WRITTEN BY STOP THE WAR ON 16 MARCH 2020. POSTED IN NEWS & COMMENT
Now is not the time to be increasing military spending, but to reallocate funds away from the military towards welfare and healthcare
As borders across Europe close, the deployment of thousands of troops is not just misguided but dangerous.
Stop the War calls on the government to withdraw its troops from the NATO exercise, Operation Defender, and for NATO to cease this confrontational military exercise.
Defender 2020 is the largest military training deployment in Europe for 25 years. It is being conducted by NATO along the Russian border. Due to last for five months, the operation will be at its height in April and May. The deployment of 36,000 of troops from NATO countries, including 25,000 from the US and UK, has rightly been accused of exacerbating tensions between Russia and NATO, as well as costing tax payers huge sums of money.
The exercise, designed to practice how NATO would respond to an invasion, is clearly directed against Russia. In conjunction with massive troop manoeuvres along the Russian border, the US is deploying its nuclear submarines as part of NATO’s ‘counter invasion’ strategy.
Defender is not only heightening tensions between Russia and NATO, but during the current global pandemic, is endangering the lives of military personnel and local civilians. A number of military personnel have already tested positive for Coronavirus resulting in part of the exercise being called off. Finland has already withdrawn its troops.
Bringing together tens of thousands of military personnel from a multitude of countries is guaranteed to increase coronavirus transmission. At a time when countries, including the UK, are under increasing financial pressure to deal with the pandemic, to continue with this military extravagance is both dangerous and irresponsible. Now is not the time to be increasing military spending, but rather to reallocate funds away from the military towards welfare and healthcare.