#TridentJuncture: more NATO military aggression on Russia’s borders

You’ll find more quotes from Lombardo at this RT link to ‘Ice’s melting: Will Arctic become ‘a new battlefield for oil like the Middle East’?, plus the NATO Tweets demonstrating that the ‘Practice Drills’ are afoot, as is this one from Jens Stoltenberg with this message: “Good luck to all the men & women participating in #NATO exercise #TridentJuncture, starting in Norway today. We are sending a clear message that NATO stands ready to defend our nations & preserve the peace.”  (not provocative, it is?)

As to Lombardo’s statement about the broken US promise not to send NATO into Warsaw Pact countries, in his ‘Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF’ Melvin Goodman, counterpunch.org, Oct. 22 writes:

President Bill Clinton bears heavy responsibility for the initial worsening of the Russian-American relationship because of his expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to never “leap frog” over East Germany to seek new members in East Europe if the Soviets were to withdraw their 380,00 troops from the region.  Clinton invited former members of the Warsaw Pact into NATO.  President Bush worsened the situation by inviting former Soviet republics into NATO. Bush even toyed with the idea of inviting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel convinced him of the heavy risk of such a decision. The conventional wisdom is that Putin is responsible for the worsening of relations with the West because of the Russian-Georgian war in the summer of 2008 and the seizure of the Crimea in 2014, but U.S. machinations in both Tbilisi and Kiev had much to do with Russian actions.”

In his Oct. 11, 2018 ‘Trident Juncture 2018 Is About to Kick Off: NATO’s Big War Games Near Russia’s Borders Never End’, strategic-culture.org, Alex Gorka describes the earlier buildup at length, noting that most of the training event will be held over NATO member Norway, but also over the skies and in the seas of  Sweden and Finland, which nations aren’t ‘officially’ members, but that:

“At an unofficial level, Sweden and Finland have already joined NATO through other groups and agreements, such as their trilateral cooperation with the US. The militarization of Norway, as well as all of the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Baltic states is being perceived by Russia as a provocation and a threat that demands a response. The Baltic states continue to request an increased military presence on their soil. NATO is stockpiling weapons, military equipment, and ammunition in the Baltic region and Poland.

There is a backstory to the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise. In early October, US Envoy to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said Russia had been put on “short notice,” due to its alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. She warned that the US might “take out the missiles” before they could be deployed if Russia did not back down.

He names the coming NATO ‘exercises’ in Poland (Anaconda), names a few other OpNames all in the same of “military Schengen zones.

In Gorka’s Oct. 24 Militarization of Arctic: Issue of Incredible Importance Not Given Due Attention to’, (…As the ice melts and thins more in 2018), he makes the case of Russia’s claim to off-shore fields.

“Russia has presented a 1.2 million square kilometers Arctic claim to the UN. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a Coastal state may claim rights to the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles by presenting scientific proof that it is a natural prolongation of its continental margin. The Russian Coastal exclusive economic zone can be extended, giving the state exclusive rights to exploit natural resources in the seabed and the ocean. Actually, Russia sits on $8.5 trillion oil reserves.

Moscow considers the Northern Sea Route (NSR) lying east of Novaya Zemlya and specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait as the water area within Russia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in accordance with Article 234 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This article grants all littoral states the right, within their exclusive economic zones (200 nautical miles), to pass non-discriminatory laws and regulations concerning navigation in ice-field areas. The US is a signatory but Congress has not ratified the document. Washington does not recognize the Russia’s claims and seeks to internationalize the region.

The US, Canada, Denmark and Norway have their own claims. The Arctic is believed to hold more than $22 trillion worth of resources hidden beneath the ice, including 90 billion barrels of oil and 47 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. It’s only natural for states to have disputes as long as they are addressed on the basis of international law through negotiations. But the gradual escalation of tensions in the Arctic is a fact.”

Gorka chronicles some of past NATO and US naval exercises in the Arctic Circle, the increases in NATO war games escalating, and Canada’s plans to upgrade its military in aid of a dispute over the Lomonosov Ridge between Russia and Canada.

