ten-day warfighting drills involve 56,000 troops from the host country and 30,000 from the U.S. Last year’s version of the annual war games featured the same amount of South Korean soldiers but only a third as many American troops, 10,000. The commander in charge of the American forces, General Walter Sharp, described the current exercise as “one of the largest joint staff directed theater exercises in the world.” In all over 500,000 South Korean military and government participants are involved. [1]

Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2010 is the latest and largest in a series of almost uninterrupted war games and naval maneuvers conducted over the past five weeks in the region: The Korean Peninsula, the seas on either side of it, and the South China Sea.

Three of the four nations involved are regional actors: South Korea, China and Vietnam. The other is not: The United States.

Washington led the four-day Invincible Spirit joint war games with South Korea in the Sea of Japan off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula from July 25-28, which were highlighted by the participation of the almost 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington among 20 warships, 200 warplanes including F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, and 8,000 troops. A Chinese news agency said of the exercises that “they were no ordinary war games” but “were unprecedented in the past three decades both in terms of scale and weaponry. The resources involved were said to be enough for launching a full-scale war….”

“The US-South Korean war games were said to be aimed at preventing a repeat of incidents like the sinking of South Korea’s Cheonan warship and maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. However, the war games were more than enough to intimidate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea….They were actually a show of force against China….” [2]

After their completion, the South Korean government announced that the U.S. and Seoul will conduct “a joint military exercise every month until the end of the year.” [3]

The Nimitz class aircraft carrier George Washington returned to its base in Japan only to head to the South China Sea eleven days later to engage with another major U.S. warship in the first-ever joint naval exercises with Vietnam in the neighborhood of the Spratly and Paracel islands. The docking of the USS John S. McCain destroyer in a Vietnamese harbor and the “lurking” of USS George Washington in the South China Sea near the two island chains were both unprecedented events.

The maneuvers were an open challenge to and clear act of defiance toward China, following by two weeks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement in the Vietnamese capital that the U.S. was prepared to intervene in territorial disputes over the above-mentioned islands on behalf of claimants Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia against China.

Two days before throwing down the gauntlet to Beijing, Clinton and Robert Gates, Admiral Michael Mullen, and Admiral Robert Willard – the last three America’s top defense official, top military commander and chief of its largest overseas combat command, U.S. Pacific Command – were in South Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. The conflict whose start they marked soon escalated into the U.S.’s first war with China, a point hard to miss in the current context.

While in South Korea, Gates, Mullen and Willard confirmed plans for regular U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, including in the Yellow Sea off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. The bulk of the sea’s coastline is Chinese territory.

The four-day U.S.-South Korean naval exercises late last month were initially to have been conducted in the Yellow Sea, but were moved to the other end of the Koreas, the Sea of Japan, because of Chinese objections.

If the ongoing Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise is an annual event and one scheduled well in advance, the U.S.-led naval exercises off Korean and Vietnamese shores were not. And if the Invincible Spirit war games were announced as strictly targeted at North Korea, joint maneuvers with Vietnam in the South China Sea had nothing to do with the March 26 sinking of the South Korean Cheonan warship.

The past month has witnessed an unbroken succession of military activities near and off China’s coasts; some scheduled, some hastily arranged; some routine, some extraordinary; some conducted by one or another regional state, several under the lead of the U.S.

To place matters in perspective, on March 4 the Chinese government announced a $78 billion defense budget for 2010 with the lowest annual growth rate – 7.5% – since 1989, half that of recent years. According to a New York Times report on the topic and on the date in question, “China’s military spending is still dwarfed by that of the United States, which has about $719 billion in outlays this year for national defense.” [4] Assuming the accuracy of the above figures, U.S. military spending per capita this year will be almost forty times that of China, $2,330 to $60.

The U.S. has eleven aircraft carriers, ten of them nuclear-powered supercarriers, and eleven carrier strike groups. China has no aircraft carriers. Unlike the U.S., China is not building a global interceptor missile system with land, sea, air, and space components nor is it developing an equivalent of the Pentagon’s Prompt Global Strike project to strike any spot on earth within minutes.

China has not been guilty of military aggression against another nation since 1979, when it attacked northern Vietnam (with Washington’s blessing).

In anticipation of the deployment of USS George Washington to what at the time what thought to be the Yellow Sea, China’s People’s Liberation Army held a military supply exercises in that sea on July 17 and 18. Codenamed Warfare 2010, drills were held “amid reported tension over a scheduled joint exercise between the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies.” [5]

The exercises were held “deep in the Yellow Sea” [6] and “aimed at improving defense capabilities against long-distance attacks.”

“Four helicopters and four rescue vessels were deployed for the exercise….Tanks were also loaded onto vessels at a port in Yantai, Shandong province….Similarly, rail[s] transported tanks to ships and other military equipment was transferred to vessels….The exercise focused on transporting military supplies for future joint battles….The drill came at a sensitive time with Washington and Seoul scheduled to hold a joint military exercise in the Yellow Sea.” [7]

As the U.S.-South Korean naval, air and anti-submarine exercises began on July 25, China’s navy (People’s Liberation Army Navy: PLAN) “conducted a large-scale, live-ammunition exercise in the South China Sea,” days before the arrival of USS John S. McCain and USS George Washington in the sea. They were supervised by Chen Bingde, commanding general of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department.

“Main battleships, submarines and combat aircraft from the PLAN’s three fleets took part in the drill, believed to be the largest naval maneuver since 1950 when the PLAN was formally formed….State media say China’s military forces this week conducted the largest exercise of its kind since the founding of the military, known as the People’s Liberation Army. The official Xinhua news agency reports numerous warships, submarines, and combat aircraft took part in live fire exercises held Monday [July 26] in the South China Sea.” [8]

On August 3 China launched major air defense exercises which included 12,000 troops and 100 aircraft. China’s five-day exercise, called Vanguard 2010, took place “over the central province of Henan and the eastern coastal province of Shandong, which borders the Yellow Sea.” [9] The maneuvers also involved air defence missiles and artillery units.

Two days later South Korea began its largest-ever anti-submarine drills in the Yellow Sea with several thousand military personnel, 29 ships and 50 aircraft. Marines based on islands close to the border with North Korea conducted live-fire exercises during the five-day event.

A report at the time provided details: “The military practiced sinking enemy submarines, and responding to coastal artillery fire. It also conducted a drill to deal with North Korean commandos….Some 4,500 people from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and maritime police are taking part in the exercise. The military has mobilized nearly 30 naval vessels, including the 14,000-ton amphibious landing ship Dokdo, 4,500-ton KDX-II class destroyers, and about 50 aircraft, including KF-16 fighter jets.” [10]

No sensible observer can believe that all of the above developments – moves and countermeasures, drills and counter-drills – are actuated by the sinking of a South Korean corvette with the death of 46 sailors almost five months ago. The Chinese military establishment is not buying the argument.

In the last two and a half weeks articles have appeared in the Chinese press containing language that has not been heard in decades, perhaps in half a century. Warnings of military threats, appeals for caution and conciliation, fundamental reevaluations of U.S.-Chinese relations, pleas for de-escalation, and at times uncharacteristically harsh criticism of U.S. motives and actions.

Toward the end of July General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang “spoke out against foreign warships entering, and military aircraft passing over, the Yellow Sea or any other offshore areas, because they pose a threat to China’s security.”

“China has to be alarmed when other powers display their military might near its territory. Will the US allow China to conduct military drills with neighboring countries in the Gulf of Mexico?

“Geographically, the Yellow Sea is the door to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which has important security implications for the Bohai Sea Rim, an important economic zone in China,” Xinhua pointed out. [11]

The same feature mentioned that USS George Washington has an operational range of 600 kilometers and the warplanes on its deck a speed of 1,000 kilometers an hour, leaving even the Chinese capital of Beijing vulnerable to attack.

To confirm Chinese apprehensions, on August 6 a U.S. armed forces publication disclosed “The USS George Washington will participate in a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise in the Yellow Sea in the near future, despite China’s opposition to the aircraft carrier operating near its eastern waters.”

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stated on August 5 that the nuclear-powered supercarrier will participate in war games in the Yellow Sea which will “include anti-submarine, show-of-force and bombing exercises.” [12] The George Washington may join the recently commenced Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises which continue to August 26.

Rear Admiral Yang Yi, former head of the Institute of Strategic Studies at the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defense University, said of the news that “China will definitely react harshly to the move. It’s hard to predict its specific reaction, but that will for sure cast a shadow over Sino-U.S. military relations.” [13]

An unsigned editorial in the Global Times of August 9 titled “Taking a stand on US provocation” reacted to the Pentagon’s latest threat to dispatch the George Washington to the Yellow Sea.

“The words added to the already sizable distrust accumulated recently between China and the US. They also shattered the illusion of some Chinese over how the US treats China.

“In a short period of time, the Sino-US relationship has ebbed quickly and seems to be still in a downward trend.

“Various US politicians have expressed that the US does not see China as an enemy. However, words like these and recent actions by the US to contain China’s growth suggest otherwise.”

The piece continued in language one would be hard-pressed to recall reading since the early 1960s on the Chinese side, where for four decades Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski have been the most revered foreign political personalities:

“It seems as if the US is good at playing games. US politicians are sweet-mouthed but then stab you in the back when you are not looking.

“This year the US is testing China’s resolve over issues ranging from China’s offshore ocean sovereignty, to the Chinese yuan, to trade. Each time it seriously damages the mutual trust previously built.

“Sovereign unity and national resurgence are two missions China must accomplish.

“The biggest obstacle to fulfilling those missions comes from the US, especially from the Pentagon.” [14]

A feature of the same day in the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily also commented on the deployment of the U.S. supercarrier, reminding its readers that “The Pentagon reportedly said Thursday, August 5, that the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington would participate in a series of United States-Republic of Korea (ROK) joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. This series of U.S.-ROK military exercises includes anti-submarine maritime interdiction operations, bombing and special armed forces’ operations for a ‘show of strength.'”

After quoting the president after whom the aircraft carrier was named that his nation should strive to cultivate amity and justice toward all and peace and harmony among nations, the Chinese newspaper asked: “With a lapse of more than 200 years, what kind of strength is the aircraft carrier named after this great American statesman to show?” [15]

Also on August 9, a commentary by Major General Luo Yuan of the Academy of Military Sciences bearing the title “Chinese people won’t stand for US naval provocation,” was published which contained these excerpts:

“Just imagine whether the Chinese people will believe US President Barack Obama’s statement that ‘the US does not seek to contain China’ or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim ‘we are in the same boat’ if a US aircraft carrier bursts into the Yellow Sea.”

Until recently “the US could pretend to not know the likely reaction, saying that its military exercise with South Korea was just over the Cheonan issue. Yet now, as the Chinese government has clearly shown grave concern over the US action, the US remains hard-set on going its own way. This is a deliberate provocation.”

The author, in what a Western newspaper called “a remarkably forthright view from such a senior military figure,” [16] also implied a reaction of a non-military nature: “Imagine what the consequence will be if China’s biggest debtor nation challenges its creditor nation….They should know that China’s rise is the general trend, and no weapons could resist it. China is the world’s largest market, so offending China means losing, or at least decreasing, market share.”

And he provided an example of the saying that turnabout is fair play: “Imagine how the US would feel if China showed the same ignorance of US interests and security as the US is doing now, and operated military exercises with US neighbors or competitors in its neighboring or sensitive regions.” [17]

Four days later another article by the same writer appeared in the People’s Daily under the title “US engaging in gunboat diplomacy.” As “the United States has insisted on sending aircraft carriers to the Yellow Sea to provoke China,” it is clear to the military strategist that “the foreign policy of the United States is still showing three features that have long been part of its global strategy.”

The three components identified are hegemony, gunboat diplomacy and unilateralism.

Luo Yuan defined and gave examples of each:

Hegemony: “The philosophical foundation of the American hegemonic mindset is the deep-rooted ‘manifest destiny’ theory held by some Americans.

“According to the theory, the American nation is the most outstanding nation in the world. Its leadership in the world, which is bestowed by God, is undeniable. Therefore, Americans have the responsibility to handle world affairs and will appear wherever problems take place. Nevertheless, the results are usually the opposite – things become worse with the involvement of the United States….They believe that the American nation is the most excellent, so they must ‘lead the world’ and other nations have no choice but to follow them.”

