Voice of Russia
December 4, 2013
The West and the United States through its military wing, NATO, which has expanded into a global military force, continues to attempt to expand its influence into the former Soviet Space. Although NATO, which is struggling to stay relevant, should have been disbanded at the same time that the Soviet Union collapsed and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, continues to expand worldwide. Recently the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia gave a speech in which he called Serbia’s membership in NATO a red line for the Russian Federation.
With events in Ukraine and continued war games, which envision military operations against regular army forces in the Caucasus, and the continued building and expansion of the US missile shield even though the supposed purpose of that shield, the Iranian nuclear program, is no longer a threat, NATO continues to show itself as a threat to regional and international security and continues to operate apparently with the goal of existing only to expand itself so as to be, as the US Pentagon recently stated, an “effective tool for the projection of US force worldwide”. The Voice of Russia spoke to Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list about these issues and more.
Hello, this is John Robles, I’m speaking with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: Regarding these statements by the Russian Ambassador to Serbia, regarding NATO, and he mentioned the possibility that Serbia could become a member of NATO. That sounds unbelievable to me. I mean, first they invade, they destroyed the country, they’ve occupied it and now they are going to annex it? Is this a realistic possibility?
Rozoff: It’s that paradox, or the appalling prospects thereof, of Serbia ever becoming a full member of NATO, was pointed out by the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Chepurin, speaking at the Belgrade Academy for Diplomacy and Security, saying it would (and I am quoting him): “It constitute utter stupidity if somebody from Serbia were to crawl over [presumably roll over] and beg (to join NATO), after the bombing that incurred damages worth over US $120 billion” with Serbia in 1999 during the 78 day bombing campaign by NATO”.
So his statement to the Serbs where it would be an act of masochism and tearing up the last shred of national dignity, of course, to do that. However, he actually went on in a very strong language. I mean this is not considered to be diplomatic, I suppose, in the Western world.
I’ll quote him if you don’t mind. He says: “That’s the red line that in no way suits Russia” [that is Serbia joining NATO]. And he goes on: “NATO was created against the Soviet Union, which is long gone, and it is absolutely unclear what NATO stands for now,” and directing himself to his Serbian audience the Russian ambassador went on “Or do you really want to go to war in Iraq, Libya, or Syria?” Those were his words.
Clearly, the war against Libya two years ago was conducted by NATO. The intended war against Syria, which was only blocked through Russian diplomatic intervention, would have been a NATO – partially at least – NATO operation and what is not generally acknowledged is the war in Iraq in many ways was also a NATO war, in that 23 of the current 28 members of NATO sent troops to Iraq, there was NATO Training Mission – Iraq and so forth so there was involvement, so his comment is well-taken.
And then lastly, rhetorically if you will, talking about NATO to his audience in Belgrade the Russian ambassador stated that NATO represents – this is a paraphrase in the Serbian account of it – “an atavism from the last century,” that is an evolutionary throwback to the era of the Cold War,” that is the best characterization, the most charitable one that I can think of.
In fact that new NATO, the new post Cold War global expeditionary warfighting NATO is something worse that an atavism from the last century, it is a threat to 21st century security. So we have to keep that in mind.
Is it a realistic prospect? We have to recall that with various quisling governments in Belgrade over the past decade, that not only has Serbia joined the so-called Partnership for Peace program, which was used to groom the new members of NATO that have joined since 1999 – those are 12 new states, all of them in Eastern Europe – but that almost the same day, perhaps a day earlier than the news item in the Serbian media that I mentioned there was a NATO report about a military exercise going on in Germany.
It was actually reported by the Pentagon’s website, the US Department of Defense’s website under the title “NATO Envisions Post-ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] Train, Advise and Assist Mission” that is building on the 12 years of warfare in Afghanistan and the integration of military forces in over 50 nations under NATO command, NATO’s now moving into – I’m quoting from the article – “the full spectrum of conflict internationally.”
But it’s interesting to note that they talk about a particular training held at the Hohenfels training area in Germany by the Pentagon – and I’m quoting from the article – “the training brought US forces and those of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden together.”
So here we have Serbian troops being trained by the Pentagon for NATO missions abroad including what is all but almost explicitly identified as being the “next war”, or “wars”, after that in Afghanistan. So it’s not such a far-fetched improbable prospect that Serbia could be dragooned openly or otherwise into NATO.
This comes at the very same time, I think yesterday, where one of the major newspapers in Sweden announced that Sweden is contributing war planes for the NATO Response Force, which is the international global strike force for the Western military bloc.
So we see the countries being integrated into that rapid response force are Sweden, Finland, Ukraine and Georgia, meaning three of those four countries border Russia and Sweden is not terribly far.
So you’re seeing countries that are either part of the former Soviet Union, and historical Russia for that matter, Ukraine and Georgia, or countries that have maintained neutrality during the Cold War are now being dragged not only into NATO, into NATO’s broader military nexus but also into its international military strike force.
Robles: Can you comment then on the red line? Who else was drawing red lines all the times in the last couple of years? How can you comment on the recent war games by NATO in Germany where they were apparently, according to the statements on the US Army’s web site, training for war against regular army forces in the Caucasus? Who else would that be and then if you would give us your opinion on Ukraine please?
Rozoff: That’s a very good connection you’ve made. The red line of US President Barack Obama in reference to the alleged or supposed use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, that being the casus belli, that being the reason for which Obama and not only the US military but its NATO allies would go to war.
Robles: Hilary Clinton, didn’t she run around all the time saying there were red lines?
