Archive for August, 2009

Germany: First New Post-Cold War World Military Power

August 31, 2009 1 comment

July 16, 2009

Germany: First New Post-Cold War World Military Power
Rick Rozoff

The reemergence of Germany as an active military power in Europe and increasingly worldwide occurred entirely under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which West Germany joined in 1955 and the East was brought into with reunification in 1990. The citizens of the former German Democratic Republic were given no opportunity to discuss much less vote on the issue.

The first post-World War II deployment of German military forces outside its borders – and outside of NATO’s self-defined security zone – in active military roles rather than in multinational exercises and United Nations missions was fostered and initiated under the chancellorship of Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl in the first half of the last decade.

But it was the Social Democrat-Green Party coalition government of Gerhard Schroeder and Joschka Fischer, what the Western press regularly referred to (with no tincture of irony and less understanding of political history) as a Red-Green alliance, that involved Germany in its first wars since the fall of Berlin in 1945. In fact two wars in less than two and a half years.

Chancellor Schroeder and his foreign minister Joschka Fischer provided Tornado warplanes for the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 and troops for the post-invasion occupation of Afghanistan after October, 2001. Both were NATO operations and the second was in response to the first-ever activation of the Alliance’s Article 5 mutual military assistance clause.

Humanitarian Intervention: 1939 And 1999

Writing in his memoirs years after the event, Schroeder justified his participating in the first unprovoked military assault against a European nation that had not threatened any other country since Hitler’s blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939-1941 by describing his motivations at the time, 1999:

“Now, on the cusp of the 21st century, the real challenge seemed to me not just to douse the most recent fire in the Balkans, but to bring peace to the region….The goal was exclusively humanitarian.”

Sixty years before the war upon which he reflected a predecessor of Schroeder as chancellor of Germany said:

“I ordered the German Air Force to conduct humanitarian warfare….In this campaign I gave an order to spare human beings.”

The latter is from Adolf Hitler’s speech in Danzig/Gdansk on September 19, 1939.

It’s also worth noting that one of the main justifications Hitler used for the invasion of Poland eighteen days before that speech was the alleged abuse and persecution of ethnic minorities: “More than 1,000,000 people of German blood had in the years 1919-20 to leave their homeland. As always, I attempted to bring about, by the peaceful method of making proposals for revision.”

In an interview with an American television station during the war against Yugoslavia German Foreign Minister Fischer said, “I think tradition and historical experiences, historical fears are very important. And for us now we have to find our role. And this is, on the military level, a very difficult one, but we are taking part in the air campaign. We have ships in the Adriatic.”

The air campaign wreaked death and destruction from the skies for 78 days, not sparing factories, bridges, refugee columns, passenger trains, religious processions, apartment complexes, hospitals and the Chinese embassy.

Weakening United Nations, Strengthening NATO

The aggression Fischer endorsed and help to direct, malicious and cowardly as it was, was also conducted without United Nations authorization and in flagrant violation of the principles upon which the United Nations Organization was formed.

Article 33 of the United Nations Charter states:

“The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”

The mediation indicated is to be conducted as a last resort in the UN Security Council and not unilaterally at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The Nuremberg Tribunal convened after the defeat of the last European power that arrogated to itself the right to attack other nations on the continent and to redraw its borders and defined crimes against peace as the worst violation of international law.

Principle Vl of the 1950 Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal characterized crimes against peace as the “Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances” and as the “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under.”

From The Balkans To South Asia And Middle East: Air War Followed By Ground War, Naval Blockades

Although the tool employed to pry open the door barring the resumption of military aggression in Europe was so-called humanitarian intervention, that rationale would be discarded immediately after 50,000 NATO troops marched into the Serbian province of Kosovo. Few wars in moderns times have not hidden behind the pretext of defending the national security and safety of the citizens of the aggressor and of protecting innocents from harm and mistreatment.

The Schroeder-Fischer administration put Germany back into the business of waging war from the skies and on the ground and the country has continued to travel the same route ever since. Troops, armored vehicles and Tornados were transferred to South Asia and warships to the coasts of Lebanon and Somalia.

Humanitarian intervention was an ad hoc ruse employed to launch NATO as an active “out of area” warfighting machine and a political body to circumvent and replace the United Nations. Once the first part of that objective had been achieved it was dropped as quickly as it had been concocted and wars could then be conducted for traditional reasons: Territorial designs, the acquisition of resources, control of vital transport routes including sea lanes, punishing recalcitrant adversaries, revenge.

In the process Germany became the first major post-Cold War international military power. So much so indeed that even Time magazine couldn’t ignore the transformation – the Transformation as will be seen later – and in January of this year ran a feature entitled “Will Germany’s Army Ever Be Ready for Battle?”

In two sentences the Time report summed up how much territory has been traversed since what many in the world thought was the end of German militarism in 1945.

“The German army as it stands today is a relatively young creation, born after a period of demilitarization following the end of World War II. [T]he Bundeswehr has become increasingly engaged in international missions and is coming under pressure to step up its involvement in out-and-out warfare.”

The turning point was, of course, 1990.

“Since the 1990s, after reunification, German forces have become more involved in military missions abroad….There are currently 247,000 soldiers enrolled in the Bundeswehr and German troops are now serving all over the world, in places such as Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Lebanon.” [1]

Why Wars Are Really Launched

By 2006 “Germany [had] about 9,000 soldiers deployed in German missions around the world, a level [that] could increase to…14,000 troops in five theaters of operation.” At the time Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung identified a main purpose of such missions and humanitarian intervention was conspicuously not mentioned:

“Eighty percent of our trade occurs on the seas, which naturally includes the security of energy supplies and raw materials.”

The exact words could have been used in 1914 and 1941.

In discussing the White Paper his ministry had just released, one which highlighted the transformation of the Bundeswehr into an international intervention force, Jung reiterated that NATO relations “remain the basis for Germany and Europe’s shared security” and that Germany’s alliance with the United States was of “paramount importance” to the nation. [2]

Jung added that “the government needs the ability to use the Bundeswehr inside of Germany….” [3]

Later that year Chancellor Angela Merkel initiated the next step in Germany’s expanding militarization and demanded an end to caps on defense spending. “You cannot say that the planned defense budget for the next 20 years is sacrosanct. A German government cannot say, ‘Please, don’t take part in any new conflicts in the next decades, because we can’t afford it.'” [4]

As she spoke German armed forces were deployed on eleven international military missions and would soon begin a twelfth by sending warships and troops to enforce the naval blockade of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast.

The Transformation

A German news report in the autumn of 2006 revealed that “An official plan to modernize the Bundeswehr – to turn it from an unwieldy behemoth created to defend its own borders into a lithe organization ready to take on asymmetric threats around the world – has been underway for several years.

“Known in policy circles simply as ‘the transformation,’ it is due to be completed by 2010.” [5]

That conversion process included acquiring 600 Taurus air-launched cruise missiles. “Taurus is a 1,400–kilogram, all-weather guided missile with a range of more than 350 kilometers. The system will equip Tornado, Eurofighter and F-18 aircraft of the German and Spanish air forces.” [6]

It also, in 2006, included plans to spend six billion euros on “new navy frigates, submarines, helicopters and armored personnel vehicles.”

In relation to Defense Minister Jung’s earlier comments, “Germany’s military leadership has especially focused on modernizing the country’s navy fleet.” [7]

At roughly the same time it was announced that Germany would acquire 405 Puma tanks, “the most modern infantry tank on the market,” comparable to the U.S. Abrams tank used in Iraq. This month Berlin formally placed an order for the Pumas and a spokesman for its manufacturer said “NATO countries already equipped with the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s Leopard tanks – such as Spain, Turkey, Greece and Australia – would be ideal customers.” [8]

The Puma, which “sets new global standards for armored vehicles,” was first unveiled at the Bundeswehr’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations in Munster in 2006. “New types of missions…require a highly mobile weapons system that is ready for international deployment….” [9]

The preceding autumn Germany acquired two new submarines to add to eleven already in the Baltic Sea which then Defense Minister Peter Struck described as “a milestone” for his nation’s navy. [10]

The Tornado multirole warplane first used against Yugoslavia in 1999 and since deployed to Afghanistan is reported to be capable of delivering nuclear warheads, including the twenty the U.S. maintains at the German air base at Buechel.

Since 1989 German Tornado fighter-bombers have been based at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. The American base “is the only location where the German Air Force trains aircrews in Tornado aircraft operations and tactics.” [11] Last year the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency advocated the continuation of the arrangement, stating that it would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the military capabilities of Germany and enhancing standardization and interoperability with U.S. forces.” [12]

Bundeswehr In South And Central Asia

In 2006 NATO first requested that the Luftwaffe send Tornado planes to Afghanistan where Berlin has stationed 3,700 troops, the third largest contingent in NATO’s International Security Assistance (ISAF) force, with the only the U.S. and Britain providing larger numbers of troops. Germany has its own base in Uzbekistan near Termez and as such has the only foreign forces left in that nation since the U.S. and other NATO forces were expelled in 2005. As of three years ago Germany had transported over 125,000 troops through the base. [13] Last year the German military announced plans to build a 67-kilometer railway line from Uzbekistan to Northern Afghanistan, complementing the air bridge it already operates.

In 2007 Germany delivered the first six Tornados to the war front in Afghanistan even though “More than three-quarters of Germans – 77 percent – said the country shouldn’t comply with NATO’s request to send Tornado jets to Afghanistan….” [14]

Plans for the warplanes were that they “would operate across the entire country, taking aerial pictures of Taliban positions and passing the information on to other NATO partners who would carry out strikes.” [15]

A German defense official at the time finally acknowledged that “What happens in Afghanistan is combat. Our troops have already been engaged in that, also in the north.” [16]

Though a year earlier a Defense Ministry spokesman, with no reference to alleged peacekeeping and certainly none to humanitarianism, admitted that “German military aircraft are seeing action in the volatile southern region of Afghanistan” and that “German military aircraft are supporting NATO operations in volatile southern Afghanistan.” [17]

No More “Humanitarian” Bombs

In a Der Spiegel feature called “Slouching Towards Combat,” a warning was issued that “He who spies targets, contributes to later bombing attacks with all the consequences that go along with them, including the ominous collateral damages previously known from the war in Kosovo.” [18] The admonition fell on deaf ears in Berlin.

The same source had earlier sounded another alarm, one worth quoting in length.

“Now it’s Tornado surveillance jets, equipped with cameras – and cannons. The Germans are allowing themselves to get deeper and deeper involved in the Afghanistan conflict, and there is no end in sight.

“Between Christmas and New Year [2006], US C-17 transport planes will unload heavy German Marder tanks at the German military’s central headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif.

“German Tornado jets were already deployed in combat situations about eight years ago – in order to ‘avert a humanitarian catastrophe’ in the Kosovo conflict, as the Bundestag resolution…stated then. It was the first time that German troops were deployed in combat since World War II. This time the Tornados are meant to fly as reconnaissance planes – but that can of course be changed at any time. They fire armor-shattering uranium munitions from their cannons and drop laser-guided precision bombs on the farms where the Taliban take refuge.

“But they also drop so-called ‘general purpose bombs’ – regular explosives of the kind commonly used for carpet bombing during World War II and in Vietnam.” [19]

In 2007 Germany additionally sent several Kleinfluggeraet Zielortung drones to the war theater, a type “much better suited to relay target information for artillery used by the Dutch troops in their fight against the Taliban….” [20]

At the same time former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who had first sent German combat troops to Afghanistan and for the first time to Asia, urged the current government to “widen its military operation into the southern part of the war-afflicted country.” [21]

Early in 2007 Germany signaled its intent to send its most sophisticated battle tank, the Leopard 2A6, to Southern Afghanistan, although German troops are stationed in the until recently comparatively peaceful North.

Last year Germany assumed command of NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force in Afghanistan. A news report on that development added that “When the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) deployed in Afghanistan in early 2002, some 850 German troops were in its ranks.

“That number has increased more than fourfold.

War Of West, NATO, Civilization: From Afghan Capital To North To Southern War Zone

“Confined at first to Kabul, the Germans’ mission was widened to the northern part of the country, where they took command in 2006….A few days ago the German Defence Ministry announced it was raising the ceiling on its troop deployments in Afghanistan from 3,500 to 4,500. And the next escalation is due on Monday as Germany takes over the [Rapid] Reaction Force in the north.” [22]

Earlier in the year an American press report titled “Germany enters Afghan war” said that “Germany…will now send battle forces to Afghanistan.

