Stop NATO News: December 18, 2011

18 December 2011 — Stop NATO

  • U.S.-NATO Missiles In Europe: Potential Threat To World Peace
  • NATO System: U.S. Could Target Russia With THAAD Interceptor Missiles
  • Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million: New Interceptors For Taiwan
  • New Defense Authorization Act Approves Arms For Georgia
  • Post-Libya Wars: NATO/EUCOM Commander Inspects Warplane Crews In Germany
  • Three Mistakes Will Defeat U.S. ‘Return To Asia’ Strategy
  • Shores Of Tripoli: Panetta First U.S. Defense Secretary To Visit Libya
  • Pakistan: Blockade Of NATO Supply Route Enters 23rd Day
  • Baltic Air Patrols Example Of NATO ‘Smart Defense’
  • No ‘Eurasian Spring’ In Russia

U.S.-NATO Missiles In Europe: Potential Threat To World Peace

http://thecitizen.co.tz/editorial-analysis/-/18027-us-and-nato-should-avoid-confrontation-with-russia

Citizen Daily (Tanzania)
December 17, 2011

US and Nato should avoid confrontation with Russia  
Lugenzi Kabale

-To understand the side-effects which might result from this missile crisis, America should remember the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
What the US is trying to do in the name of Nato is a true replica of the Cuban missile crisis which almost caused the first global nuclear war.
-Russia’s top generals consider the missile shield in Europe project to be a direct threat to its nuclear forces, with US use of ‘rogue states’ as a target for the planned missiles just a cover-up.
-This is a serious threat not only to the US-Nato alliance but to global peace. America and its hawkish European partners should think twice before going ahead with the missile project. They have to take into consideration that Russia is not a push-over as the Pentagon and Brussels may like to believe.
Even more important Russia is not a soft target like Muammar Gadaffi’s Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq where America and its hawkish European partners were certain of victory prior to embarking upon invasion.

The way the United States of America through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) treats Russia when the former implements its strategic military projects in Europe generates more questions than answers.

This is proved by the planned project to place new missile defence systems and radars in Europe. The project has caused unrest following the involving of new Nato members in Eastern Europe.

US-Russia cooperation since the collapse of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991 has been tricky for both states, with Russia facing an uphill task of trying to halt the US’s strong drive to woo former Warsaw Pact states to join Nato. [All former Warsaw Pact nations outside the former Soviet Union are now full NATO members – RR]

Earlier when Poland, Romania and other former USSR allies under the Warsaw Pact applied for Nato membership, Moscow came up fighting against the move, Russia lost the fight…

A moment to fight Nato presented itself this year following US and its Nato allies unveiling a multi-billion-dollar plan to place land- and sea-based radars and interceptors in different European locations over the next decade.

Among identified locations to host the missiles are Poland and Romania, two states formerly members of the defunct Warsaw Pact.

While Moscow is furious and spiting fire, Washington claims the new missile sites where new shield missile system are to be placed are not aimed at Russian targets, but are rather aim at protecting US allies against ‘rogue states’.

The unfolding Nato-Russia spat as a result of Nato’s missile project leads one to question, are the US and Nato underestimating Russia’s military strength to the point of daring to provoke the former super power?

Or is US-Nato homework on Russian military strength done competitively to justify a provocation which if it leads to a military confrontation will see the US and by extension Nato emerge victorious, hence tilting the military balance in Europe to Nato’s favour?

If that is the calculation by Nato military experts in Brussels and the Pentagon, then they should go back to the drawing board. This is because they are provoking Russia at their own peril. One can’t imagine who among Nato members pushed for the missile shield project so arbitrarily with no reasoning as to the need of bringing Moscow on board.

To understand the side-effects which might result from this missile crisis, America should remember the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

What the US is trying to do in the name of Nato is a true replica of the Cuban missile crisis which almost caused the first global nuclear war.

To prove what is in store following the US’s thirst to create an imperialist hegemony in Europe, outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev responded to the US-Nato project by warning the US and its European allies that Russia will rightfully target the new proposed missile defense sites.

According to Medvedev, Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea exclave along the Russia-Poland border. The Russian leader displayed the reaction while wearing a stern face. He said tension would only be defused if the US takes into account Russian proposals to jointly man the sites with Nato. This will help Russia be sure the sites will not target its territory.

Unfortunately the US and Nato flatly rebuffed Moscow by rejecting the proposal.

