US-led Bloc Boosts Military Activity In Arctic Under “Russian Threat” Excuse

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US-led Bloc Boosts Military Activity In Arctic Under "Russian Threat" Excuse

FILE IMAGE: Ints Kalnins / Reuters

The UK is to increase its military presence in the Arctic significantly due to concerns of allegedly growing Russian aggression “in our back yard,” according to UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.

According to him, the UK government was drawing up a “defense Arctic strategy” with 800 commandos being deployed to Norway in 2019 and an instalment of a base in the north of the country.

He emphasized that Russia’s reopening of Soviet-era bases and an “increased tempo” of submarine activity is evidence that Britain needed to “demonstrate we’re there” and “protect our interests.”

“We see Russian submarine activity very close to the level that it was at the Cold War, and it’s right that we start responding to that. If we could turn back the clock 10 years many people thought that the era of submarine activity in the High North, in the North Atlantic, and the threat that it posed did disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall. This threat has really come back to the fore.”

The UK government program revolves around claims of Russian aggression, and the idea that global warming will lead Russia to stake out new claims in the far north, near where old Soviet-era bases exist, for natural resources.

The strategy is aimed at more effectively monitoring Russian submarine activity and ensuring that the British Armed Forces are “well placed” to respond to any threats.

As part of the strategy, 800 Royal Marine and Army commandos will be deployed to Norway every winter for the next decade, operating alongside US and Dutch marines as well as Norwegian troops.

According to ZeroHedge, there has been long speculation of a rush to claim natural resources in the Arctic. However, “NATO nations have been sending more and more troops to every Russian frontier area for years now, always nominally to counter “aggression” that exists purely as a talking point to justify more military spending.”

A report by the UK government’s defense subcommittee warned of Russia seeking to expand its influence. In its report, “On Thin Ice: UK Defence in the Arctic,” the subcommittee warned that Britain should be concerned about Moscow’s intentions in the region.

“Russia has shown itself to be ready to use military force to secure political advantage and the disputed operation of a number of international legal norms in the Arctic is vulnerable to exploitation by a revisionist state,” it said.

The UK’s move is only the most recent of many that aim to “deter Russian threat” in Arctic by NATO.

The US expanded its deployment of troops in Norway and it has boosted its military cooperation with the country. US military officials have repeatedly claimed that these actions are aimed at countering the alleged “Russian threat.” As early as June, there are reports of top Norwegian officials asking for the US to double its troops deployed closer to Russia. Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told reporters that the decision had wide support in parliament.

“There will still be a respectful distance with the Russian border,” Soereide said. “We can’t see any serious reason why Russia should react, even if we expect it will again this time since it always does about the allied exercises and training.”

Oslo previously, before becoming a founding member of NATO, promised not to station foreign troops on its soil unless it was under threat of an attack. Troops have been positioned and according to Norwegian officials they are “rotational” not permanent, but that is yet to be seen.

In August, Norway confirmed the doubling of the troops.

On October 1st, the largest deployment of Marine Corps troops to Norway took place, with about 700 Marines being deployed to Norway as part of the rotational presence to train in cold-weather environments.

In May, the US also resurrected its Second Fleet to counter “Russian aggression” in the Atlantic and North Atlantic.

Adm. James Foggo, head of US Navy forces in Europe and Africa, has said that a “fourth battle of the Atlantic” — which comes after the naval warfare of World War I, World War II, and the Cold War — is already being fought, and it ranges far beyond the waters of the Atlantic.

“I’ve used the term in some of my writings that we are in a ‘fourth battle of the Atlantic’ right now, and that’s not just the Atlantic,” Foggo said.

In March 2018, US forces took part in massive military drill in Alaska ahead of a possible “do-or-die clash with Russia,” according to reports cited by the Daily Star.

One of the biggest military drills is also forthcoming on October 25th. Trident Juncture 18 will be held in Norway and it will test’s NATO’s ability to repel invasion of an ally. Adm. James Foggo told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that he thinks Russia will want to be there. He said that by observing the defensive maneuvers, called Trident Juncture, the Russians would learn more about NATO’s capabilities.

The exercises will involve 45,000 troops from the U.S. and other NATO member countries, plus Sweden and Finland, which cooperate with the alliance but are not members. Also involved will be about 150 aircraft, more than 60 ships and 10,000 military vehicles. Foggo said that it is the largest NATO exercise since 2002.

