Magazine article Insight on the News

Bulgarians, Slovaks, Uzbeks Invade Upstate New York. (Nation in Brief)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Bulgarians, Slovaks, Uzbeks Invade Upstate New York. (Nation in Brief)

Article excerpt

You'd need a dictionary compiled by doublespeak expert George Orwell to decipher the little-noticed news about a contingent of military officers from 20 foreign countries who gathered in late June at Fort Drum in upstate New York for a NATO battle-simulation training exercise.

The press releases say the three-day event was part of NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program aimed at developing "improvements in good neighborly relations" between European countries. It seems fair to wonder why that would require military officers from countries such as Bulgaria, Tunisia and Uzbekistan to venture to the remote highlands of New York state near the Canadian borden The answer is buffed beneath official statements about "coalition building" and "humanitarian peacekeeping efforts."

The exercises involved NATO member nations as well as "nonaligned partners," a phrase that may explain how Tunisia, located on Africa's Mediterranean coast, found its way into the North Atlantic military establishment. Billed as "Cooperative Nugget" and held every two years, earlier exercises stirred alarm among citizens and groups concerned about globalism and sovereignty issues. Those concerns were first triggered in 1995 when 4,500 foreign troops arrived at Fort Polk, La., for the first-ever NATO exercise on U.S. soil.

A review of past exercises in the series shows an emphasis on dealing with low-intensity conflicts such as guerrilla warfare in urban situations, often involving nontraditional hostilities such as car-bombings, sniper attacks on refugee checkpoints, hostile or unruly protesters and other forms of civilian unrest. Basically it's about multinational military units acting as cops to enforce international peace.

In this year's computer-assisted war game, developed at the Swedish Defence Wargaming Centre, members of an international NATO-led "peace operation" stepped in to establish a zone of separation between two belligerent forces on a fictional island, "Aragon."

A little-noticed sidelight is that orders to separate the antagonists in the game scenario were issued by the United Nations. …

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