50'000 participants, 250 aircraft and 65 vessels from more than 30 nations - boasts Norway's NATO press department video. The biggest since the cold war "Reforger" drills. That is not so overwhelming, given the "Vostok-2018" exercise six weeks earlier, involving 300'000 troups - nearly a third of Russia's full troop strength, 36'000 vehicles, more than a thousand aircraft and 80 vessels, the biggest since the "Zapad" drills in 1981.
For the first time not only CIS (Commonwealth of Independent Countries) members took part, but also China and Mongolia joined one of several exercise stages - and this practice will be continued in future years; Russia's presidency has declared the China relations as a top issue under presidential care.
Russian MoD stressed that the Vostok-2018 war games are not an anti-NATO event, and that they are held several thousand kilometers away from Russia's western borders. In fact, Vostok 2018 was an "anti-nobody" event. Scenarios show a purely internal readiness and unit interaction purpose: nothing NATO or others have to worry about, unless they plan aggressive steps of their own making.
Russian president Putin explained: "All components of the troops' combat readiness, preparedness of the management bodies, units and formations as well as the organization of their cooperation… are subjected to comprehensive checks." And he added: "For the first time".
For the first time, that is, after the CIA staged the second coup in Ukraine in 2014, just ten years from the first in 2004. After NATO broke all words of honor given, they would not expand the NATO area beyond the western border of former German Democratic Republic, GDR - with Germany's air force now flying daily routine, fully armed and combat-ready, directly on the Russian border, Germany's army leading NATO troops stationed in the Baltics a few kilometers off the Russian border.
The very same Germany benefitting most from peaceful Russian troop withdrawal from its soil, not to mention very friendly Russian support during the whole time frame of Germany's re-unification process. (And what about re-unification of Crimea with Russia pushed by overwhelming public vote?)
NATO complained directly about the Vostok exercise, with a highly astonishing wording: That Russia prepared armed conflict. To the best understanding of the rest of the world, that is what military exercises are about by definition. Troops are generally not preparing dancing or weekend barbecue parties, at least not as official drill duty. Jokes aside: the question arises, as to whether NATO command believes, Russia should not do any exercise or not be allowed to defend itself at all.
To the final question: How aggressive was the allegedly defensive Trident Juncture 2018 exercise? What was its aggressive potential? Trident Juncture was accompanied by the traditional "Northern Coasts 2018" (NOCO) exercise, which is being held in this format since 2007. Finland was hosting a total of 4,000 personnel and over 40 vessels in this Baltic Sea drill. Finland's MoD openly states, that the exercise "also improves the ability to prevent threats." Prevention may be translated to attack, in a military drill there is practically very little difference. Detailed reports show in clear pictures, that landing of small aggressive commando groups on rocky shorelines is possible with this equipment, movies showing troops boarding.
This line is being reinforced by what Trident Juncture proper is doing: "Trident Juncture 18 consists of three main parts: a phase of deployment lasting from August to October, a live field exercise from 25 October to 7 November and a command post exercise from 13 to 24 November 2018." So called "northern forces", consisting mainly of US, Canadian and Norwegian troops, attack against "southern forces", represented by German, Italian and British contingents, the latter staging a counter-attack at a later stage. Meaning: ALL troops exercise attacks! And that all happens in direct proximity to Russian borders and makes it very hard for Russian analysts, very close to the 2015 "Economist" article against Russia's procedures in the Crimea case, to draw a clear line, when exercise starts emulating into direct war preparation, with easy escalation into war. How sure can the regional countries and populations be, that "Trident Juncture 2019" will maintain peace and order?
And the 2018 drills were not the first large-scale aggressive western exercises in Russia's neighborhood: In February/March 2002 "Strong Resolve", deploying 40'000 troops in Norway and Poland, stirred alarmed reactions from Russia, which, at exactly that time, was still suffering from the Yeltsin disaster - and by days failed to lose their main oil resources by the workings of proved multi-criminal Mikhail Khodorkovsky - the latter serving as a present-day strategic take-over personnel reserve, should the western occupiers urgently need a vassal head of state or government in Moscow.
Openly peace-oriented western media warn, that Trident Juncture is meant to prepare further exercises in direct proximity to Russia and China.
In addition to dangerously double-pronged drill scenarios the underlying western propaganda language appears alarming. Just a year after the second coup in Ukraine, 2015, it may run like this ("The Economist": "Russia practices “hybrid war”—a mixture of propaganda, corruption, subversion, espionage, the exploitation of economic and energy dependency, diplomacy and the use of irregular military forces (those “little green men” who popped up in Crimea last year)." A complete 180° turn-around of reality: Whatever Economist describes looks exactly like an accurate description of what mainly Washington has done since the end of the 19th century, starting with the explosion of the USS “Maine” off Cuba, leading to the war to expel Spanish troops from the island and invasion by US troops - only to subjugate it to terribly corrupt practices of Washington's making, which then led to Fidel Castro's successful counter attack with a handful courageous fighters half a century later.
And this language has deteriorated ever since to open belligerence. Was president John F. Kennedy nearly forced into a world war against the Soviet Union by warmongering US generals, a cabal the people's hero mastered brilliantly - president Donald Trump is no longer free to meet or invite his Russian colleague when and how he sees fit, but is forced to helpless protesting tweets like one of the last of November 9:
"You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!" Nor can Trump agree to de-escalating proposals by president Putin with regard to the infamous and outrageously failed Skripal false flag operation or the 180° turn-around accusation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election: it is the US preserving themselves pristine rights to grossly interfere on a global level wherever they feel like it, and lash out at every resistance to these as frequent, habitual and ruthless breaches of all laws.
It is not only dangerous military drills that put world peace and Europe's security at risk very practically, it is the parallel and generally bellicose media language that sets the overall result - in short: if Europe cannot come to terms with Russia quickly and accept Crimea realities (as chancellor Willy Brandt's world famous détente advisor, late Professor Egon Bahr, suggested) if not formally acknowledge this peaceful re-unification - the EU may well pay a price for Washington's fatal belligerence on, mainly or: solely!, European expense.