“Russia is implementing the State Policy in the Arctic Till 2020 and for a Future Perspective. The Arctic is a source of threat to Russia. US submarine-launched ballistic missiles fired from the waters near Norway would leave the Russian military less than 15 minutes to decide if an incoming object was a threat of not, where it was coming from, and how to respond. The Arctic is the only location to enable submarine-launched Tomahawks to strike the Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) bases in the Orenburg and Krasnoyarsk regions, as well as the Urals.”

And yes, he describes at length the breadth of what the Russian military has available  and will use in the Arctic exploration as well as the defense of their continental margin rights in terms of hardware and even clothing.  A nuclear-powered ice-breaker is under development (ptui).  He finishes with:

“The gradual militarization of the region is a reality. There are two options here. One is turning the Arctic into a hotbed where a spark could kindle a big fire. The other launching a full-fledged dialogue to address security issues related to the region. Five of the Arctic Council’s eight members are part of NATO with Sweden and Finland being the privileged partners of the Alliance. It makes the issue part of the Russia-NATO relationship. Russia’s military activities in the region have nothing to do with saber-rattling but it has to protect its legitimate interests.

The events related to the US decision to leave the INF Treaty, Syria, sanctions wars and other things in focus of public attention should not eclipse this issue of utmost importance. Cooperating with each other is the only way to maintain safety and regional order in the icy region. A coordinated regional approach to Arctic governance under the framework of the Law of the Sea Convention will build confidence and prevent militarization. The time is right for the Arctic Council to turn into a security-focused forum.”

On the other hand, this made me utterly ill when I’d read it: ‘World’s first floating nuclear power plant reaches Russia’s Arctic for maiden mission’ 21 May, 2018, RT

The rationale is sooo James ‘nuclear power’ Hansen:

“According to Rosatom, small sea-borne power units are best suited for remote areas. The plants may help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for global warming. Power plants of this kind are able to operate without stopping or the need for refueling for up to five years. The vessels were created to make it possible to supply electricity to hard-to-reach regions of the huge country.”

What could go wrong?!?  The article ends with:

“Greenpeace has dubbed Akademik Lomonosov the “nuclear Titanic.” Various environmental protection groups sent Rosatom a letter, calling for full and unrestricted regulatory oversight of the vessel. The floating power plant will not just generate electricity for Pevek, it will be used for oil and gas exploration as Russia is pushing development further north into the Arctic.”

#TridentJuncture on Twitter

Ah, the poetry from S.Hava‏ @Air_4U

“All quiet in the camp tonight Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming tents in the rays of the clear winter moon as gentle night-wind through the leaves softly is creeping While stars up above w/ their glittering eyes. Keep guard for the army is sleeping” (Tweet by TridentJuncture guard Sarah Hava)

Isn’t it adorable that the logo for the exercises is a Viking ship?  NATO is proud of the fact.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Big Al's picture

is? Yep, Donald Trump. But if you believe some people, the DEEP STATE and Donald Trump's own staff which he appointed are totally responsible for these war games and Donald Trump would have nothing to do with theses "games" if it was up to him.

Right.

I wonder how much these "games" will cost? I remember one day sitting in a government meeting, one of the many wasted hours I spent while working for the fed govt for 30 years, counting up how much in salary and other costs for the meetings just in my organization over a course of one week. Then I extrapolated that out to every organization in the entire federal government to come up with the cost of worthless meetings across the entire federal government for just on week. Then I multiplied that by 52. Can't remember what I came up with but it was certainly enough to finance entire small countries.

I waffle between thinking all of this is just for show to keep the MIC raking in the bucks or it's actually something that could end up in a nuclear war with Russia and China. I suppose we peasants who have no say should err on the side of caution. Not that there's shit we can do about it.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

wonder if Boss Tweet even knows this war exercise is going on; so many more urgent things to occupy his mind (?)... but remember, he'd campaigned on 'out of nato', then was later...uh...convinced to back away from that, new iteration: 'member nations should pony up their 2% of gdp or whatever the fare is.

but with this many member nations involved, there are a hella lot of generals in play, land, air and sea. now in the war games against china, that's a whole different party of participants: "Australia, France, Japan and the United States have sent ships to the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea in 2018. They believe the sea rich in fisheries and fossil fuel reserves to be an international waterway, but China claims about 90 percent of it and has militarized several key islets." voanews.com's 'take' on it. but trump's certainly been cheering on that one (but only in defense of taiwan, yanno).

