NATO’s War Plans For The High North

Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea

Published on Global, by Rick Rozoff, June 14, 2009.

Since the beginning of the year the United States and NATO have repeatedly indicated in both word and deed their intention to lay claim to and extend their military presence in what they refer to as the High North: The Arctic Circle and the waters connecting with it, the Barents and the Norwegian Seas, as well as the Baltic.

Washington issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 12, 2009 which includes the bellicose claim that “The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region [which] include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations.” [1]

Later in the same month the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] held a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in the capital of Iceland attended by the bloc’s secretary general and its top military commanders …

… The First American War Against Russia In The Arctic: Lessons Learned And Not Learned

From May 11-21 NATO held the twice-annual Joint Warrior war games – Europe’s largest military exercise – off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, which connects with the Norwegian Sea bordering the Arctic Ocean.

“More than 20 warships, 75 aircraft and hundreds of personnel were tested in various scenarios” including one in which “a task group of 33 ships and French marines were sent into the fictitious Northern Dispute Zone to tackle the ‘Dragonians’ who had been harassing the ‘Caledonians and Avalonians.

“Soldiers, sailors and air crews from Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US were also involved.” [53]

According to the same source the autumn Joint Warrior exercises will be extended from two to three weeks this year.

Regarding American participation in last month’s drills, “USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 193), and COMDESRON 24 took part in the scenario-driven engagement, along with vessels from nine other members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO). [The Joint warrior] exercise [is] expected to increase fleet efficiency and battle readiness for U.S. and allied navies alike.” [54]

On the other end of the Arctic, from June 15-26 the US will conduct operation Northern Edge 2009 in Alaska which will include “More than 200 aircraft, including B-52s, F-16s and Blackhawk helicopters….In addition, the USS John C. Stennis and its carrier strike group will be operating out of the Gulf of Alaska during the exercises. The nuclear-powered supercarrier has an air wing of more than 70 aircraft and a crew of 5,000 sailors.” [55]

In a feature from a newspaper in the state of Michigan on May 28th, a review of a documentary film included this commentary on a US military unit deployed to Russia’s Arctic region in the ending days of World War I:

“[The] Polar Bear Expedition saw some 5,500 soldiers sent to Archangel, Russia, near the Arctic Circle, in September 1918, just two months before the armistice would end the war. The expedition took shape after the 1917 Russian Revolution, when Russia signed a separate peace with Germany and pulled out of the war.

“At the urging of Winston Churchill – then in the British war office – President Woodrow Wilson…agreed to furnish troops to support the anti-Communist White Russian army. The Americans and some Canadians, who thought they were headed to France, were placed under British command.”

US Senator Carl Levin was present for the screening of the documentary and told the audience, “There are lessons to be learned in history; there are lessons here….The lesson is we must be clear in our mission.” [56]

There are lessons indeed. US troops fought on Russian soil and ended up on the losing side. This is not the lesson that Levin and the political and military leadership of NATO countries as a whole have learned and so risk repeating them on a far grander and more dangerous scale.

Notes 1 to 56: … (full long text).

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