rick rozoff for apr 13

Top US/NATO commander on Russia and China: We’re prepared to respond to aggression with the full weight of the transatlantic alliance
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Apr 13 2021

General Tod Wolters, the SACEUR and commander of EUCOM, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Apr 13 as part of a review of the 2022 Pentagon authorization request and the Future Years Defense Program. He appeared primarily in his first capacity, though the two roles are coterminous. As top NATO commander he can requisition the military assets of thirty nations with a combined population of over one billion people. Next year’s NDAA will include a base budget of $715b and a total allotment of $753b, in nominal dollars the largest military expenditure in the history of the world and in real dollars the most the Pentagon has been granted since the end of WW2. Wolters was questioned by members of the committee in person in the Senate and via video. He was as blunt in his dedication to the military metaphysics (as C Wright Mills phrased it) as were the senators, who acted as though they comprised an imperial sanhedrin presiding over a patchwork of conquered European provinces. They, like him, effortlessly tossed off initials and jargon like AOR, ISR and pacing threat as though they were old hands at war-making. As in a real sense they are. Early in his testimony Wolters obediently mentioned the rules-based international order, the major catchphrase the US and NATO employ in their crusade to remake the world in their image, with missiles and bombs if necessary. New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, before questioning him, launched into a diatribe against “illiberal political forces” abroad and at home that make it more difficult to confront Russia, the overarching theme of the whole event in the Senate, echoing the comments made by Blinken at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting last month in which he spoke, as she did, of the need to “confront the democratic recession around the world.” He claimed:

Our shared values of democracy and human rights are being challenged, not only from outside our countries, but from within.

General Wolters responded by asserting it was necessary to adopt an “all-of-government, all-of-alliance, all-of-nation approach” to the matter of “illiberal political forces,” adding that more progress had been made in NATO than in the American military in that regard. He hailed Zelensky as a successful example of what they were speaking about. Gillibrand created the impression that what she was sounding the alarm over was any political philosophy or practice that wasn’t modeled after the American one. In fact, that wasn’t modeled after the current Democrat Party version of preferred political practice. The general also reprised the standard Pentagon-NATO claim:

Our adversaries amplify their malign activity with information.

The vilification illiberal appears to include advocating freedom of the press and freedom of expression; what until perhaps a decade ago was known as liberal. He touted the current mammoth Defender Europe 2021 war games and the related NATO Steadfast Defender exercise as all-domain warfare rehearsals from “the Atlantic to the eastern perimeter of the European continent.” In speaking of an “attempted annexation” of parts of the Ukraine, Senator Angus King of Maine claimed he was “mightily reminded” of Czechoslovakia’s loss of the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in 1938. Neither Wolters nor anyone else objected to the analogy. When asked about EUCOM’s assessment of the political attachments and cultural affinities of the populace of the Donbass, he unequivocally asserted that they were marked by a “high loyalty to the nation of Ukraine,” the unavoidable implication being that Donetsk and Lugansk are post-Cold War equivalents of captive nations that need liberating. The general also confirmed what any attentive observer of European affairs over the past twenty years knows:

There is a high degree of convergence at the strategic level between what the EU does and what NATO does.

He also praised Turkey’s role in NATO as a vital ally, as the second-largest troop contributor to the military bloc. In addition, Wolters spoke of winning in the competition phase through all-domain operations, his words, and added:

We compete to win. We deter, and, if deterrence fails, we’re prepared to respond to aggression with the full weight of the transatlantic alliance.

When asked about the position of the NATO 2030 document that China was the “main pacing threat,” the senators all seemed clued in to the meaning of the term, which was also recently used by Austin toward China, Wolters delineated alleged Chinese threats to Europe including Huawei, 5G, the Belt and Road Initiative, investments in ports, ownership of foreign debt, etc. Recall that the person speaking in this vein is the chief American military commander in Europe and NATO’s top commander. To connect the accusations that Russia and China pose a threat to Europe, the US and the world, and that the threat is unitary, which is the fundamental foreign policy tenet of the Biden-Harris administration and of NATO now, Wolters was asked the wisdom of the Pentagon’s investments of troops and facilities in Europe while they might be better deployed against China, the “main pacing threat.” He offered this revealing explanation. Effectively deterring the main adversary in the European theater, Russia, is also the most effective way of deterring China as well “because of the connectivity between the two nations,” and the “willingness of both nations to engage in malignant influence against the US and against NATO.” That is the message that came out of last month’s NATO foreign ministerial and it will be the message amplified and formalized at the upcoming NATO summit. The battle line has been drawn between the West, “with the full weight of the transatlantic alliance,” and as much of the rest of the world it can recruit to its ranks on one hand and Russia and China on the other. The world has never before witnessed a secular, non-ideological struggle of such titanic dimensions, nor one fraught with greater dangers.

Russia deploys two armies, three airborne units to counter threat from 40k NATO troops on its border
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Apr 13 2021

Major Russian officials today have warned of military threats posed by the US-led thirty-nation NATO to its western border: its entire western border. And its northern one as well. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia has redeployed two armies and three Airborne Forces units to its western border as part of what he termed an ongoing readiness inspection. In one of the sternest warnings issued by a Russian official in the post-Cold War era, Shoigu added:

We’ve taken proper measures in response to the alliance’s military activities which threaten Russia.

Regarding the ground and airborne forces, the defense minister said:

The troops have manifested complete preparedness and the ability to perform their duties to guarantee the country’s military security. At the present time, these units are involved in exercises.

He also warned that NATO is now concentrating over 40k troops and 15k items of armaments and military hardware as well as strategic aircraft near the Russian border, stating:

The troops in Europe are moving towards Russian borders. The basic forces are being amassed in the Black Sea area and in the Baltic region.

He also mentioned the preponderance of US military personnel in those deployments, as the Pentagon is reinforcing troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, noting:

The alliance annually holds up to 40 large operational training measures of a clearly anti-Russian bias in Europe. In the spring of this year, the NATO allied forces launched Defender Europe 2021 drills, the largest exercise over the past 30 years.

Estimates range as high as 37k US and NATO troops involved in the several-weeks-long war games from the Baltic to the Black Seas and the Balkans. The Russian defense minister pointed out that Russia’s western border wasn’t the only location where the US and NATO were threatening his nation. He also expressed alarm over the US and NATO military build-up on Russia’s northern flank, the Arctic, saying:

The competition between the world’s leading powers for access to the Arctic Ocean’s resource and transport routes is increasing. The US and its NATO allies increase their naval and ground groups in the Arctic, increase the combat training intensity, extend and upgrade the military infrastructure.

In general Shoigu stated that over the past three years NATO has increased its activity along Russia’s borders. Also today, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that American warships deployed in the Black Sea off Russia’s coast were a provocation. He was speaking as two US guided-missile destroyers, the Donald Cook and the Roosevelt, both equipped to carry 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles and an undisclosed number of SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles, are to enter the Black Sea tomorrow and the following day. Earlier this year the guided-missile destroyers Donald Cook, Thomas Hudner and Porter and the guided-missile cruiser Monterey were in the Black Sea for exercises, often two at a time. This is the most in terms of tonnage allowed by the 1936 Montreux Convention, though Turkey’s proposed Istanbul Canal may eliminate that limit. Ryabkov said that American warships sailing thousands of miles from US naval bases “always involves a geopolitical element.” His comments are worth citing extensively::

I wouldn’t like to go too much into particulars of various interpretations of what freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas is, especially in this context. I know one thing: American ships have absolutely nothing to do near our coasts, and this is a purely provocative undertaking. It’s provocative in the literal sense of this word: they’re testing our patience and getting on our nerves. This won’t work.

And he issued this stark admonition in the context of the Western threats to Russia over Ukraine:

Apparently seeing itself as the queen of the seas, the US should understand after all that the risks of various incidents are very high. We warn the US that it should steer clear of Crimea and our Black Sea coast. This would be to their own benefit.

His warning is a timely one, as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is at NATO HQ today, where Austin arrives tomorrow and Blinken shortly after him.

Syria demands US compensate it for seven years of war and plundering
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Apr 13 2021

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the nation’s foreign ministry issuing a statement that brands Washington responsible for what the government calls a terrorist war against Syria and its people. It condemns both military and economic aggression against the country and attributes both to the designs of the US and its allies to establish permanent military presence, and supremacy, in the region, with the US and Israel also looting the country’s resources. Turkey could be added to the list. The allies referred to also include Washington’s fellow NATO members Britain and France, which have participated in the war against Syrian and its people as well. Specifically the indictment states this:

The previous US administration didn’t stop at its controversial proclamation that recognizes Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan, but that administration and the current one resorted to a new method represented by direct US intervention in the northeastern part of Syria through supporting separatist militias in addition to direct US military intervention that shelled infrastructure, and looted Syrian oil and wheat.

For examples of what the Syrian Foreign Ministry was alluding to, an LA Times report of several weeks ago detailed the activities of American soldiers in northern Syria in what is informally known as Fort Conoco, “acquired from the long-departed US oil and gas firm that once operated the wells.” A month ago the Syrian government reported:

During the past two weeks, US occupation forces have stolen large quantities of wheat from silos in Tal Alou through more than 112 trucks and sent them to northern Iraq.

Today’s statement denounced daily transgressions of the Syrian-Iraqi border, a flagrant violation of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of both nations and an ongoing breach of several United Nations resolutions guaranteeing the inviolability of the Syrian Arab Republic and its territory. The US has, especially with the advent of the Biden-Harris administration to the White House, increasingly deployed convoys of vehicles bringing weapons and matériel from Iraq to Syria, and returning to Iraq with plundered oil and grain. Looting a war-ravaged country reduced to crippling poverty. Think of that the next time you hear or read of a Western official solemnly pontificating about the rules-based international order. Therefore, the foreign ministry statement concluded:

The Syrian Arab Republic holds the US administration responsible for the repercussions of its criminal polices against the Syrian people, and calls on the US to compensate for the grave losses resulting from US occupation and aggression against the Syrian people.

One Comment

  1. Zane
    Posted April 14, 2021 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    25+ individual awards or medals over a 40 year military career burned out quite a few typewriters and emptied a drawer-full of ink pens.
    That’s about all you need to know about service academy grad Todd. That’s an individual medal every 1.6 years and yet he did a lot of stuff according to the list of campaign/deployment awards on his wiki page. Todd is my contemporary from a sister service academy. Yet, over a 30 year career I was promoted to 0-6 colonel at least as fast as General Todd but with less than 1/12th the number of individual medals. Some people know how to write! …..and lead.
    So, the situation, one enormous logical fallacy, begs the question. What happens after Colonel among the general and admiral ranks? More writing…and posing?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.