[Update below the fold]
A recent frank discussion – A Real Look at Trump’s War on NATO front page by BooMan on Feb. 18, 2017
Nomination of Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, USAF, for Reappointment to the Grade of General and to be Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Nearly all of our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have undergone budget cuts of their own in recent years, raising concerns about what the capabilities of the alliance will be when the next crisis arises. Yet, after 10 years of fighting together in Afghanistan, the level of NATO cohesion is high and is unprecedented. One of the major challenges in the coming years will be capturing the lessons learned from these coalition operations and maintaining current levels of interoperability within the alliance.
The NATO mission in Afghanistan is entering a critical phase in the coming months, with the transition to Afghan security forces taking the lead on security throughout the country later this spring and coalition forces shifting to an advisory mission between now and the end of the International Security Assistance Force mission by the end of 2014.
The next NATO SACEUR will play a critical role in ensuring the smooth implementation of NATO’s “in together, out together” policy for the Afghanistan mission and in shaping the post-2014 mission in Afghanistan which was discussed at the NATO defense ministers meeting in February.
While Syria is not in EUCOM’s area, its impact is felt by key allies in the EUCOM region, including Turkey and Israel. As the civil war in Syria rages on, President Assad and his increasingly small inner circle are resorting to the use of Scud missiles, air strikes, and other indiscriminate capabilities that terrorize innocent Syrians and increase further the flow of refugees out of Syria.
Last year the alliance agreed to deploy Patriot missile batteries to defend Turkey against potential action by Assad. This action by NATO is commendable, but it’s not enough. The United States needs to build a coalition to ramp up the military pressure on the Assad regime, and I hope our allies in NATO will join this effort. The Arab League has already stripped the Assad regime of its seat at the Arab League and invited the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
General, if confirmed as Supreme Allied Commander for all NATO military operations, you will be confronted with these issues and we look forward to hearing from you on this matter today as well.
At the Lisbon summit in 2010, NATO agreed to develop missile defense capability to defend NATO European territory, population, and military forces. This is essential to protect our forward-deployed forces, allies, and partners against the existing and emerging regional missile threat from Iran. To achieve that commitment, NATO agreed to develop and finance a command and control system and the United States is contributing Phases 1 through 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense, which remain on track to protect NATO Europe by 2018, with its defense sites in Romania and Poland.
Secretary Hagel recently stated that our commitment to NATO missile defense, “remains ironclad”. He also announced that
the United States no longer plans to deploy Phase 4 of the EPAA, because Phase 4 was designed to protect the United States, not Europe, and we can achieve enhanced protection of the United States from a potential Iranian long-range missile sooner by deploying 14 additional ground-based interceptors in Alaska. General Breedlove, we’re interested to know your views on that issue.
As part of its 2010 Lisbon agreement, NATO also invited Russia to cooperate on missile defense. Although NATO and Russia have had different views on missile defense, there are numerous successful areas of U.S.-Russian and NATO-Russian military cooperation and the NATO-Russia Council continues to have active discussions on missile defense cooperation, including a joint theater missile defense exercise program.
The United States and NATO believe that cooperation on missile defense can enhance the security of both NATO and
Russia and such cooperation could also send a vitally important signal to Iran that we are united in opposition to any Iranian
efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
So, why did the NATO allied nations provoke the Russian Bear within the coup d’état in Kiev of February 2014? The powers of a Deep State. McCain et al after the failure under George Bush in Ukraine – 2004 – and Georgia – 2008 -. Indeed, Obama did write history.
Putin’s daughter married in lives in an appartment flat in a small town of Leiden, the Netherlands. Dad comes over now and then for a visit. No media, no cameras and no colonne of limos and rescue vehicles.
Just a few years back, Europe and Russia had a working relationship … Europe stretches eastward to the Ural mountains. This was true even under Communism for the former Soviet Union. Under JFK there was cultural exchange and sometimes espionage – Gary Powers or a visit by later assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
I have no trust whatsoever in spooks of any nationality … not ever!
Continued below the fold …
[Update-1] Getting Together: Grand Coalition Against Assad at a Loss
Their concern is not that the blood-letting of the sectarian/civil war has diminished in past year and a half after Russian intervention at the request of the ruling elite in Damascus … it was never about the Syrian people. See UK and US stance on relief for accepting refugees from Syria – Iraq – Afghanistan. Same after US/NATO military intervention in Libya to overthrow Gaddafi.
The talks on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministers meeting come as the Syrian president, backed by Russia and Iran, is in his strongest position since the early days of the civil war – and as Trump’s policy on Syria remains unclear.
“It’s urgent to meet to see whether all the like-minded countries are on the same page,” said a senior French diplomatic source. “It’s a chance to get everyone pushing in the same direction before the Geneva talks.”
He said the meeting between the US, France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and others would be the first opportunity to “test” US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s position on Syria and how that fitted into the new administration’s thinking on defeating Islamist militants.
A second European diplomat said it was unclear to what extent Tillerson represented the views of Trump himself.
“On the fight against Islamic State, we’re comforted, but the question remains what will be the relationship with Russia? The Americans will gradually realise that everything is linked and that the fight against Isis and an alliance with Moscow also implies choices in the region and a long-term vision,” the first source said.
“You can’t just do a grand deal with Moscow and hope things will be resolved.”
Turkey, which has been a major supporter of the rebellion against Assad, has – with Russia and Iran – brokered a shaky ceasefire.
[Worries about NATO cohesion after the failed coup, purge of opposition and hundreds of Turkish military working for NATO in Europe have applied for asylum. – Oui]
“It’s also urgent that we see where Turkey stands in light of the newfound proximity with Russia and Iran,” said the source, adding that it would be vital to assess how Gulf Arab states Saudi Arabia and Qatar – opposed to Assad – saw the conflict after “pulling back a little”.
Glad to know the pond has new membership allied to John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Gen Breedlove (NATO).
Evolving to McCarthyism, Reaganite acolytes and NSA intelligence gathering at your service. Just Call on US.
In response to a nemesis … so sorry! From a DIA report: