rick rozoff

NATO conducts Europe’s largest air, missile exercise off Scotland
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, May 15 2021

What NATO bills as the largest and most complex air and missile defense exercises in Europe started on May 15 at and near the Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland and will continue until Jun 3. Some of the drills are also occurring at a military training site in Norway. NATO Deputy Spox Piers Cazalet said:

Formidable Shield 2021 shows how Allies are working together to defend NATO forces and populations from the very real threat of missiles.

Though what they are also practicing for it neutralizing missiles (Russian missiles, to be exact) that might be fired in retaliation for a NATO attack against that nation and its assets. This year’s iteration of the exercise, held biannually, includes guided-missile warships tracking a missile flying over 12k mph and practicing destroying anti-ship, submarine-launched and supersonic missiles “using NATO procedures.” The exercise is held under the aegis of US Sixth Fleet, but is being conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO. It includes 3,300 military personnel from ten NATO nations (the US, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain), with fifteen ships and dozens of aircraft. To emphasize the Euroatlantic nature of NATO (if not by intent), the flagship this year is the Spanish Navy’s frigate ESPS Cristobal Colon. Raytheon Missiles & Defense boasted of the progress made since the 2019 Formidable Shield, with its president, Wes Kremer stating:

Formidable Shield 2021 represents an opportunity to demonstrate the interoperability we have built with our NATO allies over decades.

Raytheon and other American weapons manufacturers are dedicated supporters of NATO and its Euroatlantic values as well as the rules-based international order. Raytheon provided an inventory of the equipment being employed in the exercise to defend freedom, peace, gender equality in the workplace, carbon emission monitoring and other missions NATO has appropriated to itself (this is meant to be ironic), including but not limited to sensors, effectors, radars and interceptors “to strengthen collective defense and exhibit the interoperability and integration of allied missile defense systems.” The arms manufacturer is proud of its role in promoting Euroatlantic core values by providing the following to the exercise, at market rates of course, paid for by NATO nations’ taxpayers:

  • Standard Missile-3 (SM-3): an interceptor that destroys incoming ballistic missile targets.
  • Standard Missile-2 (SM-2): an interceptor that destroys incoming cruise missile and air targets.
  • Standard Missile-6 (SM-6): an interceptor that destroys incoming ballistic missile targets in the terminal phase, air targets and naval surface targets.
  • Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR): a radar that provides early warning and detects and tracks incoming ballistic missile targets.

SM-3s have been deployed in Romania by NATO for the past decade; directly across the Black Sea from Russia. Increasingly more advanced versions of the ABM are used in the Aegis Combat System developed by the US and its allies. The Pentagon has 66 guided-missile destroyers and 22 guided-missile cruisers capable of being equipped with it. Since 2015 four US destroyers have been rotated at the Rota Naval Station in Spain for deployment in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, where they’re sent to taunt Russia by parading the SM-3s, which are capable of shooting down Russian missiles. It’s recently been announced that the US destroyers deployed to Spain under a NATO arrangement are to be increased to six. For all the pablum of “cruise and ballistic missiles often the weapon of choice, both for state and non-state actors,” according to NATO’s Cazalet, the current exercise and Raytheon interceptor missiles are designed to intimidate Russia.

NATO pontiff cites Scripture for holy war against Russia and China
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, May 15 2021

Today the NATO website posted a speech delivered by its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 3rd German Ecumenical Church Days which reveals more about the military bloc he heads up than he probably realized it did. He began his pontifications by saying in his line of work he meets people from all walks of life: from students to soldiers and from parliamentarians to the Pope. No doubt he meets far more soldiers than popes. One is reminded of the bumper sticker one could see during the Vietnam War years: Join the Army; travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them. Stoltenberg, the people person, the all kinds of people person, was introduced by former German defense minister Thomas de Maizière, who has also not likely met many popes. The North Atlantic prelate alluded to the story of Jesus’ multiplication of the fish and loaves in the four Gospels that is referred to as the Feeding of the 5,000, stating, with a quote from it, “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘schaut hin‘ (go and see). NATO didn’t record whether anyone in the audience invited him to go and see select bomb and missile craters in Serbia, Afghanistan and Libya. He seemed quite pleased with himself, saying:

As the Latin saying goes, if you want peace, prepare for war.” He didn’t cite it in Latin, though, in which case it’s a Roman saying.

While pounding his chest in triumphalist exultation (figuratively of course) he felt compelled to add:

Our Alliance started with 12 members. And today we stand 30 nations strong.

And forty partners. To preserve peace. Of course no self-celebratory orgy of the sort would be complete without reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall. And his wasn’t. The Fall of the Wall, which he mercifully refrained from comparing to the collapse of the Tower of Babel and the sonic attack on the walls of Jericho, brought about a new dispensation, a new and everlasting Covenant if you will, to “allow a divided Germany, and a divided continent, to reunite.” Unite under the boot of history’s only global military bloc. Maybe walls aren’t so bad. Then he switched gears from “and then they lived happily ever after” to a Pandora’s box of threats and horrors. In his sequence they are:

  • A more assertive Russia.
  • Sophisticated cyber-attacks.
  • Brutal terrorism. [As opposed to gentle terrorism?]
  • Nuclear proliferation.
  • Climate change.
  • The rise of China.

