Tag Archives: NATO

NATO and Global Policy in Rambo Style

russia_flag

When is viewed from a world-wide perspective, America is such something as in the language of Hollywood producers is called an ”ham” or ”over-actor”. This means an actor, not very bright and talented, but possessing with very distinctive physical features who exaggerates all the techniques he knows, from gestures to his speech, trying to be noticeable or to mask obvious faults.

The typology of such a character could be found not only in action movies like Rambo, but also in the existential DNA of the big political and military strategy of the United States.


As Christofer Layne[1] wrote in his book ”The Peace of Illusion”, the US commitment to transforming the entire world is ill-founded and self-defeating. Layne argues that the history of powerful empires shows that in the end they all fall into the trap of overextension, unnecessary military entanglements, and excessive interventionism. That is exactly the kind of approach practiced by the US during the last 40 years, but especially noticeable in the last decade. Practically, it means the ”dissuasion” strategy that plans to surround other powers at their own homes with land- and sea-based nuclear missiles, submarines, and fighter jets.

But at the same time it’s the US that claim the breach of international treaties, because a foreign military division has been moved 5 km closer to the Sea of Japan. Surprisingly, the leaders in Washington seem not to understand that there is an approach that harms the US regarding its partners and public perception. One of the world’s leading economists, Professor Michael Hudson says that ”the US-led confrontational approach of NATO to Russia is driving European countries to consider disbanding or leaving the military alliance due to increased risks to security.” So, in whose interests is it to keep up this agressive rhetoric?

Prosperity of War Industry – a Constant of Great Powers

us-military-background-fullAt the end of the World War II, the US had a military presence in Europe of approximately 1,9 million of troops and more than two million vehicles ranging from tanks to dozers to Indian brand motorcycles. It’s not too difficult to see that at this ratio of forces and resources deployment, practically one third of them could not be used because there were really no one to control them. What does it mean? It means a huge business that has moved money from pockets of American tax payers into pockets of big manufacturers operating in that period. It means huge public contracts with the American state, and while they have been implemented, some food staples for the population were limited and could be bought only with ration cards (although, apparently, many still believe that ration cards were invented on the other side of the Iron Curtain).

Of all the countries involved, the United States has spent the biggest sum in wartime being surpassed only by Japan spending approximately 341 billion dollars, of which 50 billion went for resources. That’s to say nothing about loans granted to others countries. These 341 billion were at that time a huge figure for the American industry, which at the end of the conflict has fallen dramatically somewhere below 1%. So, the enemy had been defeated and it was necessary to invent a new one, equally fierce, otherwise the business had a risk to collapse and take the entire US economy along with it.

In the spring of 1948, President Truman and his administration held secret talks in Washington D.C., to discuss the impending enlargement of the Soviet power. That was the post-war context that made five members of the Western Europe (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) to sign the Brussels Treaty, whereby they have decided to constitute a common system of defense. The decision seemed justified, the severe trauma left by the war persisted strongly in social mindset. And the rise of the Soviet power seemed unstoppable.

But Great Britain was at the low level of its economic strength, the rest of the countries were completely insignificant regarding their military force. Metaphorically speaking, it looked as if you were going to protect yourself against a dangerous animal attack by purchasing a rifle with pellets for starling. Evidently, something more than just the will was necessary. Thus the negotiations with the USA and Canada occured. At the same time other European countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, and surprisingly the ally of Nazi Germany, Italy were invited to participate in this process as well.

It was rather odd taking into account the fact that the majority of these states were on/under the ground from a military point of view and some of them, from the economic point of view also. France was a real loser since the times of Napoleon, Italy was ready to surrender at the first sign of troubles, and Iceland until this day does not have an army of its own. Great Britain had done some interesting moves in the North Africa, but that happened thanks to heroism of its soldiers; for its technical military equipment was disastrous (the Churchill and Matilda tanks, which did not sink together with the ships in the North Sea and were delivered to the USSR, were sent immediately to meltdown and recast into glorious Soviet T-34).

The US immediately felt the oppotunity and used the moment and opportunities for its own gain. That was an attitude fit to a power in the global rising. Washington accepted this new military alliance and took the role of its undisputed leader.

So, on April 4, 1949 in Washington the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – NATO[2] was established, an alliance with numerous principal discrepancies, disagreements that have brought much real harm since then until now. “To look big and to impress” seems to be quite logical basis when the leader, as I have already said, is an overplay.

According to the ”main goal of its creation”, NATO was meant to be a Meeting of NATO and Partner Chiefs of Defence - Opening of the 159th MC/CS Sessioncounter-force to the presence of the Soviet military forces in the Eastern Europe. The US had a real interest to quickly demonize the USSR thus getting the necessary and veridic enemy in the long term to support the alliance resilience. In the next few years Greece and Turkey have acceded and in 1955 Federal Germany itself joined this organization. On May 9, 1955 the decision of the governments of the United States and Western Europe to include West Germany into NATO generated a geo-political balance preserving move. The USSR decided to set up the Warsaw Pact in order to counterbalance the military force of NATO and the plan of the Western Europe military equipping worth over 6 billion dollars.

