Is NATO Exercising Its Way into Confrontation with Russia?
May 30, 2016 (EIRNS)—NATO is running exercise after exercise in the Baltics and Poland. Exercise Saber Strike, with 10,000 troops from 13 countries, kicked off on May 27 in the Baltic states. The U.S. Army’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, concurrent with Saber Strike, left its base in Vilseck, Germany, last week, for a 2,200-km Dragoon Ride, meandering through the Czech Republic (where they are now), Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and, finally, Estonia, over the course of June. This and the Saber Strike exercise follow the recently concluded Spring Storm exercise, which saw 6,000 troops in Estonia. Also recently concluded is Exercise Brilliant Jump, which ran from May 17 to 26, which tested the very-high-readiness Joint Task Force and the Spanish-led NATO Force Integration Headquarters in Poland. All of this will be followed by Exercise Anakonda in Poland later in June and into July, in the run-up to the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9.
NATO’s exercising isn’t limited to Poland and the Baltics, however. Exercise Noble Partner concluded in Georgia, last week. U.K. troops participating in the exercise were treated to a visit by General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, who also met with the Georgian defense minister.
In the middle of this, notes Sputnik, sits Poland, whose right-wing government has been playing a crucial role in stoking the flames of confrontation. Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski reportedly is saying that Warsaw won’t agree to any more discussions between NATO and Russia until NATO finally approves the additional troop deployments to Poland and the Baltic states. "Only then will we give our consent to the meeting [of the Russia-NATO Council]," he said, adding that NATO has agreed to this. It’s likely that Russia will see no point in resuming NATO-Russia Council discussions under such conditions.