With the first, it appears that the reunification Germany and reunification of Europe (?) didn’t accomplish anything but bring NATO right up against Russia’s border. Or according to NATO logic, brought Russia to NATO’s Eastern Flank. How dare the devious, demonic, dastardly villains? Get thee behind me, Satan! Now the Euroatlantic pontiff pulled out bell, book and candle to exorcise the malign influence and recited this anathema:

Russia continues its aggressive and destabilising behaviour at home and abroad. With cyber-attacks against NATO Allies, including the German Bundestag. Its violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine. And its violent oppression of political dissent in Russia, with the attacks on Alexei Navalny and his supporters.

During the question and answer phase of the program, and whether or not fully recalling he was addressing religious figures, Stoltenberg stumbled through this:

I don’t know how to say this, but I think that I understand that there is a difficult ethical dilemma to decide when is it necessary to use violence or right to use violence, when can you excuse the use of violence. But I think that if, again, look at the history of most of our nations, there are moments where we all feel at least the vast majority of people feel, that we don’t have any other alternative than to also use military tools to protect our core values.

Wouldn’t it be convenient to dispense altogether with troublesome ethical dilemmas and continue bombing nations out of existence in furtherance of NATO’s core values? The question only needs to be posed. Later the Devil quoted Scripture thusly:

I think, religion has, you know, very often a message about peace, tolerance, love, which we really need to mobilise in the work for peace, conflict resolution – and maybe NATO should be more aware of that.

However, lest his audience think he was taking too seriously the teachings of the Jesus of the Feeding of the 5,000 (Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. They that take the sword shall perish with the sword), he hastened to add:

But at the same time, we all know that religion is often misused as different political ideologies are misused…

The High Priest of Euroatlantica alone can make the distinction between good religion and bad medicine. Then to condescend to the level of mortals, to demonstrate that even he, Pontifex Maximus of global militarism, is capable of episodes of humility, he shared this:

When we use military power, we also see that there are big problems and dilemmas connected to that. We see how difficult it has been to be in Afghanistan for now 20 years. We see the use of military power in Iraq. We see Libya. So these are three examples, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, where we see that, well, we used military powers…and we achieved something, but it’s not…it’s not a clean-cut success.

Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. That is a Latin expression. It means:

Kill them all; the Lord will know His own.

Are US, NATO, EU planning final mopping-up operation in former Soviet Union?
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, May 15 2021

In recent days the American embassy in Georgia has acknowledged recruiting students from what it calls the “occupied territories” of that nation, and not a day goes by without the US, NATO and the EU demanding the independent republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass and Crimea be returned to Ukraine. Those three regions, like the now independent nations referred to as Georgian land occupied by a foreign invader, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, are among as many as ten disputed territories in the former Soviet Union any one of which, if not all at the same time, could trigger a war. (As four already have: South Ossetia in 2008, Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014 and Nagorno-Karabakh last year.) Last year Azerbaijan and Turkey, the second most powerful NATO member, invaded the minuscule state of Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnically Armenian but claimed by Azerbaijan because of a map drawn up during the Stalin years. The small enclave, with a population of 145k, held out for 44 days but was ultimately defeated by the overwhelming firepower Azerbaijan and Turkey (with a combined population of 95m people) could command. Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia represent three-quarters of what have been termed frozen conflicts in former Soviet space. The other is Transdniester (or Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic), squeezed between Moldova and Ukraine, with a population of under half a million. The four states jointly formed the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations in 2006 to contend with common threats from NATO partner states. Russia and some of its allies (such as they are) recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008 after the US- and NATO-backed government of Georgia invaded South Ossetia in 2008 and in doing so triggered a war with Russia.

Since the US-engineered coup in Ukraine in 2014 which also resulted in war, in the Donbass, the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as Crimea, which reaffiliated with Russia, have been added to the list of what the US, NATO and the EU, unanimously and uncompromisingly, consider occupied directly or otherwise by Russia (Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria) or otherwise belonging to a NATO partner state. Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as being territory of Azerbaijan, in its entirely. Transdniester is considered to be part of Moldova. In every case the claims by the West and its partners are based solely on the status of the disputed territories within the framework of the former Soviet Union. Not to be too detailed, or too arcane, but as an example Crimea was a part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic until 1954, when it was administratively transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It had never been part of an independent Ukraine, for the simple reason that there had never been an independent Ukraine until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Abkhazia and South Ossetia had the same relation to the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and Nagorno-Karabakh with the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Transdniester had never been part of an independent Moldova for the same reason as the other states had not been part of any independent nation other than the Soviet Union and pre-Soviet Russia (except for the very brief period of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic in 1918 and Romania’s control of what is now Transdniester from 1918-1940): Moldova became a nation for the first time in 1991 as well.

The other parts of the former Soviet Union (and former pre-Soviet Russia) that have recently come into play as pieces on the chessboard, grand or otherwise, the West is challenging Russia on are the western part of Belarus, in the Grodno area where ethnic Poles are concentrated, and the former German, now Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. In Belarus Polish-backed separatists are agitating for independence from Minsk, with the Belarusian government warning for several months of a build-up of NATO forces in Poland and Lithuania on its western border. The two latter countries both enclose Kaliningrad on the land side as well. On May 17 Aureliu Ciocoi, both acting prime minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova, and David Zalkaliani, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Georgia, will arrive in Kiev to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry:

On May 17, the heads of Ukrainian, Georgian and Moldovan diplomacy will hold talks, the key topics of which will be the European integration of the three states, the priorities for the development of the EU’s Eastern Partnership and preparations for its summit this year, joint efforts to strengthen regional security.

European integration means joining NATO first and the EU second, as has been the case of the Eastern European nations that have joined both since the end of the Cold War: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Eastern Partnership was established by the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in 2008 to expedite the Euroatlantic integration of all former Soviet republics in Europe and the Caucasus except Russia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Although the EU is the bait, NATO is the trap. The intent has been to wrest those states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had already joined NATO and the EU) from post-Soviet formations like the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), as well the Belarus-Russia Union State, thus leaving Russia a sectioned-off island in an ocean of NATO and EU territory. (Over the same period of time the EU has been pursuing an analogous program with the remaining former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.) It was under Eastern Partnership auspices that the EU Association Agreement was offered to Ukraine in late 2013. President Viktor Yanukovych’s demurral in signing it led to the violent uprising that overthrew his government early the following year. The post-coup junta immediately signed it.

So the meeting of the Ukrainian, Georgian and Moldovan officials in two days is significant for two interrelated reasons: The three nations, all on or near the Black Sea, are organizing their EU and NATO accessions in unison. They all have “frozen conflicts” on what they claim is their territory that need to be “resolved” before joining those two blocs. In other words, all three have “occupied territories” that will require “liberation.” With the assistance of the US, NATO and the EU. That complementarity is recognized by the so-called occupied territories as well. This week, South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov visited the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic in a show of solidarity. While in the second, he said:

In the world order, where Russia is there is development, where America is there is war, there is death. By and large, Russia is the force that wants to help, not take away, wants life to be continued. Without a doubt, if Ukraine had implemented the Minsk agreements, there would have been no deaths. After all, in fact, the most important meaning of the Minsk agreements is to stop the killing.

Transdniester has also demonstrated support to South Ossetia and Abkhazia since they declared their independence thirteen years ago. As did Gagauzia, an autonomous region of Moldova, which may prove to be the tenth conflict zone in the FSU. Like Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester, it declared its independence as the USSR was breaking up (1990) or immediately afterward, later being absorbed into independent Moldova in 1994. The majority of Gagauzians are Turkic-speaking, as the people of Transdnistria are primarily Slavic-speaking. Both feared an independent Moldova being incorporated into Romania, which maintains a “one nation, two states” policy with Romania, comparable to that of Turkey and Azerbaijan. The majority of Moldovans are Romanian-speaking. The memories of the carnage wreaked by Romanian soldiers in 1941 when they invaded with their Nazi allies are still alive in Transdnistria, and motivated its secession in 1992. Emboldened by the Azerbaijani-Turkish “victory” over Karabakh last year, aggression that has been renewed in recent days, groups like the Bucharest Nine and other pro-NATO/EU forces appear to be planning a final mopping-up operation in the former Soviet, one which would complete Russia’s encirclement and may well seal its doom.

Liberating occupied territories: Turkey, Azerbaijan – one nation, two states
Rick Rozzoff, AntiBellum, May 15 2021

AzerTag news announces today: “One nation, two states!” will hold a video conference on philosophy. The event will be held on May 17. Excerpts:

On the 103rd anniversary of our state independence in Ankara, on the occasion of the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations and the 98th anniversary of the birth of national leader Heydar Aliyev, “One nation, two states!” will hold a video conference on philosophy. Chairman of the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora Fuad Muradov, Turkish Ambassador to Baku Cahit Bagci and Turkish Ambassador to Turkey Khazar Ibrahim, member of the Security and Foreign Policy Council under the President of Turkey, Chairman of the Turkish-Azerbaijani Friendship, Cooperation and Solidarity Foundation, Professor Aygun Attar. Abdullah Eren, Chief of the General Directorate of Turks and Related Communities Living Abroad, will deliver speeches.

Azerbaijan’s Trend News Agency reports that Allahshukur Pashazade, chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office, asserted “for the first time Azerbaijan celebrates the Ramadan holiday as a winner country.” That sure sounds like a crusading sentiment.

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