La Lettre Patriote
Translator note: What I like about reading French reports about NATO exercises is what Facebook users call “sarcasm font.” It’s there, right under the surface. The French can afford it — I always remember: France, thanks to Charles DeGaulle, still has no US military bases.
We generally forget there are about 9,000 American soldiers permanently stationed in Europe. But this is nothing prepared to what’s coming.
Sweetly, gently [Doucement!], the number of these soldiers is going to crescendo, to culminate in May. As of now, 20,000 American soldiers are expected to participate in a military exercise soberly named Defender Europe 2020. This is going to be the most important American military deployment on Europe’s soil in 25 years.
In all, 37,000 soldiers from 18 countries will participate in this exercise, which will roam over 10 countries, including Germany. 13,000 units of American military equipment will be brought into play.
In a communique published in December, the American Army explained that this exercise has for objective, to “demonstrate the capacity of the American army to deploy an important force rapidly to support NATO and to respond to any crisis.”
General Christopher Cavoli, commander of land forces in Europe, also specified to reporters that it was also about “demonstrating American military power” to adversaries such as Russia. The NATO GenSec, Jens Stoltenberg nevertheless assured us, at the beginning of February, that Russia was not the target of Defender Europe 2020.
“It’s not directed at any country in particular and should demonstrate the capacity to rapidly deploy American forces in Europe to assisst in the protection of NATO allies in case of need” he explained, specifying that this exercise will “illustrate the strong commitment of the United States to NATO and to the liberty and security of Europe.”
Russia, like the member countries of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe, was informed of the exercise by Washington, following the normal procedures. The American General Tod Wolters, Supreme Commander of NATO in Europe, and Valery Gerasimov, head Russian general, met in Baku to maintain contact, notably to avoid any military “incident.”