The ‘War’ Word is Being Increasingly Heard as Europe, Russia, China and the United States Adopt Provocative Postures

From the News Corp Australia Network:

NATO Fighter Planes Over Lithuania

NATO Fighter Planes Over Lithuania

Is the world going mad? Military posturing is quietly reaching new extremes in Europe, the Mediterranean and the South China Sea. And the provocative bluster has just reached new heights.

The source was anonymous. But the mouthpiece has a measure of credibility. High profile military analyst and former US Naval War College lecturer John Schindler tweeted last week: “Said a senior NATO (non-US) GOFO to me today: ‘We’ll probably be at war this summer. If we’re lucky it won’t be nuclear.’” Let that sink in.

The warning comes as Europe engages in some of its biggest ever war games — right on Russia’s front door. It’s a deliberate ploy, intended to remind Moscow of the consequences of its duplicitous invasion of Ukraine.

Half a world away, the “w” word was mentioned again yesterday. This time in an editorial by a Chinese state controlled paper. Said the Global Times: “If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.”

It came as China’s government effectively declared a “no fly zone” over the disputed waterway after warning the US over its “provocative” aerial reconnaissance of several islands.

Yesterday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman issued a formal protest at the United States’ actions in challenging its territorial clams.
“We urge the US to correct its error, remain rational and stop all irresponsible words and deeds,” Hua Chunying said. “Freedom of navigation and overflight by no means mean that foreign countries’ warships and military aircraft can ignore the legitimate rights of other countries as well as the safety of aviation and navigation.”

It represents a distinct hardening of China’s attitude towards the rising clamour of international protest.

Further into the article:

Early in May, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation began one of its largest ever war-games. The naval anti-submarine exercise was designed to send a message after a series of aggressive Russian submarine incursions into the territorial waters of Baltic States such as Latvia, Finland and Sweden.

Last month, a number of Baltic State defence ministers issued a statement condemning Russia’s activities, once again declaring its old Cold War enemy their “biggest threat to security”.

Russia retaliated by highlighting the deepening relationship between neutral Finland and Sweden with NATO was a “special concern”.

Some 18 warships and submarines took part in the oddly named exercise, “Dynamic Mongoose”. It involved 10 NATO members and the otherwise neutral Sweden.

It came just weeks after NATO members — including Britain — sent tanks and troops to conduct live-fire exercises with Estonia: Once again an act designed to send a signal to Russia — keep your hands off the Baltic States. The tiny Baltic state separated from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

This week saw the launch of a third major NATO military exercise: Combat jets from the US, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands have gathered in Finland, Norway and Sweden for extensive Arctic combat drills over 12 days.

Read more of the article here:  News.Au.com

Finland: Fighter Jet Exercises Begin

From the New York Times:

One of Europe’s largest fighter jet exercises began Monday amid increasing military tensions in the Nordic and Baltic region. More than 100 aircraft and 4,000 people are participating in the two-week Arctic Challenge Exercise, which follows NATO submarine detection drills off the Norwegian coast this month. The aerial maneuvers, hosted by Norway, a NATO member, include American F-16 fighter jets and military aircraft from Britain, Germany and France, accompanying non-NATO members Finland and Sweden. Tensions have increased in the region since the Ukraine crisis. NATO is accusing Russian military aircraft of putting civilian flights at risk by bolstering the number of its military air patrols and having its planes fly with their transponders switched off.

In Show of Muscle, Russia Conducts Military Exercise in Country’s Northwest

From CNN.com:

Russian Military VehiclesYou flex your muscles and I’ll flex mine. Or so it seems to go in international relations these days.

Russia has deployed 12,000 troops along with numerous aircraft and weapons in a surprise military exercise in the country’s northwest — a show of strength that may be a response to a long-planned European military exercise led by Norway.

The Russian news agency Tass, quoting the country’s defense ministry, reported Monday that the exercise involves as many as 250 combat planes and helicopters and 689 units of “various weapons and military equipment.”

Cruise missiles will be aimed at an “imaginary enemy,” the report said.

The seemingly competing military exercises come as tension is increasing along a range of former Soviet states — from Moldova in the south to Latvia, 900 miles to the north — over whether they will fall under the influence of Russia or the West.

The EU and NATO eye these states as potential members, and indeed Latvia, for example, is already a member of both organizations. But Russia views that as a threat.

Part of that struggle has involved the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and its encouragement of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Read the full article here at CNN.com

Japan Joins US-Australian Military Exercise in July for First Time

From the Guardian News:

flag-of-japanJapanese troops will take part in a major US-Australian military exercise for the first time in July, as Washington looks to strengthen links among its allies in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

Japan’s ground self-defence force – its army – will send 40 personnel to participate in Talisman Sabre, a two-yearly drill that begins on 7 July, which will involve about 27,000 service men and women, a Japanese government spokesman said.

“We will participate in joint exercises with the US marines, rather than operating directly with the Australian military,” he said.

“But our participation is seen as part of efforts” to strengthen defence ties between Japan and Australia.

The drill, in two places near Rockhampton and Darwin, is intended “to improve tactical expertise in amphibian operations and to strengthen Japan-US interoperability”.

News of Japan’s participation came as tensions remain high in the region, with increasing criticism of China’s behaviour in the South China Sea, where it has accelerated building artificial islands in disputed waters.

The US is considering sending warships and surveillance aircraft within 12 nautical miles – the usual territorial zone around natural land – of the reclaimed reefs.

Such a deployment could lead to a standoff in a stretch of water traversed by vital global shipping lanes.

Read more of the article here

Russia to conduct joint military exercises with India, China in 2015

From the Moscow Times:

Russian land forces will join troops from China, India, Mongolia and Belarus in a series of joint military training exercises during the second half of this year, President Vladimir Putin’s office said Wednesday.

The announcement, issued as Putin met top Russian military brass in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, will stir unease in Western capitals, whose relations with Moscow have deteriorated sharply during the year-long Ukraine crisis.

Moscow has become especially keen to build closer economic and other ties with the Asian giants China and India since the United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Russia last year over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean region.

The joint military training exercises will have a focus on peace-keeping and anti-terrorist activities, the statement said.

Training exercises are also planned with troops from member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB), which includes Russia and several former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Russia also plans a number of other training exercises for its armed forces this year, Wednesday’s statement said, part of efforts to counter what Moscow portrays as an aggressive, anti-Russian stance by NATO.

Read More of this article at the  Russia and India Report website

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