Unilateralism: “The philosophical foundation of American unilateralism is based on a zero-sum game and its basic principle is: what I obtain must be what others lose and vice versa, so what others obtain must be what I lose.”

With an imaginary articulation of Washington’s policy, the author wrote: “No matter how many people it involves, I am superior to all others, and I can do whatever I like. Everything must bend to American interests and will.”

Gunboat diplomacy: “The best example of U.S. gunboat diplomacy is the Naval Operations Concept 2010 approved by the U.S. president in May of this year, which vividly described U.S. ‘maritime interests.’ According to the 2010 concept, U.S. naval forces will develop six core competencies: forward presence, deterrence, maritime security, sea control, power projection and humanitarian assistance.” [18]

He analysed the document’s six key elements [19] ad seriatim:

> so-called forward presence means that the United States can send its gunboats to every corner of the world, tyrannize the weak and extend its security boundaries to others’ doorsteps. This way, the United States can even claim the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea are covered within its security boundary.

> so-called deterrence is no different from bully tactics, namely that “if you do not obey me, I will punch you.”

> so-called maritime security is to ensure the inviolability of U.S. gunboats. The United States only cares about its own safety, and it should not be expected to ever care about others’ safety.

> so-called sea control applies the logic of “whoever controls critical sea lanes controls the seas, and whoever controls the seas controls the world.”

> so-called power projection is obviously for war rather than peace.

> so-called humanitarian assistance is only for the Americans and U.S. allies, while others only receive brutal and rough treatment from the United States.

A blunt indictment which also included the observation that “Ironically, the United States, which has a blind belief in its military force and ‘speaks’ only through its gunboats, is at once embarrassingly trapped in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [20]

The day before the above comments appeared, Ni Lexiong, professor of international relations at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, wrote that “a potential military crisis is hidden in the gradually ‘maturing’ Sino-US relations. Why do both sides regularly organize military exercises? There must be specific imaginary enemies in military exercises. Regular and repeated military exercises are tests of national strategic plans and tactical details.

“Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German army had long been practicing the Schlieffen Plan, which called for a sudden attack on France on one side before Russia could mobilize on the other.” [21]

The following day Rear Admiral Yang Yi, the former director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University who was quoted earlier, said in an analysis called “Cold War mindset harms peace” that:

“Washington has held intensive military exercises with allies in the Pacific Ocean and Northeast and Southeast Asia over the past months, quite close to China and its surrounding region….US-led exercises this year have drawn more concerns among regional members because of the unequivocal motive behind the exercises and the sensitivity of their locations….The large-scale military exercise [Invincible Spirit] is intended to send an unambiguous message to other regional countries, including China, that the US is still the strongest military power in the world and that Washington’s military dominance in Northeast Asia, and the wider Asia-Pacific region, cannot be challenged….As the world’s sole superpower with an unchallenged armed force, no single nation in the world can stop the US from conducting such activity, but Washington will inevitably pay a costly price for its muddled decision.”

He also warned that the global military colossus may have feet of clay: “When the long-established global strategic pattern changes to the US’ disadvantage, Washington’s adherence to the Cold War mentality and its excessive dependence on military means to resolve international disputes will lead the superpower to bigger strategic setbacks.” [22]

Last week a Chinese source added to Major General Luo Yuan’s use of a term once thought outdated, gunboat diplomacy, another one from the same era and mindset, brinkmanship: “Washington and Seoul have chosen to ignore China’s security concerns time and again, and this should not be allowed to fester at China’s doorstep. This brinkmanship is an open defiance of China’s security environment.” [23]

The Chinese press (on both sides of the Taiwan Strait) has recently published several features on the threat of the U.S. surrounding China with an Asian NATO, both analogue and extension of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. [3]

On August 14 the Xinhua News Agency wrote:

“The real intention of the US maneuvers in the waters of Northeast Asia…is to consolidate the US-South Korea and US-Japan military alliance and boost US military presence in the region, and therefore intimidate and contain China.”

“In addition to more troops in Afghanistan, the US military is transforming Guam into its new strategic strike center that could cover large areas of the Asia Pacific. It redeployed 60 percent of its nuclear submarine fleet to the Pacific and has been consolidating its bases in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.” [25]

Late last month an English-language Taiwanese newspaper reported that “According to Chinese media reports, the US’s support for Vietnam in its bids for the Spratly and Paracel islands is meant to threaten China’s core interests and build a grand strategic alliance surrounding the country.

“The US is capitalizing on the contradictions among East Asian countries to form a front against China….” [26]

A recent piece in the People’s Daily minced no words in reiterating the point:

“Relations between China and the United States have become decidedly testy in recent days and the US is anxious to find its proxies in the region by inciting their discontent with China and pulling them to the American side.”

The dynamic is being exacerbated with “tensions building and mounting in recent weeks over events in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea, and with the signs that the US is trying to meddle [with] and dominate issues involving China.”

“The U.S. decision to include an aircraft carrier in the [upcoming Yellow Sea] exercise is considered especially provocative, and some Chinese suspect that Washington is sending a ‘strong message’ about American power to China as well as North Korea. And that the US carrier maneuvered to its former foe Vietnam arouses wild speculations about whether the US is bent on building up a NATO in Asian version.”

“The Obama administration…is experimenting with a new, more insidious but very risky diplomatic strategy in the region, where it has for long played [the role of a] hegemonic power, to contain an emerging great power: Drifting from confrontation to confrontation with a rising China, as Washington is now doing. This will bring about the doomed fallout. In a not very long American history, perhaps, the only bitter lesson to the super war machine was taught by China – which has never rewarded it with a single chance to declare a complete victory on whatever occasion.”

“Like a contemptible wretch making trouble, these mean and petty actions taken by the so-called super power would fail to help it get the desired fruit – to effectively counterbalance China in Asia.” [27]

Military strategist Colonel Dai Xu of the Chinese People’s Liberation Air Force wrote on August 11 that “One needs to have a basic understanding of the nature of the United States and its global strategy in order to comprehend its recent provocations in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. The 2010 US defense report said first and foremost the U.S. is a nation at war.

“From a historical perspective, the U.S. has continuously found enemies and waged wars. It has become part of its social formula. Without wars the US economy loses stimulus. Without enemies the U.S. cannot hold the will of the whole nation.

“Its recent military drills in the Yellow Sea and announcement to intervene in South China Sea affairs were efforts made to encircle China. It is attempting to build an ‘Asian NATO’ with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).”

He added a recommendation to combat that U.S.-led siege:

“In order to prevent the U.S. from surrounding it, China needs to draw a clear bottom line. The U.S. is not allowed to coerce China to give in on matters concerning China’s territory and maritime sovereignty, national solidarity and regional issues. And it is not allowed to jeopardize China’s national interest by collaborating with neighboring countries….If the U.S. is adjusting its global strategic emphasis, China needs to reevaluate its strategy toward the U.S. China loves peace, but it will staunchly safeguard its national interests.” [28]

A Global Times editorial of last week provided this perspective:

“In recent months, the US has been busy cementing alliances in Northeast Asia and inking a new agreement with China’s Southeast Asian neighbor Vietnam. The US intention is clear: to stir negative sentiment against China among neighboring countries.

“The US is trying to consolidate its scattered influence in the region. To some extent, it can manage to do so, given its geographic detachment, its global influence and its economic might….The US is returning to Southeast Asia with a clear political agenda. It is trying to expand US influence and strengthen cooperation with countries in the region, but seeds of distrust are also being planted with its attempt to contain China. Countries around the region must see these tactics for what they are.” [29]

The French statesman Talleyrand, never burdened by either scruples or principles, said that we were given speech not to disclose but to disguise our thoughts. (La parole nous a été donnée pour déguiser notre pensée.)

The words of major Chinese military leaders and strategists quoted above, however, are not those of dissimulation or evasion, vainglory or bravado. They should be interpreted at face value: As the most dire of warnings, particularly the references to World War I and the Korean War. An armed conflict between the world’s two main economic powers would be a catastrophe for more than just Northeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean region.

Part I: U.S.-China Conflict: From War Of Words To Talk Of War

1) United States Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
August 16, 2010
2) Xinhua News Agency, August 14, 2010
3) China Post, August 8, 2010
4) New York Times, March 2, 2010
5) China Daily, July 20, 2010
6) Xinhua News Agency, July 18, 2010
7) China Daily, July 20, 2010
8) Asia Times, August 6, 2010
9) BBC News, August 3, 2010
10) Korea Herald, August 6, 2010
11) Xinhua News Agency, July 31, 2010
12) Stars and Stripes, August 6, 2010
13) China Post, August 8, 2010
14) Global Times, August 9, 2010
15) People’s Daily, August 9, 2010
16) Irish Times, August 14, 2010
17) Global Times, August 9, 2010
18) People’s Daily, August 13, 2010
19) Naval Operations Concept 2010
20) People’s Daily, August 13, 2010
21) Global Times, August 12 2010
22) China Daily, August 13, 2010
23) China Daily, August 10, 2010
24) U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
Stop NATO, August 7, 2010
25) Xinhua News Agency, August 14, 2010
26) China reports: the US means to set up another NATO in Asia
Taiwan News, July 28, 2010
27) Is US building a NATO in Asia version?
People’s Daily, August 12, 2010
28) U.S. building ‘Asian NATO’ to encircle China, August 11, 2010
29) Washington’s bond with China’s neighbors
Global Times, August 9, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S.-China Conflict: From War Of Words To Talk Of War, Part I

August 15, 2010 1 comment

August 15, 2010

U.S.-China Conflict: From War Of Words To Talk Of War
Part I
Rick Rozoff

Relations between the U.S. and China have been steadily deteriorating since the beginning of the year when Washington confirmed the completion of a $6.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan and China suspended military-to-military ties with the U.S. in response.

In January the Chinese Defense Ministry announced the cessation of military exchanges between the two countries and the Foreign Ministry warned of enforcing sanctions against American companies involved with weapons sales to Taiwan.

The Washington Post reported afterward that during a two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing this May attended by approximately 65 U.S. officials, Rear Admiral Guan Youfei of the People's Liberation Army accused Washington of "plotting to encircle China with strategic alliances" and said arms deals with Taiwan "prove that the United States views China as an enemy." [1]

During the 9th Asia Security Summit (Shangri-La Dialogue conference) in Singapore in early June a rancorous exchange occurred between U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Major General Zhu Chenghu, director of China's National Defense University. The Chinese official lambasted the U.S. over more than $12 billion in proposed arms transactions with Taiwan in the past two years, stating they were designed to prevent the reunification of China.

The preceding week China had rebuffed Gates' request to visit Beijing after the Singapore summit.

At that conference Gates spoke of "our collective responsibility to protect the peace and reinforce stability in Asia" in reference to the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in late March.

Major General Zhu reacted by casting doubts on the U.S. account of the ship's sinking and indicated that "America’s stance over the Cheonan was hypocritical given its failure to condemn the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships carrying supplies to Gaza on May 31, which resulted in the death of nine activists." He also warned that the latest Taiwan arms package threatened China's “core interests.” [2]

At the same event, General Ma Xiaotian, deputy head of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department, itemized obstacles to the resumption of U.S.-China military relations, including Washington providing weapons to Taiwan and "frequent espionage activities by US ships and aircraft in the waters and airspace of China's exclusive economic zones." [3]

Matters went from bad to worse after Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited South Korea in late July, accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Admiral Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and on July 20 Gates, Mullen and Willard announced the U.S. would conduct a series of war games with South Korea in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.

Gates and Clinton at the Dimilitarized Zone on July 21, 2010

The first such exercise, the four-day Invincible Spirit naval maneuvers, started on July 25 and was led by the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group, named after the 97,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier at its core, and involved 8,000 military personnel, 20 warships and 200 warplanes, including F-22 Raptor fifth generation stealth fighters, deployed to the region for the first time. Shifted from the Yellow Sea, which borders the Chinese mainland, to the Sea of Japan (on which Russia has a coastline) at the last moment, the drills nevertheless antagonized China and were transparently intended to produce that effect.

