Just like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
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This article originally appeared in German in German Economic News. Translated by Susan Neumann
In the Balkans and in the Mediterranean, the refugee crisis is reaching historic proportions. Instead of helping, NATO is carrying out a gigantic naval maneuver in the Mediterranean to simulate a fight against Russia. Thirty-six thousand well-trained soldiers are shooting with blanks throughout the area whilst volunteers in Germany collapse from exhaustion.
Human rights organizations predict that the forthcoming winter will be a humanitarian catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of refugees along the Mediterranean and the Balkan route. At the same time there is nothing but political chaos in the EU. All member states are saying they are swamped and Angela Merkel is still trying to get a consensus on her internment camps. The voluntary aid organizations in Austria and Germany are at their wits’ end. The authorities have lost track [due to the sheer mass of refugees] and fear that it will get worse. The head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, told the Bild newspaper that the border agency had registered "more than 800,000 irregular border crossings" at the EU's borders since the beginning of the year. A lot of people are still making their way out of the crisis regions and into Europe.
What does NATO, financed by the European taxpayer’s money, do? Any normal army would transform itself into a humanitarian assistance operation. NATO could gather all forces and establish temporary help for the displaced people trekking along the Balkan route, especially in the NATO countries Turkey, Greece and Italy. They could do everything possible to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, which is what the German armed forces [Bundeswehr] would do in such an emergency. They could also help the underfunded and helpless Frontex troops to finally begin securing the EU's external borders.
NATO, this state within a state, is acting as if all of this is none of their business. They’re carrying out the decade’s largest simulated naval battle in the Mediterranean Sea: a total of 36,000 soldiers; 3,000 Marines and Special Forces; 140 aircraft; 60 ships and seven U boats. Donning the imperialistic name of “Trident Juncture”, they practice being under attack by Russia whilst neighboring Europe falls apart. At the same time, Angela Merkel is warning us of military conflicts at our doorstep.
So while the senior German Army officer General Hans-Lothar Domröse continues to define "the Russians" as opponents, the EU countries hope that Vladimir Putin gets his failed US counterpart Obama off the hook in Syria, so that the wave of migration can finally come to an end. Domröse muses in a Reuters interview about the new world threat posed by the Russians:
"Just within the past two years, Russia has brought forth three alert exercises, each one having more than 80,000 soldiers. These unannounced maneuvers, also known as “snap exercises”, are of great concern to NATO, not only because of the army’s massive armament which is equipped with the most modern of weapons. This same maneuver formed the prelude to the annexation of the Crimea, among others.
Domröse poses the rhetorical question: "What do we do when things suddenly ‘snap’ and don’t stop?" In Ukraine, the Russians just continued on. With its forward operating bases in Kaliningrad, Syria, and the Crimea, they might succeed in cutting off the connection to NATO allies in the Baltic States and Turkey, which would be unacceptable for the alliance. "
The impression one can’t help getting is that some of the military has "snapped" due to lack of political oversight. We have a real, current, existential problem in the EU, one which threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees, the internal security of the entire EU, and which is pushing the EU to the brink of collapse. While volunteers in Munich, Passau, and Freising are working themselves to the point of exhaustion in order to help the refugees, 36,000 well-equipped soldiers are frolicking in the Mediterranean to "play" war. What a waste of resources, what bad planning, what inhuman arrogance. "We can do it," says Angela Merkel, but NATO doesn’t feel affected by this. The German politicians are arguing about whether they should call the detention centers for perspectiveless refugees "transit zones" or "entry points". Europe is stumbling into dark times.
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