Xinhua News Agency
April 21, 2015
Armed group takes over Macedonian police station demanding an “independent state”
SKOPJE: A group of 40 armed, masked people forcibly took over a police station in the Macedonian border village of Goshince early Tuesday morning, Macedonian police confirmed.
The assailants called themselves members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and disarmed the four police officers on duty. The armed people declare they were forming an independent state.
“The attackers started beating one of the officers and they tied up the other three with handcuffs. They threatened them with the words: ‘We are KLA and nobody will save you, neither the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski nor the leader of the coalition ruling party Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) in Macedonia, Ali Ahmeti. We demand our own independent state and we do not recognize the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Nobody can come here anymore. If someone does, he will be executed’,” Ivo Kotveski, spokesperson for the Macedonian ministry of the interior, told Xinhua.
The attackers recorded the whole operation on camera. The four officers were given half an hour to leave the police station before being killed, but three of them were tied up. The one who was not tied up managed to flee the station on foot.
The police operation to reclaim the station is underway. The Macedonian ministry of the interior is considering this attack as a “serious terrorist act.”
According to initial information from the Macedonian Ministry of the Interior, the attackers came from neighboring Kosovo, but additional evidence on this is still being obtained. Goshince is a small place in the Lipkovo municipality, northern Macedonia.
Lipkovo municipality was one of the main areas where, in 2001, there was an armed conflict between Macedonian security forces and insurgents from the so-called People’s Liberation Army, affiliated with the KLA. The conflict ended with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, a document guaranteeing political and civil rights to Albanians and the other minorities in Macedonia.
In recent months, KLA has claimed responsibility for two attacks on the government building here. First in October last year, and again on April 10, unknown attackers launched grenades on the building. Two of them hit the facade and one exploded near the government building. No one was hurt in the incidents, but the police have not yet managed to find the attackers.
After both incidents, the so-called KLA has issued written statements regarding their responsibility for the attacks, claiming that they do not recognize the Ohrid Framework Agreement because they are not satisfied with its implementation.
U.S. Department of Defense
April 20, 2015
Military Exercises Begin in Ukraine, Philippines
By Cheryl Pellerin
WASHINGTON: Military training exercises begin today in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian, and in the Philippines for the 31st iteration of Exercise Balikatan, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
During a briefing with Pentagon reporters, Army Col. Steve Warren said that about 300 Sky Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, will train members of the Ukraine National Guard at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv near the Polish border.
The United States has trained at the same center for years with other allies and partners, he added.
“This latest training, which is as valuable in peacetime as it is in times of conflict, is to establish a professional force that protects and defends Ukraine’s people [and] the country’s sovereignty,” Warren said.
Three hundred Sky Soldiers will train about 900 Ukrainian national guardsmen during three training rotations, each about two months long, he said.
The small-unit trainers will focus on defensive and civil military operations.
Specific blocks of instruction include medical training, casualty evacuation, counter-unmanned-aerial-vehicle tactics, counter-insurgency training, counter-improvised-explosive-device training, and more, Warren said.
Human rights and use-of-force training also will be conducted, along with common soldier and collective tasks such as individual conduct and law of war, first aid, survival, land navigation, communication, unit operations, and counter-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training.
Joint Commission Plus Canada
“The Defense Department will continue to work closely with Ukraine to provide assistance, training and advising support,” Warren said, “including through our U.S.-Ukraine Joint Commission on Defense Cooperation, to Ukraine, over the long term.”
The Joint Commission formed in July 2014, and Canada was an observer at the inaugural meeting in October 2014. Later, Canadian leaders requested an invitation for membership on the Joint Commission.
On Feb. 2, Canada’s Defense Minister Rob Nicholson announced that Canada would join the commission “to better coordinate Canada’s ongoing provision of assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine
Warren said the United States also jointly hosts two Partnership for Peace exercises each year in Ukraine, a ground forces peacekeeping exercise called Rapid Trident and a naval exercise called Sea Breeze.
The training in small-unit tactics includes instruction on how to shoot, how to move, how to communicate and other individual soldier skills, Warren added, during which the National Guardsmen use Ukrainian weapons and their own munitions.
“Thus far, we have provided the Ukrainians with nonlethal aid only,” he said, adding that the department delivered 30 Humvees to Kiev in March and will deliver another 300 in the coming months.
The DoD is monitoring events in Ukraine, Warren said, “particularly in Eastern Ukraine where we know Russian forces are contributing to the destabilization and unrest.”
Also today in the Philippines, U.S. and Philippine forces began the 31st iteration of Exercise Balikatan, Warren said.
The annual bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement seeks to improve the readiness of participating U.S. and Philippine forces.
“It is a signature element of our alliance,” Warren said.
Balikatan takes place in the Philippines starting today to April 30, and about 6,000 U.S. personnel will participate this year, he said, noting that 4,100 of the forces will be U.S. Marines.