USS George Washington nuclear supercarrier

While in South Korea five days before the naval exercises began, Admiral Willard – head of the largest U.S. overseas military command, Pacific Command – announced that future war games of comparable scope would be held in the Yellow Sea, where China has an extensive coastline and claims a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

Joining a chorus of major U.S. military and civilian officials making statements that could only be intended to taunt China, “Willard said he is not concerned about China’s feeling about U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in that area.”

In his own words, “If I have a concern vis-a-vis China it’s that China exert itself to influence Pyongyang to see that incidents like Cheonan don’t occur in the future.” [4]

His comment is entirely in line with others issued before and afterward.

During the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Toronto on June 27 U.S. President Barack Obama held a “blunt” conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao and accused him of “willful blindness” in relation to the Cheonan incident. [5]

In mid-July Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell dismissed and belittled China’s concerns over not only large-scale but ongoing U.S. naval exercises on both sides of the Korean Peninsula by stating, “Those determinations are made by us, and us alone….Where we exercise, when we exercise, with whom and how, using what assets and so forth, are determinations that are made by the United States Navy, by the Department of Defense, by the United States government.” [6] On August 5 Morrell confirmed that U.S. warships will lead exercises in the Yellow Sea in the near future.

Shortly afterward, while preparing to leave for South Korea, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen said, “the Yellow Sea specifically is an international body of water and the United States, you know, always reserves the right to operate in those international waters. That’s what those are. Certainly, you know, I hear what the Chinese are saying with respect to that, but in fact we’ve exercised in the Yellow Sea for a long time and I fully expect that we’ll do so in the future.” [7]

On July 21 Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who had recently returned from visits to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Japan, spoke at the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C., and in addition to speaking of “our traditional alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines,” stated:

“I think the most important [problem with bilateral relations] is the continued unwillingness of China to deepen the mil-to-mil engagement between the United States and China.

“At the same time, so that there is no mistake about our intentions, we made clear that we will exercise when and where we want to when we need to consistent with international law. And that, as I’ve said, we’ve clearly indicated in the past. We’ve exercised in the Yellow Sea. We will exercise in the Yellow Sea again.”

To rub the salt deeper into the wound, he added: “We do not consult with China on Taiwan arms sales. We make a judgment based on what we believe are the legitimate defensive needs of Taiwan for arms sales.” [8]

While in South Korea last month for the first “two plus two” meetings between the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense and South Korean counterparts “to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War,” [9] Hillary Clinton and Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, still technically at war, to “show solidarity with their allies in Seoul.” [10]

The following day Clinton arrived in the capital of Vietnam for the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum and a U.S.-ASEAN post-ministerial meeting on July 23 and 22, respectively. While in Hanoi she spoke of territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel island chains between China on one hand and Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines (the last four members of ASEAN) on the other.

On July 23, in a blunt reference to China, she said that the U.S. “has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea,” where the islands are located, and that “We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant,” as “America’s future is intimately tied to that of the Asia-Pacific.” [11]

Clinton formally initiated a campaign to recruit the ten members of ASEAN – Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – into a rapidly evolving Asian NATO aimed against China.

After seven months of unrelenting challenges to China, when it appeared that enough gratuitous insults and mounting threats had already been issued, the USS George Washington aircraft carrier arrived in the Sea of Japan on July 25.

Three years before, the U.S. Defense Department released a report on China which claimed it was “pursuing long-term, comprehensive transformation of its military forces to enable it to project power and deny other countries the ability to threaten it.” [12]

Proceeding from that perspective, Washington is ensuring that China will be so thoroughly boxed in by U.S. warships, submarines, interceptor missile systems and advanced deep penetrating stealth bombers – and a ring of U.S. military client states ready to host American ships, planes, troops, missile shield installations and bases – that it indeed will not be able to protect itself from the threat of attack.

Eleven days after the completion of the U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Seventh Fleet began a weeklong series of naval maneuvers with Vietnam, the first-ever such joint exercises.

USS George Washington, fresh from the recently concluded naval war games with South Korea, arrived in the South China Sea for the occasion.

“The formidable USS George Washington is a permanent presence in the Pacific, based in Japan. As one of the world’s biggest warships, it is a floating city that can carry up to 70 aircraft, more than 5,000 sailors and aviators and about 4 million pounds (1.8 million kilograms) of bombs. It lurked Sunday [August 8] about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off the central coast of Danang, Vietnam’s jumping-off point for the disputed [Spratly and Paracel] islands.”

Captain Ross Myers, commander of the George Washington’s air wing, was quoted echoing Clinton’s earlier assertion that “The strategic implications and importance of the waters of the South China Sea and the freedom of navigation is vital to both Vietnam and the United States.” He was interviewed “as fighter jets thundered off the flight deck above.” [13]

Several high-ranking Vietnamese military and civilian officials as well as the U.S. ambassador to the country were flown onto the supercarrier “to observe the strike group as it operates in the South China Sea,” [14] near the contested Spratly islands.

With senior Vietnamese government and military officials aboard, USS George Washington “cruised near the Paracel Islands – another chain claimed by both China and Vietnam.” [15]

On August 10 the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain docked at Da Nang in central Vietnam, in its first visit to the country, to join the joint naval maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Rear Admiral Ron Horton, commander of Task Force 73 of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said, “This is indicative of the increasingly closer ties between the U.S. and Vietnam. Exchanges like this are vital for our navies to gain a greater understanding of one another, and build important relationships for the future.” [16]

The U.S. Seventh Fleet is “the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 50–60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.” [17] That is, the mightiest seaborne military machine in the world.

USS John S. McCain

As the U.S.-Vietnamese naval exercises were underway in the South China Sea, an article by a former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (assigned to U.S. Pacific Command), Retired Admiral James Lyons, appeared in the editorial pages of the Washington Times which advocated that “The United States should consider leasing big-ticket military hardware to the Philippines to give it the capability to defend its sovereign territory against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea….”

In particular, he said “the US should consider leasing a squadron of F-16 along with T-38 supersonic trainers, an aircraft for maritime patrol, and two FFG-7 guided-missile frigates to provide a recognized capability to enforce the Philippines’ offshore territorial claims.”

He also wrote that “now that President Barack Obama’s administration has directly challenged China, the US should expand its relations with ASEAN ‘by building on our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.’

“The US should negotiate a commercial agreement for access to logistic support facilities in Subic Bay,” [18] where the U.S. maintained a naval base until the Philippine Senate ordered it closed in 1991.

Washington’s project for an Asian NATO designed to surround and neutralize China is not limited to Southeast Asia and ASEAN.

The U.S. is currently leading this year’s Khaan Quest (pronounced like conquest) military exercises in Mongolia on China’s northern border with troops from military partners Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Previous Khaan Quest exercises going back to 2003 trained Mongolian troops for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. [19]

Khaan Quest 2010 closing ceremony

On August 16 U.S. and British troops will begin ten days of military drills in Kazakhstan, on China’s northwest border, in the 2010 Steppe Eagle “multinational exercise, part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme….”

“The exercise is intended to assist Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence in its stated aim to generate a NATO inter-operable peace support operational capability,” according to British military attache Simon Fitzgibbon. [20] Kazakhstan deployed a “peacekeeping” contingent to Iraq in 2003 and may be tapped for one to serve under NATO in Afghanistan.

To China’s south, a senior Indian Air Force official recently disclosed that his government is upgrading another air base near the Chinese border to accommodate warplanes. According to the U.S. Defense News website, “The moves are part of the effort to strengthen India’s defenses against China.”

In June India approved a $3.3 billion deal to purchase 42 more Su-30 air-to-air and air-to-surface jet fighters, bringing the planned total to 272 by 2018.

Regarding a joint Russian-Indian long-range multirole jet fighter/strike fighter adaptation of the Su-30, the same Indian official said “a nuclear-armed Su-30MKI could fly deep inside China with midair refueling.” [21]

On China’s Western flank where a narrow strip of land connects the two countries, the U.S. Defense Department announced on August 11 that, in addition to 30,000 U.S. forces not so assigned, “The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan now has almost 120,000 troops from 47 different countries assigned to it,” [22] including forces from Asia-Pacific nations South Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

The noose is tightening around China and the nation’s military knows it.

1) Washington Post, June 8, 2010
2) Jamestown Foundation, June 24, 2010
3) China Daily, June 7, 2010
4) United States Department of Defense, July 20, 2010
5) U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea
Stop NATO, July 16, 2010
6) Agence France-Presse, July 14, 2010
7) Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 19, 2010
8) United States Department of State, July 27, 2010
9) U.S. Department of State, July 21, 2010
10) BBC News, July 21, 2010
11) Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
July 23, 2010
12) Voice of America News, May 26, 2007
13) Associated Press, August 8, 2010
14) Navy NewsStand, August 9, 2010
15) Voice of America News, August 10, 2010
16) Navy NewsStand, August 9, 2010
17) Wikipedia
18) Philippine Star, August 10, 2010
19) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
20) Reuters, August 13, 2010
Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
21) Defense News, August 12, 2010
22) United States Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
August 11, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army

August 14, 2010 2 comments

August 13, 2010

Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Rick Rozoff

A North Atlantic Treaty Organization website recently posted an article by the commander of the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, American Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, entitled “NATO Training Mission – Iraq: Tactical Size…Strategic Impact” which reflected on the six-year-old but little known role of the Western military bloc in the Middle Eastern nation.

Barbero, who is simultaneously Deputy Commanding General for Advising and Training, United States Forces – Iraq, stated that “NATO has made an important commitment to Iraq….Government leaders readily recognize the contribution of NATO Training Mission-Iraq’s (NTM-I) to its security and they have expressed a strong desire to continue this relationship into the future. [C]onditions are set for a long-term relationship between Iraq and the Alliance.” [1]

He reminded his readers that the NTM-I was established by a decision made at the 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey, which also formalized the largest expansion of the military bloc in its now 61-year history, with seven Eastern European states – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – absorbed into the U.S.-led alliance. Six of those nations had been in the Warsaw Pact, three of those were former Soviet republics, and the seventh country had been a republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The last four mentioned were the first countries in either category to join NATO.

The 2004 summit also launched the eponymous Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to qualitatively advance NATO’s role in the Middle East and North Africa through an upgrading of the Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, and an analogous relationship with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All but Oman and Saudi Arabia to date have entered into bilateral partnerships with NATO and hosted its officials and warships.

The deployments in the Persian Gulf supplement U.S. efforts to contain, challenge and confront Iran.

The NATO Training Mission – Iraq was inaugurated less than six months after the Istanbul summit, in December of 2005, and its first commander was then Lieutenant General David Petraeus, who subsequently became head of U.S. Central Command and is now in command of 150,000 American and NATO troops in Afghanistan. He was already the commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq when he also took over the NATO role.

At the time it was announced that “NATO is working with the Iraqi government on a structured cooperation framework to develop the Alliance’s long-term relationship with Iraq.” [2]

Only 20 days after the U.S. and Britain began the so-called Operation Iraqi Freedom war against Iraq, an article by Philip H. Gordon, then Senior Fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution and since last May the Barack Obama administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, appeared on the Brookings website called “Give NATO a Role in Post-war Iraq.”

Adopting a tone of false familiarity and insouciance, he queried: “Wouldn’t it be nice…if we had at our disposal a multilateral organization to which we could turn for help, a body more effective and efficient than the UN but that would still confer legitimacy on the operation and help spread some of the costs? Imagine, in fact, a grouping composed of over two dozen democracies, including our most prosperous European allies, that had interoperable military forces, experience with peacekeeping and disarmament tasks, an available pool of troops, and existing command arrangements.”

The question was rhetorical, a leading one to set up an already prepared response: “If such an organization did not exist, we would certainly want to invent it.

“Fortunately, such an organization does exist. NATO has all these attributes and there would be many advantages to giving it a key role in post-war Iraq. First, nowhere else is there a large group of available and experienced peacekeepers who could gradually replace the thousands of exhausted American and British soldiers currently deployed in Iraq.

“Fresh troops will have to come from somewhere, and no organization is better placed to provide them than NATO.” [3]

Gordon, who in the interim has mainly distinguished himself by abrasively taunting Russia on several scores, was already – as American and British troops were still pouring into Iraq – speaking on behalf of the more strategically forward-thinking members of the U.S. foreign policy elite planning to move on from Iraq to other deployments and war fronts.

