Europe has been waiting with sinking heart for Joe Biden to come to power, assured that he could ease a trans-Atlantic dispute about burden-sharing among NATO members.
Hopeful Germany is struggling to please the new administration in the White House. Berlin reported a record numbers in NATO defense spending for 2021, submitting a 3.2% increase in budget over the previous year. However, this is still not enough. Such an effort should be a harsh challenge for German economy that suffers from COVID pandemic blows. It has also agreed to extend its military mandate in Afghanistan into 2022.
In response, large-hearted Biden has frozen (but still did not revoke) former President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany.
Washington is unable to significantly change its policy towards its European allies due to the current dire economic environment. That’s why it only makes superficial concessions and loud claims.
This was clearly demonstrated during the recent online meeting of NATO Ministers of Defense. Despite the global economic shock, there was no sign of lifting the demands to fulfill their obligations to increase defense spending.
In fact, being unable and unwilling to change Trump’s approach towards European countries, Washington insistently declares the importance of unity pursuing an image of dangerous external threats.
At the recent Air Force Association’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium, Сommander of the US European Command, Air Force General Tod D. Wolters emphasized the goal to preserve the current global order and to oppose the common enemies that are primarily traditionally represented by Russia.
“We live in an increasingly complex and contested world,” Wolters said. “Political uncertainty, energy competition and diffusion of disruptive technology are stressing the established rules-based international order, [and] threats and challenges seek to take advantage of these conditions through aggressive action, using all instruments of national power [that] are backed by increasingly capable military forces.”
“Our air forces in Europe play a critical role — as do all of our components in all domains …Beyond exercises, we conduct operations and other activities to compete, deter and prepare to respond to aggression, including presence in the Black Sea region.” – Walter said, implying recent stage drills and engage in a series of stand-offs with Russian sailors in the Black Sea.
Wolters added that Moscow seekes to maintain a sphere of influence from the Soviet era by retaining or employing forces to coerce neighboring Soviet-sovereign nations; that in this global power competition, Russia is employing unconventional tools such as private military companies to intimidate, weaken and divide U.S. allies and partners.
Accusing Russia of using the Private Military Companies (PMCs), the US Commander apparently forgets who exactly introduced this practice in the international politics.
Today, the PMCs have become one of the most demanded and effective tools in solving the military tasks of many states. For the first time, they were introduced by the United States, and they have been actively used since the 80s.
While all Western media tirelessly cover the activities of the mythical Russian Wagner Group, the world’s largest PMCs, numbering thousands of military personnel remain neglected. For example, there are American Academi (Blackwater), MPRI International (Military Professional Resources) Inc., DynCorp or British G4S (Group 4 Securicor), Aegis Defence Services, Erinys International. They have been deployed for decades in flashpoint areas in the Middle East, Eastern Europe or Africa.
In their turn, Russian PMCs are only active for the last seven years.
Wolters’ claims that Moscow seeks to maintain a sphere of influence from the Soviet era are also groundless. Today, such a large state as Russia is trying to ensure its own internal security by stabilizing the border areas. It is absolutely natural that Russia is interested in maintaining stability in the regions with which it has historically been closely linked since the times of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
The American Commander is trapped in his illusions of the exclusive mission of the American state. In modern conditions, the idea of the US exclusiveness as of the global democracy exporter or a world policeman is no more valid. Even the Americans themselves do not believe in it. It only serves as the mean of justification of aggressive military actions by US military forces.
Such statements are extremely dangerous for the entire world stability: “Everything we do is about generating peace. We compete to win, … and if deterrence fails, we’re prepared to respond to aggression, primarily through NATO,” Wolters, also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said.
The statement by Tod D. Wolters clearly demonstrates that in case of West-Russian crisis aggravation, Washington is ready to launch the first devastating military strike.
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