Friday, March 20, 2015

Germany Alarmed at NATO's (and America's) Ginned Up Claims on Ukraine

A Warmonger and a Fearmonger
Angela Merkel thinks that Germany (and the rest of the West) is being conned by NATO and the U.S. inflating the Russian threat to the Ukraine.

General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass. "What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."

German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. 

Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

...But Breedlove hasn't been the only source of friction. Europeans have also begun to see others as hindrances in their search for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. First and foremost among them is Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department. She and others would like to see Washington deliver arms to Ukraine and are supported by Congressional Republicans as well as many powerful Democrats.

...To be sure, neither Berlin's Russia experts nor BND intelligence analysts doubt that Moscow is supporting the pro-Russian separatists. The BND even has proof of such support.

But it is the tone of Breedlove's announcements that makes Berlin uneasy. False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO -- and by extension, the entire West -- in danger of losing its credibility.

At the beginning of the crisis, General Breedlove announced that the Russians had assembled 40,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and warned that an invasion could take place at any moment. The situation, he said, was "incredibly concerning." But intelligence officials from NATO member states had already excluded the possibility of a Russian invasion. They believed that neither the composition nor the equipment of the troops was consistent with an imminent invasion.

The experts contradicted Breedlove's view in almost every respect. There weren't 40,000 soldiers on the border, they believed, rather there were much less than 30,000 and perhaps even fewer than 20,000. Furthermore, most of the military equipment had not been brought to the border for a possible invasion, but had already been there prior to the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, there was no evidence of logistical preparation for an invasion, such as a field headquarters.

...there are many at NATO headquarters in Brussels who are likewise concerned about Breedlove's statements. On Tuesday of last week, Breedlove's public appearances were an official item on the agenda of the North Atlantic Council's weekly lunch meeting. Several ambassadors present criticized Breedlove and expressed their incredulity at some of the commander's statements.

...Although President Obama has decided for the time being to give European diplomacy a chance, hawks like Breedlove or Victoria Nuland are doing what they can to pave the way for weapons deliveries. "We can fight against the Europeans, fight against them rhetorically," Nuland said during a private meeting of American officials on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference at the beginning of February.

...Nuland has also been open -- at least internally -- about her contempt for European weakness and is famous for having said "Fuck the EU" during the initial days of the Ukraine crisis in February of 2014. Her husband, the neo-conservative Robert Kagan, is, after all, the originator of the idea that Americans are from Mars and Europeans, unwilling as they are to realize that true security depends on military power, are from Venus.

When it comes to the goal of delivering weapons to Ukraine, Nuland and Breedlove work hand-in-hand. On the first day of the Munich Security Conference, the two gathered the US delegation behind closed doors to discuss their strategy for breaking Europe's resistance to arming Ukraine.

What a tag team, "Made in America" fear mongers and war mongers.  It's dismaying to realize that our own government, and a good number of our opposition, are right in there with them.  NATO is pretty obviously bent.  Instead of a military, mutual-defence alliance it has been allowed to become a very dangerous instrument of geo-politics.  Enough.


rumleyfips said...

The Ukranian military has supplied the militias of Lugansk and the Donbas with lots of tanks, Grad trucks,howitsers, ammunition, rations, uniforms, vests, night vision goggles in the two failed attacks. Now the US wants to donate more stuff .

Dana said...

Anyone, anywhere, in any field of endeavour be it diplomatic, governmental, journalistic, military or public who believes anything said by any spokesperson of any arm of the US government without intensively and independently verifying what was said should be sent to live in Iraq for the rest of their lives.

The Mound of Sound said...

NATO has changed so much since my days that I find it unrecognizable in both its composition and purposes. It's as though it scrambled about for something, anything to keep going after it had lost its original, defensive role. Now it's become something a lot more like how we used to perceive the Warsaw Pact. During its existence NATO restrained the Warsaw Pact. Now there's really no equivalent alliance to restrain NATO as it goes on the offensive which really destabilizes everything.