Why the Pentagon and NATO Are Bluffing
Pepe ESCOBAR | 17.07.2016 | OPINION

Why the Pentagon and NATO Are Bluffing

Let’s cut to the chase; as much as the Pentagon may have finally concluded that Russia holds undisputed conventional superiority in the European theater, the only possible rationale for NATO’s existence is unchanged; the US must keep the military occupation of Western and Central Europe till the end of days. And the justification for the «project» must be anti-Russian hysteria.

Thus the perennial, bogus, «threat» narrative. The myth of imminent «Russian aggression» against the poor Baltic nations. These recurrent NATO talk fests staged as former Soviet – or Maoist – «party conferences». The impression/illusion sold by the lame duck Obama administration that they are benevolently «concerned» about European security. And, of course, the Russian counterpoint; the suspicion that NATO is no less than engaged in fabricating serial declarations of war. 

The whole show might be derided as a juvenile mind game. Still, it’s taken seriously. «NATO has begun preparations for escalating from a Cold War into a hot one», sentenced Mikhail Gorbachev. There are indeed elements pointing to how serious the current geopolitical juncture is. The Obama administration won’t do anything – even as that hopeless nullity, deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, states that, «continued aggression by Russia would provoke a response by NATO and a greater alliance presence in Eastern Europe». Western corporate media, meanwhile, predictably surfs the hysterical monster waves of Russia demonizing.  

The real action in fact is that multiple industrial military security surveillance complex actors in the Beltway are frantically jockeying for position in the next 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue set up, which might as well translate into a Clintonesque Gotterdammerung. As I stressed before, there’s been a frank admission by a US general in London that the Big Picture may spell out Hot War, as Putin, Professor Stephen Cohen and indeed Gorbachev have already warned. 

So the strategic outlook by the Pentagon is clear; we have already entered Dr Strangelove 2.0 territory. Forget about that unmovable force, the Taliban; forget about elaborate counter-insurgency ops; forget about deranged jihadis of the Daesh kind. The real game ahead is all about the possibility of war against «high-end enemies» – Russia and/or China.

Mind the (Suwalki) Gap

Under this framework NATO’s recent moves, contrary to its massive navel-gazing spin, are clearly offensive, in a betting-the-farm belief that the Kremlin will blink and would never dare to use, for instance, tactical nuclear weapons (no less) to effectively counterpunch a US strike (probably conjured out of a false flag) that could be sold by Washington to the world at large as strictly defensive. After all, in the 21st century whoever wins the spin war, wins.

So each NATO member nation will still be enforced by Washington to deviate 2% of GDP for this putative future war. As these weapons must be NATO-compatible, it follows they must be purchased in the Beltway. Yet while this delicious Mob-style racket kept going – to the benefit of the industrial military counterinsurgency surveillance complex – Russia totally revamped and upgraded its own military complex, leaving NATO in the dust, and China is not that far behind (that will happen before 2020). Russia has unveiled only part of the whole package – in Western Syria, the Black Sea and Kaliningrad. No wonder NATO «commanders» of the Breedhate kind started freaking out.

So what to do? Well, number one: install permanent bases near Russia’s borders – with the US, Britain, Germany and Canada each stationing a rotating battalion in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. For the record, this is the closest to Russia NATO will have deployed troops, ever.  

And number two: install missile defense/shield hubs (in Romania and later Poland) added to the existing ones in Spain and Turkey, under the (astonishing lame) excuse they are intended against Iranian missiles. And everything under NATO command – which in practice means nothing because NATO always obeys to a US General, nowadays Curtis Scaparrotti, Breedhate’s successor.

It’s fair to argue Moscow considers number one a joke. But number two can turn into a pretty serious business.

NATO’s secretary-general, nonentity Jens Stoltenberg, insists«NATO poses no threat to any country»; «We do not want a new Cold War. We do not want a new arms race. And we do not seek confrontation». Well, that’s a serially sonorous pack of lies. The NATO plot of provoking Russia and forcing a confrontation is at the very heart of the Cold War 2.0 «strategy».

No wonder the NATO-Russia council, meeting in Brussels after a long winter, was not exactly a rose garden. Andrey Klimov, deputy head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Russia’s Upper House of Parliament, delightfully mused, on NATO’s battalions, «imagine that somebody put some tanks with oil or gasoline near your door. What do you do? Do you cry and ask kindly of people not to do that?»  

NATO is particularly freaking out about Kaliningrad – the HQ of Russia’s powerful Baltic Fleet. In fact, this is all about the Suwalki Gap; a roughly 100 km stretch along the Polish-Lithuanian border between Belarus and Kaliningrad. The gap is currently protected by a Polish anti-tank artillery squadron equipped with archaic Soviet weaponry. It would certainly be a piece of cake for Moscow to cut off access from Western Europe to the Baltics if the facts on the ground – and in the air – would ever get hot. But what for? To gain what? It’s as if NATO’s «commanders» are rooting precisely for this scenario.     

