Moving ever closer to a new Cold War

BLACKEAGLE

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By Jonathan Beale Defence correspondent, BBC News


Nato forces have been carrying out exercises in Poland


Nato defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to agree their next steps in dealing with the renewed threat from Russia.

The US Defence Secretary, Ash Carter, arrived in Europe saying he was not looking to start a new Cold War.

But, in reality, both Nato and Russia are stepping up their rhetoric and strengthening their military posture.

Last week President Vladimir Putin announced he was adding another 40 long-range ballistic missiles to his nuclear arsenal.

In return, Nato accused Moscow of "sabre rattling".

The 28-member alliance is doing a bit of that too.

On a barren plain in northern Poland, Nato has been testing its new rapid-reaction, or spearhead, force for the very first time.

Its proper title is the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VHRJTF) - it is meant to be more nimble than its name.

It is a direct response to the crises in Ukraine, with the aim to have boots on the ground within 48 hours.

In the past, it would have taken the best part of a month to mobilise Nato forces to defend its own borders.

Signal to Moscow
Military units from nine Nato countries have been taking part so far - including Dutch and German forces from the west, and Norwegian and Lithuanian troops from the north.

After dozens of military convoy moves - by road, rail and air - they converged on Poland to carry out the first "live fire" exercise. Called Noble Jump, it is clearly designed to send a signal to Moscow.

General Breedlove says Nato has been provoked
Officially, the "enemy" could be anyone. In reality, there are similarities with what has happened in Ukraine.

In the exercise scenario, they are fighting a militia, not a conventional army.

It is not that dissimilar to the "little green men" who appeared in Crimea to help Russia annex it from Ukraine.

First Special Forces are sent in to capture or kill the militants, followed by helicopter gunships and tanks.

The spearhead force is meant to be just the tip of Nato's combined firepower.

Britain is promising to commit at least 1,000 troops to the 5,000-strong VHRJTF from next year, while the US will contribute soldiers, surveillance drones and fast jets.

Gen Philip Breedlove, the most senior Nato military commander, says: "We need to be ready because of provocation."

Like many Nato officers and officials, he seems reluctant to mention Russia.

Tough rhetoric
The alliance does not want to take the blame for fanning the flames, but at the same time it wants to talk tough.

Gen Breedlove is also keen to emphasise the difference between Nato's own exercises and those carried out by the country he does not name.


Exercise Noble Jump will send a message to the Russians

He says: "Remember our exercises are open and transparent and are sized not to be provocative.

"Put that against their snap exercises, with large forces moving unannounced that in one example turned into an invasion that changed the shape of the land." That is a clear reference to what happened in Crimea.

True, Russia has been conducting large-scale military manoeuvres involving tens of thousands of troops.

But by the end of this year, Nato will have conducted more than 300 combined military exercises, 100 more than last year.

It is still being pushed to do more by its newer member states, those that feel more vulnerable on Nato's eastern flank.

As we watched his special forces in action on exercise Noble Jump, a Lithuanian general told me the Baltic states could be Russia's next target.

He said: "Just on the other side of our border, we see large military units that can mobilise at short notice."

Old Warsaw Pact countries want reinforcements - especially from the US.

US plans for Europe
This week, the US defence secretary has announced plans to pre-position US military equipment in Europe.

After pulling out all of its tanks two years ago, The US is sending them back in.

A US armoured brigade - with 250 armoured vehicles, including Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles - will be in Europe by the end of the year.

Some will end up in Poland and the Baltic States.


Nato boss Jens Stoltenberg meets with Andrzej Duda, of Poland

Nato has already set up new military bases in those countries along with Romania and Bulgaria.

Poland's Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, says: "Pre-positioning US military equipment seems like a very good idea to us because it means increasing our security."

He reminds me that, given its history: "Poland thinks very seriously about threats."

Where will this all end?

NATO membership:
1949: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, UK, US

1952: Greece, Turkey

1955: West Germany

1982: Spain

1999: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland

2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia

2009: Albania, Croatia

Already, there is talk the US might seek to strengthen its own nuclear posture in Europe to counter any threat from Russia's new missiles.

For now, that seems unlikely.

But the US has made a calculation that it needs to park the tanks near Russia's backyard, even if they are relatively few in number.

But how does this help "de-escalate" tensions?

While Nato insists this is not a new Cold War, it is starting to look and sound remarkably similar.

Moving ever closer to a new Cold War - BBC News
 
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For people talking about being unwilling to start a new cold war, they are doing the exact opposite. Every move they make is aimed to provoking Russia. And do they expect Russia to watch from the sidelines and have no suitable response to that provocation? The West needs to let the Russians be. Nothing is to be gained from all the military posturing we are seeing.
 