Warsaw Pact was designed to increase the international negotiating power of the Soviet Union. Another logic fact is that the Soviet Union has also used the Warsaw Pact as a way to develop new armies and train them under its military strategies. More to that, in the framework of the Warsaw Pact the USSR was the principal supplier of weapons and military equipment and technology for the member countries of the Warsaw Pact, except (for a period of time) for Romania. The great global powers have a similar constant: they have a military industrial complex which is one of the most effective businesses of the state.

The tensions between the two military blocks have led inevitably to the triggering of the Cold War and the expensive Arms Race. Both alliances were proposing ways to basically dominate the world and spread their beliefs of ideal governments. This is the context in which the US began to send a nuclear missiles all over the world. In 1947 the president Harry S. Truman authorized US aid (The Truman Doctrine) to anti-communist forces in Greece and Turkey. The policy was expanded to justify support for any nation that the US government considered to be threatened by Soviet expansionism. This policy, known as the George Kennan[3] doctrine, was aimed at holding back and restricting the spread of Communism worldwide. Containment quickly became the official US policy towards the USSR. The USSR began to be strangled from all sides. The constrictor rings of the Anaconda strategy started to tighten around the Soviet Union and the US nuclear missiles reached the neighborhood of Crimea and the Black Sea by means of placing outdated, but still dangerous PGM-19 Jupiter and PGM-17 Thor in Turkey sometime in 1960.

A move in return from the Soviet Block was predictable and justifiable. In response, the Caribbean (Cuban Missile) Crisis becomes a cold shower for the US. Americans, who until then had filled the planet with nuclear weapons knew Russia’s feeling very good and knew how it was when others come up with nuclear weapons near the borders that you thought were guarded by two huge oceans and thousands of kilometers of airspace. Both sides have learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis that risking nuclear war in pursuit of political goals is just too dangerous. It was the last time during the Cold War that either side would take this risk. After the Cuban Missile Crisis was over, the US and the USSR preferred to bring their competition onto local conflicts in other parts of the globe.

The Cold War has had a special feature: it reflected confrontation between the two blocks on the criterion of ideological purposes (Communism vs. Capitalism). Therefore, once the communist ideology was removed, a new similar confrontation in this part of the world seemed unlikely. But that was a miscalculation. Nowadays, the confrontation is more sharp, pragmatic and has a purpose of controlling the biggest part of resources of the planet. At the same time, the experts usually skip an important detail: the Cold War stopped due to the lack of a main combatant and not as a result of a bilateral agreement. Consequently, the claim of the United States and the Western block composed of allies/satellites to be the sole pole of power in the world and to establish a planetary way of life based exclusively on ideology and principles of their leadership has absolutely no grounds. The US strategy is to prevent neutrality. Europe’s economic interest is to achieve neutrality with Russia, and have economic unity so that there’s little chance of any confrontation with Russia. The result of such a rebellious is already visible and do not require detailed examples.

The Cold War Doctrine in Use Again

 By eliminating competition with the Warsaw Pact, NATO should not be competing for world domination especially when the money people pay is being used for missiles, bombs, and tanks rather than education, housing, and healthcare. But it still is! Although the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Act (July 1991), the Cold War was never over. Between the new planetary hegemon of the US and Russia, the heir to all good and bad things of the Soviet Union, the competition trend is always presented. In spite of the political statements, the US wanted a confirmation of being a unique worldwide leader. Russia wanted to get its revenge and return to the table of the global decision makers. The truce lasted for two decades, only as far as it has been necessary for Russia to regain strength.

nato_russia_flagsExhausted by the Arm and Space Race through the 1980s, the USSR gave to the North-Atlantic Alliance and the Euro-Atlantic community some signals that it intended to end up the Cold War on a unilateral basis. In other words, NATO remained without the „Enemy” which (for almost half a century) had been defining the Western politics as active confrontation to communism values. Based on the danger of the Soviet power, NATO created a geo-strategic plan of neutralization of the Soviet threat and its allies. Maybe surprised by the Soviet Union weekness, the West has got the message from Moscow as an unconditional capitulation. This was another misunderstanding.

Through the unilateral termination of the Cold War, the USSR did not mean its disadvantageous capitulation, but rather a truce through which it would get the time necessary either for lasting negotiations or for in-state reforms. It was a question of time before the „confrontation” would be restarted. Another error was that the West had not understood that the commitment, or the “deal” did not mean that the countries which were detached from the conglomerate and the sphere of the USSR influence, had no right to establish new alliances with former opponents, therefore, to integrate into structures of the Euro-Atlantic community.

 NATO – Preferred ”Weapon” of Advancing American Interests

On the one hand, NATO has pledged many times that expansion to the East will enhance security of Europe as a whole and not produce new dividing lines. On the other hand, the expansion of NATO to the East was accompanied by the colored revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia, the Arab Spring in North Africa and the conflicts triggered and supported by the US in the Middle East, deployment of troops and weapons in Romania and Poland, launch of the missile shield elements in Romania.

On the top of all that some economic sanctions against Russia were imposed. main-qimgEven at a quick glance we can observe that a set of policies and restrictive practices of the same type of is used, a new incarnation of the containment doctrine. Besides, it is clear that America is trying to force Russia to spend more as a part of its economic warfare.

The United States and its allies from NATO are trying not only to prevent Russia from its possible expansion and retrieval of its former sphere of influence. The actions of the past few years suggest a real siege, which is composed of multiple constricting rings, intended either to kneel the Russian Federation, or to induce it to react aggressively. With the same aim, the „challenges” have a huge part of mingled defiance and arrogance. Otherwise, one cannot explain how it is possible that the largest military exercises of NATO nearby the Russian borders are called „Anaconda 2016”. Especially so that the Pentagon is well known to have talented specialists with the ‚poetical’ sense when it comes to giving names for the US military operations abroad. In the 1990s, critics warned that the NATO expansion would cultivate a new cold war. It seems that they were right.

 And regarding declarations which outraged the opponents of the republican candidate for the US presidency, Donald Trump, related to the Baltic countries and Article 5[4] of the Treaty of the North Atlantic Alliance, it appears to have been right in accordance with the principles of assistance specified by Article 6 of the same Treaty:

“With the invocation of Article 5, Allies can provide any form of assistance they deem necessary to respond to a situation. This is an individual obligation on each Ally and each Ally is responsible for determining what it deems necessary in the particular circumstances. This assistance is taken forward in concert with other Allies. It is not necessarily military and depends on the material resources of each country. It is therefore left to the judgment of each individual member country to determine how it will contribute.”

It means that the North Atlantic Treaty does not impose to the US or to another state that it must defend the military attacked ally; each state which is deemed to have been under the military attack by another state shall be free to take the measures that are considered necessary.

Basically, if the United States or any other NATO member refuses to take military intervention in favor of the Baltic states and confines to assistance and provision with helmets and anti-bullet vests (as it was done in the case of Ukraine which is not NATO member), it would not breach the provisions of this Treaty. In addition, the USA has infringed enough international treaties which it had signed and ratified: the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture – there were breaches of the most scandalous nature, so it’s better remember the proverb about glass houses and stones.

 Article 5 has been invoked by the US and accepted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on September 11, 2001. The US is not (at least theoretically) an exception to the rule, as the right shall apply to all parties according to international laws.

flickrBut it happens only when the US interests coincide with the interests of other governments (permanent members of the UN Security Council). If the US as NATO chief declares firmly that it will render military defence to any ally, it is not because a treaty was signed in 1949, but because such a position can best serve the US foreign policy and interests at the moment. In fact, the current strategy of the West of ensuring safety by limiting the “enemy” is by far the most inefficient approach when aiming at long-term peace. It is an option when the final aim is a military conflict.

 *** Epilogue

What would happen if Russia decides to invade a member of NATO as a reply to aggressive extension of the North Atlantic alliance up to its borders? Estonia, for example, which expresses its concern in the most explicit ways? Estonia will invoke Article 5 of the Treaty of NATO and the alliance will follow the standard procedures. And what will happens if a member of NATO – Turkey, for example, will refuse to attend confrontation ? It seems nothing. It can happens that many countries – members NATO were dissapointed. Most probably because the purpose of the start – defensive alliance – has been seriously misused and has become an instrument of (re)pression in the hands of a global Rambo.” 

Original file published by ”New Defence Order. Strategy” / «Новый Оборонный Заказ. Стратегии»

2016, №4 (41), History of Defence Industry and Military History, Military and Technical Cooperation


[1] Christopher Layne is Associate Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He is the author of „The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present” (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006).

[2] www.nato.int

[3] The author of the „Doctrines of Containment” was an American diplomat George Kennan, who defined the theoretical basis of this policy in 1947 for use in America’s geopolitics.

[4] www.nato.int

Advertisements

Deveselu missile shield – East and West; PR & Business

Romanian-flagrussia_flag

 

 

As a history irony, the former Deveselu Air Military Base – build at the URSS request as part of the defensive aerial system created to protect de states that were part of the Warsaw Pact – became NATO base, a part of the shield known as “the US – built missile shield in Europe”, therefore an integrated military system, with numerous components spread around the world and with an eminently defensive role, at least theoretical, but incontestable proactive, inhibitor.