He was also preparing the groundwork for the transition to a post-George W. Bush administration, one which has appointed him to a critically important post, in regard to restoring, solidifying and strengthening a unified Western – U.S., NATO and European Union – alliance for global dominance. [4]

Gordon, for example, advocated the following:

“Involving NATO in post-war Iraq would also help to legitimize the reconstruction process in the eyes of many around the world — making a UN mandate more likely and clearing the way for EU reconstruction funds.

“Giving a role to NATO — some of whose members have recently proven their willingness to stand up to Washington — would prove that Iraq was not a mere American protectorate, while still giving us confidence that security would be ensured.

“Getting NATO involved in Iraq would not only help share the burden of what could be a difficult and costly occupation, but it could be a first step toward repairing a vital transatlantic relationship currently in tatters.” [5]

In January of 2004, Senator Chuck Hagel, who though a Republican was one of the first major U.S. officials to sense the debacle that the Iraq war had become, had an article posted on the website of the U.S. Mission to NATO which stated:

“The strategic focus of NATO’s efforts in the first half of the 21st Century will be the Greater Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Mediterranean, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The shifting dynamics of history in this new century have settled the ‘out of area’ debate for NATO. NATO has recognized this reality with its presence in Afghanistan….NATO will need to play a significant role in helping bring security and stability to Iraq.

“Last year, NATO committed to providing force generation, communication, logistics, and movement support for Polish forces in Iraq. That’s a good start. However, NATO should initiate discussions to take over the duties of the Polish sector in central Iraq, or possibly assume responsibility for a division in northern Iraq. I am encouraged by German Chancellor Schroeder telling the German parliament last week that his government could support the deployment of NATO troops to Iraq.” [6]

Four months after retiring from the Senate last year Hagel became chairman of the main American organization promoting NATO expansion, the Atlantic Council. [7]

A think tank piece appeared in 2008 advocating the same posture toward NATO’s role in Iraq. An abbreviated version of a presentation delivered at the (pause for breath) 2008 annual conference of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association and the International Security and Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association (ISAC-ISSS) by David Capezza of the Center for a New American Security appeared on the website of the Atlantic Council.

The original piece was titled “NATO Training Mission – Iraq: The Broader Picture for NATO’s Future,” and included these observations and recommendations:

“Today all twenty-six NATO members provide funding for NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) and sixteen countries are providing staffing for the mission. Since its inception, this out-of-area mission has challenged the conventional wisdom about the future purpose of NATO, demonstrating that the alliance can remain a relevant actor in the European and international security environments.

“NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) represents a model for how NATO can help perform successful European Security and Defense Policy missions; modernize member state forces and work interoperably; support the United States…and work in the absence of member-state consensus….The mission in Iraq also provides NATO with a framework for future missions.” [8]

In fact NATO’s involvement in Iraq is more extensive and of longer duration than most people suspect.

Twenty years ago, on December 17, 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker met with fellow NATO foreign ministers in Brussels and his colleagues agreed “to support the use of force in the Persian Gulf even if Saddam Hussein begins to pull his troops out of Kuwait.”

A joint communique obligated all 16 NATO member states at the time “to the best of our ability…provide further support” for the war which would begin a month later. [9]

Major NATO partners assisted Washington in its first war against Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, in 1991. Britain supplied 43,000 troops, 69 warplanes and 2,500 armored vehicles. France provided 18,000 troops and 42 warplanes and Canada deployed 24 and Italy 8 aircraft. Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain also volunteered military forces. In all, three-quarters of the bloc’s members of the time.

Although NATO did not formally endorse the second war against Iraq in 2003, in February and early March the military bloc deployed Airborne Early Warning and Command System aircraft (AWACS) from Germany and three Patriot missile batteries from the Netherlands to Turkey.

Also, “Preparations were made to augment Turkey’s air defence assets with additional aircraft from other NATO countries.” [10]

The U.S. and British “coalition of the willing” that provided troops for the subsequent occupation of Iraq was overwhelmingly composed of nations that had recently joined NATO, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland; those that would join the following year, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia; ones that would be rewarded with full membership in 2009, Albania and Croatia; and candidates for the next round of expansion, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova and Ukraine.

With the fall of Baghdad, Iraq was carved up into four zones, with at the time new NATO member Poland put in charge of the South Central sector with control over 65,000 square kilometers and five million Iraqis. The Polish military ran the Multinational Division Central-South with troops from Armenia, Bosnia, Denmark, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and the U.S. under its command.

In May of 2003 the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s main governing body, authorized support for the Polish operation “including force generation, communications, logistics and movements.” [11] (From a NATO document, repeated verbatim by Senator Chuck Hagel above.)

Iraq was the war zone baptism of fire for new and prospective NATO members from Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Nine of the troop contributing nations joined NATO in the interim.

In December of 2008 most of the 16 above-mentioned former Warsaw Pact and Yugoslav states began the redeployment of their troops from Iraq to Afghanistan where they remain.

In September of 2009 the NATO Training Mission – Iraq opened its new headquarters in Operating Base Union III in the International Zone in the nation’s capital, which is now called NATO Headquarters Baghdad. Attending the ceremony marking the new site and expanded role were U.S. Army Lieutenant General Frank Helmick, commanding general for NATO Training Mission-Iraq, his deputy commanding general, Italian Major General Giuseppe Spinelli, and U.S. Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, commander of NATO Allied Joint Force Command in Naples.

The pledge of six years ago to continue “the Alliance’s long-term relationship with Iraq” was not a vain one.

In recent months NATO has not been idle in the nation bordering Iran and Syria.

This April the deputy commander of NATO Training Mission – Iraq, Major General Giuseppe Spinelli, gave an address at the Ar-Rustamiyah Joint Staff and Command College in Baghdad at a ceremony for 16 Iraqi officers graduating from Brigade Command and Battalion Command courses conducted by NATO personnel. In the same month the Italian ambassador to Iraq, Maurizio Melani, gave a lecture at the NATO training mission at the Iraqi National Defense College (NDC) – which NATO launched in 2006 – and “inaugurated a cycle of conferences that will be held by Ambassadors of NATO nations, in the framework of the NTM-I initiative to support the Iraqi NDC.” [12]

In May NATO’s Military Committee held a meeting in Brussels of 49 Chiefs of Defense from NATO and Partner nations (over a quarter of the countries in the world) which included the participation of NATO’s two top military commanders, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stephane Abrial. A NATO statement on the meeting revealed: “Concerning NATO’s Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I), important achievements have been made, particularly in the establishment of the Iraqi Federal Police.

“There is, however, a continuing need for contributions from NATO nations in terms of resources and expertise, in support of Iraq’s Security Forces, which will contribute to regional stability.” [13]

Last month Major General Claudio Angelelli, who replaced his countryman Spinelli as NTM-I deputy commander on June 10, “presented NATO Medals for personnel leaving the NATO training mission during a parade at Forward Operational Base in Ar Rustamyah,” and discussed future military cooperation with Iraqi General Salim Jasim Hussain, commander of the National Defense College, and Brigadier General Sabeeh Bahool Atti, commander of the Iraqi Military Academy Ar Rustamyah. It was reported at the time that “the Military Academy Ar Rustamyah is hosting the 101 Basic Officer Cadets Course consisting of 319 cadets from the Army and 265 from the Air Force of which 140 are pilots.” [14]

Also in July the NTM-I supervised the sixth Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Course held at the Infantry NCO School in Taji, Iraq. “The course has recently been revamped. NTM-I officers, together with the Infantry NCO School’s leadership modernized the previous programs creating a single standardized curriculum for the IAF [Iraqi Armed Forces] troops.” [15]

On July 12 NATO Training Mission – Iraq sponsored a week-long visit by a delegation from the U.S. Army War College to the Iraqi War College. “The two military colleges, which are considered gateways for officers destined for senior positions, are seeking to build a mutually supporting and enduring relationship that will continue beyond 2011.” [16]

NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero and Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Mohammad Jassim Al-Mafrji “signed an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Iraq and NATO regarding the training of Iraqi Security Forces” on July 26. “The agreement will provide the legal basis for NATO to continue with its mission to assist the Government of the Republic of Iraq in developing further the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.” [17]

A delegation from the NATO Defense College arrived at the National Defense College in Baghdad on July 28 to conduct the first ever crisis management exercise with senior Iraqi leaders.

On August 2 leaders of NATO Training Mission – Iraq and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense conducted the third Committee for the Future Training meeting at Forward Operating Base Union III, and NTM-I Deputy Commander Major General Claudio Angelelli “offered three NATO schools Iraqis could attend using NATO funds.” Lieutenant General Hussain Jassim Salim Dohi, Iraqi deputy chief of staff, said on the occasion that “We appreciate NATO support and would like to continue our collaboration on this important topic.” [18]

The following day senior military leaders from NATO Training Mission – Iraq and United States Forces – Iraq met “to discuss Iraqi military doctrine at the Iraqi Military Doctrine Conference in Baghdad,” which would “enable the Iraqi Armed Forces to develop and deliver a doctrine that will endure beyond 2011.” Iraqi General Babakir Badir-Khan stated, “With [the] significant support of our NATO partners, we have provided the tools necessary for Iraq to defend itself in the face [of] external aggression.”

NTM-I commander Lieutenant General Barbero was even more explicit, saying “As we approach 2011, and the focus for the Armed Forces switches from internal security to external defense, it is necessary to review…conventional capabilities and determine how to employ them in the event of external aggression.” [19]

Iraq borders six nations: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and NATO member Turkey. Barbero was not alluding to Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In his article quoted from earlier, Barbero repeatedly made the same point, stating:

“The Mission [NTM-I] influences professional institutions of the Iraqi Security Forces to build enduring, sustainable capabilities, working directly with partners in the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior to build capabilities that provide internal security and build a foundation to defend against external threats. [It conducts] training and education which includes officer training activities, professional development at the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, doctrine development as well as the coordination of out-of-country training.”

“It is important to note that regenerating capacity to educate and train officers started on the ground floor, completely rebuilding these institutions and courses.”

“NATO advisors and mentors are shaping the future leadership of the Iraqi Army, at all levels, from the Basic Officer Commissioning Course, to the Joint Staff and Command College, the Iraqi War College, and the Iraqi National Defence College.”

“Complementing institutional education is the NTM-I role in the development of Iraqi military doctrine. The development of doctrine is essential as the Iraqi Security Forces become a modern force capable of defending Iraqi sovereignty. An equally important program supporting this line of activity is NATO Out-of-Country Training. In 2010 to date some 300 Iraqis have attended specialized training abroad in NATO schools. An additional 300 in have attended courses in counter-terrorism at NATO Centres of Excellence in Turkey.”

He also spoke of “Operations Centres in Baghdad where embedded NTM-I advisors mentor personnel at the Prime Minister’s Operation Centre, Ministry of Defense Joint Operations Centre, and Ministry of Interior National Operations Centre” and of NATO’s development of Iraq’s internal security apparatus:

The Western military bloc “directly supports professionalism of the Iraqi Federal Police Forces. Recognized as NATO’s flagship program, this Carabinieri-led training has produced a dramatic transformation in the Iraqi Federal Police, formerly the National Police….The Carabinieri training is a prime example of how NATO training activities contribute to the professionalization of the Iraqi Security Forces at multiple levels.

“The proposed Spanish Guardia Civil training program meets a critical Iraq requirement for border security and planning is underway to improve training for the Oil Police.”

In a section titled “Post-2011 Iraq-NATO Relationship – Supporting the New Strategic Concept,” the general elaborated the role of Iraq in the Alliance’s 21st century global ambitions:

“NATO has successfully fulfilled it commitment, and the contributions of NTM-I have opened new doors for greater cooperation and regional stability. The positive reputation enjoyed by NATO in Iraq, and the region, presents a strategic opportunity. Senior leaders in the Government of Iraq have indicated a desire for a long-term relationship with NATO. This is an opportunity the Alliance must seize. The Alliance should start the dialogue now to extend the mandate of current NTM-I charter beyond 2011 and also begin discussions to frame a follow on long-term agreement that links NATO with Iraq well into the future.

“The continuing relationship between NATO and Iraq through NTM-I, and its evolution into a Structured Cooperation Framework, is a model of the potential for NATO operations out-of-area under the New Strategic Concept currently being developed by the Alliance….Looking forward, NATO has a ‘once in a lifetime’ Strategic Opportunity to build an enduring relationship with a democratic state in a critical region.” [20]

NATO will remain in Iraq when – or if – the last American soldier departs.

NATO is assisting the Pentagon in building a new army in the most populous Arab nation outside Africa. The military structure of the country was dismantled – hundreds of thousands of troops were abruptly demobilized and the officer corps purged – and rebuilt from the top down by the U.S. after the 2003 invasion, with its commanders trained by the U.S. and NATO at home and in Alliance nations. The first fully American-created armed forces in the Middle East. As during the Cold War, the U.S. controls the national army by training its officers and equipping and instructing its troops.

The U.S.’s building of what will be one of the major military powers in the Middle East, concentrating less on domestic security – assuming the fratricidal bloodbath triggered by the U.S. invasion ever subsides – and more on regional geopolitics, is part of a broader Pentagon strategy aimed in the first instance against Iran.

That strategy also includes a proposed $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia for 84 F-15 jet fighters, warships, helicopters and interceptor missile systems. A recent Wall Street Journal article on the weapons package placed it in the following context: “The administration has championed advanced weapons sales to Gulf states as a way to check Iranian power. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. has moved to sell arms to the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states, as well as support on a smaller scale [for] the Lebanese army and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.” [21]

The figure of $60 billion is from a Bloomberg News report of August 12, “according to a government official familiar with the plan,” and is larger than total Russian military spending last year, by way of providing a sense of its magnitude.

In late July Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Alexander Vershbow, “a main adviser to Defence Secretary Robert Gates on US security and defence policies in the Middle East,” was in Lebanon where he “discussed US military aid to Lebanon which in recent years totalled more than 500 million dollars.” [22]

Since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the U.S. has provided the nation’s military with far more than the half billion dollars mentioned above. U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, recently stated that the Pentagon had provided the Lebanese Armed Forces with $720 million in military aid since 2006 “to build up a Lebanese fighting force that would serve as a check on the growing power of the radical Islamist Hezbollah movement.” [23] If in the case of Iraq the U.S. and NATO are building a national army out of whole cloth, with Lebanon they have attempted to purchase one.

After the 2006 war, NATO states deployed over 8,000 troops to patrol Lebanon’s border with Syria, to protect Israel along its border with southern Lebanon, and to enforce a naval blockade of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast under an expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mandate, which also includes a new Maritime Task Force with warships from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. The Maritime Task Force is in truth an extension of NATO’s nine-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval surveillance and interdiction deployment throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

It also represents “the first military deployment by Germany in the Middle East since World War II” [24] and “its biggest naval operation since World War II.” [25]

In addition to the $60 billion dollar weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. is arming another of Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors, Kuwait, to the teeth.

It was announced this week that Washington plans to transfer 209 advanced interceptor missiles – MIM-104E Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-T Missiles – to Kuwait in a $900 million deal that, according to the U.S., would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally….” [26]

A BBC News report added that “US officials say Patriot batteries also have been stationed in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.” [27]

The encirclement, in fact the siege, of Iran continues apace and Iraq, which shares with it a 1,458-kilometer border, is slated to play a major role in plans to isolate, undermine and attack Iran, replicating the model used with devastating effect against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq itself.

NATO is actively assisting the U.S. and Israel with those war plans.

1) NATO Training Mission – Iraq
2) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
3) Brookings Institution, April 10, 2003
4) EU, NATO, US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination
Stop NATO, February 19, 2009
5) Brookings Institution, April 10, 2003
6) The U.S. Mission to NATO, January 23, 2004
7) Atlantic Council: Securing The 21st Century For NATO
Stop NATO, April 30, 2010
8) New Atlanticist/Atlantic Council October 28, 2008
9) Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1990
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
11) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
12) NATO Training Mission – Iraq, April 15, 2010
13) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, May 6, 2010
14) NATO Training Mission – Iraq, July 11, 2010
15) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
July 26, 2010
16) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
July 20, 2010
17) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, July 26, 2010
18) NATO Training Mission – Iraq
19) NATO Training Mission – Iraq
20) NATO Training Mission – Iraq
21) Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010
22) Agence France-Presse, July 26, 2010
23) Agence France-Presse, August 10, 2010
24) Deutsche Welle, September 20, 2006
25) Associated Press, September 21, 2006
26) Agence France-Presse, August 11, 2010
27) BBC News, August 11, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Central Asia: U.S. Military Buildup On Chinese, Iranian And Russian Borders

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

August 11, 2010

Central Asia: U.S. Military Buildup On Chinese, Iranian And Russian Borders
Rick Rozoff

On August 4 the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, concluded an official visit to Australia during which he met with the nation’s acting Chief of Defence and officials from the Department of Defence. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, despite its name, has strayed far from its point of origin 61 years ago, extending its grasp from North America and Western Europe to Asia and the South Pacific.

Di Paola’s deliberations with his Australian counterparts centered on “the need for NATO to work together with strategic partners like Australia, given that Euro-Atlantic security is more and more interconnected to Euro-Asian and Asian-Pacific regions.”

Australia is the largest troop contributor among non-NATO states to the Alliance’s war effort in South Asia, providing 1,550 troops for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

In an address he delivered at the Australian National University in Canberra, the head of NATO’s top military body (whose first head was General Omar Bradley) spoke on the bloc’s “New Strategic Concept and the relationship with Global Partners”:

“In this new context, because of the vulnerabilities created by globalization and the rapid pace at which it occurred, it is all the more essential for us to maintain global connectivity if we are to successfully tackle 21st Century challenges and trends.” [1]

NATO, the world’s only and history’s first international military bloc, now counts among its members and global partners at least 70 nations on five continents, and has troops from seven Asia-Pacific nations (Australia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Tonga) serving under its command in Afghanistan.

It has expanded from the northern Atlantic Ocean region over the equator to the Antipodes and the reach of its operations extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic, from Africa’s Gulf of Guinea to the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden.

As Admiral Di Paola maintains, securing the safety of Washington and Brussels requires the expansion of a U.S.-dominated military alliance into “the Euro-Asian and Asian-Pacific regions.” Having subdued and subordinated almost all of Europe through membership and partnership expansion over the last eleven years, at its Lisbon summit this November NATO will formalize its 21st century Strategic Concept in respect to placing the European continent under a U.S.-controlled interceptor missile system and expanding military partnerships into those corners of the planet so far left unincorporated into the network of the global, expeditionary military formation among other initiatives.

NATO troop deployments, utilization and upgrading of bases, armed combat operations, air patrols, naval surveillance and interdiction, armed forces training programs and regular military exercises now occur on the borders and off the coasts of China (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan), Iran (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates) and Russia (Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine). There are no longer buffer states between the Western military alliance and major non-NATO nations in Eurasia.

At the same time the Pentagon is escalating at an unparalleled pace military provocations near China – the recently concluded Invincible Spirit war games in the Sea of Japan with the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington, the same aircraft carrier docking in central Vietnam along with the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain on August 8 for unprecedented naval exercises in the South China Sea, the Pentagon announcing that the George Washington will soon enter the Yellow Sea near China’s coastline – and leading the largest-ever Khaan Quest military exercises in Mongolia with the participation of, for the first time, troops from fellow NATO nations Germany and Canada along with France, as well as four Asian NATO candidates that were included in Khaan Quest 2009: India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Mongolia shares borders with China and Russia.

Russia, China and Iran are the only major nations outside Latin America that serve as serious barriers to American worldwide military expansion and dominance. By driving into former Soviet territory in the Caspian Sea basin and Central Asia, the Pentagon and NATO are completing their military advance on all three nations. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are situated in a compact zone between China, Iran and Russia, and all but Uzbekistan border one or more of the three nations.

Notwithstanding the deadly upheavals in Kyrgyzstan this April and June, the U.S. and NATO have substantially increased the deployment of troops – at least 50,000 a month – and equipment through the nation for the West’s 150,000-troop, nine-year war in Afghanistan. Washington and Brussels have activated the Northern Distribution Network to transport supplies to the Afghan war front from ports on the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas through the Caucasus and Central Asia, pulling Azerbaijan and the five Central Asian states deeper into the Western military phalanx.

This year leading Pentagon, State Department and NATO officials have paid visits to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, including the first trip by a U.S. secretary of defense in five years and a secretary of state in eighteen years to the first-named state. In April President Obama secured military overflight and transit rights from his Kazakh opposite number, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in a nation adjoining China and Russia.

U.S. ambassador-designate to Azerbaijan, preeminent post-Soviet space hand Matthew Bryza, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 20 that his future host country, “located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and bordering Iran,” immediately after September 11, 2001 “offered us unlimited overflights…for our military aircraft.”

He added: “Today, Azerbaijan continues to provide valuable overflight, refueling, and landing rights for U.S. and coalition aircraft bound for Afghanistan.

“Azerbaijan has also contributed troops to U.S. and coalition military operations in Afghanistan, as well as Kosovo and Iraq….Azerbaijan has also remained a steadfast supporter of Israel.” [2]

At the same hearing the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, connected the war in Afghanistan and beyond with America’s trans-Eurasian energy campaign against Russia and Iran: Troops and military equipment go to the east and oil and natural gas to the west by the same route.

“I am concerned that the continuing absence of a Senate-confirmed US representative there [Azerbaijan] could impede progress toward several US national security goals. Our Committee has worked closely with our Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Ambassador Richard Morningstar, to promote the expansion of the Nabucco pipeline, the key element of a southern energy corridor that would stretch from the Caspian region to Europe.

“Progress on this measure will allow our allies to diversify energy supplies, while providing nations in the region with a focus for closer cooperation. The Nabucco pipeline’s commercial and political viability will depend on both Azerbaijan’s commitment of its indigenous resources and its willingness to serve as a transport hub for Central Asian energy across the Caspian from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and possibly other countries.

“A close partnership with Azerbaijan and other nations in the South Caucasus will also be essential to ensure the transit of supplies to our troops in the Middle East and to resolve complex disputes concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.” [3]

Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH in charge of the Western natural gas project from Kazakhstan to Europe, underscored Lugar’s point this June in stating “Europe is interested in the purchasing of natural gas from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq and Turkmenistan via the Nabucco pipeline. We came into agreement. Iran’s participation in this project is not a point at issue.” [4]

In the same month Agence France-Presse quoted the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, Ken Gross, confirming that the Pentagon plans to construct a new military facility in the Central Asian nation: “The plan [includes] almost $10 million to build [a] national training center for the Tajik armed forces.” The new base is to be called the Karatag National Training Center and, according to Gross, could house U.S. military personnel. [5]

The August 7 edition of the Washington Post substantiated earlier reports that the U.S. plans to establish a comparable base in Kyrgyzstan, which like Tajikistan borders China.

The article revealed that “The United States is planning to move ahead with construction of a $10 million military training base in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, the site of a bloody uprising in June….Called the Osh Polygon, the base was first proposed under former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev as a facility to train Kyrgyz troops for counterterrorism operations. After the ouster of Bakiyev…discussions continued under the new Kyrgyz president, Roza Otunbayeva, with whose government Washington is trying to broaden relationships…Osh Polygon will consist of a secure garrison compound with officers’ quarters and barracks for enlisted personnel, plus range facilities, firing pistols, rifles, crew-served weapons and explosive ordnance….” [6]

Earlier this month the EurasiaNet website posted a feature titled “Is the U.S. Violating Turkmenistan’s Neutrality with the NDN?” Quoting a Russian source, the piece describes the role of the U.S. and NATO Northern Distribution Network (NDN) in the Turkmen capital: “U.S. freight transited through Ashgabat is in fact military in nature and even constitutes criminal contraband. Airport employees claim they saw armored vehicles, combat helicopters and crates of ammunition. These reports challenge both the notion of Turkmen neutrality and the supposed nature of the bilateral agreement between Turkmenistan and the U.S.”

