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Southern Front: Britain Aids NATO Integration Of Georgia

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 18, 2015

Defence Minister Met with UK Ambassador

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Defence Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze held meeting with Ambassador of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Georgia, Alexandra Hall Hall. Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili, UK Defence Attaché LTC Nick Wilkes, Political Advisor to Ambassador Chris Gaff and UK Special Advisor to Georgian MoD Stephan Glover attended the meeting as well.

The sides talked about current cooperation issues and future prospects in defence sphere between Georgia and the UK. Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration, implementation process of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package and UK’s contribution in this process were referred at the meeting as well.

As Defence Minister outlined Great Britain is strategic partner of Georgia and close cooperation with the UK is very essential. “Periodically, we review cooperation process with our partners. Georgia has a very active relation with the British side. I’d like to emphasize cooperation in military education – we actively cooperate to the direction of joint trainings. We hope the British side will participate in NATO-Georgia joint training scheduled to be held this summer. We also have a number of exchange meetings. Therefore, similar meetings and discussion of cooperation prospects are necessary to be organized”, stated Minister Mindia Janelidze.

Alexandra Hall Hall focused on close and fruitful cooperation with Defence Ministry of Georgia: “We have a very good working relation with the Georgian Ministry of Defence, with the Minister personally and his team. The purpose of my meeting today was to discuss current levels of UK-Georgia cooperation in defence. I was able to confirm that the UK will be contributing to the NATO Core Team to be established in the Georgian Ministry of Defence as part of the NATO package agreed at the Wales Summit. Actually, the UK will be contributing making very large financial contribution to the Trust Funds which has been set up to fund this defence capacity building operations. We also talked about the other defence cooperation that is going on between us. We have several Georgian students on British military courses in the UK. We also have number of defence visits. We have a director of international security policy visiting this June. We will talk about further defence cooperation”.

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Sinclair Lewis: The disguised increase, false economizing of war budgets

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Sinclair Lewis: Selections on war

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Sinclair Lewis
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

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America followed, too, the same ingenious finances as Europe. Windrip had promised to make everybody richer, and had contrived to make everybody, except for a few hundred bankers and industrialists and soldiers, much poorer. He needed no higher mathematicians to produce his financial statements: any ordinary press agent could do them. To show a 100 per cent economy in military expenditures, while increasing the establishment 700 per cent, it had been necessary only to charge up all expenditures for the Minute Men to non-military departments, so that their training in the art of bayonet-sticking was debited to the Department of Education. To show an increase in average wages one did tricks with “categories of labor” and “required minimum wages,” and forgot to state how many workers ever did become entitled to the “minimum,” and how much was charged as wages, on the books, for food and shelter for the millions in the labor camps.

It all made dazzling reading. There had never been more elegant and romantic fiction.

Even loyal Corpos began to wonder why the armed forces, army and M.M.’s together, were being so increased. Was a frightened Windrip getting ready to defend himself against a rising of the whole nation? Did he plan to attack all of North and South America and make himself an emperor? Or both? In any case, the forces were so swollen that even with its despotic power of taxation, the Corpo government never had enough. They began to force exports, to practice the “dumping” of wheat, corn, timber, copper, oil, machinery. They increased production, forced it by fines and threats, then stripped the farmer of all he had, for export at depreciated prices. But at home the prices were not depreciated but increased, so that the more we exported, the less the industrial worker in America had to eat. And really zealous County Commissioners took from the farmer (after the patriotic manner of many Mid-Western counties in 1918) even his seed grain, so that he could grow no more, and on the very acres where once he had raised superfluous wheat he now starved for bread. And while he was starving, the Commissioners continued to try to make him pay for the Corpo bonds which he had been made to buy on the instalment plan.

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First U.S. Paratroopers Arrive In Ukraine

Interfax-Ukraine
April 17, 2015

U.S. paratroopers arrive in Ukraine – Ambassador

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Servicemen of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. army have arrived in Ukraine to train the National Guard units, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt reported on Friday morning.

“MT @USAGBavaria 173rd Airborne troops arrive in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian [military drills],” Pyatt wrote on Twitter.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on March 29 that U.S. Armed Forces servicemen would arrive in the Yavoriv range in Lviv region on April 20 for long-term coaching of Ukrainian National Guard units.

“Two hundred and ninety U.S. paratroopers will land on the Yavoriv range in Lviv region on April 20 to begin long-term coaching and exercises between the 173rd U.S. airborne brigade and National Guard units under an agreement with the U.S. Department of State,” Avakov wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening.

The coaching program will involve 900 National Guard servicemen, the minister said.

“There will be three groups, 300 National Guard servicemen in each. The three training courses will last for eight weeks each. Then joint exercises will be held,” Avakov said.

According to Avakov, the following battalions will take part in the exercise – Azov, Kulchynsky Yahuar (jaguar), Omega, and others from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia.

Ukrainian army battalion 'Azov' depart to eastern Ukraine

“Our American partners will present special ammunition and communication devices to the National Guard detachments that underwent training at the end of the exercise,” he said.

The Fearless Guardian military exercises will take place in Yavoriv district, Lviv region, in the period from March to November and will bring together a maximum of 2,200 troops. Ukraine is providing up to 200 armed forces troops and up to 1,000 National Guard personnel, and the U.S. will be represented by a maximum of 1,000 servicemen.

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Video: NATO Rehearses For New War In Europe

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

April 17, 2015

Video: Exercise Saber Junction 2015

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NATO Chief Raises Specter Of “Russian Aggression”…In Iceland

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 16, 2015

Secretary General: Iceland plays important role to keep NATO strong

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U.S. F-15 flying over Iceland as part of permanent NATO air patrol

Iceland plays a “unique role” in keeping the Alliance’s transatlantic link strong, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday (16 April) during a visit to Reykjavik. “Iceland makes important contributions to NATO and international security in many ways,” he said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson
Mr. Stoltenberg is in Iceland to discuss issues at the top of NATO’s security agenda. He discussed Russia’s continued aggressive actions in Ukraine and the rise of violent extremism in the Middle East and North Africa with Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Mr. Stoltenberg is also meeting Olof Nordal, the Interior Minister and senior members of Iceland’s Parliament, including Einar K. Guofinnsson, the Speaker of the Althingi, and Birgir Armannsson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Secretary General noted the need for every Ally to continue to play a full role to ensure NATO is able to meet current and future challenges. “In this global security environment, it is more important than ever to work together. This requires a NATO response and that’s what we are doing,” Mr Stoltenberg said. He said that Allies are more than doubling the size of the NATO Response Force and creating a new 5,000-strong quick reaction Spearhead Force.

The visit to Iceland started at the Keflavik Security Zone, where the Secretary General met Icelandic and NATO personnel involved in the air surveillance peacetime preparedness mission.

The Secretary General, together with the Prime Minister, also paid a visit to the Icelandic Coast Guard’s multi-purpose vessel ‘Thor’.

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Stephen Spender: The Woolfs in the 1930s: War the inevitable result of an arms race.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Stephen Spender: Ultima Ratio Regum

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Stephen Spender
From World Within World (1948)

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There would be talk of politics, that is to say, of war. For Leonard and Virginia were among the very few people in England who had a profound understanding of the state of the world in the 1930s; Leonard, because he was a political thinker and historian with an almost fatalistic understanding of the consequences of actions. So that when, in 1934, I asked him whether he thought there would be a war he replied: “Yes, of course. Because when the nations enter into an armaments race, as they are doing at present, no other end is possible. The arms have to be used before they become completely out of date.”

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Perhaps the worst of the 1930s was not that politicians attempted to compromise with Hitler: but that they did Hitler’s work by blinding themselves, and others, to the forces with which they were compromising. Hitler did more than gain political victories in Europe. He also demoralized international politics. There came a day when the democratic statesmen who played politics with him, were forced to accept elections in Austria and the Saar, directed by Hitler, as expressions of the will of the people; to recognize the Anschluss and the seizure of Czechoslovakia as voluntary corrections of European frontiers; and to deny, during the Spanish Civil War, that British ships were sunk by Italian submarines in the Mediterranean. There statesmen came to represent a cynicism which lacked the courage of Hitler’s blackguardism. If it is pointed out that after all the democracies overthrew Hitler, I must reply that this was not until they had inherited and taken to themselves the worst of his plans – total war followed by a dictated peace.

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The intelligentsia also had more sinister reasons for understanding Hitler. These were the elements of pure destructiveness, of attraction to evil for its own sake, and of a search for spiritual damnation, which had been present in some European literature for the past century, and which were fulfilled in Nazi politics. European literature had diagnosed, without purging itself of, the evil of nihilism. In Hitlerism the nightmares of Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, of Nietzsche and of Wagner, were made real. The cultured Europeans recognized in this political movement some of their own most hidden fantasies. Hatred of it was deeply involved with a sense of their own guilt. And as though to demonstrate this to the utmost, certain writers in the occupied countries were actually to welcome Hitler as a destructive force which their art had prophesied.

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NATO, Pentagon Applaud Deployment Of Canadian Troops To Ukraine

Ukrinform
April 15, 2015

NATO, U.S. welcome Canada’s decision on sending military instructors to Ukraine

KYIV: .NATO and the United States have praised the decision of the Canadian government to send 200 military instructors to train the Armed Forces and the National Guard of Ukraine.

Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command, General Philip M. Breedlove said this, according to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.

“I applaud Canada’s announcement of its decision to join the training of Ukrainian National Guard personnel,” reads the statement on behalf of the American general in Facebook.

Breedlove said that he did not believe in a military solution to the conflict in Ukraine, but such assistance from Canada would help strengthen the county’s internal defense capabilities.

As reported, Canada would send about 200 military instructors of its army for conducting exercises and increasing the defense capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the National Guard.

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Romania: NATO To Launch War Games Near Ukrainian Border

April 16, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
April 16, 2015

NATO-planned military exercises begin in Romania close to Ukrainian border

Some 2,200 Romanian, U.S., British and Moldovan troops will take part in military exercises in Romania, close to the Ukrainian border, beginning this week.

“Wind Spring 15″ will start on Thursday and will continue until April 30 at two locations in eastern Romania: the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” airbase near the Black Sea port of Constanta, and the “Smardan” shooting range 250 kilometers away from Bucharest, the AP news agency reported.

Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa said on Wednesday that Romania will stage more than 340 exercises this year, many jointly organized with NATO and European Union partners.

Dusa said the exercises are part of a plan approved at NATO’s 2014 summit to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and the EU, which border Ukraine.

“We will permanently rotate troops on this flank,” he added.

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Pentagon, NATO Plan 24 War Games Under Anti-Russian Initiative

U.S. Army Europe
April 15, 2015

Four things ‘Strong Europe’ provides for the Army
By Amy L. Haviland

FORT EUSTIS, Va. — The commanding general of U.S. Army Europe provided a unique opportunity for professional development when he spoke to Soldiers and civilians at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s headquarters here April 13.

During the discussion, presented by TRADOC’s Army Capabilities Integration Center, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges offered his insight on the importance of “Strong Europe.” This term is all-encompassing and is used to define USAREUR’s contributions – on behalf of the Army – to NATO, U.S. European Command and other combatant commands.

One way the Army is building these relationships — and providing a presence — is through its contributions to European Command’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, which began in 2014.

“Atlantic Resolve is a series of continuous exercises that stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and has a continuous presence of American Soldiers, who are either based in Europe or are part of the rotational force,” Hodges said.

This year, Operation Atlantic Resolve includes 24 multinational exercises of battalion-size or larger, such as the exercise currently going on in Hohenfels, Germany, that includes Soldiers from 17 different countries.

Hodges said these exercises have become “the new normal” in Europe, and not only demonstrate the Army’s commitment in providing landpower to combatant commanders and NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, but also in providing assurance to U.S. allies.

“Our allies are going to continue to need to be assured that we are there, and nothing says commitment like American Soldiers standing there with them,” he said.

The USAREUR commanding general described a very recent example of this commitment and the people who showed their support for the Army. March 21 marked the start of Operation Dragoon Ride, a 1,100-mile road march through Eastern European countries that lasted close to two weeks.

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U.S., Britain Lead NATO War Games In Romania

ACTMedia
April 16, 2015

Military exercise putting on alert units with approximately 3,000 troops participating

Minister of National Defence, Mircea Dusa, on Wednesday assessed on the Smardan polygon, in Galati County, a military exercise putting on alert units subordinated to the ‘Getica’ 2nd Infantry Division in Buzau, with approximately 3,000 troops participating.

The military exercise kicked off on Tuesday, 6 pm, Romania’s time, at the command of the Minister of National Defence, Mircea Dusa, and ended on Wednesday morning, 4 am, when all the 3,000 troops, from the Buzau, Focsani, Galati and Braila garrisons, and their military equipment, arrived at the Smardan polygon. The Minister said he was pleased with the reaction time of the military participating in the exercise, while also specifying there was no incident recorded during the troops’ movement to the Smardan polygon. Moreover, the Minister specified that the last similar exercise was organised in Romania six years ago, because of the financial problems.

Romanian, US, British troops stage NATO-planned exercises

On Wednesday evening he will give the order to cease the alert. Some of the troops participating in this exercise will remain in the Smardan polygon, where a multinational exercise will take place on Thursday, ‘Wind Spring 15′, to last until April 30. There are going to participate 2,200 servicemen with weapons and war equipment, from the UK, Moldova, Romania and the US armies.

According to Minister Mircea Dusa, the exercise is part of the a Readiness Action Plan (RAP) to safeguard the NATO’s and EU’s Eastern flanks, as approved in the Wales Summit. According to this RAP, a US destroyer is currently located in Constanta, 11 A 10 aircraft are located in Campia Turzii, where the pilots are currently undergoing training. Moreover, a number of Portuguese pilots are about to arrive in Romania with their F16 aircraft and also US pilots with F15 aircraft. Mircea Dusa also specified that there are more than 340 military preparation and training exercises involving Romanian troops and NATO and EU partners scheduled for this year, which is more than in the past years.

‘Based on the Readiness Action Plan (RAP) to safeguard its Eastern flank, as approved in the Wales Summit, we will permanently have troops assigned on this flank by rotation. We already have an US destroyer located in Constanta, 11 A 10 aircrafts in Campia Turzii, with the US pilots training together with the Romanians, and we also expect the Portuguese F16 aircraft with their pilots and the US F15 aircraft and there will be many more military exercises. Moreover, we permanently have a NATO or EU ship in the Black Sea and in the Constanta Port, where there are also conducted joint exercises. This year, since we have the necessary funds, we plan to conduct 340 training exercises with Romanian troops. Some of them will be organised together with our partners in NATO and the EU, while others will be organised by our military units. At the same time, the Romanian military will also participate in military drills and training exercises in other states in Europe. Currently, we have Romanian troops training in Germany and Bulgaria. These exercises are very important for achieving the inter-operability with the militaries in NATO and the other states,” said Dusa.

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Montenegro: Bomb And Grab, NATO Completes Absorption Of Balkans

April 16, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 15, 2015

Montenegro’s progress on its Euro-Atlantic path
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[Bulgaria and Romania joined NATO as full members in 2004; Albania and Croatia in 2009.
Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro have Membership Action Plans, the final step before full NATO accession.
Serbia has been granted an Individual Partnership Action Plan and Kosovo is, in the words of a former Yugoslav head of state, the world’s first NATO state.]

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Montenegro’s substantial reforms on Wednesday (15 April 2015), saying they represented “real progress towards membership in NATO.” After talks with Prime Minister Milo Đjukanović at NATO headquarters, Mr. Stoltenberg called Montenegro “a champion of regional cooperation”, adding “you have repeatedly shown that you share our values.” The Secretary General also thanked Montenegro for its continuing financial and operational support for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Đjukanović is also participating in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to discuss Montenegro’s relationship with NATO in light of last September’s decision to open “intensified and focused talks” with Podgorica. Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that Foreign Ministers will assess Montenegro’s progress by the end of this year, with a view to deciding whether to invite the country to join NATO.

Calling today’s meeting an “important step”, the Secretary General noted that it was a chance to show that Montenegro is delivering in areas such as intelligence sector reform, rule of law, and increasing public support for NATO membership.

“Countries which joined the Alliance have been able to reinforce their democracy, boost their security, and make the lives of their citizens safer,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. He underlined that Europe as a whole has become more stable as a result, calling it a “real, historic success”.

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Iran Calls On China, India, Russia To Oppose NATO Expansion, Missiles

Sputnik International
April 16, 2015

Iran Ready to Cooperate With Russia, China, India to Oppose NATO in Europe

MOSCOW: Iran calls for cooperation with Russia, India and China to oppose NATO’s plans for military expansion in Europe, the country’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Thursday at a press conference in Moscow.

“We would like to support the idea of developing a multifaceted cooperation between China, Iran, Russia, and India to oppose the purposeful expansion of NATO to the east and placing a missile shield in Europe.”

He emphasized that Iran was ready to begin consultations on the issue to secure stability in the region.

NATO has been boosting its presence in Eastern Europe which has caused concerns from Russian authorities. The process is taking place amid tensions between the alliance and Moscow, following NATO’s accusations that Russia was providing Ukraine’s southeastern militias with military assistance.

Moscow has denied the allegations, while Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov called the alliance’s activity in Eastern Europe “unjustified.”

In February, NATO announced the increase of its Rapid Response Force from 13,000 to 30,000 military personnel, and the establishment of six new command posts in European states close to the Russian borders.

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RT
April 16, 2015

Iran urges India, China & Russia to counter NATO missile system

Iran has announced its readiness to cooperate with Russia, China and India on the issue of NATO’s missile shield and related threats from the military bloc, the head of its defense ministry said in Moscow.

“I’d like to support the idea of developing multifaceted defense cooperation between China, Iran, India and Russia to counter NATO eastwards expansion and installing a missile shield in Europe,” Hossein Dehghan said on Thursday, at an international security conference in Moscow.

Despite a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program, the US is still going to site its missile defense installations in Europe. They are being deployed over a perceived threat from “nuclear Iran” – a pretext which Moscow called a “fairytale.”

“The threat to NATO countries posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to increase… the framework [of the Iran nuclear program] agreement does not change that fact,”NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Sputnik.

According to Russia, the controversial missile shield in Europe is staying because “the Missile Defense System was never about Iran.”

“This serves as yet more proof that references to the ‘Iranian [missile] threat’ served as a smokescreen, whereas the genuine objective is the creation of an anti-missile program with quite a different purpose,” the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote.

The US has for years insisted the missile defense system is needed for protection against potential missiles from rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran. Moscow strongly objected to new unilateral NATO military installations, citing national security threats. Russia proposed the creation of a joint system, but Washington rejected it.

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NATO Expands Air Command and Control System Throughout Eastern Europe

Xinhua News Agency
April 16, 2015

Bulgaria to participate in expansion of NATO Air Command, Control Systemr

SOFIA: The Bulgarian government on Wednesday approved a memorandum for the country’s participation in the expansion of the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS), officials said.

According to the memorandum, which was signed in January by NATO, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the particular ACCS projects would be determined by the relevant committees of the Alliance, the government said in a press release.

The ACCS projects were expected to be implemented in Bulgaria in the period of 2015-2018, with the total value of around 12 million euros (some 12.68 million U.S. dollars), the government said.

Bulgaria, a NATO member since 2004, has been defending the Alliance’s airspace [sic] by performing NATO air policing duties with its Soviet-made MiG-29 and MiG-21 fighters.

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Thomas Mann: By nature evil and harmful, war is destructive even to the victor

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Thomas Mann: Selections on war

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Thomas Mann
From letter to Agnes E. Meyer
December 1, 1946

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America as a whole is not in the happiest state – morally damaged by a war that was a necessity, but simply as a war was evil and harmful. Those are the antinomies in this vale of tears. Now we are experiencing a great lowering of morale, raw avarice, political reaction, race hatred, and all the signs of spiritual depression…As a German I am naturally inclined toward pessimism, and occasionally I fear having to go through the whole disaster, somewhat modified, once again. And then there would be no further exile – for where would I go?

From letter to Mr. Gray [unidentified)
October 12, 1947

At one time my faith in America’s humanitarian mission was very strong. In the last years it has been exposed to slight strains. Instead of leading the world, America appears to be resolved to buy it – which is also a very grandiose thing after its fashion, but does inspire less enthusiasm, you know. But even under these circumstances I still remain an American patriot, a fact which is confirmed to me by the grief I feel as I observe the growing unpopularity of America in the rest of the world. The American people are not responsible for this development and do not comprehend it. Those who try to explain the reasons for it are more and more reduced to silence. We can already see the first signs of terrorism, talebearing, political inquisition, and suspension of law, all of which are excused by an alleged state of emergency. As a German I can only say: That is the way it began among us, too.

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Ukrainian Crisis: NATO’s Pretext To Contain And Besiege Russia

April 15, 2015 1 comment

RT
April 15, 2015

‘Ukrainian crisis – NATO pretext to contain and besiege Russia’

NATO exercises in Europe and its eastward expansion have nothing to do with the Ukrainian crisis, which is used as a pretext to move closer to Russia’s borders in order to contain and besiege it, says international analyst Rick Rozoff.

RT: NATO continues to increase its military personnel in Eastern Europe, carrying out large-scale military exercises with 17 countries taking part. It’s the latest stage of Operation Atlantic Resolve – a series of over 30 war games in Europe throughout this year. What do you think NATO is preparing for?

Rick Rozoff: They are preparing for a direct military confrontation with Russia. I think that’s an inescapable conclusion. Let’s recollect first of all, we have some not even short memory-influenced thinking about what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is. It was founded 66 years ago this month to be exact, in 1949, with the express intention of containing, confronting, and as need might arise engaging in a military conflict with Russia. Pure and simple. There is no other purpose for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Now in the post-Cold War period with the demise of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and of the Eastern Bloc as a whole, far from having dissolved itself, which would have been logical if its intent had been in any way or form of a defensive nature, it instead increased its membership by 12 new countries, by 75 percent. All 12 of those countries are in Eastern Europe, several of them border Russia. And it has always been the express intent of NATO to move up to Russia’s western and to large part of its southern borders and to contain Russia.That’s a purpose for it. So the fact that the Ukrainian crisis has been exploited as the pretense for an acceleration of plans long under way – years, decades under way – for NATO expansion to contain and besiege Russia. There is something we need to be aware of. The NATO expansion in the Baltics, in the Black Sea has nothing to do with the Ukrainian crisis except as a pretext. It has everything to do with plans that were under way for at least a decade or two.

RT: Why do you think that NATO officials still continue with the harsh rhetoric about Russia, despite the fact that Russia played a key role in establishing the truce in East Ukraine? Russia is not threatening anyone. So who is the US rhetoric aimed at, is it trying to scare home audiences or trying to provoke Russia?

RR: It is being done in conjunction with the US allies, I should really say the US operatives, on the ground in critically important countries, many of which either border Russia or are close to it. I’m thinking of Sweden, Finland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and other countries, and in Ukraine in particular. There is an effort to portray Russia – which is the victim and not the perpetrator in this military expansion – as being the aggressor. And NATO, which is transparently and irrefutably the aggressor, is being portrayed as a defensive force. But this is a public relations battle going on, this is a war of ideas that is going on right now. And it’s one meant in conjunction with US controlled political operatives in the five countries I mentioned in particular to soften up the resistance of the populace to NATO membership. That’s why countries like Finland, Sweden, Georgia, and Azerbaijan have troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan, in a combat role. Georgia had even, at the peak of NATO troops training in Afghanistan, had the largest contingent of any non-NATO member, in the neighborhood of almost 3,000 troops. And these troops are being trained with the express purpose of getting combat experience that could be use closer to home – and that means against Russia.

RT: The alliance’s military exercises are becoming larger each time. What is their eventual aim?

RR: …To be able to be a little bit more specific about it, we have to recollect that the NATO nations, 28 members, account for over a trillion dollars in military spending per year; they account – depending on how it’s estimated – from 60 to 75 percent of global military spending…In addition to the US, both France and Britain, three of the four members of what they call the NATO Quad, are nuclear powers. And US tactical nuclear weapons are stationed under what is called “NATO burden sharing” or “NATO power sharing” in military bases in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Belgium…But, also, what we are going to see is a steady acceleration of military build-up in what now NATO quite openly calls the “frontline states”. And “frontline” is a term generally used in a war. Their frontlines states, the six of them, are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. And the US and NATO, for example, have quadrupled the amount of advanced-generation warplanes, that are part of what NATO euphemistically calls air patrols over the Baltic Sea operating out of Lithuania, now also out of Estonia. So there are now four times as many of them as perhaps a year ago. These are warplanes that can strike Saint Petersburg in 5 minutes and Moscow in 15 minutes. So we have some idea what we are talking about. What is more alarming is not only, as you indicated, the Minsk arrangement, the Normandy Four arrangement, with Ukraine which should have led to the de-escalation of the US and NATO military build-up along Russia’s western borders led to the precisely the opposite.

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Lessons Of Afghanistan, Iraq: U.S. Army Europe, NATO Drill For New War

U.S. Army Europe
April 15, 2015

Army Europe senior leaders visit Saber Junction 15
By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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HOHENFELS, Germany: Saber Junction 15 welcomed approximately 20 multinational senior leaders, including Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of Army Europe, here, April 15, as part of a distinguished visitor event to showcase the multinational training event.

Saber Junction 15, which includes more than 4,700 participants from 17 countries, prepares NATO and partner-nation armies for offensive, defensive and stability operations.

Our Soldiers [U.S.] prefer training with partners because we know that is how we are going to fight,” Hodges said.

Leaders met soldiers from varying countries to discuss their specialized equipment set up at a static display. The display included both U.S. and foreign equipment and fighting vehicles.

Additionally, interoperability capabilities were displayed during a full-scale attack scenario in the training area, or ‘box’ as it is commonly referred to here. Soldiers engaged opposing forces on foot, with infantry fighting vehicles and air support.

The day wrapped up with a media press conference where leaders openly answered questions about the training, the strengthening of the multinational alliance, and the abilities being fostered to keep ‘winning in a complex world.’

Saber Junction originally began in 2011 drawing from the lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Saber Junction 15 runs April 1-30, 2015.

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Ukraine: NATO’s Proxy War Enters Second Year

Interfax-Ukraine
April 15, 2015

One Ukrainian soldier killed, two injured in Donbas in past 24 hours

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One Ukrainian serviceman has been killed in the anti-terrorist operation [sic] area in the south-east of Ukraine over the past 24 hours, ATO headquarters spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a press briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.

“One of our soldiers has been killed and another two have been injured in the past 24 hours,” he said.

“The situation remains unstable…The adversary has been actively using small arms, grenade launchers and mortars. It has fired tanks twice against Ukrainian armed forces’ positions near the village of Peski,” Lysenko said.

No cannon artillery fire has been registered in the past 24 hours, he said.

The region’s flashpoints are the villages of Shyrokyne and Chermalyk near Mariupol, the Donetsk airport and villages along the Bakhmutka road in the Luhansk region, Lysenko said.