At the same time Moscow is actively making moves in the Russian Arctic and is building facilities, as well as expanding its icebreaker fleet. Russia’s Northern fleet has always been its most capable and it plays a key role in the country’s national security.

On August 31st, TASS cited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu who said that Russia’s Northern Fleet is testing new generation military equipment in rigorous Arctic conditions. “With support from the Russian Geographic Society several units of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic brigade are continuing a comprehensive expedition to the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. In extreme conditions they are testing new generation military equipment and navigation means,” he said at a defense ministry board meeting.

TASS also reported that in spring 2018, the Northern Fleet received the Ilya Muromets icebreaker and the Elbrus logistic support vessel.

The outlet also once again cited Shoigu who claimed that interests of a number of states clash in the Arctic and that may potentially give rise to conflicts in the region.

“Protecting Russia’s national interests in the Arctic region and its active development remain a priority for the army. Today the Arctic has turned into a place where territorial, resource and military and strategic interests of a number of states clash. This may spark a growing conflict potential in this region,” Shoigu said.

According to Shoigu, “the icebreakers of Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Germany, the United States and China are in the north polar region.” He stressed that in order to respond to the current and potential threats the Northern Fleet continues implementing the Defense Ministry’s comprehensive plan for developing the force groupings and troops in the Arctic up to 2020.

As early as in 2015 TASS reported that Russia had finished equipping six military bases along the Arctic shoreline.

The US seems to be falling behind in terms of its icebreaker fleet, with Republicans in Washington DC having suggested diverting funding from the Coast Guard’s initiative to acquire a new heavy icebreaker to the border wall.

The military diplomatic situation around the world remains very tense. The crises are smoldering in the Big Middle East, the South China Sea and eastern Europe with high chances of the escalation even in the cyber space. Recent developments, especially the ongoing US-China and US-Russia conflicts, show that there are little preconditions for a détente.

So far, the Artic has been one of the regions, which are at least formally excluded from of the ongoing conflicts. However, it seems that the region may be turned into a point of instability in the near future. The US is in conflicts with Russia and China and is attempting, with its allies’ help, to portray both countries as enemies. The “Russian” and “Chinese” threat narrative is exploited by the US Armed Forces to boost its military presence in foreign countries, in the key regions around the world. This agenda also facilitates controversial and aggressive policies employed by the Washington establishment and its allies.

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  • Promitheas Apollonious

    xm…….. and by sending to Norway troops how they figure they defend their alleged arctic interest? I think brits get more stupid and out of touch with reality, every passing day.

    • KrA40n1

      Because they still dream that they are the once mighty empire

    • andyoldlabour

      Not all of us, just a lot of the NeoLiberal/NeoCon politicians.
      None of them have been to war, they are the ultimate example of “chickenhawks”.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        For this chickenhawks to exist,It means so many voters follow them and vote for them. To me those are not english men are brits. Same as in every western country including mine.

        • AM Hants

          Each party selects the candidates, in the Party Head Quarters, then send three to the local party, for the members to pick. Those that lose, then go to another location, for the same tactic. So there are no independent politicians who would actually carry out their commitments, for the concerns of the electorate. They are there to serve the interests of the lobbyists/activists. I refuse to vote, any party, owing to their lust of genocide and ethnic cleansing, wherever they sniff out natural resources, where the nation has no wish to gift to the pillagers. We seriously need a thorough clean out and fumingation of Westminster.

          • andyoldlabour

            Exactly as I see the situation. We elect/vote for the politicians, and when they get in they ignore our wishes and prostitute themselves to the highest bidder.

          • AM Hants

            So true.

    • AM Hants

      Look who we have got in Westminster? Which explains the stupidity levels.

    • You can call me Al

      Not Brits in general, but this dumb, warmongering piece of deranged kiker loving turd -> UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        OK but as I said I separate the morons as brits (holders of a british passport) and that involves all nationalities and then, are the english men that to my opinion or as I understand it are representing England.

        Same goes also for the neogreeks as we call them, holders of greek passports various nationalities including amerikanized neogreeks and then is the hard core of Ellada that we call Ellines.

        So now my friend know what I mean when I say neogreeks or brits or…….. and you understand me better. But because english is not my mother language if you have better words or names I am better student, than I am a teacher.

        • You can call me Al

          Thanks, no worries; especially as I do the same. I just get defensive of my Country, United Kingdom.

          My apologies.