I don’t know if the place has been accidentally chosen or as a result of. Even though few know this thing, in the Cold War period, this base has been a priority target for the CIA agents. There is a story that talks about the declaration as a “persona non-grata” and expulsion of a military diplomat of US to Bucharest, after he has been caught spying the military base by the vigilant “villagers” of the 3rd Counterintelligence Direction.

Let’s make business, not war!

Today, the times have changed, and that active young man and eager to assert his intelligence, if he still alive, can feeling avenged. More, he can visit Deveselu whenever he wants and would have been interesting if someone would have thought to invite him at one of the ceremonies that have been taken place in the last period.

110426-M-3545V-002.jpgI talk about because around in mid-May, the US Embassy in Bucharest organized, from obvious reasons of propaganda and PR, a ceremony to initiate the missile shield system Aegis Ashore from Romania. I said “PR”, because there was only a political – diplomatic protocol. In fact, the testing and functional certification of the capability from Deveselu took place since last fall, in October 2015. But, operational means that its elements must be integrated in the expanded NATO missile defense, i.e. connected with elements placed on the US destroyers hosted by the Rota harbor (Golf of Cadiz, Spain). There was a false pretext of ceremony, because once the system became operational, the control of the facility must be transferred – at least theoretically – to the command of the Alliance. Or the really transfer just happened to the NATO Summit in Warsaw.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

At the same time, the ceremony from Romania prefaced another event: the launch ceremony of the next phase of the project that will be hosted in Poland[1]. Benefiting from the highest level support – by the presence of the Romanian PM Dacian Ciolos and the NATO General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg – the event has raised numerous statements in response, the most publicized being of course the one of the Russian President Vladimir Putin with clear reference to Romania and Poland[2]. Putin said, no more and no less, that the US military capabilities  have been or to be built in the two countries are directed against one target, and this target is Russia, the conversion from the defensive system in an offensive one being easy. redzikowo-base

In support of these allegations, Russian officials said the system Aegis Ashore, including Deveselu, using launches vertical type MK-41 equipment which supposedly could launch not only interceptor missiles, but also cruise missiles Tomahawk type banned by INF Treaty[3]. The reaction of NATO officials was either one flaccid, denial no arguments or just one bombastic.  So we witnessed to strengthening of the US military presence and the NATO multinationals brigades in the region. We saw many joint military exercises with the armed forces from the eastern flank, as an answer to “the aggressive behavior of the Russian authorities”. And suddenly, was delivered an explanation that is going to calm the spirits: “This will be a presence to deter Russia, not threaten Russia”. Epic !

In spite the apocalyptical titles from mass-media and the tensions accumulated between East and West – Deveselu is just one of the bone of contention – in essence, the two parts have done nothing more than to reiterate the same statements, motivations and arguments that were heard beforehand September 2011 when at Washington has been signed an agreement between Romania and US. Who profits from this verbal war? Who uses the antiballistic shield from Europe? Deveselu shield is ensuring protection or is threatening?[4] A cynical expert could say that to protect some, many, are sacrificing others few which are transformed in potential priority targets. I am saying that, maybe, this is the price that Romania must to pay following its option. History will decide if it was a good one or not.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

In the meantime, some questions and assumptions response are especially necessary.

Qui prodest? – following the money and not only…

The Pentagon’s arguments regarding the placement of the anti-missiles shield elements in Europe has been modified constantly by the economic and diplomatic interests, by the foreign policy of the White House, by the partnerships from the North Atlantic Alliance, by strategies and resources.

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Of course, for Bucharest is slightly difficult to waltz every time with the exchangers motivations delivered by Washington, especially after signing the agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, which has “suspended” at least temporarily “reasons” of anti-missile shield in Europe, confirming involuntarily the signals given previous by Moscow, the ones that we’ve been talking about earlier. In this context, the conflict between Ukraine and the intervention from Crimea of the Russia offered to the American policy a false but apparently credible enough argument in front of the NATO partners to continue the project. It is like a “Dear Putin, you are right, but you still got no red boots” (or do you?). I don’t know how to say it so it won’t be untranslatable. In short, if a decisive pretext would disappear, immediately another one could be found.

But let’s back and talk about money. During his recent European tour, in Berlin Barak Obama reminded to all NATO members that US would like to recover at least part of the money invested in the missile defence from Europe. As well reiterated how important a budget increase in defence is. All this suggest that, beyond strategies and security threats, here is all about business. As we all know, US is the first on top of arms exports, and the main rival is Russia.[5] If we take a close look to the competition between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin on the European market for anti-aircrafts and anti-missile systems[6] or if remark the irritation caused by the Turkey’s decision to spend a fortune building a similar system, like the Chinese one, but non-compatible with NATO technology, it becomes clear where is the US’ interest, and why they clang (literally and figuratively) their weapons along Russia’s borders.

