Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Anakonda-16 is a 10-day exercise involving 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries. (Photo: US Army Europe/flickr/cc)

Enormous, 'Seriously Destabilizing' NATO War Games Begin in Poland

The United States is providing around 14,000 troops for the exercise, more than any other participating nation

Deirdre Fulton

Drawing Russian rebuke, NATO members and partners on Monday launched what is being called the largest war game in decades—a 10-day exercise involving 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries, none more committed than the United States.

The exercise, dubbed "Anakonda-16," is taking place in Poland ahead of next month's NATO summit in Warsaw that will likely approve more troops to be stationed in eastern Europe. The United States is providing around 14,000 troops for the exercise, more than any other participating nation.

According to Stars and Stripes:

Thousands of troops have arrived in Poland to begin the 10-day series of engagements, including air-ground assaults and electronic warfare scenarios. Airborne units, infantrymen, medics, military police and aviation units will operate jointly throughout the exercise, which culminates in a massive live-fire event led by the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

A separate international naval exercise, Baltops-16, also involving NATO forces, began Monday in Finland, which is not a member of the global alliance.

The activity comes, as journalist Lucian Kim noted in an analysis published by Reuters, "just weeks after the United States inaugurated the first of two controversial missile-defense installations in Eastern Europe. Next year, the Pentagon plans to quadruple military spending in Europe to $3.4 billion and begin rotating an armored brigade through Eastern Europe—in addition to extra NATO forces to be deployed to Poland and the Baltics."

Indeed, in mid-May Moscow called the U.S.'s newly activated missile defense site in Romania a "direct threat" to security and part of "the start of a new arms race." Earlier this year, it was revealed that the U.S. was ramping up the deployment of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to NATO member countries in Central and Eastern Europe. 

And last month, work began on a separate missile interception base at Redzikowo, a village in northern Poland—"turning the country," analyst Gilbert Doctorow wrote on Friday, "into a U.S. bastion and potential launch platform against Russia in possible violation of existing agreements governing intermediate-range nuclear weapons."

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the uptick in activity near Russia's borders.

"We do not hide that we have a negative attitude toward the NATO line of moving its military infrastructure to our borders, drawing other countries into military unit activities," he said. "This will activate the Russian sovereign right to provide its own safety with methods that are adequate for today's risks."

Meanwhile, speaking of the Polish war games as well as the ongoing "SaberStrike" operation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told journalists that the exercises "carry a serious destabilizing component" and that their "main goal is to continue the aggravation of tensions."

At RT, author and journalist Robert Bridge offered a tongue-in-cheek thought experiment highlighting the ratcheting tensions:

For those who still aren’t convinced that Russia has some serious grounds for concern as the US-led war machine grinds ever closer, let’s put the situation into its proper perspective. Let’s imagine that the geopolitical chessboard were suddenly flipped and it is Russia that is now busy hatching a 28-member military alliance near America’s border, for example, in Latin America (and after Moscow had pledged not to increase the membership of the military bloc following the collapse of the Soviet Union).

But why stop there? Let’s roll the dice and see what Washington’s reaction would be if Russia had just dispatched three TU-160 Blackjack bombers to South America to participate in war games with the likes of Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil, for example, just weeks after Moscow dropped a missile defense system - which could go offensive with the flick of a switch – in, say, Colombia. Yikes! I dare say there’s not a straitjacket in the world that could restrain the writhing neocon convulsions that would break out across the Beltway.

A report issued last summer said ever-growing war games conducted by Russian and NATO forces feed a "climate of mistrust."

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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo