The New Cold War “Shield”

by Manlio Dinucci

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Vice President Joe Biden’s flash visit to Poland and Estonia to ensure that, in the face of “Russia’s shameless incursion” in Ukraine – a country determined to build “a government for the people” (guaranteed by the neo-Nazis [1] brought to power by the “new Gladio” coup [2] ) – the United States reiterates its unwavering commitment to comply with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on “collective defense.” As Ukraine is now a de facto, but not official, member of NATO, there is always “non-Article 5,” urging members to “execute evolving missions not described under Article 5,” which was promoted by the Italian government of Massimo D’Alema during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999, and later also applied to the wars on Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

To help “NATO emerge from this crisis stronger … than ‘ever’,” the United States repledged its commitment to the “missile defense” of Europe. However, by correlating the “missile defense” to the Ukrainian crisis, Joe Biden gave his game away. Washington had persistently maintained that the U.S. “shield” in Europe is not directed against Russia, but against the threat of Iranian missiles. In Moscow, on the contrary, this was always perceived as an attempt to gain a decisive strategic advantage over Russia: the U.S. could hold it under the threat of a nuclear first strike, relying on the ability of the “shield” to neutralize the retaliation effects [3] The new plan launched by President Obama, compared with the previous one, provides for a larger number of missiles lined up on Russia’s doorstep. Since they are under U.S. control, no one can find out whether they are interceptors or nuclear missiles.

Having rejected the proposal to jointly manage with Russia the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, the United States began building in Poland the site that will host 24 Aegis system SM-3 missiles. In addition, the Polish government has pledged to lay out more than 30 billion euros to achieve (with U.S. technologies) their own “shield” aimed to be integrated into the U.S. and NATO structure. And Joe Biden applauded Poland for its willingness to take on “part of the financial burden, something that all allies should do” (Italy is on notice). Another 24 SM-3 missile site, currently under construction at the Deveselu airbase in Romania, will become operational in 2015 and will be manned by 500 U.S. soldiers. These missile facilities comprise a super-powerful radar installed in Turkey and mobile radars that can be quickly deployed to “advanced positions.”

The “shield” also includes the deployment in the Mediterranean of warships equipped with Aegis radars and SM- 3 missiles. The first one – guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook – arrived in early February at the Rota Naval Base in Spain, where 1,200 sailors and 1,600 members of their families will eventually be housed. It will be followed by three other units (USS Ross, USS Porter and USS Carney). But it is likely that the number will be higher as the U.S. Navy already has about 30 such vessels. They continually patrol the Mediterranean, ready at any moment to spring into action, conducting at the same time, according to NATO, “a full range of maritime security operations and bilateral and multilateral exercises with allied navies.” The Spanish Navy already has ​​four frigates equipped with the Aegis integrated combat system, which renders them inter-operational with U.S. ships. The same thing will be done with the Fremm frigates of the Italian Navy.

An increasingly important role in the “shield” will be played by the commandments and the U.S. and NATO bases in Italy: in Naples, home to the headquarters of U.S. and allied naval forces; in Sicily, where the Sigonella Naval Air Station is located (which will service the Aegis units in the Mediterranean) in addition to the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) at Niscemi [4] for high frequency satellite communications. All Aegis naval units in the Mediterranean, again according to NATO, will be “under U.S. command and control.” This means that the decision to launch the interceptor missile, or so presumed, will be the exclusive prerogative of the Pentagon.

While preparing the “shield”, the U.S. is sharpening its knives. For the Ukrainian crisis, they have deployed 12 more F-16 fighter-bombers in Poland and another 10 F-15 in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They will shortly be able to transport the new B61-12 nuclear bombs stored in Europe (including Italy), to be used as anti-bunker bombs. Moscow is taking counter-measures, but Washington has scored the first point: the mounting tension in Europe enables the U.S. to increase its influence over its European allies.

With Article 5 or non-Article 5.

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