The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

To add a touch of colour to the previous paragraph, Raytheon already proved their quality products comparing with Lockheed Martin in 1991 during the Gulf War, when the Patriot missiles enjoyed huge global exposure. We remember those missiles flying randomly, in all directions, although later was proved that Saddam had no ballistic charge to launch!  It was the start of the Raytheon’s transit from fridge-freezers, air conditioner machine and transistors – to build aircrafts. Today, they became the greatest provider of radar equipment and air defence. Because, as snippets of Anglo-Saxon wisdom teach us, “ought not to put our trust in money, but put money in a place we can trust.”

But isn’t just about money! By far the most important for US was (and still is) legitimisation of its actions through NATO. US want to claim legally approved, recognised and sustained military interventions via NATO, similar to those approved and sustained by or under the UN’s flag. The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance, divided by the huge discrepancy (income and resources) between the older member and the newcomers (especially the eastern wing, formed by the states of the ex-Warsaw Treaty), is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda-machine as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

Threat versus opportunity 

On the one side, Russia had lots of objections about the missile defence from Europe since the plan for it was just on Pentagon’s papers. But, the Russia reactions went light, fragmented between the objections against the US and NATO, because US theoretically had passed all decision on this issue to NATO. Russian Ambassador to NATO at that time, Dmitry Rogozin, currently vice premier, was put in an impossible situation: to ”negotiate” with all 28 member states. Concomitant, US spread some information about the possibility that

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russia could join NATO. Obviously, was just a plan to deceive the vigilance of Kremlin. Was a move which the Moscow understood later, and attempted to reverse by rethinking its medium and long term military and diplomatic strategies. Perhaps, a ”cold shower” for Kremlin was, as well, on 21st February 2008 at 3.26 am, when the Lake Erie warship has launched a single RIM – 161 – SM – 3 missiles (similar to those from Deveselu), slightly modified for extra-atmospheric flight. It hit and destroyed US 193 satellite on 247 km above Pacific Ocean. Just like Stars War! Today, without satellites you’re as good as dead! Probably, Russian officials got scared thinking about their own satellites floating about in space, although they remained (apparently) indifferent to the event.

Perhaps such a ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

On the other side, Russia used an ambivalent speech, which did not help international community to understand it intentions. In fact, one day political representatives from Russia affirm that missile defence from Deveselu is an obvious threat on Russia security. The next day, military officials infirm and explain there is no threat to Iskander, Topol–N or Bulava missiles. All these looks like pure propaganda! Although, there is some true. About some missiles even Vladimir Putin or US officials speak quietly. Looks like those missiles might penetrate the shield defence?! There is about SSN – 30 A, released recently , on the Caspic Sea, against some targets from Syria. Some military blogs said it may hit anywhere in Europe, and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads.  Remind that in 2013 US spoke about the violation of INF Treaty and said that the new technology is derived from Russian cruise missile SSC – X – 8. Perhaps such ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

Moreover, the opinion of the Russian Minister of Defence expressed by spokesperson, Gen. Major Igor Konashenkov, that „NATO’s accusations that Russia is breaching the military transparency mechanisms in Europe are an attempt to encourage anti-Russian feelings, in order to increase the Alliance’s military expenses. It is obvious that the true purpose of this declaration…is to deliberately stimulate panic and maintain the chymera of a common enemy” is quite rightly. But I personally noticed that, by allowing this permanent verbal conflict to brew, Russia is making itself a disfavour, and fuels the growing of Russophobia in Europe.

In the same times, I think that feelings against Russians can be capitalised by Russia to increase its own military capabilities, and to intiate, develop and strengthen a military alliances of BRICS, even if many times Vladimir Putin said that there are no plans for a military or political alliance. In these terms, the Deveselu shield seems more like a generator of opportunities, rather than a threat to the Russian Federation. In the same way as the military Russian doctrine according to which „The Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation to the use of nuclear weapons or any other type of weapons of mass destruction against it, and/or of its allies, and also in the case of assault by conventional weaponry against the Russian Federation if this threatens the very existence of the State” seems more like a big generator of opportunities for the US than a threat against eastern flank of NATO.

Placebo pill for the eastern wing of NATO

               Least, but not last, for Romania and the Romanian leaders in Bucharest, the missile shield represents the mainly project in the fields of military and security cooperation with the US, itself a strategic partner and leader of NATO. It is a major investment in Romania security and, according the “NATO guide”, it is not aimed against Russia, but has a preventive purpose, to discourage and to provide warning in the event of a hypothetical ballistic missile attack. Sure, a similar motivation is also provided for the components of the shield which will be assembled in Poland[7]. Romania and Poland understand and accept the risk of being primary targets in the event of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO. In other words, both countries are trying to prove that are safe, loyal, predictable and consistent partners in the achievement of their duty.

