Europe at the Crossroads

MUNICH/BERLIN(Own report) – The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU’s transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on “missions,” similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are “essential” decisions, because it is “unsustainable” for the EU to continue to rely on US “protection.”

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EU takes step towards closer defence cooperation

 

The EU will move towards closer defence ties Monday with more than 20 states signing a landmark pact that aims to boost cooperation after Brexit and counteract Russian pressure.

Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain’s fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army. Continue reading

Anti-establishment billionaire vying to become Czech Republic’s next prime minister

 

The last time an anti-establishment billionaire made waves in pre-election polls, the major media scoffed and wrote it off and it became fodder for late-night talk show hosts.

We all know how that turned out. Continue reading

Massive Russian, NATO Wargames Set To Begin Amid Mutual Accusations Of Provocation

Zapad 2017 preparations

 

As the two old, cold war adversaries, Russia and NATO, prepare to begin massive war games to show off their respective military strengths, it was the UK’s turn to accuse Russia first of “testing the West” by conducting war games on NATO’s eastern flank in its biggest military exercise in four years. Speaking on BBC’s “The Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday, U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that Russia’s exercise “is designed to provoke us, it’s designed to test our defensesand that’s why we have to be strong. Russia is testing us and testing us now at every opportunity. We’re seeing a more aggressive Russia. We have to deal with that.”

In a testament to our hyperbolic times, Fallon’s statement also contained just a “little bit” of fake news: while Fallon said that more than 100,000 Russian and Belorussian troops are at the borders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said last month that the so-called Zapad 2017 exercise Sept. 14-20 involves 13,000 troopsand that the drills are “purely of a defensive nature” according to Bloomberg. Continue reading

U.S. to Remain Dependent on Russian Rocket Engines for Years Despite Billions Poured Into Domestic Alternatives

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is launched / Getty Images

 

Industry officials say military won’t move fully to American-built engines until at least 2024

The Pentagon will remain dependent on Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites into space through at least the mid-2020s, despite the U.S. government allocating billions of dollars to defense contractors to produce an American-made replacement.

The projection adds several years to initial targets laid out in 2014 by lawmakers and senior Air Force officials, who ordered the United States begin phasing out Russia’s RD-180 engines amid national security concerns spurred by the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. Continue reading

NATO on guard ahead of major Russian war games

 

NATO has put Moscow on notice that it will be keeping a close eye on a major military exercise with Belarus next week, in a region still on edge after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Similar drills in the past included a simulated invasion of Poland by tens of thousands of Russian troops culminating in a nuclear strike on Warsaw, and the coming show of force, codenamed “Zapad 2017” (West 2017) has sparked months of speculation and fears along NATO’s eastern flank.

Observers say that while there is little chance of Russia using the exercise as cover for an actual invasion, there are concerns about what troops and equipment it will leave behind afterwards.

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U.S. Open to Providing Weapons to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis walks past honour guards during a welcoming ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

 

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is signaling his support for suppling the Ukraine with weapons. During a visit to that country Thursday, Mattis said Washington would keep up pressure on Russia over what he called its aggressive behavior.

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Who is Russia’s New U.S. Ambassador?

Who is Russia’s New U.S. Ambassador?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov to be his nation’s next ambassador to the U.S. Antonov is a former Soviet general and led the Russian military as it became increasingly aggressive toward the U.S. and its allies in the past decade.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has selected Anatoly Antonov, a career diplomat specializing in defense and security issues, to replace former spymaster Sergey Kislyak as his chief representative to the U.S.

Antonov still technically is a general in the Russian Army, holding the equivalent of the U.S. military’s five-star rank, but has worked in Putin’s government for the past six years. From 2011 until late last year, the former Soviet military leader was deputy defense minister.

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Russia flies 2,000 mercenary troops into Syria

 

Russia is engaged in a major buildup in Syria, both in support of the de-escalation zones established in conjunction with the United States, and in order to solidify its military control of the country.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reported exclusively on Wednesday, August 2, that 2,000 mercenaries had just been airlifted into the country, boosting to a total of 5,000 the number of mercenaries on hire from the Wagner Group private contractors for service under the Russian flag in Syria. They are all retirees from elite units of the Russian ground forces, air force or navy. Continue reading

Russia’s Real Endgame

 

Russia’s Putin has never taken his eye off the ball. His ambition is not global hegemony or European conquest. Putin seeks what Russia has always sought: regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth.

It is strategic depth — the capacity to suffer massive invasions and still survive due to an ability to retreat to a core position and stretch enemy supply lines — that enabled Russia to defeat both Napoleon and Hitler. Putin also wants the modicum of respect that would normally accompany that geostrategic goal.

Understanding Putin is not much more complicated than that. Continue reading

A Giant Russian Exercise Will Soon Put 100,000 Troops on NATO’s Border. Then What?

Russian soldiers dressed in a new field uniform marched along the Red Square last month during the Victory Day military parade to celebrate 72 years since the end of WWII. (Yuri Kochetkov/AP)

 

As Russia and Belarus prep for their quadrennial fight-the-West wargame, NATO’s Baltic states are watching more than a bit nervously.

For the Baltic countries on NATO’s northeastern flank, carefully monitoring Russia’s various defense investments and activities is nothing new. Like brushing your teeth, it’s just a matter of staying healthy, Estonia’s defense minister told a small group of reporters while visiting the U.S. last week. Observing Russian military activity is that routine, “but we do it even more often,” he said.

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Nuclear Defense Experts Urge Revitalization of U.S. Ballistic Missile Programs

In this handout from the U.S. Navy, Standard Missile-3 is launched in Kauai, Hawaii / Getty Images

 

Former senator Jon Kyl: Current non-proliferation treaties between Russia, U.S. ineffective for threat reduction

The report, “A New Nuclear Review for a New Age,” reassessed the United States’s relation with its primary nuclear adversaries—China, North Korea, and Russia—and urged lawmakers to increase defense spending on ballistic missile development and testing.

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Chinese Supercomputers Threaten U.S. Security

One part of where this article goes wrong is the first opening sentence, as China has already eclipsed the United States in supercomputer technology.

However, at least Americans know who they can thank for giving China their threatening capability: Bill and Hillary Clinton through the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Another component of the problem is that the American security apparatus believes in the simple ‘patch and pray‘ fix due to high costs. In other words, they’re also reactive and not proactive… a grave difference.

 

Supercomputers play a vital role in the design, development and analysis of almost all modern weapons systems, said a report by the National Security Agency-Energy Department based on an assessment of China’s new supercomputer called the TaihuLight. Photo by: David Mercer

 

China is eclipsing the United States in developing high-speed supercomputers used to build advanced weapons, and the loss of American leadership in the field poses a threat to U.S. national security.

That’s the conclusion of a recent joint National Security Agency-Energy Department study, based on an assessment of China’s new supercomputer called the TaihuLight.

National security requires the best computing available, and loss of leadership in [high-performance computing] will severely compromise our national security,” the report warns. Continue reading

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Most nations in Europe have increased their military spending. (Photo: Finnish army)

 

A perceived threat from Russia has triggered a central European dash towards military spending.

Figures presented on Monday (24 April) by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) show military expenditures in Central Europe grew by 2.4 percent in 2016. Continue reading

Russia to modernize weaponry for Crimea, Arctic forces

 

The Kremlin plans to modernize weaponry and equipment issued to Russian forces in Crimea and the Arctic regions.

Russian defense officials disclosed the move during a Defense Ministry Board meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. Discussions focused on an armament program set to take place from 2018 through 2025. Continue reading