Category Archives: NATO

A single European military begins with merging of German-Dutch armies & navies

Formed in 1993, the European Union (EU) is a political-economic union of 28 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

28 member states of European UnionUntil now, the EU has been a confederation — a union of nation-states in specific and agreed-on areas, such as defense (NATO), economic cooperation and a common currency, wherein each member state retains its sovereignty. A mark of a sovereign nation-state is its possession of an independent military.

But with the merging of the militaries of Germany and the Netherlands — in spite of disagreements among EU members on refugee-migrant policy (see, for example “Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees“), and the UK’s upcoming Brexit referendum on leaving the EU — the beginning of an EU military is taking shape.

Donna Edmunds and Raheem Kassam report for Breitbart, April 20, 2016, that the German and Dutch armies and navies are poised to “merge”, creating the nucleus of the longed-for goal of a pan-EU military force.

As German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leye said in a speech last year, “The European Army is our long-term goal, but first we have to strengthen the European Defense Union. To achieve this, some nations with concrete military cooperation must come to the fore – and the Germans and the Dutch are doing this.”

To date, the merging of the German and Dutch military consists of:

  • Last year, German command took over the Dutch 11th Airmobile Brigade.
  • Last month the Dutch 43rd Mechanized Brigade was subsumed into the German 1st Armored Division.
  • The two countries are sharing the Netherland’s largest war ship, the Karel Doorman, and aim to merge its two naval powers into one unified navy within the next two years.
  • That leaves the Netherlands with just the 13th Mechanized Brigade to its name, along with special forces and military infrastructure, but the plan is to accelerate towards a merger of these entities within the next few years, Germany’s Sachsische Zeitung confirms.

That is just the beginning. According to insiders, the Czech Republic has entered talks to bring its army under German control, with the Poles also considering to be part of the plan. But there are skeptics about the latter, doubting whether the new Polish Government would go down the same route.

As Britain prepares to go to the polls on June 23 to vote on whether or not to remain within the EU, UK Independence Party (UKIP) Defense spokesman Mike Hookem MEP warns that if the UK opts to remain in the EU, the British military forces will not be able to resist the same fate: “The EU is moving towards a common defense and foreign policy regime with an EU army as the goal. While Britain remains in the EU, we cannot escape being part of this dangerous setup. The EU was supposed to be about corralling Germany military dominance in Europe. That aspiration has clearly died and just as Germany now politically dominates the EU, this latest move with the Dutch army shows that in time Germany wants to expand and control as much as it can militarily.

Hookem warns that the EU Army will not be a benign force, dedicated only to the defense of the Union, pointing out that there has already been lobbying in European circles for intervention in Libya. Indeed, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has said, “You would not create a European army to use it immediately… But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”

UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage had previously issued multiple warnings that were mostly dismissed by the British political establishment and media classes. Most notably, then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a live debate with Farage ahead of the 2014 European Elections, called Farage’s claims a “dangerous fantasy,” and that “The idea there’s going to be a European army, a European air force, it is simply not true”.

In September last year the Telegraph reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel expected British PM David Cameron to “drop his opposition to an EU army in exchange for supporting Britain’s [EU] renegotiation”. Cameron did drop his opposition, in exchange for a widely mocked “renegotiation” deal with the European Union.

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Forget about two-front doctrine, U.S. military can’t fight even one war

For many decades the United States’ military doctrine has been to fight a “two-front war,” with the capability to sustain both war fronts.

But, as reported by OneNewsNow, Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis (USA-Ret.), a senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, warned that the military is so degraded under Obama that America no longer is able to fight even one war. Maginnis said, “Thirty years ago, we had 350,000. Now we’re down to 60 to 65,000 and most of those are not fighters.

Obama DoctrineThe shrinkage stems from the Obama administration’s policy in 2012 to scrap the two-front doctrine.

