As NATO continues its 21st century version of the Cold War, the Trudeau government is being asked to help create a new NATO force in the Baltic region. Allegedly to “deter Russian aggression,” the real purpose of this force is to further encircle Russia, seen by the US and European imperialist powers as a potential rival.
NATO’s relentless military push was on the agenda at a June 14 meeting in Brussels of alliance defence ministers, including Canada’s Harjit Sajjan. The US, Britain and Germany immediately committed to the new force of up to 4,000 troops, based in Poland or Latvia. The Trudeau government is expected to announce a decision on the number of Canadian troops, and the type of equipment and vehicles involved, as soon as the NATO Summit taking place July 8-9 in Warsaw, before any debate in Parliament or consultation with the public.
Two years ago, following Crimea’s vote to rejoin Russia, the Harper government committed Canada to a regular rotation of ground forces for exercises under NATO’s Operation Reassurance banner. More recently, 200 Canadian troops took part in the ominously named “Exercise Anakonda”, alongside Polish, Turkish and U.S. forces near a base in Poland.
The new proposal would include four battalions – one composed of Canadian troops – rotating through bases in eastern Europe and the Baltics, backed by NATO’s highly mobile, 40,000-strong rapid reaction force. The justification for putting more NATO troops on Russia’s borders is said to be the “increasingly unpredictable Putin regime”, according to the CSIS spy agency.
Yet there is nothing “unpredictable” about Russia’s intentions, considering that Hitler’s Nazis killed 25 million Soviet citizens, and that the economic and political isolation of the Soviet Union and then Russia has been a key priority of western imperialist powers for decades. That policy was behind the western-backed overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. The participation of openly pro-Nazi forces in the Kiev regime can only be interpreted as a direct threat to Russia.
We urge Canadians to speak out against NATO’s new Baltic military force. This geo-political game can only increase military tensions and create new dangers for peace in Europe – and the world.