The exercise trains Philippine and U.S. military forces to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.
“This training proved invaluable during the relief mission [of November 2013] in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan,” Warren said. The typhoon devastated more than 35 provinces in the Philippines and displaced nearly half a million residents.
Military service members from both countries also will conduct combined command-post exercises and field training and live-fire exercises, the colonel said.
U.S. Department of Defense
April 20, 2015
Carter, German Minister Discuss Defense Issues at Pentagon
WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter today met with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon, according to a Defense Department statement.
During the 45-minute meeting, the leaders discussed their continuing efforts in NATO and support to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the statement.
It was Carter’s first meeting with the German defense minister, the statement said.
Carter and Minister von der Leyen emphasized the importance of NATO unity against Russian aggression and discussed ways to work together to support NATO reassurance measures, the statement said.
The U.S. defense secretary thanked the minister for Germany’s support to Kurdish forces in fighting ISIL, and welcomed Germany’s continued leadership and commitment in Afghanistan, according to the statement.
The two leaders expressed their commitment to a strong working relationship and noted that they are looking forward to meeting at upcoming NATO ministerials, the statement said.
2nd Cavalry Regiment
April 17, 2015
US Troopers, Romanian land forces and British soldiers participate in opening ceremonies for Exercise Wind Spring
Story by Sgt. William Tanner
SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania: For the Dragoons assigned to 2nd (Cougar) Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, being able to train with military service members from other countries is an opportunity to experience not only the differences in each other’s training but to create a unique challenge for their Soldiers as well.
Troopers assigned to Cougar Squadron, Romanian soldiers with Romanian Land Forces (ROULF) and British soldiers stationed with the Coldstream Guards, all participated in the opening ceremony for Exercise Wind Spring at Smardan Training Area, Romania, April 16, 2015.
“Today’s ceremony initiates ‘Wind Spring,’ a series of multilateral training exercises hosted by Romanian Land Forces, including units from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the United Kingdom’s Coldstream Guards,” said Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd Squadron Commander.
The exercise will be the ROULF’s biggest exercise in the past six years and is aimed to maintain and increase interoperability between NATO Allies.
“Wind Spring will be the largest training event in Romania in years,” said Johnson. “It involves combined arms maneuvers with enablers provided by all three participating countries.”
This multinational event is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and coincides with Saber Junction, an annual training exercise currently being conducted in Hohenfels, Germany. Opportunities such as these allow for training to take place throughout different European countries while helping to further demonstrate the reassurance measures adopted by the NATO Council.
Exercise Wind Spring is projected to last until the end of April, with 2nd Squadron preparing themselves for future operations throughout Romania and Bulgaria.
April 20, 2015
Georgian Fighting for Ukraine Killed at Shyrokyne
Tbilisi: A Georgian national, Giorgi Janelidze, who was fighting on the Ukrainian side, was killed in combat at the village of Shyrokyne, just east from the port city of Mariupol on April 18.
Janelidze was fighting alongside the Azov Battalion; another Georgian was wounded, according to Georgians fighting on the Ukrainian side.
This is the fourth reported fatality among Georgians fighting in Ukraine – three of them were fighting on the Ukrainian side and one on the side of the Russian-backed separatists.
D.H. Lawrence: War adds horror to horror, becomes horrible piratic affair, dirty sort of freebooting
From Kangaroo (1923)
If men had kept their souls firm and integral through the years, the war would never have come on…
And now, if circumstances had roped nearly all men into the horror, and it was a case of adding horror to horror, or dying well, on the other hand, the irremediable circumstance of his own separate soul made Richard Lovat’s inevitable standing out. If there is an outward, circumstantial unreason and fatality, there is an inward unreason and inward fate. He would have to dare to follow his inward fate. He must remain alone, outside of everything, everything, conscious of what was going on, conscious of what he was doing and not doing. Conscious he must be and consciously he must stick to it. To be forced into nothing.
For, above all things, man is a land animal and a thought-adventurer. Once the human consciousness really sinks and is swamped under the tide of events – as the best English consciousness was swamped, pacifist and patriotic alike – then the adventure is doomed. The English soul went under in the war, and, as a conscious, proud, adventurous, self-responsible soul, it was lost. We all lost the war: perhaps Germany least. Lost all the lot. The adventure is always lost when the human conscious soul gives way under the stress, fails to keep control, and is submerged. Then out swam the rats and the Bottomleys and crew, and the ship of human adventure is a horrible piratic affair, a dirty sort of freebooting.
