NATO’S NEW OPERATION BARBAROSSA
What Business Does the German
Military Have in Lithuania?
April 30—If you look at the range of NATO’s actions against Russia, as well as those of the U.S. armed forces against China, a picture of deliberate encirclement and provocation emerges, whose only result will be a great catastrophe. For example: The German government now proposes to station soldiers in Lithuania as part of NATO’s thousand-man battalion—71 years after Hitler’s crushing defeat in his demented expedition against the Soviet Union. That is simply scandalous.
After President Obama signaled, prior to his recent visit to Hannover, that he expected greater military engagement and funding from Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel found nothing better to do than to pledge this contribution of troops at the mini-summit in Hannover of the heads of government of Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy with Obama. This “permanent rotating mission” is expected to be finalized at the coming NATO summit in Warsaw in early July, along with an array of other offensive measures against Russia.
At the Moscow Security Conference of April 27-28, Russian Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko warned against the consequences of NATO’s policy of confrontation on Russia’s western flank—including measures such as the “permanent troop rotation” (of which the German troop deployment is to be only a part), the permanent relocation of heavy weapons systems to eastern European countries, endless maneuvers, continuous air surveillance, and the reinforcement of naval forces in the Baltic and Black Seas.
In the latest incident in the Baltic—when Russian fighter aircraft flew over U.S. warships operating about 75 miles off the coast of Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania—the U.S. side invoked what it calls “anti-access/area denial” (A2AD) under the pretext that Russia was denying free access to NATO’s military support for the Baltic states. In fact, NATO was questioning Russia’s right to self-defense in the immediate vicinity of its borders.
RIA Novosti archive #44732/Zelma/CC BY-SA 3.0
Also in process is the formation of military brigades comprising troops from Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine, or Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. The expansion of the U.S. Ballistic Missile System into Eastern Europe is also going forward, although after the “P5+1” agreement with Iran, any pretext that this system is for defense against Iranian missiles has been dropped. It is perfectly clear that the system is oriented toward neutralizing Russia’s nuclear second-strike capability.
See No Evil
Virtually no one in Germany asks why the Obama Administration intends to spend a trillion dollars (a trillion!) in the coming years on the modernization of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal—including the B61-12 tactical nuclear weapons to be stationed in Germany—an action which would make them (along with the stealth bombers) “operational,” as was recently pointed out in a U.S. Senate hearing by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. That no one in Germany questions this, can only be explained as collective paralysis and amnesia. All of this is happening in an environment that U.S. military analysts such as Ted Postol and Hans Kristensen have identified as more dangerous than at the high point of the Cold War, namely the Cuban Missile Crisis. That is why figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev and the recently deceased Helmut Schmidt warned not long ago of the danger of a Third World War.
This time the overeager obedience of Mrs. Merkel and the fealty of the careerist military have gone too far. Germany is increasingly involved in NATO’s encirclement strategy against Russia, moving NATO ever closer to Russia’s borders, not Russia moving westward as claimed. (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called that claim a “dirty attempt to turn reality on its head.”) Germany’s involvement puts its very existence at risk: In a nuclear war, nothing will remain of Germany, and no one would be left alive. No one can convince us that Mrs. Merkel, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and the military leadership are not perfectly aware of that.
Along with the NATO operations against Russia are the U.S. armed forces’ escalating provocations against China. The United States insists on “freedom of the seas” in the South China Sea—although China has not once hindered passage—a demand the United States uses to justify flights over contested islands and reefs in violation of Chinese territory. Then there is the attempt to use the crisis over North Korea to station the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, a system that threatens Russia and China, and the deployment of an additional 250 U.S. Special Forces personnel to Syria without Syrian government invitation, without a UN Security Council mandate, and without the authorization of the U.S. Congress as required by the American Constitution.
A Policy of Brinksmanship
These are all elements of a policy of brinksmanship. Are they designed to lure Russia and China into a trap and provoke reactions which can be used as a pretext for large-scale punitive actions? Is it a deployment for a first strike, in accordance with U.S. war doctrines such as Prompt Global Strike and Air-Sea Battle? Is it seriously believed that the costs of a new arms race, combined with color revolutions, will result in regime change in Moscow and Beijing, because the people will rise up against Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping? All of these scenarios are insane. In every case they risk the obliteration of mankind in a global thermonuclear war.
It is not Russia and China that are the problem, but the neo-liberal financial policy which underlies the supposed necessity for the imperial expansion of the trans-Atlantic sector. The commitment to this policy is the underlying reason that no one addresses the causes of refugee flight in the refugee crisis; those causes are the result of the wars in Southwest Asia based on lies, and a policy that has denied development to Africa through the imposition of the notorious IMF conditionalities. It is this policy which has intolerably widened the gap between rich and poor in many parts of the world, and which seems ready to sacrifice everything to the Moloch of high-risk speculation for the advantage of the few, at the expense of the many. And even this policy is hopelessly bankrupt, as the lunatic debate about “helicopter money” shows.
Just the idea—71 years after the total defeat of the Nazis, who inflicted untold suffering on the Russian people and many others, including our own—that we Germans could participate in a new Operation Barbarossa against Russia, must be rejected in the strongest terms and in practice. If the escalations now planned—including the granting of NATO special status to Ukraine and Georgia as “associate partners,” long identified by Russia as a red line, possible NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, and the deployment of German forces to Lithuania—are adopted at the upcoming NATO summit, then in all probability we will find ourselves on the direct road to Hell.
We must therefore use the remaining two months before the summit to get the alternative underway. That means win-win cooperation with Russia and China, without which none of the life-or-death problems facing us—the war danger, the impending financial crash, the refugee crisis, and terrorism—can be solved. And we can show no greater friendship to the true United States than by insisting on this cooperation.
There is a way out. We must join with Russia, China, and India in building the New Silk Road to ensure the economic development of Southwest Asia and Africa, and the reconstruction of our own productive economy. We must make it clear to the United States that we are not willing to commit suicide to maintain an empire. For the America of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, however, a place of honor is reserved in the community of nations.
This article was written for the May 4 issue of Neue Solidarität and has been translated from German.