The final planning conference for this year’s Sea Breeze naval exercise occurred in Odessa, 188 miles from the Crimean port city of Sevastopol* where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based. Sea Breeze 2021 will be the twenty-first iteration of the U.S. Sixth Fleet-organized event, one employed to drill with the navies and other armed forces of America’s NATO allies and partners in Russia’s backyard. Ukraine is host nation and will co-organize the exercise with U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet. Odessa will be a key hub for the activities.
This year’s exercise will be unprecedented in terms of the number of nations participating: 27. Including those observing the event, there will be 35 nations involved. Thirty ships and as many aircraft will participate.
With U.S. Navy Europe and U.S. Navy Africa recently merging, this year’s planning conference also included personnel from Tunisia (a member of NATO’s Mediterrnean Dialogue partnership) and Senegal.
The announcement of the unparalleled broad composition of the naval war games comes on the heels of a recent meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Romania and the creation on May 17 of an Association Trio of three former Soviet states in the Black Sea region: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The foreign minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, said of the development:
“The associated trio is our message that there is no alternative to European integration for our three partner countries, and there is no alternative also for Europe, because they must perceive our three countries as a serious project to ensure peace and prosperity in Europe.”
European integration is a code word for membership in NATO and the European Union.
Bucharest Nine members – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – have already achieved membership in both Brussels-based blocs and will facilitate the absorption of the other three mentioned above.
Excepting Russia the entire Black Sea region is now an integral component of NATO’s Eastern Flank (as Africa and the Middle East are its Southern Flank), with Russia on the wrong end of the divide that now runs from the Arctic Ocean to the Caucasus.
NATO and the U.S. contest with Russia the status of two political entities on the Black Sea: Crimea and Abkhazia. The first, part of Russia since 2014, is called a temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and the other a Russian-occupied territory of Georgia.
History’s largest military bloc has only one tool as its disposal to resolve those disputes: war.
*The equivalent would be for the Russian Black Sea Fleet to organize a naval exercise with 26 partners in the Western Hemisphere in the Delaware Bay, about the same distance from the Naval Station Norfolk where the U.S. Atlantic Fleet is based as Odessa is from Sevastopol where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is. Surely President Biden would have no objections….
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.
10 thoughts on “US To Lead 27-Nation NATO Naval Exercise Near Crimea”
Everything has a season (a time) when it makes sense – NATO’s season was in the late 40s and 50s. Now, it is an absurd, creaking old vehicle – a “clown car” whose only amazing aspect anymore is the shear number of minor actors that are packed into it.
To be honest, NATO didn’t make a lot of sense in the ’40s and ’50s. It was based on an exaggeration of the Soviet Union’s actual military disposition and a misunderstanding (intentional or otherwise) of its intentions.
I agree, the pols and the military are stupid and stupidly corrupt. The War Party, Blinken and the Neocons, are corrupt, smart and incredibly bold. But Raytheon, Boeing, Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, …, scientists and the merchants of death they work for are very bright and maniacal.
Russia has every reason to fear (1) because of the overwhelming superiority, quality and number, of NATO’s arsenal, and (2) because the artifices used to take the Eurasian rim and Ukraine -especially 9/11+ sequalae- show they recognize no limits to the imposition of their will-to-power. They’ll coolly sacrifice the East & West Coast and half of Europe without a second thought.
Apes trying to start a war.
Zelenski it seems has been chosen to be the ultimate traitor, the Yeltsin of Ukraine. That he would follow the orders given him by Blinken and Nuland. I have no doubt, leaving the Ukrainians far worse than the Russians were left post-Yeltsin.
Anybody shocked? May be naive Ukrainians. Zelenski is Israeli citizen. History of Kievan Rus has not escaled him or anyone else. His goals are in harmony with global America.
Let me see how much more time goes by before Ukraine becomes the second country after Czechia to fly Israeli flag in support of Gaza carnage,
As for the regatta— all Black Sea nations have the right to sail there, with the navy they have.
But US and other nations are limited in the type and tonnage allowed into Black Sea at one time.
This event will be better remembered by the party they will throw afterwards.
Will they lay a wreath at the site Nazis in Odessa burned protesters against the coup by locking them into the building they fled to for safety.
“Zelenski is Israeli citizen”
You’ve said that before, but I’ve been unable to find the claim anywhere else. Got a source for it? The Times of Israel seems not to have noticed.
Austria has beaten Ukraine at flying the flag.
These exercises make NATO look pathetic. The people in Odessa surely do not like it. But besides that, it is no more effective than a sailing regatta.
If this is Biden’s idea of “looking tough”, it is pretty stupid. Really.
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