the costs? ay yi yi, but see...it doesn't matter! they're showing russia 'see, ours are bigger!'

pulling out of the INF has already been a bonanza for the makers of implements of war, but so has been creating enemies out of pretty darned thin air, hasn't it? and it's always russia, china, iran, north korea, who are 'the aggressors'. i suppose the 'russia is threatening the EU trope-a-dope is the most cynical, if not actually hilarious.

and remember who the atlantic council think tank for Nato serves, and now has teamed up with facebook to disallow any talk of peace or dissent to the duopoly war machine. (jon huntsman, current chair).

but i'd give this even more weight right now: "it's actually something that could end up in a nuclear war with Russia and China." now that the US under Obomba created 'low yield' nukes, many really believe in 'survivable, limited nuclear war'.

so...i can't get sting's line out of mind lately: "there's no such thing as a winnable (nuclear) war...it's a lie we don't believe any more..." tragically, he's wrong.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis "classifier", which means I was responsible for job descriptions, job classification, position management, organization management, etc. I did it full time for over 27 years, was a national expert during the later half.

So what I was referring too obliquely is that Trump, as CINC, is responsible. It's his job, it's in his job description, that's the way it is and should be. Doesn't matter whether people think he can't do his job the way he'd like because of internal and external influences, not to me. It's like Truman said, "the buck stops here". There are no excuses, like his supporters and some on the left like to use. Same reason I call him and all of them war criminals. It is what it is, there's no sense in parsing things just because they're very important people. To me they're all government employees working for we the people.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

as are most modern presidents, but my larger point was that i don't think he's the commander of Nato, even though Nato represents the US hegemon, save for some internal disputes. but i did my due diligence (save for looking on trump's twit account.

[check that; i just looked back to oct. 20, nothing.}

but i did find this from the new york grimes, july 9, 2018 ahead of the Nato summit:

“The worry in Europe is that Mr. Putin will flatter Mr. Trump and play on the American president’s notion of himself as a great negotiator in face-to-face meetings. They cite the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, following the Group of 7 crackup, when Mr. Trump emerged to announce the cancellation of longstanding military exercises with South Korea — without consulting or informing either the South Korean government or the Pentagon.

They fear that Mr. Trump might unilaterally cancel planned NATO exercises, in particular Trident Juncture, a large one planned for late October, and Anakonda, for November, to practice the defense of Poland. And they are concerned he might abandon sanctions on Russia over Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

“In the past, Europe did not doubt that U.S. interests and values were fundamentally aligned with theirs,” said Daniel M. Price, who was an international economic adviser to President George W. Bush and a White House veteran of major summit meetings.”

so at least a few thought he'd be able to cancel it, dunno that it's so.

i also remembered that brian cloughley below had written:

"“According to US Air Forces Europe, Trident Juncture is partially funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, and US F-16 strike aircraft and KC-135 Stratotankers have deployed to operate from an air base in neutral, non-NATO Sweden.
This all fits in with the British government’s line that Russia is a threat to the United Kingdom, which is a farcical contention, but serves to whip up patriotic fervor, which wins votes and sells newspapers.”

although his link isn’t to the US DoD; where’d i see that link? i don't remember the date.

oddly, i'd missed this earlier from phillipp frisch, wsws:

"“Ten thousand Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) soldiers are participating in the exercise, a new record. This means that 20 percent of those participating come from Germany. As host, only Norway is providing more troops. After two world wars, in which some 80 million people were killed, German imperialism is again preparing for criminal wars.

The Bundeswehr is supplying 4,000 vehicles, more than half the total, including about 100 tanks. The Luftwaffe (Air Force) is involved with 500 soldiers, its own air defence units, two airborne combat units and transport machines.
The strong involvement of the Bundeswehr is officially justified by the fact that it will take command of NATO’s rapid reaction force in Eastern Europe in 2019. Germany also wanted to show that it was ready to assume more responsibility within the military alliance in the future, it was reported.’’ [snip]

“The NATO manoeuvres in Norway are preparing for such a “very large, high-intensity operation.” A spokesman for the German Defence Ministry said that the Bundeswehr was “deliberately taking on a pioneering role.” As part of “Trident Juncture”, the Bundeswehr was practicing for the leadership of multinational combat units. “This is a demanding task, especially when troops from many nations are to cooperate on a larger scale,” the spokesman continued.