_60312125_us_missile_def_slide03_624_2Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears. Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive.

But of course, there is an elementary question: What they receive in return?  Can Romania be sure that NATO will defend it, if necessary? More: Is the missile shield protective just for countries from the West of Europe because it slightly diverts attention from some of them? Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears.

Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive. This may work as well for the Russians, but contrary.

Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

  And what if the defensive purpose of the Deveselu shield might be replaced with offensive ones (the possibility to replace interceptor missiles with offensive ones, even American officials not try to deny anymore)? It means an already clear decision for military conflict between NATO and Russia (which seems unlikely – nobody truly wants a war with Russia, particularly a nuclear war). In case of conflict, with or without missile shield, Romania is in the very first line. Because Romania means NATO, even if its commitments are obviously, but not the rights and interests as an ally, especially as border ally, as well.

And finally, a question for Russia : if – hypothetical – the countries of the former Warsaw Pact would not have opted for integration into NATO and the EU, the most probably would have had all the chances to experience a greater infusion of democracy type ”Arab Spring” or “Euromaidan”. What would have Russia been able to do for them? Probably nothing concrete – not out of spite or ill faith – while the cores of violence would spread everywhere around and multiplied exponentially. More so, would Russia have felt less vulnerable with multiple sources of instability like Ukraine around it? The answer is considerably more predictable that the security risk generated by the Deveselu missile shield. Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s return to the usual (and peaceful) business!

***

Gabriela Ionita is Romanian journalist, editor în chief of Power&Politics World journal, analyst in the field of International Relations and Security Studies (mainly connected with the Russian Federation and Community of Independent States). She took her university degree in Communication and Public Relation at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration – Bucharest. Also she attended intensive courses Diplomacy and National Security organized by the Centre for Strategic Applications – Bucharest. She has Master degree in the field of Foreign languages and civilizations (Slavonic studies) at the Faculty of Philology from ”Al.I. Cuza” University – Iassy.

[1] Ground Base Redzikowo (Poland) will be part of the American system of missile defense developed in Europe, the Phase III development of the European side of the US missile defense (European Phased adaptive Approach / EPAA), the term for completion in 2018. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/facility/redzikowo.htm

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3614027/Vladimir-Putin-warns-Poland-Romania-caught-crosshairs-Russian-rockets-hosting-defence-shield-considers-threat-national-security.html

[3] Intermediate-Range and Shorter Range Missiles Treaty was signed in 1987 by the US and the USSR. http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

[4] The facility hosted three US Deveselu includes SPY-1 radar, and SM-3 interceptors. These missiles are produced by Raytheon Corporation and can be launched from the vessel and from the land base and the Deveselu. They can intercept short-range missiles or medium-range missiles in the middle or final phase of their trajectory. Can engage enemy missiles in outer space. No one knows exactly reach of these interceptors. SM-3 missile to destroy enemy rocket strikes, why does not contain explosive.

[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-v-us-arms-imports-2015-4

[6] http://www.reportlinker.com/report-summary/Aerospace-And-Defence/83407/Missile-Industry-in-the-United-States.html

[7] http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160513/1039578197/poland-us-air-defense.html

Original file published by «New Defence Order. Strategy» / «Новый Оборонный Заказ. Стратегии», 2016, №3 (40)

 

Download/Read ”New Defence Order. Strategy”

Russia wants to preserve the status quo of Moldova Republic and Transdniestria

Romanian-flagPPW:More and more Western experts seem to agree that Ukraine was abandoned, the EU nowadays having its own problems that does not know how to manage right. How to see things from Kiev?

Andriy Voloshyn: – I think Ukraine was abandoned from the beginning, when Russia annexed Crimean and started war on the East of Ukraine. There is Budapest Memorandum which was signed by Russia, USA and UK who guaranteed security of Ukraine. Russia violated it and other countries did not much to guarantee security of Ukraine, our country received only minor humanitarian help. We understand that while Obama is president nothing will change, but anyway I’m constantly raising this issue, and many American politicians, not only Republicans but also Democrats say that Ukraine should receive bigger help.

Andriy Voloshyn

If Western powers are afraid that providing military help will escalate the conflict with Russia, then Ukraine can get big economical help. We need to have Marshall plan for Ukraine. As I see the funds can go for creating new jobs, new businesses, new housing for army veterans and IDPs (the number of which is more than 1.5 million). Then by raising economy we will strengthen our army and other areas. Ukraine managed to restore its army very fast with the help of volunteers and people’s support. Unfortunately the resources of volunteers and patriotic people are also limited. So while we had so-called ceasefire – it is good time to focus on reforms and economy.