“NATO has for the second time requested that the German government deploy a unit of 250 battle soldiers to Afghanistan as part of a rapid-response force…..The unit would have to enter bloody combat if needed….” [23]

Der Spiegel reported last October that Germany, which has disguised its role in the war in Afghanistan behind the mask of so-called provincial reconstruction and other civilian projects, had spent over 3 billion euros on the Afghan War and that “Germany’s military expenditures in Afghanistan are nearly four times as high as its civilian aid.” [24]

This year, as part of Washington’s and NATO’s massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan, German troop strength is to be boosted from 3,700 to 4,400 no later than next month and Berlin has agreed to send four AWACS for the war effort in South Asia.

As German combat deaths increased to 35 late last month, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung demonstrated no reservations about sacrificing more soldiers and to any who had misgivings about a war that will soon be eight years old and that is only intensifying he blustered: “My answer is clear: we are in Afghanistan because we have to protect there the security of citizens in Germany.” [25] A decade before some reference to the well-being of the local population would have been invoked, however disingenuously.

A week before, Jung, casting aside all use of peacekeeping, reconstruction and other euphemisms, told a German public television station: “If we are attacked we will fight back. The army has the necessary answers. In recent battles we have done well and we will continue to do so in the future.” [26]

Former defense minister Volker Ruhe, in referring to the fact that the Bundeswehr is conducting the largest and longest military operation in its history, said: “It is delusive if the Government pretends that the
Afghanistan operation is a sort of armed development assistance. It is a war of NATO, of the West, of civilisation….” [27]

Afghanistan and Central Asia are not the only places where the German military is waging a “war of NATO, of the West, of civilisation.”

Battle Duty: Germany Returns To Middle East

After Israel’s war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 NATO nations began a naval blockade of the country’s Mediterranean coast. It was announced shortly thereafter that “Germany is to take the lead in patrolling the Lebanese coast and the German parliament is expected to vote next week on the historic deployment of the German army in the Middle East.

“Up to 3,000 troops and some 13 vessels are then planned to be sent to the troubled region. They are to prevent sea-based arms smuggling mainly from Syria to Hezbollah militants.” [28]

That is, the German military returned to the Middle East for the first time since World War II.

Describing the mission as it was being planned, Defense Minister Jung stated, “German soldiers have to be prepared against the will of ships’ captains to board ships suspected of smuggling weapons. In this regard, one can speak of battle duty.” [29]

In late 2008 there were 1,000 German troops stationed on eight ships off the Lebanese coast.

By February of last year “Germany contributed 2,400 personnel, including 625 soldiers, to the naval mission and led the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for 17 months, with a maritime force consisting of among others two frigates and two supply ships. The multinational force also includes ships from France, Spain and Portugal.” [30]

Two years later a Lebanese news report, “German Tanks to Lebanon to Control Border with Syria,” said that “Germany has decided to provide Lebanon with 50 Leopard tanks in addition to other military equipment to upgrade its border control with Syria” and that “a German military delegation is expected to arrive in Lebanon early in 2009 for discussions with Lebanese military officials regarding providing the Lebanese army with more military supplies.” [31]

Since the early 1990s Germany has not so much sold but given Israel six Dolphin submarines capable of launching nuclear-tipped missiles. One of those submarines recently crossed the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean in what Reuters characterized as a “signal to Iran.”

Germany has military personnel assigned to NATO in Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, where in the latter instance they are part of the NATO Training Mission – Iraq in Baghdad.

Beginning in 2006 major German news sources revealed that the foreign intelligence agency BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) during the Schroeder-Fischer years had provided the U.S. information on bombing targets in Iraq leading up to and during the attack against the nation in 2003.

If so, it would represent nothing new. More than two years before, in February of 2001, the BND released a report which stated it possessed “evidence” that “Iraq has resumed its nuclear programme and may be capable of producing an atomic bomb in three years” and was working on chemical and biological weapons. [32]

Berlin also trains Iraqi and Afghan officers and troops on its own soil.

Germany Military Returns To Africa And Targets Gaza

Germany has provided troops for the NATO mission in the Darfur region of Sudan and the European Union deployment in Congo as well as a nominal force for the EU’s military role in Chad and the Central African Republic in the conflict-ridden triangle of those two nations and Sudan.

In 2005 the government of Togo, a former German colony, accused Berlin of complicity in plotting its overthrow. Three years earlier Germany sent troops to join French, British and American allies in Ivory Coast after an invasion of and coup attempt in that nation.

Late last year Germany joined the European Union naval deployment in the Horn of Africa to complement its involvement with the NATO mission there. Berlin authorized “as many as 1,400 German Navy soldiers and one warship go to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia as part of a joint EU effort” which “together with German soldiers involved in Enduring Freedom and NATO’s Allied Provider missions, could be moved back and forth at will….” [33]

Before the deployment was authorized defense chief Jung said “German warships should be used against pirates wherever German interests are threatened.” [34]

During and immediately after the Israeli offensive in Gaza from December 27, 2008-January 18 2009 it was announced that “Germany plans to send experts to detect Gaza tunnels” [35] and that “Technical experts from Germany are to travel to Egypt in the coming days to help secure its border with the Gaza Strip.” [36]

In the middle of the war Chancellor Angela Merkel “suggested German
peacekeepers be sent to Gaza” and Eckart von Klaeden, a foreign policy spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said “the use of German troops was feasible but they must have ‘robust’ powers.” [37]

In January a meeting was held in London of the Gaza Counter-Arms Smuggling Initiative (GCASI) and was followed up last month in Ottawa, Canada.

It was reported in a story called “Canada hosts a summit of NATO countries participating in the Israeli siege of Gaza Strip” that the second meeting of the Gaza Counter-Arms Smuggling Initiative was held with the “declared goal of tightening the Israeli siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip.” [38]

The GCASI members are Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States.

While the assault on Gaza was still underway a feature called “Israeli unilateral ceasefire to pave the way for deployment of NATO forces” offered this analysis of the role that the Gaza Counter-Arms Smuggling Initiative was intended to play:

“Germany, Great Britain and France already offered to send their naval forces to guard the Gaza Strip coastal waters. With the naval forces of leading European NATO powers already deployed off the coast of Lebanon and – allegedly to thwart pirates – off the Somali coast, the extension of NATO presence to the coastal waters of the Gaza Strip is designed to create a permanent hold on the entire area from the Horn of Africa and beyond, through the Suez Canal and up the eastern Mediterranean coast.” [39]

Training Armed Forces For New Caucasus Wars

A German Defense Ministry envoy visited the Georgia capital of Tbilisi this January and met with Deputy Defense Minister Giorgi Muchaidze, who said that “Georgia approaches closer to NATO standards” in large part because “Germany has been helping Georgia’s Defence Ministry for a long time” and “Up to 2,000 officers were trained in Germany.” [40]

Germany conducts comparable military training for the armed forces of Azerbaijan, like Georgia which fought a war with Russia last August a nation that may resume armed hostilities any day over so-called frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus.

In late May of this year Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Giorgi Muchaidze paid a three-day visit to Berlin where “The sides held military and political negotiations in the framework of the cooperation of Defense Ministries of Georgia and Germany in 2009. The parties also discussed the situation in Georgia after the August war….” [41]

Article 5 War Clause: Defending NATO Members, Allies From Baltic To Black Sea

In June Defense Minister Jung was in Lithuania preparatory to Germany resuming its command of the NATO Baltic air patrol and he and his Lithuanian counterpart “agreed on the need to implement the commitment on Ukraine and Georgia’s future membership of the alliance.”

As to what support for Ukraine’s and Georgia’s “NATO aspirations” entailed, Jung said “this process must involve all new members of the alliance, whereas NATO itself must ensure collective defence and strengthen its military response forces so that it can give an immediate response when the need arises.” [42]

Defending Berlin With Warships Off Cape Town

In 2006 Germany led 19-day joint military maneuvers in South Africa where Berlin has long-standing ties to the defense establishment going back to the cooperation between West Germany and the former apartheid regime there. The exercises off Cape Town included an estimated 1,300 soldiers and sailors, warplanes and warships.

A description of the war games said “Two of the world’s most advanced warships, South Africa’s SAS Amatola and Germany’s FGS Hamburg, together with fighter aircraft were protecting a virtual Berlin from attack.

“Berlin was successfully defended.” [43]

A year later NATO held naval exercises in South Africa in which warships from the navies of Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States participated.

The drills marked “the first time that South Africa engage[d] its newly acquired frigates as well as its submarines in a training exercise with foreign forces in local waters.

“South Africa’s new warships were acquired from a German company.” [44]
The road from Bosnia and Kosovo has been a long one for the Bundeswehr. It has crossed four continents and no less than fourteen war and conflict zones. It has permitted a military buildup unimaginable a generation ago and has led to German military forces being dispersed to many nations and regions they had never been to before.

It has also permitted Germany to become the third largest arms exporter in the world and the supplier of advanced weapons – tanks, warplanes, submarines – to scores of nations.

1) Time Magazine, June 27, 2009
2) Deutsche Welle, October 25, 2006
3) Ibid
4) Deutsche Welle, September 7, 2006
5) Ibid
6) Defense News (U.S.), November 10, 2005
7) Die Welt, August 25, 2006
8) United Press International, July 8, 2009
9) Agence France-Press, May 8, 2006
10) Xinhua News Agency, October 19, 2005
11) Defense Security Cooperation Agency, July 18, 2008
12) Ibid
13) Der Spiegel, Febuary 8, 2009
14) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 7, 2007
15) Ibid
16) Ibid
17) Pakistan Tribune, October 5, 2006
18) Der Spiegel, December 22, 2006
19) Der Spiegel, December 21, 2006
20) United Press International, March 12, 2007
21) Islamic Republic News Agency, August 19, 2007
22) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 29, 2008
23) United Press International, January 31, 2008
24) Der Spiegel, October 12, 2008
25) Associated Press, July 2, 2009
26) Agence France-Presse, June 24, 2009
27) Defense Professionals (Germany), June 26, 2009
28) Deutsche Welle, September 8, 2006
29) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 26, 2006
30) Deutsche Welle, February 29, 2008
31) Naharnet, December 23, 2008
32) BBC News, February 25, 2001
33) Deutsche Welle, December 10, 2008
34) Der Spiegel, November 21, 2008
35) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 19, 2009
36) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 14, 2009
37) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 7, 2009
38) Al-Jazeerah, June 11, 2009
39) Arab Monitor, January 17, 2009
40) Trend News Agency, January 14, 2009
41) Trend News Agency, June 2, 2009
42) Interfax-Ukraine, June 10, 2009
43) Xinhua News Agency, March 14, 2006
44) BuaNews (South Africa), August 28, 2007

Categories: Uncategorized

From World War II To World War III: Global NATO And Remilitarized Germany

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

July 14, 2009

From World War II To World War III: Global NATO And Remilitarized Germany
Rick Rozoff

The reunification of Germany in 1990 did not signify a centripetal trend in Europe but instead was an anomaly. The following year the Soviet Union was broken up into its fifteen constituent federal republics and the same process began in Yugoslavia, with Germany leading the charge in hastening and recognizing the secession of Croatia and Slovenia from the nation that grew out of the destruction of World War I and again of World War II.

Two years later Czechoslovakia, like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia a multiethnic state created after the First World War, split apart.

With the absorption of the former German Democratic Republic into the Federal Republic, which since 1949 had already claimed an exclusive mandate to govern all of Germany, the entire nation was now subsumed under a common military structure and brought into the NATO bloc.

Wasting no time in reasserting itself as a continental power, united Germany inaugurated its new claim as a geopolitical – and military – power by turning its attention to a part of Europe that it had previously visited in the two World Wars: The Balkans.

With military deployments and interventions in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia from at least as early as 1995-2001 onward, the German Bundeswehr had crossed a barrier, violated a taboo and established a new precedent that paralleled the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the latter in flagrant contravention of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Hitler’s sending the Wehrmacht into the Rhineland in that year has been observed by historians to have marked a decisive turning point in plans by the Third Reich towards territorial expansion and war. In fact, the standard argument runs, the provocation in 1936 made possible the next year’s bombing assault on the Spanish town of Guernica, the Munich betrayal of Czechoslovakia and the Anschluss takeover of Austria in 1938, the attack on Poland in 1939 and with it the beginning in earnest of a second European conflagration which wouldn’t end before some fifty million people had been killed.