Mrs. Redburn was frightened, receiving the tainted Mr. Somers. But she had pluck. Everybody in London was frightened at this time, everybody who was not a rabid and disgusting so-called patriot. It was a reign of terror…
So then, why will men not forgive the war, and their humiliation at the hands of those war-like authorities? Because men were compelled into the service of a dead ideal. And perhaps nothing but this compulsion made them realise it was a dead ideal. But all those filthy stay-at-home officers and coast-watchers and dirty-minded doctors who tortured men during the first stages of the torture, did these men in their souls believe in what they were doing? They didn’t. They had no souls. They had only their beastly little wills, which they used to bully all men with. With their wills they determined to fight for a dead ideal, and to bully every other man into compliance. The inspiring motive was the bullying. And every other man complied. Or else, by admitting a conscientious objection to war, he admitted the dead ideal, but took refuge in one of its side-tracks.
April 20, 2015
Three more countries train Ukrainian army – Poroshenko
KYIV: The Ukrainian army, apart from the U.S. military, will be trained by the servicemen from the United Kingdom, Canada and Poland.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said this in Lviv at the opening of the Ukrainian-U.S. joint drills “Fearless Guardian – 2015″, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“It is symbolic that on the 70th anniversary of victory of Anti-Hitler Coalition over Nazism, frontier of civilizational battle for the future of Europe and the world is laid in Ukraine once again. The hybrid war with Ukraine, which is being conducted, will decide whether the norms of international law will act, whether the borders will be integral. We are not alone in this fight, now apart from American partners, Britain, Canada, Poland joined us. We hope that together we will win this fight,” Poroshenko said.
The President thanked the US military for their coming to share experience, and noted that their visit is a symbol of a new stage of cooperation between the United States and Ukraine.
April 20, 2015
Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 military exercise begins in Ukraine
During the Fearless Guardian 2015 international military exercise, Ukraine’s National Guard intends to learn from the United States military the practices they have used in operations worldwide, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
“The U.S. special task force has experience received in operations worldwide, and we want to use this experience. Wars are won by skills, not weapons,” Avakov said the opening ceremony of the Ukrainian-U.S. command post exercise in the Yavoriv district of the Lviv region on Monday.
He also said it is important that “the Americans openly support Ukraine, including in this form.”
The Ukrainian interior minister said he is hoping that Ukraine will soon receive similar support from other countries.
The Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 command post exercise began in the Yavoriv district in the Lviv region on Monday. The exercise will last until November 2015.
According to the training program, each stage will involve two companies of the Ukrainian National Guard (each comprising 150 servicemen) and 25 top military officials and the United States European Command will involve 247 servicemen in each stage of the exercise.
Stars and Stripes
April 20, 2015
US paratroopers train Ukrainian forces to take on Russian-backed militants
By Matt Millham
YAVORIV, Ukraine: U.S. and Ukrainian troops rang in the start of a new training mission here Monday, an effort to beef up the capabilities of Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed militants in the country’s east.
The Fearless Guardian exercises are expected to run at least through the end of summer and turn out thousands of newly trained personnel to take on separatists trying to splinter off from the former Soviet republic.
The first batch of about 900 trainees have already fought on the front lines of the year-old conflict, said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who addressed the U.S. and Ukrainian troops in a mid-day downpour.
But the country’s armed forces, he said, need to be rebuilt.
Two companies from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade will lead the first round of training, which will start off with basic marksmanship and grow in complexity over the next 10 weeks to include operations at a company and platoon level.
The U.S. has so far declined to provide “lethal aid,” such as weapons, to Ukraine. The training plan aims instead to improve Ukrainian forces’ use of their own weapons, such as Kalashnikov rifles, said U.S. officials. A small number of Ukrainian troops taking part in a ceremony marking the start of the training wore U.S.-supplied body armor and helmets similar to those worn by American forces early in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Capt. Nicholas Salimbene, the 31-year-old commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, said he hesitates to say the program is similar to basic training “because these guys are coming right from the east. They have real-life combat experience.”
His company was also the first to deploy to Lithuania last year as part of the U.S.-led Atlantic Resolve mission to reassure Baltic and Polish allies after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine near the start of the conflict.
Salimbene said the situation here is different because Lithuania has an established Army, “whereas these guys, the national guard, is relatively new to Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s national guard forces have been converted from volunteer militias that sprang up less than a year ago to fight Russian-backed separatists into units under the command and control of Ukraine’s armed forces.
Moscow has described the effort to train Ukrainian forces — in which Britain and Canada are also participating — as “counterproductive,” saying it will not help resolve the “fratricidal” conflict in Ukraine.
Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of sending its troops to help and arm the separatists — a claim Moscow denies.
Poroshenko said it was a Ukrainian government decision to have the guardsmen receive the U.S.-led training first, but hopes that regular army units will be able to get the training as well.
United States European Command
April 20, 2015
EUCOM provides update on the European Reassurance Initiative
By Media Operations Division
Stuttgart, Germany: U.S. European Command continues to support the defense and security of NATO allies and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. partners in Europe. The European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on December 19, 2014, included $985 million in ERI funds. These monies enable the Department of Defense to continue its efforts to reinforce America’s solemn commitment to…strengthen the security and capacity of our partners in the region.
