With anti-establishmentarians on the rise in the US & Europe, it appears the neocons and their NATO proxy aren’t wasting any time and are stepping up not just the words, but their deeds, against a so-called “resurgent Russia.” NATO’s European Command (EUCOM) “needs to change,” blasts General Philip Breedlove, urging the military to get back to the business of war planning, a skill lost during the post-Cold War era saying his objective is to send a signal of deterrence to Russia. That signal was heard loud and clear as NATO is deploying an additional four battalions of 4,000 troops to the Russian border in Poland and the three Baltic States, according to a report citing US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.
“We have to be ready for a situation where we don’t have Russia as a partner,” warns EUCOM Gen. Philip Breedlove, adding that the military here needs to get back to the business of war planning, a skill lost during the post-Cold War era and one needed again in the face of a resurgent Russia. As Military.com reports,
On Tuesday, Breedlove will walk a final time across the parade ground at EUCOM headquarters, handing off leadership of more than 60,000 troops to Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti.
Unlike when Breedlove assumed command in 2013, Scaparrotti arrives at a time of upheaval as the continent contends with Cold War-like tensions with Russia, a refugee crisis tearing at Europe’s social fabric, and increased fears about terrorism because of war along NATO’s southern flank.
Scaparrotti will lead a EUCOM headquarters that over the years has shrunk in size — it is the second-smallest of all combatant commands — even as the Pentagon attempts to boost its presence along NATO’s eastern edge.
Breedlove said more work needs to be done to lift EUCOM out of its post-Cold War mindset, which resulted in “building partner capacity,” military parlance for training missions. EUCOM is a “mere fraction” of what it was a generation ago, a downsizing that occurred when the U.S. was trying to make a partner out of Russia.
“I am very sure about how EUCOM needs to change,” Breedlove said during a recent exit interview with Stars and Stripes. “This headquarters shrank and changed from a war-fighting headquarters to a building-partnership-capacity, engagement kind of headquarters.”
“This headquarters needs to be a warfighting headquarters,” he said.
Reorienting EUCOM into a warfighting headquarters likely would demand more resources, more troops and new contingency plans to conduct combat operations within Europe.
In the past three years, EUCOM has responded to new security concerns by boosting its presence in eastern Europe, mainly through rotational troops and pre-positioned tanks and other armor.
A $3.4 billion Pentagon proposal, prompted by what the West sees as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia, seeks to build upon recent efforts in the year ahead.
Dealing with Russia’s formidable capabilities around the Baltics, where NATO is outmanned and outgunned, is one obstacle allies will need to prepare for better, according to Breedlove.
Some critics, particularly in Berlin, have said Breedlove’s rhetoric sometimes has been too hawkish. The general rejects such criticism, saying his objective is to send a signal of deterrence to Russia; and as RT reports, NATO’s deployment of an additional 4,000 troops to the Russian border signals their intent loud and clear…
Work confirmed the number of troops to be sent to the border with Russia, The Wall Street Journal reports. He said the reason for the deployment is Russia’s multiple snap military exercises near the Baltics States.
“The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops,” Work said as cited by the Wall Street Journal. “From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior.”
Moscow has been unhappy with the NATO military buildup at Russia’s borders for some time now; and with this latest move, The Russians, as expected, are displeased…
“NATO military infrastructure is inching closer and closer to Russia’s borders. But when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that Russia is engaging in dangerous maneuvers near NATO borders. In fact, NATO borders are getting closer to Russia, not the opposite,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter daily.
Poland and the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have regularly pressed NATO headquarters to beef up the alliance’s presence on their territory.
According to the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, the permanent presence of large NATO formations at the Russian border is prohibited. Yet some voices in Brussels are saying that since the NATO troops stationed next to Russia are going to rotate, this kind of military buildup cannot be regarded as a permanent presence.
Russia’s Defense Ministry says it’s ready for a tit-for-tat response to any NATO military activity near Russia’s borders. As Russia’s envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko put it, there are no “passive observes” in the Russian armed forces and Moscow would definitely compensate militarily for an “absolutely unjustified military presence.”
* * *