The comparison between German military deployments in the Rhineland in 1936 and later ones in the Balkans in the 1990s will only appear extreme if the history of the years immediately following World War II are forgotten.

In the last of three meetings of the leaders of the major anti-Axis powers in the Second World War – Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States – in Potsdam, Germany after the defeat of the Third Reich, Winston Churchill (later replaced by his successor as prime minister Clement Attlee), Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman met and discussed precise plans for Europe in general and Germany in particular for the post-war period.

The Potsdam Conference issued a Protocol which stipulated that there was to be “a complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany” and all aspects of German industry that could be employed for military purposes were to be dismantled. Additionally, all German military and paramilitary forces were to be eliminated and the production of all arms in the nation was prohibited.

It is now evident in retrospect that two nations whose heads of state were present either had no plans at the time to adhere to the Potsdam Agreement or if so quickly abandoned them.

A British document from the months preceding the surrender of Nazi Germany in May of 1945 and the subsequent Potsdam Conference of July 17-August 2 called “Operation Unthinkable: ‘Russia: Threat to Western Civilization'” was declassified and made public in 1998. A photocopy of the Joint Planning Staff of the British War Cabinet report identified by the dates May 22, June 8, and July 11, 1945 is available for viewing on the website of Northeastern University in Boston at:

“The overall political objective is to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire.

“A quick success might induce the Russians to submit to our will….That is for the Russians to decide. If they want total war, they are in a position to have it.”

A few years ago a Russian appraisal of the document would state “This was the groundwork for the notorious Operation Unthinkable, under which World War II was to develop immediately, without interim stages, into a third world war, with the goal of ensuring the total defeat of the Soviet Union and its destruction as a multinational community.” [1] The total defeat of the Soviet Union and its disappearance as a multinational community in fact occurred in 1991.

The British wartime document consistently refers to the then Soviet Union as Russia, incidentally, and as such suggests plans not only for war but for a change of political system and a vivisection of the sort seen later in a post-war – that is, post-World War III – Russia.

When revelations concerning Operation Unthinkable became public in the late 1990s the strongest response to them came, not surprisingly, from post-Soviet Russia.

In March of 2005 Russian historian Valentin Falin was interviewed by the Russian Information Agency Novosti website in a feature called “Russia Would Have Faced World War III Had It Not Stormed Berlin” and spelled out the details of Churchill’s plans:

“The new war was scheduled to start on July 1, 1945. American, Canadian, and British contingents in Europe, the Polish Expeditionary Corps and 10-12 German divisions (the ones that had not been disbanded and kept in Schleswig-Holstein and Southern Denmark) were supposed to participate in the operation.” [2]

In further observations that provided the article its title, Falin added “Behind the determination of the Soviet leadership to capture Berlin and reach the demarcation lines established during the 1945 Yalta conference attended by Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill was a task of great importance – to make all possible efforts to foil a political gamble envisioned by the British leader with the support of influential US circles, and to prevent the transformation of World War II into World War III, where our former allies would have turned into enemies.” [3]

The Russian scholar, author of the book The Second Front, argued further that the taking of Berlin, which cost the lives of 120,000 Soviet soldiers, preempted Western plans for what may well have triggered a continuation of the Second World War into a third one.

“The battle for Berlin sobered up quite a few warmongers and, therefore, fulfilled its political, psychological and military purpose. Believe me, there were many political and military figures in the West who were stupefied by easy victories in Europe by the spring of 1945.

“One of them was US General George Patton. He demanded hysterically to continue the advance of American troops from the Elbe, through Poland and Ukraine, to Stalingrad in order to finish the war at the place where Hitler had been defeated.

“Patton called the Russians ‘the descendants of Genghis Khan.’ Churchill, in his turn, was not overly scrupulous about the choice of words in his description of Soviet people. He called the Bolsheviks ‘barbarians’ and ‘ferocious baboons.’ In short, the “theory of subhuman races” was obviously not a German monopoly. [4]

In a subsequent interview with the same source, Falin provided more information:

“U.S. Under-Secretary of State Joseph Clark Grew wrote in his diary in May 1945 that as a result of the war the dictatorship and domination of Germany and Japan passed over to the Soviet Union, which would present as much threat to Americans in the future as the Axis powers. He added that a war against the Soviet Union was as imminent as anything in this world can be. Grew was supposed to be a friend of the late President Roosevelt.” [5]

Recalling the dimensions of the proposed Operation Unthinkable – the combined attack (and invasion) force was to consist of 112-113 divisions including 10-12 Wehrmacht divisions – the Russian historian added that “The file on Operation Unthinkable declassified in 1998 says nothing about the propaganda chimeras about Moscow’s alleged plans of occupying ‘defenseless Europe’ and pushing to the Atlantic coast, as the Chiefs of Staff worked on practical operations directives.” [6]

Falin wrote an article a year later titled “Cold War an offspring of ‘hot war'” in which he says that the British “MI5 head, Sir Stewart Menzies, held a series of secret meetings with his German counterpart, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, in the unoccupied part of France to discuss making Germany a friend and the Soviet Union an enemy.” [7]

Sixty five years after the defeat of Nazi Germany there is more rather than less examination of the accusation that American and British government and military figures conspired with the Nazis before World War II and with German Defense Ministry and Wehrmacht officials in the waning days of the war.

In commenting on the rising tide of WWII revisionism in the West, reaching its nadir – to date – on this July 3rd with the passage of a resolution called Reunification of Divided Europe by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which in effect makes the former Soviet Union (and by implication current Russia) co-responsible for provoking WWII, veteran Russian journalist Valentin Zorin reminded his readers of several events usually swept under the carpet by leading Western circles and their compliant media and scholars:

“The infamously failed Munich conspiracy of the western politicians and the Nazi Fuehrer sought to make the German Army march against the Soviet Union. In those days Moscow was pressing for forming an anti-Hitler coalition and invited a British and French delegation to that end. The talks proved long and fruitless. London and Paris actually sabotaged the talks while urging the Fuehrer to attack the USSR.

“Even after the war had broken out, top-echelon leaders in London and Paris would not give up their attempts to make Hitler’s divisions turn about and attack the Soviet Union. A several-month-long period of strange developments came to be known as a Phoney War. While deliberately inactive at the front, the British and French rulers engaged themselves in secret bargaining with Hitler.

“The secrecy of the bargaining was buried for a good half century later, on the 17th of August 1987, when Hitler’s Deputy in the Nazi Party Rudolph Hess, tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life in prison, died at Berlin’s Spandau Prison in unexplained circumstances. 10 days before Germany attacked the Soviet Union Hess flew solo to Scotland to start secret talks with the circles close to the British government. It later transpired that the talks focused on ending fighting between the UK and Germany and agreeing on joint action against the Soviet Union….” [8]

It’s important to point out that neither the academician Falin nor the journalist Zorin is invested in invoking the events of 1939-1945 in defense of the former USSR and its leadership at the time or in settling scores regarding conflicts of past decades. Instead they and others, including Russia’s current political leadership, are far more concerned – more alarmed – about matters of the present and the impending future.

With the NATO Alliance, which in recent years has come to refer to itself routinely as Global and 21st Century NATO, encroaching upon contemporary Russia from most all directions and with increasingly brazen historical revisionism growing out of Western post-Cold War triumphalism reaching the point that Nazis and their collaborators are being exonerated while modern Russia is being tainted ex post facto as a villain in the Second World War, the prospect of a “transformation of World War II into World War III” mentioned above is not so far-fetched.

As Valentin Zorin’s article also says, “Some quarters would like to redraw the post-war boundaries in Europe and the Far East, question the validity of the UN Charter and bury the Nuremberg Tribunal rulings in oblivion. It is these modern-day revenge-seekers that channel and obviously fund the large-scale propaganda campaign of falsifying the history of the Second World War.” [9]

It’s been seen above that the leaders of Britain, the United States and Soviet Russia agreed in the summer of 1945 at the Potsdam Conference to the total demilitarization of Germany. All indications were that once that systemic disarming of the nation was completed Germany would never militarize again.

Instead in 1950, while fighting a war in Korea which included troops from most of its new NATO allies and which escalated into armed conflict with China, the United States started the process of forcing the rearming of West Germany and its eventual incorporation into NATO. Members of the U.S.-led military bloc pushed for the creation of a European Defence Community (EDC) with an integrated army, navy and air force, composed of the armed forces of all its member states.

A European Defence Community treaty was signed in May of 1952 but defeated by Gaullists and Communists alike in France. With that nation in opposition, the EDC was dead but the U.S. and Britain found other subterfuges to remilitarize the Federal Republic.

With the creation of the Western European Union in 1954 West Germany was permitted – for which read encouraged – to rearm and was given control over its own armed forces, the Bundeswehr.

The following year the Federal Republic of Germany was inducted into NATO. The Soviet Union and its allies responded by establishing the Warsaw Pact later in 1955.

Two of the fundamental purposes in launching the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance in 1949 were to base nuclear weapons, which the U.S. had a monopoly on at the time of the bloc’s founding, in Europe and to rearm Germany as a military bulwark on the continent and for use abroad.

Anyone still in thrall to the notion that NATO was planned as a defensive alliance against a Soviet military threat in Europe would do well to recall that:

The Warsaw Pact was formed six years after and in response to NATO, especially to the bloc’s advance into Germany.

The Warsaw Pact, already long moribund, officially dissolved itself in 1991. Eighteen years later NATO still exists without any pretense of a Soviet or any other credible threat.

In the past decade alone it has expanded from 16 to 28 member states, all of the twelve new ones in Eastern Europe and four of those bordering Russian territory.

During the same ten-year period it waged its first air war, against Yugoslavia, outside the bloc’s own defined area of responsibility and its first ground war, in Afghanistan, a continent removed from Europe, half a world away from North America and nowhere near the North Atlantic Ocean.

That NATO officially expanded into the former Warsaw Pact by admitting the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland at its fiftieth anniversary summit in 1999 while in the midst of its first war, the 78-day bombing onslaught against Yugoslavia – ten years after the end of the Cold War – is an irrefutable retroactive indictment of its true nature and purpose since inception.

The bloc continues to maintain nuclear warheads in Europe, including on air bases in Germany, with long-range bombers and missiles able to deliver them. NATO recently renewed the commitment to its nuclear doctrine, which continues to include the first use of nuclear weapons.

The world’s largest and only surviving military bloc, one which now takes in a third of the planet’s nations through full membership or various partnerships, was born out of the last days of World War II in Europe. Its fundamental purpose was to unite the military potential of the countries of the continent’s west, north and south into a cohesive and expanding phalanx for use at home and abroad. Victors and vanquished of the most mass-scale and murderous conflict in history – Britain, the U.S. and France and Germany and Italy – were gathered together under a joint military command.

If the transition from World War II to a far deadlier, because nuclear, World War III was averted, an argument nevertheless exists that the Second World War never ended but shifted focus. As an illustrative biographical case study of the seamless adaptation, the New York Times ran a reverential obituary three years ago from which the following is an excerpt:

“Gen. Johann-Adolf Count von Kielmansegg, a German Panzer division officer during World War II who became commander-in-chief of NATO forces in Central Europe during the height of the cold war, died on May 26 in Bonn. He was 99….By the start of World War II, he was commander of a Panzer, or armored, division. In 1940, he took part in the German invasion of France, sweeping around the Maginot line’s obsolete fortifications in eastern France and rushing to the English Channel. After fighting on the Russian front, he joined the General Staff in Berlin. Restored to tank duty, he fought the American Army in western Germany….” [10]

It would be intriguing to learn what Count von Kielmansegg thought at the end of his nearly century-long life about the return of his homeland to the ranks of nations sending troops to and waging war against others both near and far.

It would prove equally edifying to hear whether he thought that his career as a military commander ever truly changed course or rather pursued a logical if not inevitable path from the Wehrmacht to NATO.

Lastly, it doesn’t seem unjustified to believe that the Count might at the end of his days have been proud of a Germany that had become the third largest exporter of weapons in the world, one which has arms agreements with 126 nations – over two-thirds of all countries – and that had troops deployed to war and post-conflict occupation zones in at least eleven countries at the same time and would soon, at this year’s NATO summit, use its army at home again.

1) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 30, 2005
2) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 28, 2005
3) Ibid
4) Ibid
5) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 30, 2005
6) Ibid
7) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 3, 2006
8) Voice of Russia, July 3, 2009
9) Voice of Russia, July 3, 2009
10) New York Times, June 4, 2006

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New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

July 12, 2009

New NATO: Germany Returns To World Military Stage
Rick Rozoff

When the post-World War II German states of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, West and East Germany, respectively, were united in 1990, it was for many in Europe and the world as a whole a heady time, fraught with hopes of a continent at peace and perhaps disarmed.

Despite U.S. pledges to the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would not move “one inch” eastward, what German reunification achieved was that the former German Democratic Republic joined not only the Federal Republic but NATO, and the military bloc moved hundreds of kilometers nearer the Russian border, over the intervening years to be joined by twelve Eastern European nations. Five of those twelve new NATO members were republics of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union itself, neither of which any longer exists.

Far from issuing in an era of disarmament and a Europe free of military blocs – or even of war – the merging of the two German states and the simultaneous fragmentation of the Eastern Bloc and, a year later, the USSR was instead followed by a Europe almost entirely dominated by a U.S.-controlled global military alliance.

Within mere months of reunification Germany, then governed by the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union-led government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, set to work to insure the fragmentation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would parallel that of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with each broken down into all of its constituent republics, the Soviet Union instantaneously and Yugoslavia more gradually.

The Kohl government and its Free Democrat Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher immediately pushed for recognition of the Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia was the site of the Nazi-administered Independent State of Croatia during World War II and Slovenia had been parceled out among Germany and its Italian and Hungarian fascist allies.

What the rulers of newly unified Germany accomplished is best expressed in a line from Victor Hugo’s poetic drama Cromwell: Strike while the iron is hot and in striking make it hot.

By the end of 1991 Germany had browbeaten the other members of the European Community, now the European Union, into recognizing the secession of both republics.

As the above pressure was being applied by Berlin the Deputy Foreign Minister of Serbia Dobrosav Vezovic warned “This is a direct attack on Yugoslavia,” one which “erases Yugoslavia from the map of the world.” [1]

Germany was now back on the road to redrawing the map of Europe and would shortly embark on the use of military force outside its borders for the first time since the Third Reich.

Berlin later deployed 4,000 troops to Bosnia in 1995, its largest mission abroad since World War II, but its return to direct military aggression after an almost 55-year hiatus would occur with NATO’s war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

The standard Western rationale for that war, Operation Allied Force, is that it was an intervention to prevent alleged genocide in the Serbian province of Kosovo, a crisis that had flared up almost instantaneously, and the 78-day bombing war was then justified by what the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once termed the teleological suspension of the ethical.

It was no such thing. The separation of Kosovo from Serbia and the further dissolution of the former Yugoslavia to the sub-federal republic level was the final act of a decade-long drama, but one envisioned before the lifting of the curtain on the first act.

In January of 1991 former U.S. Congressman Joseph DioGuardi in his capacity of the President of the Albanian American Civic League wrote to German Chancellor Kohl demanding the following:

“The European Community, hopefully led by the Federal Republic of Germany, recognizes the Republic of Kosova as a sovereign and independent state as the only logical and effective solution to protect the Albanian people in Kosova from their Serbian communist oppressors.” [2]

Five months earlier, in August of 1990, DioGuardi had escorted six American Senators, including Robert Dole, on a tour to Kosovo.

A year before the war began German newspapers ran headlines on the order of “Mr. Kinkel threatens a NATO intervention in Kosovo,” referring to then German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, who is also quoted in 1998 as saying “Of course you have to consider whether you are permitted from a moral and ethical point of view to prevent the Kosovo-Albanians from buying weapons for their self-defense.” [3]

Canadian professor and political analyst Michel Chossudovsky has written extensively and trenchantly on the role of the German BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst/Federal Intelligence Service) in arming and training the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army before and in preparation for the NATO onslaught against Yugoslavia on his Web site Global Research at

It was in Kosovo that Germany, which had deployed troops to Bosnia and run a military hospital in Croatia earlier in the 1990s, crossed the post-World War II red line when the Luftwaffe (with its Tornado multirole combat fighters) engaged in combat operations for the first time since 1945.

The precedent was exacerbated when Germany followed up the bombing by military occupation and over a thousand of its troops accompanied their NATO allies into Kosovo in June of 1999. A German general assumed command of the 50,000-troop NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR).

Quoting from memory an account by an American reporter of the words of an older ethnic Albanian witnessing the arrival of the first German troops in Kosovo: “Where have you been? We missed you. The last time you were here you drew the borders the right way.”

The Rubicon had been crossed, Germany had been declared by its Western allies cleansed of its Nazi past and was free to dispatch troops and wage war again, this time on the world stage.

As a Der Spiegel feature put it this past February, “The phase of German military intervention that began 10 years ago during the Kosovo war is in no way coming to an end, despite the fact the majority of Germans wish it would. On the contrary: The era of foreign deployments for Germans and their military forces has just begun.” [4]

The lid of Pandora’s chest had been pried open and by 2007 “According to Germany’s Defense Ministry, roughly 8,200 soldiers are serving in missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kosovo and Sudan, making Germany one of the top contributors to international missions.” [5]

How post-Cold War unified Germany and the German public were being prepared for the new international military role was insightfully analyzed a year before the Kosovo War by Diana Johnstone. The following is an excerpt from her article “Seeing Yugoslavia through a dark glass” which is far more penetrating than it may be comparatively lengthy:

“In the Bundestag, German Green leader Joschka Fisher [to become foreign minister later in the same year, 1998] pressed for disavowal of ‘pacifism’ in order to ‘combat Auschwitz,’ thereby equating Serbs with Nazis. In a heady mood of self-righteous indignation, German politicians across the board joined in using Germany’s past guilt as a reason, not for restraint, as had been the logic up until reunification, but on the contrary, for ‘bearing their share of the military burden’.

“In the name of human rights, the Federal Republic of Germany abolished its ban on military operations outside the NATO defensive area. Germany could once again be a ‘normal’ military power—thanks to the ‘Serb threat.’

“On the contrary, what occurred in Germany was a strange sort of mass transfer of Nazi identity, and guilt, to the Serbs. In the case of the Germans, this can be seen as a comforting psychological projection which served to give Germans a fresh and welcome sense of innocence in the face of the new ‘criminal’ people, the Serbs, But the hate campaign against Serbs, started in Germany, did not stop there.

“If somebody had announced in 1989 that, well, the Berlin Wall has come down, now Germany can unite and send military forces back into Yugoslavia — and what is more in order to enforce a partition of the country along similar lines to those it imposed when it occupied the country in 1941 — well, quite a number of people might have raised objections. However, that is what has happened, and many of the very people might who have been expected to object most strongly to what amounts to the most significant act of historical revisionism since World War II have provided the ideological cover and excuse.” [6]

The campaign was not without effect in Germany as subsequent events have proved and has been accompanied by the rehabilitation, honoring and even granting of veteran benefits to Nazi collaborators, including former Waffen SS members, in Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine in recent years.

Following its military interventions in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, Germany sent troops to Macedonia in 2001 after armed contingents of the Kosovo-based National Liberation Army (NLA), an offshoot of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) led by Ali Ahmeti, also a founder of the KLA, invaded the country in the summer of 2001. In connivance with the 50,000 NATO troops in Kosovo, Ahmeti’s brigands brought fighters, arms and even artillery past American checkpoints on the Kosovo-Macedonia border to launch deadly raids against government and civilian targets.

In one incident 600 Bundeswehr soldiers were caught in the crossfire between the NLA marauders and government security forces (7)

Years later Benjamin Schreer, military expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, reflected on the consequences of what Johnstone had described: “The decision of the SPD [Social Democratic Party] and Greens to send German troops into Kosovo in 1999 has transformed the Bundeswehr….The Bundeswehr is now operating on a global scale.” [8]

The press report from which the quote was taken provides these details:

“The mission in Afghanistan had German troops, roughly 100 special forces who, for the first time since World War II, took part in ground combat.

“The Kommando Spezialkraefte, known by its acronym KSK, is a highly trained and well-equipped special unit that has successfully been assigned to Kosovo and Afghanistan. Most of their operations, however, are classified.” [9]

After September 11, 2001 German military missions and deployments were expanded exponentially and in addition to Germany deploying AWACS to the U.S. in Operation Eagle Assist it also “took part in [Operation Active Endeavor] which has German units monitor the Mediterranean waters….In Afghanistan and East Africa, German troops battle…with sea units, ground troops and special forces.

“The Bundeswehr, once restricted by the German constitution to exclusively domestic protection, can now send armed troops to foreign countries.” [10]

Having exploited as well as in an integral way engineered the breakup of Yugoslavia, with Kosovo as the altar and Serbia as the paschal lamb whose slaying wiped clean decades of German guilt, Berlin was now free to play the role assigned to it by NATO: That of an international military power operating on four continents, a far wider range of deployment and engagement than had been achieved by either Bismarck or Hitler.

In a feature called “Preparing Germany’s Military for War,” it was reported in 2005 that then German Defense Minister Peter Struck was “proposing that…his department considers missions other than peace-keeping and stabilization for the Bundeswehr” and that “the Bundeswehr could be asked to play a stronger role in Africa in the future.” [11]

While visiting German troops in Uzbekistan on his way to Afghanistan, Struck was quoted as saying “For those of us who were born after the war this is an unfavorable idea but we must be realistic. It is possible that we will consider going to other countries and separate warring parties by military means” and that the Bundeswehr must be prepared to “carry out peace enforcement missions anywhere in the world.” [12]

In late 2006 Struck’s successor, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, released a 133-page White Paper which stated “The Bundeswehr is to be thoroughly restructured into an intervention force.” [13]

In an article entitled “Germany plans to remake its Army into a rapid-reaction, humanitarian-intervention force,” Newsweek commented: “The pace of change has indeed been unsettling. It took a constitutional-court ruling in 1994 to permit German soldiers to be deployed abroad at all. Today, close to 10,000 Bundeswehr troops find themselves stationed in places as far-flung as Bosnia, Djibouti and southern Sudan….” [14]

Germany has become so comfortable with its current global military status that last week Chancellor Angela Merkel conferred the first combat medals on German soldiers since World War II.

“The new Cross of Honour for Bravery, is the military’s first such medal since the end of World War II when it stopped awarding the Iron Cross tarnished by its use in Nazi Germany. Some see this as another sign of Germany emerging from its post-World War II diplomatic and military shell since the country’s reunification in 1990.” [15]

A column in The Times of London embraced this further reemergence of a militarized Germany, and one moreover of an expeditionary and aggressive nature – the soldiers awarded by Merkel were veterans of the Afghan war – with this panegyric:

“When Germany once again has the confidence proudly to parade its military heroes, its journey from the darkness of diplomatic and military purdah – via reunification in 1990 – is surely complete.

“Germany’s new medal, the Honour Cross, stands as a bold response to the
growing role played in the world by German military.

“The presentation by Chancellor Angela Merkel marks a potent moment in Germany’s return to the heart of the community of nations.” [16]

Last November German Defense Minister Jung laid the foundation stone for “the first national memorial to soldiers killed serving in the country’s post-World War II military.”

Combat deaths and their commemoration, for decades considered matters of a dark and distant past, are now commonplace as “Germany…emerged gradually from its postwar diplomatic and military shell, increasingly puts soldiers in the line of fire in places such as Afghanistan.” [17]

The process of German reunification, the first effect of which was to place the entire territory of the nation in NATO, had been consummated with the rebirth of a major military power thought by many to have reached its final quietus in 1945.

The mainstream weekly Der Spiegel wrote in 2005 in a feature aptly named “Germany’s Bundeswehr Steps out on the Global Stage” that “With reunification, the nation had not just regained full sovereignty: it also became subject to rules that had effectively been put on ice during the Cold War. On the new international stage, political influence was reserved for those who were willing and able to assert their interests in concert with their partners. If need be, by force. If need be, by military means.”

The celebratory piece went on to say:

“Today the Bundeswehr has become one of the most powerful tools available to German foreign-policy makers.

“[T]he German government is in the process of fostering a totally different breed of soldier. The elite members of the Kommando Spezialkrafte (Special Forces Command), or KSK…are highly trained professionals who can hold their own with their colleagues from the British SAS or American Delta Force….

