Stoltenberg Extols Wonders of British-Led NATO Empire
May 28, 2021 (EIRNS)—Multiple NATO military exercises—land, sea and air, are underway from the Arctic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean to the Balkans region of southern Europe. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg went on a tour yesterday that took him to Portugal where he visited Her Majesty’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to take in the global empire that NATO has now become. “From these decks, the Queen Elizabeth projects power to keep us all safe,” Stoltenberg declared. “She carries U.S. Marines. She is protected by a Dutch frigate and she is on her way to the Pacific. So this is a perfect example of Europe and North America working together in NATO for our collective security.”
Steadfast Defender. The Queen Elizabeth is among 20 ships, 60 aircraft, 500 vehicles and over 9,000 personnel participating in Steadfast Defender, which Stoltenberg gushed “reflects NATO’s resolve to deter and defend across the Euro-Atlantic area.” The exercise, yet another in a series of events under Defender-Europe 21, runs from May 12 to June 22.
The Associated Press interviewed Stoltenberg, who did not name Russia, but held forth on how the focus of the Steadfast Defender mega-exercise is the movement of forces from across the Atlantic to the Balkans and the Black Sea. Who else could it be aimed at? “NATO is there to defend all our allies, and this exercise sends a message about our ability to transport a large number of troops, equipment across the Atlantic, across Europe and also to project maritime power,” he said.
One aspect of the Atlantic phase of the exercise is the protection of undersea cables that carry masses of commercial and communications data between the U.S. and Europe which, NATO claims, Russia is mapping out and might have “darker” intentions towards. “We all lulled ourselves into thinking that the Atlantic was a benign region in which there was not anything bad going on, and we could just use it as a free highway,” U.S. Navy Vice-Adm. Andrew Lewis, the commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command Atlantic, said. “There are nations are out there mapping those cables. They may be doing something else bad. We have to be aware of that and answer that,” he told reporters.
Baltops. This exercise will begin June 6, centered in the Baltic.
Arctic Challenge. This bi-annual air exercise is set to run from June 7-18, in parallel with NATO’s BALTOPS. Arctic Challenge is this year somewhat scaled back because of the pandemic, involving some 70 fighter aircraft, as opposed to over 100 in prior iterations. It’s part of the Nordic military cooperation NORDEFCO. In addition, planes from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom and the U.S.A. will take part, according to the Finnish Air Force, which is this year’s sponsor. The objective of the exercise is to train participating forces to conduct dissimilar aircraft combat in large composite air operations safely and effectively, reports the Barents Observer.