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Rocket Read as Racket, or Almost Freudian Slip

16.05.2008 16:44

Lev Zakharov

"A small and very proud-hearted country” wants to be friends with “a large and very correct fleet” of “the big brother” standing guard of the global democracy. In so doing it wants to be friends against “bad guys from the North” who hamper a latest uprush of the national consciousness in the children of the land where “the hills … are in the shade of night”.

Somebody may ask: what is the point? It is not difficult to explain it; you should just carefully look into the developments.

"President of the Republic of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili claimed that his country is “very close” to the war with Russia. He said: “The threat of recrudescence of the armed confrontation persists in the region as long as Abkhazia insists on its independence” (International Broadcasting Service “Deutsche Welle” (Germany), May 8, 2008).

Actually everybody has the right to say anything, but the point is that we speak about the decision of the Russian Federation to fulfill its peacekeeping obligations in the Transcaucasia within the framework of the United Nations documents by increasing the “Blue Helmet” contingent to the strength specified in the respective agreements. The date of the Sakashvili’s loud statement is also noteworthy, May 8, when the mankind either already celebrates or prepares to celebrate the Day of Victory over fascist Germany that unleashed the bloodiest war in the history of the mankind.

And it is not all over yet. A bit later the escapades continued. “President Saakashvili noted that Georgia faces a military intervention… Such situation cannot be regarded as a crisis exclusively for Tbilisi, the Head of State emphasized. The events taking place are a brutal, aggressive and unprecedented effort to revise the world order established after the collapse of communism… It is a problem not only for Europe, it is a challenge to the United States (Newspaper “Georgian Daily”, May 14).

Did you appreciate the style? Did you realize and remember the said?

Lo and behold: “US Frigate “John Hall” anchored … at the port of Batumi. It is a friendly visit. Its aim is to provide for training of Georgian Navy seamen, and holding of various cultural events” (a press-release of the Georgian Defense Ministry, May 15). “”Tbilisi is hosting a delegation of the US NAVY led by Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. During the talks the parties discussed issues regarding the upgrade of the Georgian Armed Forces combat capabilities…" (the same source, the same date).

Is it just coincidence?

However, famous French philosopher Voltaire (1694-1780) said: “The eventuality does not exist…” Moreover his compatriot writer Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969) said: “The eventuality is a convenient word to designate …causes”.

And the causes take place, if we recall that “the hot-heart hill-men” are hosting a ship of the Sixth US Fleet, a structure, which is nameworthy in many respects.

This strategic formation is a creature of the Cold War against the Soviet Union (or Russia as former allies used to name the USSR) unleashed by the United States after the Second (hot) World War. In 1946, President Truman dispatched battleship “Missouri” to the Eastern Mediterranean to counter “Soviet threats from the East”.

The flagship of the American task force in the region was a destroyer tender anchored at Naples, Italy. The task force was known as Naval Forces Mediterranean. Later, in 1949, i.e. when the North Atlantic Alliance or NATO was established, this name was changed to the Sixth Task Fleet, and later in 1950 – to the Sixth Fleet.

It was never idle, exercising nuclear strikes on facilities in the territory of Warsaw Treaty states, flank support of the NATO ground forces, landing of assault forces and provision of sea route security. Simultaneously, the Fleet eventually defended the American national interests as they were (and are) understood in Washington.

Already in 1958 the Sixth Fleet was involved in the US military operation in Lebanon. Later, there were lots of various force actions including bombardments and firing on Libyan cities in the spring of 1986, invasion of the USSR territorial waters in the Black Sea in February 1988 by guided missile cruiser USS “Yorktown” and destroyer USS “Caron”, participation in first operation “Desert Storm” against Iraq in 1990-1991, etc.

The end of the Cold War did not affect the Fleet. All the more so because 80 per cent of all emergencies, which the USA faced in the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union occurred within the operational area of the Sixth Fleet as it was alleged by its Command.

"The threat from Moscow” changed to “prevention of civil and ethnic wars” and “war on global terror” in the Balkans, Middle East and Africa. In March-June 1999, the Sixth Fleet provided military, logistic and humanitarian support of NATO operation “Allied Force” against Yugoslavia, periodic actions and later military campaign of Spring 2003 “Iraqi Freedom” in the Gulf Area. Before it, in October 2001, it was involved in the Afghanistan campaign…

Meanwhile the ambitions are growing. In 2004, after the US Navy organizational reform the Fleet HQ became an element of the control and command system of the US Naval Forces Europe. After the reform the operational area of the Fleet covers almost a half of the Atlantics from the North Pole to Antarctic, as well as the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Baltic Sea, Northern Sea and Barents Sea (a sea area of 36 million of square kilometers, three continents, 67 per cent of the global coast line, 30 per cent of the global land – 92 countries with an area exceeding 22.4 million square kilometers, resided by 23 per cent of the mankind - more than 1 billion persons).

Upon instructions of the superior HQ the Commander of the US Navy Sixth Fleet (currently Vice-Admiral James A. Winnefeld) is responsible for planning and conduct of offensive, defensive and other naval operations to establish and maintain control over the sea area and in the aerospace of the Mediterranean and Black Sea as well as on the adjacent lands. Besides, the Fleet is to defend national interests, provide for goals and objectives of the US external policy in “the vital” regions of the world.

Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and concurrently Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, claimed in early 2008 that the forces under his command inter alia will guarantee security in Kosovo, proceed with counter-terrorist operation “Active Endeavor”,and do their utmost to maintain high combat readiness of the NATO Response Force. The presence of the Fleet in the region is regarded as “a fundamental element of the US and NATO defense policy”.

The ship composition of the Fleet is dynamic. It stands at the most combat-ready ships and air units of the US Navy stationed on the East Coast of the USA as well as Marine units of the US European Command sent to the Mediterranean as a rule for 6 and less months.

In general, the Sixth Fleet consists of about 40 ships and auxiliary vessels (and more if needed), up to 180 aircraft and about 21,000 people. The Sixth Fleet is operationally organized into task forces: Task Force 60 (Battle Force consisting of Aircraft-Carrier Groups and Strike Groups), Task Force 61 (Amphibious Assault Force), Task Force 62 (Marine Expeditionary Unit), Task Force 63 (Logistics Force), Task Force 64 (Special Operations), Task Force 67 (Land-Based Maritime Patrol Aircraft), Task Force 68 (Maritime Force Protection Force), and Task Force 66/69 (Submarine Warfare).

The Sixth Fleet annually conducts up to 80 exercises both independently and in cooperation with other US Armed Services as well as under the NATO plans (the latest military play was “Phoenix Express” – April 2008). Its ships perform more than 1000 calls to the ports of various states and provide for the program of exchange with other partner-states in the Mid and Black Seas.

So, it is evident that the Americans moored at the Georgian coast for some reason. They were welcomed there, and they want to arrive and stay there for a long time fulfilling their accustomed function “to defend young democracies infringed by the imperial policy of Russia”. Actually it is quite visible in the statement made on May 8 by a high-ranking official in the US establishment – President Advisor on National Security Affairs Steven Hadly. He said in particular: “Naturally, we are very much concerned with the steps taken by the Kremlin in Georgia, and regard these steps as provocations… Russia should abandon such policy.”

That is to say, a big and strong “leader” came and warned “the bully”. In so doing, the would-be “chucker-out” (and his Tbilisi sidekick) has no doubts that he is right because he is sure of his own military and other muscles. On hand – an attempt to frighten made by a subject who repeatedly violated and violates the international law (the law names such subjects very simply and clearly – bandits) or in other words – an attempt to racket. Legality of such judgment is confirmed by the aforesaid press-release of the Georgian Ministry of Defense dated May 15 on the visit of USS “John Hall” to Batumi. The document reads in black and white the word “rocket” as “racket”. Somebody may say: it is a slip. May be, but it is not a surprising slip and almost a Freudian slip!