NATO wants Europe to upgrade its roads, bridges and rail networks. Not because of dilapidated infrastructure, global competitiveness, or to make it easier for people to travel across the continent – let alone their own countries – but so they can handle the weight of its heavy tanks and military equipment for what it deems an inevitable invasion of Russia. Though it has yet to commit a single crime, up to 10,000 NATO troops have amassed on Russia’s border states, in lieu of a war that hasn’t happened yet. 

Illustration by Rachael Bolton

NATO is itching for a war with Russia, though it has yet to commit any crime for which we have evidence justifying military invasion.

During a press conference in Brussels this week, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said it is vital that European roads, bridges and rail networks are up to date. Not because of dilapidated infrastructure. Or the need to make it easier for people to travel across the continent – let alone their own damn countries – for love and commerce. Or even for global economic competitiveness. But so that their roads, tunnels, bridges and rail networks can take the heavy loads of its tanks and military equipment. (Bridges, tunnels, roads and rail which NATO implies will likely be destroyed in the event of a military conflict, but first they need to get their heavy gear across).

If NATO’s request of the European Community to upgrade their most basic infrastructure isn’t the most obvious metaphor for late-stage capitalism, I don’t know what is.

Just remember that next time your government asks “but how are we going to pay for it?” (The answer is, through deficit spending, which is apparently only acceptable in times of war).

So just to recap: When public spending is acceptable:

When advancing the military industrial complex.

When public spending is unacceptable:

– Upgrading infrastructure so people do not have to spend hours commuting just to get to their place of work so they can earn a living, (commuting hours for which they will not be paid).
– Job creation.
– Education.
– Health.
– Police, fire and ambulance.
– Providing services, emotional, psychological and financial support for our existing servicemen and women, and the generations of veterans who have been abandoned by the governments they signed up to or were conscripted to serve.
– The welfare state and providing for the most basic needs of ‘civilians’ – a term dripping with condescension as it is.

Though Russia has yet to commit a single crime, up to 10,000 NATO troops have amassed on Russia’s border states, in lieu of a war that hasn’t happened yet.

More than 800 UK-led battalion troops from Denmark and France are deployed in Estonia. 1200 Canadian-led troops are based in Albania, Italy, Poland, Spain and Slovenia. Another 1200 German-led battalions from Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway are deployed in Lithuania. And a 4000-strong battalion of US-led soldiers with heavy armour, including 150 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin Howitzers are based in Poland. Troops are also stationed in Romania and Bulgaria.

 

To quote American writer and journalist, Robert Bridge: “Russia has been found guilty – by the non-jury court of NATO opinion – of carrying out the very same task that every nation performs if it hopes to maintain its sovereignty: spending money on modernising its forces.”

In 2010 Russia committed $610 billion to a decade-long transformation, bringing at least 70% of its military equipment into the modern age, a process which journalist Andrew Monaghan nervously described as “impressive”.

But as Bridge rightly points out:

“The author fails to mention, however, that the US Pentagon spends about that much every month feeding the voracious appetite of its vast military empire.”

NATO’s military expenditure for just last year came in at $918 billion.

And from the throne of opulence that is the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall in London, embattled Tory Prime Minister Theresa May paid lip-service to the well-worn myth of Russian aggression. In a speech, she accused Russia of hacking the German parliament and the Danish defence ministry and using fake news and cyber espionage to “sow discord in the west”. (Because nobody has ever lost an election blaming the Russians, though May is a little late to the Cold War chorus which has been playing on repeat for going on eleven months now). All while British NATO forces move ever closer to Moscow.

To add insult to injury, Ms May claimed that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. Perhaps she wasn’t counting the Yugoslav Wars.

Besides which, plenty of non-European sovereign territory have been invaded or forcibly taken since WWII, often with the help of the allied nations, including Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Lebanon, the Belgian Congo, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, The Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, Chile, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti and Panama, South Korea, Cuba and the Balkans. The EU may have largely succeeded in preventing another European world war, but it seemingly has fewer qualms about countries outside its remit.

Oh and it’s worth mentioning here that Turkey, a key NATO ally has not only become a safe-haven for jihadists, but is actively funding and sponsoring ISIS.

A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey revealed that it, a leading member of the NATO alliance, is providing direct financial, military and logistical support to ISIS at the very same time it claims to be fighting terror networks.

Journalist Nick Turse reported in 2011 that it is almost impossible to calculate the number of overseas US military bases:

“Today, according to the Pentagon’s published figures, the American flag flies over 750 U.S. military sites in foreign nations and U.S. territories abroad,” Turse wrote. “This figure does not include small foreign sites of less than 10 acres or those that the U.S. military values at less than $10 million.”

But sure, it’s Russia that is acting aggressively.

Claire Connelly

Claire Connelly

Claire Connelly is the lead writer of Renegade Inc. An award-winning freelance journalist, speaker, and founder of subscription journalism experiment, Hello Humans.

Specialising in economics, technology and policy, Connelly is working on her first book due out in 2018.

With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Claire has written for leading publications including The Australian Financial Review, The Saturday Paper, ABC, SBS, Crikey, New Matilda, VICE & others. She is the co-host of The Week In Start-Ups Australia, and features regularly as a commentator on TV and radio shows including Radio National's Download This Show, ABC's The Drum, Ten's The Project, and more.
Claire Connelly

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2 thoughts on “NATO itching for war with Russia

  1. I was yesterday reading a book about the potential origins of WWIII – one of the chapters was entitled ‘The Economics of Perpetual War’.

    The book was published in 1958.

    Plus ca change…

    We had a chance at relative global peace in 1989/1990 but the American neocons soon saw to that by taking only months after The Wall fell to find a new enemy (in true Orwellian fashion of course a former ally) and go to war. Thus started a period of perpetual Middle Eastern conflict which I for one am convinced is driven by US Christian fundamentalism (which is rife) as it is by Muslim fundamentalism – and that in 100 years’ time will be written about by historians as a religious war.

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