With such a US-Nato position, automatically the ‘understanding’ between the two parties will be achieved in the battle trenches. 

To show what the menu is for the West, Russia has stated that it will position Iskander missiles and other weapons in Russia’s west and south targeting the planned U.S  missiles in Europe.

Russia’s top generals consider the missile shield in Europe project to be a direct threat to its nuclear forces, with US use of ‘rogue states’ as a target for the planned missiles just a cover-up. To bolster the Russian ‘warning’ on the US-Nato threat, Medvedev went public saying that prospective Russian strategic nuclear missiles will be fitted with systems that would allow them to penetrate missile defenses.

This is a serious threat not only to the US-Nato alliance but to global peace. America and its hawkish European partners should think twice before going ahead with the missile project. They have to take into consideration that Russia is not a push-over as the Pentagon and Brussels may like to believe.

Even more important Russia is not a soft target like Muammar Gadaffi’s Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq where America and its hawkish European partners were certain of victory prior to embarking upon invasion.

The writer is a correspondent with The Citizen based in Dar es Salaam.

====

NATO System: U.S. Could Target Russia With THAAD Interceptor Missiles

http://www.businessinsider.com/this-thaad-missile-system-is-just-one-reason-why-the-russians-hate-the-european-defense-shield-2011-12

Business Insider
December 17, 2011

This THAAD Missile System Is Just One Reason Why The Russians Hate The European Defense Shield
Robert Johnson     

A first of its kind program, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System completed the first test of its full capabilities with flying colors.

Armed Forces International News reports the THAAD system is designed to knock out multiple incoming ballistic missiles using a kinetic energy strike — using no explosives — just the energy of the collision to bring the warheads down.

In its most recent test the first THAAD took out an air-launched ballistic missile, while the second sought out and destroyed a sea-launched ballistic missile such as one that would be launched from a submarine.

Developed by Lockheed Martin, and in development since the 1980s, the strike was carried out at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility and uses imaging seekers to find its targets designed by British defense contractor BAE.

The first deployment of THAADS included 24 interceptors, with the next deployment expected to be double that.

With the Armed Forces post pointing out that the system will be used to protect U.S. allies against ballistic missiles, it isn’t a stretch to see it may likely be used as part of the European Missile Defense Shield causing Russia so much anxiety.

====

Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million: New Interceptors For Taiwan

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/raytheon-awarded-6857-million-for-new-patriot-systems-for-taiwan-2011-12-16

Raytheon Company
December 16, 2011

Raytheon Awarded $685.7 Million for New Patriot Systems for Taiwan

TEWKSBURY, Mass. – Raytheon Company has received a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for additional new fire units of the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan.

‘Our partnership with Taiwan dates back more than 45 years, and we are committed to providing Taiwan with the best air and missile defense system capability available,’ said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business (IDS).

Patriot is the world’s most capable air and missile defense system, protecting against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. It is the system of choice for 12 nations around the globe.

Raytheon is the prime contractor for both domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems and system integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.

Main points:

This award is in addition to the one received in 2009 for new systems for Taiwan and the 2008 contracts to upgrade Taiwan’s existing systems.

Raytheon recently delivered the first Configuration-3 radar system to Taiwan, completing the upgrade 10 months ahead of the original program plan the customer requested.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., issued this contract for new Patriot fire units that will feature new advanced technology, improved man-machine interface and reduced life-cycle costs.

====

New Defense Authorization Act Approves Arms For Georgia

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24280

Civil Georgia
December 17, 2011

Georgia in U.S. Military Authorization Bill

Tbilisi: The U.S. defense authorization bill contains a section which calls for ‘normalization’ of military cooperation with Georgia, including the sale of defensive arms.

The U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a voluminous document authorizing appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense, has a section with the title ‘Defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia’. The Senate approved the USD 662 billion defence bill on December 15, a day after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives and it is now expected to be signed by President Obama.

‘Defense Cooperation with Republic of Georgia’

The portion of the legislation dealing with Georgia calls on the U.S. president to submit to the congressional committees for defense and foreign affairs within three months after the bill is enacted a ‘plan for normalization’ with a purpose to support Georgia ‘in providing for the defense of its government, people, and sovereign territory, consistent with the continuing commitment of the Government of the Republic of Georgia to its nonuse-of-force pledge.’

It calls for the sale of U.S. ‘defense articles and services’ and also for encouraging ‘NATO member and candidate countries to restore and enhance their sales of defensive articles and services to the Republic of Georgia as part of a broader NATO effort to deepen its defense relationship and cooperation’ with Georgia.

The plan should include ‘a needs-based assessment’ prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense about Georgia’s defense requirements, as well a list of ‘each of the requests’ made by Georgia for purchase of defense arms during the last two years. The plan should be submitted in unclassified form, although IT may contain a classified annex, according to the document.

U.S. Republican Sen. John McCain, who has previously called on the U.S. administration number of times ‘to resume’ arms sale to Georgia, highlighted this section of the bill dealing with Georgia in his remarks on December 15.

‘U.S. defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia has been stalled ever since Russia invaded that country three years ago,’ he said. ‘While there has been some slow and minor progress to enable Georgia’s armed forces to deploy to Afghanistan – which they have done in greater numbers than most of our NATO allies – precious little has been done to strengthen Georgia’s ability to defend its government, people, and territory.’

According to U.S. officials, currently defense cooperation with Georgia focuses on two areas – helping the country in its defense reforms and training and equipping Georgian soldiers for the deployment in Afghanistan.

Georgian officials, including President Saakashvili, have spoken a number of times previously about Tbilisi’s willingness to purchase air defense and anti-tank weapons. President Saakashvili said earlier this year that it should become ‘the next stage of cooperation’ with the U.S. in the defense field.

====

Post-Libya Wars: NATO/EUCOM Commander Inspects Warplane Crews In Germany

http://www.usafe.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123283683

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
December 15, 2011

Airmen showcase fighter-wing mission to SACEUR, EUCOM commander
by Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

-’One thing I really admire about how we do business here is we deliver combat capability, we support partnership building with all of our European allies…’
-Stavridis thanked them all for their hard work in the effort to secure enduring stability in Europe and Eurasia.

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: The commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe visited with Airmen here Dec. 14 as part of a familiarization tour.

U.S. Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis saw the unique capabilities the 52nd Fighter Wing provides to the European theater of operations and learned about some of the wing’s accomplishments this year.

During the visit, pilots and maintainers of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft briefed the admiral about Spangdahlem’s weapon systems and how those systems allow Saber Airmen to provide combat power to the current fight.

The wing supported Operation Odyssey Dawn, NATO’s operations in Libya earlier this year. Stavridis said Spangdahlem’s F-16, A-10 and mobility operations all combined to form a part of the global air capability the United States is known for delivering.

‘In terms of Libya, this is where the first flights were launched, we saw the suppression of enemy air defense and above all, these great Airmen forward deployed into Italy to continue that mission,’ Stavridis said…

While EUCOM’s overall mission involves conducting military operations and partnering with international military and interagency departments to defend the United States forward, Stavridis said there is more he wants Airmen to think about during their day-to-day operations.

‘One thing I really admire about how we do business here is we deliver combat capability, we support partnership building with all of our European allies and we also deliver a wonderful environment for our families,’ he said. ‘So, we do combat, we prepare to partner in the international world, and we take care of our families.

‘That’s our mission,’ he continued.

More than 100,000 military and Department of Defense civilian employees work for the command, and Stavridis thanked them all for their hard work in the effort to secure enduring stability in Europe and Eurasia.

====

Three Mistakes Will Defeat U.S. ‘Return To Asia’ Strategy

http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2011-12/16/content_24171408.htm

China.org.cn
December 16, 2011

Three mistakes will defeat US ‘return to Asia’ strategy
By Luo Yuan*

-The U.S. was quick to deploy forces to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, it left behind a lot of problems more troublesome than the conflicts themselves. Thus the U.S. is unlikely to get away from these regions very soon.

The United States has proclaimed its high-profile return to the Asia-Pacific region by expanding its strategic deployments with an apparent aim to suppress China. While peddling their vision for the region, US leaders make three critical mistakes.

1. China is not America’s enemy

When George W. Bush took over the US presidency in 2001, he regarded China as a potential major adversary. After September 11, 2011, America realized that Al-Qaeda terrorists, rather than China, were the most dangerous enemy of the United States. Sadly, America paid dearly for its miscalculation.

The emergence of China as a major power may offend the hegemonic consciousness of some Americans, but it will never threaten the lives of the American people. The growing Chinese economy may grab some profits, but at the same time it will provide more jobs, cheaper daily necessities and a profitable investment market for Americans. Also, China’s developing military clout, which is only tasked to defend China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, will pose no threat to the United States.

