Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. Marines and Portuguese armed forces pictured at Pinheiro da Cruz, Portugal on October 20, 2015. (Photo: Lt. Adam Cole/U.S. Navy)

U.S. Marines and Portuguese armed forces pictured at Pinheiro da Cruz, Portugal on October 20, 2015. (Photo: Lt. Adam Cole/U.S. Navy)

Cold War Redux? NATO Flexes Muscle In Largest 'War Games' In Decade

NATO deploying over 36,000 troops from more than 30 countries to the central Mediterranean for 'military exercises' by land, air, and sea

Sarah Lazare

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Monday began its largest military exercise in more than a decade, deploying over 36,000 troops from more than 30 countries to the central Mediterranean in a massive show of force that analysts say revives Cold War posturing towards Russia.

According to NATO, the "Trident Juncture" war games will take place by land, air, and sea over the next three weeks "across Italy, Spain and Portugal." In addition to NATO countries, seven non-member states will participate, including Ukraine. Curiously, numerous aid agencies will also take part, including the International Red Cross.

"We are very concerned about the Russian military build-up," NATO's Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told reporters in southern Italy on Monday. "The increasing concentration of forces in Kaliningrad, the Black Sea and now in the eastern Mediterranean does pose some additional challenges."

"It seems a real anachronism for an exercise of this magnitude so long after the end of the Cold War," Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, told Common Dreams. "Frankly it is a huge waste of taxpayer money and resources, not to mention the carbon footprint."

"I would guess the main motivation is to keep Pentagon spending high," Zunes added.

Studies indicate that these costly war games can bring real military escalation.

A report released in August by the London-based think tank European Leadership Network (ELN) argued that war games are feeding a "climate of mistrust" between western nations and Russia, causing relations to "deteriorate considerably."

"We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable," the report stated, "but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA's Environmental Justice Office 'Won't Make Up for' Manchin Deal, Campaigner Says

"We've seen a lot of structural changes on environmental justice in the Biden, Obama and Clinton administrations, but we need to see the results," said Wes Gobar of the Movement for Black Lives.

Julia Conley ·


Historic Tropical Storm Fiona Sweeps Homes Into Ocean in Eastern Canada

"Climate change leads to warmer ocean water at higher latitudes," said one Canadian civil engineering professor. "A warmer future increases the probability that more intense storms will reach Canadian coasts."

Julia Conley ·


Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo