The Insanity of NATO War Exercises in the Black Sea

Image Source: User:NormanEinstein – CC BY-SA 3.0

Dr. Strangelove is alive and well in the pentagon. Specifically, the U.S. navy, apparently fixated on provoking nuclear World War III with Russia, regardless of president Joe Biden’s duplicitously stated goal of avoiding global incineration. But then, you can’t blame U.S. military sociopaths for not taking Joe “Nuclear Doubletalk” Biden at his word. No sooner does he swear up and down that he will NEVER give a certain weapon to Ukraine, than he turns around and supplies it to them. Any first-class dingbat pentagon warmonger, looking at this abysmal record of about-faces on Patriot defense systems, Abrams tanks, cluster bombs, F-16s and now maybe ATACMS, might well conclude the time is ripe for a show of force, a brazen NATO provocation. And that is exactly what occurred between September 11-15, when the western axis did what it does best – cause trouble – by holding a wargame with Romania, Turkey, France and the U.S. in the Black Sea.

Operation Sea Breeze kicked off on September 11, 2023. According to a U.S. navy press release, “This is a land and sea-based exercise with multinational Allies and Partners, aimed to enhance the capabilities of Black Sea and Partnership for Peace maritime security forces while progressively training and preparing the Ukraine Maritime Command Staff.” Partnership for peace? Ho ho! Never mind that Ukraine’s currently an inferno of war between the country with the world’s most deadly nuclear arsenal, namely Russia and NATO – and I say NATO because, let’s not kid ourselves, without NATO weapons, training and intelligence, Kiev’s military would have folded last year. Never mind that, as the very informed observer Col. Douglas MacGregor remarked, Moscow regards the Black Sea the same way Washington regards the Great Lakes. Skip all that. The geniuses in the pentagon decided now was a great time further to provoke Russia by sending U.S. warships into its back yard.

There was speculation, also reported by MacGregor, that this war game would shield freighters shipping arms to Ukraine via the Black Sea – something Russia insists occurred under cover of the now-defunct grain deal. That was partly why Moscow ditched the deal. That and the fact that the west deliberately failed to uphold its end of the bargain – proving once again that its leader, the U.S. is, as Russian officials say, agreement averse, or more bluntly, not to be trusted, because the “rules-based order” means Washington can lie, cheat or steal and defy any treaty or deal it signed whenever and wherever it wants (just look what happened to the One China policy). So Russian grain and fertilizer couldn’t get to market or even be delivered gratis to regions of famine (that’s some grain deal!). Russian ships couldn’t get insurance, and without access to the west’s SWIFT banking system, everything stalled. Which was clearly the western intention. Meanwhile the lion’s share of Ukrainian grain went not to starving Global South nations, ostensibly the purpose of the arrangement – but to well-fed Europe to keep food prices low!

So after this subterfuge, and Kiev using grain ships to import weapons, Moscow was fed up. But the U.S. navy wasn’t, that is, if MacGregor’s sources about Sea Breeze concealing arms transfers was correct. Even without weapons smuggling, this “freedom of navigation” exercise was wildly reckless. It’s exactly the sort of idiocy that provoked the Ukraine War in the first place. It risked open confrontation between Russian and NATO, and we should thank our lucky stars (and the probable Kremlin calculation that Sea Breeze could only do minimal damage) that didn’t happen. But trusting to luck is all people have, who suffer under an insane regime. Sea Breeze should have been cancelled.

Not doing so makes you wonder what our military men were thinking. Did they want a Gulf of Tonkin incident on steroids – to wit, one that was for real, not just a false flag? That is, were they hoping Russia would snap and sink some NATO ships? They knew very well, again per MacGregor, that NATO had no room to maneuver in the Black Sea and that if Moscow went ballistic over this, NATO could not retreat. They also knew Russia has superior force in the area. So did our so-called leaders intend to sacrifice some soldiers to ignite a nuclear holocaust? Because as we all know, that’s where a direct showdown between Russia and NATO leads.

Or, more likely, did they think Moscow wouldn’t dare strike back because so many red lines have already been crossed that none any longer exist? If so, that is a very perilous assumption. Because if such aggression keeps up – and the biggest NATO war game ever is planned for the Baltic Sea, also in Russia’s backyard, in early 2024, just as those U.S. “freedom of navigation” joyrides through the Taiwan Strait occur more and more frequently – at some point the opposing sides may very well collide. And to repeat the obvious: that leads ultimately to hundreds of millions of people glowing in the dark at once, while five billion take the slower route to the cemetery, namely starving due to nuclear winter.