Meanwhile, the German government has also acknowledged that the operation is not only very large, but also very expensive. The supply and relocation of troops to Norway alone is costing €90 million.”

as in: pretty telling and freakish participation by the Bundeswehr. Italian miltary was the second most represented, iirc.

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magiamma's picture

fabulous. more carbon.

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wendy davis's picture

@magiamma

might look as though it's all about more gas and oil, but if you step further away from it, see it with a wider lens...it's about claiming russia aggression once more time; that's who 'the enemy' is as per kay bailey hutchison and NATO, along with china in the arctic as well russia doesn't just want to drill, mine precious metals, though that's part of it, but explore waterways for trade, but more later on that...

once the soviet union fell, clearly nato should have been disbanded, but instead it was repurposed to thwart russia (once part of the axis of evil, now 'competitor nation' as is china) in any way imaginable. thus, trump couldn't be allowed to make the beginnings of potential détente with The Bear, as with the Dem's #treasonsummit showed so baldly. and that's the reason the congressional Ds handed the prez and extra $43 billion or some such than his military budget had asked for.

i wish it weren't so, but most of the world still runs on gas and oil, and one of the current proxy wars: syria, has at its center those who are pissed about the nordstream pipeline II (iirc) being built. pepe escobar refers to syria as being 'at the center of pipelinestan' and proxy wars.

anyhoo, after i eat some toast, do a few chores, i'll stick in a piece i found at counterpunch by brian cloughley that might illuminate it more.

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Consider this hypothetical case. Camp Trump in Poland has IRBM US missiles. Russia see a group of radar reflections moving from Camp Trump towards Russia. Russia goes full force with antimissile assets and releases a full salvo of its own Nuclear IRBMs, already in position and targeted at Poland's important assets. Poland ceases to be a viable country.
Now what about NATO? Article 5 is no threat as Russia cannot afford to not strike back. Other NATO countries seeing Poland obliterated are reading Article 5 and trying to decide if it is worth it to be obliterated for a fellow NATO country that is gone for all intents and purposes. In other words, NATO membership is worthless in the scenario where a country hosts US IRBMs, both to that country and to other countries. For Russia to be enble this scenario she must have the capability to obliterate any and all NATO countries to keep them from getting serious about Article 5. There is no doubt that Russia understands this and will fully implement this. Russia is now preparing for nuclear war in Europe. Thank you Donald Trump and John Bolton.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

wendy davis's picture

@The Wizard

now you're assuming, i take it that the intermediate-range missiles in poland are armed with nukes, even 'low yield' ones? and russia would respond with her own nukes? in that scenario, russia would have to KNOW that the polish missiles were nuclear (could they know?), yes, and russia has long said that nukes are only in response to other nukes, never as first strike.

but i take you point on nato article 5, which is why there are now so many nato-partner designations: under our umbrella, aspiring partners, signed military agreements with, and tra la la.

hmmmm. i saw this at RT this a.m.:

"Speaking at the UN on Friday, Andrey Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, said that Russia is indeed readying itself for war, so it can defend its people against American aggression.

Russia's military build-up and large-scale drills, often painted in the Western media as preparations for all-out war, are a defensive necessity, he said.

"We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people."

Russia doesn't seek a confrontation, he said, unlike the US. "Why else would the United States pull out of the [INF] Treaty, increase their nuclear potential, adopt a new nuclear doctrine that lowers the threshold for nuclear weapons use – that's the question for us all."

but dig this hypocritical fukkery (and i'm assuming it's true):

"Belousov's words came after a Russian draft resolution to reinforce the INF Treaty, which bans intermediate-range nuclear weapons, was overwhelmingly rejected at the UN First Committee. "Most of those who voted against were supporters of the INF Treaty. I don't understand their position," Belousov said. Among those who voted down the draft were the UK, Germany, France, and, of course, the US.

Washington's decision to scrap the Cold War-era agreement alarmed both Europe and Moscow, which warned it would"make the world a more dangerous place" and vowed retaliation.

