US Staging Largest European Wargame in 25 Years

March 14th, 2020 - by Greta Zarro / World BEYOND War & Ann Wright / Veterans for Peace

World BEYOND War Decries NATO’s “Defender 20” War Games

Greta Zarro / World BEYOND War

 (February 17, 2020) — Deployments are now underway for NATO’s “Defender 20” war games, scheduled for April and May. Defender 20 will involve 20,000 US troops, the largest deployment to Europe in over a quarter of a century.

World BEYOND War Organizing Director Greta Zarro has released the following statement:

“Defender 20 is another example of NATO’s massive war preparations right up on the border of Russia, exacerbating tensions and increasing the risk of an all-out nuclear war. NATO now accounts for three-quarters of military spending and weapons dealing on the globe. While claiming to “preserve peace,” NATO has violated international law and bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya.

Meanwhile, Russia has been reducing its military spending each year, while the United States has been increasing its military spending. US annual increases have sometimes exceeded Russia’s entire military budget. The United States has troops in 175 nations, Russia in 3.

It is time to dismantle NATO, which is a relic of a bygone Cold War era. Instead, we must confront the greatest challenge of our era, climate change, recognizing that militarism is part of the problem, not the solution. The US military is the world’s largest institutional consumer of oil and the largest global landholder with 800 foreign military bases in 80 countries.

The governments of the world spend over $2 trillion annually on war and ongoing preparations for war, like NATO’s war games. Mitigating climate disaster will necessitate demilitarization and the redirection of resources towards human and environmental needs.

World BEYOND War members are planning an international peace walk across the old East-West border in Germany this May 21-24 to demand an end to Defender 20 and to call for cooperation, not confrontation.”

99.9 Percent of US Citizens Unaware of Largest US War Game in Europe in 25 Years

Ann Wright  / Veterans for Peace

 (February 27, 2020) — 99.9 per cent of citizens of the United States have no clue that the new “Cold War” against Russia is manifesting in the largest US military war practice in Europe than in more than 25 years.

They have not heard that the US military is sending 20,000 soldiers from the US to Europe to join 9,000 US troops already in Europe and 8,000 soldiers from ten European countries to practice waging a war against Russia.  37,000 military from the US and Europe will be a part of the war maneuvers named Defender 2020.

The US political environment is so confused that many in the US will question why the US is having provocative actions against Russia such as these big war games on the border of Russia when US President Donald Trump seems to be such a good friend with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s a valid question that brings into the focus of the need of the US bureaucracy to have an enemy in order to justify its huge $680 billion military budget.  With war games against North Korea suspended in South Korea over the past year and reduced military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, confrontation in Europe is the next best location for attempting to keep the military-industrial complex, with all of its major election donors, in business during the 2020 US Presidential election year.

In an effort to generate US national support and publicity for the revival of the Cold War, US military units will come from 15 US states, including important electoral states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

In an effort to spend all the money allocated to the US military, over $680 billion for 2020, 20,000 pieces of equipment will be sent to Europe for the division-size mobilization.  The equipment will depart from seaports in politically important electoral states of South Carolina, Georgia and Texas.

While Europeans will know of these military events because US soldiers will disrupt civilian transportation routes across the 4,000 kilometers of convoy routes as they travel by bus throughout Europe, most Americans will have little knowledge of the massive, provocative military preparations for a war with Russia.

Ann Wright is a retired US Army Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq.  She is a board member of the International Peace Bureau and a member of Veterans for Peace.