Turkmenistan is a member of the NATO Partnership for Peace program, but its government doesn’t acknowledge supporting U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention those being prepared against Iran, its neighbor to the north.

However, “The U.S. has gained access to use almost all the military airfields of Turkmenistan, including the airport in Nebit-Dag near the Iranian border, which was reconstructed at American expense. In September 2004, at the Mary-2 airfield, U.S. military experts appeared and began reconstructing the facility with the help of Arab construction companies, which provoked the protest of Moscow….An American military contingent is located in Ashgabat to oversee the operations related to refueling of military airplanes. NATO is also trying to open up a land corridor to bring freight by road and rail….” [7]

With regards to Uzbekistan, where German NATO troops remain at the Termez airbase although the U.S. military was ousted in 2005, Leonid Gusev of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations was cited last month maintaining that “The U.S. is interested in close cooperation with Uzbekistan, as the Central Asian country is strategically important for the U.S.” and that “Uzbek authorities have recently strengthened cooperation with the U.S. and other Western countries.”

Gusev added: “Now non-military goods are delivered through Uzbekistan to Afghanistan for NATO troops.

“There is a free industrial and economic zone, ‘Navoi,’ in Uzbekistan on the border with Afghanistan. It is the main transit point for shipments of goods to Afghanistan.

“This zone may soon be transformed into a transcontinental forwarding air point, which will link the Far East, South-East Asia, South Asia and Europe….[T]he U.S. plans to build a new military base near the Uzbek border to turn Uzbekistan into an important transit point for access to
Afghanistan….It is planned to build an operational center, living accommodation, [a] tactical operations center, warehouses, [a] training complex, logistics center…etc. within this project.” [8]

Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted Afghan and Tajik presidents Hamid Karzai and Emomali Rahmon in Tehran and, according to a Reuters report, “Iran’s president told the leaders of Afghanistan and Tajikistan…that the three neighbors could provide a counterweight to NATO in Asia once foreign troops quit the region.” Advice that China and Russia would also be wise to heed.

Ahmadinejad was quoted during a meeting with his counterparts stating “The Europeans and NATO are not interested in the progress of our three countries. Those who put pressure from abroad are unwanted guests [and] should leave, sooner or later.” [9]

With the announcement of new U.S. military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in addition to the indefinite maintenance of those in the latter country, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and with American and NATO military strength in Afghanistan at a record 150,000 troops, there is no indication that the Pentagon and the North Atlantic military bloc intend to leave the strategic arc that begins in the South Caucasus and ends at the Chinese border. [10]

1) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
August 5, 2010
2) Azeri Press Agency, July 22, 2010
3) Ibid
4) Azeri Press Agency, June 23, 2010
5) Agence France-Presse, June 26, 2010
6) Walter Pincus, U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan remains on track despite tensions
Washington Post, August 7, 2010
7) EurasiaNet, August 1, 2010
8) Trend News Agency, July 15, 2010
9) Reuters, August 5, 2010
10) NATO Pulls Pakistan Into Its Global Network
Afghan War: Petraeus Expands U.S. Military Presence Throughout Eurasia
Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And

Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
NATO’s Role In The Military Encirclement Of Iran
Broader Strategy: West’s Afghan War Targets Russia, China, Iran
West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin
Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China

August 7, 2010 1 comment

August 7, 2010

U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
Rick Rozoff

The U.S. ended the four-day Invincible Spirit joint military exercise with South Korea on July 28, which consisted of 20 warships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 8,000 troops “in the sea, shore and the skies” [1] of South Korea and in the Sea of Japan near the coasts of North Korea and Russia.

On the same day the Taiwan News ran a feature entitled “China reports: the US means to set up another NATO in Asia,” which cited Chinese news media, scholars and analysts warning that “The US is establishing another ‘NATO’ in Asia to contain China as evidenced in the ongoing high-profile naval exercise with South Korea and a perceived intrusion in South China Sea affairs. [T]hese moves including explicit intervention in Asian affairs underline the US’s schemes to challenge China over its growing presence in this area….”

Chinese scholar Shih Yongming is paraphrased as asserting that “The US is capitalizing on the contradictions among East Asian countries to form a front against China,” in reference to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposing “to include the controversy over the issues of South China Sea into the mechanism of international laws and [speaking] explicitly about US stakes in the disputed sea’s areas,” [2] an allusion to her comments at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Hanoi on July 23.

Clinton’s signal that Washington would rally Southeast Asian nations engaged in disputes with China over claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea occurred at the end of a six-day tour of Asia – Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Korea and Vietnam – which followed by two weeks visits to Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia on Russia’s western and southern flanks.

During her trips last month to nine nations from the Baltic Sea to the South China Sea, especially during her stays in Georgia and Vietnam, Clinton reiterated in no equivocal terms that the U.S. recognizes no “spheres of influence” by any other nation anywhere in the world, including ones by Russia and China on their borders and in their immediate neighborhoods [3], and that Washington reserves the exclusive right to intervene in regional conflicts around the world and to “internationalize” them when and how it sees fit.

Two days after Clinton left Vietnam the nearly 100,000-ton USS George Washington nuclear-powered supercarrier moved into the Sea of Japan for large-scale war games which also included the first deployment of U.S. F-22 Raptor fifth generation stealth warplanes to Korea. According to a local news source, “Two F-22s known as the best fighter aircraft in the world were shown combat-ready at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province on [July 26].

“Saying the Raptor is the most lethal fighter, the US Air Force pointed out the jet’s stealth design which prevents it from being detected by enemy radars.

“U.S. officials were also eager to remind North Korea of the supersonic jet’s presence as it can launch precise strikes at strategic targets.” [4]

The F-22s were not only within easy striking distance of Pyongyang but of Vladivostok, Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean. And not North Korea and Russia alone.

A research scholar with the Academy of Military Science of the People’s Liberation Army, Luo Yuan, wrote of the Invincible Spirit war games that the Pentagon deployed not only “a nuclear-powered super-carrier, but also its military aircraft, warships, [a] nuclear-powered submarine and [an] Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer for the joint drill.”

The naval, submarine and air exercises were conducted “only 500 km from Beijing. Considering that the nuclear-powered super-carrier USS George Washington’s radius of action is up to 600 km, and the aircraft it carries can reach a speed of 1,000 km an hour, the joint drill was dangerously close to China’s security threshold.”

The author asked a question that Russian authorities should also have posed, mutatis mutandis: “China has to be alarmed when other powers display their military might near its territory. Will the US allow China to conduct military drills with neighboring countries in the Gulf of Mexico?”

He added these concluding remarks: “[T]he military exercise was aimed at, it was a threat to China.

“The US has bandied about the ‘China threat theory’ for some time now. But this joint military exercise proves once and for all that the US, and not China, is a threat to the world.” [5]

South Korean new media have reported that the U.S. is to participate in monthly naval drills off the Korean Peninsula, in the Yellow Sea off China’s coast, next month. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell announced on August 6 that USS George Washington will participate in a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise in the Yellow Sea “in the near future.”

Before the military drills began, the influential China Daily contained an editorial that connected the expansion of a U.S.-led equivalent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to a hostile policy toward China, stating, “the US has seemingly become less restrained in its move to push forward an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with its allies in the region.

“In so doing, Washington has harbored the obvious strategic intention of
containing China – whose economic and strategic influence has kept increasing in the international arena – in a bid to preempt possible troubles that the fast-growing nation may cause to the US.” [6]

Recent articles by a U.S. geopolitical strategist and by a retired military official have renewed the demand for an Asian NATO [7], in the second case insisting that “The Asian ‘NATO’ must stand-up a credible, united effort against China’s intimidation and hegemonic actions much as NATO formed the backbone of our defense against the former Soviet Union.” [8]

Over six years ago Liu Xuecheng, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, sounded the following alarm:

“Almost as early as from the end of the Cold War, the United States began to promote a military mechanism in Asia similar to NATO.

“During the eight years of former US President Bill Clinton’s term, the United States confirmed Japan and Australia as its core allies in the Asia-Pacific region and respectively regarded the two countries as the northern and southern anchors of its East Asian security strategy.

“Through various military exercises and construction of a missile defence system, Washington subsequently succeeded in networking its bilateral military relations with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.

“Following the Kosovo War, the perception that Europe’s security situation had [come] under [the] control of NATO while Asia-Pacific security was being threatened by more uncertain and unpredictable factors prompted the United States to begin to shift its military strategy eastward.” [9]

After September 11, 2001 that geostrategic transition was intensified, the author continued, and “the Bush administration…put its priority on countering terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Under those two banners, the United States has strengthened its strategic control of the V-shaped belt stretching from Northeast to Central Asia, to which China, India, Japan and Russia are closely adjacent.

“The US traditional energy transportation passage and nations Bush branded as part of the so-called ‘axis of evil’ also overlap this long arc.

“While strengthening its strategic control of the outstretched chain, the United States has also actively worked to extend the network of Asia-Pacific security alliances under its domination to the Indian Ocean and even to the Persian Gulf to join the southward-extending NATO.

“To expedite implementation of this strategy, Washington has promoted active participation of its traditional allies in the anti-terror war, and prompted them to co-ordinate its anti-proliferation moves and support its ambitious missile defence system.”

The preceding year an unsigned item appeared in China Daily which stated “The United States is designing a NATO-like multilateral military mechanism for Asia to better serve its own strategic interests….Washington’s basic purpose for closer ties with India and an Asian version of NATO is to extend its status as the world’s sole superpower.” [10]

When the seventh of what had become annual U.S.-India Malabar naval war games expanded to include Australia, Japan and Singapore in 2007, Indian journalist Praful Bidwai wrote: “The naval exercises…are the largest and the most complex that India has ever participated in and feature as many as 25 ships from India, United States, Australia, Japan and Singapore….China…sees India’s military collaboration with staunchly pro-U.S. states like Australia and Japan and Singapore, and above all, with the U.S. itself, as an attempt to set up what it calls ‘an Asian NATO’, and eventually, to encircle it.” [11]

What in fact the U.S. is doing to complete its status as history’s first sole world military superpower, as its commander-in-chief Barack Obama referred to it in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, is to not only drag almost all Asia-Pacific nations into a military bloc analogous to NATO, but to integrate the East into a global military alliance with NATO as the foundation. [12]

As was remarked above, since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has incorporated almost all of Europe into the North Atlantic military bloc it controls. Every European nation (excluding microstates) except for Cyprus (for the moment, though it is also under pressure to join the Partnership for Peace) is now a member of NATO or part of the Partnership for Peace and even more advanced programs. 38 European nations have provided the bloc with troop contingents of varying size for the war in Afghanistan.

Having subjugated Europe, Washington moved onto Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East with the Caribbean and Latin America slated to follow. In short, the entire planet.

The five former Soviet Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are Partnership for Peace members, all except Tajikistan joining in the early 1990s and it in 2002. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 NATO troops and warplanes have operated out of bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Pentagon has recently announced plans to open training centers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in addition to the Transit Center at Manas in the second country through which 50,000 U.S. and NATO troops pass each month to and from Afghanistan.

This week Semyon Bagdasarov, member of the Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, commented on NATO’s expanded plans for the region: “[T]here are plans to send 52 OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] policemen to Kyrgyzstan who are supposed to do something there. But what can 52 unarmed men do? Kyrgyzstan is not Kosovo. If anything happens to these OSCE policemen, orders will be given to bring in armed units to Kyrgyzstan. Who is going to send military units there? Of course, it’s NATO. There’s a US military base in Manas, a French air base in Dushanbe, a 154,000 NATO military contingent in Afghanistan. What’s the problem? If that happens, we will witness a very interesting situation that will resemble the one in Kosovo.” [13]

In recent years NATO developed a new category of military cooperation, what are termed Contact Countries, all of which are in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Last week NATO announced that Malaysia had become the 47th nation to officially contribute troops for the bloc’s war in Afghanistan, joining other new Asian contributors Singapore, Mongolia and South Korea. Australia has 1,550 troops in Afghanistan and New Zealand over 200, with more to be deployed in September. Australia wants yet more New Zealand forces to serve under an Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) command in the South Asian war zone. [14] The first soldier from the nation was killed in Afghanistan on August 3.

Last week it was announced that Britain will underwrite expenses for 275 marines from the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Asian NATO is not a metaphor.

