RT, May 24
Britain is ramping up its military rhetoric, sending its biggest warship for NATO drills in the Baltic, right off the Russian coast, in this latest show of force. The drills kick off on June 5 and will last for two weeks.
The helicopter carrier HMS Ocean is expected to reach Russia’s city of Kaliningrad sometime this week, carrying aboard about 80 Royal Marines who are to join other NATO troops in Poland, the Sunday Times reports.
Named ‘Baltops 15,’ the games’ objective remains, as before, to test battle-readiness and in so doing continue to voice disapproval over the situation in Ukraine. The Baltic nations believe Russia poses a military threat to Europe and are using its alleged actions in Ukraine as pretext to show off their own military prowess and push for increased NATO presence in the region.
You’ll no doubt recall the hue and cry when Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his stand on nuclear non-proliferation and his attempts to engage the Muslim world. Both the right and left in this country had great sport at this — and here I’ll agree — premature awarding of a prize to a man with few signal accomplishments in foreign policy, apart from being “not Bush”.
Six years later and I think it’s time to give him the Prize for real this time. Think about this past year: for a man who started his administration hoping to hit singles and doubles in foreign policy (consumed as he had to be by the domestic economic crisis), he’s kind of knocked a couple out of the park, provoking admiration from aboard and from mainstream Americans, and consternation from the idiot fringe that will sit on perches and poop all day, parroting “Obama bad, BRAWK!” Read More
“The best laid schemes o’ mice and men (and US/EU warmongers) gang aft a-gley”.
Looks like events are outpacing plans. Expect a lot of Faux News in the coming days.
I suspect it’s happening too fast for the US/EU to do anything except bitch and moan. I think Putin’s response will be the chief unanswered question of the moment.
As much as US would love to have The Ukraine in NATO, it is not there yet, so even if Russia upped the ante, the only excuse left to the NeoCons is R2P and I think the world – including the American people – have gotten tired of and wise to that ploy, given the situation in Libya, Iraq, Syria and our other failed missions.
RT, July 4
Some 20 warships, over 20 airplanes and helicopters, as well as the marines and coast artillery are taking part in the Black Sea Fleet exercise, Russian Defense Ministry reported. The war games launched the same day as NATO’s military drill in the area.
Starting from July 4, the scheduled training maneuvers are conducted in the whole of the Black Sea, the Ministry told journalists on Friday, adding the drill is being carried out according to international standards.
RT, June 9
A major military exercise [has] kicked off in Latvia, with 10 NATO member countries participating. The war games involve 4,700 troops and 800 military vehicles. Russia sees NATO’s military build-up as a sign of aggression.
The Saber Strike ground forces exercise is being conducted for the fourth time this year and coincides with Baltic Host 2014 and Baltops 2014 naval drills.
Troops from the US, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway and the UK are taking part.
The two-week exercise is hosted by the three Baltic States, although some parts will be conducted in Germany.
Given the current Ukraine crisis, former German chancellor Schröder felt it was inappropriate to invite Putin to his official 70th birthday bash in Germany. So instead he opted for yet another birthday party with his friend in Saint Petersburg (link to German news article).
Putin, who is fluent in German, hugs his friend Schröder as he arrives to his birthday party in Saint Petersburg.
Vlad-the-Invader has been decisive in his reaction to NATO’s attempt to push the borders of Russia west of the Urals and to lose Russia’s only warm water port.
With Russia’s history that decisiveness should have been expected, and we wonder if the US neocons had a plan which included contingencies for that action and the other pressures the Russian Bear could bring to bear on Europe – increased gas prices and demand of repayment of Ukraine’s overdue gas bill and a threat to increase gas prices.
One kind of wonders why both China and Russia are making trouble with the world on Syria:
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has called on the international community to show “prudence” over the crisis and observe international law.
“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” he said in a statement.
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said Western powers were rushing to conclusions about who may have used chemical weapons in Syria before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.
The new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is the executive in charge of the largest government entity in the world if you combine budget, personnel, equipment, and the 1,000 United States military installations around the globe. The organization is so large; it is hard to imagine the challenge of knowing what one needs to know in order to succeed as an effective executive. It is even more challenging to grasp the unknown pitfalls and dangers that Hagel will face as the executive in charge of Defense. And then, we have the President, Congress and the corporate providers for the national security state (aka the military industrial complex). (Image: Secretary of Defense)
Hagel endured a bizarre interrogation by former Senate colleagues. John McCain (R-AZ) was apoplectic, at his worst, and disturbing for most of his interrogation. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) somehow combined insouciance and condescension, playing Felix to McCain’s Oscar.
Hagel’s biography is of real interest: raised in a small town in Nebraska; served in combat with his brother in Vietnam; entrepreneur; executive; Senator, and now in charge of defense. He published a book in 2008, entitled America: Our Next Chapter (Hagel, Chuck; Kaminsky, Peter (2008-07-08). Ecco. Kindle Edition)
US commander in Afghanistan retires to spend time with family following Pentagon investigation related to Petraeus scandal.
The Guardian, By Chris McGreal, February 19
Washington – General John Allen, the US commander in Afghanistan, has chosen to retire just weeks before he was expected to be appointed the next military chief of Nato.
Barack Obama announced in a statement that he had accepted Allen’s request to retire “so that he can address health issues within his family”. But the marine general’s decision to decline the appointment of supreme allied commander of Nato follows an embarrassing Pentagon investigation into thousands of emails he sent to a woman at the centre of the sex scandal that brought down the CIA director, David Petraeus. The investigation cleared Allen, and the White House said it would press ahead with his nomination to the top Nato military post, but over recent weeks there was speculation within the military that Allen would back out.