Washington has accused Russia of building missiles prohibited by the INF, while Moscow argued that American missile defense complexes in Europe can be easily turned into offensive weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that if the US moves to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, it will put the whole of Europe at risk of a retaliatory strike."

now the last bold quote ascribed to putin...i need to have explained to me. a russian retaliatory strike? another nations? prolly not israel./s

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wendy davis's picture

@The Wizard

i reckon: ‘US Leaving INF to Jump-Start Fielding of New Artillery-Launched Intermediate-Range Capable Systems’, andrei akulov, strategic culture

“The US-announced withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a hot topic and will remain such for a long time. This is a game-changing decision, but the evolution of land-based surface-to-surface systems also impacts the contemporary warfare providing the armed forces with new capabilities, including strikes at shorter- and medium ranges without using missiles covered by the INF. Organized by the Association of the United States Army, the AUSA 2018 expo took place from October 8 to 10 at the Walter E.
Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

It was a mega-event to showcase the weaponry, which is to be used by the United States against peer adversaries - Russia and China. It demonstrated how rapid is the development of such weapons and how little attention media coverage it attracts.

(aimed at russia and china, israeli lethality technology)

"Long-range precision fire is a priority to alter the ways contemporary battles will be fought. According to the Long Range Fires Cross Functional Team, “the joint force needs surface-to-surface fires capable of firing at strategic ranges to defeat near-peer integrated air defense systems.”

akulov describes the new systems at length, then:

“Actually, with such systems in place, the INF Treaty would lose its relevance even if in place.”

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/ausa/

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wendy davis's picture

weighs in on his oct. 26 'The Anti-Russia Cold War in the Arctic is Heating Up’, counterpunch.org

after skewering some UK papers for their anti-russian agitprop and praising
#TridentJuncture mightily, he quotes UK defense minister gavin williamson as having announced that ‘the kremlin should just go away and shut up’, and referencing ‘the russian aggression in our backyard’, ‘challenging us in every way’, etc....

he writes:

“So why does the UK declare that it has “interests” in the Arctic and that the region is “in our back yard”? How can it possibly feel threatened?
The Arctic Institute observed in February 2018 that Russia’s “newer Arctic strategy papers focus on preventing smuggling, terrorism, and illegal immigration instead of balancing military power with NATO. These priorities suggest that Russia’s security aims in the Arctic have to do with safeguarding the Arctic as a strategic resource base . . . In general, the government-approved documents seem to have moved from an assertive tone that highlights Russia’s rivalry with NATO to a less abrasive tone based on securing economic development.”

And economic development is what it’s all about. On September 28 it was reported that “a Danish-flagged cargo ship successfully passed through the Russian Arctic in a trial voyage showing that melting sea ice could potentially open a new trade route from Europe to east Asia.” It is obviously in the best economic interests of the European Union and Russia that the route be developed for commercial transit. To do this requires avoidance of conflict in the region.”

“In January China described its Arctic strategy, “pledging to work more closely with Moscow in particular to create an Arctic maritime counterpart — a ‘Polar Silk Road’ — to its ‘one belt, one road’ overland trade route to Europe. Both the Kremlin and Beijing have repeatedly stated that their ambitions are primarily commercial and environmental, not military.” It couldn’t be plainer that Russia and China want the Arctic to be a profitable mercantile trade route, while continuing exploration for oil, gas and mineral deposits.”
he asks rhetorically ‘guess who doesn’t want china and russia to prosper?’
“To develop the Arctic requires peace and stability. It would be impossible to reap the benefits of the new sea-route and potentially enormous energy and mineral riches if there were to be conflict. It is obviously in the best interests of Russia and China that there be tranquility rather than military confrontation.”

and ends with:

The US-NATO military alliance is preparing for war in the Arctic, and is deliberately provoking Russia by conducting massive hi-tech maneuvers ever-closer to its borders. But the Pentagon and its sub-office in Brussels had better be very careful.”

that's how i see it, as well as with the proxy war in ukraine as stephen cohen and others indicate might be ground zero for war with russia, but so far putin hasn't been drawn into that. elections there are in early jan., iirc, and the calculus could change, esp. if openly banderist yulia tymoshenko were to win the presidency over poroshenko.

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