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            all patriots do my brother. But we are all europeans with a special love for our birth place yes, but never enemies. It is not our doing what the sold out politicians do betraying everything we hold sacred. But trust me what they started we will finish it and them, in our life time.

            If you decide to come vacations to greece get a flight for Thessaloniki and let me know your flight and arrival time we can discuss this over BBQ and special moonshine we do our selves here.

  • What Bull Shit ! the USA is always pushing, pushing for world domination and their allies are to afraid to stand up to the pressure of joining them in its continuation of conflicts around the world, when will the USA see that the only nation to fear is itself and its war industry…
    .

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      you referring to the USa as is something separate from the ones who control and own it. Whose the USA you referring to, that must see?

  • rudy

    Russia made the N.arctic shipping ready so they have the rights ! It whas not sailable before !

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      I think is best to leave few parts of earth untouched and think the future generations. Not just pretend they do.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    trying to extract what is beneath the ice is what destroys the environment in combination with what they did back several years in the gulf of mexico from BP. What make me wonder about this people is in what planet they live? Unless of course causing a melt down of the poles believe it will leave them untouched.

  • Lena Jones

    Even American citizens are a “threat” to the American government – so deep is the Deep State’s guilt and paranoia.

  • KennyB

    The US, UK and other partners in crime are preparing for WWIII and talking up Russia (and Iran) as “the enemy”. Why? There’s no evidence that Iran, Russia or North Korea have any plans for any sort of aggression against the aforementioned gang of criminals.

    • AM Hants

      Because the bankers are running out of money and desperately need war to keep the petty cash running. They have not figured, that if they destory the planet, they will destroy not only themselves, plus, their families, but, there will be nothing left of their investments. Will they be that stupid? Would not surprise me.

    • You can call me Al

      + and China now.

  • AM Hants

    Russia is the only nation to send ground samples of the artic bed to the UN, to prove their territorial claims. The UK has no territorial claims, with regards the artic. Our naval ships cannot cope with warm water, so how will they cope with cold water? Plus, do we have any military to spare, owing to austerity cutbacks?

    • andyoldlabour

      The politicians always seem to find money for the military or paying their own expenses, or bribing a nasty party from Ulster to prop them up in parliament.

  • Barba_Papa

    What magical part of UK territory exists in the Arctic that is now suddenly threatened and which needs to be protected? Did I miss a large slap of British land in the Arctic? Did Ultima Thule rise from the ocean bed and was claimed by London overnight?

    I get it that the Norwegians might be upset, they have real estate in the Arctic, so does the US. I don’t know what vital British interests are at stake in the Arctic though.

    • putinbeater

      Canada is part of commonwealth

      • Barba_Papa

        Canada hasn’t needed or wanted the UK to be its protector for what? World War 2? Like all the former white dominions the Commonwealth is for photo ops, for all things really important they turn to the US instead.

  • chris chuba

    The Russian claim looks reasonable to me ….
    https://eurasiangeopolitics.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/arctic-territorial-new.jpg
    They take the farthest east / west point of their natural boundaries and then take the longitudinal line up to the north pole. If anything, it is the Danes who are making the most out of their spec of earth.

    So what is this great crisis or act of aggression that NATO wants to counter? (sarcasm)

  • 800 people from the dole office !..ask russia for a loan to set up a camp in norway & a payment sys for some military equip. the russian heart is big..if they can help,they will

  • putinbeater

    sorry, bur ruskies began with army activity boosting in arctic region. also SF have some articles, where PROUDLY inform the rest of the world, how many new bases, new ahips, new weapons shifted russia in hat region. of course, the answer comes.

    and the typical ruskie reaction: wining, crying, stamping with hairy bearleg. :DDD

  • Sinbad2

    This is just Britain trying to convince itself that it is still a global power.
    Hype and BS Britain is a has been.

  • Harvey Swinestein

    Poor pathetic Britain . .like a man who can no longer get it up, even after multiple doses of viagra and the women all know it and chuckle amongst themselves about how feeble he is, but they keep humoring him so he will live on in his dreamland . .

  • Feudalism Victory

    Remember that time when Russia planted a flag on ocean floor because they said the continental shelf extended from Russia? I do. So if they dont like the arctic becoming militarized they shouldnt claim territory next to nato countries.

  • Thunder

    if my people r out there then its my peoples lands!!if no first nations then alls i can say white folk is..be careful