Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 2 March 2021)
It is taking place in the Ionian, since 22 February to 5 March, the NATO Dynamic Manta anti-submarine warfare exercise. Ships participate, submarines and aircraft of the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Turkey. The two main units engaged in this exercise are a US nuclear attack submarine of the Los Angeles class and the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle together with its battle group., also including a nuclear attack submarine. Charles de Gaulle, immediately after, will go to the Persian Gulf.
Italy, participating in the Dynamic Manta with ships and submarines, it is the "host nation" of the entire exercise: has made available to the participating forces the port of Catania and the helicopter station of the Navy also in Catania, the Naval Air Station of Sigonella (the largest US / NATO base in the Mediterranean) and the Augusta logistics base for supplies. The purpose of the exercise is the hunt for Russian submarines in the Mediterranean which, according to NATO, they would threaten Europe.
In these same days, the aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its battle group are carrying out operations in the Atlantic to "demonstrate the continued US military support to allies and the commitment to keep the seas free and open". Such operations - conducted by the Sixth Fleet, whose command is in Naples and whose base is in Gaeta - fall within the strategy set out in particular by Admiral Foggo, formerly at the head of the NATO Command in Naples: accusing Russia of wanting to sink the ships connecting the two sides of the Atlantic with its submarines, so as to isolate Europe from the US, he argues that NATO must prepare for the "Fourth Battle of the Atlantic", after those of the two world wars and the cold war.
While naval exercises are underway, strategic bombers B-1, transferred from Texas to Norway, they are carrying out "missions" close to Russian territory, along with Norwegian F-35 fighters, to "demonstrate the readiness and ability of the United States to support allies".
Military operations in Europe and adjacent seas are conducted under the command of US Air Force General Tod Wolters, who is at the head of the European Command of the United States and at the same time of NATO, with the position of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe which always belongs to a US general.
All these military operations are officially motivated as "defense of Europe from Russian aggression", turning reality upside down: it was NATO that expanded into Europe, with its forces and even nuclear bases, close to Russia. At the European Council the 26 February, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg declared that "the threats we faced before the pandemic are still there", placing first "the aggressive actions of Russia" e, on background, a menacing "rise of China".
He then stressed the need to strengthen the transatlantic link between the United States and Europe, as the new Biden administration strongly wants, bringing cooperation between the EU and NATO to a higher level. Beyond the 90% of the inhabitants of the European Union, he recalled, lives today in NATO countries (of which they are part 21 of 27 EU countries). The European Council reiterated "the commitment to cooperate closely with NATO and the new Biden administration for security and defense", making the EU militarily stronger.
As premier Mario Draghi pointed out in his speech, this strengthening must take place within a framework of complementarity with NATO and coordination with the USA. Therefore the military strengthening of the EU must be complementary to that of NATO, in turn complementary to US strategy. It actually consists in provoking growing tensions with Russia in Europe, so as to increase US influence in the European Union itself.
An increasingly dangerous game, because it pushes Russia to strengthen itself militarily, and more and more expensive. This is confirmed by the fact that in the 2020, in full crisis, Italian military spending rose from 13th to 12th in the world, overtaking that of Australia.
(Il Manifesto, 2 March 2021)