“ERI is an infusion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds for Fiscal Year 15 designed to support increased capability, presence, readiness, and responsiveness to deter further destabilization in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Major General Randy A. Kee, Director, Strategy and Policy, at U.S. European Command. “It specifically funds an increase in the rotational presence of U.S. forces in Europe; additional bilateral and multilateral exercises and training; improved infrastructure to receive reinforcements and support onward movement and enhanced prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Europe,” he said.
The ERI enables the DoD to, among other things: Continue Operation Atlantic Resolve, which includes conducting military exercises and training on land, in the air and at sea, while sustaining a rotational presence across Europe; and increase the responsiveness of U.S. forces to reinforce NATO by exploring initiatives such as prepositioning of equipment and enhancing reception facilities in Europe.
Reassurance to NATO Allies
ERI funding will help increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces, primarily through the funding of rotational force presence in Eastern Europe, as well as through the improvement of ground and air training and staging sites. Combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with our Allies and partners demonstrate that we share a commitment to promoting a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.
The ERI is already increasing responsiveness and readiness by pre-positioning ammunition, fuel and equipment for use in regional training and exercises, as well as improving infrastructure that enhances NATO operations and enables Eastern Allies to rapidly receive reinforcements. The U.S./European strategic partnership has been forged over the past seven decades and is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision. Our persistent, rotational presence in Central and Eastern Europe is fully in line with our international commitments and agreements, and provides a visible sign of our commitment to collective defense.
Military Assistance to Support Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
The United States will use ERI funds to build the capacity of key partners to provide for their own defense and improve interoperability with NATO. The U.S. stands by its allies and partners, as they have stood by us. We will continue to take actions that increase the capability, readiness, and responsiveness of NATO forces to address any threat and that aid in deterring further destabilizing activities. Congress specifically appropriated $175 million to bolster the governments of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as they potentially have to defend their sovereignty against expanding regional aggression.
A mixture of Military Construction (MILCON) and minor construction projects will help create an enduring presence in the European area of responsibility to better allow U.S. forces to work closer with our partner nations through rotational deployments. Projects related to land forces are primarily focused on firing ranges and training area improvements throughout Eastern Europe, as well as infrastructure required to allow access to host nation training areas. Where required, structures will be developed to enable training – such as classrooms for instruction and buildings to store range targets. Construction projects related to air operations are focused on improving existing airfields, as well as cargo handling and passenger support operations in Eastern Europe. Finally, additional construction projects are slated to improve weapons storage capabilities in the theater.
Some examples of locations where MILCON projects are planned to be executed include:
•Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria (Airfield Improvement)
•Amari, Estonia (Airfield Improvement)
•Lielvarde, Latvia (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Siauliai, Lithuania (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Lask, Poland (Improve Support Infrastructure)
•Campia Turzia, Romania (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania (Cargo Ramp/Multi-Modal Improvements/Fuel Storage Capacity)
The ERI helps assist the continued, visible demonstration of the United States’ resolve to support NATO reassurance measures and bolster the security and capacity of America’s partners in the region.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 20, 2015
The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC)
NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC) can be deployed for a wide range of missions: from disaster management, humanitarian assistance and peace support to counter-terrorism and high-intensity war fighting. There are currently nine NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, which are each capable of commanding up to 60,000 soldiers.
These headquarters are multinational, but are sponsored and paid by one or more ‘framework nations’ who provide the bulk of the headquarters’ personnel, equipment and financial resources. The United Kingdom is the framework nation of the ARRC, while France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey have sponsored the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps France, Greece Italy, Spain and Turkey, respectively. Germany and the Netherlands share costs for the German-Netherlands Rapid Deployable Corps, while Denmark, Germany and Poland are the three framework nations of the Multinational Corps Northeast and Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain are the Eurocorps framework nations. Romania is currently establishing a Multinational Division Headquarters for south-eastern Europe, which is expected to be operational by 2016.
The corps participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF) – a highly ready and technologically advanced force made up of land, air, sea, and Special Operations Forces components that can be deployed at short notice to wherever needed. Under the NRF’s rotation system, a designated Rapid Deployable Corps assumes command of the land component of the NRF for a fixed 12-month period, during which it is on standby. This means that the headquarters must be able to deploy on short notice. Prior to this, the corps undergoes an intense six-month training programme, which tests its procedures for planning and conducting combined joint crisis-response operations.
The various corps also play a central role in NATO’s ongoing operations. For example, several corps have commanded NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan including Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (U.K.), NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Turkey, Eurocorps and 1 German-Netherlands Corps.