“Germany has ‘finally reached a state of normality,’ and its democracy will now be ‘defended directly’ wherever threats arise. That could be anywhere, soon even in Africa.” [18]

In the culmination of almost twenty years of German and allied efforts to subvert and tear apart the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, its truncated successor the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and finally Serbia, almost on the first anniversary of the Western-supported secession of Kosovo in February of 2008 Berlin announced that it was donating 200 vehicles to the newly formed Kosovo Security Force, a revamped Kosovo Liberation Army headed up by a KLA commander who has already proclaimed his intention to join NATO.

The German offering is “a substantial contribution to the build up” of the fledgling army of an illegal entity not recognized by over two-thirds of the world including Russia, China and India. [19]

In an interview with Radio Kosova this February Colonel Dieter Jensch, senior official of the German Defense Ministry, boasted that “The Bundeswehr is helping the Kosovo Security Force through material assistance, which includes the donation of 204 vehicles and other technical equipment, and we have assigned a team of 15 professional military officers to help in building the KSF structures.”

The account from which the above emanates added “The assistance is valued at 2.6 million Euros. Germany will also send 15 military personnel to help build KSF structures and to train the members of this force.

“The building of the Kosovo Security Force and its professional training is expected to cost 43 million Euros. Germany is among the first countries to help in building this force. It has already sent 15 military officers to help in building the structures of this force and to train its members.” [20]

Yesterday the Balkans and today the world.

1) New York Times, December 18, 1991
2) Albanian American Civic League, January 6, 1991
3) Suddeutsche Zeitung, July 30, 1998
4) Der Spiegel, February 9, 2009
5) United Press International, March 20, 2007
6) CovertAction Quarterly, Fall 1998
7) Michel Chossudovsky, Washington Behind Terrorist Assaults In Macedonia
Global Research, September 10, 2001
Michel Chossudovsky, America at War in Macedonia
June 2001
Rick Rozoff, Human Rights Watch: Dear Mr. Ahmeti
August 1, 2001
8) United Press International, August 30, 2005
9) Ibid
10) Ibid
11) Deutsche Welle, June 6, 2005
12) Ibid
13) Newsweek, November 13, 2006
14) Ibid
15) Deutsche Welle, July 6, 2009
16) The Times, July 7, 2009
17) Associated Press, November 28, 2008
18) Der Spiegel, June 17, 2005
19) Associated Press, February 13, 2009
20) Kosova Information Center, February 9, 2009

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Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

June 18, 2009

Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Rick Rozoff

On June 17, immediately after the historical ninth heads of state summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Yekaterinburg, Russia on the preceding two days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that their nations were drafting a joint treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly.

A statement by the presidents reflected a common purpose to avoid the militarization of space and said:

“Russia and China advocate peaceful uses of outer space and oppose the prospect of it being turned into a new area for deploying weapons.

“The sides will actively facilitate practical work on a draft treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space, and of the use of force or threats to use force against space facilities, and will continue an intensive coordination of efforts to guarantee the security of activities in outer space.” [1]

The statement also addressed the question of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its global expansion as well as an integrally related danger, the U.S.-led drive to development a worldwide – and more than worldwide – interceptor missile system aimed at neutralizing China’s and Russia’s deterrence and retaliation capacities in the event of a first strike attack on either or both.

The section of the joint communique addressing the above stated, “Russia and China regard international security as integral and comprehensive. The security of some states cannot be ensured at the expense of others, including the expansion of military-political alliances or the creation of global or regional missile defense systems.” [2]

The two leaders’ comments assumed greater gravity and authority as Medvedev and Hu had both just attended the two-day SCO summit which included heads of states and other representatives of the SCO’s six full members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), its four observer states (India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, with the heads of state of all but Mongolia participating, the first time for an Indian prime minister), the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and attendees from Belarus and Sri Lanka, the latter two also for the first time at an SCO summit.

The statement by the Russian and Chinese presidents also came the day after the first-ever heads of state summit of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations in the same Russian city.

To confirm the seriousness and urgency of Hu’s and Medvedev’s concerns over the expansion of the arms race and potential armed conflict into space, on the same day as their statement was released Russian Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin addressed a press conference in Moscow and issued comments that were summarized by the local media as “Russia warns that technology failure with weapons in space may accidentally invite a massive response amounting to nuclear war.”

He warned that his nation’s “response to American weapons in orbit would be asymmetric but adequate.” [3]

Popovkin’s comments were revealing in a number of ways, reflecting as they did on the manner in which the United States twenty years ago became the sole world superpower it has been until recently:

“There is a more adequate answer to the possible deployment by the USA of
weapons in outer space; we do not have to deploy in space expensive armaments for it.

“To have weapons of your own for waging space wars, you have to understand first why you need them there. We’ve already passed the ‘Star Wars’ epic, and know well how it ended – in the breakup of the Soviet Union.

“Russia has a more adequate answer to the possible deployment by the USA of weapons in space, but we have no need to deploy in space expensive armaments for it; the answer will be absolutely asymmetric.” [4]

A week earlier Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, said that a “new strategic arms reduction pact with the United States must prohibit any kinds of offensive weapons in space,” and expounded on his nation’s concerns by adding:

“Our country is interested in including limitations not only on the number of nuclear warheads, but also on the number of their delivery vehicles in the new arms reduction treaty. We also stand for maintaining the ban on the deployment of strategic weapons, offensive and defensive, outside national borders, the prohibition of any kinds of offensive weapons in space, and a more efficient use of inspection and data exchange mechanisms established in line with the START 1 treaty.” [5]

Contrariwise, the very same day two U.S. congressmen, Rep. Michael Turner (Republican) and Rep. Jim Marshall (Democrat), introduced a NATO First Act in the Congress that calls for among other demands that a proposed arms reduction treaty with Russia “not reduce or limit U.S. ballistic missile defenses, space, or advanced conventional weapons capabilities.” [6]

Six days before that Marine General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in speaking about the Pentagon’s Prompt Global Strike program, said that he “continues to press for development of a new weapon that would allow Washington to take out a fleeting target in a manner of minutes.

“The Marine Corps general said he has concluded conventionally armed bombers are ‘too slow and too intrusive’ for many ‘global strike missions.’

“Cartwright for several years has advocated for a ‘prompt global strike’ weapon….”

Asserting (or advocating) that “Over the next few years, the U.S. military is likely to become engaged in a number of hot and cold conflicts, each spanning five to 10 years,” Cartwright said that “The military might need a ‘hypersonic’ weapon that would travel in the exoatmosphere to take out a limited number of fleeting targets….” [7]

For exoatmospheric read space-based.

Earlier in the year, on March 31, 2009 to be exact, top American military officials attended the 25th National Space Symposium at the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama, the same state that hosts the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville.

With the head of the American military, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, present, “A new Special Area of Emphasis topic titled Space as a Contested Environment, was introduced by U.S. military officials….”

The Air University’s National Space Studies Center’s Colonel Sean McClung underscored the main theme of the meeting in stating “[A]bove all other communities, the military needs to understand implications of space as a contested environment and how to protect America’s interests.” [8]

General C. Robert Kehler, the commander of the Air Force Space Command, was quoted in an Air Force report entitled “Spherical battlespace is new theater of operation” as saying:

“I think for far too long we have looked at our conception of future battlespace by standing on the ground and looking up – I think that might be the wrong way to look.”

The report also says that for the Special Area of Emphasis, Space as a Contested Environment concept although “the connection between space and cyberspace may be unclear to many outside of these career fields, to those within the space community, the connection is clear,” and “The realization that space and cyberspace are inextricably linked is evidenced by the planned creation of a cyber-focused numbered air force under Air Force Space Command.” [9]

To make clear what the Pentagon means and what it intends, earlier this May the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, General Kevin Chilton, “insisted that all strike options, including nuclear, would remain available to the commander in chief in defending the nation from cyber strikes” and “said he could not rule out the possibility of a military salvo against a nation like China, even though Beijing has nuclear arms.” [10]

For the past two years numerous American and NATO officials have conjured up the threat of employing NATO’s Article 5 mutual military assistance – that is, war – clause against alleged cyber attacks of the sort experienced in Estonia in the spring of 2007. The unnamed but unquestioned target of such an action is Russia.

That nation released its new National Security Strategy in the middle of last month in which “it warned that missile defense plans and prospects to develop space-based weapons remain a top threat to Russia’s security.” [11]

A month before Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, deputy head of the Russian Defence Ministry’s chief department for international military cooperation, said that “The United States has already launched the process of militarization of outer space.”

Referring to the Bush administration’s U.S. National Space Policy of August 31, 2006, a follow up to that of the Clinton government’s 1996 version, Buzhinsky said, “The new doctrine adds a tougher and more unilateral nature to these actions.

“Russian military experts see in this doctrine a disguised bid by the US for the weaponization of outer space. Anti-satellite weapons make an integral part of the U.S. missile defence system.” [12]

The U.S. National Space Policy of 2006 states that “In this new century, those who effectively utilize space will enjoy added prosperity and security and will hold a substantial advantage over those who do not. Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power. In order to increase knowledge, discovery, economic prosperity, and to enhance the national security, the United States must have robust, effective, and efficient space capabilities.”

It further identifies goals of the policy to include the intention to:

>Strengthen the nation’s space leadership and ensure that space capabilities are available in time to further U.S. national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives

>Enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space to defend our interests there

>Develop and deploy space capabilities that sustain U.S. advantage and support defense and intelligence transformation

>Provide, as launch agent for both the defense and intelligence sectors, reliable, affordable, and timely space access for national security purposes

>Support military planning and satisfy operational requirements as a major intelligence mission [13]

The same Russian general quoted above cited as an example of Washington’s space war plans the Pentagon’s downing of an American spy satellite in February of 2008, allegedly because it had become disabled. General Buzhinsky said, “Despite the statements of some U.S. officials that the satellite’s destruction had to be performed once only to minimize risks for life and the health of people, many analysts are of another opinion. They believe that the U.S. tested a new type of weapons capable of destroying spacecraft.” [14]

A year later, February of 2009, an American and Russian satellite were reported to have collided over northeastern Russia. Shortly afterward retired Russian general and former head of the nation’s military space intelligence Leonid Shershnev asserted that the collision “may have been a test of new U.S. technology to intercept and destroy satellites rather than an accident.”

Shershnev’s contentions were characterized in a Russian media report of early March as suggesting “the U.S. satellite involved in the collision was used by the U.S. military as part of the ‘dual-purpose’ Orbital Express research project, which began in 2007.

“Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the United States Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team led by engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

“The February collision could be an indication that the U.S. has successfully developed such technology and is capable of manipulating ‘hostile satellites,’ including their destruction, with a single command from a ground control center.” [15]

An Associated Press report published shortly after the above said that:

“The Kremlin has criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying they could trigger a new arms race. Russia and China have pushed for an international agreement banning space weapons, but their proposals have been rejected by the United States.

“As part of missile defense plans developed by the previous U.S. administration, the Pentagon worked on missiles, ground lasers and other technology to shoot down satellites.” [16]

Two days later Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke at a disarmament conference in Geneva, Switzerland and warned that “an arms race in outer space is inadmissible,” adding that “Prevention of an arms race in space will contribute to ensuring the predictability of the strategic situation” and “We plan, jointly with China, to submit to your consideration soon a document generalizing the results of discussions that have taken place at the conference.” [17]

Lavrov had made a similar appeal at the annual Munich Security Conference in February when in addition to first voicing Russia’s call for a banning of all nuclear weapons being stationed outside the borders of their owners he said that a new START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] accord also “must ban the militarization of space.” [18]

Global, Orbital First Strike Potential: NATO And Asian NATO Partners

NATO’s unswerving fidelity to Pentagon initiatives and diktat doesn’t require substantiation, but if it did this statement by its Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on March 11 would further underscore the fact: “Given the vital role that space and satellites now play within our cyber networks, should we not also start to follow activities in space more closely and consider the implications for our security?” [19]

Plans for the expansion of military hardware, both surveillance and kinetic weapons (missiles), into outer space are not distinct from but inextricably connected with parallel American and NATO global interceptor missile systems. So-called missile shield facilities already in place or in the process of being stationed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and Britain and their counterparts in Alaska, Japan, Australia and South Korea in the east are to be integrated with space components so that both NATO and what has come to be called Asian NATO will provide radar and ground-based interceptor missile sites, as will Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus and Israel in the Middle East in the future.