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Interfax-Ukraine
April 15, 2015

Poroshenko welcomes Canada’s decision to send military instructors to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has welcomed the Canadian government’s decision to send Canadian instructors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian servicemen.

“Up to 200 members of the Canadian armed forces together with military servicemen of other of our international partners will help strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces and the National Guard,” the presidential website reported on Tuesday evening.

Poroshenko described the decision as “another important step by Canada…”

“I am convinced that the strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capability would promote not only peace in our country but also global security in the Euro-Atlantic area,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and National Defense Minister Jason Kenney had announced their decision to send a group of 200 military instructors to Ukraine. The Canadian servicemen are expected to join U.S. and British military instructors in western Ukraine in early summer 2015 to work there until March 31, 2017.

Most of the Canadian instructors would stay in the town of Yavoriv, Lviv region.

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Defense Chief In Estonia: More German Troops In Eastern Europe

Deutsche Welle
April 15, 2015

Germany assures Estonia of NATO backing

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen kicked off a two-day visit to the Baltic states on Tuesday.

In the Estonian capital, Tallinn, she pledged her government’s continued support as the region faces possible military aggression from Russia.

“Your concerns are also our concerns,” von der Leyen told reporters and her Estonian counterpart, Sven Mikser.

All three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – belong to NATO…

The EU has repeatedly levied sanctions on Russia in a bid to force it to halt all cooperation with eastern Ukrainian separatists. However, despite a ceasefire agreement, a lasting peace in eastern Ukraine remains tenuous amid reports of continued fighting.

Tallinn wants more support

Estonion Defense Minister Mikser urged NATO to improve its resources and the country’s prime minister, Taavi Roivas called for a great troop presence.

“Estonia is of the opinion that there could be a continuous presence of European allies in [both] Estonia and the Baltic region under Germany’s leadership,” Roivas said, additionally thanking Berlin for contributing its air force to the Baltics surveillance mission.

Germany, alongside fellow NATO allies the UK and the US, have been patrolling Baltic airspace…

More German troops by 2016

Von der Leyen attempted to dismiss the concern and reassure the government in Tallinn that it shouldn’t “underestimate NATO’s response capabilities.”

By 2016, a total of 5,000 German soldiers would participate in NATO exercises in eastern Europe, she added.

The German defense chief was scheduled to travel to Latvia later on Tuesday and then to Lithuania on Wednesday where she would hold similar meetings.

The military alliance announced plans in February to set up six regional command and control control centers in eastern European nations, namely Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, so its rapid response force could be mobilized quickly.

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Charles Yale Harrison: War’s snarling, savage beasts

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

There is a movement in one of the trees which has remained standing. Broadbent raises his rifle to his shoulder and shoots into the shattered branches.

A rifle drops – and then the man. He holds his shoulder from whence comes a trickle of blood. The rifle is fitted with telescopic sights.

A sniper!

Some of our boys rush to him and cover him with their rifles. The wounded sniper crawls on his knees towards us. He is middle-aged and has a gray walrus mustache – fatherly-looking. His hands are folded in the gesture which pleads for pity.

Drei Kinder – three children,” he shrieks.

We are on top of him.

Broadbent runs his bayonet into the kneeling one’s throat. The body collapses.

Some of us kick at the prostrate body as we pass it. It quivers a little with each kick.

***

I see their ranks waver for a moment and then they start to run slowly towards us. Our line is a line of flame. Every gun is in action.

The singing is quite distinct now.

I can see faces clearly.

Each burst of Broadbent’s gun cuts a swath in the front ranks of the attacking troops.

They are close to our trenches. Their singing has become a shriek which we hear above the hammering of our rifles and guns.

I am filled with frenzied hatred for these men. They want to kill me but I will stay here and shoot at them until I am either shot or stabbed down. I grit my teeth. We are snarling, savage beasts.

Their dead and wound are piled about four deep.

They climb over them as they advance.

Suddently they break and retreat.

We have repulsed them again. Their wounded crawl toward our trenches. We shoot at them.

The shrieking and howling out in front of us sounds like a madhouse in turmoil.

We sink down to the bottom of our trenches exhausted.

It is quiet once more.

Out in front wounded men still howl. One of them crawls into our trench and falls near us. Half of his face is shot away.

His breath smells of ether! No wonder they attacked like madmen!

It is nearly dusk.

They begin to shell our trench. They have not got the correct range and the shells fall short in No Man’s Land. The shells leap among the bodies of the wounded and the dead. The lashing of the bombardment starts them shrieking again. It hurls torn limbs and entrails into our trench.

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Republication: Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space

April 14, 2015 2 comments

Stop NATO
July 7, 2010

Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
Rick Rozoff

untitled


Hillary Clinton’s Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completed a four-day, five-nation tour of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus by holding a press conference with Georgia’s volatile president Mikheil Saakashvili and delivering what in effect was a harsh ultimatum to Russia.

A stern and even provocative admonishment which clearly defines the narrow parameters within which the current U.S. administration has “pushed the reset button” with Moscow.

As Clinton’s own comments best illustrate, Russia is a partner of the United States when it assists in levying onerous sanctions against Iran, provides support for the nine-year American and NATO war in Afghanistan (and neighboring Pakistan), and timidly accedes to the Pentagon taking over military bases and stationing interceptor missile batteries along Russia’s Western flank from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

But should Russia object, however perfunctorily, however reticently, to Washington shearing the sheep too closely by recruiting former Soviet states and neighboring nations into its political, economic, energy and military blocs, then Clinton and the administration she is the foreign policy point person for will not hesitate to rebuff and even gratuitously insult its Russian “partner.”

Speaking in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and reiterating the demand that Russian troops evacuate Abkhazia and South Ossetia, ceding both to the less than tender designs of American client Saakashvili, the U.S.’s top diplomat stated, “That is the rebuke (to Russia) that no one can dispute.” [1]

With Saakashvili, who graduated from New York’s Columbia University (Zbigniew Brzezinski’s haunts) on a State Department fellowship in the 1990s, to her side, on July 5 Clinton all but ordered Russia to remove its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia: “I came to Georgia with a clear message from President Obama and myself. The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States does not recognize spheres of influence. President Obama and I have also communicated this message directly to our Russian counterparts, most recently during our meetings in Washington on June 24th….As I told the [Georgian] president, President Obama and I and other American officials raise our concerns about the invasion and occupation with Russian counterparts on a consistent basis. And it is very important for us that we do so, because we are very frank in asserting our concerns and our ongoing support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” [2]

Saakashvili seized on her words, crowing that Obama and Clinton were the first major American officials to use the word invasion in lieu of earlier terms that almost sound diplomatic in tone. The Georgian leader said: “President Obama was the first one to call a spade a spade, basically, to say it was an invasion. Because before, as you remember, the term ‘disproportionate use of force’ was used….President Obama was the first one to use the term.” [3]

That the U.S. invaded and still militarily occupies Afghanistan and Iraq was not mentioned by either official. That Georgia has supplied 2,900 troops for both wars wasn’t mentioned either.

At an earlier town hall meeting in Tbilisi Clinton stated her government was “appalled, and totally rejected” the Russian argument that it was protecting the lives of its citizens in the two South Caucasus republics. “We, the United States, was appalled, and totally rejected the invasion and occupation of Georgian territory. I was in the Senate at the time, and, along with my colleagues and the prior Administration, made that view very clear. We continue to speak out, as I have on this trip, against the continuing occupation.” [4]

She reached into her quiver for the familiar verbal projectiles appropriate to the occasion: Acting as guarantor for Georgia’s claims on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have never been part of post-Soviet Georgia, and branding Russia’s defense of the two republics as invasion and occupation. Clinton, an attorney like Saakashvili, completed her indictment of Russia with the repeated asseveration that it is not entitled to a sphere of influence on its borders and in territory that had been its own for centuries.

Despite Clinton’s claim to the contrary, the United States most decidedly recognizes spheres of influence. In its own hemisphere – the entirety of it – in the South Caucasus and everywhere else on the planet. Its own sphere of influence and those of its allies and client states. It is the policy presented in the Aesopian apologue from which the expression the lion’s share is derived: What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is ours and what’s ours is mine.

The Ultimate Sphere: The Earth

Two years after being catapulted from the Illinois state legislature (where few outside his Chicago district had heard of him) into the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (until the year before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations) and less than two years before becoming president elucidated his notion of spheres of influence (and political Manichaeism and messianism):

“I dismiss the cynics who say that this new century cannot be another when, in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

“We must maintain the strongest, best-equipped military in the world in order to defeat and deter conventional threats….I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines….No President should ever hesitate to use force – unilaterally if necessary – to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened.”

“The American moment has not passed. The American moment is here. And like generations before us, we will seize that moment, and begin the world anew.” [5]

One can only imagine the response of the White House, the State Department and the American mass media should a member of the upper house of parliament – on his way to being head of state, moreover – of Russia or any other nation make comparable claims.

As for what Clinton as senator from New York State and now as secretary of state branded Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia, the following is from a pro-government Georgian new source at the moment the real invasion, that ordered by Washington’s client regime in Tbilisi, commenced:

“A senior official from the Georgian Ministry of Defense said Georgia has ‘decided to restore constitutional order in the entire region’ of South Ossetia.” [6]

The “restoring of constitutional order” was attempted with heavy artillery barrages, armored assaults and onslaughts by jet fighters and American Huey helicopters. It followed seven days of Georgian bombardment of South Ossetia, which began the very day after a sixteen-day military exercise, Immediate Response 2008, was completed in the country. The exercise was conducted under NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and led by 1,000 U.S. Marines. Many of the American troops stayed behind with their equipment during the five-day Georgian-Russian war.

Three weeks earlier Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Georgia and vowed to “get Russian forces to withdraw from the country ASAP,” [7] a reference to a small handful of peacekeepers that had been in South Ossetia and Abkhazia since the early 1990s. If Mikheil Saakashvili is ever tried for war crimes, as he richly deserves to be, his defense could be that he wasn’t acting alone and in fact was only following orders, the Nuremberg precedent notwithstanding.

What Appalls Hillary Clinton And What Does Not

Much of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali lay in smouldering ruins and many of its residents dead in the opening hours of the war launched to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing.

After Russia responded to the deadly blitzkrieg against South Ossetia, the majority of whose residents hold Russian passports, the Pentagon airlifted U.S. Marine-trained Georgian troops deployed to Iraq at the time back home for the fighting with Russia. “The U.S. military began flying 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq on Sunday [August 10], military officials said, after the Georgians recalled the soldiers following the outbreak of fighting with Russia in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.” [8]

Then Senator Hillary Clinton was not “appalled” by and found no reason to “totally reject” the above developments two years ago. In fact by publicly and fervently supporting them she was complicit in what could easily have escalated into a direct U.S.-Russia confrontation, a conflict between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

After the war ended and both to reward the Saakashvili regime for providing Washington a proxy war with Russia and to compensate it for not having received a NATO Membership Action Plan earlier in 2008 at the bloc’s summit in Romania, in January of 2009 Clinton’s predecessor Condoleezza Rice signed a specially crafted United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership. In December of 2008 NATO provided Georgia an unprecedented Annual National Program for the same reasons.

In the same month the pro-U.S. government of Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine received a comparable pact, the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, and NATO also granted it an Annual National Program, the second as a substitute for the Alliance’s Membership Action Plan. South Ossetia and Russia had accused the Yushchenko administration of covertly providing weaponry and troops to Georgia for the war in August.

Hillary Clinton began her recently concluded tour in Ukraine on June 2 where she addressed the Strategic Partnership Commission, which was established last year as a formal mechanism to implement the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership.

In the interim Yushchenko was eliminated (in fact humiliated) in the first round of this year’s presidential election, only receiving 5 per cent of the vote in January.

The rejection of Yushchenko and his staunchly pro-Washington policies was also an apparent blow to U.S. designs for the country. But that didn’t deter Clinton, in her visit to Kiev, from in many ways speaking as though the change in leadership had not occurred. (Yushchenko’s spouse, Kathy, a former State Department and Reagan White House official, is from Chicago, whose suburb of Park Ridge gave the world Hillary Clinton.)

Clinton met, as is a formal requirement under the circumstances, with current president Viktor Yanukovich, but also with his opponent in this February’s runoff election, the pro-American Yulia Timoshenko.

Addressing the Strategic Partnership Commission, Clinton continued pushing the military integration of Ukraine under both bilateral and NATO arrangements, for the world as though Yushchenko had not lost the first and Timoshenko the second round of the presidential election. Her comments included:

“Ukraine has participated in nearly every NATO operation as a member of the Partnership for Peace, and we hope to deepen our security cooperation later this month with the U.S.-Ukraine SEA BREEZE exercise. Increasing our ongoing bilateral defense cooperation, particularly in Ukraine’s defense reform and military transformation is another area where we see great promise.

“And regarding NATO, let me just say very clearly, Ukraine is a sovereign and independent country that has the right to choose your own alliances. And NATO’s door remains open….” [9]

Community Of Democracies And Missiles

She departed Kiev/Kyiv for Krakow and on July 3 met with her Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Like Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko, Sikorski’s wife is an American, former member of the Washington Post editorial board and adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Anne Applebaum. Sikorski is a former British citizen, adviser to Rupert Murdoch, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and Polish defense minister.

Recall that Secretary Clinton abhors and abjures “spheres of influence.”