Meanwhile, burying imperial neo-con assumptions, the Ukraine War has not eroded Russia. On the contrary, with mobilization and weapons production zooming along 24/7, Moscow has outstripped NATO members militarily. Washington has thus created a military behemoth, the opposite of what it intended. Russia now fields the most powerful military in Europe, and one of the deadliest in the world. This surprise may be unpleasant to the west, and blood-soaked warmongers like secretary of state Antony Blinken may refuse to acknowledge it, because it upsets his ideological apple cart, but is sure ain’t unpleasant to American military contractors. Now they’ve got the enemy they’ve long lusted for. The big bucks will keep rolling in for new weapons, whether they function or not, like the F-35 lemon, for years to come. American arms makers marinated in money before this mess, but with the imbecile neo-cons having created a truly fearsome Russian military machine? American masters of war will be able to buy every member of congress ten times over.

Back to NATO war games. Clearly the attitude of those merry pranksters in the white house and pentagon is to throw caution to the winds and assume they can get away with any lunacy because, as aforementioned, Moscow won’t retaliate. This is short-sighted, since Russian president Vladimir Putin is a Kremlin moderate and, as such, is under pressure from his right flank. The nationalists are not pleased at the rupture of so many Russian red lines without consequence, and as their ire grows, so does the likelihood that they will prevail. Some of them, like our own Strangeloves, want to explode a tactical nuclear warhead in a European country, to scare the west into backing off.

That, too, leads to Atomic Armageddon. Because it doesn’t matter how “small” a nuke is, once used, the opposing side will consider a nuclear assault to have begun and unleash its arsenal. Then we’re all sunk. But pentagon madmen and hard-right Russian fanatics refuse to acknowledge this. Indeed, not too long ago, there was discussion in RT of using a tactical nuke on an as yet undesignated European nation. Fortunately, this generated much Russian outrage, published in response. But the mere ominous fact that a Russian bigwig felt comfortable airing such a screed should chill you to the bone. It means, among other things, that those white house neocons up to their armpits in blood – national security advisor Jake Sullivan, Blinken, undersecretary of state Victoria Nuland, to say nothing of Joe “I Don’t Accept Anybody’s Red Lines” Biden himself – are playing with nuclear fire. Some of the people they so effectively enrage in the Kremlin are far less cautious than Putin. They are sick of Washington’s abuse and ready to hit back. This should freeze the blood of any sane person anywhere.

Thus the fiery destination of the war Washington started in 2014, a war that began with the Empire’s neo-Nazi putsch in Kiev, overthrowing the legal, peaceable government there to install pathologically anti-Russian, NATO-backed fascists right on the border of an enormous, fearsomely armed nation. Currently there is no off-ramp. Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, because Russian officials believe, not without reason, that Washington will use such to rearm Kiev, as it did over the eight years from 2014 to 2022, despite the Minsk accords, which we all have now learned were a sham. Since its February 2022 invasion, Russia has destroyed three successive Ukrainian armies. During a frozen conflict, the U.S. would be happy to build a fourth and then let it, too, sink into the graveyard. I doubt Moscow will accept that.

For similar reasons, peace prospects are dismal. Moscow believes it cannot trust Washington. U.S. officials sign deals, then turn on a dime and bust them up. Just look what happened with the Iran nuclear pact. Trump brainlessly ended it and Biden, despite campaign oaths to return to it, could not manage anything other than a dither of indecision. So the pact remains dead. And it’s not just the U.S. that has the distinction of being a world-class liar – as former German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy confessed, the Minsk Accords were a ruse to give Ukraine time to arm up, presumably to finish the job of ethnically cleansing its Russian-speaking citizens in the Donbass, before menacing Moscow itself, or so the Kremlin viewed NATO’s residence on its doorstep. Worse yet, the two opponents, Russia and Ukraine (ahem, the U.S.) do not belong in the same galaxy, no less ballpark with regard to what peace negotiations entail or the – for Moscow, nonstarter – preconditions to peace talks. Kiev says Moscow must abandon Crimea and its two million Russian speakers, whose future under SS-admiring Ukrainian rightists looks dim indeed, at least according to some vague threats out of Kiev last month.

Regarding freezing the war, according to commentator Jacob Dreizin in his September 15 Dreizin Report, the British MI6 deputy director secretly flew to Minsk, Belarus that week. This was the first such high level visit there in many years. Afterward “possibly acting as a middleman, the Belarus president then [September 14 or 15] flew to Sochi (not a secret) for a long round of meetings with Putin and top Kremlin aides.” The topic of discussion, besides Wagner, remains under wraps. But Dreizin reports that Washington “wants to freeze the war.” Moscow, however, unlike NATO, evidently has a strategy, as evidenced by, among other things, how it neutralized the much-ballyhooed and disastrously failed Ukrainian counter-offensive. What that strategy is, we don’t know.

But it’s probably not a frozen conflict and probably is not yet peace. Whatever it is, Ukraine will fester for years, as the ordinary men and women of that nation endure the twin insults of their near-totalitarian and utterly corrupt regime on the one hand and violent Russian assault on the other – all while the growing chance of multiple radioactive mushroom clouds hovers over humanity and its sole, habitable, planetary home. Thus the price of the Empire’s arrogant and supremely stupid miscalculation that it could use Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia. What on earth are we going to do?

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Busybody. She can be reached at her website.