The United States has given no benefit to itself by conducting military exercises in Europe’s most tense areas.


U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ross in the Black Sea

US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Ross as seen by Royal Navy HMS Trent during Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 on July 2, 2021. Royal Navy / HMS torrent

  • The United States and other NATO troops have recently concluded the latest iteration of sea breeze exercises conducted in the Black Sea countries, including Ukraine.

  • Joint military exercises are not bad in nature, but the United States needs to participate only if it is in line with the strategic national security interests of the United States.

  • Scott McCann is a Marcellus Policy Fellow of the John Quincy Adams Society.

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A joint military exercise known as Sea Breeze recently took place in the Black Sea, where the United States conducted exercises with countries, including Ukraine.

by U.S. NavyThe Sea Breeze Exercise is an annual joint operation that brings together the United States, “most” Black Sea countries, and NATO allies to pursue capacity building. Joint military exercises are inherently warlike and unwise, but joint military exercises involving the United States must be in line with their strategic national security interests.

Recent activities in the Black Sea do not meet that standard.

The 2021 iteration was the largest since the first exercise in 1997. 32 countries from 6 continents participated. All Black Sea countries except Russia were represented.

Given the establishment of NATO and the current tensions with Ukraine, the exclusion of Russia is not unexpected. However, given that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia remains unresolved and Russia’s absence indicates their role as a potential enemy, US participation is an unnecessary provocation.

Sea Breeze raises an important issue. How do the exercises match the strategic national security interests of the United States? The most direct answer is that it is not.

Russian military exercises Crimea Black Sea

The Navy disembarked an assault boat on April 22, 2021 during a Russian military exercise in Crimea. Sergei Margafco via Getty Images TASS

Ultimately, this exercise is counterproductive. Training is Controversial interaction Between the British HMS Defender and the Russian fighter. The exchange accounts are disputed, but the Kremlin statement states that their goals face hostile threats, Respond normally..

The opening ceremony in Odessa revealed that Sea Breeze’s mission is to prepare for the Russian conflict. At the opening ceremony, Ukrainian Navy Commander Oleksi Naizapapa said the exercise would send “a strong message to maintain peace and stability in our region.”

USS Navy Captain Kyle Gantt, along with other US commanders, emphasized solidarity with Ukraine in their operations. message The Black Sea is an international sea and not the property of a single country.

Gantt further stated that the exercises would take place “only in Ukraine and the high seas.” This is in line with NATO’s view that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and illegal.

These statements are based on serious logical flaws. First, Ukraine’s strategic value to the United States is exaggerated.Ukraine is not an ally NATO member countries, Should not be one, and occasionally the United States suggests that Ukraine is being considered for the ultimate NATO entry risk that will delay the settlement between Kiev and Moscow. NATO’s expansion to the Russian border has already aroused tensions in the region.

Second, what is happening in the Black Sea is not a national security risk to the United States.

Given what happened in 2014, the most significant risk in the Black Sea is to the US reputation for over-inflating its commitment to Kiev. Joint military exercises are often defended for their contribution to deterrence. In this case, given that the sea breeze exercise is an annual event, its defenses cannot retain water, but Russia still annexed Crimea in 2014.

Special Forces Board a Ukrainian Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft

Special Forces from several countries participated in the Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 in Ukraine on June 30, 2021. Ukrainian special forces

The United States barked when Russia invaded Crimea. That does not mean that the United States should have intervened. Bokeh was a relatively restrained decision. But given that the United States is unlikely to fight a war to protect Ukraine from the only other nuclear superpower, pledged US solidarity with Ukraine seems like an empty promise.

Other tests of the solution are on the horizon, namely Taiwan. If the United States wants to thwart China’s actions in the pursuit of strong unity, pledge solidarity, and assert its strategic importance in the Black Sea, rethinking when that moment will occur is elsewhere. Spoil the message.

In April 2021, the United States and NATO called on Russia to ease tensions in the Black Sea and accused Russia of plans to restrict access to the Black Sea for military exercises. After three months, Sea Breeze increases tension.

The United States needs to make decisions based on strategic national security interests. As in other areas, these decisions should apply to joint military exercises. Ensuring Ukraine’s access to the ports of the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčAzov and the passage of the Kerch Strait is not a national security benefit of the United States.

Scott McCann is a Marcellus Policy Fellow of the John Quincy Adams Society and a finalist of the KochAssociate Program in Foreign Policy at the Charles Koch Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in international studies dedicated to international security, intelligence and conflict resolution from the Joseph Kobel Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

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