On January 5, 2012, joined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Martin Dempsey, Obama outlined a new Pentagon strategic review proposing the military should give up the capability to fight two major ground wars simultaneously, such as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.That, in turn, entailed the removal of up to 4,000 troops from Europe, as well as the downsizing of the overall ground forces even further than the cuts of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines in the next four years already in the 2012 budget request.

The goal is to reduce U.S. armed forces to pre-World War II numerical levels, ostensibly because of Pentagon budget cuts. (See “Independent panel calls Obama’s downsizing of military ‘dangerous“)

But cuts have not been and are not being made to other spending, such as welfare and entitlements. At the same time, new spending items have been added, including spending on accommodating and welcoming illegal immigrants and refugees from the Middle East. Nor does the reduction of troop levels account for why most of the remaining troops “are not fighters”.

The latter may be because of Obama’s social re-engineering of the U.S. armed forces. See:

The Military Times points out that the U.S. military reduction comes at a time when military spending in China and Russia, and even India and Australia, are increasing.

In the summer of 2015, the Pentagon repeatedly lost in war games against Russia, including an actual field exercise with NATO partners. From that comes the conclusion that the U.S. is not prepared for a sustained military campaign against Russia if a conflict erupts in Eastern Europe. (See “U.S. repeatedly loses in Pentagon war games against Russia”)

Should war break out in Eastern Europe, Lt. Col. Maginnis Maginnis predicts Obama will be a feckless commander-in-chief: “There’s nothing that President Obama’s going to really do, other than a rather tepid response by a series of exercises that comes with some equipment, not real heavy lethal equipment.”

Maginnis is not alone in his assessment of Obama, given the signs of disaffection in the U.S. military. See “U.S. military does not support Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama“, “US Marine Corps commandant openly blasts CIC Obama”, and “Obama ignored advice of military & CIA against Bergdahl prisoner swap”.

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Russia to deploy new “Doomsday plane” in preparation for nuclear war

Paul Joseph Watson reports for InfoWars that as tensions continue to build between NATO and the Kremlin since last week’s shoot down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey, Russia is now equipping its Su-34 fighters with air-to-air missiles in preparation for potential dogfights with NATO over Syria.

According to DEBKAFile, on Nov. 30, 2015, Russia announced that by the end of December, it will deploy the latest version of its giant command and control aircraft designated for use during nuclear war or national disasters. The flying command center will be able to coordinate the worldwide operations of its ground, naval, air and missile forces, including nuclear weapons, as well as the country’s satellites.

Russian military sources said that the Ilyushin-80 (IL-80) jet would be used when the command infrastructure is disrupted due to a nuclear war, or when ground communication systems are absent. The sources said the plane will be permanently staffed with senior generals, operational commanders and technicians.

Ilyushin-80 Command Aircraft

Ilyushin-80 Command Aircraft

This is how Global Security describes the Maxdome, also called IL-80:

The Il-86VKP (“veh-kah-peh” – Vozdooshniy Komanndniy Poonkt – airborne command post) is Russia’s counterpart to the Boeing E-4B NEACP (National Emergency Airborne Command Post). It is meant to fly the the President of Russia and/or surviving authority figures and highest ranking members of the Soviet (now Russian) government to safety in the event of all-out nuclear war.

The IL-80 (IL-86VKP) is the air or air command center command post of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The aircraft is designed for the control of the armed units of the Russian army in military conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons. […]

The Russian military name is Aimak […] the name given to certain nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes of Mongolian stock inhabiting the north and north-west Afghan highlands […] a bold, wild people and renowned fighters. […]

The first Il-86VKP “Maxdome” was believed to have flown for the first time in the summer of 1985, with the first completed model flying on March 5, 1987. Deliveries reportedly begain 1987. Four aircraft were converted. […]

According to the developers, on-board hardware includes up to 300 units of equipment. Normal take-off weight – 208 tons, the length of the aircraft – 59.54 meters, wingspan – 48.06 meters. The aircraft is equipped with four engines NK-86 thrust of 13,000 kg each. Cruising speed – 850 km / h, range – 3600 km. Service ceiling – 11 000m. Any other information on these machines is closed. This is one of the few still not declassified aircraft models. […]

