NATO’s Ukrainian target: The Black Sea Fleet - Rick Rozoff
This is John Robles. You are listening to an interview with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. This is part 3 of an interview in progress. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com.
Robles: Coming up in the next year what countries, what areas should we be watching out for with regard to NATO expansion? We talked a little bit before about the Arctic, it’s heating up, about Scandinavia I think. What other areas do you think NATO is going to try to expand into? And I'd like you, if you could, comment on what does the loss of Ukraine mean for NATO?
Rozoff: Those are the good questions. On the first I would say it is the international analogue of what we in Chicago would call a crime alert. There are street gangs or burglary rings or something other operating in the area and you want to alert people to where they are likely to strike, and we are doing the world a service I think by anticipating that, but let's be real clear, the Ukraine indeed is one of them. Let me reserve that, discussion of that for a moment.
Let’s look at what is happening in Central Africa. We have seen French military intervention in Mali, direct military intervention with the assistance of the United States, the US Africa Command and US air forces Africa, US air forces in Europe and Africa, directly involved in ferrying and/or transporting French troops and armored vehicles and so forth, for what is a direct military action in Mali. We are seeing that replicated right now in the Central African Republic.
And these action … and now we see US Osprey helicopters attacked in South Sudan, where the US is going to become directly involved militarily, there are already calls for US direct military action in retaliation for that attack. We do have to recollect, that maybe a year and a half ago, the Obama Administration signaled, they announced formally, they were deploying special operations troops to foreign nations in Central Africa. Those are exactly the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Congo and what is the fourth - Uganda.
So that the US is already massively involved in Uganda; Ugandan troops are the US's proxies in Somali for the most part, as well as there are some Burundi and Kenyan. So Central Africa is clearly marked up. There is a massive propaganda campaign, many of your listeners may be aware of, by some shadowy mysterious individual to hunt down Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, in a video that … promoted by the likes of Oprah Winfrey went viral and to build up a humanitarian justification for direct US involvement in Central Africa, now we are seeing what that really means.
What that really means is a direct US military role in the newest nation in the world South Sudan. It means the US once again supporting their French NATO ally in military conflicts in Africa, following that of Ivory Coast in 2011 where they overthrew the government of Laurent Gbagbo. And recently, last year in Mali, this year in Central African Republic, it is likely to shift into nations like Chad in not too distant future.
So we are seeing what African command was set up to do, which is to oversee, coordinate or to wage war in Africa in conjunction with the US's military allies and NATO friends it appears currently in the first place. So that is one area I would look at.
Robles: What are the US NATO Western interests in Africa for those of our listeners who aren't really aware of what they have to offer down there?
Rozoff: The American political leader Malcolm X said in entertaining but illustrative speech in the early 1960s called 'I don't mean bananas'. And he was talking about what, at that time, the Patrice Lumumba government in Belgian Congo had been overthrown. It is now clear, for all the conspiracy theorists, that the US all but admits that the Central Intelligence Agency was instrumental in the overthrow of his regime, and in his murder.
But what 40 years ago Malcolm X was talking about was the fact that Africa is one of the resource richest continents in the world and increasingly now with material needed for computer technology and energy, of oil in the first place, natural gas secondarily, that Africa is invaluable to the world. And what it represents is an opportunity for the United States and its allies to reclaim control of the African continent effectively.
We do have to remember that every major colonial power in Africa, former colonial power, is a member of NATO: France, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Turkey, Italy - every single one. So NATO in many ways is a collective of the Western colonial powers internationally, in Asia and in the Western hemisphere as well, South and the Central America, including the Caribbean.
But these are the Africa that we are talking about is a consortium of Western military powers that want to control, the dealing in raw materials, precious and semiprecious metals, or stones and metals and so forth. The diamond trade in South Africa alone is worth looking at.
But we are looking at what are reported to be fairly large reserves of petroleum in Central Africa exactly, with at least tentative plans to have those reserves piped out through countries like Uganda to the Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean. And I think it is important that these economic factors be taken into consideration when we look at where our militaries are being deployed and what overall military strategy may be.
The fact that the US set up its first unified combatant command, its first overseas integrated military command since the Cold War, in Africa, is a significant fact and it is not a fortuitous one. It suggests that the battle for Africa is in many ways a strategically important battle for the world resources and control and domination. Africa now is, with the population of over a billion people as of maybe three years ago, the second most populous nation … continent rather in the world, next to Asia.
So it is significant from a number of points of view and the US military is not going to sit aside and watch through diplomatic and economic measures countries like Russia and China are going to become more actively involved in China without putting up a battle to beat them on that board.
Robles: You mean more active in Africa?
Rozoff: Oh, I'm sorry, Africa indeed, pardon me.
Robles: Africa we should be watching at for, what about Scandinavia and the Arctic? Where do you see things - you are usually ahead of the curve Rick - so where do you see things going in the Arctic with NATO expansion and in Scandinavia? And with the continuing ABM placement, the missile shield, do you think they are going to keep doing it?
