NATO Summit: agenda and background
While deterrence of Russia, cyber-war, the creation of a multinational integrated battalions, and so forth, continue to be the official agenda, the European public is more concerned whether a confrontation with Russia is necessary, with who will pay the expense of the initiative that will be conducted, and how it will affect the ordinary taxpayers.
The German Frankfurt Allgemeine newspaper said that according to their survey, about 64% opposed an escalation of negative relations with Russia through NATO activity. Only 9% were for further NATO consolidation and strengthening of its troops near the border with Russia.
The German military leadership balances its approach on the issue of its participation in future NATO activities, while politicians continue to implement the will of Washington.
It is important to note that according to the 1997 agreement between Russia and NATO, it is prohibited to deploy permanent armed forces, which consist of foreign troops, east of Germany. Therefore, the main burden will fall on Germany, although NATO attempts to create various loopholes, such as the creation of a multinational battalions, which will “hide” American “flies”.
In the future, such violations of the agreement can lead to scandals, such as the project of secret CIA prisons in Europe. But so far we have only debates and polls.
Another example is the place of Denmark in NATO during its ongoing reorganization.
On May 2016, the Danish Government decided to buy 27 new US fighter F-35A from Lockheed Martin for a price tag of $8.5 billion. Subsequently, Denmark will have to also commit to future purchases of ammunition, equipment, and spare parts for the aircraft.
The Danish budget will be balanced by cutting social security. Despite the results of opinion polls: about 53.3% of Danes voted against this measures (and only 30.8% are for it) and even mass protests, it did not change the decision. Danish Defense Minister, Peter Christensen, simply commented that Denmark as a member of NATO should be involved in defending itself and other members.
In general, the country can face a social crisis, during the migration crisis, which is directly linked to the military budget. For example, last year Denmark spent $3.3 billion on NATO contributions, and soon it plans to cut spending on education, science, and the public sector.
The theoretical budget, which the Pentagon designers need for effective deterrence of Russia, does not correspond to the actual potential of the alliance members. The current NATO initiatives do not have sufficient corresponding finances, which are traditionally distributed to the member-state military budgets. On June 14th, at the ministerial meeting in Brussels, the participants agreed to increase the defense spending and to strengthen containment capacity. The Black Sea region and the Baltic countries were chosen to deter Russia. Four NATO battalions, consisting of representatives from different countries, will be deployed in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The hawks of the RAND corporation even say that it is necessary to deploy seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigades. At the same time, they want to see a return of the 1980's AirLand Battle doctrine, for the Baltic states. The paranoiac Russophobes say that “against an adversary, such as Russia, that poses multidimensional threats, airpower must be employed from the outset of hostilities to enable land operations… Preventing a quick Russian victory in the Baltics would also require a NATO command structure able to plan and execute a complex, fast-moving, highly fluid air-land campaign.” And of course they need more money. According to the RAND estimations the brigades and associated artillery, air defense, and other enabling units runs on the order of $13 billion, excluding expensive tanks and vehicles, which have already been deployed in Europe.
Another $2.7 billion is needed for the annual expenses of providing for the training and upkeep of these three brigades and additional troops.
On June 29th, 2016, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington) published its report on the further deployment of American armies in Europe. An armored brigade combat team (ABCT) and a full-strength combat aviation brigade (CAB) should be permanently assigned to Europe and possibly provided with pre-positioned equipment of the four U.S. brigades in the east.
The Pentagon European Reassurance Initiative request was for $637 million, in 2017. Some of this must be spent on additional infrastructure in Germany and Poland to show an example to the eastern NATO member-states. At the same time, the US Defense Ministry intends to introduce an integrated approach to NATO control systems, instead of an independent command and control. If that happens, the US will be able to fully control all levels of the military alliance member-states. In addition, Washington is hoping to launch projects on civil-military partnership in the EU, on the principle that was perfected in the United States. On the one hand, it will allow it to conduct more effective agitation and propaganda, controlled by NGO's and the media, spreading myths about a Russian threat, on the other hand, it can create the conditions for NATO to better feed on already tight internal European resources.
The Department of State is planning the expenses on Economic Support Fund (ESF), International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE), Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA), and Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS).
The Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs will receive $66.8 million exclusively for foreign assistance, about $15 million for the foreign military financing program and $800 thousand for on anti-terrorism and de-mining program.
At the same time, it would be used against Russia. We should also note the further redeployment of NATO.
On June 27th , NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg announced his decision to appoint Gottemoller as the deputy secretary-general of the organization who is now under secretary of State for arms control and international security. She is expected to take over from retiring Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, on 1 October, 2016. Gottemoeller oversees both the nonproliferation and political-military affairs teams in the State Department, so she deals with both arms control and selling arms to allies. This means not only a strengthening of Washington control over NATO, but an even more powerful lobby of the US military-industrial complex within the alliance.
However, it seems that Washington is quite firmly suppressing several NATO countries. The Pentagon uses bilateral contacts to enforce new sale agreements. For example, on June 22nd, Estonia signed an agreement on research, development, testing and evaluation of the quality of weapons and defense systems. The agreement was signed in the United States on behalf of Estonian ambassador Eerik Marmei. It provides for the cooperation in advanced technologies sphere, the development of components and prototypes. It is unlikely that the Pentagon will share their secrets with Estonia, but the US could theoretically give access to Estonian projects.
By the end of 2016, NATO plans to introduce a new Standardization Agreement (STANAG) to all alliance member states. It hopes to save some of finances, which are presently insufficient for the budget.
Canada has the most responsible position in the current discussion on further NATO activities. At least, one institution in the country on defense research, published an analytical article, saying that the US should not turn create an “Eastern or Russian Front,” but must find the basis of a joint fight with Russia against terrorism. NATO should respect the geopolitical interests of Russia, which is also in Ukraine.
But Canada as a country is too too weak to be heard. In fact, NATO is just an extension of the US presence in Europe, and Washington can, for example, afford to command its younger Atlanticist ideological partner, the UK, in the execution of its policy.