Therefore, there is no need for the US to worry about China as long as it does not inflict harm upon the Chinese people. As Henry Kissinger said, ‘Treating China as an enemy increases the likelihood that it will become one.’

2. The Asia-Pacific region should not be a central part of US security strategy

The core interests of the United States lie in its national security. The U.S. can and should see the Asia-Pacific region as a hub for economic cooperation and development. However, with the threat of terrorism still looming, its security strategy should be focused on anti-terror efforts. The U.S. was quick to deploy forces to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, it left behind a lot of problems more troublesome than the conflicts themselves. Thus the U.S. is unlikely to get away from these regions very soon.

Compared with the terrorists, the Asia-Pacific region poses a much smaller threat to the United States. No country here serves as a breeding ground of terrorism or directly threatens American security. The US’s interests in this region primarily concern the safety of sea lanes and American’s allies, neither of which, however, is more important than the national security of the country itself.

Taking the above into consideration, the U.S. should rethink the main objectives of its security strategy.

3. Containment policies won’t defeat China

America’s ‘return to Asia’ strategy could potentially ignite conflict at the wrong time, with the wrong enemy for the wrong reasons.

In the post-Cold War era, mutually beneficial cooperation has prevailed over containment and suppression. However, the U.S. is still using Cold War techniques to fight an imaginary enemy.

The U.S. had adopted containment policies against China since the new republic was established in 1949, firstly by excluding it from membership of the United Nations and then the World Trade Organization. The U.S. still has an arms and high-tech embargo on China. However, these policies have been in vain, as China has grown into the world’s second largest economy and a military superpower.

It is time for the U.S., as well as the other Asian countries, to give up the containment policies and carry out mutually beneficial cooperation with China. Otherwise these countries may slip down on China’s list of potential partners once when China elbows its way to the top table.

U.S. risks repeat of the 9/11 tragedy

In the 20th century, America gave up a certain amount of control over the Asia-Pacific region due to its withdrawal following the Vietnam War. Now the U.S. faces similar pressure caused by the biggest economic crisis since World War II, permanently high unemployment and the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. Under the circumstances, the U.S. should shift its attention from the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region and focus on protecting its own people from terrorism.

Since China doesn’t harm America’s interests, the US has no reason to suppress China. As the U.S. shifts its military attention to the Asia-Pacific region, it risks its own national security. This negligence could one day result in another 9/11 tragedy.

In short, it is not America’s enemies, but rather America’s decisions, that will lead to its decline.

*The author is a major-general in Chinese People’s Liberation Army and executive vice president of the Chinese Strategic Culture Association.

This article was first published on people.com.cn and translated by Li Xiao.

====

Shores Of Tripoli: Panetta First U.S. Defense Secretary To Visit Libya

New York Times
December 17, 2011

Panetta Is First U.S. Defense Secretary to Visit Libya
By Thom Shanker and Liam Stack

TRIPOLI, Libya: Presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama have waged war on these shores. Given such volatile relations, it is little wonder that no American defense secretary had ever set foot here.

But on Saturday, Leon E. Panetta became the first defense secretary to visit Tripoli…

Mr. Panetta said he was ‘looking forward to building a close partnership with the Libyan government,’ and he pledged that the United States ‘stands ready to offer security assistance cooperation once the government identifies its needs.’

In a somber tribute to past American conflicts in Libya and nearby seas, Mr. Panetta visited the cemetery that is home to remains of some of the 13 American sailors killed offshore on Sept. 4, 1804. Their mission was to sail the Intrepid into a pirate fleet anchored in Tripoli harbor, then detonate explosives packed on board to destroy as many of the buccaneer vessels as possible.

The charges aboard the Intrepid detonated prematurely; all 13 American sailors were killed before they reached their targets.

When their bodies washed ashore the next day, the American sailors were buried in a grave outside Tripoli. In the 1940s, the local government dug up the area and moved an unknown quantity of the remains to be interred in five tombs on a hill above a busy thoroughfare that traces Tripoli’s harbor.

‘It is a sign of the great friendship between the American and Libyan people that, in spite of the differences that have marked our governments’ relations over the years, the Libyan people have maintained this cemetery with the respect and honor that it deserves,’ Mr. Panetta said in an official statement.