Oliver Goldsmith: To make one man happy is more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot
From Citizen of the World (1762)
The English and French have not only political reasons to induce them to mutual hatred but often the more prevailing motive of private interest to widen the breach; a war between other countries is carried on collectively, army fights against army, and a man’s own private resentment is lost in that of the community; but in England and France the individuals of each country plunder each other at sea without redress, and consequently feel that animosity against each other which passengers do at a robber. They have for some time carried on an expensive war; and several captives have been taken on both sides. Those made prisoners by the French have been used with cruelty, and guarded with unnecessary caution. Those taken by the English, being much more numerous, were confined in the ordinary manner; and, not being released by their countrymen, began to feel all the inconveniencies which arise from want of covering and long confinement.
To rejoice at the destruction of our enemies, is a foible grafted upon human nature, and we must be permitted to indulge it: the true way of atoning for such an ill founded pleasure, is thus to turn our triumph into an act of benevolence, and to testify our own joy by endeavouring to banish anxiety from others.
Hamti, the best and wisest emperor that ever filled the throne, after having gained three signal victories over the Tartars, who had invaded his dominions, returned to Nankin in order to enjoy the glory of his conquest. After he had rested for some days, the people who are naturally fond of processions, impatiently expected the triumphal entry, which emperors upon such occasions were accustomed to make. Their murmurs came to the emperor’s ear. He loved his people, and was willing to do all in his power to satisfy their just desires. He therefore assured them, that he intended, upon the next feast of the Lanthorns, to exhibit one of the most glorious triumphs that had ever been seen in China.
The people were in raptures at his condescension; and, on the appointed day, assembled at the gates of the palace with the most eager expectations. Here they waited for some time without seeing any of those preparations which usually precede a pageant. The lanthorn, with ten thousand tapers, was not yet brought forth; the fire-works, which usually covered the city walls, were not yet lighted; the people once more began to murmur at this delay; when in the midst of their impatience, the palace gates flew open, and the emperor himself appeared, not in splendor or magnificence, but in an ordinary habit, followed by the blind, the maimed, and the strangers of the city, all in new clothes, and each carrying in his hand money enough to supply his necessities for the year. The people were at first amazed, but soon perceived the wisdom of their king, who taught them, that to make one man happy was more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot.
Some time since I sent thee, oh holy disciple of Confucius, an account of the grand abbey or mausoleum of the kings and heroes of this nation. I have since been introduced to a temple not so ancient, but far superior in beauty and magnificence. In this, which is the most considerable of the empire, there are no pompous inscriptions, no flattery paid the dead, but all is elegant and awfully simple. There are however a few rags hung round the walls, which have at a vast expense been taken from the enemy in the present war. The silk of which they are composed when new, might be valued at half a string of copper money in China; yet this wise people fitted out a fleet and an army in order to seize them; though now grown old, and scarce capable of being patched up into a handkerchief. By this conquest the English are said to have gained, and the French to have lost much honour. Is the honour of European nations placed only in tattered silk?
U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa
April 17, 2015
Romania, US reaffirm commitment to European security
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: Leadership from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Force conducted a visit of Romanian and U.S. Air Forces executing a bilateral training deployment at Campia Turzii, Romania, April 16.
Mircea Dusa, Romanian Minister of National Defense, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, Romanian army Lt. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of General Staff, and Romanian air force Maj. Gen. Laurian Anastasof, Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff, toured the installation, congratulated Airmen and participated in a media event related to the progress of the theater security package.
“We are here today at the invitation of our Romania friends who, like other Eastern Europeans, are experiencing real anxiety in the wake of aggression in the Ukraine,” Roberson said. “Intimidating actions, which continue, have created significant distress among Eastern Europeans and resurrected thoughts of a not too distant past.”
Roberson said that U.S. European Command and the U.S. Air Force deployed additional forces on the continent to reassure its allies and partner nations, which he described as an effective way to show that European security is an American priority.
The U.S. Air Force’s 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force’s 71st Air Base’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Puma helicopters partnered together for training, also known as Dacian Thunder 2015, in order to build upon both nations’ joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, serve in various operations, maintenance, mission support, medical and wing staff functions there, reflecting a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.
He added that the TSP represents the first of its kind in the European theater, while reflecting those used in the Pacific theater since 2004. “Although Mr. Putin’s recent actions are of concern, this team is not only in response to him and Russia but also part of a long-range plan,” he said. “The essential point is that rotational constructs that we see here [are] part of a steadfast commitment to the long-term safety and security of our NATO allies.
This rotational construct is also a method for projecting forces at the right time and to the right combatant commanders.”
Roberson also highlighted the 354th EFS’s accomplishments since arriving in Europe in February 2015: the execution of more than 400 flights with more than 1,000 training hours in support of missions with Poland, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and others; many flying training deployments and interoperability events; support to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers certification; as well as Combat Search and Rescue training.
