NATO had been preparing to stage its biggest military exercise against Russia in decades when it encountered a foe it was not apparently ready to face – Corona-virus. Now, the drill is in jeopardy, while its true aim comes to the surface.
A large-scale exercise with the pompous name ‘Defender Europe 2020’ was expected to become the Alliance’s biggest in a quarter of a century.
Up to 20,000 US troops, together with some 17,000 more soldiers from 17 other NATO members, were scheduled to take part in the assassination drill, which was about to be held in Germany, Poland and the Baltic states.
To be staged mainly between April and May, this training exercise was designed to supposedly promote peace through deterrence and to practice countering a hypothetical military aggression, aimed at demonstrating that the Alliance is there to protect Europe against Russia.
The deadly novel Corona-virus, officially known as Covid-19, has gripped many nations there, prompting the World Health Organization to declare Europe the new center of a pandemic.
Now, the drills’ plan is cracking at the seams and it is increasingly unclear if the large-scale war games will take place at all?
The US European Command already said earlier this week it would scale down America’s participation in the exercise and modify it accordingly.
The news comes on the heels of another drill cancellation, with Norway calling off another NATO exercise, all because of the fears of the pandemic.
Soldiers returning from overseas drills could themselves be a health risk, particularly if they come back from epidemic-stricken areas. “What we are trying to do is to keep everybody frozen to a place so we will try to keep rotations to a minimum.
Another problem might well be that the NATO armies might turn out to be not quite prepared to fight even a simulated fight in the face of a very real risk – both in terms of equipment and psychology.
Another dimension is that any drills of this scale are likely to involve a lot of meeting and talking and hand-shaking on the part of the NATO’s top brass, who are arguably often in their twilight years.
Sending troops to supposedly disease-plagued areas for no real reason could also very well turn out a PR disaster for the Western leaders.
The military analyst said that Washington and its allies would be extremely reluctant to take such a risk, since they have to consider electoral implications and public sentiments, which become more important ahead of the US presidential elections in particular.
Besides, taking image risks over an event that was largely designed as nothing other than one giant PR stunt in the first place would defeat its purpose.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2020.