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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sweden and Baltic States Prepare for War with Russia. Something is Unfolding that We are Not being Told About.

Sweden and Baltic States Prepare for War with Russia. Something is Unfolding that We are Not being Told About. 


Dr. Chojnowski: Do they know something that is being kept from us in the usually isolated and ill-informed US? While Sweden is preparing their people for war in a pamphlet not put out since the height of the Cold War and during World War II, the Baltic States are "asking" for a larger troop presence by the United States. In other words, if the Russians invaded Estonia or Lithuania, we will be at war with the threat of nuclear conflict. Will the US government ever prepare the citizenry for war? Russia is the obvious enemy. Being defended against or being provoked into war?

 

Sweden distributes 'be prepared for war' leaflet to all 4.8m homes
Defence pamphlet shows how population can prepare in event of attack and contribute to country’s ‘total defence’
The new pamphlet
 The new pamphlet prepares the population for cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Photograph: DinSäkerhet.se
The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war. 
Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs such as food, water and heat, what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”.
The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news.
“Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence,” the brochure says. “If you are prepared, you are contributing to improving the ability of the country to cope with a major strain.”
Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961, and then to local and national government officials until 1991. 
“Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.”
A Swedish cold-war era defence leaflet.
Pinterest
 A Swedish cold-war era defence leaflet. Photograph: Försvarsmakten
The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines.
The country has begun reversing military spending cuts and last year staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century, as well as voting to reintroduce conscription and unveiling joint plans with Denmark to counter Russian cyber-attacks and disinformation.
The leaflet advises people to think about how to cope if there was no heating, food became difficult to buy, prepare and store, there was no water in the taps or toilet, and cash machines, mobile phones and the internet stopped working.
It advises checking the source of all information, warning that “states and organisations are already trying to influence our values and how we act ... and reduce reduce our resilience and willingness to defend ourselves”.
A detailed page of “home preparedness tips” advises the population to stock up on water bottles, warm clothing and sleeping bags, and “non-perishable food that can be prepared quickly, requires little water or can be eaten without preparation”.
In the event of armed conflict, it says, “everyone is obliged to contribute and everyone is needed” for Sweden’s “total defence”: anyone between 16 and 70 “can be called to assist in the event of the threat of war and war”. 
Sweden has not been at war with another country for more than 200 years. If it is attacked, the leaflet says, “we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”
 