“These Airmen and A-10s of the 354th EFS provide a strategic symbol as they represent U.S. commitment to European security and stability,” Roberson said.
Anastasof echoed Roberson’s assessment of the TSP, citing it as “more proof of America’s continued commitment to European security.”
“Notable accomplishments in theaters of operations provide evidence of how thoroughly and responsibly our military forces approach exercises like this one and, at the same time, clearly show the benefits of military cooperative relationships such as between the U.S. and Romania, following the principle ‘Training together — fighting together,'” Anastasof said.
He also said that the exercise will continue to be a part of future plans when considering its relation to accomplishing assumed NATO and national commitments.
“Both NATO and strategic partnership commitments of the Romanian air force, as well as the way we choose to meet them, give expression to our solidarity and determination to successfully complete joint projects on the benefit of peace, freedom and democracy [!],” Anastasof said.
The ceremony concluded with U.S. and Romanian aircraft recommencing training.
“All these training events focus upon increased readiness and toward greater stability in the area,” Roberson said. “Together, we stand to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace.”
April 15, 2015
Lithuania pushes to buy German artillery
Germany said Wednesday it wants to sell howitzer-type mobile artillery vehicles to Lithuania as the Baltic NATO nation boosts its defences amid concerns over neighbouring Russia.
“It is possible to give those 12 howitzer tanks to Lithuania,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told journalists in Vilnius.
Von Der Leyen did not disclose the price, but said experts would invoke a “solidarity” clause when they finalise the deal next month.
German media reported the hardware was used by Berlin in Afghanistan and is now worth €15 million.
“We are interested in moving fast,” Lithuanian army colonel Romualdas Petkevicius in charge of weapon procurement told AFP, adding he hoped the hardware would arrive next year.
Lithuania is seeking “PzH 2000″-type howitzers. Petkevicius said the Baltic state was also mulling whether to buy German Boxer-type armoured fighting vehicles.
NATO members since 2004, the three Baltic states have repeatedly asked allies to step up their presence [against] Russia.
Berlin will send over 500 troops to Lithuania for military exercises this year.
NATO is also reinforcing its defences on Europe’s eastern flank with a rapid reaction force of 5,000 troops and command centres in six formerly communist members of the alliance, including the three Baltic states.
April 10, 2015
German military to bring back mothballed tanks
Berlin has announced plans to bring dozens of mothballed tanks back into service. There is speculation the move is in response to increased demands from the Ukraine crisis.
German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Friday that the country’s military will pay 22 million euros ($23.6 million) to buy back 100 Leopard 2 battle tanks from the defense industry.
The plans to equip Germany’s Bundeswehr with additional tanks nearly reverses a four-year-old decision to cut the total from 350 to 225.
The ministry has decided to raise the upper limit for the future to 328,” Flosdorff told a government news conference, confirming a report by German magazine Spiegel.
The announcement came as NATO attempts to increase the response time of its rapid reaction force following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The Reuters news agency reported that Berlin is seeking “to ensure its troops are ready for action in response to concerns over recent Russian assertiveness.”
The modernization of the Leopard 2 fleet is scheduled to start in 2017.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 17, 2015
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Serbia
The visit to Serbia was an opportunity for the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Bartels to develop further the NATO-Serbia military relations, commend the progress made in the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) and to highlight the mutual benefits of the new Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) agreed between NATO and Serbia in January 2015. During his two-day visit (16 – 17 April 2015), General Bartels met with General Diković, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Ambassador Branimir Filipović Assistant of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr Zoran Đorđević, State Secretary.
NATO and Serbia have steadily built up cooperation and dialogue, since the country joined the Partnership for Peace programme (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 2006 and agreed, earlier this year, to further enhance the dialogue and cooperation with the Individual Partnership Programme (IPAP) whilst respecting Serbia’s policy of military neutrality. As with Serbia, NATO works closely with several other countries on such a basis.
Serbia and NATO have thereby opened the possibility to deepen the political dialogue on issues of common interest. These include support for democratic, institutional and defence reforms and cooperation between the militaries. General Bartels used the opportunity to highlight the excellent and extensive cooperation and coordination that exists between the Serbian military and the NATO forces in Kosovo, KFOR. “I strongly believe in the potential of NATO-Serbia relations. Serbia is a member of the European family like any other; we want to work as closely with you as we do with our other European partners” General Bartels stated during his press conference with General Diković.
Part of the purpose of the visit was to discuss the new opportunities on the Military side the newly agreed Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between NATO and Serbia has provided, “this important step will allow us to further strengthen dialogue, understanding and cooperation between us. This is an opportunity to work together and to promote stability and security in the region and beyond. Also improved interoperability will benefit other areas in the NATO-Serbia cooperation such as Civil Emergency/Crisis Management, NATO Building Integrity Programme, Medical Support to Peace Operations, and the Science and Peace for Security Programme” General Bartels said.
