Cold War 2.0: The tensions continue to rise

Back in 1989 when the Cold War ended with the breakup and the Soviet Union and its satellite alliance, newspapers and politicians were hailing the end of the Cold War, that nuclear-armed ongoing confrontation that had kept the world poised on the brink of an apocalypse for four decades.

Fast forward 27 years and we seem to be right back where we started, with provocations occurring on a daily basis between the U.S. and its allies and the Cold War foes Russia and China.

Escalation on the Russian frontier

We begin with the first of two stories from the World Socialist Web Site:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is sending 4,000 additional troops to Eastern Europe in the name of reassuring Poland and the Baltic states, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed on Monday. “We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multi-national battalions in the Baltic states and Poland,” Stoltenberg told NATO officials.

The US, Germany and Britain will each contribute 1,000 soldiers, with Canada expected to confirm its own contingent of 1,000. The deployments are among the most provocative actions taken by the NATO high command in the course of its anti-Russian buildup, now well into its second year. With ever greater recklessness, the US and European ruling elites are sowing the seeds of war across the width and breadth of the Eurasian landmass.

The announcement of new troop deployments comes in the midst of Operation Anaconda 2016, involving more than 30,000 NATO forces in the biggest war drill held in Poland since the end of the Second World War. Some 12,500 of the 30,000 soldiers are American.

In Eastern Europe, under the guise of “rotational deployments,” NATO has established a permanent military force. Put forth for public consumption as a response to Russian “meddling” in Ukraine and alleged provocations by Russia’s military along the frontiers of NATO’s eastern member states, the real purpose of NATO’s spearhead force is to prepare for a ground invasion across Russia’s western border.

And a second story on the NATO/Russian frontier from the World Socialist Web Site:

Germany needs new tanks! This was the demand of Jörg Vollmer, inspector of the German Army, on June 9 in Berlin. Referring to the supposed “changed threat situation” in the east, the lieutenant general concluded that the German military needs 31 “Iguana” bridge-laying armoured vehicles next year as well as additional materials costing several billion euros. All troops would also have to be equipped with new radios.

The army must be capable of building stable bridges and laying anti-tank mines, Vollmer said. “A brigade that is fully equipped with combat tanks and armoured personnel carriers but has no Iguanas to carry them over water is clearly handicapped.” According to the general, the army must “again provide everything we once sized down for good reasons.”

Seventy-five years after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the German military is again arming itself against Russia. Vollmer confirmed that the military will participate in the permanent deployment of NATO combat troops in Eastern Europe. At the NATO summit to be held in Warsaw at the beginning of July, Germany will propose taking leadership of one of the four planned “robust, multi-national NATO battalions” in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. To this end, the military wants to send an additional 600 soldiers to Lithuania.

The German military is already playing a leading role in NATO deployments in Eastern Europe, which are an increasingly direct preparation for a war against Russia.

After the jump, rising tensions in the China Seas. . .

Playing chicken with China

The other hot spot is the China Seas, where the U.S., Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines are engaged in a cold war of provocations centering on the mineral wealth in the waters below.

RT covers the latest incident:

The USS Stennis command says a Chinese intelligence ship is shadowing the American air carrier taking part in the “Malabar” joint annual exercise in the Western Pacific. The joint naval exercise comes as China demonstrates growing interests in the region, as well as in the Indian Ocean.

The eight-day exercise has gathered 10 warships, including the 100,000-ton US aircraft carrier John C. Stennis with F-18 fighter jets, a Japanese helicopter carrier and Indian frigates off the Japanese Okinawan islands.

The Chinese spy ship has been shadowing the USS John C. Stennis’ task force group since the moment the American warships entered the South China Sea and patrolled its waters, the commander of the Stennis, Captain Gregory C. Huffman, told reporters aboard the carrier.

“There is a Chinese vessel about seven to 10 miles away,” Huffman said on Wednesday.

And then there’s the wild card of East Asia, a nuclear power with a growing arsenal.

From Reuters:

North Korea may be significantly expanding its nuclear weapons production and could have added six or more weapons to its stockpile in the last 18 months, a U.S. research institute said on Tuesday.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated last year that North Korea had 10 to 16 nuclear weapons at the end of 2014. It based that conclusion on an analysis of the country’s production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium recovered from spent nuclear fuel.

In revised estimates contained in a report provided to Reuters, the institute’s David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini said North Korea may have added another four to six weapons since then, for a total of 13 to 21 or even more today.

The report said the 13 to 21 estimate did not take into account the possible production of additional highly enriched uranium at a second centrifuge plant thought to exist in North Korea.

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