The Baltic States Ask The US For A Bigger Military Presence On Their Soil

The foreign ministers (FMs) of the Baltic states have wound up their May 16-18 visit to Washington. They asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to reinforce the NATO battalions that have been deployed to their countries with air and naval units. They also want their air-defense capability enhanced. Lithuanian FM Linas Linkevicius emphasized that it’s not just the numbers that are important, but also training exercises, visits, the distribution of equipment, and the establishment of new military facilities. Latvian FM Edgars Rinkevics called for making the US military presence in the Baltic states and Poland permanent. It’s hardly a coincidence that the issue has been raised prior to the NATO 2018 summit that will take place on July 11-12.
The leaders of the Baltic states have always stressed that they see the current military build-up as only the starting point for a larger effort that will include modernized routes and infrastructure sites, as well equipping their national forces with more up-to-date weapons for offensive operations.
NATO has deployed four battalion-sized battle groups (roughly 4,500 troops) to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The nations that comprise the backbone of this force are the US, the UK, Germany and Canada. Twelve other allies also contribute to the Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP). Eight small staffs known as NATO force integration units have also been established. Common rules of engagement (ROE) are in the process of being hammered out, taking into account regional nuances. In the event of war, the Graduated Response Plan (Eagle Defender) with its own detailed ROE will come into play.
Under the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), the US military has transferred over to Europe a 3,500-strong armored brigade combat team and a 2,200-strong combat aviation brigade that is headquartered in Germany, and a combat sustainment support battalion (750 troops) that is stationed on Polish soil to be used as a logistics hub in Romania. It has also deployed a support team to Lithuania.
In total, America now has three combat-ready brigades stationed in Europe, along with pre-positioned stockpiles of weapons systems and equipment that will allow a fourth brigade to rapidly beef up its forces to launch an attack against Russia. NATO reinforcement would also include the 13,000-strong NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) or Spearhead Force, which is an element of the Enhanced NATO Response Force (NRF) that would join the combat later. The NRF consists of 40,000 troops. All these forces are capable of joining the fight on short notice.
These armed corps possess an attack capability that Russia cannot ignore. Nor can Moscow turn a blind eye to the fact that NATO’s collective military boasts 3.2 million active personnel — compared to Russia’s 830,000 — in addition to the US arsenal of long-range attack systems. Germany, France, and some other allies see that as enough, but no, the Baltic states are never satisfied. They keep on begging for more. They want to fully exploit their status of “frontline states” in order to reap the political benefits.
And not only that, NATO is ratcheting up tensions by holding an increasing number of large-scale exercises right on Russia’s borders. This greatly elevates the risk of inadvertent escalation. For instance, three major exercises are scheduled to be held in the Baltic region this summer.
On June 3-15, the Saber Strike exercise organized by the US Army Europe will encompass the three Baltic states and Poland, involving over 18,000 troops from 19 countries. About 3,000 American soldiers and over 1,500 combat vehicles will travel from Germany to Latvia and Lithuania. Public roads will be used to move heavy equipment. On June 12-13, the soldiers of the US 2nd Cavalry Regiment will construct a bridge in order to cross the Neman River in Lithuania (in the Kaunas district). Their main mission is to ensure that the forces are ready to rapidly advance, not to merely defend their positions.
Eight thousand American airborne troops will land in Latvia during the Swift Response exercise, in order to train alongside Lithuanian and Polish troops. Namejs 2018 will be held from August 20 to September 2 and will involve over 9,200 Latvian forces, including the military, police, border guards, volunteer reservists, and other state institutions. They will be joined by 650 troops from the US, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
All these large-scale intensive training activities will take place in the background of the planning for Trident Juncture 2018, the largest NATO exercise involving about 40,000 troops, 70 ships, and about 130 aircraft from over 30 nations, which will be deployed to central and northern Norway in October for the live portion of the event. A command post phase will be conducted in Italy. Norway does not have a shoreline in the Baltic Sea but it is a member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
When the construction is over, Powidz, a Polish village with a population of 1,000, will have become a NATO hub for the Baltics and all of Northern Europe. That will be the control center for the operations in the region.
Anakonda 2018, the largest event ever staged by NATO since the end of the Cold War, involving 100,000 troops, 5,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and helicopters, and 45 warships will be hosted by Portugal this summer. This particular event will be held outside the Baltic Sea region, but it’s an important part of the bigger picture because the training activities of the bloc have been incorporated into a unified plan. It’s the vast scale that is so impossible to ignore.
All the exercises are being staged to allow the forces to hone their skills for conducting offensive operations against Russia, not for fending off attacks from trenches dug along the lines of defense. All these events are large-scale and the operational tempo is unprecedented, all of which makes the security status of Europe extremely precarious.
Nothing is working to ease the tensions. The agreement on the Prevention of Incidents at (INCSEA) and the Agreement on the Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities (DMA) seem forgotten and dust-covered. No one appears to remember they even exist. Incidents and dangerous activities take place regularly, especially during exercises. The agreements do nothing to prevent them.
In 2016, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier proposed arms control discussions to defuse tensions. Russia welcomed the idea but the initiative ended up more or less swept under the rug. Moscow has proposed updating the risk-reduction procedures envisaged under the Vienna Document (Chapter III), but the alliance rejected the idea of direct Russia-NATO talks. It wants discussions to be held under the auspices of the OSCE, which makes no sense. It’s NATO, not the OSCE, that Russia has security problems with. It’s the North Atlantic Alliance, not the OSCE, that holds provocative military exercises near Russia’s borders while painting it as the state that harbors aggressive intentions. NATO has rejected Russia’s initiatives to reduce the risk of incidents, including in the Baltic region.
These exercises, which are in truth provocations, in addition to the longing of the Baltic nations to acquire the status of “frontline states,” the absence of any Russia-NATO dialog aimed at addressing security issues, the creation of the bloc’s infrastructure to launch offensive operations (an issue that has been kept out of the media spotlight), and the growing American presence inside states that share with a common border with Russia — all these developments are fraught with dire consequences. To a large extent, NATO is responsible for the present state of affairs and the Baltic states have greatly helped to turn northern Europe into a real hot spot.



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