The IPAP is a jointly agreed framework between a partner nation, in this case Serbia, and NATO, and is mutually beneficial. The main objective of the IPAP is for the partner nation to lay out its goals and the areas where NATO can provide assistance to achieve those goals. “The IPAP will help to organise bilateral cooperation, ensuring that NATO and individual Allies can provide support to Serbia in achieving its goals”, explained General Bartels. This new step will lead to a significant increase in dialogue between NATO and Serbia at political and expert levels.
This plan commits NATO and Serbia to working together to raise public awareness and understanding of security issues and of NATO-Serbia cooperation. And it reflects the wide range of defence and military areas in which NATO and Serbia intend to continue and to strengthen their cooperation.
Stars and Stripes
April 17, 2015
US spending $1 billion to reassure European allies
By Steven Beardsley
Strykers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment convoy from Alytus, Lithuania, to the Polish border, on March 23, 2015. The U.S. plans to spend nearly $1 billion this fiscal year in eastern Europe as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.
NAPLES, Italy: From Army rotations to bunkered weapons, American military spending in Europe has risen in the past year in an effort to reassure allies nervous over Russian actions in Ukraine.
More is coming in the months ahead. U.S. commanders in Europe continue to draw from roughly $1 billion in contingency funding approved by Congress in December, much of it earmarked for projects still in their earliest stages, including airfield improvements and funding for forces in the Baltics and Ukraine. The military is requesting almost $800 million for the coming fiscal year, and officials say funding will be needed in years ahead to ensure the success of current projects.
“I think everyone’s aware that, especially with infrastructure, some of this will have a tail that goes beyond (Fiscal Year) 2016,” one defense official said.
That official, provided by U.S. European Command and authorized to speak only on background, spoke with Stars and Stripes as the military prepares to update Congress on recent spending under the $985 million European Reassurance Initiative. Funded through overseas contingency operating funds, the ERI is meant to rope off money for exercises, patrols and infrastructure improvements by moving them outside military’s base budget, which is subject to budget caps passed by Congress four years ago.
Much of the funding is dedicated to the most visible parts of U.S. operations on the continent. The rotation of an Army heavy armored brigade eats up about a quarter of the total, while ERI also funds fighter jet patrols over the Baltic states and increased Navy deployments to the Black Sea.
The Air Force decision to keep a squadron of F-15C fighter jets in Lakenheath, England, a line item not included in original planning for the fund, represents another significant chunk, at about $110 million.
Other programs are less visible. Congress designated $175 million of current funding specifically to provide equipment to forces in the Baltics and Ukraine. Another $175 million of the fund is earmarked as military construction in the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe, with more likely to be set aside during the coming fiscal year beginning in October.
Projects include building dining and laundry facilities to accommodate U.S. airmen deployed to small airfields like Lask Air Base in Poland or Siauliai in Lithuania. The Army received more than $64 million to upgrade training ranges across Europe and another $17 million to improve logistics infrastructure on some bases, including warehouse and railheads. The Navy received $3 million to upgrade a port facility on the Black Sea.
Prepositioning sites for weapons and equipment are another focus of the ERI, with funding of $136 million in the current fiscal year — all of it for Army and Air Force. Part of the funding will go to storing tanks, vehicles and other equipment for the rotational Army brigade.
Construction projects are still in the early stages, according to the defense official, and months will pass before work can begin. Engineers are still making site visits, while American embassies in each country are laying the diplomatic groundwork necessary to begin work.
Timelines and funding restrictions remain a challenge, the official said. The military developed ERI as a two-year funding mechanism; Congress chose instead to fund one year at a time. Much of the current fiscal year funding must be used before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, meaning some efforts have to be sped up.
Military construction projects must first be approved by Congress, which also has oversight on funding for foreign military forces.
The availability of funding in future years is, as always, an open question.
The military’s use of contingency funding has drawn more scrutiny in recent years. Ryan Alexander, president of the non-partisan advocacy group Taxpayers for Common Sense, noted that most of the expenses covered by the ERI — such as exercises and infrastructure improvements — have little relation to contingency operations.
“I think it’s part of an all-over trend of putting things in OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) that they don’t want to be subject to the caps,” she said.
April 18, 2015
Russia open to military cooperation with U.S., other NATO countries – military official
[The man who speaks the truth should have one foot in the stirrup – Armenian proverb]
VLADIVOSTOK: Russia is interested in maintaining military cooperation with the U.S. and other NATO countries to the extent they are interested in this themselves, says Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov.
“As concerns us, I would like simply to reaffirm that we are interested in military cooperation with the U.S. and [other] NATO countries to the extent they are interested in this. All mechanisms are in place, and it were not we who froze them. We believe this decision is wrong. But we won’t coax, cajole, or beg anyone,” Antonov said in an interview shown in a Saturday analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov.
