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NATO Displays Military Might
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British Army Royal Engineers take part in a patrol exercise October 25 in Telneset, Norway, ahead of Trident Juncture 18, NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War. (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)Amid growing tensions with Russia, NATO held its largest exercise since the Cold War, involving about 50,000 military and support personnel from 31 NATO and partner countries, 250 aircraft, 65 naval vessels, and up to 10,000 military vehicles. The Oct. 25–Nov. 7 exercise, called Trident Juncture 18, was conducted in central and eastern Norway; the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland; and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. About 20,000 U.S. forces participated. In September, Russia held what it described as its largest military exercise since 1981, involving some 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, and 900 tanks along with some participation by Chinese forces. The Russian exercise was a bit of saber-rattling, directed toward the United States and NATO, and a demonstration to Russians of how their leader, President Vladimir Putin, has restored great-power status after years of decline and disarray following the end of the Soviet Union. The NATO exercise provided a chance to showcase sustained allied unity, something that is in question in the Trump era, and to reinforce deterrence against an emboldened Russia.—TERRY ATLAS

Posted: November 1, 2018