THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
November 18, 2010
CounterPunch

NATO'S True Role in US Grand Strategy: Encircling Russia, Targeting China

by Diana Johnstone

On November 19 and 20, NATO leaders meet in Lisbon for what is billed as a summit on "NATO's Strategic Concept". . . .

The one thing missing from the Strategic Concept summit agenda is a serious discussion of strategy.

This is partly because NATO as such has no strategy, and cannot have its own strategy. NATO is in reality an instrument of United States strategy. Its only operative Strategic Concept is the one put into practice by the United States. . . .

The very heart of what passes for a "strategic concept" was first declared and put into operation in the spring of 1999, when NATO defied international law, the United Nations and its own original charter by waging an aggressive war outside its defensive perimeter against Yugoslavia. That transformed NATO from a defensive to an offensive alliance. . . .

Indeed, a catalogue of threats enumerated by Rasmussen in a speech last year seemed to suggest that NATO was working for the insurance industry. NATO, he said, was needed to deal with piracy, cyber security, climate change, extreme weather events such as catastrophic storms and flooding, rising sea levels, large-scale population movement into inhabited areas, sometimes across borders, water shortages, droughts, decreasing food production, global warming, CO2 emissions, the retreat of Arctic ice uncovering hitherto inaccessible resources, fuel efficiency and dependence on foreign sources, etc. . . .

The main threat to NATO is its own obsolescence. And the search for a "strategic concept" is the search for pretexts to keep it going.

While it searches for threats, NATO itself is a growing threat to the world. . . .

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[THE BOMBING was intended to justify the continued existence of NATO. More than seven years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union (NATO's ostensible reason for being), Clinton and his European allies--along with Boeing and Lockheed--are trying to improvise an afterlife. Milosevic came in handy. Twice in Clinton's speech to the nation, he brought up the alliance. "Our mission is clear: to demonstrate the seriousness of NATO's purpose," he said. Failing to act, he added, "would discredit NATO, the cornerstone on which our security has rested for fifty years now."--Editorial: "Bill Clinton's War," The Progressive, April 27, 1999]

[According to the official narrative, technically NATO only left its (cavernous) building in Europe for Afghanistan under the organization's Article 5 (emphasizing collective defense) to help Washington fight George W Bush's "war on terror" against al-Qaeda. Yet even somnolent diplomats in Brussels know that Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri crossed from eastern Afghanistan to Pakistan in early December 2001, and disappeared into a black void.--Pepe Escobar, "Have (infinite) war, will travel," atimes.com, November 18, 2010]

[Of serious concern, 92% of respondents in the south are unaware of the events of 9/11 or that they triggered the current international presence in Afghanistan, while 43% of respondents in helmand and Kandahar are unable to name the good things about democracy.--"Press Release: New field research shows some improvement in negative perceptions of the international presence in southern Afghanistan, but serious challenges remain," International Council on Security and Development, November 19, 2010]

Eric Margolis, "The Specter of Defeat Haunts Lisbon," lewrockwell.com, November 23, 2010

[General James Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) from 2003 to 2005 . . .

admitted in an October 2005 interview with American Forces Press Service that NATO had struggled to avoid becoming irrelevant after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. "NATO was in limbo for a bit," he said.

But the 9/11 attacks on the US had offered a new opportunity for NATO to demonstrate its relevance.--Gareth Porter, "NATO politics driving Afghan war," atimes.com, January 5, 2011

[When the archaeologists of the next millennium excavate, they will find the evidence of a tectonic shift and turning-point in Russian history that took place in the two months between December 28 and February 25.

That's from the day Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed government order number VP-P13-9308, and instructed Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to supervise compliance; to the day when lawyer and prominent blogger Alexei Navalny listed the most powerful oligarchs in the country (Switzerland too) as the target of the political opposition - after Putin wins the presidential election.--John Helmer, "Putin's oligarch killer," atimes.com, March 2, 2012]

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