A portrait photo of Kate Hudson
Dr Kate Hudson
CND General Secretary
Kate Hudson has been General Secretary of CND since September 2010. Prior to this she served as the organisation's Chair from 2003. She is a leading anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner nationally and internationally.

Defender Europe 20, NATO’s biggest wargames for over 25 years, is getting under way this month. 20,000 US troops are participating in the US’s largest deployment to Europe in over quarter of a century. With 18 states involved totaling 37,000 troops, this will be an extraordinary provocation in Europe’s border regions with Russia, including Georgia. With troop and equipment movements lasting from February through to July, the exercises themselves will take place in April and May.

2,500 UK troops will participate. According to the British Army website, #DefenderEurope demonstrates the UK’s commitment to #NATO and that the UK remains utterly committed to European security. But looking more closely at the exercises, this is clearly a rehearsal for a US invasion of Europe targeted on Russia. And going from bad to worse, the US army will also conduct Defender Pacific exercises in the ‘Indo-Pacific theater’ which will focus on ‘a South China Sea scenario’.

Those following US ‘defence’ strategy will see the clear link with the 2018 National Defense Strategy where ‘staying ahead’ of Russia and China was the clear strategic reorientation – away from the previous counter-terrorism emphasis towards ‘inter-state strategic competition’. In other words preparing for war against Russia and China. Indeed, US Army propaganda explicitly states: ‘DEFENDER-Europe 20 operationalizes the U.S. National Defense Strategy’.

So Defender 20 exercises in both Europe and Asia are the military outcomes of the strategic change and both follow the same pattern. Whilst many different national forces are involved, the central focus is on rapid deployment from the US to Europe and the Pacific.

In Europe, 20,000 US troops comprising active soldiers, national guard and reservists will be transported to seaports and airports in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, alongside vast quantities of equipment. Personnel and equipment, including so-called ‘prepositioned stock’ already in Europe, will travel 4,000 kilometres for the exercises before returning to the US.

While the US Army has 85,000 permanently stationed troops in the Indo-Pacific region and already conducts military exercises with allies and partners, the purpose of Defender 20 in Asia is to practice rapid deployment of tens of thousands of troops from the US to the Pacific.

We are already facing the practical implementation of Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review – so-called low-yield, ‘usable’ nukes are already out there on US navy submarines. Now we are seeing active preparations for the mass war anticipated in his National Defense Strategy.

We must mobilise and work internationally to oppose these dangerous developments – and raise public awareness of the dangers they present.

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