The onboard air conditioning is filtered to keep radioactive fallout. It is hardened against flash and electromagnetic pulse. All cabin windows are deleted (including the portholes in the doors) in order to protect it from an electromagnetic pulse or nuclear explosion. Cabin entry doors are deleted except for the upper deck forward door on the left and the aft door on the right. Two of the three air stair doors [except the forward one] in the lower fuselange that characterize the Il-86 are missing. There is a baffle blocking the aft cockpit windows, possibly as an EMP or RF hazard shield. […]

On 01 December 2015 “United Instrument Corporation” (UIC, a state corporation of Rostec, announced the creation of the air command post of the second generation of strategic management based on the Il-80. The aircraft would be delivered by the Defense Ministry before the end of 2015.

The Air Command Post on the basis of the Il-80 is included in the system of air control centers of the Armed Forces. It is designed to work in conditions of failure of ground control points, knots and lines, rapidly changing operational environment, as well as in the case of an opponent of nuclear weapons. For this reason, aircraft of this type are called “Doomsday planes.” Only two countries in the world possess such weapons – Russia and the United States. An analog of the Russian Il-80 is the American Boeing E-4B.

Deputy General Director Sergey Skokov of UIC said that a new generation of Russian airborne command post has high survivability, functionality, reliability, improved weight and size and lower power consumption. Technical specifications of the permit to manage the land forces, navy, air and space forces, as well as the Strategic Missile Forces. The goal is the organization of communication networks in a totally unsuitable conditions where the ground infrastructure is non-existent or completely destroyed.

For a description of the U.S. “doomsday plane”, the Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post, click here.

-StMA

U.S. repeatedly loses in Pentagon war games against Russia

On Sept. 29, 2015, an op/ed by reporter Benny Avni in the New York Post proclaimed Vladimir Putin’s Russia as “the world’s new sole superpower.” Avni wrote:

The baton was officially transferred Monday to the world’s new sole superpower — and Vladimir Putin willingly picked it up.

Putin’s deployment of forces in Syria and arming of Assad create facts on the ground. They have also propelled him to the top by taking initiative on today’s most consequential world fight….That’s how Putin seized leadership from America….

And it’s bad for America. Because sooner or later, after more bloodshed and under even worse conditions than now, our next president will be called upon to retake the leadership baton from Putin. And that could prove tricky.

Avni’s proclamation isn’t that far-fetched given the fact that the Pentagon’s own war games show that the U.S. would lose in a Baltic war against Russia.

Julia Ioffe writes for Foreign Policy, Sept. 18, 2015, that the Pentagon continuously generates contingency plans for every possible scenario — anything from armed confrontation with North Korea to zombie attacks.

For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, the U.S. Department of Defense is reviewing and updating its contingency plans for armed conflict with Russia, to reflect a new, post-Crimea-annexation geopolitical reality in which Russia is no longer a potential partner, but a potential threat.

Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, explains that “Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine made the U.S. dust off its contingency plans. They were pretty out of date.” Flournoy says the new plans have two tracks:

  • One focuses on what the United States can do as part of NATO if Russia attacks one of NATO’s member states.
  • The other track considers American action outside the NATO umbrella.

Both versions of the updated contingency plans focus on Russian incursions into the Baltics, a scenario seen as the most likely front for new Russian aggression. They are also increasingly focusing not on traditional warfare, but on the hybrid tactics Russia used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine: “little green men,” manufactured protests, and cyberwarfare. Julie Smith, who until recently served as Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy national security advisor, says: “They are trying to figure out in what circumstances [the U.S. Defense Department] would respond to a cyberattack. There’s a lively debate on that going on right now.”

