‘U.S.-Russia’ confrontation more than rhetoric

After President Barack Obama cancelled the summit meeting set for September, he explained it by saying that since Vladimir Putin resumed his presidential office, Russia has reinforced its “anti-American rhetoric” by using “old Cold War stereotypes.”

The straw that broke the camel’s back was Russia’s granting asylum to Edward Snowden, who was guilty of having brought to light evidence that the U.S. intelligence agencies spy on everyone and everything. But there is something else. Moscow is opposed to the “missile shield,” which would allow the U.S. to launch a nuclear first strike knowing that they can neutralize the retaliatory strike.

Russia also opposes the further expansion of NATO to the east and the U.S.-NATO plan to demolish Syria and Iran as part of a strategy that targets the Asia-Pacific region. Moscow sees all this as an attempt to gain a clear strategic advantage over Russia — as well as over China.

Are these just “old stereotypes of the Cold War”? Don’t be so sure, considering the program NATO announced on Aug. 8, which promises “the most ambitious and frequent military exercises,” especially near Russia.

From Aug. 25 to Sept. 5, NATO fighter-bombers, with dual conventional and nuclear capacity, will participate in Norway in the “Brilliant Arrow” exercise. This is under allied aircraft command, whose just-appointed head is U.S. Air Force commander in Europe, Gen. Frank Gorenc. This will be followed in November by the air force exercise, “Steadfast Jazz,” with NATO fighter-bombers deployed in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, at the Russian border.

In September and October, NATO warships will participate in the large “Brilliant Mariner” exercise in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Other NATO warships will also be deployed to the Black Sea, where the “Sea Breeze 2013” exercise took place. In it the navies of 10 countries [Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and the U.S. — translator’s note] took part under the orders of the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, which at the same time commands the Allied Joint Force in Naples.

The U.S. and NATO allies are therefore increasing military pressure on Russia, which, of course, does not limit Russia’s response to what Obama calls “anti-American rhetoric.” After the U.S. decided to also install a missile “shield” on the island of Guam in the western Pacific, the Command of the Russian strategic forces announced that it is building a new 100-ton missile “able to overcome any missile defense system.”

Later this year, Russia will carry out 16 experimental launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles of various types. And already the first of the new Borey-class nuclear submarines is in the water. This submarine is 558 feet long, able to reach a depth of 1,500 feet, armed with 16 Bulava missiles with a radius of 5,600 miles and each carrying 10 multiple independent warheads, capable of maneuvering to avoid interceptor missiles. The new submarine is one of the eight that the Russian Navy will receive by 2020 to replace the previous ones, along with 16 multirole submarines and 54 surface units.

Regarding the above information, the European media, especially the Italian, [and U.S. corporate media too — WW] which are champions of misinformation, have been virtually silent. So the vast majority of people have the impression that war threatens only “turbulent” regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, without realizing that “peaceful” Europe is once again, in the wake of U.S. strategy, the first line of a military confrontation that is no less dangerous than that during the Cold War.

This article appeared in the Italian daily newspaper Il Manifesto on Aug. 13 and was translated into English by WW managing editor John Catalinotto.