While in Poland she and Sikorski signed an updated agreement on the stationing of U.S. interceptor missiles in the country. The two formalized a pact superseding one “signed two years ago between Sikorski and the then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. According to new missile defence plans, mobile launchers incorporating SM-3 interceptors will be placed in Europe. Poland will probably station the system between 2015 and 2018.” [10] The day before Polish Defense Ministry spokesman Janusz Sejmej revealed that “Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said the Americans promised to bring the SM-3s here after 2015 but definitely before 2018.” [11]

The SM-3 (Standard Missile-3) is an interceptor missile with a substantially longer range than the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles the U.S. moved into Poland this May, 35 kilometers from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad district.

Another Polish Defense Ministry spokesman, Robert Rochowicz, was quoted late last month announcing that “The first contingent of American troops and Patriot missiles stationed in northern Poland have returned to base in Germany, with the second round scheduled to be in the country in late June or early July.”

The first deployment consisted of six Patriot missiles, forty military vehicles and one hundred American troops. Perhaps regarding the very day Clinton was in the country, the Defense Ministry spokesman added, “Further training of Polish troops stationed at the base in northern Poland will resume in the coming days when a second battery of missiles arrives.” [12]

Training foreign nationals in the United States to return to their homelands and assume posts as defense ministers, foreign ministers and presidents is not establishing a sphere of influence in the countries so affected, it’s certain Clinton would assert. Neither is basing American troops and missiles half a world away from the U.S. but only a few kilometers from Russian territory.

In Clinton’s words, “We’re…NATO allies, and the United States is deeply committed to Poland’s security and sovereignty. Today, by signing an amendment to the ballistic missile defense agreement, we are reinforcing this commitment. The amendment will allow us to move forward with Polish participation in hosting elements of the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe. It will help protect the Polish people and all of Europe, our allies, and others from evolving threats like that posed by Iran.” [13] How placing intermediate-range American interceptor missiles near the Baltic Sea protects Poland from “Iranian threats” is a question it would be entertaining to hear Clinton explain.

She characterized the “phased adaptive approach” to deploying ever more sophisticated and longer-range U.S. missiles in Eastern Europe in much the fashion President Obama did last September 17; that is, as a “stronger, swifter, and smarter” alternative to the earlier George W. Bush version. “[T]his approach will be available on the time table set forth to defend portions of Europe years earlier than the original plan could have met. And this approach provides opportunities for allied participation. So instead of it being a unilateral U.S. commitment, it is now a commitment of the alliance. And it is very important for us that we get that kind of ownership and buy-in – which we are – from NATO. [14]

The division of labor in the foreign policy of the “world’s sole military superpower” [15] primarily leaves the troops and missiles, the training of Polish special forces and pilots, and the recruiting of 3,000 Polish troops to the killing fields of Afghanistan to Pentagon chief Robert Gates, though Clinton has had a hand in the first and the third matters.

Her formal role is as the purveyor of “soft power,” what in another culture might be called diplomacy but which in American practice is no less intrusive and coercive than the “hard power” complement.

From Madeleine Albright To Hillary Clinton, From Iron Curtain To Steel Vise

During her Polish visit Clinton was in Krakow for the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Community of Democracies, “a joint venture between one of Radek’s [Radoslaw Sikorski’s] predecessors and one of mine: Minister Geremek and Madeleine Albright.” Though neither was present, one for fairly obvious reasons, she added: “Thank you, Madeleine, and thanks to the memory of Minister Geremek.”

Her comments were delivered under the rubric of “Civil Society: Supporting Democracy in the 21st Century,” and included blasts at the targets of the day:

“North Korea, a country that cannot even feed its own people, has banned all civil society. In Cuba and Belarus, as Radek said, civil society operates under extreme pressure. The Government of Iran has turned its back on a rich tradition of civil society, perpetrating human rights abuses against many activists and ordinary citizens who just wanted the right to be heard.

“The idea of pluralism is integral to our understanding of what it means to be a democracy….[The] iron curtain has fallen. But we must be wary of the steel vise in which many governments around the world are slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit.” [16]

China, Russia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Congo, Ethiopia and Burma/Myanmar were also singled out for chastisement under the Steel Vise rubric. (So far has the U.S. progressed from the Iron Curtain motif/trope.)

Three facts must be registered on this score.

During her secretary of state confirmation hearing in the Senate in January of 2005, Clinton’s immediate predecessor Condoleezza Rice updated the U.S. international enemies list with what she called “outposts of tyranny.” They were (and evidently still are) Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe. At the time the BBC asserted that Rice’s “comments were reminiscent of Mr Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ speech in 2002, in which he identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as threats to US security.” [17]

As seen above, Clinton in Krakow castigated all six of the “tyrannical outposts.”

Second, during a question and answer period two days later in Georgia in which Clinton had the opportunity to prove her mettle on matters of human rights, freedom of expression and so forth, she demonstrated the difference between how a faithful client state is treated as opposed to any nation, whatever its political system may be, that pursues a foreign policy not entirely subordinated to U.S. diktat.

On July 5 Georgian head of state Mikheil Saakashvili spared no pains proving which category he was in, telling Clinton: “Mrs Secretary of State, you can see shelves of works by Thomas Jefferson and books by authors of the US constitution in my study. I read them frequently.” [18]

It is not likely that Saakashvili, who received his law degree in the U.S., would make that claim under oath, though the truth has always been an elastic concept, a nebulous notion to the Columbia Law School graduate.

When Jailing Children, Rigging Elections And Repressing News Media Are Acceptable

During a meeting with Georgian women, a human rights lawyer asked Clinton:

“I want to tell you that there are more than 61 political prisoners in the country. And I want to ask you, when you had a meeting with President Saakashvili, ask him why does it happen that he has so many political prisoners in Georgia today, why the judiciary is not independent in Georgia, why the Georgian people are deprived of a free choice during the last elections in the country, why media is not free in Georgia, why don’t we have free electoral environment?”

She added, “after I became [an opponent of] Saakashvili, then it happened so that many of my family members are in prison. My brother is in prison, just because I am an opponent and (inaudible) Saakashvili. My child has also been a victim when he is at school (inaudible). There was a (inaudible) to imprison him (inaudible). And these (inaudible) opposition, and because I fight for supremacy of law, rule of law, and freedom and democracy.”

The “community of democracies” heroine from Foggy Bottom responded:

“Thank you very much. And as I said, we raised all of these concerns in meetings with officials. I will raise these and other concerns when I meet with the president. This is what I do. And I don’t always know everything that is going on in any society. But our ambassadors around the world keep us informed.

“And I want to be clear that the United States supports the Georgian people. We support Georgian democracy. And we are going to do everything we can to further those values. And many of the issues you mentioned are ones that we will raise. But the people of Georgia are raising them. So, indeed, that’s the best forum of all.” [19]

No need to be too tough on an ally who jails political opponents and harasses family members, even children, of an attorney who attempts to defend them.

After all, as Clinton added shortly after the above-quoted masterpiece of “diplomatic” equivocation and evasion, “Well, the United States supports Georgia’s aspirations for NATO leadership and for NATO membership, and we appreciate your and your government’s efforts to meet the requirements of NATO membership. And we are grateful, too, for what Georgia is doing in providing troops for Afghanistan, which is an opportunity for the Georgian military to work with the United States and other NATO member militaries to develop some of the assets that are needed to be able to apply successfully for NATO membership.” [20]

Chicago: Model For World Democracy And Political Pluralism

Third, Clinton represents an administration whose head, Barack Obama, his Senior Advisor David Axelrod, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and senior adviser and assistant Valerie Jarrett are products of the Chicago political system, the last big city political machine in the country.

Chicago has a population of almost three million, more than that of scores of nations including several NATO members. Every chief executive, the mayor in Chicago, has been a member of the same political party for the past 80 years. The City Council has 50 alderman and although the post is formally non-partisan – candidates don’t run in party primaries and aren’t required to identify their party affiliation – currently 49 of the 50 are active members of the Democratic Party, with many of them doubling as party bosses in their respective wards. During the past several decades that number has often been 50.

For the past 55 years its mayor has been a leader for life and has been named Richard Daley. Richard J. Daley from 1955 until his death in 1976 and his son Richard M. Daley, a de facto hereditary autocrat, from 1989 to the present with only a slightly more than twelve-year hiatus.

Clinton may want to tread more cautiously in future when condemning other nations for their lack of – to use her own word – pluralism, when she serves a political cabal emanating from a one-party, dynastic, corruption-saturated system. Her criticisms of North Korea, in particular, raise parallels she might prefer be ignored.

(Chicagoan Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, is currently on trial for attempting to sell – auction off to the highest bidder – Obama’s former senate seat. He was handcuffed by federal agents at his Chicago home on December 9, 2008 and subsequently impeached and removed by the state legislature. When he first became governor in 2003, his congressional seat was ceded to Rahm Emanuel, who had never held elected office before. Emanuel, now White House Chief of Staff, has been subpoenaed by Blagojevich’s attorneys as he had held phone conversations with Blagojevich during the period the latter is accused of peddling the senate seat of an incoming American head of state. Valerie Jarrett, Tony Rezko and Ari Emanuel are other names that have surfaced as cast members in the murky drama.)

Baku: Chicago On The Caspian Sea, Launching Pad For Future Wars

After leaving Poland following a lecture on “what it means to be a democracy,” Clinton arrived in Azerbaijan, whose President Ilham Aliyev inherited his post from his late father Heydar, a tradition the native of the Greater Chicago area can well appreciate.

She met with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, and the two lost no time in exchanging praises.

Clinton: “[T]he bonds between the United States and Azerbaijan are deep, important, and durable….Our soldiers have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.”

Mammadyarov: “We believe that United States is…a global power, is interested in bringing and spreading stability and prosperity all around, in all corners of the world. And besides that, if you took a look inside of the – our bilateral ties, how it’s developed through the years of our – after restoration of independence for Azerbaijan, it’s an open secret that United States provide us a great support, particularly in so very important and vital project like building up of the oil pipeline (inaudible). It’s – we know clearly that U.S. Administration – both, by the way, Republicans and Democrats – was very strongly behind the project. And, at the end of the story, this is starting to be a success story for the region. I think we are probably one of the few that can say that, with assistance of the construction and after the inauguration of the pipeline, the real money and the real prosperity comes particularly to Azerbaijan, at the same time it is also supporting Georgia.” [21]

The U.S. ambassador may have had a few words with the foreign minister after such an effusive and detailed exposition. Some matters are best kept among friends.

Clinton didn’t add Azerbaijan to the Iron Vise category. And for good reason, issues pertaining to human rights, civil society, transparency and political pluralism notwithstanding.

Her visit followed by less than three weeks that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whose trip in turn was the first by a Pentagon chief in more than five years. [22] Clinton is the first secretary of state to visit Azerbaijan since James Baker did in 1992, shortly after Azerbaijan became an independent nation.

As Associated Press reported beforehand, “Clinton’s stop in Azerbaijan will accelerate efforts by the Obama administration to strengthen relations. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June became the highest-ranking administration official to visit Azerbaijan; he delivered a letter from President Barack Obama thanking President Ilham Aliyev for allowing the U.S. to move troops and supplies through his airspace en route to Afghanistan.

“Azerbaijan also is part of an overland supply chain that is a critical alternative to the primary land route to Afghanistan through Pakistan. About one-quarter of all war goods comes through the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation.” [23]

Since the tightening of sanctions against Iran by the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. and the European Union, stories have circulated on Internet news sites about Azerbaijan being used by Washington for military strikes against Iran.

An Azeri news source recently quoted Alexei Vlasov, General Director of the Social and Political Process Studies Information and Analytical Center at Moscow State University, as stating: “The upcoming Clinton visit to Baku is a way to get Azerbaijan to answer one question – how would it behave, if a strike on Iran would happen?” [24]

Another Russian political analyst, Andrei Areshev of the Strategic Culture Foundation, offered these insights last month:

“Matthew Bryza, whose provocative activities in August 2008 [during the Georgian-Russian war] are public knowledge, was appointed as ambassador to Baku; U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates visited [Azerbaijan]; the upcoming visit of Hillary Clinton to the South Caucasus was announced….One can suppose a more global purpose – Iran. The Islamic Republic is being surrounded by a circle of American military bases….The opinion that ‘the U.S. will be trying to involve Azerbaijan in its policy aimed at the isolation and weakening of Iran’ has serious grounds. A new war in Karabakh will force Russia out of the South Caucasian region in case of any outcome, and it may become a logical continuation of the anti-Iranian policy of the U.S., as well as a preparatory stage for a large-scale armed conflict in the Middle East.” [25]

The allusion to Karabakh is in reference to a potential armed conflict between Azerbaijan, which claims it as its own, and Armenia, which would defend the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the event of an Azerbaijani attack.

In late June Azerbaijani President Aliyev inspected large-scale military exercises held on the 92nd anniversary of the nation’s armed forces, drills which included over 4,000 troops, 100 tanks, 77 armored vehicles, 125 artillery systems, 17 combat planes, 12 combat helicopters and four transport-combat helicopters. [26]

His speech at the event included the following threats:

“At any time we have to be able to liberate our homeland [Karabakh] from invaders. Along with political and diplomatic efforts, we must have a strong army, and this process is going well. Today the level of the Azerbaijani army is very high.”

“We have to increase our military strength. Today, the Azerbaijani army is ready to honorably fulfill all tasks assigned to it. Combat capability, professionalism, patriotism, a strengthened material-technical base, demonstrated by the state of attention and respect for the army – all these factors will enable us to liberate [our] homeland from invaders.” [27]

The president also boasted that over the last seven years “military expenditures in Azerbaijan increased by more than 13 times. Today in Azerbaijan military expenditures for 2010 amount to 2 billion 150 million dollars, which exceeds the entire state budget of Armenia.” [28]

That is the military that could be directed against not only Karabakh and Armenia but potentially Iran as well as part of a broader U.S. and allied attack.

Since 1991 Azerbaijan has been closely allied with its ethnic cousins in Turkey. But with the Turkish government increasing adopting a foreign policy approach Washington objects to – closer relations with Iran, strained ones with Israel – the U.S. is placing more emphasis on military cooperation with Azerbaijan (as well as Georgia) to achieve its geopolitical objectives in the region and throughout the Broader Middle East.

For example, “Roughly a quarter of all supplies bound for Afghanistan travel via Azerbaijan.

“And since 2001, about 100,000 military personnel have also traveled through ‘the Caucasus spur,’ a designation that includes Azerbaijan, on their way to deployment in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon data.

“Beyond possibly probing a larger transit role, American officials are looking into the possibility of using Azerbaijan as a supply source. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry signed protocols in mid-May with three US weapons manufacturers for the production of mortars, machine guns, grenades and cartridges….Defense Industry Minister Yaver Jamalov said on May 14 that the US companies’ representatives will visit Azerbaijan soon to test the pilot products and possibly to sign contracts….” [29]

Battle For The Caucasus, Former Soviet Union As America’s New Frontier

After leaving Azerbaijan on July 4, Clinton went to Armenia. Since at least last October she has been attempting – with some degree of success – to not so much assist as supplant the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group/Process [30] in resolving the dispute over Karabakh.

Clinton’s mission is to intrude the U.S. – and NATO – further into the South Caucasus by directing negotiations between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. The end result is designed to limit Russian and Iranian influence in the region. Politically and economically. After all, Clinton is averse to “spheres of influence” as has been recorded.

The lingering conflicts that arose from the fragmentation of the Soviet Union – Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the South Caucasus and Transdniester to the northwest – are the pretexts for the U.S. and NATO to intervene in former Soviet space in the guise of mediators and arbiters.

The appeal to Armenia in this respect has resulted in that country sending its first troops to Afghanistan this year and may lead to its eventual departure from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization mutual defense bloc.

During the last leg of Clinton’s five-nation trip in Georgia, the country’s State Minister for Reintegration – that is, for forcibly seizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia – stated, “I would like to [recall] Clinton’s statement in Krakow. She noted that Washington would oppose the annexation of the occupied territories by Russia. It is important to sign a charter of strategic partnership between the United States and Georgia, [to determine] bilateral cooperation.” [31]

The resolution of the Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia-South Ossetia conflicts, like the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Karabakh, may not be peaceful. Shortly before Clinton’s arrival in the Georgian capital, U.S. ambassador John Bass [32] said that “The United States will never quit supporting Georgia and protecting its territorial integrity” [33], citing similar pledges by Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon [34]:

“The President made it clear to President Medvedev last week and we’ve been consistent in noting that we respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we call on Russia to abide by its commitments in the August, 2008 ceasefire, which…called upon the parties to move their military forces back to where they were before the conflict began. And that hasn’t been done. And we’ve been absolutely clear and consistent from the start that we believe that should happen….” [35]

Gordon also insisted that the U.S. had not and would not cease supplying the Saakashvili regime with arms, despite Russia calling on it to, as “Georgia is a sovereign state. It has the right to defend itself.” He added, “The United States appreciates the contribution that Georgia has made to the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, and will continue to cooperate with it in the military sphere.” [36]

The only sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union Washington objects to is Russia’s. Since 1991 the U.S. has seen that vast expanse of land as its own new private preserve, the American empire’s final frontier. Hillary Clinton’s extended Fourth of July weekend trip to Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus is a renewed initiative to that end.

See Also:

Hillary Clinton’s Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/hillary-clintons-prescription-make-the-world-a-nato-protectorate

Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/poland-u-s-moves-first-missiles-troops-near-russian-border/

Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/eastern-europe-from-socialist-bloc-and-non-alignment-to-u-s-military-colonies

NATO: Pentagon’s Gateway Into Former Warsaw Pact, Soviet Nations
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/nato-pentagons-gateway-into-former-warsaw-pact-soviet-nations

Former Soviet States: Battleground For Global Domination
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/former-soviet-states-battleground-for-global-domination

1) Washington Post, July 5, 2010
2) Joint Press Availability With Georgian President Saakashvili
U.S. Department of State, July 5, 2010
3) Ibid
4) Remarks at a Town Hall With Georgian Women Leaders
U.S. Department of State, July 5, 2010
5) Remarks of Senator Barack Obama to the Chicago Council
on Global Affairs – April 23, 2007
http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/dynamic_page.php?id=64
6) Civil Georgia, August 7, 2008
7) Sunday Times, August 15, 2008
8) Associated Press, August 10, 2008
9) Remarks At the Closing of the Strategic Partnership Commission
U.S. Department of State, July 2, 2010
10) Polish Radio, July 3, 2010
11) Reuters/Warsaw Business Journal, July 2, 2010
12) Polish Radio, June 25, 2010
13) U.S.-Poland Bilateral Missile Defense Signing and Joint Press
Availability With Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski
U.S. Department of State, July 3, 2010
14) Ibid
15) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/obama-doctrine-eternal-war-for-imperfect-mankind
16) “Civil Society: Supporting Democracy in the 21st Century,” at the
Community of Democracies
U.S. Department of State, July 3, 2010
17) BBC News, January 19, 2005
18) Rustavi 2, July 5, 2010
The State Department website has: “Madam Secretary, you could have
seen on my bookshelves works by Thomas Jefferson and other founding
fathers, framers of the U.S. Constitution – I keep going back and
reading them.”
19) Remarks at a Town Hall With Georgian Women Leaders
U.S. Department of State, July 5, 2010
20) Ibid
21) Joint Press Availability With Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Mammadyarov
U.S. Department of State, July 4, 2010
22) Pentagon Chief In Azerbaijan: Afghan War Arc Stretches To Caspian And
Caucasus
Stop NATO, June 8, 2010
https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/1761
23) Associated Press, July 1, 2010
24) Vesti.Az, June 28, 2010
25) PanArmenian.net, June 23, 2010
26) Azeri Press Agency, June 24, 2010
27) Azeri Press Agency, June 25, 2010
28) Ibid
29) EurasiaNet, June 28, 2010
30) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSCE_Minsk_Group
31) Trend News Agency, July 5, 2010
32) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/132835.htm
33) Rustavi 2, June 30, 2010
34) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/123518.htm
35) Rustavi 2, June 30, 2010
36) Trend News Agency, June 30, 2010

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Video: Battlefield Air Interdiction. On Board NATO AWACS On Russian Border

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Afghanistan: Georgian Troops Serve Under U.S. Marines In NATO War

April 14, 2015 1 comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 14, 2015

The 43rd Battalion completely Transferred Authority

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The 43rd Battalion of IV Mechanized Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces officially transferred authority from the 51st battalion of the V Infantry Brigade.

The ceremony was held at Bagram Air Base. Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze attended the event together with the leadership of the Coalition Forces. Major General Kapanadze awarded 10 representatives of Georgian Liaison Team from the U.S. Marine Corps with the MoD service medal “General Kvinitadze” for their role in improving Georgia-U.S. military cooperation.

The leadership of Bagram Air Base, Tactical Group “Solid” and “Georgian Liaison Team” successfully evaluated the mission carried out by the 51st Battalion. Under the official data, the 51st Battalion maximally limited activities form insurgents and promoted to set up more stable and security environment on the ground. The 51st Battalion completed the mission without casualties and is returning to homeland stage by stage.

The 43rd Battalion is participating in the mission for the first time. Georgian soldiers will carry out “Resolute Support” mission together with the U.S. marines under Tactical Group “Solid” for 6 months. Their main task is to provide security of Bagram Air Base.

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Alfred Neumann: War, the Great Incendiary, the everlasting prototype of annihilation

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

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Alfred Neumann
From Empire (1936)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

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Since when has Rochefort been in favour of chivalry in the attack upon a regime of stock-exchange speculators, upon a policy which aims at making money out of the sacrifice of soldiers, the policy of those who exploit national sentiments for the sordid end of business?…

Let us continue, my friends, to heap up debts, to play the political game, to make coups d’etats,; to wage war for the sake of speculators; to transform spurious counts into genuine dukes; to make a few princes and a great many commoners unhappy; to break our oaths and to keep our words as little as possible – doing all these things in a such a way that to make man happy shall cost us very little but bring us pots of money.

***

The old and terrible thought, dredged from the profound by this young and terrible man with his stark candour, now emerged. Not petty forces, not revolution in masquerade staged by the counterfeit Second Empire (travesty of the First), would bring about the desired change. This will be the work of the Great Incendiary, the everlasting prototype of annihilation. – This would be the work of War.

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Estonia’s (American) President Wants Permanent NATO Combat Forces

UNIAN
April 12, 2015

Estonian president calls on NATO to permanently station combat units in Baltic states

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U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe

Stop NATO
September 23, 2010

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Estonia is “arguably the most exposed country in Europe,” according to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves‘ interview with Britain’s The Telegraph.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves believes that the time has come for NATO to deter Russia by permanently stationing combat units in the Baltic states, according to his interview to The Telegraph, published on April 11.

The Telegraph writes that like the other Baltic states, Estonia does not possess any jet fighters, so it relies entirely on NATO to guard its airspace. Last year, the alliance quadrupled the strength of its Baltic Air Policing Mission – but only [sic] from four to 16 warplanes…
Estonia remains “arguably the most exposed country in Europe.”

In the event of an invasion, Ilves believes that Russia would try to seal off the Baltic states before NATO’s “very high readiness” force had a chance to arrive. “It’s a great idea but it probably is, in terms of the realities, just too late,” the Estonian president told The Telegraph.

“Hence the importance of NATO stationing at least a brigade now, as well as pre-positioning equipment and headquarters staff,” The Telegraph wrote.

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Flaming Thunder: NATO Begins Multinational Artillery Exercise In Lithuania

UNIAN
April 13, 2015

NATO starts international artillery exercises in Lithuania

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M109 Paladin Integrated Management

International exercises involving troops from Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and the United States have started in the Baltic country Lithuania, Russian news agency TASS has reported, referring to a source in Lithuania’s Defense Ministry.

The exercises, entitled Flaming Thunder, will involve live firing with U.S. Paladin 155 mm self-propelled howitzers at Lithuania’s Klaipeda and Pabradė firing ranges.

Around 450 troops from the four countries will take part.

This is the third time the Flaming Thunder exercises have been held, and each year they involve more NATO allies, the source at the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.

Four Paladin self-propelled guns were sent to Lithuania for the exercises. The guns, which have a range of up to 30 kilometers, each have a crew of six men – a commander, gunner, assistant gunner, driver, and two loaders.

The Flaming Thunder exercises are scheduled to last until April 24.

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Convoy Brings U.S. Paratroopers To Ukraine For Training

April 13, 2015 3 comments

U.S. Army Europe
April 11, 2015

Fearless Guardian ground convoy arrives in Ukraine
By Maj. Michael J Weisman (The 173rd Airborne Brigade)

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VICENZA, Italy: Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Support Battalion arrived in Yavoriv, Ukraine April 10 via a ground convoy from here to deliver the brigade’s training equipment for Operation Fearless Guardian.

Fearless Guardian is the name for the training of Ukraine’s newly-formed National Guard under the Congress-approved Global Contingency Security Fund. Under the program, the United States will begin training three battalions of Ukrainian troops over a six-month period beginning later this month.

“Ukraine is a strong partner that has participated in exercises and operations with us around the world,” said Capt. Ashish Patel, a planning officer with the brigade. “They’ve asked the U.S. for assistance in providing this capability, and this training will help them defend their borders and their sovereignty.”

Approximately 1850 kilometers separate Vicenza from Yavoriv, and took the convoy of approximately 50 paratroopers and 25 vehicles through Austria as well as NATO allies Germany and Poland. Planning and conducting such a movement provided training of its own.

“This movement challenged leaders at all levels in the complexities of tactical convoy operations through several countries in Europe,” said Capt. Kris Toman, commander of the battalion’s Company A and the convoy…

Starting with the brigade’s host nation and NATO ally Italy, every piece of the convoy required close coordination with American embassies in each country as well as NATO allies and partners, from submitting diplomatic clearances to coordinating police escorts.

“Planning a convoy like this teaches our leaders to think strategically,” said Maj. Antonio Pineda. “Conducting convoy movements from country to country, making contact with allied units to plan the route and escorts, it’s not something you can experience back in the U.S.”

In addition to escorts, allied units in Germany and Poland also hosted the convoy during overnight stops.

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“We couldn’t put this together without our allies,” said Hartman. “The first night we were hosted by German Air Force at Wilhlem-Frankle Kasserne near Neuberg an der Donau, where the German forces facilitated our rest and refit, and we got to meet and exchange with an allied unit.”

Similar to Dragoon Ride in March, where Soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment conducted a ground movement from the Baltic States to Germany, the ground convoy to Fearless Guardian highlights the ability of NATO units to move internally within the Alliance’s borders.

“This convoy is a demonstration of sustainment interoperability among our allies and partners,” said Pineda. “When we call the 6th Polish Airborne Brigade to discuss movement through Poland, that’s a unit we’ve worked with countless times through Atlantic Resolve in the last year. That makes everything easier.”

