From Fort Russ
Ask anyone on the streets of Kabul about the revolutions that in recent years transformed huge parts of Latin America, and the chances are you’ll encounter a blank stare. Perhaps mentioning Cuba could evoke at least some recognition, but definitely not Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia. I know because I tried on several occasions, and I failed.
Ask in the marvelous historic city of Herat, with its huge minarets and Italian military contingent, about Western imperialism, or about NATO and its murderous campaigns all over the world, and chances are that your question won’t even be understood.
“Chances are that those Afghan people who can speak English or other Western languages, are now actually working for the Westerners; either for their military, or for their ‘defense’ contractors… or for the embassies, the United Nations,or perhaps some NGO”, explained an Asian reporter who is based in Afghanistan for more than two decades. “These people are not going to rock the boat, dwelling on crimes committed by the West, here and all over the world.”
That appears to be the case.
After more than 15 years of brutal Western occupation, Afghanistan appears to be thoroughly ruined. Not only in terms of its infrastructure and standards of living, and not only when it comes to all basic indicators like life expectancy (15th lowest in the world, according to the WHO, 2015) or education: all those things I expected.
But perhaps even more significantly, the country is destroyed morally and intellectually.
The only resistance the West is facing here, comes from extremist groups and movements such as the Taliban and Daesh (ISIS). All intellectual and artistic struggles against the occupation have been destroyed, contained, bought, or frightened into near absolute silence.
In fact, the occupation’ is not even called ‘occupation’, anymore. Pragmatic, opportunistic definitions are increasingly taking over those once mainstream narratives. As I was informed by a wealthy family on an outing in the Panjshir Valley:
“We are fully dependent on the presence of NATO troops in our country. Only foreigners are offering us well-paid and stable jobs. If they leave, we’d have to follow them; to emigrate to the United States or Europe.”
This is far from the once proud and brave Afghanistan, which managed to defeat British invaders, after that delivering a mortal blow to the Soviet Union.
While in the country, I tried to investigate and to analyze;how on earth did Afghanistan end up on its knees? What force, what strategy was applied to break what appeared to be shatterproof?
It was clear that the West has managed to unleash and to uphold a very complex and tremendously successful indoctrination campaign, enslaving the nation by applying various ‘weapons’, which it has used in all corners of the world.
One of those ‘weapons’ is, of course, ‘education’. For instance the American University of Kabul is literally regurgitating thousands of young sons and daughters of the elites, who are set on staying, after the proper dose of indoctrination and colorful diplomas, permanently loyal to the West. The nation’s curriculum, I was told, has been defined during long meetings at the US Embassy and at the offices of the World Bank.
There is virtually an absolute control of information and media. As in all countries occupied by the West, as well as in all client states, the so-called social media plays a vital role, setting tendencies and directing discussion patterns.
This will mean lucrative contracts for U.S. companies.
How much money was paid to secure this “agreement”, money which then disappeared into protected personal bank accounts?
From Fort Russ
|-Our exercises are a warning to Russia!
– Should we beep?
March 2, 2016 – Fort Russ News
Rubaltic – Translated by Kristina Kharlova
The Baltic States have recognized the special status of the US military in its territory
By Alexander Shamshiev
The US soldiers will receive special legal treatment in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. New rules involve tax incentives, lower prices, immunity from criminal prosecution and potential conflicts with local population.
The Baltic States have agreed with the United States about status of presence of American troops on their territory.
Local media agreed in opinion that negotiations with the American party took place at an accelerated pace to wrap up before the inauguration of Donald Trump, scheduled for January 20. Previously American soldiers visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to participate in military exercises and short-term maneuvers. The agreements actually create a legal framework for permanent presence of US military in the three republics. This is what is expected by local authorities. “I am convinced that the presence of US forces is one of the most important factors that will make people of Lithuania feel safer in the current situation, – said Lithuanian defense Minister Karoblis, – and I hope that a permanent presence will continue in the future.” Preparations to welcome Americans are in full swing.
The authorities are actively building barracks, and investing in upgrading infrastructure at the bases in Rukla, Adazhi and Tapa, which in the spring will begin to accept the multinational battalions of NATO.
The purpose of SOFAs [Status of Forces Agreements] is to: “Protect against U.S. personnel being subject to host country criminal or civil justice systems. This is important not only to protect U.S. personnel’s rights and to vindicate the U.S. interest in exercising disciplinary authority over its personnel, but also because U.S. willingness to deploy forces overseas – and public support for such deployments – could suffer significant setbacks if U.S. personnel were at risk of being tried in a potentially unfair system. The United States also has an interest in preserving the principle that U.S. military discipline is enforced by the U.S. military justice system.” – Lsm.lv
|NATO forces in the Baltics – 2017|
Model agreements on the status of forces and amendments are an integral part of any stable presence of the US army abroad. The Pentagon has signed more than 100 agreements governing the relationship between its military and host countries. Signing a SOFA is considered a prestigious event for the allies. It means that the White house took their defense seriously. Therefore, if the agreements facilitate certain developments, in the long term in can propell Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the level of America’s closest allies, such as Japan, South Korea and Germany.