====

Pakistan: Blockade Of NATO Supply Route Enters 23rd Day

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=28856&title=NATO-route-blockade-enters-23rd-day

The News
December 18, 2011

NATO supply route blockade enters 23rd day

CHAMAN: Pakistan’s blockade of the vital NATO/US supply line into Afghanistan entered its 23rd day on Sunday.

The supply line was suspended after the NATO troops raided checkposts inside Pakistan, killing 24 soldiers.

Hundreds of containers are awaiting at Chaman terminal.

Meanwhile, drivers of the NATO containers, standing at Pak borders, are facing many problems. Severe cold is adding miseries to the drivers already facing problems.

According to FC officials, Afghan police have also stopped hundreds of empty containers, returning from Afghanistan, in Spin Boldak.

====

Baltic Air Patrols Example Of NATO ‘Smart Defense’

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/30719/?SID=a4fed46bd80a47839356749d61e64bc0

Defence Professionals
December 15, 2011

Estonian Defence Minister: Baltic air policing is a good example of smart defence

On 12. and 13. December, Minister of Defence Mart Laar met with Minister of Defence of Denmark Nick Hækkerup who is visiting Estonia. The ministers agreed that the Baltic air policing mission is a good example of smart defence.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed issues related to the on-going defence reforms in Denmark, the defence environment of the Baltic Sea, cyber defence, the Multinational Corps North-East and the Danish presidency of the European Union.

Minister of Defence Laar thanked Denmark for its recurrent contributions to the Baltic air policing mission. ‘Both I and Minister of Defence Hækkerup found that the Baltic air policing mission is a good example of so-called smart defence, where countries jointly use more complex and more expensive military capabilities. I also hope that we will soon find a long-term solution within NATO to safeguard the airspace of the Baltic States,’ said Minister of Defence Laar.

At present, and until the end of the year, the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is safeguarded by F-16 fighter aircraft of the Danish Air Force.

At the meeting, the ministers also discussed issues related to NATO’s Chicago summit taking place in the spring. ‘I agree with my Danish colleague that the European countries themselves must contribute to the protection of our security and we cannot rely on the military force of the United States of America alone,’ said Laar.

This week, Minister of Defence of Denmark Hækkerup, who was appointed to office in October, is visiting the Baltic States. Last night, Hækkerup also laid a wreath at the foot of the Monument to the War of Independence.

====

No ‘Eurasian Spring’ In Russia

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203518404577094780010444466.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Wall Street Journal
December 14, 2011

The Russian Spring Has Begun
By Andrei Piontkovsky

At URL above

—————————————————————————-

http://tehrantimes.com/opinion/93583-no-european-spring-in-the-cards-for-russia

Tehran Times
December 16, 2011

No European Spring in the cards for Russia   
Hassan Beheshtipour

The recent parliamentary election in Russia provided a good opportunity for the Western media to connect the Russian situation to what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa under the name of the Arab Spring.

Moscow’s disputes with the West, especially with Washington, over a number of issues, such as the establishment of a NATO defense shield, Georgia’s potential accession to NATO, and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, provided excellent pretexts for Western media outlets to create controversy during Russia’s parliamentary election.

But Russian voters have become accustomed to the Western approach toward their political system and barely pay attention to such criticism. However, the flaws in the Russian electoral system are accepted by both the politicians and the voters.

The current system is dominated by Russia’s four major parties, which won the majority of votes in the recent election.

Even the Yabloko party, headed by the pro-Western liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky, failed to attain the five percent of the vote required to obtain seats in parliament. Other major political figures, including Garry Kasparov, also were not able to win seats in parliament.

This will create many problems for the Russian political system in the future.

Russia’s most popular figure, Vladimir Putin, also experienced a sharp decline in the votes cast for his party, United Russia. Thus, the future government should focus more on the process of reform. Otherwise, it will have to face major popular demonstrations.

The situation in Syria is another point of disagreement between the Western powers and Russia. And the imposition of pressure on Moscow over the flaws in the recent parliamentary election is in fact a direct reflection of this dispute.

However, the future government of Russia will not be affected by any incidents like what is happening in the Arab world. Putin is still regarded as a very popular politician, especially among the lower classes of society. Moreover, the West is very unpopular in the country and most Russian citizens are opposed to the Western way of governance and politics. Therefore, it is unlikely that Russia will be affected by what the Western media call the European Spring.

Hassan Beheshtipour is an expert on Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia based in Tehran.

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