Hedges: NATO — The Most Dangerous Military Alliance on the Planet

he North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the arms industry that depends on it for billions in profits, has become the most aggressive and dangerous military alliance on the planet. Created in 1949 to thwart Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, it has evolved into a global war machine in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden. It bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes. It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the so-called “Asia Pacific Four,” to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO’s second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria as well as Iraq. Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria. The Turkish military has been accused of war crimes – including multiple airstrikes against a refugee camp andchemical weapons use – in northern Iraq. In exchange for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s permission for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, the two Nordic countries have agreed to expand their domestic terror laws making it easier to crack down on Kurdish and other activists, lift their restrictions on selling arms to Turkey and deny support to the Kurdish-led movement for democratic autonomy in Syria.

It is quite a record for a military alliance that with the collapse of the Soviet Union was rendered obsolete and should have been dismantled. NATO and the militarists had no intention of embracing the “peace dividend,” fostering a world based on diplomacy, a respect of spheres of influence and mutual cooperation. It was determined to stay in business. Its business is war. That meant expanding its war machine far beyond the border of Europe and engaging in ceaseless antagonism toward China and Russia.

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Something NATO will NEVER understand!

New default scenario including US and Russian strategic forces

US pushes allies to assemble patchwork air defences for Ukraine

In order to protect Ukraine from Russia's varied threats, however, it will be necessary to build air defences made up of multiple layers, says the top US military officer, General Mark Milley.

The United States is pressing allies to hastily build for Ukraine a patchwork air defence network using NATO-compatible equipment – some ultra-modern, others older – to protect strategic targets from Russian strikes.

The effort was given added urgency after Moscow pummeled Ukraine with missiles this week, damaging energy facilities nationwide and leaving at least 20 people dead.

"What the [Ukrainian] leadership described that they needed yesterday most was air defence capability," US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in Brussels on Thursday, a day after a meeting of 50 allied countries who coordinate their military support for Kyiv.

In order to protect Ukraine from Russia's varied threats, however, it will be necessary to build air defences made up of multiple layers, says the top US military officer, General Mark Milley.
"What you're looking at, really, is short-range, low-altitude systems, then medium-range, medium-altitude, and then long-range and high-altitude systems," he said on Wednesday in Brussels.

These three levels will protect major cities and key infrastructure in Ukraine from Russian ballistic and cruise missiles as well as drones.

"That doesn't control all the airspace over Ukraine, but they are designed to control priority targets that Ukraine needs to protect," Milley said during a news conference.

Washington has promised to provide Ukraine with the short- to medium-range, medium-altitude NASAMS air defense system, with the first two arriving soon.

It has also ordered six more from manufacturer Raytheon, but those deliveries may not occur for two to three years.

Old and new

Germany has delivered the first of the latest-generation Iris-T defence systems, but Kyiv will have to wait until next year for three others that have been promised.

The medium-range, high-altitude Iris-T system is designed to protect a small city.

To accelerate the process, the United States urged its allies on Wednesday to provide their available anti-aircraft equipment – even if it is older – as long as it meets NATO standards.

Spain was the first to respond positively to that call: it will send Ukraine four medium-range Hawk surface-to-air systems, which first went into service during the Cold War but have been modernised over the years.

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