U.S. NATO Commander Wolters Insists Russia Is ‘an Enduring Existential Threat to the U.S.’
Feb. 25 , 2021 (EIRNS)—NATO Supreme Allied Command Europe (SACEUR) and U.S. European Command commander Gen. Tod D. Wolters delivered a speech yesterday to the Feb. 24-26 Air Force Association’s Aerospace Warfare Symposium, in which he called Russia an existential threat to the U.S. “We’re in an era of global-power competition. Winning in this era is ensuring that global power competition does not become a global power war,” Wolters said. “Despite widespread international condemnation and continued economic sanctions, Russia engages in destabilizing and malign activities across the globe, with many of those activities happening close to home [in Europe].”
Russia, Wolters went on, seeks to maintain a sphere of influence from the Soviet era by retaining or employing forces to coerce neighboring Soviet-sovereign nations. 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. “Russia remains an enduring existential threat to the United States and our European allies,” he insisted.
Wolters also attacked China, whose growing European influence centers around an aggressive economic and diplomatic campaign. Seventeen Central and Eastern European nations participate in a cooperative framework program led by China, while some European countries have bilateral agreements to build infrastructure and give China an advantage in global trade and market access, he said.
Wolters also claimed that Russia and China are militarizing the Arctic. “Facilitating sustainable economic development, fostering cooperation, and ensuring a stable, conflict-free Arctic region enhances interoperability and proficiency, while it also shows a collective resolve to uphold the rules-based order,” Wolters said. “However, Russia and China—having declared itself a near-Arctic power—continued to militarize the region and seek to establish economic footholds to gain influence over regional governance,” he said. “The activities by Russia and China illustrate the importance for Eucom to come together with our allies and partners to maintain a credible Arctic deterrence and ensure vital sea lines of communication remain open by securing the Greenland, Iceland and United Kingdom gap.”