Many of the above-named nations also possess and will base sea-launched missile killing interceptors on Aegis class destroyers and can host new generation U.S. stealth warplanes designed to penetrate deep into the interior of nations like China and Russia to destroy strategic targets, including silo-based long-range missiles and mobile missile launchers.

This past April Japan announced that its “first strategic space policy will focus on improving missile launch detection abilities” after the passage and implementation of a Basic Space Law last August and that “As many as 34 satellites – twice the current number – will be launched between fiscal 2009 and 2013….” [20]

Last month Australia revealed that not only was it planning to build and launch its own space satellites but that it also “wants to create a new cadre of military space experts inside the Australian Defence Forces,” citing Japan as “a good example of the learning process that a new 21st century military space power has to go through.” [21]

Recently the Pentagon has also activated new equipment to facilitate the interaction between spaced-based surveillance and earth-based interceptor missile systems.

In April the U.S. Defense Department launched a new-generation military satellite, the Wideband Global Satellite Communication satellite, into space.

An American military website said of the new acquisition that “These satellites are designed to provide high-capacity communications to U.S. military forces. It will augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communication System.” [22]

The missile used to launch the satellite into orbit, an Atlas V rocket, is described in the same report: “The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles has achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.” [23]

The increasingly integrated – to the point of inseparability – work of the Defense Department in general, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] demonstrates the emphasis that Washington places on the militarization of space and the potential use of it for warfighting purposes.

Eighteen days before Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th president of the United States the Bloomberg news agency reported that the incoming chief executive would “tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs” and that “Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration….” [24]

As further confirmation of this obscuring of the distinction between civilian and military uses of space, in May it was reported that “A Delta II rocket managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA., Tuesday with a spacecraft for the United States Missile Defense Agency.

“The spacecraft is called the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission, or STSS-ATRR.” [25]

The Vandenberg Air Force Base is routinely employed for long-range interceptor missile tests in the Pacific Ocean in coordination with a 28-story sea-based X-Band radar periodically stationed in the Aleutian Islands near the coast of Russia.

The Space Tracking and Surveillance System spacecraft is part of a Ballistic Missile Defense System space sensor layer which “provide[s] combatant commanders with the ability to continuously track strategic and tactical ballistic missiles from launch through termination.” [26]

Weeks earlier the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, also in Huntsville, Alabama, received flight-ready nanosatellites from Ducommun Incorporated, which event marked “the completion of the first U.S. Army satellite development program since the Courier 1B communications satellite in 1960.” [27]

Space War: United States Against The World

In December of 2001 the George W. Bush administration announced that it would withdraw the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, with Bush stating “we no longer live in the Cold War world for which the ABM Treaty was designed.”

Six months later it formally did so and at the same time “the Pentagon [was] set to break ground…at Fort Greely, Alaska, on the previously prohibited construction of six underground silos for missile interceptors.” [28]

An Indian analyst said that “The U.S. withdrawal in 2001 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty has raised concerns, especially among the Russians and the Chinese, about its intentions in space.

“Ballistic missile defence systems, whether ground-based, airborne or space-based, can also potentially target satellites.

“[T]he U.S. abrogated the ABM Treaty and there was a lot of emphasis on space control, on limiting [space] access to others, which were totally in contravention of the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.” [29]

The same pattern of arbitrariness and recklessness has been pursued by Washington in relation to the weaponization of space.

Russia and China have for years introduced resolutions in the United Nations calling for the prohibition of weapons in space and against the use of space for military purposes. The U.S. has just as consistently opposed their efforts.

Last September Russia renewed its call to preserve outer space as a zone of peace. After a meeting with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov urged European nations to join efforts to avoid an extraterrestrial arms race, saying, “It is high time to discuss the problem, and it is crucial that countries with the ability to contribute to its solution take part in the negotiations, especially European nations.”

The report from which the above emanated offered this perspective: “Along with the US missile shield program and the idea of a blitzkrieg, an outer space arms race is among the major destabilizing factors for global security.” [30]

A Russian analytical news site reported at the same time that the danger of space war was potentially catastrophic and was being pursued without regard to its consequences:

“[T]he true reason behind the American plans for global anti-ballistic missile defense and space militarization [is that the] United States believes that over the next two to three decades, it can beat the others (Russia and China) in these spheres and gain a decisive strategic military advantage.

“A frightening Cold-War-type arms race to counter the U.S. missile defense systems and militarization of space is about to take off in earnest….This arms race is perhaps as dangerous as the Cold War one. This time, however, the trigger is in the hands of only one party – the U.S. establishment.

“Unfortunately, the signs are that the United States is already pulling the trigger.” [31]

The above echoed comparable concerns voiced by Chinese military experts three months before. In a book published by the government’s China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, two armed forces experts stated that “Strategic confrontation in outer space is difficult to avoid. The development of outer space forces shows signs that a space arms race to seize the commanding heights is emerging.

“Dominated by the idea of absolute domination of outer space, a major power is making a big fuss about space domination, creating rivals and provoking confrontation.” [32]

In a stark warning last October, veteran Russian journalist Valentin Zorin said that “The new arms race will be incomplete without plans for the weaponization of outer space” and “U.S. attempts to turn outer space into a third field of combat operations may prove as dangerous as the American decision to use a nuclear device on August, 1945.” [33]

Remarking on the fact that in the United Nations General Assembly 166 nations had voted for the Russian and Chinese proposal to ban the militarization of space a week earlier, Russian analyst Alexei Arbatov was quoted as saying last winter that “Washington does plan to deploy its ABM system elements in near-Earth orbits, and it is only Russia that can counter such plans.” [34]

Late last November the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, again urged “UN member-states to join the moratorium on the deployment of weapons in outer space” and “mentioned that it is on Russia’s initiative that the UN General Assembly has been adopting resolutions, for many years now, aimed at the prevention of the arms race in space. The only one who objected to the adoption of this resolution was the United States….” [35]

A commentary on the U.S.’s lone opposition to the resolution reminded readers that “This year it was only the US delegate who voted against a resolution to that end as the US ABM defence programme is known to provide, among other things, for deploying ABM system elements in outer space.

“This actually means that Washington sees space as a potential operations theatre….”

The same source provided this editorial recommendation:

“The United States action can only be described as unilateral and undermining international and strategic stability, actions that could eventually result in another stage of the arms race.

“Before it is too late, one should seriously consider ways to prevent the arms race from being extended to outer space.” [36]

Last December Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, stated that the United States “is seriously considering space as a potential sphere of armed struggle and hence is not giving up plans of deploying strike means in space.”

He is paraphrased as adding “that the US assumes first strike capabilities and that any attack would wipe out retaliation.” [37]

That is, the militarization of space can result in a nuclear conflagration on earth not only by accident or the law of unintended consequences but fully by design.

If the U.S. plan is, by a combination of ground, sea and air delivery systems, to destroy any ability to retaliate after a devastating first blow, the Russian general warned of what in fact would ensue:

“The Americans will never manage to implement this scenario because Russian strategic nuclear forces, including the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, will be capable of delivering a retaliatory strike given any course of developments.

“After receiving authorization from the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces it will not take our strategic missile force more than two-three minutes to carry out the task of launching missiles.” [38]

What Solovtsov has described is the nightmare humanity has dreaded since the advent of the nuclear age: An exchange of nuclear-equipped intercontinental missiles. One that might result from an attack launched at least partially from space and in one manner or other in relation to space-based military assets.

An analogous warning was issued last year by the then commander of Russia’s Space Forces, General Vladimir Popovkin, who said, “Space is one of the few places around not yet separated by borders, and any kind of military deployments there would upset the existing balance of forces on our planet.” [39]

This past March American space researcher Matt Hoey stated that an arms race in space would be “increasing the risk of an accidental nuclear war while shortening the time for sanity and diplomacy to come into play to halt crises.”

“If these systems are deployed in space we will be tipping the nuclear balance between nations that has ensured the peace for decades.

“The military space race will serve the defense industry much like the cold war and this is already being witnessed in relation to missile defense systems.” [40]

Regarding the interconnection between missile defense and spaced-based first strike capabilities, the following indicates what the ultimate Pentagon plan envisions:

“If [the missile defense system] is fully deployed (as three echelons of ground-, sea-, and air/space-based), the United States will regain the capability (for the first time since the 1940s-1950s) of launching a destructive first strike at Russia without fear of retaliation.

“The several dozen Russian missiles likely to survive a combined attack by nuclear and conventional forces (including precision weapons capable of destroying fortified launching sites), and hence meant to provide the retaliatory ‘deterrent’ strike, would be an easy target for a fully deployed combat-ready missile defense system.” [41]

This March Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, said of the militarization of space that “the fallout could be tremendous.” He told a major daily that the dangers “are in fact so cataclysmic that arms control advocates like himself would simply seek to prohibit the use of weapons beyond the earth’s atmosphere.” [42]

In a week when the United Nations reports that over a billion children are threatened by war on the planet and the world’s largest arms merchant, Lockheed Martin, boasts of preparing to sell over 6,000 advanced stealth warplanes to the Pentagon and its allies, humanity has enough to contend with on earth without facing the additional threat of war from the heavens.

1) Interfax, June 17, 2009
2) Itar-Tass, June 17, 2009
3) Voice of Russia, June 17, 2009
4) Itar-Tass, June 17, 2009
5) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 10, 2009
6) American Chronicle, Congressional Desk, June 11, 2009
7) Defense News, June 4, 2009
8) Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, March 30, 2009
9) Maxwell-Gunter Dispatch, April 14, 2009
10) Global Security, May 12, 2009
11) Associated Press, May 13, 2009
12) Itar-Tass, April 3, 2009
13) U.S. National Space Policy, August 31, 2006

14) Itar-Tass, April 3, 2009
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 3, 2009
16) Associated Press, March 5, 2009
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 7, 2009
18) Itar-Tass, February 6, 2009
19) NATO, March 11, 2009
20) Mainichi Daily News, April 28, 2009
21) Space Review, May 11, 2009
22) Air Force Link, American Forces Press Service, April 4, 2009
23) Ibid
24) Bloomberg News, January 2, 2009
25) Aero-News Network, May 7, 2009
26) domain-B, May 15, 2009
27) Ducommun Incorporated, April 29, 2009
28) China Daily, June 14, 2002
29) Strengthening the Outer Space Treaty by N. Gopal Raj
The Hindu, December 12, 2008
30) RosBusinessConsulting, September 23, 2008
31) Russia Profile, September 19, 2008
32) Daily Jang (Pakistan), June 3, 2008
33) Voice of Russia, October 10, 2008
34) Voice of Russia, November 1, 2008
35) Voice of Russia, November 20, 2008
36) Voice of Russia, November 22, 2008
37) Russia Today, December 1, 2008
38) Ibid
39) Voice of Russia, May 24, 2008
40) Space Race Hikes Risk of Nuclear War by Sherwood Ross
OpEd News, March 30, 2009
41) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 11, 2008
42) Voice of Russia, March 19, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

July 10, 2009

West’s Afghan War And Drive Into Caspian Sea Basin
Rick Rozoff

The Pentagon and its NATO allies have launched the largest combat offensive to date in their nearly eight-year war in South Asia, Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) with 4,000 U.S. Marines, attack helicopters and tanks, and Operation Panchai Palang (Panther’s Claw) with several hundred British engaged in airborne assaults, in the Afghan province of Helmand.

The American effort is the largest ground combat operation conducted by Washington in Asia since the Vietnam War.

Other NATO and allied nations have also boosted or intend to increase their troop strength in Afghanistan, with German forces to exceed 4,000 for the first time, Romanian troops to top 1,000 and contingents to be augmented from dozens of other NATO member and partner states, including formerly neutral Finland and Sweden.

The U.S., NATO, NATO’s Partnership for Peace and its Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and Contact Countries, and other allied nations – states as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Macedonia – have some 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, all under the command of America’s General Stanley McChrystal, former head of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and a counterinsurgency master hand. The Afghan-Pakistani war theater resembles the Vietnam War in more than one manner.

The American troop contingent has nearly doubled since last year, more than quintupled in five years, and will be in the neighborhood of 70,000 soldiers by year’s end.

Concurrent with the ongoing Afghan offensive the U.S. has fired missiles from aerial drones into Pakistan in the two deadliest strikes of the type ever in that country, killing 65 and 50 people in two recent attacks.