From July 19-23 the U.S. Air Force and the government of Singapore sponsored the 2010 Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium in the Southeast Asian country to which delegations from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam were also invited to participate.

The U.S. Air Force’s Lieutenant General Hawk Carlisle said of the gathering, “The U.S. Air Force looks forward to these events every year, and our 2010 editions are no exception.” [15]

On August 1 the U.S. completed month-long biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) war games in Hawaii, the world’s largest naval maneuvers, which included 36 warships, five submarines, 170 aircraft and 20,000 troops from 14 nations: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. India and New Zealand were observer countries.

Vice Admiral Richard Hunt, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet and combined task force commander for the exercises, said, “This is the largest RIMPAC that we’ve had.” [16]

“Diesel electric submarines from Japan and South Korea stalked the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in the final phase – simulating a growing undersea worry as nonallied nations build up their stock of quiet subs in the Pacific.” [17]

Participants for the first time were one of NATO’s three nuclear powers, France; Colombia, which is the first Latin American nation to provide NATO troops for the war in Afghanistan; and Singapore and Thailand, prominent members of the U.S. Asian NATO project.

On July 26 and 27 senior Indian air force leaders visited the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico “to learn how the U.S. Air Force operators use simulators for different aircraft and how to do distributed mission operations….The visiting [Indian Air Force] leaders are interested in taking part in future Virtual Flag exercises….Virtual Flag exercises link geographically separated live, virtual and constructive weapons assets in a shared joint synthetic theater environment.” [18]

Japan sent several officers from the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the recently concluded U.S.-South Korean war games in the Sea of Japan. A government panel recently issued a recommendation stating “existing defense guidelines, made in the Cold War era, are now seen as ‘unsuitable,’ and that it is necessary to respond proactively to limited, small-scale invasions and contingencies on the Korean Peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait,” and proposed “lifting outright bans on development and possession of nuclear weapons and their transportation to Japan….” [19]

Regarding U.S. plans to recruit Asia-Pacific nations into its global interceptor missile system, United Press International announced on August 5 that “Japan may export the ship-launched Standard Missile-3 system, a change from the country’s current ban on selling arms and weapons.”

“The apparent move comes after a request last October by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Japan’s Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa….The United States is expecting an answer by the end of the year….

“The 21-foot SM-3 missile, designated RIM-161A in the United States, is a major part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and is a compliment to the Patriot missile.” [20]

On July 31 the two-week U.S.-led Angkor Sentinel 2010 military exercises in Cambodia ended. The drills which formally are for training peacekeepers for worldwide deployments included military forces from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mongolia as well as the host nation. Like the latest RIMPAC war games, a combination of major NATO and Asian NATO participants.

The U.S. has just launched Khaan Quest 2010, reputed to be the largest of the annual military exercises it leads in Mongolia, and South Korean troops are to participate for the first time. [22]

On August 5 a Nepalese news sources disclosed that eight U.S. Army troops had arrived in the nation for a joint two-week military exercise.

Australia, which last year announced the largest military buildup since World War Two [21], has begun Exercise Pitch Black, a “three-week air combat exercise in Darwin, in northern Australia. The Royal Australian Air Force is being joined by military personnel from New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.”

“Security analysts say the annual war games over Darwin and the Northern Territory are designed to boost Australia’s military ties with its strategic partners. In the past, Indonesian forces also have taken part.” [23]

A major Philippine newspaper recently reported that “The United States has pledged to provide the Philippines with $18.4-million worth of precision-guided missiles this year to use in its fight against Islamist militants in the south….” [24]

On August 5 Agence France-Press revealed that the Pentagon will supply Taiwan with two more Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates. “Taiwan’s navy already operates a fleet of eight such frigates, but it has launched a five-year buildup beginning from 2008,” said a Taiwanese naval spokesman.

“Taiwanese media have said the planned buildup includes eight conventional submarines, as well as an undisclosed number of frigates and guided-missile patrol boats.” [25]

An article that appeared in the International Herald Tribune this week, “Washington Shores Up Its Strategic Assets in Asia,” included these observations:

“The United States has been gravely weakened by its Iraq and Afghan wars and consequent neglect of the strategic importance of East Asia. But two recent moves by Washington — the joint naval exercises with South Korea and a spirited diplomatic defense of the freedom of the South China Sea — have shown a renewed concern with America’s security interests in Northeast and Southeast Asia.”

“America’s military maneuvers with South Korea last week reminded China of the overwhelming naval superiority that the U.S. and its allies still enjoy in the region. Meanwhile, at the meeting last month in Hanoi of the Asean regional forum, which brought foreign ministers from the 10 Southeast Asian nations together with U.S., Chinese and other officials, Vietnam successfully conspired with the United States to get the South China Sea issue back on the table for discussion at international meetings.”

“The United States, by declaring in Hanoi that it has an interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and the settlement of disputed claims by international law, has put itself firmly in the camp of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and other nations with stakes in the outcome….” [26]

Last week a bipartisan, congressionally mandated defense panel headed by former White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Defense Secretary William Perry “challenged the Pentagon to broaden its focus beyond counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq and expand the Navy to deal with threats from rising powers in Asia.” The panel’s report called for the U.S. Navy to expand its current 282 ships to 346 ships to “beef up U.S. maritime power in Asia.”

The report stipulated confronting “an accelerating global competition for resources” and “the rise of new global great powers in Asia.” [27]

The allusion, those phrased in the plural, was to China.

The perspective of a looming conflict is shared on the Chinese side, albeit in regards to developments in China’s own region and not thousands of miles away. Wang Jisi, director of Peking University’s Center for International and Strategic Studies, wrote on August 5 that “In early 2010, conflicts between China and the US came thick and fast, leading to the most serious political disturbance between the two countries since the plane collision in 2001….The gap between the two sides’ perceptions on major international issues is getting bigger. US strategists are still trying to take advantage of China’s weak spots in domestic and foreign affairs. [I]n the future the strategic cooperation space between the two will be squeezed, and major competition is inevitable.” [28]

The tone of commentary in the Chinese press is increasingly grave and even ominous, as is indicated by these samples from Global Times:

“The Chinese government has not sent a clear signal, though there is heated debate among the public as how to respond to the aggressive US policy. Ideas range from military action to leveraging China’s financial holdings of US assets, to more diplomatic communication. Admittedly, China has fewer means to counter the US than the US can use against China.

“China won’t follow a path to war like Japan did in World War II, but that does not mean that China will surrender to US strategic containment….Taking on China as a competitor may serve as an incentive to the US. If the US takes China as an enemy, the result would be disastrous.

“Plenty of water has passed under the bridge for China and the US since President Obama took office. What started out warmly soon turned chilly, and many feel the Sino-US relationship is heading toward a dangerously uncertain era.” [29]

China’s first direct experience with NATO occurred on May 7, 1999 when five of the Alliance’s bombs hit its embassy in Yugoslavia in a strike approved by President Bill Clinton. Three Chinese citizens were killed and over 20 wounded in what the Chinese government branded a “crime of war” and a “barbarian act.”

In the intervening years NATO has moved to China’s borders – in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – and China’s neighbors are being recruited into an Eastern extension of the world first global military bloc.

1) Navy NewsStand, July 28, 2010
2) Taiwan News, July 28, 2010
3) Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
Stop NATO, July 7, 2010
4) Arirang News, July 28, 2010
5) Luo Yuan, Big Brother flexes muscles
Xinhua News Agency, July 31, 2010
6) China Daily, July 12, 2010
7) Max Boot, Building an East Asian NATO
Atlantic Council, May 12, 2010
Robert Maginnis, Winning the New Cold War
Human Events, August 6, 2010
8) Human Events, August 6, 2010
9) People’s Daily, June 3, 2004
10) China Daily, July 18, 2003
11) Inter Press Service, September 7, 2007
12) Global Military Bloc: NATO’s Drive Into Asia
Stop NATO, January 24, 2009
U.S. Expands Asian NATO Against China, Russia
Stop NATO, October 16, 2009
U.S. Consolidates Military Network In Asia-Pacific Region
Stop NATO, April 28, 2010
13) Russia Today, August 3, 2010
14) New Zealand Press Association, July 29, 2010
15) Pacific Air Forces, July 15, 2010
16) Navy Times, July 6, 2010
17) Honolulu Star-Advertiser, July 31, 2010
18) U.S. Air Forces in Europe
American Forces Press Service
July 30, 2010
19) Agence France-Presse, July 27, 2010
20) United Press International, August 5, 2010
21) Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009
22) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
23) Voice of America News, August 4, 2010
24) Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 31, 2010
25) Agence France-Presse, August 5, 2010
26) International Herald Tribune, August 2, 2010
27) Washington Times, July 29, 2010
28) Global Times, August 5, 2010
28) Global Times, August 5, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Europe And Beyond: U.S. Consolidates Global Missile Shield

August 4, 2010 1 comment

August 3, 2010

Europe And Beyond: U.S. Consolidates Global Missile Shield
Rick Rozoff

On September 17, 2009 U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and President Barack Obama separately announced plans to shift the emphasis of the global American interceptor missile – so-called missile shield or anti-ballistic missile defense – project from the previous George W. Bush administration’s plans to a more mobile, flexible and geographically broader system. [1]

The proposed deployments of ten ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based X-band radar installation in the Czech Republic were abandoned in favor of what Obama deemed “stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s allies.” Both Poland and the Czech Republic, however, remain part of Pentagon plans and will be incorporated into a broader grid with all 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which in its final stage will cover all of Europe. Or at least the entire continent west of Russia and Belarus.

Plans for ground-based interceptors in Poland alarmed Russia, which necessarily saw them as aimed at itself, but would also have been housed in fixed silos that made them easy targets.

In the month before the announced change in American plans to begin the incremental buildup of a missile shield in Eastern Europe – phased adaptive approach in government terms – a report surfaced at the annual U.S. Space and Missile Defense Conference of the Boeing Company planning a 47,500-pound mobile interceptor missile launcher to be deployed within 24 hours to NATO bases in Europe. [2] During the same month the Missile Defense Agency and Boeing also announced the successful test of their joint Airborne Laser (ABL) anti-missile system [3].

At the end of last August the first disclosure appeared of plans to expand U.S. interceptor missile deployments to the Balkans and the Black Sea region, Israel and Turkey. [4] The head of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, said at the time that he supported the installation of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in the Balkans and Turkey. (In 2007 his predecessor, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, mentioned placing U.S. interceptor missile radar sites in the Caucasus and even Ukraine.)

The SM-3 is a ship-based anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite interceptor – used to destroy an American satellite in orbit over the Pacific Ocean in February of 2008 – and part of the U.S. and allied Aegis ballistic missile defense system. It has the main advantage of being deployable around the world on destroyers and cruisers. What O’Reilly was referring to, though, was a combination of sea-based SM-3s and their adaptation for use on land.

In describing current U.S. missile shield plans last September, Pentagon chief Gates spoke of a four-phase program that began with the deployment of Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3s in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea last year, to be followed by enhanced versions of the missile both on sea and land, with successive generations of more advanced models in the third and fourth stage.

This February plans to station land-based SM-3s in Bulgaria and Romania were announced [5], and when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in the latter’s nation early last month to sign an amended agreement on interceptor missile cooperation, it was revealed that SM-3s will be stationed in Poland in the second phase of the Pentagon’s plan for a continent-wide interceptor system. [6] Slightly more than a month before, the U.S. moved Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors and approximately 100 troops into eastern Poland, only a few kilometers from Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave. [7] U.S. deployments in the country are also part of a broader NATO strategy. [8]

Connecting the ship- and land-based components of the global U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe with other locations to the east and the south, the Pentagon has also been qualitatively expanding Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Standard Missile-3 deployments in the Persian Gulf. Washington is now preparing to provide Gulf Arab states with the longer-range Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile intercept system. [9]

Last October and November the U.S. and Israel conducted the fourteen-day Juniper Cobra 10 exercise with five missile interception systems, the largest such live-fire maneuvers ever held. An American military officer present at the war games said the unparalleled drills would “help the development of a planned NATO missile shield for Europe.” [10] A year before, the U.S. deployed an X-band missile shield radar (Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance) to Israel with 120 troops, the first and to date only long-term foreign troop deployment in Israel’s history.

