NATO Steps Up War Preparations

Sweden became NATO's newest member on March 7, after depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States in Washington, DC. With Sweden's accession, NATO now counts 32 countries among its members, all under U.S. command.

Albania officially re-opened Kuçova airbase in March. NATO funded the base upgrade with around $50 million. Kuçova is located about 80 kilometres south of Tirana. Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White said, "The makeover of Kuçova airbase is a strategic investment and shows that NATO continues to strengthen its presence in the Western Balkans, an area of strategic importance to the Alliance."

According to NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Christopher Cavoli, NATO's Steadfast Defender 2024 war game, currently taking place until May 31, features some 90,000 troops from all 32 member states. In addition, 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as over 50 naval vessels and 80 helicopters, drones and fighter jets are taking part. According to Cavoli, the war exercise is unprecedented and it signals "Alliance Unity and Preparedness." The exercise is "strategically located" in several key European countries, including Finland, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It is a "multi-domain exercise, incorporating land, air, sea, cyber and space operations, which has been a major focus of doctrinal development at NATO Allied Command Transformation. It involves deploying forces from North America and other parts of the Alliance to Europe. Over several months, complex multi-domain operations will be conducted across thousands of kilometres, thereby enhancing civil-military cooperation and national and collective resilience." In this way, what is being stressed is NATO's concerted efforts to militarize all of life and make war preparations the new normal.

Spokesperson for the government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said the military drills are a threat and NATO is an "instrument of confrontation" used by the U.S. The secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolay Patrushev described Steadfast Defender 2024 as "a scenario of an armed confrontation with Russia being rehearsed." He said the drills "are undoubtedly increasing tensions and destabilizing the situation in the world."

This article was published in
Volume 54 Number 2 - March 2024

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