MAD men

Serial, meaningless Pentagon/NATO provocations have already resulted in Russia boosting its considerable self-defense capabilities. Predictably, Beijing is fully supportive. The entire geopolitical balance of power has slowly but surely shifted against Washington for no reason at all; for years the Kremlin aimed at a profitable partnership encompassing «Lisbon to Vladivostok». As for the EU, like the Tower of Babel, the cracking up proceeds unabated.

So the only real military issue – in Europe – is the substitution of offensive missiles for worthless defensive missiles in Poland and Romania; if things would ever get hot these two are at serious risk of destroying themselves. As I’ve shown before, Russia is ready for war and its defensive missiles are way ahead of the Americans. Essentially the US cannot penetrate Russia’s airspace, but Russian nuclear missiles can penetrate American airspace. MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) no longer applies.

Russia, though, will never conduct an armed attack on NATO – and that has been spelled out in full, over and over again, by the Kremlin and the Ministry of Foreign Relations. But then again Pentagon/NATO provocations on the edge of Russian territory – especially Kaliningrad – might well turn into a Gulf of Tonkin, and then all bets are off.

Why this madness? Simple. It all harks back to the Pentagon’s Joint Vision 2020, a.k.a. Full Spectrum Dominance, with its implied «freedom» to operate «in all domains – space, sea, land, air and information». It harks back to the myth of the US’s «benevolent hegemony» keeping at all costs what is defined as a «rules-based international order» – political and geo-financial – obviously «supervised» by the hegemon.   

This arrangement not so subtly implies that both Russia and China, as challengers of the «order», are provoking chaos – and not the Empire of Chaos itself. Call it a slightly more nuanced version of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). 

Meanwhile, in real life, the Pentagon noticed it is behind on where it really counts – and where Russia is already generations more advanced; offensive and defensive missiles (and submarines). US aircraft and missiles are relatively sitting ducks against Russian defense missiles like the S-500 that seal its airspace.

The S-500s began their rollout in 2015. It’s around a five year per generation rollout. That means that the next generation – let’s call them, for the sake of argument, the S-600s – will be rolled out in 2020. The US rolls out a new generation every ten years – which would mean the US could be over a whopping four decades behind Russia, which is twice as fast in missile development than the US. President Putin has already hinted, on the record, his chief concern about the US missile defensive system was substitutability. His concern is that offensive missiles may be placed in the same launchers as the new ground Aegis Ballistic Defense System (that the Israelis say is actually inferior to the Russian S-300s). 

So, to cut it short, yes; Pentagon/NATO-Russia relations have reached the most dangerous crossroads in modern history. All bets are off if we have a Full Spectrum Dominatrix in Washington in 2017. It will be virtually impossible to steer her «We came, we saw, he died» mentality to a soft landing – which means the Empire of Chaos engaging in nuclear WWIII (or WWIV, depending on taking the Cold War into account) remains a dire possibility.

Chinese President Xi Jinping received Putin in Beijing the day after Brexit. Russia and China are increasingly attracted to each other as they both seriously worry about the geopolitical void consuming the West. The only serious interlocutor, for both, is Germany – which happens to be the Promised Land, and one of the key final destinations, of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. One Belt, One Road (OBOR). Imagine a perfect alignment, in a not too distant future, of Beijing, Moscow and Berlin (BMB). That also happens to be, historically, the ultimate Anglo-American nightmare.   

The industrial military counterinsurgency surveillance complex is absolutely terrified of war scenarios gaming how Russian – and Chinese – submarines would be capable of blocking trans-ocean shipping from Asia to the US. Key components for all of the US’s weapons are manufactured in Asia. In the event these submarines can block the seas, the mighty military industrial counterinsurgency surveillance complex would simply collapse.

The Pentagon is, predictably, hysterical. This would mean these industries must be repatriated to the US. This would mean the US dollar would have to fall so that it makes economic sense to return these industries to the US. And that leads to some powerful players in New York rationalizing that Donald Trump is being supported by some deep, invisible forces for this purpose – and this purpose alone. Trump’s speeches, for all their rambling, keep a constant; he always stresses he will rebuild the US military, and he will bring US industries back home.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon/NATO/parts of the EU no holds barred confrontation with Russia now carries the status of official policy, for the foreseeable non-Trump future. But still it’s inescapable to be back to that juvenile mind game syndrome. Would anyone seriously believe that the United States will risk launching a nuclear war and kill at least 200 million Americans for the sake of...Poland? Or…Estonia?

Tags: NATO  Pentagon 

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