It was in February 2014 that Putin caught the Obama administration off guard by sending little green men into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. David Ochmanek, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development, said, “We didn’t plan for it because we didn’t think Russia would change the borders in Europe.” Crimea was a “surprise.”

In June 2014, a month after he had left his force-planning job at the Pentagon, the Air Force asked Ochmanek for advice on Russia. At the same time, the Army had approached one of Ochmanek’s colleagues at Rand, and the two teamed up to run a thought exercise called a “table top,” a sort of war game between two teams: the red team (Russia) and the blue team (NATO). The scenario was similar to the one that played out in Crimea and eastern Ukraine: increasing Russian political pressure on Estonia and Latvia (two NATO countries that share borders with Russia and have sizable Russian-speaking minorities), followed by the appearance of provocateurs, demonstrations, and the seizure of government buildings.

“Our question was: Would NATO be able to defend those countries?,” Ochmanek recalls.

The results were dispiriting. Given the recent reductions in the defense budgets of NATO member countries and U.S. pullback from the region, Ochmanek says the NATO team was outnumbered 2-to-1 in terms of manpower, even if all the U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Europe were dispatched to the Baltics — including the 82nd Airborne, which is supposed to be ready to go on 24 hours’ notice and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“We just don’t have those forces in Europe,” Ochmanek explains. Then there’s the fact that the Russians have the world’s best surface-to-air missiles and are not afraid to use heavy artillery.

After eight hours of gaming out various scenarios, “the conclusion,” Ochmanek says, “was that we are unable to defend the Baltics.

Ochmanek decided to run the game on a second day. The teams played the game again, this time working on the assumption that the United States and NATO had already started making positive changes to their force posture in Europe. Would anything be different? The conclusion was slightly more upbeat, but not by much. “We can defend the capitals, we can present Russia with problems, and we can take away the prospect of a coup de main,” Ochmanek says. “But the dynamic remains the same.” Even without taking into account the recent U.S. defense cuts, due to sequestration, and the Pentagon’s plan to downsize the Army by 40,000 troops, the logistics of distance were still daunting. U.S. battalions would still take anywhere from one to two months to mobilize and make it across the Atlantic, and the Russians, Ochmanek notes, “can do a lot of damage in that time.

Ochmanek has run the two-day table-top exercise eight times now, including at the Pentagon and at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, with active-duty military officers. “We played it 16 different times with eight different teams,” Ochmanek says, “always with the same conclusion.

When asked about Ochmanek’s conclusions, a Defense Department official expressed confidence that, eventually, NATO would claw the territory back. “In the end, I have no doubt that NATO will prevail and that we will restore the territorial integrity of any NATO member,” the official said. “I cannot guarantee that it will be easy or without great risk. My job is to ensure that we can reduce that risk.”

That is, the Pentagon does not envision a scenario in which Russia doesn’t manage to grab some Baltic territory first. The goal is to deter — Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced this summer that the United States would be sending dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, and howitzers to the Baltics and Eastern Europe — and, if that fails, to painstakingly regain NATO territory.

The Pentagon is also chewing on various hybrid warfare scenarios, and even a nuclear one. The senior defense official says, “As you look at published Russian doctrine, I do believe people are thinking about use of tactical nuclear weapons in a way that hadn’t been thought about for many years . . . . The doctrine clearly talks about it, so it would be irresponsible . . . to at least not be thinking through those issues. Any time there is nuclear saber rattling, it is always a concern, no matter where it comes from.”

B61-12-nuclear-bombNote: German public television ZDF reports on Sept. 22, 2015, that the U.S. will station 20 new atomic weapons, B61-12, in Germany. Each B61-12 has four times the destructive power of the one that was used on Hiroshima in 1945. “With the new bombs the boundaries blur between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons,” Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told ZDF.

There is a strong element of disappointment among senior foreign-policy and security officials in these discussions, of disbelief that we ended up here after all those good years in America’s relations with Russia.