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Alexander Herzen: Six hundred thousand animated machines with bayonets. Military caste divides the people into two nations

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

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We were kept in ignorance by the knout and the Tatars: we were civilized by the axe and the Germans: and in both cases our nostrils were slit and we were branded with irons. Peter the Great drove civilisation into us with such a wedge that Russia could not stand the shock and split into two layers. We are only just beginning now, after a hundred and fifty years, to understand how this split was made: there was nothing in common between the two parts; on the one hand, robbery and contempt; on the other, suffering and mistrust: on the one hand, the liveried lackey, proud of his social position and haughtily displaying it; on the other hand, the plundered peasant, hating him and concealing his hatred. Never did Turk, slaughtering men and carrying off women to his harem, oppress so systematically, nor disdain the Frank and Greek so insolently, as did Russia of the privileged class despise the Russia of the peasant. There is no instance in history of a caste of the same race getting the upper hand so thoroughly and becoming so completely alien as our military nobility.

***

Europe is approaching a terrible cataclysm. The mediaeval world is falling into ruins. The feudal world is drawing to a close. Political and religious revolutions are flagging under the burden of their impotence; they have accomplished great things, but have not carried out their tasks. They have destroyed faith in the Throne and the Altar, but have not established freedom; they have kindled in men’s hearts desires which they are incapable of satisfying. Parliamentarianism, Protestantism, are only stop-gaps, temporary havens, weak bulwarks against death and resurrection. Their day is over. Since 1849 it has grasped that petrified Roman law, subtle casuistry, thin philosophic deism, and barren religious rationalism are all equally powerless to hold back the workings of destiny…Europe is plunged in dim, stifling gloom, on the even of the momentous conflict. It is not life, but an oppressive, agitating suspense. There is no regard for law, no justice, no personal freedom even; everywhere the sway of the secular inquisition is supreme; instead of order upheld by law, there is a state of siege, all are governed by a single feeling – fear, and there is plenty of it…

***

There are peoples living a prehistoric life, others living a life outside history; but once they move into the broad stream of history, one and indivisible, they belong to humanity, and, on the other hand, all the past of humanity belongs to them. In history – that is, in the life of the active and progressive part of humanity – the aristocracy of facial angle, of complexion, and other distinctions is gradually effaced…

***

This living pyramid of crimes, abuses, and bribery, built up of policemen, scoundrels, heartless German officials everlastingly greedy, ignorant judges everlastingly drunk, aristocrats everlastingly base: all this is held together by a community of interest in plunder and gain, and supported on six hundred thousand animated machines with bayonets…

***

Science even more than the Gospel teaches us humility. She cannot look down on anything, she does not know what superiority means, she despises nothing, is never false for the sake of a pose, and conceals nothing to produce an effect. She stops short at the facts to investigate, sometimes to heal, never to punish, still less with hostility and irony.

Science – I anyway am not compelled to keep some words hidden in the silence of the spirit – science is love, as Spinoza said of thought and vision.

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Strongest Military Alliance In History Of The World: U.S. Abrams Tanks Fire Live Rounds In Lithuania

April 12, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
April 10, 2015

TF 2-7 IN demonstrate Abrams power in Lithuania
By Sgt. Uriah Walker

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PABRADE TRAINING AREA, Lithuania: Four M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks conducted a live-fire demonstration for the Lithuanian Minister of Defense, members of the Lithuanian army and civilians showcasing the 120mm main gun, 240B 7.62mm and M2A1 .50 caliber machine guns April 9.

This was the first time U.S. Army tanks fired in Lithuania. The historic event demonstrated the United States’ commitment to maintain a strong Europe and highlighted ongoing training with NATO allies during Atlantic Resolve.

“At some point you have to be on the ground to dominate the terrain,” said Col. Robert P. Ashe, commander, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “You can’t do that in any other way besides having soldiers and tanks on the ground.”

Ashe explained the commitment to Atlantic Resolve is about the U.S. being in Europe to support allies and partners, and demonstrate the U.S. ability to move equipment and personnel anywhere they are needed.

Atlantic Resolve allows members of various military elements, U.S. and European, to work together to improve joint movements and training.

“NATO is the strongest alliance in the history of the world,” Ashe said. “We all understand the importance of a strong NATO and we understand the importance of a strong Europe and we’re absolutely committed to that.”

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Scotland: NATO War Games With 13,000 Troops, 54 Warships, 70 Planes, Submarines

April 12, 2015 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 11, 2015

NATO Standing Naval Forces arrive in Scotland for Exercise Joint Warrior

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SCOTLAND: Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Groups ONE and TWO (SNMCMG1, SNMCMG2) ships arrived in Scotland the past two days for a port visit and to prepare for the UK-led Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 15-1.

SNMG2, led by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brad Williamson, arrived in Faslane comprised of the flagship USS VICKSBURG, HMCS FREDERICTON, TCG GOKSU, and FGS SPESSART.

SNMCMG2, led by Italian Navy Captain Giovanni Piegaja, arrived in Glasgow comprised of the flagship ITS EURO, TCG ANAMUR, and FGS BAD BEVENSEN.

SNMCMG1, led by Dutch Navy Commander Peter Bergen-Henegouwen, arrived in Glasgow comprised of flagship FGS DONAU, BNS LOBELIA, FGS AUERBACH, HMS PEMBROKE, ORP MEWA, HNLMS WILLEMSTAD, and HNOMS RAUMA.

“This exercise is a unique opportunity for us to work with our Allied shipmates,” said Lieutenant Commander Matthew Hamm, USS VICKSBURG’s operations officer…

Exercise JOINT WARRIOR will run from 11-24 April. NATO’s three SNFs consisting of 14 ships will join more than 40 additional warships and submarines and 70 aircraft. In total, around 13,000 personnel from 14 countries are participating in the exercise.

The exercise provides complex coordinated training at the joint level, increasing interoperability between Allied forces and providing valuable experience integrating land, air, and maritime forces. NATO’s Standing Naval Forces will test their anti-air and anti-submarine warfare skillsets, as well as conducting mine counter-measures training in advance of amphibious landings.

“Joint Warrior is a very good opportunity to showcase the interoperability skills we as an Alliance maritime force are always perfecting,” said Captain Gennaro Carola, SNMG2 Chief of Staff. “With this exercise we have a chance to work together on a large scale and to implement all of the lessons learned from our previous exercises. It will be an exciting and busy time at sea.”

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Humphrey Cobb: Selections on war

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Czech Republic: U.S. Warplanes Drill For Conflict To The East

Czech News Agency
April 8, 2015

Forward air control exercise starts at Czech army base

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Namest nad Oslavou: An exercise of Czech forward air controllers started at the helicopter base in Namest today by the arrival of four A-10 Thunderbolt planes from the U.S. air forces´ 354th fighter squadron seated in Germany, base spokeswoman Jana Skrivankova has told CTK.

The POP UP A-10 CAS military exercise, which runs through April 17, will take place without live ammunition in the area normally used for the training of air support in the vicinity of Trebic.

The U.S. planes landed in Namest at round 14:00.

Training flights should start as of Thursday.

“They will be on workdays from 09:00 until 23:00. Night flights will be limited to the necessary minimum,” said Skrivankova.

The Czech air force have long been developing cooperation with the United States in this field, she added.

The participation of the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft during the training should extend the Czech forward air controllers´ (FAC) skills in the operation of state-of-the-art equipment for the identification and surveillance of targets.

Soldiers will also train in the night using night-vision devices and develop communication skills in English, Skrivankova said.

In addition, the exercise should focus on the development of skills of the 22nd helicopter base in the provision of logistic support for the 65-member U.S. unit, including catering, accommodation, fuel and communication and information connection.

The Ample Strike 2015 national exercise will also train the harmonisation of forward air controllers with the crews of tactic planes and helicopters during operations. It will be held in cooperation with NATO member states on August 31-September 22. Sixteen NATO members confirmed their participation at the beginning of the year.

Last year, the Ample Strike exercise took place at the Namest base and at the 21st tactic air force base in Caslav, central Bohemia, as well as in the Boletice and Libava grounds, south Bohemia. Almost 1300 soldiers from 12 NATO member states, including the Czech Republic, participated in it.

It followed up the previous Flying Rhino and Ramstein Rover exercises in the Czech Republic in the past years.

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NATO To Station Communications Battalion In Bulgaria

Sofia News Agency
April 9, 2015

Bulgarian Parliament Passes Bill on NATO Communications Unit

Bulgarian National Assembly ratified the agreement for the deployment of a NATO switchboard battalion in Bulgaria.

The communication-information system or the so-called NATO module will be constructed near Bulgaria’s Gorna Malina.

The deployment of a communication battalion of NATO in Bulgaria has been supported by 120 MPs in Parliament Thursday, with 21 voting in favor, and 5 of them abstained.

Heated debates on the topic started Wednesday with a scandal between representtaives of the nationalist parties ATAKA and Patriotic Front. Leader of ATAKA Volen Siderov catеgorically opposed the bill, stating that the center will be used in the future for coordination of military action on the territory of Ukraine. The party urged for Bulgarian authorities to announce neutrality in order to avoid possible military threats.

In 2009 NATO’s Military Committee and the North-Atlantic Council took the decision for Bulgaria to host a national mobile communications module as a part of the Second Communication Battalion to NATO. Additionally, two higher officers and 55 sergeants that will be provided by Bulgaria.

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Strike Force: NATO Holds War Games In Czech Republic

Xinhua News Agency
April 10, 2015

NATO conducts exercises in Czech Republic

PRAGUE: A NATO exercise called Nobel Jump was held in the town of Chrudim in the Czech Republic, it was reported Thursday.

“The exercise is designed to examine the activation, planning to deploy some functionality and command, control and support that are needed to drive to go out and perform tasks as ordered,” Czech Deputy Chief of Staff Jiri Baloun was quoted as saying.

Miroslav Hlavac, commander of the Rapid Deployment Brigade, said that the exercise involves more than 200 soldiers and 80 pieces of military equipment.

Some 150 Czech soldiers from the 43rd Parachute Battalion joined the NATO exercise. A similar exercise was held in the Netherlands at an air base in Eindhoven at the same time.

The training is the first part of Exercise Noble Jump, the second part will continue in June in Zagan in western Poland. There will be a simulated crisis to test the capacity of the deployment of allied troops from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic.

The creation of a rapid deployment force to the Alliance members was agreed last September.

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Photographs: U.S. Military Holds First Live-Fire Tank Drills In Lithuania

Xinhua News Agency
April 10, 2015

U.S. troops hold 1st tank live-fire drills in Lithuania

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Ukrainian Junta: U.S. “Guarantor Of International Security Within Euro-Atlantic Area”

Ukrinform
April 9, 2015

Turchynov names strategic allies of Ukraine

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KYIV: The main foreign policy priority for Ukraine will be strengthening of the partnership with the United States as the sole guarantor of international security within the Euro-Atlantic area.

This has been announced by secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov at the presentation of the draft national security strategy until 2020, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“The strategy identifies that the main foreign policy priority is deepening the partnership with the United States as the guarantor of international security within the Euro-Atlantic area,” Turchynov said.

In addition, Ukraine is committed to the development of a “privileged partnership” with the United Kingdom, Poland, as well as Canada, Australia, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Romania, Moldova and Georgia – the countries, which Ukraine considers to be its “reliable allies.”

“The partnership with Germany and France, the member states of the EU and NATO, is also a priority of our foreign policy,” Turchynov noted.

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Defense Chief: NATO Is Ukraine’s Priority

Ukrinform
April 9, 2015

Turchynov sees NATO as Ukraine’s main priority

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KYIV:The main priority for Ukraine is its membership in NATO, as it can provide real security.

Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has stated this during the draft national security strategy presentation, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Having abandoned the policy of non-alignment, which did not provide the territorial integrity of our country in the medium term, relying primarily on own capabilities, Ukraine reserves the right to take part in collective security systems as a way to guarantee sovereignty and territorial integrity. Sharing common values with the European Union and NATO, Ukraine considers European and Euro-Atlantic integration as its priority in foreign and domestic policy. We see NATO membership as the only reliable external guarantee of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.

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NATO’s Spearhead Force Conducts First Exercise

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 10, 2015

NATO’s new spearhead force conducts first exercise

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NATO completed the first military drills for its new rapid reaction force, on Thursday (9 April 2015). From Tuesday (7 April 2015) through Thursday, more than 1,500 troops took part in exercise “Noble Jump,” designed to test whether troops assigned to NATO’s new Spearhead Force, or Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, could be ready to deploy 48 hours after receiving an order-to-move.

Across Europe, headquarters personnel from Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Poland and Portugal tested their responses to NATO alert orders. In the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, troops and equipment were assembled quickly at airfields and railway stations as if they were about to depart. The units involved in this week’s exercise will also be involved in further trials in Poland in June.

“NATO military planners have been working tirelessly to enhance NATO’s Response Force and implement the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, and today our progress is manifested in the rapid deployments we see happening in locations across the Alliance,” said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe. “These measures are defensive, but are a clear indication that our Alliance has the capability and will to respond to emerging security challenges on our southern and eastern flanks,” he said.

In response to the changed security environment in Europe, NATO leaders at the Wales Summit decided to create a new quick reaction military force designed to respond swiftly to new challenges on the Alliance’s southern and eastern borders. The high readiness force will include about 5,000 land troops, with supporting maritime, special operations and air units. Lead elements of the new force will be able to move in as little as 48 hours. The Spearhead Force is part of the Alliance’s larger NATO Response Force, which is being increased to a force level of around 30,000 troops.

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Georgian Troops Trained For NATO Strike Force, War Games

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 9, 2015

I Light Infantry Brigade Training

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“Alfa” Company of the 12th Battalion of I Light Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces is going through a month-long field-based training. The North Atlantic Alliance representatives will evaluate the combat readiness of the military unit due to engage in the NATO Response Force.