Rozoff: Yes, that’s visual hallucinations perhaps, she was seeing colorful geometrical designs that didn’t exist. No, she did, you are correct.
She was also throwing down the gauntlet, let’s use this metaphor, I think that’s probably a little bit more apt, and her commander-in-chief Obama, of course, also had his red lines, but it’s worth noting as you pointed it out that the Russian ambassador to Yugoslavia used the same expression.
I think in both instances, disingenuously from the American point of view where clearly what happens inside Syria poses no direct or even indirect threat to US national security interests. However, that countries historically close to Russia, geographically close to Russia, joining a US-led military alliance that is currently building a missile shield system along Russia’s western border poses an immediate threat to Russian national security, so it’s false equivalence, the Russian claim that it’s a genuine red line that can’t be crossed is legitimate. The Americans, including the infamous Hilary Clinton, who may very well be the next commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, let us remember, her statements that the events on Ivory Coast or in other parts of the world represented a red line were just irresponsible and reckless use of rhetoric.
Getting back to the military exercise we are talking about, the identified scenario was “active combat operations in the Caucasus”, and this a quote by a US military official who kind of let the cat out of the bag, stating that in the post-Afghan war period once again, that the new globalized expeditionary NATO was now engaging in a fictitious, “strictly fictitious” he insists, but nevertheless Caucasus-based war games scenario.
And you’re correct, there is no other conceivable adversary in that part of the world except from Russia, just as the recently concluded the Steadfast Jazz 2013 war games, military exercises in Latvia and Poland, could not have been aimed at any country other than Russia.
The locations where the games are being held, the scenarios, you know, in Scandinavia and for that matter in the Black Sea, the inescapable conclusion is that these are war games scenarios aimed prospectively or potentially against Russia, and I don’t know how that can be missed by anyone else.
Which I guess is a good way of segueing into the question of Ukraine; having a lengthy border with Russia, as do Georgia and Finland and these are again three out of four non-full NATO members states that have been integrated into the NATO Response Force, the other again being Sweden, which as we had occasion to talk about recently is now contributing warplanes for the response force and which contributed Gripen warplanes for the six-month NATO war against Libya in 2011. This is supposedly neutral Sweden, which incidentally also has 500 troops in Northern Afghanistan engaged in combat for the first time in 200 years in the history of Sweden, in combat operations.
So what we are seeing is that despite the economic crisis and despite the step-back or step-down by the US around Syria, at least for the moment, that plans for constantly expanding NATO’s role globally are not in abeyance and are still being pursued.
Now the news in the West, and I imagine in the East as well about Ukraine seeming to reject (the current government, that of Victor Yanukovich in Kyiv), rejecting plans to join the EU, thereby unleashing violent so-called protests by Orange Revolution-type, US operatives in the streets of Lviv and Kyiv.
Robles: Weren’t these the same US-backed and funded opposition that caused that Orange Revolution?
Rozoff: Right, which in turn was based on and led by the leaders of the so-called Rose Revolution in Georgia the year preceding that and ultimately back to the so-called revolution in Yugoslavia in 2000, a group called Otpor, financed by think-tanks and foundations and government agencies in the US.
We’ve even seen some of the phraseology and so forth of the so-called Maidan Square revolution of 2004 in Ukraine cropping up again, and these are young people, very Western-oriented, Western-funded, no question about it, and almost fascistic street thugs, but of a more middle-class background than the traditional guttersnipe sort.
What we have to acknowledge is that even if the current government in Ukraine is fighting pressure exercised under what’s called the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union, with the full blessings of the US of course, an initiative that first saw the light of day in 2008 on the initiative of Sweden and Poland as a matter of fact – Poland a NATO member and Sweden now a NATO partner – to wean away from Russia its non-Central Asian fellow former Soviet republics which are: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus. And to using the lure, or the bait, of the European Union to effectively pull them out of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with other former Soviet republics, but also ultimately to pull Armenia and Belarus, which are members of the only post-Soviet security bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and to wean those countries away from that ultimately towards absorption into NATO, because we have to realize that the EU is often the carrot and NATO is the stick. But in the case of Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership the intent is to get Ukraine into NATO and the European Union can sugar-coat the pill perhaps.
Your listeners have to note, if they aren’t already aware, is that after popular protests halted the exercise for one year, at least over the last two years the US and NATO have resumed their annual Sea Breeze military exercises in Ukraine, in the Black Sea, dangerously close to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and that Ukrainian ships are no participating in two NATO – permanent – NATO naval operations, one in the Mediterranean Sea and one in the Indian Ocean: that is Operation Active Endeavour in the first instance and Operation Ocean Shield in the second.
The first is already in its thirteenth year, that is NATO has arrogated to itself the right to conduct permanent naval patrols in the Mediterranean Sea and this has been going on since November of 2001, and in the case off Horn of Africa and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, Operation Ocean Shield, increasingly Ukraine, as well as Georgia, Finland and other nations are being integrated into the command structure of NATO even though formally they are not full NATO members.
Ukraine, like Serbia, to jump back to that, not only is a member of the Partnership for Peace program, which we have talked about being the mechanism by which the US groomed 12 new Eastern European nations as full NATO members, but they have also been granted what’s called an Individual Partnership Action Program, which is the next to the last step in terms of becoming a full NATO member, the penultimate one is the Membership Action Plan, and it’s that which they are really grooming Georgia, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and other countries so that they become full NATO members. The US has never given up on that hope.
End Part 1
That was part one of an interview in progress with Rick Rozoff the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find part two on our website in the near future at Voice of Russia dot com.