Over a number of years now the BCN (British Church Newspaper) has exposed the warmongering adventures of the transformed post-Cold War NATO (issues 280, 292, 301, 304, 319, 324, 328, 332). Of particular significance was “The 15th anniversary of NATO aggression against Serbia” published in issue 280, where I called the new NATO in reality the ‘North American Terrorist Organisation’.
NATO is still rightly remembered by many as the defensive alliance which successfully withstood the Soviet threat; but since the post-USSR Russian Federation no longer poses such a threat, NATO had to invent and exploit an imaginary continuing Russian threat in order to justify its existence today. By expanding NATO since the 1990s right up to Russia’s very borders, in blatant breach of a pledge not to do so if the Red Army would withdraw from Eastern Europe, the US recklessly created a perpetual provocation to Moscow and altered the whole purpose of the alliance’s continuing existence. Edward Spalton put the transformation well when he memorably described NATO’s unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 as marking the “malign metamorphosis of NATO from a highly successful, limited, defensive alliance into a dangerous, all-purpose vehicle for unlimited aggressive ambitions, masquerading as ‘humanitarian intervention’”.
In the current military and geopolitical context NATO is a redundant organisation which should have been completely disbanded in 1991 when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact collapsed. Thereafter NATO served no useful purpose other than being what former US diplomat and Senate policy adviser James Jatras called “an American-made mechanism for geopolitical control of Europe”. After Russia thwarted NATO’s attempts to take over Ukraine and establish a foothold in Crimea in the Black Sea, NATO chose Montenegro as its latest target for chaos in 2016 in an attempt to control the Adriatic Sea instead. Its ongoing aggression against this small Balkan state must be the subject of a separate detailed study.
During his Presidential campaign Donald Trump made it very clear that he considered NATO to be “obsolete” and that it did not contribute to – and was even dangerous to – American security. Unfortunately, like many of Trump’s other policies and promises, his attitude to NATO after his election weakened and changed. One suspects that when he dismissed the alliance as “obsolete” what he really meant was not the intention of the US to withdraw from the military pact, but rather to offload its running costs onto those 23 European nations which have not paid their fair share of contributions to their so-called ‘defence’ by NATO.
Trump’s visit to the NATO summit in Brussels on 25 May 2017 proved that he had in fact reversed the position taken during his campaign. Instead of being a critic of an “obsolete” NATO that was potentially dangerous to American security, he seemed “to have been sucked into the establishment position on NATO” and thus to have made the NATO leaders “very, very happy”. That established position has often been summarised as ‘to keep the Americans in Europe, keep the Russians out, and keep the Germans down’: the purpose has not changed, even if the Russian threat has now been proven as an imaginary one.
At the same time Trump ironically has a fundamentally ambivalent towards NATO: his move towards a new US-Russia détente is clearly aimed at preventing the current rapprochement between Brussels and Moscow and the EU’s move towards lifting sanctions against Russia. We recall that one of NATO’s major aims was always the prevention of a German-Russian economic alliance – which Bismarck had proposed because he understood that peace with Russia was absolutely vital for Germany’s interests.
Yet what has really changed? To quote Jatras again: “Let’s be clear about something: that NATO means the US; that these other countries are not really allies – they are satellites. Without a US commitment to NATO, there is no NATO.” By the same token we can say that if “NATO means the US”, then the EU is the alliance’s civilian component, created to force the formerly sovereign nations of Europe into a supranational globalist structure and expose them to plundering by unelected fascists and banksters.
Trump’s remarks about obsolescence may have raised the hopes of some that he would scale back American military participation in NATO as part of a wider move to reduce US belligerence; but on 25 February 2017 he called for a massive budget request for one of the “greatest military build-ups in American history” – a far cry from a policy of pursuing his declared policy of détente, and a clear signal that hopes of a more peaceful, less militaristic US administration are quickly disintegrating.
New clothes, but still ‘dressed to kill’
NATO, which in reality is Washington’s proxy warmonger, was directly involved in the destruction of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and (but for Russian resistance) almost Ukraine and Syria. It continues to portray itself as the world’s ‘liberator’ and ‘peacemaker’. Its real purpose is to wreck its target countries to further Washington’s own geopolitical and economic interests. Its illegal invasions of the Baltics, North Africa, and the Middle East – all of them in breach of its own Charter and unsanctioned by the United Nations – have caused the death and migration of millions of innocent civilians.
NATO has already bombed the legitimate governmental forces of Syria a number of times and is now mischievously and provocatively meddling in Montenegro to offer that country membership, causing mass demonstrations and violence in the capital Podgorica and risking the start of a new Balkans war. It has breached international law by forcing the country to become a member without a referendum, turning it into “NATO’s latest launchpad on the European mainland” – “not an example of Montenegro joining NATO [but of] NATO going into Montenegro”. No referendum could have persuaded its people to join an alliance which illegally bombed it in 1999.
Under Trump NATO is still posing as a firefighter, but acting as an arsonist. In his jingoistic inaugural speech on 20 January 2017 Trump indicated his intention to concentrate on the US infrastructure instead of squandering resources by intervening militarily around the world in the manner of previous administrations; but now the opposite appears to be the case, and there are even plans to increase NATO spending by 40% from US$ 3.7 billion to US$ 4.8 billion.
New HQ, new fictitious role
The symbol of 21st-century NATO is its new billion-dollar headquarters where it staged a lavish reception to impress Trump when he attended the summit of member nations in Brussels on 25 May 2017. One wonders who covered the cost of the building and the reception – obviously not those member states which have not paid their dues.
During a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Trump said that he had changed his mind about NATO after it had “agreed” to do more to fight terrorism, telling reporters: “We must not be trapped by the tired thinking [...] but apply new solutions to face new circumstances.”
One may well ask how an organisation which itself has historically created, sponsored, and used terrorists for its own purposes, and which currently supports terrorist organisations in Syria, can “fight terrorism”? Can an alliance which spawned terrorism and itself employed terrorist tactics against sovereign states in breach of international law suddenly become a vehicle to fight terrorists?
The fact is that NATO has been turned into an instrument of American foreign policy. Russian President Vladimir Putin got it exactly right when he said that the alliance’s members inevitably become “US vassals”: “Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the US; and all of a sudden any weapons system can be placed in that country – an anti-ballistic missile system, new military bases and if need be new offensive systems.”
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