A senior US military leader’s recent comment has triggered tension across the globe. During his recent visit to an American military base in Norway, Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B Neller told the US soldiers to be prepared for a “big fight”.
Around 300 members of Marine Rotational Force are currently in the base near Trondheim, nearly 460km north of Oslo. Washington has claimed that the US troops’ presence in Norway is intended to support NATO and the US operations, and to help European Command in the region. General Neller, who was in Norway to inspect the base, told the soldiers: “I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming.”
General Neller is a senior official and involved in the decision-making process in Washington. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the Pentagon’s senior-most leadership team, he is responsible for contingency planning. So, the global community has taken his comment seriously. The US had deployed the Marine Core when peace prevailed in Europe and now, the commandant has asked Marines to be prepared for a big fight. He further hinted that the Pacific and Russia would be the focus of any conflict in the future outside West Asia.
Interestingly, General Neller arrived in the Scandinavian country just a week after President Donald Trump unveiled a new National Security Strategy. In the Strategy, it has been clearly mentioned that China and Russia are the potential threats to America. The document says: “China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their forces and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Dent, the senior spokesperson for the general, tried to explain Neller’s remarks in a different way. He said: “His remarks were intended to inspire and focus the Marines’ training.” According to Dent, the general didn’t tell the troops anything about Russia, China, Iran and North Korea – the US’ four ‘main enemies’.