Ukrainian topics are much less frequently are raised in EU media for 2 main reasons. First reason is that we have now low-intensity conflict, was is going on but the territory and scale of it is limited so media attention is much smaller. Second reason is another focus of problems EU is facing now: migrant crisis, terrorism, different problems of state-members.

PPW: – I said that the negotiations for the Minsk agreements were rather PR for political leaders than a real help given to Ukraine? What do you think ?

A.V.: – I think we can say so. For example Lukashenko, President of Belarus seriously improved his image in the West because of providing the platform for Minsk agreements. Also for French and Germany leaders it is a way to show their countries as strong conflict-solving powers, strong diplomatic leaders. For Russia Minsk agreements is a tool to integrate so-called LNR and DNR (terrorist states) into Ukrainian political system which will be like a huge disease for Ukraine. Can you imagine terrorists becoming regional leaders, taking money from Ukraine’s budget and blocking any Ukrainian incentives which Russia dislikes (for example joining NATO).

We understand stat many EU countries want sanctions on Russia to be lifted and they see Minsk agreements as the only way to do it. But Ukrainians don’t see how it’s possible to make election in the areas controlled by terrorists, it’s not right to give amnesty to those who killed and tortured Ukrainian civilians. So Minsk agreements can be considered as temporary ceasefire (which is violated all the time by terrorists) but it has not political future…

At the same time Ukraine feels support of some EU countries, such as Baltic countries, especially Lithuania, Poland, Romania, recently cooperation with Turkey increased.

PPW: – What is the most serious problem facing Ukraine at the moment?

A.V.: – Apart from Russia (aggressive neighbor which is permanent threat for security), we still have many old corrupted officials and their affiliates which use different corruption schemes, block new people from coming to power, block reforms. Big problems are in judiciary and law enforcement areas. Corrupted officials, thieves, traitors were not punished, and often we see trials against patriots on some fabricated or stupid accusations.

PPW: – What strategy could conceive Kiev to recover its influence on Crimea? There is sufficient domestic policy levers (i.e. conditionings, restrains of energy and transport infrastructure linking Ukraine and Crimea) or external (the cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic community,  particularly Turkey) that can to help fulfill this objective?

 A.V.: – I would call this strategy “Soft Ukrainization”. Ukrainian geopolitical thinker of XX century Yurii Lypa wrote that Crimea – is a key to Black Sea, the key which is necessary to have to dominate the Black Sea. So the geopolitical long-term goal of Ukraine is to return Crimea. Right now it’s hard to imagine that Crimea will be returned without military action, but in long-term when Russia’s economy and military power will fall – then it would be possible. By occupation of Crimea, Russia violated international law and challenged all civilised world by this action. On the international level I’m sure no states except Russian satellites will recognize occupation of Crimea.

I’m supporter of idea of Baltic-Black Sea Union so the question of Crimea should be kept all the time on regional agenda. Russia threatens not only Ukraine, but also other neighbours, especially Baltic states, relationships with Turkey are spoiled, so that would be good for Ukraine to increase cooperations with countries from Baltic-Black Sea space. Strategy of “Soft Ukrainization” should include informational, political, economical and cultural aspects of activities for the increase of pro-Ukrainian sentiments in Crimea. Right now many Crimean citizens are not happy with the situation. Many people thought that moving from Ukraine will bring some benefits, but tourism flows fell, prices increased and for most of people who are not in military or state services, life didn’t changed to better. cw_LIQVjY1Y
The big goal is also to make really successful and prosperous Ukraine, so people from Crimea will see how many opportunities they lost. But being realist, even if majority of people from Crimea would be for joining Ukraine, Russia as it is now won’t allow it. So weakening and destruction of Russia (separation into several states) should happen before Crimea can be returned to Ukraine. The fall of Russia might look impossible right now, but were there many people who predicted fall of Soviet Union?

PPW: – The Ukrainian parliament just approved yesterday the resignation of the Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, an close ally of President Poroshenko but seen by the Ukraine’s Western backers as an obstacle to tackling corruption. How do you comment the resignation of Mr. Shokin ?

A.V.: – It was not a surprise. Many members of parliament fought for this, also American ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt openly criticized him. More interesting is who will be next Prosecutor, there are candidacies supported by public opinion, and there are old bureaucrats, like Sevruk  (deputy of Shokin, who is acting as Prosecutor-General now) who anti-corruption activists accuse as the one who blocked the competition for employment in Prosecutor’s offices, so almost no new people came to work there.

PPW: – Local elections in secessionist territories of Ukraine  – according to German media – could be ideal pretext, if will be confirmed fulfill of the OSCE standards, for total or even partial lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia. What do you think ? In first, do you think that Kiev will allow local election in Donbas (June 2016) – it means fruitful negotiations with the separatists from DPR ?

