Echoes of Cold War as NATO mulls new North Atlantic command

NATO needs to establish a new regional base for protecting the North Atlantic against increased Russian naval strength, a senior alliance general said on Monday, as allies consider the next step in a military build-up reminiscent of the Cold War.FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Czech Army General Petr Pavel, arrives to address a news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File PhotoGeneral Petr Pavel, head of NATO’s military committee, will help put the case to allied defense ministers this week for a new planning and strategy base to be located in a chosen NATO ally and focused on keeping Atlantic shipping lanes safe from enemy submarines.It would be the first such expansion in two decades after NATO sharply cut back its commands in 2011.“If we look at the growing capabilities of countries like Russia and China, with a global reach, it is quite obvious that maritime lines of communication have to be protected,” Pavel, a Czech army general, told Reuters in an interview.“We observe increased Russian naval activity in the Arctic in the northern Atlantic … We also assess that for any future crisis, the reinforcement of Europe and free lines of communication will be vital for European security,” Pavel said.If approved, the new North Atlantic Command would survey a vast area and, in the event of any potential conflict with Russia, have the task of making sea lanes safe for U.S reinforcements to Europe.


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