During the field exercise, 116 servicemen of “Alfa” Company will be trained according to a combined arms tactic. The basic part of the preparation will be devoted to practical exercises. The soldiers will practice in search and cordon, patrolling, attack and defensive operations. They will undergo staff, engineer and medical preparations as well.

The training course launched on 1 April and will last till the end of the month. After completing the field-based preparations, the military unit will take part in the Joint US-Georgian Exercise “Noble Partner 2015”. A month-long training ongoing in field conditions includes preparing the military for this upcoming combined exercise too.

From August 2013 up to date, “Alfa” Company underwent pre-deployment training both in Georgia and Germany. The preparation of the military unit in Hohenfels went on within the NATO Operative Capabilities Concept. The level of combat preparation of the Georgian contingent was evaluated in the US Joint Multinational Readiness Centre (JMRC).

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Robert Southey: The Soldier’s Wife

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Robert Southey: The Battle of Blenheim

Robert Southey: Preparing the way for peace; militarism versus Christianity

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Robert Southey
The Soldier’s Wife

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Weary way-wanderer languid and sick at heart
Travelling painfully over the rugged road,
Wild-visag’d Wanderer! ah for thy heavy chance!

Sorely thy little one drags by thee bare-footed,
Cold is the baby that hangs at thy bending back
Meagre and livid and screaming its wretchedness.

Woe-begone mother, half anger, half agony,
As over thy shoulder thou lookest to hush the babe,
Bleakly the blinding snow beats in thy hagged face.

Thy husband will never return from the war again,
Cold is thy hopeless heart even as Charity –
Cold are thy famish’d babes – God help thee, widow’d One!

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Force Barbarossa: NATO Trains Spearhead Task Force Against Russia

April 9, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

April 9, 2015

Eleven Allies Test NATO ‘Spearhead’ Alert Procedures on EX NOBLE JUMP

EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands: NATO assessed its alert procedures for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) for the first time during Exercise NOBLE JUMP from 7-9 April 2015, involving over 1,500 personnel from 11 Allied nations. Germany, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Croatia, Portugal, and Slovenia tested their Headquarters’ response to alert procedures and high-readiness units from The Netherlands and Czech Republic physically deployed equipment and troops to airports and railheads.

This activity represents an important milestone as NATO continues to respond to emerging security challenges. The exercise has its origins in last year’s Wales Summit, where NATO leaders collectively agreed to establish the VJTF, or what some call the ‘NATO Spearhead’ force. These developments are part of wider enhancements to the NATO Response Force in order to address instability on NATO’s southern and eastern flanks.

“NATO military planners have been working tirelessly to enhance NATO’s Response Force and implement the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, and today our progress is manifested in the rapid deployments we see happening in locations across the Alliance,” said General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). “These measures are…a clear indication that our Alliance has the capability and will to respond to emerging security challenges on our southern and eastern flanks,” he said.

For the last several months, NATO has been developing the concepts behind the VJTF and established an interim force early in 2015. Exercise NOBLE JUMP marks the first time that high-readiness units have physically tested their response to rapid ‘orders to move’ under the new VJTF framework. The training event marks a learning process that will allow NATO military staff to identify both successes and shortfalls as the Alliance continues to refine its high readiness capabilities.

Czech and Dutch High-Readiness Troops Put to the Test

In the afternoon of 7 April, the 11th Air Mobile Brigade in The Netherlands and the 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade in the Czech Republic were given orders to rapidly prepare to deploy their troops and equipment.

“In the hours that ensued, Dutch and Czech formations recalled their military personnel to base, conducted hasty movement planning, briefed personnel, prepared and verified equipment, weapons, supplies, and vehicles,” said Colonel Mariusz Lewicki, the head military planner for the VJTF at SHAPE. “The lead troops were able to move in under eight hours, with all elements moving in under 48 hours, so our initial impression is we are very pleased with the results,” he added.

The Commander of the Dutch 11th Air Mobile Brigade, Brigadier-General Kees Matthijssen, also felt that Exercise NOBLE JUMP achieved its aims.

“So far we are satisfied, our men and women responded well to the alerting and we managed to send off the first troops as scheduled. We are sure that we will be able to meet our goals, which were to move all troops and equipment within 48 hours,” said Brigadier-General Matthijssen. “Of course, we have noted some things to improve during the exercise, but this will definitely lead to further refinement and improvements of our high readiness plans,” he said.

A total of 900 German soldiers were also recalled to their units in Marienberg, Gotha, Idaroberstein and Bad Salzungen during Exercise NOBLE JUMP. These troops conducted similar planning and alert verifications in their respective garrisons.

The overall aim of Exercise NOBLE JUMP was to improve and refine alert and deployment procedures for the VJTF. In the coming weeks NATO military staff will conduct an analysis of the results from this exercise and Allied units will refine their tactical procedures. Lessons will be shared and NATO will continue to refine the overall alert and deployment process, and ensure it is integrated in overall plans for the NATO Response Force.

“Moving military units at short notice is a highly complex process that requires careful planning and constant refinement and practice to maintain capability,” said Colonel Lewicki. “We’ve had a very good start this week, but much work remains and we will continue exercising these concepts throughout 2015 and 2016,” he said.

Increasingly complex exercises, trials, and evaluations will be conducted in order to develop, refine and implement the VJTF concept into the framework of the Readiness Action Plan and the NATO Response Force. Examples of future training activity include part two of Exercise NOBLE JUMP, 9-20 June 2015, where units assigned to the VJTF will deploy to the Zagan Military Training Area in Western Poland, as well as Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2015 in Italy, Spain and Portugal from 21 Oct – 6 Nov 2015.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Pentagon Enhances Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

Trend News Agency
April 8, 2015

Azerbaijan, US to agree on military co-op
By Ilkin Izzet

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Azerbaijan and the United States will agree on the issues of bilateral cooperation in the defense sector, the message of the defense ministry of Azerbaijan said Apr.8.

The message said that the conference on coordination of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the United States in the defense sector took place in the Training and Education Center of Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

During the conference, the participants discussed the work carried out in the defense sector between the two countries, the prospects for bilateral cooperation, as well as the project of the “Work plan on military cooperation for 2016 between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and the US European Command.”

From the Azerbaijani side, the event was attended by representatives of the relevant departments and services of the ministry of defense, the three kinds of air forces army, from the US side – by the representatives of the European Command, the military attache and the Office of Military Cooperation of the Defense Department.

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Upton Sinclair: Decade of national cynicism, corruption followed “war for democracy”

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

Upton Sinclair

The day of glory, sung in the “Marseillaise,” had arrived; the American troops stopped the first German onslaught, and began their counter-offensive which was to end the war. The whole country thrilled with it – all but a few perverse persons, so constructed that they could not think of glory, but only of bodies crawling about in burning forests, dragging shattered limbs and protruded entrails. “Ah, but the broken bodies, that drip like honeycomb!”

***

This was a celebration in which even the pacifists could join. The nation would have one or two hundred thousand cripples to take care of – but at least you didn’t have to think of new thousands being made every day!…Such wonderful promises, a world fit for heroes, a world made safe for democracy, a world in which the last war had been won by the forces of justice! So we had been told in a golden glowing speech at least once a week for a year and a half; and now we were to see it made real. As a first step President Wilson packed up his typewriter and his fourteen points, and went over to Europe to oversee the making of a world charter. His packing appeared to be careless, for he lost one of the points in England – that providing for the “freedom of the seas” – and had only thirteen when he landed in France.

The American people had been told to trust him; he was the President, and sources of information not open to the rest of us…But now it turned out that he hadn’t any sources of information, or if he had, he hadn’t used them. He had made no bargains whatever with the allies, he had not made them give up a single one of their greedy demands. And now, of course, it was too late; the danger was over, the allies were no longer afraid, and would do exactly what they pleased.

It was a disillusioning experience, and was to produce ten years of cynicism and corruption in every department of American life. The climax came when the President capitulated to the diplomatic ravens, and let them have their prey, and came home and told the public that that was what his fourteen points had meant. He did more than that – he went before a committee of the Senate, and stated that he had not known about the secret treaties until he went to Paris; which one had to take as Pascal took the doctrine of his church, and believe it because it was impossible.

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Operation Atlantic Resolve-South: Pentagon Prepares Romania For Conflict With Russia

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

Leaders from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and Romanian Land Forces talk cooperation
By Sgt. William A. Tanner, 2d Cavalry Regiment public affairs print journalist

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BUCHAREST, Romania: Leadership assigned to 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment met with their military counterparts assigned to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC,) Romanian Land Forces (ROULF,) at the Land Forces Headquarters in Bucharest, Romania on Apr. 2, 2015.

Amongst the leaders representing 2nd Squadron “Cougar,” were Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd squadron commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Peter D. Johnson, squadron command sergeant major; 1st Lt. Nathan P. Swire, a liaison officer and 2nd Lt. William Crawford, a public affairs liaison, both assigned to the squadron.

…After being lead up the stairs to the conference room, the Soldiers were then greeted by Romanian leadership assigned to the TRADOC unit of the ROULF.

Members of the Romanian Land Forces unit in attendance included Col. Dragos Iacob, deputy chief of TRADOC; Col. Nicolae Ivan, chief of the infantry branch; Col. Gheorge Zidaru, chief of mountain branch; Lt. Col. Felician Farcas, office of international affairs; Capt. Catalin Covrig, planning, training and simulations branch; Capt. Antonio Anghelescu, military police office and Command Sgt. Maj. George Neacsu-Moos, chief of land forces.

“My goals for the meeting, as the task force commander for Operation Atlantic Resolve-South, were to pay courtesy to the Romanian Land Forces leadership while discussing our common interoperability goals for the upcoming multi-lateral training exercises,” said Johnson.

After greeting each other, the meeting commenced and the leaders talked about a variety of topics ranging from the aforementioned interoperability between allies to leader development and community relations.

Throughout the next couple of months, both organizations will be participating in several different training events, including squad and platoon live-fires…

“We are seeking combined opportunities for leader development, community relations, and public affairs in order to showcase our Allied partnership,” said Johnson. “While also demonstrating our commitment to our Allies security.”

“The meeting reflected the strong relationship that is developing between our military organizations,” said Johnson. “We have established the course for our combined efforts to improve military’s capabilities to conduct operations with NATO Allies.”

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Commitment To NATO: U.S. Army Supports Latvian Special Forces Drill

U.S. Army Europe
April 7, 2015

U.S. Army Aviators support Latvian Spec. Ops. training
By Capt. Scott C. Hetzel

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KATTERBACH, Germany: Aviators from the Bravo Company, 3-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, provide aviation support for helocast training April 2, 2015, with Soldiers from the Latvian Special Forces over the Daugava River in Latvia.

Helocasting is a technique used by small unit, special operations forces to conduct airborne insertion into an area of operations, usually over water.

The “Stormriders” from 3-158th are currently deployed to Latvia in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security of NATO…in the region, in light of Russia…

Army Europe is leading the Operation Atlantic Resolve enhanced land force multinational training and security cooperation activities taking place across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to ensure multinational interoperability, strengthen relationships among allied militaries, contribute to regional stability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO.

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Ukraine To Sign Military, Technical Cooperation Agreement With NATO: Yatseniuk

Interfax-Ukraine
April 8, 2015

Ukraine to sign military and technical cooperation agreement with NATO – Yatseniuk

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that the Ukrainian government will sign an agreement on military and technical cooperation with NATO, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will seek to meet NATO standards.

“The government is signing an agreement on cooperation in the field of support with NATO. It is an agreement on support between the Ukrainian Cabinet and NATO, which envisages the implementation of four trust projects with NATO, including military and technical cooperation, communications, new communications and information technologies,” Yatseniuk said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

He said that Ukraine needed to rebuild its armed forces using the example of the strongest armies and associations which are fighting for global peace, and which adhere to NATO standards.

“We are moving in this direction,” Yatseniuk added.
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Interfax-Ukraine
April 8, 2015

NATO, Ukraine to sign memo under Partnership for Peace Program – Yatseniuk

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has announced the Ukrainian government’s intention to sign a memorandum with NATO on cooperation in consultations, management, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

“The government has decided to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the NATO Communications and Information Agency on cooperation in the matters of consultations, management, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program,” Yatseniuk said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

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Eleanor Farjeon: Peace Poem

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Eleanor Farjeon
Peace Poem

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I.

I am as awful as my brother War,
I am the sudden silence after clamour.
I am the face that shows the seamy scar
When blood and frenzy has lost its glamour.
Men in my pause shall know the cost at last
That is not to be paid in triumphs or tears,
Men will begin to judge the thing that’s past
As men will judge it in a hundred years.

Nations! whose ravenous engines must be fed
Endlessly with the father and the son,
My naked light upon your darkness, dread! –
By which ye shall behold what ye have done:
Whereon, more like a vulture than a dove,
Ye set my seal in hatred, not in love.

II.

Let no man call me good. I am not blest.
My single virtue is the end of crimes,
I only am the period of unrest,
The ceasing of horrors of the times;
My good is but the negative of ill,
Such ill as bends the spirit with despair,
Such ill as makes the nations’ soul stand still
And freeze to stone beneath a Gorgon glare.

Be blunt, and say that peace is but a state
Wherein the active soul is free to move,
And nations only show as mean or great
According to the spirit then they prove. –
O which of ye whose battle-cry is Hate
Will first in peace dare shout the name of Love?

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Pentagon, NATO Gear Up For 21st-Century War In Europe

U.S. Army Europe
April 5, 2015

17 Nations get lasered up for Saber Junction 15
By Sgt. Jacob A Sawyer (USAREUR)

HOHENFELS, Germany: More than 4,700 participants from 17 Allied and European partner nations have arrived here for exercise Saber Junction 15. But before most of them do anything, they’ve got to get their lasers.