Washington and NATO are well advanced in solidifying an impenetrable interceptor missile system from the Baltic Sea to the Arabian Sea and the Black Sea to the Red Sea.

In the past few days further details have emerged concerning the expansion of those plans in both breadth and sophistication.

On August 30 Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas announced that “his government has been negotiating a plan with the United States to place a warning center in the Czech Republic as part of a reworked U.S. missile defense plan.” He also stated that personnel manning the facility could be provided by the U.S. and other NATO states and that the site could even be based in his nation’s capital, Prague. Necas added, “The U.S. plans to initially invest $2 million in 2011 and 2012 for the center, which is expected to become part of a joint NATO missile defense shield in the future,” [11] and that no new treaty with Washington would be required for the project. Czech popular opposition to the earlier plan for an X-band missile defense installation was credited for the U.S. discarding the Bush-era plan.

Two days afterward Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra confirmed that the U.S. had allotted $2 million for the construction of the facility, that American experts would be deployed there and that it would be in operation by the middle of next year. Vondra added, “I believe it will be one of many parts of the NATO system….” [12]

In August of last year the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza revealed that the U.S. would expand its interceptor missile plans to the Balkans, Israel and Turkey. This August the Washington Post belatedly confirmed that design.

An article by staff writer Craig Whitlock appeared in the August 1 Sunday edition of the newspaper which quoted several U.S. military officials to the effect that:

“The U.S. military is on the verge of activating a partial missile shield over southern Europe….

“Pentagon officials said they are nearing a deal to establish a key radar ground station, probably in Turkey or Bulgaria. Installation of the high-powered X-band radar would enable the first phase of the shield to become operational next year.

“At the same time, the U.S. military is working with Israel and allies in the Persian Gulf to build and upgrade their missile defense capabilities. The United States installed a radar ground station in Israel in 2008 and is looking to place another in an Arab country in the gulf region.”

Not substituting for deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic, as has been seen above, but adapting and extending the network of which they are a part southward and eastward.

The Washington Post feature added that although the interceptor missile projects in Eastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf are technically distinct, “they are all designed to plug into command-and-control systems operated by, or with, the U.S. military. The Israeli radar, for example, is operated by U.S. personnel and is already functional, feeding information to U.S. Navy ships operating in the Mediterranean.”

Providing historical perspective and dispelling the prevalent notion that the current administration’s plans are in any manner a retreat from those of its predecessor, the piece stated:

“The concept of a missile shield began with former president Ronald Reagan, who first described his vision of a defense against a Soviet nuclear attack in his ‘Star Wars’ speech in 1983….It has expanded further under President Obama, despite the skepticism he expressed during the 2008 campaign about the feasibility and affordability of Bush’s plan for a shield in Europe.

“In September, Obama announced that he was changing Bush’s approach. Instead of abandoning the idea, he directed the Pentagon to construct a far more extensive and flexible missile defense system in Europe that will be built in phases between now and 2020.” [13]

The author provided these additional details:

Starting late last year the U.S. has steadily deployed Aegis class warships in the Mediterranean Sea equipped with Spy-1 360 degree missile radar and “arsenals of Standard Missile-3 interceptors [which] will form the backbone of Obama’s shield in Europe.”

The initial detachments, one or two destroyers and cruisers at a time, will be tripled in number. Furthermore, “the Obama administration has plans to nearly double its number of Aegis ships with ballistic missile defenses, to 38 by 2015.”

Citing the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Vice Admiral Henry B. Harris Jr., the Washington Post article stated that one “option would be to assign some Aegis ships to home ports in Europe instead of making them sail constantly back and forth to the United States.

“Other Navy officials have floated the idea of flying in fresh crews so a ship could more or less deploy continuously, obviating the need for long breaks.”

It then supplied further specifics, disclosing that “Aegis ships, armed with dozens of SM-3 missile interceptors, will patrol the Mediterranean and Black seas and link up with…high-power radar planned for southern Europe.”

Romania will host land-based Standard Missile-3 deployments and Poland will follow as the site of SM-3s and additional sensors.

Although as recently as last year the Pentagon envisioned a total of 147 SM-3s, the Obama administration intends to nearly triple that number to 436. The new strategy “will require an unspecified number of new SM-3 missiles, which cost between $10 million and $15 million apiece.”

The system will expand in earnest after the NATO summit in Portugal in November, when the U.S.’s 27 members in the military bloc are expected to endorse a comprehensive, layered, mobile interceptor missile system for the entire European continent, albeit still firmly under U.S. control.

The Missile Defense Agency’s O’Reilly “said combined defenses would feature the best of both worlds: an ‘upper layer’ framework of SM-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptors, operated by the United States, that could shoot down enemy missiles in space or the upper atmosphere; and a ‘lower layer’ of Patriot batteries, operated by European allies, providing a second layer of defense closer to the ground.” [14]

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles have a longer range than both the PAC-3 and SM-3 and had not been discussed before as part of the new system.

Regarding the placement of U.S. and NATO interceptor missiles in Romania, on the Black Sea across from southwestern Russia, a recent analysis examined the geopolitical consequences:

“This means that the U.S. front line of defense is shifting from the eastern border of Germany to the Black Sea, which is adjacent to the Middle East, the Caucasus and Russia.

“Romania is ready to accept deployment of 20 SM-3 anti-ballistic missile units, currently installed on American naval vessels with the Aegis Combat System. These missiles could later be replaced with the more advanced terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) missiles. They will also be deployed in Bulgaria. Meanwhile, it has become more likely that the X-band radar system, which the U.S. originally planned to install in the Czech Republic, will be set up in Israel.” [15]

Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov was summoned to Washington for six days starting in late June for “the launch of technical negotiations about NATO’s missile defence in Europe in general” [16] and meetings with Defense Secretary Gates, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher, the last-named the key point person in securing U.S. missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe.

Angelov was given his marching orders and returned home to confirm that his nation will join the U.S. interceptor missile program in Europe (and beyond) and that “Bulgaria is participating actively in the discussions and the practical realization of all steps concerning the establishment of a NATO-wide missile defense system.” [17]

For domestic consumption he presented the decision as his country’s own – “We are the most interested state in Europe in the establishment of a missile shield because we are in the most threatened region – we fall within the range of ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles [such] as the ones employed by the states in the wider Middle East” – but since Bulgaria was incorporated into NATO in 2004 it now receives orders from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.

In a recent report that 700 Bulgarian combat troops have been ordered to Afghanistan (as Dutch troops have left), a leading local news agency demonstrated how such decisions are made: “Bulgaria’s center-right government, elected last July, initially said it would not be able to provide more forces in Afghanistan due to the economic crisis, but later changed its strategy under pressure from the United States and NATO.” [18]

The same relationship of supremacy and subordination obtains between the U.S. and all other NATO members, particularly the twelve new acquisitions in Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea.

The Pentagon has secured seven new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania since the latter two states joined NATO in 2004. Those sites include the Bezmer Air Base in Bulgaria, fifty kilometers from the Black Sea, and the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania near the city of Constanta on the Black Sea. Both are being upgraded to strategic air bases which, already employed for the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, are available for strikes against Iran and in the South Caucasus in the event of an equivalent of the Georgian-Russian war of two years ago. The Romanian base is the main headquarters for the Pentagon’s Joint Task Force-East.

At any given time there are several thousand U.S. troops in Bulgaria and Romania, the first foreign forces in Bulgaria since shortly after the end of World War Two and in Romania since 1962.

A comparable situation exists in Poland. An American military newspaper recently ran a feature on the deployment of Patriot missile batteries in the country called “U.S. Army’s presence in Poland most significant since World War II” in which an American Army spokesman stated, “We have between 80 and 150 troops going there on a regular basis. We’ve never had that number and for that long of a period.” No foreign troops had been stationed in Poland since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991.

The article also stated that “For the first time since the end of World War II, U.S. Army soldiers are making regular rotations into Poland, this time to train its forces to use Patriot missiles.

“Forty miles from the Russian border, a small group of U.S. Army Europe soldiers is instructing the Polish military about the missiles, which are designed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.” [19]

A Fox News report characterized the operation as “the first long-term U.S. troop presence…in Poland,” and quoted U.S. ambassador to the nation Lee Feinstein as maintaining “It’s U.S. boots on the ground, a very tangible symbol of the U.S.-Polish alliance.” [20]

Regarding Israel, where the U.S. has also deployed the first foreign troops on that country’s soil, in late July the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense added $95.7 million to a White House funding request for Tel Aviv’s long-range Arrow and medium-range David’s Sling anti-ballistic missile programs subsumed under the Iron Dome layered air and missile defense system. Abiding by the subcommittee’s recommendations, Congress will allot $422.7 million for the above purpose for next year (with $109 million for the Arrow 3 system), bringing total U.S. underwriting of Israeli interceptor missile programs to $1 billion over the past four years.

According to member of the subcommittee Congressman Steve Rothman, “Given the concern and attention that we are focusing now on every dollar we are expending on behalf of the US taxpayer for all purposes, including the defense of the United States and its allies, it is a mark of the importance of these projects that they were all funded so robustly and fully by our subcommittee.” [21]

By absorbing most all of Eastern Europe into NATO, the U.S. has also provided its Israeli ally access to air bases and training sites of strategic significance for future attacks on neighboring Middle East nations. On July 29 Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i stated, “We fly in Romania so we can act deep inside neighboring Arab states.” [22]

The more extended and flexible, the “stronger, smarter and swifter” U.S. missile strategy, then, pursues a trajectory from the Baltic Sea, with Standard Missile-3-equipped Aegis warships also available for service in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, to Southeastern Europe into the South Caucasus, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Persian Gulf, covering Russia’s western and southern flanks and encroaching upon Iran.

When President Obama visits India in November he intends to secure billions of dollars in arms deals with the world’s second most populous nation.

On July 12 Russia’s Vzglyad newspaper reported that “The deal, if signed during Obama’s visit, would [have] the US replace Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier…adding that the deal would also help India curb China’s rise.

“India’s shortlist includes Patriot defense systems, Boeing mid-air refueling tankers and certain types of howitzers, and the total cost of the deal may exceed $10 billion….” [23].

By selling anti-ballistic missile systems to India – starting with Patriots and advancing to longer-range models – Washington will connect its missile interception network from Europe through the Middle East to its eastern wing, that which includes 26 ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska, a 280-foot-tall, 50,000-pound sea-based X-band radar in the Aleutian Islands, and PAC-3, SM-3 and THAAD missiles in Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Current U.S.-China tensions, the worst in several decades, were triggered early this year when Washington confirmed it was providing Taiwan with 200 advanced Patriot missiles and warships capable of being upgraded for the Aegis Combat System. [24]

For all the talk of protecting the U.S. Mainland from alleged Iranian and North Korean missile threats – accusations that are in the first case absurd and in the second highly improbable – at the end of the day Washington and its military allies around the world are well on the way to encircling Russia, China and Iran with an insurmountable barrier of interceptor missile deployments in conjunction with the militarization of space and the Prompt Global Strike program. Neither those three nations nor any other outside the rapidly expanding U.S. global military nexus will be permitted to retain effective deterrence or retaliation capabilities.

1) U.S. Missile Shield Plans: Retreat Or Advance?
U.S. Missile Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader
2) Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could
Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
3) U.S. Accelerates First Strike Global Missile Shield System
4) U.S. Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans
September 11, 2009
5) Romania: U.S. Expands Missile Shield Into Black Sea
6) Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
7) Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
8) Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
9) U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
10) Israel: Forging NATO Missile Shield, Rehearsing War With Iran
11) Associated Press, July 30, 2010
12) Czech News Agency, August 1, 2010
13) Washington Post, August 1, 2010
14) Ibid
15) Japan Times/Sentaku Mazagine, July 26, 2010
Black Sea, Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East
16) Sofia News Agency, June 29, 2010
17) Sofia News Agency, July 9, 2010
18) Sofia News Agency, July 30, 2010
19) Stars and Stripes, July 23, 2010
20) Fox News, July 13, 2010
21) Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2010
22) Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2010
23) Global Times, July 13, 2010
24) U.S.-China Military Tensions Grow

Categories: Uncategorized