The State Department official says: “A lot of people at the Pentagon are unhappy about the confrontation. They were very happy with the military-to-military cooperation with Russia.” Some think that Russia is a distraction from the real threat — China. Others think that working with Russia on arms control is more important than protecting Ukrainian sovereignty. Not only would they rather not have to think about Moscow as an enemy, but many are also miffed that even making these plans plays right into Putin’s paranoid fantasies about a showdown between Russia and NATO or between Russia and the United States — which makes those fantasies, de facto, a reality. In the U.S. planning for confrontation with Russia, says the Senate staffer, Putin “is getting the thing he always wanted.”

In his July confirmation hearing to ascend to the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford said that Russia posed an “existential threat” to the United States and that America must do more to prepare itself for hybrid warfare of the type Russia deployed in Ukraine. Dunford’s statement angered the Obama White House, which saw it as potentially provocative to Moscow.

The fact that U.S. repeatedly lost in the Pentagon’s own war games against Russia could explain why, according to a Sept. 25, 2015 article on the Russian news site, SvetKolemnas.Info, a “summary report of the Russian Ministry of Defense for the internal needs of the Kremlin” states that within three weeks after President Putin orders a “first strike” against America and its NATO allies, the military forces of the Russian Federation will achieve “a total defeat” of U.S. military forces, including:

  • The destruction of all 18 US aircraft carriers and ships capable of carrying aircraft, and of all US and NATO military satellites.
  • The strategic takeover of heavy weapons.
  • The “erasing” of all US bases in the UK.
  • The total loss of US and NATO troops of over 35,000 (dead, wounded, captured and missing), and material losses of at least 15 trillion dollars (ships, aircraft, weapons, etc.)

The report envisions that after Russia achieved tactical superiority over US and NATO forces during the first 24 hours of the war, Moscow would issue a demand for the removal of all US forces, nuclear weapons and equipment from Europe, in exchange for a cessation of hostilities.

If the demand is met, Russian forces would then withdraw from the conquered territories. If the request is rejected, the forces of the Russian Federation would deploy tactical nuclear weapons against US military bases and NATO in Europe, as well as EMP/electronic weapons against the United States and Canada. Russia would also be prepared to use intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Fearing total global nuclear war, the US and the EU would immediately lose the political will to fight.

The Russian Ministry of Defense report also states that tens of millions of American Christians could very well act as a “fifth column” in support of the Russian Federation, given that those Christians have had “to defend against their own ‘demonic’ leaders destroying America.” American Christians would side with the Christian forces of the Russian Federation who only seek to liberate the United States, Europe and the rest of the world from those demonic leaders’ “satanic design.”

In this manner, with the “fifth column” of Christian Americans supporting Christian Russia, a global nuclear disaster would be averted, and the United States under a new Christian leadership could then return to a peaceful way of life and “cease terrorizing the world.”

This image is in the SvetKolemnas.Info article

The report notes that, according to CNN, the readiness of the US military is now at a historic low, with half of U.S. Marine Corps units at below the level of military preparedness. The report further sites a U.S. blog, Fellowship of the Minds, on the mass exodus of Christians from the US military. All of which has rendered a once-fearsome military increasingly dysfunctional because of the Obama regime’s sex/gender experimentation, including American cadets being forced to march in high heels as part of their education, and Obama’s appointment of “Erica [sic] K. Fanning, an open homosexual, as Commander of the US Army.”

Note: Last month, Obama nominated Eric Fanning, an admitted homosexual, to be Army Secretary. (See “Obama names open homosexual to be Secretary of U.S. Army“)

The report estimates that if the de-Christianized and demoralized U.S. military were to face the Christian forces of the Russian Federation, it would take only 3 weeks for the U.S. military to be drained of all their “will to fight”.

Referring to Salon.com, “one of the most popular U.S. magazines,” now “openly supporting” sex between an adult and a child, pedophilia being just another sexual lifestyle, the SvetKolemnas.Info article cryptically concluded that “After all, things of hell belong to hell … maybe it’s time to make this monster go back where they belong.”