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For people talking about being unwilling to start a new cold war, they are doing the exact opposite. Every move they make is aimed to provoking Russia. And do they expect Russia to watch from the sidelines and have no suitable response to that provocation? The West needs to let the Russians be. Nothing is to be gained from all the military posturing we are seeing.
its all about pride. We couldnt possibly let Russia think we arent stuck up their arse and watching every move they make. Lord forbid someone on this planet do something without America's involvement. If we stop sticking our nose in everyone elses business, the government might be forced to address what our country is turning into.
 

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The U.S believes its status [as super-power] gives it the right to police the world. And does so in the interests of national security. But as long as security agents are doing their work why should what others are doing elsewhere concern the government?

But then again, unless "muscles are flexed" from time to time some nations would start to be more aggressive. Weaker nations would be bullied, their land seized. So much as we hate what the U.S does, they keep the world somewhat safer for those who can't defend themselves.
 
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Cold war means snubbing but not bullying. Am I right? I just want to be clear on the term because I have been reading cold war almost everyday and if that is not really critical then I don't want to feel tensed about it. From what I remember in the history class, the cold war in 1960 between the US and USSR lingered but nothing serious happened. I am praying that history will be repeated - nothing serious would happen.
 
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Russia needs to just chill out and focus on its development rather than pushing for a confrontation with NATO. They should look at China and see how they are going about being a world superpower. The Russians will be defeated should they try to go to war with NATO.
 
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Cold war means snubbing but not bullying. Am I right? I just want to be clear on the term because I have been reading cold war almost everyday and if that is not really critical then I don't want to feel tensed about it. From what I remember in the history class, the cold war in 1960 between the US and USSR lingered but nothing serious happened. I am praying that history will be repeated - nothing serious would happen.
I was just about to post and use the word "bully", I like it when other people agree with me before I even post
Russia needs to just chill out and focus on its development rather than pushing for a confrontation with NATO. They should look at China and see how they are going about being a world superpower. The Russians will be defeated should they try to go to war with NATO.
They probably would lose, but it would cost us. Given Russia's history, I don't expect them to go down without taking a lot of us with them. And all for what?
 

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Cold war means snubbing but not bullying. Am I right?
You are right.

The bullying actually wasn't a reference to the cold war. Imagine there's no cold war. The U.S embraces the Monroe doctrine [America should avoid involving itself in strictly European matters] no matter what happens. And they don't involve themselves in anything at all. Would everyone let America just be? Weren't they dragged into WW2 although they didn't want to involve themselves?

Take the Spratlys as an example. What would stop China from seizing more land from their neighbors if the international community won't stop them?

That's why the world will always need the Superpowers to "police" the world.
 
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Cold War did not have any large-scale fightings, but many conflicts still took place and cannot be discredited.
 
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You are right.

The bullying actually wasn't a reference to the cold war. Imagine there's no cold war. The U.S embraces the Monroe doctrine [America should avoid involving itself in strictly European matters] no matter what happens. And they don't involve themselves in anything at all. Would everyone let America just be? Weren't they dragged into WW2 although they didn't want to involve themselves?

Take the Spratlys as an example. What would stop China from seizing more land from their neighbors if the international community won't stop them?

That's why the world will always need the Superpowers to "police" the world.
Sometimes America takes it a little too far. I get what you're saying. And you're right. But sometimes we get involved for the wrong reasons. And our actions are bullying as opposed to conflict resolution.
 

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U.S intervention in affairs that don't concern have proved to disastrous lately. All the instability in the Middle East, Ukraine and North Africa is a result of the U.S's interference.

Cold War did not have any large-scale fightings, but many conflicts still took place and cannot be discredited.
There were no direct confrontations but there were numerous proxy wars:

> The Indochina war.

> Vietnam war.

> Soviet War in Afghanistan.

> The Korean war.

> The Civil war in Cambodia [1967].

> The UKraine crisis.

And many others. I hope history won't repeat itself.
 
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U.S intervention in affairs that don't concern have proved to disastrous lately. All the instability in the Middle East, Ukraine and North Africa is a result of the U.S's interference.


There were no direct confrontations but there were numerous proxy wars:

> The Indochina war.

> Vietnam war.

> Soviet War in Afghanistan.

> The Korean war.

> The Civil war in Cambodia [1967].

> The UKraine crisis.

And many others. I hope history won't repeat itself.
Exactly. My parents lived under USSR, and I definitely do not want to see Cold War repeated, although perhaps the space race would not have happened without the tension between USSR and the U.S.A.
 

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Exactly. My parents lived under USSR, and I definitely do not want to see Cold War repeated
The residents of Eastern Ukraine are caught in the Middle of it all. And since Ukraine's economy is affected too, all of Ukraine suffers from the Russia-US conflict which they can't diplomatically solve.

The Eurasian Chessboard: Brzezinski Mapped Out The Battle for Ukraine 1997 | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
“Ukraine . . . is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.
That would explain why Russia won't lose Ukraine to the West and why the West won't let Russia have Ukraine. This conflict won't end.
 
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