Large-scale government military operations on the Pakistani side of the border, coordinated with the Pentagon through its new Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell and with NATO through the Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission, have uprooted and displaced well in excess of two million civilians, the largest population dislocation in Pakistan since the 1947 partition of British India.

Pentagon And NATO Fan Out From Afghanistan To Central Asia

Complementing and extending the escalating war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Pentagon and NATO have also intensified initiatives to expand their military networks not only in South but also Central Asia and in the littoral states of the Caspian Sea.

On June 24-25 NATO held the first Security Forum of its Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in Central Asia, the first outside of Europe in fact, in the capital of Kazakhstan, which borders both Russia and China and possesses the largest proven reserves of oil and natural gas in Central Asia and among Caspian Sea states aside from Russia and Iran.

The meeting gathered together the defense chiefs of 50 nations, 28 full NATO members and 22 partners; that is, from over a quarter of the world’s 192 nations.

One report of the summit succinctly summarized its main focus as “reviewing the security situation, with special emphasis on Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasus region, and of energy stability.” [1]

With the arrival of the Barack Obama administration in Washington this January 20th and its emphasis on shifting U.S. focus and forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials have paid a number of visits to the South Caucasus and Central Asia to arrange logistics for the war in South Asia and to solicit not only transit and basing rights but also troop commitments from former Soviet republics like Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

The Pentagon has recently regained use of the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan where an estimated 200,000 American and NATO troops have passed through since the beginning of the Afghan war. An unnamed Russian official recently said of that development: “The real character of the US military presence in Central Asia has not changed, which goes against Russian interests and our agreement with the Kyrgyz leadership.” [2]

A Kazakh account of last month’s NATO meeting in the capital of Astana noted that “NATO is seeking to deepen cooperation with its partner countries in Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.” [3]

As a reminder of the significance of the meeting and its location the report added: “The EAPC Security Forum for the first time will be held on post-Soviet territory and [the] Asian continent in general….”

NATO’s outgoing secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, speaking in the dual capacity characteristic of his post, that of Alliance leader and that of a Pentagon mouthpiece, confirmed this: “As you know, the new American leadership and President Barack Obama are launching several initiatives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East region.” [4]

He also didn’t fail to highlight the role of the host country and the Caspian region in general regarding several unprecedented oil and natural gas projects beginning in Kazakhstan and running over and under the Caspian Sea to the South Caucasus, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Ukraine, Central Europe and the Baltic Sea, in some instances linking up with Iraq, Egypt and Israel.

During the EAPC summit Scheffer told reporters: “My presence here today means that cooperation between NATO and Kazakhstan is deepening.” [5]

The official NATO website quoted Scheffer as saying “Today, Kazakhstan is NATO’s most active Partner in the Central Asian region. We have also achieved solid progress in defence and military co-operation, particularly in enhancing the ability of our military forces to work together.” [6]

With fifty defense chiefs attending the two-day meeting, the scope of discussions dwelt primarily but not exclusively with Central and South Asia.

Caspian, South Caucasus And Arc Of Past Decade’s Wars

The network of military “lily pad” bases, transit routes (land, air, sea), multinational and integrated war games and training that NATO has consolidated and conducted from the Balkans to nations bordering China like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Kazakhstan over the past ten years has been documented in an earlier article, Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border. [7]

The role of Azerbaijan on the western shore of the Caspian has been discussed in Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland [8], though much has occurred there recently.

The Western expeditionary military New Silk Road parallels trans-Eurasian energy transit projects also running from the Balkans to Central Asia, with troops and arms moving eastward and oil and natural gas going in the opposite direction.

The trajectory is more significantly and ominously the same as that of the major wars of the past decade in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq and the South Caucasus. An “arc of instability” indeed, though not so much the cause as the effect of Western military aggression.

At the NATO meeting in Kazakhstan the individual most substantively tasked to effect this triple passageway, through Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington alike, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative to Central Asia and the South Caucasus Robert Simmons, an American – addressing among others representatives from all fifteen former Soviet republics – said about the results of last August’s five-day war between Georgia and Russia that “We believe that the presence of Russian troops is inappropriate….Russia’s military contingent should be withdrawn from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as today it is greater than it was before the conflict erupted.” [9]

Simmons has recruited an initial force of 500 Georgia troops, veterans of the Iraqi occupation and last year’s war in South Ossetia, trained by U.S. Green Berets and the Marine Corps, for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and has dragooned additional Azerbaijani soldiers for the same purpose as well. Both the above South Caucasus nations will play an enhanced role in the transit of Western troops and materiel to the war zone, too.

Turkmenistan: Final Link In Caspian, Central Asian Energy And Military Plans

Earlier this week the George Soros Open Society Institute news site EurasiaNet featured an article on Turkmenistan, which lies on the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea and which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

It includes the observation that “Turkmenistan is quietly developing into a major transport hub for the northern supply network, which is being used to relay non-lethal supplies to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has confirmed a small contingent of US military personnel now operates in Ashgabat [the capital city]….”

According to the Pentagon’s Defense Energy Support Center, Turkmenistan is “invaluable to the success of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.”

A U.S. Defense Department spokesman added that “the Government of Turkmenistan now allows the US overflights” and “the Turkmen government permits the presence of US troops on its territory.”

The EurasiaNet piece also says that the Turkmen government has offered Washington the use of the “sprawling ex-Soviet air base at Mary,” close to Afghanistan and even closer to Iran. [10]

Four days before the above article appeared the Deputy Director of the U.S. Energy Department for Russia and Eurasia Meryl Burpoe was in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, where she said, “The U.S. Energy Department completely supports the idea of diversifying gas export routes from Turkmenistan.”

By diversification is meant cutting off Turkmen hydrocarbons to Russian pipelines and routing them to the Western-controlled Nabucco and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey) natural gas and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelines which deliberately bypass Russia, Armenia and Iran and are explicitly designed to drive Russia and Iran as producer nations out of the European energy market. A policy that, were it to be attempted against NATO member states, would be viewed not only as a hostile action but a veritable act of war.

On the same day as Burpoe made her statement the government of Turkmenistan announced an unprecedented move, that it had put up 32 Caspian oil and gas field units for international tenders. Bidders include Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Marathon, Midland Oil & Gas, British Petroleum, the German RWE, Austrian OMV, Norwegian Statoil Hydro and French Total. [11]

According to estimates of the American WesternGeco Geophysical Company “the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea [contains] up [to] 11 billion tons of oil and 5.5 trillion cubic meters of gas, in addition to the already contracted units.” [12]

A few days earlier the Special Envoy of the U.S. Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, Richard Morningstar, made a trip to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Regarding the Turkmen leg of the journey, Morningstar “said the progress reached at the meetings exceeded his expectations. He said the stopping of gas transportation via the Turkmenistan-Russia pipeline was one of the possible reasons for the results achieved in Ashgabat.” [13]

How broad the U.S.-led energy transit campaign against Russia is will be seen in three days:

“An inter-governmental agreement on the Nabucco project envisaging natural gas supplies from the basin of the Caspian Sea to Europe avoiding Russia will be signed in Ankara on July 13….Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Iraq are considered as among potential energy resources for Nabucco. The U.S. stands against Iran’s participation in Nabucco’s realization but supports gas transportation to Europe from Iraq.” [14]

Recent moves by the U.S. and NATO directly across the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan replicate and complement those in Turkmenistan and the other four Central Asian nations.

This very day the American State Department’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg are in the capital of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan: U.S., NATO Front Line Aimed At Karabakh, Armenia, Iran

In late June the Commander of U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa (dual commands), Major General Tracy Garrett, was in the capital of Azerbaijan to solidify “mutual support on regional security issues” and stated: “I am responsible for the United States’ security in Europe and African
countries, including in Azerbaijan. The U.S. wants to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the field of land forces.” [15]

To indicate what U.S.-Azerbaijani cooperation in developing the second’s army entails, on the very day that the above quote was reported and presumably while the U.S. Marine commander was still present in the country, the nation’s president, Ilham Aliyev, said: “Today, our army is the mightiest army of this region. In case of necessity, we can use our military power to restore Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity….The war has not ended yet. Only the first stage of the war ended.” [16]

Aliyev referred to the lingering dispute with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia is an ally of Russia; both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Russia has a small continent of troops in the country.

Armenia is also allied with Iran, which it borders. Otherwise it is encircled by the NATO Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan axis discussed shortly.

As Ramil Latypov, the Deputy Head of the Working Group of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council of Russia, mentioned four days ago, “Formed by three countries, a so-called strategic axis – Russia-Armenia-Iran – in fact has a major stabilizing influence in the Caucasus.

“Created to oppose the NATO axis of Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan, [which] on the contrary, in order to solve its own and American-European geo-strategic tasks, NATO is trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Armenia, as well as between Iran and Armenia, using every method, including military ones.” [17]

Softening The Ground: “Color Revolutions,” NATO’s Fifth Column And Trojan Horse

Revealingly, Latypov also noted that “the Iranian nation has learned the correct lesson from the events in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as taking into account the lessons learnt by Armenia, in March 2008.

“Calling people to rallies the main Armenian ‘fighter for freedom’ [opposition leader] Levon Ter-Petrossian, and his Iranian counterpart, do not understand that they are only pawns in the struggle of Western countries for resources and financial flows from the East and Asia….

“They rather showed that the three countries should develop a unified system of mutual support, triggered when external forces try to destabilize the internal political situation.” [18]

He is not the first to remark the resemblance between the so-called Green Revolution in Iran and its predecessors in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Belarus, Iraq, Myanmar, Venezuela, Armenia and Moldova: The Rose, Chestnut/Orange, Tulip, Cedar, Denim, Purple, Saffron/Maroon, White, Daffodil and Twitter uprisings, respectively.

The Iranian Mehr News agency claimed: “Half a year before the Iranian presidential elections, the CIA was preparing an orange revolution scenario. CIA agents met Iranian oppositionists and gave them instructions in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kuwait and the UAE [United Arab Emirates].

“The Woodrow Wilson Center and Soros Foundation are accused of setting up an Iranian revolution plan and providing $32 million funding to fulfill the strategy.” [19]

As the Russian senator mentioned above, attempts to destabilize Iran, Armenia and Russia are related and if one of the three is pulled into the Western orbit the others will suffer. Armenia and Iran are the only buffers Russia has to its south in the greater Caucasus region, otherwise being ringed in by NATO states and partners from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian Sea.

On June 25 Nicolae Ureche, the Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan and NATO liaison to the country, said to the participants of a roundtable on NATO’s role in the European security system that “Azerbaijan’s future cooperation with NATO will be in the field of protection of energy resources and naval forces.” [20]

Again, Western military forces move east as energy supplies move west.

New War Threat In Southern Caucasus As Pentagon Shores Up Azerbaijani Armed Forces

From June 15-25 Azerbaijan conducted large-scale war games with a title that could not be misconstrued in either Nagorno Karabakh or Armenia, Restoration of the Territorial Integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which consisted of “more than 4,000 military personnel, 99 tanks, 55 armoured fighting vehicles, 123 artillery systems, 12 fighters, 12 military helicopters and 4 battle helicopters….” [21]

Former president of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic President Arkadi Ghukasyan said on July 9 that “Aliyev keeps threatening war even if he speaks of peace.” [22]

Immediately preceding this dress rehearsal for a new Caucasus war that would almost inevitably draw in Armenia, Russia, Iran, Turkey and through Turkey NATO and the United States, the U.S. held a five-day workshop in the Azerbaijani capital on Strategic Defense Survey and Final Document Support, conducted “in accordance with the bilateral cooperation plan.” [23]

Azeri military personnel will also attend the “second half of the US Mobile Exercise Group’s maritime operation course on July 26-31, Joint Combat Readiness training in Oklahoma on July 14-22 and US-Azerbaijan consultations in Washington DC, on July 29-30.” [24]

On June 29 the NATO International School in Azerbaijan launched a conference on maritime security; that is, on the Caspian Sea.

Four days later U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson conducted an interview with a new agency in Azerbaijan in which she stated: “Azerbaijan is one of the most important strategic allies in the Caucasus region for the United States….Azerbaijan is in a very serious and dangerous neighborhood with Russia and Iran.” [25]

On July 8 the Azerbaijani ambassador to the United States, Yashar Aliyev, confirmed that his nation and the U.S. are to hold defense consultations in Washington in late July and that “The current situation of military cooperation between the two countries and its prospects will be discussed during the consultations.” [26]

The next day the Azerbaijani defense minister hosted Oklahoma National Guard Mayor General Myles Deering and their meeting “focused on U.S.-Azerbaijan relations, development of military cooperation and exchange of views on the military and political situation in the region.” [27]

Earlier this week the nation’s Defense Ministry announced that it was preparing a new Military Doctrine and that “NATO has given a positive review on the project of the Military Doctrine of Azerbaijan.” [28]

NATO will hold a 28+1 (28 current Alliance members and Azerbaijan) meeting in Brussels on July 15.