Russia and the U.S. have an agreement on the prevention of dangerous military activities, and there is also a national nuclear threat analysis center through whose channels Moscow can immediately contact Brussels, Washington or other capital, he said.
“This is not a problem. The problem is that all these channels have been frozen today. Unfortunately, the NATO countries and the United States have frozen all these contacts. And I feel and sense from conversations, from media reports, and from unofficial contacts that both the Americans and the [other] NATO countries perfectly understand that such mechanisms should live and exist. And besides, it’s very bad when the military stop talking. It’s bad for the world, for stability, and for regional security,” Antonov said.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
From The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1859)
They are playing with toys we have done with for whole generations. That silly little drum they are always beating on, and the trumpet and the feather they make so much noise and cut such a figure with, we have not quite outgrown, but play with much less seriously and constantly as they do.
A man whose opinions are not attacked is beneath contempt.
Justice! A good man respects the rights even of brute matter and arbitrary symbols.
It is in the hearts of many men and women – let me add children – that there is a Great Secret waiting for them, – a secret of which they get hints now and then, perhaps oftener in early than in later years. These hints come sometimes in dreams, sometimes in sudden startling flashes, – second wakings, as it were, – a waking out of the waking state, which last is very apt to be a half-sleep. I have many times stopped short and held my breath, and felt the blood leaving my cheeks, in one of these sudden clairvoyant flashes. Of course I cannot tell what kind of a secret this is, but I think of it as a disclosure of certain relations of our personal being to time and space, to other intelligences, to the procession of events, and to their First Great Cause. This secret seems to be broken up, as it were, into fragments, so that we find here a word and there a syllable, and then again only a letter of it; but it never is written out for most of us as a complete sentence, in this life. I do not think it could be; for I am disposed to consider our beliefs about such a possible disclosure rather as a kind of premonition of an enlargement of our faculties in some future state than as an expectation to be fulfilled for most of us in this life…
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 18, 2015
Defence Minister Met with UK Ambassador
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”.
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
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.
April 17, 2015
U.S. paratroopers arrive in Ukraine – Ambassador
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.
“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.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 17, 2015
Video: Exercise Saber Junction 2015
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 16, 2015
Secretary General: Iceland plays important role to keep NATO strong
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’.
From World Within World (1948)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 15, 2015
Montenegro’s progress on its Euro-Atlantic path
[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.]
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”.
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.
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.
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.
From letter to Agnes E. Meyer
December 1, 1946
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.
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.
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
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.
April 15, 2015
One Ukrainian soldier killed, two injured in Donbas in past 24 hours
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 7, 2010
Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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,”  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.” 
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….” 
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.”  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.” 
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.” 
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.”  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. 
The division of labor in the foreign policy of the “world’s sole military superpower”  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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.  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.” 
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?” 
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.” 
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. 
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.” 
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.” 
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….” 
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  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.” 
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  said that “The United States will never quit supporting Georgia and protecting its territorial integrity” , citing similar pledges by Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon :
“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….” 
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.” 
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.
Hillary Clinton’s Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate
Poland: U.S. Moves First Missiles, Troops Near Russian Border
Eastern Europe: From Socialist Bloc And Non-Alignment To U.S. Military Colonies
NATO: Pentagon’s Gateway Into Former Warsaw Pact, Soviet Nations
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
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
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
15) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
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
19) Remarks at a Town Hall With Georgian Women Leaders
U.S. Department of State, July 5, 2010
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
Stop NATO, June 8, 2010
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
29) EurasiaNet, June 28, 2010
31) Trend News Agency, July 5, 2010
33) Rustavi 2, June 30, 2010
35) Rustavi 2, June 30, 2010
36) Trend News Agency, June 30, 2010
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 14, 2015
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 14, 2015
The 43rd Battalion completely Transferred Authority
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.
From Empire (1936)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
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.
April 12, 2015
Estonian president calls on NATO to permanently station combat units in Baltic states
September 23, 2010
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.
April 13, 2015
NATO starts international artillery exercises in Lithuania
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.
U.S. Army Europe
April 11, 2015
Fearless Guardian ground convoy arrives in Ukraine
By Maj. Michael J Weisman (The 173rd Airborne Brigade)
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.
“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.”
Alexander Herzen: Six hundred thousand animated machines with bayonets. Military caste divides the people into two nations
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett
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.
Strongest Military Alliance In History Of The World: U.S. Abrams Tanks Fire Live Rounds In Lithuania
U.S. Army Europe
April 10, 2015
TF 2-7 IN demonstrate Abrams power in Lithuania
By Sgt. Uriah Walker
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.”
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 11, 2015
NATO Standing Naval Forces arrive in Scotland for Exercise Joint Warrior
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.”
Czech News Agency
April 8, 2015
Forward air control exercise starts at Czech army base
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.