Rozoff: Yes, there seems to be a renewed interest in, or at least reporting on what five years ago would have been referred to, I certainly referred to it as such at that time as the scramble for the Arctic and what occurred in - it will be shortly five years as a matter of fact the very beginning of 2009 - is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held a conference in Iceland, I believe it was called the conference on the High North. High North is the NATO term or euphemism if you will, for the Arctic.
And what they were talking about at that time, this came immediately on the heels incidentally of the - a kind of a parting shot by the George W. Bush Administration in January of 2009 - immediately before his leaving the Oval Office George W Bush, a National Security Agency directive was issued on the Arctic. And it was evident at that time that there were five official claimants to parts of the Arctic Ocean and four of those five were members of NATO: they are the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark.
But other countries like Britain, other NATO members like Britain and Scandinavian countries like Finland, Sweden are getting involved in the oil rush, if I could put it that, amongst other things in the High North, with countries outside the region including China interested in what’s occurring there. But the fact that four of the five official claimants are members of NATO, and that the US is a major one amongst them, signals another potential bone of contention between NATO and Russia.
Russia has the most sizable and I would argue the most legitimate claim to areas, particularly the Lomonosov Ridge comes to mind in the Arctic Circle. And in fact I think it was about 3 or 4 years ago that Norway became the first country in the world to base its military headquarters within the Arctic Circle, it moved it north within the Arctic region.
Robles: I see.
Rozoff: So that we have that going on at the same time as I think you alertly allude to that Scandinavia is being targeted for, all but effective formal incorporation into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. With Denmark and Norway being founding members of NATO, then that leaves of course Finland and Sweden which historically have been neutral, Finland at least since World War 2, Sweden for 200 years. But both of whom have been supplying troops, have been killing and dying in northern Afghanistan under NATO command, International Security Assistance Force. Sweden provided Gripen war planes for NATO's war against Libya in 2011.
So you have Sweden which had been not involved in military conflicts, had been neutral for 200 years, engage in NATO wars in Asia and Africa. I don't know how much of Swedish people really pay attention to this, but Sweden now is formally joining the NATO response force, the international strike force, as well as Finland, Georgia and up until recently the plan was for Ukraine to join them.
So what do we have is, that is not coincidental, that suggests that NATO feels it not only needs to encroach yet further on the Russian border, Finland has a sizable border with Russia of course, but also in the push to the North, to the High North, to the Arctic. And that those two, as you indicate in your question, are related issues, they really cannot be separated and that the US wants dominance at the top of the world as it does in most every other part of the world.
Robles: Can we segue into Ukraine then? And I'd like to get your year end summary on our President Vladimir Putin.
Rozoff:Ukraine became after what appears to be the resolution of the crisis of the crisis, of the catastrophe in fact, in Syria to have been the next point on the chessboard where the US and its western allies decided to face down Russia or challenge Russia by intervening, really interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, pressuring the government of Victor Yanukovich and his allies in Kiev which was elected expressly to foster cooperative relations with Russia after the government of his predecessor Victor Yushchenko, whose wife of course was born here in Chicago and worked in various capacities for the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations, people should recall. And after he had turned on Russia, including on pipeline arrangements where Russia was disadvantaged vis a vis Western Europe.
But the Yanukovich government was elected in large part to foster friendly relations with its neighbor of some 1400 km and to have them then be strong armed or pressured by the US and its western allies to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union at the very moment that Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus are in the course of consolidating a Customs Union. Well it is quite evident that the intent is to pull Ukraine away from Russia, shift it in the direction of the European Union and NATO.
And that the European Union, again as we had occasion to discuss, is really the cloak under which Ukraine is to be integrated into NATO. And the ships provided by the government of Ukraine already active, and two ongoing and presumably permanent North Atlantic Treaty Organization naval operations, one in the Mediterranean Sea, the other in the Arabian Sea, first is operation Active Endeavor, the second is Operation Ocean Shield, and the US continues to hold, again as we've discussed before, the annual Sea Breeze military exercises in the Crimea in Ukraine, which is also where the Russian Black Sea fleet is based.
Keep in mind, if you want to talk about geopolitics, that people can envision in their mind a map of that part of the world. Were the government of Syria to have been overthrown and Russia to lose its naval docking facility at least in Tartus, and if the government of Yanukovich is to be overthrown in one manner or another through violence, street uprising, we saw it that the press has proven to be quite adept at pulling off in countries from Yugoslavia to Ukraine 9 years ago, or through a rigged or extra constitutional election that brings about a change of regime in the country, and the Russian Black Sea fleet were to be ordered out of the Crimea which is I'm sure what the US is ordering its allies and the Ukraine to do, or to consider. Then you would have seen the eviction of Russia, not only from the Mediterranean, but except for a narrow strip of Russian territory out of the Black Sea. And this is pretty heavy duty geopolitics, and I think in that sense too the two are not unrelated.
That was the end of part 3 of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the remaining parts of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and I wish you the best.