NATO: Now Almost Totally Obsolete?
On the eve of the NATO defense minister's meeting at
the Broadmoor, hosted by Donald Rumsfeld, who recently called some of it's
members "old Europe" and "chocolate makers"; I think it's apropos to re-examine
the relevancy of the institution as a whole. There are a variety of arguments
against NATO, it's current planned expansion, and it's role in international
politics in general, but I would like to make the following 5 points about
1. European security is up to the EU and member countries.
Not from the position of isolationism, but from the position of sovereignty
and personal responsibility, the EU should make it's own arrangements for
security. France, Germany, and several other European countries have met stiff
resistance from the US when suggesting this regional responsibility for self
2. US domination of NATO is unhealthy for the organization and for us.
This week we learn that again, the US arms dealers are the most proficient
in the world, with $13.3 Billion in sales this year, and $8.6 Billion in sales
to developing nations. The incentive for warfare under the umbrella of NATO,
the UN, or the new favorite: unilateral invasion and occupation; is obvious.
The Iraq war has led to a giant rift between the NATO member states. France,
Germany and Belgium blocked resolutions to defend Turkey against feared aggression
by Hussein, which was unfounded, like everything else, it turns out. In response
to the US support, Turkey refused to allow troops to cross the border with
Iraq, continues to threaten the Kurds in northern Iraq, and, of course, it's
oppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey, which would be cause for dismissal
from any humane organization, goes on unabated.
The naked aggression of the Bush administration has scared our NATO allies
so much as to render their participation negligible.
3. NATO is obsolete.
NATO was formed in 1949 as a dubious, and now proven unnecessary, reaction
to Soviet expansion. It's relevancy now is even more questionable. The era
of the Cuban missile crises, Berlin wall (except in Palestine), and Soviet
Union is over. The peaceful, political resolution of disagreements has always
been more complete, more fair, and more humane.
4. The UN is the better alternative for democratically deciding international
We don't need a "mini-UN" when we have the UN's almost complete worldwide
representation of 146 countries; a much better association of the world's
people with all our diversity and contextual issues. NATO has almost none
of the political institutions, programs of conflict resolution, and humanitarian
support that the UN does, and represents just 13% of the world's nations.
5. NATO is incompetent.
Siding with the genocidal KLA in Kosovo in 1999 was just one disastrous example
of the old adage, "politics makes strange bedfellows". In that case, as with
the NLA and mercenaries in Macedonia, and the Mujahadin in Afghanistan; supporting
temporary allies with money, arms, and training had disastrous repercussions
world wide. Except, or course, for those who make a living at warfare. For
them it has meant job security.
The "Balkans Syndrome" in the aftermath of the war there has obvious parallels
to the Gulf War Syndrome, which, this week, included a double rate of Amyotrophic
Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The more immediate dangers of NATO actions include
land mines and cluster bomblets left behind for innocent civilians to stumble
across. The effects of uranium tipped shells used by NATO in Bosnia, Kosovo,
and Serbia will be spreading it's silent death throughout the region long
after we're all gone.
This week the present head of NATO will travel to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
to meet with two of the worst despots on the planet. Both are members of NATO's
"Partnership for Peace" program designed to expand military cooperation with
former Warsaw Pact countries. The effects on relations with Russia are disastrous,
especially in the light that those countries have no tactical or strategic
value, except for pipelines of Caspian Sea crude running to the terminus at
the ports of Pakistan.
The NATO security in Kabul has been a disaster. The death rate for the 5,300
troops there is far worse, by percentage, than even Iraq. The rest of the
country, outside the capital, is in a state of total anarchy. Again, the strange
bedfellows of NATO's political hypocrisy include, but are not limited to,
Northern Alliance General Dostum, who should be under indictment for war crimes,
but instead sits on Karzai's cabinet.
In conclusion; NATO not only suffers from it's cold war origins in restrictive
membership along racial and geographic lines, but also it's reactionary, militaristic
solutions to political conflicts. The 21st century is further from the 1950's
and 60's than the numbers imply. The obsolete tactics of violent domination
of adversaries is a dead science. It never had spiritual sanction, even though
all sides continue to claim such. The cost/benefit analysis has always shown
that "it isn't worth it". The stimulation of violence by violence in a perpetual
cycle of reciprocal hatred and "self defense", has made only the arms companies