See also:

-StMA

U.S. Army commander says Russia is “real threat” as Patriot missiles are deployed to Poland

Lt. Gen. Ben HodgesJustin Huggler reports for The Telegraph, April 18, 2015, that Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, warns that NATO must remain united in the face of a “real threat” from Russia:

It’s not an assumption. There is a Russian threat. You’ve got the Russian ambassador threatening that Denmark will be a nuclear target if it participates in any missile defense program. And when you look at the unsafe way Russian aircraft are flying without transponders in proximity to civilian aircraft, that’s not professional conduct.”

Gen. Hodges spoke to the Telegraph on the sidelines of a military debriefing after an exercise to move live Patriot missiles 750 miles across Europe by road and deploy them on the outskirts of Warsaw. The sight of a US military convoy crossing the German-Polish border more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War made international headlines and brought traffic to a standstill as people posed for selfies beside the troops.

map of Baltic StatesPointing to recent Russian decisions to move Iskandar ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave, between Lithuania and Poland, and long-range nuclear-capable bombers to Crimea, Gen. Hodges said the intention of the highly visible deployment of Patriot missiles to Poland was to send a signal:

“That’s exactly what it was about, reassuring our allies. I don’t think a military confrontation is inevitable. But you have to be militarily ready in order to enable effective diplomacy. The best insurance we have against a showdown is that NATO stands together.”

Danish F-16sSince taking over command of the US army in Europe last year, Gen. Hodges has found himself on the front line of an increasingly nervous stand-off with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Eastern European countries are looking to NATO, and the US in particular, for reassurance that they will not be left to face Russian aggression alone.

A year after the Obama administration pulled its last battle tank out of Europe, the US is sending hundreds of tanks and heavy fighting vehicles back to the continent, and Gen. Hodges is in the middle of talks over where to position them. He has also assumed command at a time when many Western European countries are cutting their military budgets, and relying ever more on the US for their defense. “I think the question for each country to ask is: are they security consumers or security providers?” Gen Hodges said. “Do they bring capabilities the alliance needs?”

In recent years, while Western countries have been cutting their defense budgets, Russia has been spending heavily on modernizing its military.
Gen. Hodges said the recent involvement of Russian forces in fighting in eastern Ukraine has shown that they have made huge advances, particularly in electronic warfare: “We’re not interested in a fair fight with anyone. We want to have overmatch in all systems. I don’t think that we’ve fallen behind but Russia has closed the gap in certain capabilities. We don’t want them to close that gap.”

But he doesn’t think this is the start of a new Cold War:

“That was a different situation, with gigantic forces and large numbers of nuclear weapons. The only thing that is similar now is that Russia and NATO have different views about what the security environment in Europe should be. I don’t think it’s the same as the Cold War. We did very specific things then that are no longer relevant. We don’t need 300,000 soldiers in Europe. Nobody can afford that any more. We want to see Russia back in the international community and cooperating against Islamic terrorism and on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. That’s different from the Cold War. I’m sure they’re not going to line up Russian tanks and go rolling into another country. They don’t want a military confrontation with NATO. Our alliance is the most successful alliance in history and it has a lot of capability.”

Gen Hodges has an easy manner with the men under his command, making jokes and asking the opinions of the most junior privates, as well as senior officers. He has combat experience as a brigade commander in Iraq, but in his current role he has to deal with different challenges.

Hodges believes Russia will not risk an open attack on a NATO member for fear the alliance will invoke Article V of its treaty, under which an attack on one member is an attack on all. Instead, the danger is that Russia will seek to put pressure on NATO members on its borders through other means, such as information, economic pressure, and border violations. He points to the large Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic countries, and the economic power Russia has as a major consumer of eastern European agricultural produce, as possible avenues Russian president Vladimir Putin may try to exploit.