The Baltic States promised to create a military haven with an abundance of benefits. Among them – preferential tax regime without VAT, taxes on sales and excise taxes, and special stores for the sale of goods at competitive prices. It is indicated that the receiving party does not seek to obtain “additional income” from foreign troops. This fact will certainly depress the municipal authorities and local residents, who planned to cash in on foreign soldiers. In response to the generous reception the American side agrees to strictly comply with Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian laws and not get rowdy.
But from the experience of friendly visits by NATO military incidents can not be avoided.
Guests often provoke an adverse reaction. Last year was no exception: Americans staged a pogrom in Druskininkai waterpark, tore down Lithuanian flag from the building of the prosecutor’s office in Kaunas and desecrated it; the servants of Bundeswehr beat a Lithuanian colleague at Rukla base; the British attacked a Latvian in Riga “McDonald’s” and broke his nose; Japanese seamen invaded Klaipeda, flooded bars and harassed local residents. Typically, such antics were committed in a drunken state. Defiant behavior and disorderly conduct of the military led the mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs to compare them with occupants. Similar cases periodically happen in other countries – for example, in May 2016 in the Italian Vicenza 13 soldiers of the elite 173rd airborne brigade of the United States were arrested for their part in a mass brawl.
From David Swanson.org
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.
The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That’s 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.
During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.
The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is “as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001.” There’s no reason to believe he won’t tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force …meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.
The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories of fraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.
But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.
In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it is investigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses — all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.
Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.”
The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.
We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.
SIGNED BY:Elliott Adams, Veterans For PeaceDeborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the TopRita Archibald, Nonviolence TrainerJudy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the WarsMedea Benjamin, Code PinkFred BiallyBarry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy BealeToby Blome’, Code PinkAlison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and OccupationLeah Bolger, World Beyond WarJohn Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for PeaceRamsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney GeneralHelena Cobban, Just World BooksDavid Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential NomineeJeff Cohen, RootsAction.orgGerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of DirectorsMary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women PriestsJames Eilers, Code Pink AuxiliaryMichael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the WarMelissa Crosby, Black Lives MatterNicolas J S Davies, authorMary Dean, World Beyond WarThomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJennifer DiZio, UC BerkeleyMaria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women PriestsDaniel Ellsberg, whistleblowerJodie Evans, Code PinkJoseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of PeaceRobert Fantina, World Beyond WarBill Fletcher Jr., BlackCommentator.comMargaret Flowers, Popular ResistanceGlen Ford, Black Agenda ReportBruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in SpaceJohan Galtung, Founder Trancend InterntionalLindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UKThe Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & JusticeMichael Goldstein, The 99 PercentKevin Gosztola, Shadowproof.comWill Griffin, The Peace ReportPatty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness, Pax-SalonBishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of DetroitAmith Gupta, student, NYU School of LawBill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa CountyDavid Hartsough, PeaceworkersJan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends MeetingHayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare WitnessDud Hendrick, Veterans for PeaceAdam Hochschild, authorMatthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study GroupMartha Hubert, Code Pink San FranciscoAaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the WarTony Jenkins, World Beyond WarSonja Johnson, Women Against Military MadnessKathy Kelly, Voices For Creative NonviolenceGary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJohn Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officerDennis Kucinich, former Member of United States CongressPeter Kuznick, Professor of History, American UniversityBarry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of DirectorsPaul Leuenberger, Veterans for PeaceDave Lindorff, This Can’t Be HappeningDave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and JusticeDouglas Mackey, Global Days of ListeningJody Mackey, New Traditions Fair TradeMike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace LaureateBen Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic RevolutionStephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends MeetingSherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Ken Mayers, Veterans for PeaceRay McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for SanityCynthia McKinney, former member of United States CongressStephen McNeil, American Friends Service CommitteeMichael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive DirectorTom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San JoseNick Mottern, Knowdrones.comElizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NICMichael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and PresidentCarroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace CouncilCathe Norman, Veterans for Peace AssociateTom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.)Gareth Porter, journalist, authorPancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmJohn C. Reiger, Veterans For PeaceDenny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counselMike Rufo, MusicianJudith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Bill Schwab, Americans for JusticeJulie Searle, EducatorMichael Shaughnessy, educatorCindy Sheehan, peace activistEva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmAlice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace FoundationGar Smith, Environmentalists Against WarDavid Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, PuppeteerNorman Solomon, RootsAction.orgMelvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist ChurchJill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidateDavid Swanson, World Beyond WarShelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare WitnessBrian Terrell, Voices for Creative NonviolenceTiffany Tool, Nonviolent PeaceforceChip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends MeetingLouie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert ExperienceZohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace ActionPhil Wilayto, the Virginia DefenderAnn Wright, retired U.S. Army colonelKevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
(organizations above for identification)
ALSO SIGNED BY:
Creating a Culture of PeaceMobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver CanadaPopular ResistanceVeterans For PeaceVoices for Creative NonviolenceWorld Beyond War
Obama is the first president to keep the US at war for the entirety of his eight-year regime. During 2016 alone the US dropped 26,171 bombs on wedding parties, funerals, kid’s soccer games, hospitals, schools, people in their homes and walking their streets, and farmers tilling their fields in seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. 
What does the administration have to show for eight years of illegal military interventions in seven countries, none of which comprised a danger to the US and against none of which the US has declared war? Terrorism was created by US invasions, no wars have been won, and the Middle East has been consumed in chaos and destruction. Worldwide hatred of the United States has risen to a record high. The US is now the most despised country on earth.
The only purposes of these crimes is to enrich the armaments industry and to advance the insane neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. A tiny handful of despicable people have been able to destroy the reputation of the United States and murder millions of peoples, sending waves of war refugees to the US and Europe.
We call these “wars,” but they are not. They are invasions, largely from the air, but in Afghanistan and Iraq from troops on the ground. The invasions by air and land are entirely based on blatant, transparent lies. The “justifications” for the invasions have changed a dozen times.
The questions are: If Trump becomes president, will Washington’s massive crimes against humanity continue? If so, will the rest of the world continue to tolerate Washington’s extraordinary evil?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
The video is id’d as Simferopol on March 7, 2014
The speaker is identified by a commenter as Yan Kazemirovich
From Fort Russ
How the United States presumes to possess the authority to determine the fate of a sovereign nation thousands of miles from its own shores in the Middle East is never explained by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he recently announced a new ultimatum leveled at Damascus. Nor is it explained why Syria should capitulate to US demands to begin a political transition that has demonstrably left other nations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) divided, destroyed, and safe-havens for state-sponsored terrorism years after “successful” US-backed regime change has been achieved – Libya most notably.
Yet despite all of this, according to the Associate Press (AP) in their article, “Kerry warns Assad to start transition by Aug. 1 or else,” the United States fully expects Damascus to concede to a “political transition” engineered by Washington, leaving the nation in the hands of verified terrorists linked directly to the political and militant forces currently laying waste to Libya and those nations that put them into power.
The article reports:
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran on Tuesday that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new U.S. approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.
AP would also claim:
…it’s unlikely that the Obama administration, so long opposed to an active American combat role in Syria, would significantly boost its presence beyond the 300 special forces it has authorized thus far in the heart of a U.S. presidential election season. More feasible might be U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia giving the rebels new weapons to fight Assad, such as portable surface-to-air missiles.
Again, the US is making demands of “Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow” while it is openly allied with Saudi Arabia who is admittedly backing US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organizations including the Al Nusra Front – quite literally Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
This point has inconveniently surfaced even across the West’s own media, including the Independent in an article titled, “Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria.” In it states that:
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments.
The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Isis which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.
Despite superficial attempts to portray Al Nusra at “arms length” from Saudi Arabia, and thus from Saudi Arabia’s closest and most valuable ally, Washington, the inseparable nature of those the US and Saudi Arabia are supporting and those they claim not to support is documented fact.
America Essentially Demands Syria’s Surrender to Al Qaeda
Considering the verified nature of the so-called “opposition” in Syria and the verifiable nature of what US foreign policy has done to Libya – leaving it to this day in the hands of state-sponsored terrorist organizations including the notorious “Islamic State” or ISIS – what the US is essentially demanding of Syria and its allies is capitulation to Al Qaeda.
It is a surreal full-circle US foreign policy has made, from first creating Al Qaeda in the late 1980’s jointly with Saudi Arabia and elements within the Pakistani government, then claiming to have been struck egregiously by the terrorist organization on September 11, 2001 triggering over a decade of very profitable war, before finally arriving in Libya and Syria beginning in 2011 where once again US politicians found themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with literal commanders of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, waging proxies wars against their collective enemies.
Indeed, US Senator John McCain would find himself in a Libya utterly devastated by NATO at the end of 2011, shaking hands with the commander of US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – literally Al Qaeda in Libya. The LIFG commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, had at one point been arrested by the US before being handed over to the Libyan government and imprisoned for his terrorism.
Syria’s Clear Course of Action
Syria is undoubtedly being overrun by heavily armed and extremely dangerous terrorists backed by foreign powers. These are terrorists that have proven already in Libya, that upon coming to power, they will first carry out genocide against their ethnic and political enemies, then transform Syria into a devastated wasteland and springboard for terrorism and proxy war elsewhere in the region – likely Iran and then southern Russia.Syria’s only clear course of action is to resist and defeat these terrorist factions and restore order within the nation’s boundaries. It must do this by interdicting terrorists and their supplies along the Turkish-Syrian border in the north, and the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. It is abundantly clear that the terrorists operating within Syria cannot sustain their fighting capacity without significant and constant logistical support from their foreign sponsors beyond Syria’s borders. This fact alone, undermines the legitimacy of the so-called “uprising” and “civil war” in Syria that upon closer examination is clearly a proxy invasion.
The US’s Clear Course of Action
The US itself, in its own military manuals (MCWP 3-35.3) regarding combat operations, states in reference to defeating terrorism that:
In countering this threat, [it should be determined] whether it is internally or externally directed terrorism. Terrorism rooted externally must be severed from its roots. Against internal terrorism, [attempts should be made] to penetrate the infrastructure and destroy the leadership of the terrorist groups.
The US has already boasted of having struck hard at the leadership of various terrorist groups in Syria it claims to be at war with, yet these groups appear unfazed. This is precisely because the terrorism is being direct externally, from Turkey and Jordan where the US itself has based its forces for its ongoing Syrian operations. The clear and obvious course of action for the US is to identify the “roots” of this externally directed terrorism and “sever” them.
However, the US refuses to do this. Instead, even as it continues its feigned war against terrorism in Syria, it is doubling down on support for its proxies, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, who in turn, are harboring, arming, funding, training, and directly supporting the very terrorist groups the US claims to be fighting.
US Secretary of State John Kerry threatens a “new approach” by the US in Syria, if Syria does not capitulate to what is essentially the end of its existence as a functioning nation-state. The “new approach” is likely simply the continuation of existing plans to incrementally invade and occupy Syrian territory, particularly in the east through the infiltration of Iraq-based Kurds operating under US proxy Masoud Barzani, as well as to trigger a cross-border incident north of Aleppo by using their ISIS proxies to attack Turkish targets – reminisced of staged attacks Ankara had planned earlier during the war to justify the invasion and occupation of northern Syria.
Warning the world of the “success” America’s previous “political transitions” have wrought in Libya or Iraq, and raising awareness of the current nature of US-Saudi support for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria today, is essential in undermining the legitimacy and authority upon which the US is attempting to base its demands directed at Damascus. The demands are illegitimate and the authority they are made with constitutes not principles nor rule of law, but naked and unjust aggression that must be resisted today lest it succeed and set a precedent for further acts of injustice against other nations tomorrow.
President Putin responding to an Estonian reporter.
Also posted here:
Washington and NATO control the narrative. Here, Lt. Gen. Hodges meets with “defense writers”, and tells them the spin.
Was he able to talk about diplomacy with a straight face?
From Rick Rozoff
U.S. Department of Defense
March 19, 2015
Army Commander in Europe Details Assurance Efforts
By Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON: Thirteen months after Russia began its occupation of Crimea, the United States and its European allies must remain steadfast against the threat such actions pose, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said here this week.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told the Defense Writers Group at a March 17 breakfast that the Russian action of illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continuing threat to the eastern part of Ukraine is a game-changer on the continent.
Atlantic Resolve Enables Cooperation
…Hodges told reporters to think of Atlantic Resolve as a continuous series of exercises, with American troops operating with troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, demonstrating America’s commitment to the defense of these NATO allies. Later this month, Atlantic Resolve exercises will expand to include Bulgaria and, later in the year, Romania, he said.
An airborne battalion from Vicenza, Italy, will jump into Romania and link up with a Stryker squadron coming by rail from Vilseck, Germany, Hodges said. “That will begin the introduction of [Operation Atlantic Resolve] into the south,” he added.
U.S. Army Europe also is working with countries in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including Georgia and Ukraine. Beginning next month, troopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will train Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops, and in May, U.S. paratroopers and tankers will exercise in Georgia, Hodges said.
Using Diplomatic, Economic Pressures
Reporters pressed Hodges on whether the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine. He said he can see both sides of the argument, but that the focus should not be on the weapons decision. “The focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressures and support,” he said.