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[Disarmo] NATO Plan 2015: 'the biggest increase since the end of the Cold War' - stopnato Digest Number 5217

1) FONTE: Star and Stripes
Il nuovo Piano NATO 2014-2015: la maggiore espansione dalla fine della Guerra fredda. Naturalmente, come sempre, il nobile scopo è tener pulito il cortile di casa: da Washington fino a Marte. ''NATO’s Readiness Action Plan is “the biggest increase in our collective defense since the end of the Cold War''
''NATO’s core task and mission: securing its own backyard''

2) FONTE: Xinhua News Agency - December 24, 2014
La Repubblica popolare cinese si preoccupa e lo dice:
''Scrapping non-aligned status paves Ukraine's way to NATO, fuels Russia's wrath''



Oggetto: [stopnato] Digest Number 5217
Data: 27 Dec 2014 09:30:58 -0000
Mittente: stopnato at yahoogroups.com

There are 2 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. NATO's Post-Afghan War Mission: Confrontation With Russia
    From: Rick Rozoff

2. Junta Paves Ukraine's Way To NATO
    From: Rick Rozoff


1. NATO's Post-Afghan War Mission: Confrontation With Russia
    Posted by: "Rick Rozoff" rwrozoff at yahoo.com rwrozoff
    Date: Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:53 am ((PST))


Stars and Stripes - December 23, 2014

Year in Review 2014

US, allies ramp up presence after unrest in eastern Europe

At the start of 2014, the U.S.-led NATO military alliance was a coalition in search of a new mission and identity.

The war in Afghanistan was coming to a close. Europe, which faced no external security threats, was largely peaceful. And the future of the U.S. military presence on the continent, regarded by many critics as an outdated Cold War relic, was under the microscope as budget pressures raised the specter of more force cuts.

But by March, everything changed.

Russia invaded Ukraine [sic], seized a portion of that country’s territory, and upended assumptions about Europe as a land of calm and order. Now, Europe is off the geopolitical backburner amid uncertainty over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move.

...The U.S. and its allies also have ramped up their military presence in eastern Europe...

There are more alliance moves in the works.

NATO is now poised to establish a series of staging bases in eastern Europe as part of a new alliance “Readiness Action Plan” that calls for allied troops to maintain a steady presence across the Baltics and Poland. A new “spearhead” rapid reaction force also is being formed as a way to deter any threats to NATO’s eastern flank.

Altogether, such measures signal a return to NATO’s core task and mission: securing its own backyard.

NATO’s Readiness Action Plan is “the biggest increase in our collective defense since the end of the Cold War,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a December meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

While the crisis in Ukraine has rejuvenated NATO and the U.S. military mission in Europe, challenges remain. NATO members still struggle to meet defense spending benchmarks and the U.S. military still faces deep spending cuts that could affect the future mission in Europe. If the alliance intends to bulk up its presence in eastern Europe, conduct more military drills in the region and enhance its crisis response capabilities, it will need to invest more resources, alliance officials have stated.

Meanwhile, Western sanctions on Russia combined with falling oil prices have hit the Russian economy hard. Whether that will prompt Putin to reverse course in Ukraine and attempt to mend ties with the West, remains an open question.

Analysts say rapprochement between the West and Russia is unlikely in the near term, which means tensions are likely to remain high in the coming year.


2. Junta Paves Ukraine's Way To NATO
    Posted by: "Rick Rozoff" rwrozoff at yahoo.com rwrozoff
    Date: Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:53 am ((PST))


Xinhua News Agency
December 24, 2014

Spotlight: Scrapping non-aligned status paves Ukraine's way to NATO, fuels Russia's wrath

KIEV: The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday approved a bill to abandon its non-aligned status, paving the way for a bid to join NATO and also arousing Moscow's anger as it threatens Russia's security interests.

With at least 226 votes needed to approve the bill, 303 Ukrainian lawmakers supported the legislation, the parliament's press service said.

The bill, submitted to the parliament by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said the non-aligned status, declared in 2010, "proved to be ineffective in guaranteeing Ukraine's security and protecting the country from external aggression and pressure."

The new law envisages that Kiev is heading for deepening cooperation with NATO "in order to achieve the criteria which are required for membership in the alliance."

Addressing deputies in Kiev before the vote, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the move underscored the country's determination to pivot towards Europe and the West.

Although the move doesn't mean that Ukraine would join NATO soon, Klimkin said the law would open up new mechanisms "in the conditions of the current aggression against Ukraine."

The approval of the bill immediately angered Russia, which considers Kiev's NATO bid as provocation and views the bloc's eastward expansion as a threat to its national security.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Ukraine's "counterproductive" decision which "only ignites confrontation."

Actually, Russia's first official response came from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who wrote on his Facebook late Monday night that Kiev's decision made Ukraine Russia's potential military adversary.

"Ukrainian president has submitted a bill to Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) canceling Ukraine's non-aligned status. Essentially, this is a bid to join NATO, which makes Ukraine Russia's potential military adversary," according to Medvedev.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov claimed that even words in regard to Ukraine joining NATO would directly harm pan-European security and undermines its basic principles, let alone any actual actions taken by the Ukrainian side.

Meanwhile, more Russian senior diplomats slammed Ukraine's Tuesday decision, saying the "big mistake" would lead to instability in the region.

Ukraine tried to apply for NATO membership back in 2008, but NATO decided not to offer Ukraine a Membership Action Plan, an essential step before membership.

Recently, Ukraine has sought to strengthen its partnership with NATO. Meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier in December, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pledged "ongoing political and practical support" to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said that five trust funds created by NATO to help Ukraine improve its own security are now up and running.

However, Ukraine's abolishment of non-aligned status is only the first step on the long road toward NATO membership. As President Poroshenko expected, it will take at least six years for his country to meet the criteria required for a membership in the bloc.

From this point of view, Ukraine's prospects for NATO membership in the near term appear 
dim. But analysts say that if the Ukrainian side insists on joining NATO without taking 
Russia's interests into consideration, ties between Moscow and Kiev would also be 
affected severely, which is adverse to resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine as well.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has warned that Ukraine's dropping non-aligned status was a serious political mistake that could have dire consequences for the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

"The priority for Ukraine is stability, especially in the east, and restoration of the country's sovereignty. Only then can we take course toward deepening partnership with NATO," said Sergey Solodky, an analyst at the Institute of Global Policy.

Thus, analysts believe that Ukraine's abolishment of non-aligned status is a political stunt to court NATO and threaten Russia.

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