A.V.: – I think everyone in Ukraine understand that it’s not possible to held such elections. I always make comparison with ISIS, can you imagine elections by OSCE standards there? The same is with DNR, LNR, terrorist organisations which are ruled by Russia (also in German press in Bild there was good material about Russian influence and rule over these “republics”). May be only Opposition block, which consist mostly of people affiliated to previous president Yanukovych) is interested in elections as they can increase their voter-base and there were rumors that their leader Yurii Boyko and oligarch Rinat Akhmetov can become leaders of these now ruled by terrorists groups. I think Russia can change leadership of the terrorists, it placed and removed people from there many times. But even if this happens – it’s not possible to make elections, most of people who live there now are scared and brainwashed. And what about people who had to run from there because they were in danger for their pro-Ukrainian position? After territory is clean from terrorists, there should be some period before the elections. It’s very strange when people say otherwise, it’s even possible to check other history of similar wars and anyway elections which are held under a gun – can’t be fair elections. While terrorists (separatists) are there – it’s impossible to make elections.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukraine had local elections recently under a new in all Ukrainian territories, including parts of Donbas which is not occupied. The bill on special status was voted on 16 September 2014, and was a part of Minsk agreements. The vote itself was un-constitutional, because the screen was black and it was not a personal vote like always, there is no information about who voted for it and who didn’t. This law was not and won’t be in action, it consisted many negative things such as amnesty for terrorists, also the date of elections there was set on 7 December 2014. The idea of special status for the areas which are now controlled by terrorists is very unpopular in Ukraine. So if any new similar bill would be prepared it can cause huge disagreement in Ukraine.

Regarding OSCE – many Russians work there and many pro-Russian people. Many times Ukrainian soldiers reported cases when OSCE visited them – after that they were under fire. For many people it might look strange facts that representatives of reputable organization is cooperating with terrorists, but lots of cases are reported, recently was popular case when OSCE celebrated wedding of one of terrorists. So the image of this organization is not the strongest among Ukrainians.

PPW: – What do you think about Russia intentions regarding Transnistria and Moldova Republic ?

A.V.: – I think Russia will do its best to keep Transnistria is the state which it is now. When Russia attacked Ukraine there were different options. I tend to think they considered to capture all Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine, including Odessa oblast. In case they would succeed they could go further and annex Transnistria or make a fake referendum there like in Crimea. This scenario failed because Russia faced strong response from Ukrainian army, volunteer battalions and ordinary people. In case of this scenario  Transnistria could be used as one of the sides from where Russian military would attack. Right now it doesn’t look so important for Russia in military terms, but in case Transnistria will start to decide its vector for future – Russia may also intervene. Pro-Russian forces are strong in Moldova and they along with pro-Russian forces can be used as tool for destabilization for the western integration of Moldova.

PPW: – Could be Crimea the pivot of some state constructed by Russia around/in Ukraine and Moldova region through consolidating potentially of the separatist regions (like Transnistria, Novorossiya)?

A.V.: – In his propagandist film about annexation of Crimea Putin said he made a fortress from Crimea. May be Russians considered scenario of annexation of part of Southern and Eastern Ukraine, then they could have land connection to Crimea. But this scenario failed firstly thanks to Ukrainian volunteer battalions and army and secondly because they ideas of “Russian world” and “Novorossiya” was not popular in these regions.  Novorossiya is a failed project, and even many Russian expert  acknowledge it, some of Ukrainian regions have pro-Russian people, but their influence is not significant, and is decreasing all the time. Also  from the Russian point of view Crimea is Russia now, so they would not allow it now to become independent or become some part of other state.  From the political point of view Crimea is on the periphery of Russia, economically it’s a burden for Russian budget, but from the military point of view (mostly navy) it can be used against Ukraine or against other state.
Novorossiya is not a region, it was a plan, failed plan, now we have annexed Crimea and parts of Donbass (DNR, LNR) which are not more than territories controlled by terrorists.

PPW: – And last but not least, what about PM Yatsenyuk resignation ?

A.V.: – It was expected after prosecutor Shokin resigns. Parliament met for session and voted Thursday to seat a close ally of the president, Volodymyr Groisman (ex-head of Parliament) as new PM. So now the presidential vertical of power would be strengthened as Groisman is conidered as his man, his career was promoted by Poroshenko. Its investment was received with reticence. We’ll see if he can do the necessary reforms.

Andriy Voloshyn is Ukrainian political scientist, writer and geopolitical expert.  He is the author of ”Maidan and War in Ukraine. Geopolitical Thoughts” book.  Also Andriy Voloshyn is co-founder of NGO “International Initiative to Support Ukraine”, adviser to Member of Ukrainian parliament, founder of geopolitical Center GRUNT.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita