Faced with the challenge of Russia’s presence at its eastern and southern borders and the threat of a failed state in Libya, NATO has inaugurated its largest and most ambitious drill exercises in over a decade.
“Since the end of the Cold War these drills have decreased, but with the rise of Putin and the increased tension between Russia and NATO, it may be important to show this commitment again,” said Paul Vickery, former counterintelligence officer with the U.S. Army in Europe and professor of history at ORU.
More than 35,000 troops are currently participating in NATO’s monthlong Trident Juncture war drills. These drills are a collaboration of militaries from 30 different capitalist governments aligned with NATO alliance, which is supported by an infrastructure of 140 warplanes and 60-plus warships.
These massive NATO war games are taking place in Italy, Spain and Portugal and will cease on Nov. 7. They occur annually to demonstrate their capability and commitment to defend Western Europe from communist aggression. They are designed to prepare NATO forces for possible large-scale warfare and to display a new increased level of ambition amidst tension with Russian actions in the Middle East.
In the past week NATO showed its air power with Typhoon, F-18, F-16, Tornado and AMX aircrafts. An MQ-9 Reaper drone was on static display.
“This sends a very clear message to any potential aggressor,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Phillip Breedlove, NATO’s top military officer and leader of U.S. European Command, in an interview with Defense News.
The NATO powers are preparing their militaries in anticipation of further destabilization of Europe’s political order and developing a necessary process to combat new wars and interventions along Russia’s eastern frontier.
“Let me take the analogy of a football team. They’re all super, they have strikers, they have goal keepers, but they have to form a team,” Breedlove said. “Now when they come together, they need training to win next Sunday’s match.”
The intensity of the current war drills is an expression of the fact that a general war in Europe is now viewed as possible, even likely, by leading factions of the Western militaries.
“Any attempt to violate the sovereignty of one NATO nation will result in the decisive military engagement of all NATO countries,” said Breedlove.
Photo courtesy of NATO