But Hodges is confident that NATO will remain united in the face of Russian aggression:

“If President Putin’s objective is to fracture the alliance, then he’s going about it the wrong way. At the Wales summit there was a unity of the alliance I have not seen before, and it came about because of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its use of force to change the borders of a sovereign country, Ukraine. It was a direct response to Russia’s behaviour in Crimea.”

Is Gen. Hodges not aware that last December, Hungary, which joined NATO in 1997, accused the United States of instigating a new Cold War against Russia and declared Hungary will not participate?

Pointing to recent moves by traditionally neutral Sweden and Finland to cooperate more closely on defense with NATO members Norway, Denmark and Iceland, Hodges observes:

“Nobody’s trying to join Russia. There’s no country scurrying to get under Russia’s protective umbrella. Why do so many countries want to join the EU or NATO? It’s about values. They want security and prosperity. Russia wants to make it difficult for countries that were affiliated with the USSR or the Warsaw Pact to join the West. The way they see it they’re entitled to a role, to a sphere of influence. I think the position of the West is that this idea of a sphere of influence is not applicable in the 21st century. In the 21st century countries have the right to decide for themselves what is right for them and what kind of country they want to be. They’ve made the European choice. That’s what this is all about.”

Since taking up his command, Gen Hodges has been outspoken over the Russian threat in a way that is rare for a serving general. Admitting that “I understand my role” as carrying out, not making, policy for the U.S. or the NATO alliance, Hodges nevertheless has chosen to speak out because he fears Russia is going unchallenged in the information war:

“We talk about DIME: diplomacy, information, military and economy. An important aspect of how Russia operates is how they use information. They use information the way they use infantry and missiles. They’re not burdened by the truth. Most of the independent media has left Russia and a large percentage is government-owned or -dominated. They don’t have to worry about congressional or parliamentary oversight. There’s a constant bombardment of information.”

In his last interview before his death on Monday, Günter Grass, the Nobel-winning German author, said he feared that humanity was “sleepwalking” towards another World War. But Gen. Hodges disagrees:

“I think we were sleepwalking a few years ago when we thought Russia wanted to be a part of the international community. They were with us in Bosnia. We actually have a mechanism for them to cooperate with NATO. But I think we’re wide-awake now.”

See also:

~StMA

U.S. to close 15 military bases in Europe, as Russia’s presence grows

U.S. European CommandClick map to enlarge

Adam Kredo reports for The Washington Free Beacon, Jan. 9, 2015, that the U.S. military is set to shutter 15 sites across Europe and reduce the number of active personnel stationed in these areas as the result of a wide-ranging restructuring that aims to consolidate some operations on the continent, according to Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

The European restructuring is the culmination of a two-year consolidation plan known as the European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) that is reminiscent of a previous decade-long realignment following the Cold War.

The following changes will take effect in the coming years:

  • 15 sites in all will be returned by the United States to their host nations.
  • “Approximately 1,200 U.S. military and civilian support positions will be eliminated, and about 6,000 more U.S. personnel will be relocated within Europe,” said John Conger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations, and environment who manages the EIC plan.
  • The largest force withdrawal will take place across three UK-based bases, resulting in the removal of 2,000 military personnel from the UK. The most major divestment will be made at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall base, which is being shut down. In turn, two squadrons of F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter jets will move to the RAF Lakenheath facility in 2020. About 3,200 U.S. personnel will relocate from RAF Mildenhall, and that will be offset by the addition of about 1,200 people who will be permanently assigned to the two F-35 squadrons slated to open at RAF Lakenheath.
  • Germany, Italy, and Portugal also will be most impacted by the restructure. “Several hundred” U.S. military personnel will be moved to Germany in the coming years, while another 200 will go to Italy. Around 500 military personnel will be removed from the Azores Islands, a move that has sparked protest in Portugal.
  • Up to 1,100 host-nation positions could also be eliminated and approximately 1,500 additional Europeans working for the U.S. could end up being impacted over the next several years, as many of their positions are relocated to other areas that the U.S. needs to maintain for the long term.

This latest realignment follows a series of significant reductions in Europe that have greatly reduced the U.S. military presence there. The Pentagon hopes to save around $500 million annually as a result of the wide-ranging restructure, which comes as the U.S. military battles against widespread budgetary cuts and growing international challenges across Europe and the Middle East.

Defense Department officials insist that the withdrawal and consolidation will not impact U.S. readiness or its ability to bolster allies in the region. Chollet said, “We are consolidating and reducing some existing support infrastructure in order to be more efficient, but we are not affecting our operational capabilities. The EIC adjustments do not diminish our ability to meet our commitments to allies and partners.”

While Pentagon officials have defended the realignment as necessary to cut costs, some critics say that the restructure may send a message of weakness at a time when nations such as Russia are increasing their rogue behaviors. Insiders on Capitol Hill familiar with the shifts warned that the move is likely to embolden rogue leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is counting on the U.S. military to continue its retreat from the region.

A congressional staffer apprised of the changes said the restructure “sends a terrible message to NATO and Putin at a critical time. Further, in a time when readiness is in the absolute pits—they are talking about spending $1.5 billion to close bases. Insane. What if we need to ramp up? What if Putin pushes further west? Or into the Baltics? What if we have to return forces to Europe?”

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel argued that the reductions and movements would make the United States more nimble in the region, saying “In the end, this transformation of our infrastructure will help maximize our military capabilities in Europe and help strengthen our important European partnerships so that we can best support our NATO allies and partners in the region.”

Mackenzie Eaglen, a former Pentagon official and defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said that the savings being touted by the Pentagon may not actually be reinvested in other theaters: “On paper, the transfer of non-essential property back to host nations in order to free up funds for combat power and missions is usually smart. However, combatant commanders don’t own those funds and therefore the money will not automatically be returned to them for reinvestment elsewhere in theater. Any savings [European Command] reaps will go back to the black hole [Operations and Maintenance] account and be reassigned to another priority altogether and the European commanders will have no say in that regard.”

Furthermore, there is also the risk that continued cuts will begin to impact readiness as potentially key logistics positions are eliminated. Eaglen said, “Those on the front lines still left in Europe—like pilots—still need maintainers, engineers, and myriad other logistics support staff to keep them and their aircraft flying every day. While it’s possible these positions are truly non-essential, Congress and the Pentagon have cut U.S. force structure much too deeply in Europe in their zeal to pivot elsewhere, save money, and stall a needed domestic base closure round.”

With a retreating U.S. military, no wonder Hungary wants no part of NATO’s new Cold War against Russia.

See also:

~StMA

Hungary opts out of NATO’s new Cold War against Russia

Below is Google Translate’s version of an article in Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, Dec. 25, 2014.

Note: Hungary joined NATO in 1997.

Hungary will not take part in the Cold War against Russia

Hungary's Viktor Orban accused the U.S. of expanding their influence in Europe with a new Cold War.EU President Jean-Claude Junker (l); PM of Hungary Viktor Orbán (r)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán takes its distance from the EU and accuses the US government to try to instigate a new Cold War against Russia. Hungary will not participate.

The dispute between the Hungarian government and the US continues to escalate. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday that the US Government Takes corruption allegations against senior Hungarian officials as an excuse to expand US influence in Europe. Given the Ukraine crisis he accused the USA of also trying to draw the EU in the conflict. “Between the US and Russia, a mood like in the Cold War developed. We do not want to be involved,” Orban said.

The US had set in October, several Hungarian officials blacklisted and banned their entry. The government accuses them of corruption before. Among those affected is the head of the tax authority, Ildiko Vida. She has rejected the allegations.

The US and other Western partners in the NATO-State pursuing closer relations between Hungary and Russia with disapproval. So is Orban’s government in the construction of two nuclear reactors on technology and money from Russia.

H/t CODA’s John Molloy

~StMA