At the beginning of every training rotation, all Soldiers, vehicles and weapons systems are required to receive a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, that allows the training engagements to occur and record the data for analysis and feedback during after-action reviews.

The MILES warehouse at Hohenfels is responsible for the installation of vehicle MILES components, personnel MILES, and the overall integration into the JMRC Hohenfels Training Area battlefield. During Saber Junction 15, the MILES warehouse will install battle tracking systems on over 1,000 vehicles and 3,100 personnel.

Saber Junction 15 prepares U.S., NATO allies, and European security partners to conduct unified land operations through the simultaneous combination of offensive, defensive and stability operations appropriate to the mission and the environment and to promote interoperability with partner nations.

The MILES warehouse is able to install MILES gear on the myriad of different U.S. and multinational vehicles and weapons systems brought for training at to the JMRC for exercises like Saber Junction…

When different units, nations and vehicles are identified to come to JMRC for training, the MILES warehouse identifies the type of MILES equipment needed to outfit the unit. Systems like the Stryker Assault Vehicle, the main platform for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the Army’s featured unit during Saber Junction 15, have to receive MILES gear from another post that already runs the Stryker MILES system. Once it gets to Hohenfels, the MILES warehouse will add a few components to the already emplaced MILES system and the vehicle is then ready for the exercise.

MILES gear can also be adapted to two Army airframes, the Apache and the Blackhawk helicopters. Because of the sensitive and delicate nature of the aircraft instrumentation, MILES technicians travel to the aircraft’s home station to fit and calibrate the MILES gear on the aircraft. If necessary, they can also fit the aircraft with MILES gear at JMRC in a special tent to keep the elements away from the precision aircraft equipment.

Vehicles and aircraft aren’t the only thing to get MILES gear; all participating Soldiers get personal MILES consisting of helmet sensors, chest sensors, and weapon lasers. Unit leadership also has access to a Precision Real-Time Locator or PRTL. The PRTL not only tracks Soldiers and vehicles on the battlefield, it also receives codes when the Soldier has been hit with a variety of munitions from small arms fire, artillery and gas to mines and drone strikes.

JMRC’s MILES warehouse will continue to ensure that all training units are fitted and ready for any and everything the training at JMRC calls for in the future.

JMRC is the U.S. Army’s only overseas combat training center. It is part of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command that trains more than 60,000 soldiers (U.S., allied, and partner nations) annually.

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Georgia, Romania: NATO Consolidates Control Of Black Sea

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 6, 2015

Meeting between Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania

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Within the official visit to Georgia, Defence Ministries of Georgia and Romania held meeting at the MoD today.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mindia Janelidze expressed gratitude for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration. The sides overviewed regional security issues.

Mindia Janelidze delivered information to his Romanian counterpart on the performed and scheduled reforms in the Georgian defence sphere. As Georgian Defence Minister outlined the top priority of 2015 is effective execution of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and thanked Romanian side for readiness to send a representative to NATO Core Team.

Mindia Janelidze and Mircea Duşa discussed existing bilateral cooperation between Georgia and Romania in defence sphere and expressed readiness to deepen relation in the future. Mircea Duşa estimated the ongoing reforms in Georgian defence sphere and thanked Mindia Janelidze for Georgia’s significant contribution in global security.

Following the meeting, Ministers made statements for the media representatives. Mindia Janelidze focused on the importance of bilateral cooperation with Romania in defence sphere: “We talked about cooperation in the direction of NATO and EU, as well as in bilateral format. Romania is one of the main supporters for Georgia on its way to Euro-Atlantic integration and for enhancement of the Georgian Armed Forces’ abilities. Therefore, we grant so big importance to the relation with our Romanian counterpart. Under the bilateral cooperation we find out new directions, new aspects of relation. We have already set up defined directions and plans. Our future cooperation will be very fruitful”.

“Romania is one of the strongest supporters for Georgia on its way to Euro-Atlantic aspiration. Embassy of Romania to Georgia has been granted a mandate of NATO contact point for the second time. Very soon NATO Core Team will start active work for the implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. Romania will send its representative on the position of Deputy NATO Core Team Leader. Georgia is one of the most important partners for NATO. NATO-Georgia commission is always held under the NATO Ministerial agenda in Brussels. On the level of Foreign or Defence Ministers meeting at NATO HQ, Romanian side always highlights how important is Georgia’s integration to Euro-Atlantic structures; the same refers to Moldova and the Ukraine. At the meeting with Georgian Defence Minister we focused on the importance of Georgia’s cooperation with EU and contribution in the international missions in Afghanistan and CAR. We also underlined the importance of the Riga Summit related to the Eastern Partnership. We also discussed bilateral cooperation between our countries in defence sphere. Georgian Armed Forces always take an active part in NATO military drills. We underlined important directions of bilateral cooperation between our Special Operation Forces and military intelligence. We discussed regional security issues, especially on the aspect of the Ukrainian crisis. We underlined the importance of providing security situation in the Black Sea region. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that Georgia is on the right track. We have to estimate special efforts you have done in order to be able to implement NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. You can be assured that Romania will be strong supporter for Georgia for implementation the Substantial Package”, stated Minister of National Defence of Romania Mircea Duşa with the media representatives.

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NATO Naval Group Drills With Moroccan Navy

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

April 7, 2015

SNMG2 trains with Royal Moroccan Navy

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed passing exercises with the Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN) off the coast of Casablanca following the Group’s visit to the city.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the U.S. flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), Canadian ship HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), Italian ship ITS Aliseo (F 547), German oiler FGS Spessart (A 1442), Turkish ship TCG Goksu (F 497) and French oiler FS Marne (A 630).

RMN ships RMNS Allal ben Abdellah (F 615) and RMNS Hassan II (F 612) participated in the exercises at sea. The exercises were designed to train ships’ personnel to rapidly integrate and operate as a cohesive force. The training included communications drills to ensure the units could share information, manoeuvering drills to practice ship handling in close proximity, and boarding exercises between ships.

Williamson embarked aboard Hassan II during the exercise to watch the training from a different vantage point.

These exercises were incredibly valuable for NATO, and I am extremely honoured to have trained with our partners in the Royal Moroccan Navy,” said Williamson. “The professionalism and precision in which they operate their ships truly impressed me. NATO’s partner nations are critical to the security of the Mediterranean and we welcome their robust participation with NATO in the future.”

Since Williamson assumed command of SNMG2 in July 2014, the group has deployed to the North American coast, participated in Exercise Noble Justification in the Mediterranean, supported NATO’s counter-terrorism mission Operation Active Endeavour, and deployed to the Black Sea.

NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue was initiated in 1994 by the North Atlantic Council. It currently involves seven non-NATO countries of the Mediterranean region: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. [Three and a half years ago Libya was “invited” to join.]

NATO values its partnership with Morocco through the Mediterranean Dialogue, which our collective maritime security and interoperability have been enhanced through port visits, military to military engagements, and shared exercises. This cooperative engagement enhances the ability of NATO and its partners to respond to crisis situations in a cohesive, rapid, and effective manner.

Morocco is one of five non-NATO members to have signed memorandums of understanding to support Operation Active Endeavour through the exchange of information and by providing liaison officers to the mission. Partnerships enable both parties to gain more security together than the Alliance or its partners could achieve on our own.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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Mark Twain: Cecil Rhodes and the civilizing mission: He wants the earth and wants it for his own

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war

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Mark Twain
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
From Following the Equator (1897)

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In the opinion of many people Mr. Rhodes is South Africa; others think he is only a large part of it. These latter consider that South Africa consists of Table Mountain, the diamond mines, the Johannesburg gold fields, and Cecil Rhodes. The gold fields are wonderful in every way. In seven or eight years they built up, in a desert, a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants, counting white and black together; and not the ordinary mining city of wooden shanties, but a city made out of lasting material. Nowhere in the world is there such a concentration of rich mines as at Johannesburg. Mr. Bonamici, my manager there, gave me a small gold brick with some statistics engraved upon it which record the output of gold from the early days to July, 1895, and exhibit the strides which have been made in the development of the industry; in 1888 the output was $4,162,440; the output of the next five and a half years was (total) $17,585,894; for the single year ending with June, 1895, it was $45,553,700.

The capital which has developed the mines came from England, the mining engineers from America. This is the case with the diamond mines also.

South Africa seems to be the heaven of the American scientific mining engineer. He gets the choicest places, and keeps them. His salary is not based upon what he would get in America, but apparently upon what a whole family of him would get there.

***

The great bulk of the savages must go. The white man wants their lands, and all must go excepting such percentage of them as he will need to do his work for him upon terms to be determined by himself. Since history has removed the element of guesswork from this matter and made it certainty, the humanest way of diminishing the black population should be adopted, not the old cruel ways of the past. Mr. Rhodes and his gang have been following the old ways. – They are chartered to rob and slay, and they lawfully do it, but not in a compassionate and Christian spirit. They rob the Mashonas and the Matabeles of a portion of their territories in the hallowed old style of “purchase!” for a song, and then they force a quarrel and take the rest by the strong hand. They rob the natives of their cattle under the pretext that all the cattle in the country belonged to the king whom they have tricked and assassinated. They issue “regulations” requiring the incensed and harassed natives to work for the white settlers, and neglect their own affairs to do it. This is slavery, and is several times worse than was the American slavery which used to pain England so much; for when this Rhodesian slave is sick, super-annuated, or otherwise disabled, he must support himself or starve – his master is under no obligation to support him.

The reduction of the population by Rhodesian methods to the desired limit is a return to the old-time slow-misery and lingering-death system of a discredited time and a crude “civilization.” We humanely reduce an overplus of dogs by swift chloroform; the Boer humanely reduced an overplus of blacks by swift suffocation; the nameless but right-hearted Australian pioneer humanely reduced his overplus of aboriginal neighbors by a sweetened swift death concealed in a poisoned pudding. All these are admirable, and worthy of praise; you and I would rather suffer either of these deaths thirty times over in thirty successive days than linger out one of the Rhodesian twenty-year deaths, with its daily burden of insult, humiliation, and forced labor for a man whose entire race the victim hates. Rhodesia is a happy name for that land of piracy and pillage, and puts the right stain upon it.

***

Next to Mr. Rhodes, to me the most interesting convulsion of nature in South Africa was the diamond-crater. The Rand gold fields are a stupendous marvel, and they make all other gold fields small, but I was not a stranger to gold-mining; the veldt was a noble thing to see, but it was only another and lovelier variety of our Great Plains; the natives were very far from being uninteresting, but they were not new; and as for the towns, I could find my way without a guide through the most of them because I had learned the streets, under other names, in towns just like them in other lands; but the diamond mine was a wholly fresh thing, a splendid and absorbing novelty. Very few people in the world have seen the diamond in its home. It has but three or four homes in the world, whereas gold has a million. It is worth while to journey around the globe to see anything which can truthfully be called a novelty, and the diamond mine is the greatest and most select and restricted novelty which the globe has in stock.

The Kimberley diamond deposits were discovered about 1869, I think. When everything is taken into consideration, the wonder is that they were not discovered five thousand years ago and made familiar to the African world for the rest of time…

Originally, the diamond deposits were the property of the Orange Free State; but a judicious “rectification” of the boundary line shifted them over into the British territory of Cape Colony. A high official of the Free State told me that the sum of $400,000 was handed to his commonwealth as a compromise, or indemnity, or something of the sort, and that he thought his commonwealth did wisely to take the money and keep out of a dispute, since the power was all on the one side and the weakness all on the other. The De Beers Company dig out $400,000 worth of diamonds per week, now. The Cape got the territory, but no profit; for Mr. Rhodes and the Rothschilds and the other De Beers people own the mines, and they pay no taxes.

***

Before the middle of July we reached Cape Town, and the end of our African journeyings. And well satisfied; for, towering above us was Table Mountain – a reminder that we had now seen each and all of the great features of South Africa except Mr. Cecil Rhodes. I realize that that is a large exception. I know quite well that whether Mr. Rhodes is the lofty and worshipful patriot and statesman that multitudes believe him to be, or Satan come again, as the rest of the world account him, he is still the most imposing figure in the British empire outside of England. When he stands on the Cape of Good Hope, his shadow falls to the Zambesi. He is the only colonial in the British dominions whose goings and comings are chronicled and discussed under all the globe’s meridians, and whose speeches, unclipped, are cabled from the ends of the earth; and he is the only unroyal outsider whose arrival in London can compete for attention with an eclipse.

That he is an extraordinary man, and not an accident of fortune, not even his dearest South African enemies were willing to deny, so far as I heard them testify. The whole South African world seemed to stand in a kind of shuddering awe of him, friend and enemy alike. It was as if he were deputy-God on the one side, deputy-Satan on the other, proprietor of the people, able to make them or ruin them by his breath, worshiped by many, hated by many, but blasphemed by none among the judicious, and even by the indiscreet in guarded whispers only.

What is the secret of his formidable supremacy? One says it is his prodigious wealth – a wealth whose drippings in salaries and in other ways support multitudes and make them his interested and loyal vassals; another says it is his personal magnetism and his persuasive tongue, and that these hypnotize and make happy slaves of all that drift within the circle of their influence; another says it is his majestic ideas, his vast schemes for the territorial aggrandizement of England, his patriotic and unselfish ambition to spread her beneficent protection and her just rule over the pagan wastes of Africa and make luminous the African darkness with the glory of her name; and another says he wants the earth and wants it for his own, and that the belief that he will get it and let his friends in on the ground floor is the secret that rivets so many eyes upon him and keeps him in the zenith where the view is unobstructed.

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