Azerbaijan’s defense minister said that “representatives of the Defense Ministry, State Border Service and other services will…participate at the event.

“Cooperation issues on different spheres between Azerbaijan and NATO will be in the focus of attention at the meeting.” [29]

Israel Treads Road To Caspian Paved By NATO, Arms Azerbaijan And Georgia For War

On June 28 Israeli President Shimon Peres and a delegation including Defense Ministry Director-General Pinhas Buchris began a journey to the Caspian region with a visit to Azerbaijan. They left that country for Kazakhstan, four days after the NATO summit there ended.

“The visit [was] the first official government visit of senior Israeli figures to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan since diplomatic relations were normalized in the 90s.” [30]

In Azerbaijan Peres discussed energy cooperation and said of the subject that “It has both economic and political aspects.” [31]

An Armenian news site in a report called “Israel rearms Azerbaijani army” divulged these details of the visit:

“The Israeli defense company Elta Systems Ltd will cooperate with Azerbaijan in the field of satellite systems. Recently, the company announced the creation of the TecSAR satellite.

“According to Azerbaijani military experts, this is an indispensable system for military operations in a mountainous terrain. Given the landscape of Nagorno Karabakh, the system is simply indispensable.”

The source also mentioned that Israel would provide its military partner with Namer (Leopard) Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles and that “Israel and Azerbaijan plan to cooperate in other areas of the defense industry, in particular an agreement has been reached over the construction of a factory for intelligence and combat drones.” [32]

Israel supplied neighboring Georgia with drones for its war with Russia last August.

At the time Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili (trained in Britain and the U.S.) told Israel Army Radio “Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers.

“We killed 60 Russian soldiers just yesterday. The Russians have lost more than 50 tanks, and we have shot down 11 of their planes. They have sustained enormous damage in terms of manpower.” [33]

Yakobashvili’s figures may have been hyperbolical but his assessment of Israel’s role in arming Georgia’s burgeoning military was not.

Not only Armenia and Russia are threatened by increased Azerbaijani-Israeli military cooperation. The Jerusalem Post reported on July 1 in a story titled “Israel gains ground in Central Asia”:

“President Shimon Peres’s landmark visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan this week represents a significant advance for Israeli ambitions in Central Asia. In the wake of the recent decision to permit Israel to open an embassy in the Turkmen capital of Ashghabad, the visit reflects the importance Jerusalem attaches to this strategically significant part of what is sometimes known as the ‘greater Middle East.'” [34]

The piece went on to say that “With regard to containing Teheran, relations with Shi’ite Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, are of particular significance. Azerbaijan has close ethnic links with Iran. Far more Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan itself.

“Israeli defense industries have made very significant inroads. Israel played the central role in rebuilding and modernizing the Azeri military after its losses in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Israel is reported to maintain listening and surveillance posts on the
Azerbaijan-Iran border….” [35]

Iran recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan after Peres’s trip and shortly thereafter invited the Armenian defense minister to Tehran.

Russian analyst Andrei Areshev was quoted by an Armenian news source earlier in the week as saying “Israeli experts have been carrying out purposeful work to strengthen relations with Azerbaijan. Israel is fortifying positions in the Caucasus, it’s obvious. Let’s not forget that Israeli specialists trained the Georgian military before the attack on South Ossetia.”

“It’s unclear whether Israel plays its own game or acts as an agent of
another power wishing the destabilization of Russia and Iran. At that, it would be naive to think that the intensification of Baku-Tel Aviv relations is still a secret for Iran and Arab states.” [36]

In an Azerbaijani news report called “Israeli air force to join overseas exercises with eye on Iran,” it was revealed that the Israeli Air Force “will take part later this year in a joint aerial exercise with a NATO-member state, which is yet to be identified” and Israeli defense officials were quoted as saying that “the overseas exercises would be used to drill long-range maneuvers.” [37]

Last week Israel for the first time brought one of its German-made Dolphin submarines through the Suez Canal “as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran….”

“Each German-made Dolphin has 10 torpedo tubes, four of them widened at Israel’s request – to accommodate, some independent analysts believe, nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.” [38]

Last Sunday U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden was asked on a television interview “whether the U.S. would stand in the way if the Israelis…decided to launch a military attack against Iranian nuclear facilities,” to which he responded:

“Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.” [39]

Thirty Year Afghan War, Twenty Year World Conflict With No End In Sight

The U.S. has been engaged in hostilities against and armed conflict in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan for over thirty years, starting with the training and arming of a surrogate armed force no later than 1978, prior to the arrival of the first Soviet troops in the nation in December of 1979.

Four days ago Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari recalled the incontestable fact that “The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryear until 9/11 occurred….” [40] Heroes not only to the Pakistani political, military and intelligence elite but to their American sponsors as well.

In a genuine sense the U.S. is now engaged in year thirty-two of its South Asian war.

The current, direct war being waged in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan can also be seen as the twentieth year of a war that commenced as the Cold War ended. The amassing by the U.S., all its major NATO allies and assorted minor clients of as many as three-quarters of a million troops for Operation Desert Shield in 1990 was the opening salvo. After the following year’s Operation Desert Storm and its devastating, overwhelming assault on Iraq military forces in Kuwait and on Iraq itself, then American President George G.W. Bush announced the creation of a New World Order and the war front moved, inexorably and unremittingly, to new theaters.

Almost immediately after the carnage on the Highway of Death and in the Amiriyah shelter ended the U.S. and its NATO allies shifted their application of military force to the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia) and since then have waged, directed and assisted armed conflicts – individually, multilaterally, collectively and by proxy – in the Middle East (Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza), the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Djibouti-Eritrea), Africa west of the Horn (Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Congo, Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali), the Caucasus (Georgia-South Ossetia/Russia), South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan) and as far away as the Philippines in Southeast Asia and Colombia in South America.

The current main front in this global campaign is Afghanistan, NATO’s first ground war and the U.S.’s longest war since Vietnam. A war that will be eight years old this October and that is escalating daily with no end in sight.

A war that has already pulled in troops from 45 nations on four continents and has extended itself through bases, troop transit and military operations to several other countries – Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – with the logistical theater of operations slated to expand to the Baltic Sea, the South Caucasus and even over the skies of Russia.

The routes used for the transportation of troops, military hardware and supplies are those envisioned and initiated by the United States fifteen years ago in relation to anticipated hydrocarbon transit projects which are only now reaching fruition. Projects utterly dependent on oil and natural gas reserves in the Caspian Sea Basin. The Caspian is where the U.S. and NATO drive for military expansion into Asia meets up with an equally ambitious campaign to monopolize control of energy supplies for all of Europe and much of South and Far East Asia.

In anticipation of this past Monday’s meeting of American and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, a Russian commentator averred that “presidents come and go – while NATO’s Drang nach Osten continues inexorably.” [41]

1) Makfax, June 24, 2009
2) Press TV, June 24, 2009
3) New Europe/Kazinform, July 5, 2009
4) Ibid
5) Trend News Agency, June 25, 2009
6) NATO International,June 24, 2009
7) Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
8) Stop NATO, June 10, 2009
Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
9) Trend News Agency, June 25, 2009
10) EurasiaNet, July 8, 2009
11) Trend News Agency, July 4, 2009
12) Ibid
13) Azeri Press Agency, June 24, 2009
14) Trend News Agency, July 3, 2009
15) Trend News Agency, June 24, 2009
16) Azeri Press Agency, June 24, 2009
17), July 6, 2009
18) Ibid
19), June 29, 2009
20) Azeri Press Agency, June 25, 2009
21) Azeri Press Agency, June 27, 2009
22), July 9, 2009
23) Azeri Press Agency, July 1, 2009
24) Ibid
25) Trend News Agency, July 3, 2009
26) Azeri Press Agency, July 8, 2009
27), July 9, 2009
28) Azertag, July 8, 2009
29) Azeri Press Agency, July 9, 2009
30) Ynetnews (Israel), June 28, 2009
31) Trend News Agency, June 29, 2009
32), June 30, 2009
33) World Tribune, August 11, 2008
34) Jerusalem Post, July 1, 2009
35) Ibid
36), July 6, 2009
37) Trend News Agency, July 6, 2009
38) Trend News Agency, July 3, 2009
39) Trend News Agency, July 5, 2009
40) The Hindu, July 9, 2009
41) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 3, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Scandinavia And The Baltic Sea: NATO’s War Plans For The High North

August 31, 2009 2 comments

June 14, 2009

Scandinavia And The Baltic Sea: NATO’s War Plans For The High North
Rick Rozoff

Since the beginning of the year the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have repeatedly indicated in both word and deed their intention to lay claim to and extend their military presence in what they refer to as the High North: The Arctic Ocean and the waters connecting with it, the Barents and the Norwegian Seas, as well as the Baltic Sea.

Washington issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 on January 9, 2009 which includes the bellicose claim that “The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region [which] include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations.” [1] Later in the same month NATO held a two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in the capital of Iceland attended by the bloc’s secretary general and its top military commanders.

This coordinated initiative has been covered in a previous article in this series [2] and plans by the West to encroach on Arctic territory and confront Russia in the western region of the ocean have been addressed in another. [3]

Over the past month efforts by NATO member states, individually and collectively, to increase their military presence and warfighting ability in the High North have accelerated dramatically.

Sweden: NATO’s Testing Ground And Battleground

The alarming and aggressive campaign is exemplified by the ongoing 10-day Loyal Arrow 2009 NATO military exercises being conducted in Sweden, described by a major American daily newspaper as “A NATO rapid-reaction force…on a war footing in Swedish Lapland” which consists of “Ten countries, 2,000 troops, a strike aircraft carrier, and 50 fighter jets – including the US Air Force’s F-15 Eagle…participating in war games near contested Arctic territories.”

The same source reflects that “Choosing this place for war games reflects the growing strategic importance of the Arctic, which is estimated to contain a quarter of the Earth’s oil and gas….” [4]

A NATO website offers these details:

“Ten NATO and non-NATO nations will participate in the live flying exercise LAW 09 in Sweden from 8 to 18 June 2009. Some 50 fast jets, which will be based at Norrbotten Wing, Sweden will participate in the exercise. The aim of the exercise is to train units and selected parts of the NATO Response Force Joint Force Air Component Headquarters in the coordination and conduct of air operations. Additionally, NATO Airborne Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft, as well as other transport aircraft and helicopters, will support the exercise. Some of the participating units will be flying in from bases in Norway and Finland.

“The exercise is based upon a fictitious scenario. Within this scenario, elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF)…will be deployed to a theatre of operations. The NRF was created to provide the Alliance with an effective tool to face the new security threats of the 21st century. It is a rapidly deployable, multinational and joint force with modern equipment able to carry out the full range of Alliance missions whenever and wherever needed, as tasked by the North Atlantic Council.

“About 800-900 troops from Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and the United States as well as NATO’s airborne early warning component will participate.” [5]

U.S. Air Force personnel flew in from the American-employed base in Mildenhall, England and “Air and ground crews from United States Air Forces in Europe joined military units from about 10 other nations June 8….” [6]

The war games are based in the Bothnian Bay in the Northern Baltic Sea and are the largest display of air power in the area’s history.

On the first day of the exercises, June 8, it was reported that “The NATO-led air force drill Loyal Arrow started in Northern Sweden today. The British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious [with 1,000 soldiers] reached the Bothnia Bay. 50 airplanes and 2,000 persons, aircraft carrier personnel included, from ten countries will take part in what will be the biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnia Bay.” [7]

Sweden’s Lulea airbase, Norway’s airbase at Bodo and Finland’s at Oulu are being employed for the NATO war games.

Loyal Arrow is centered on a “fictitious scenario” in which “the NATO Response Force (NRF) [is] deployed to a theatre of operations, Lapistan.

“Lapistan is a fictitious undemocratic, unstable country that is ruled by a military clique which hosts terrorist training camps. The exercise’s scenario is centered over a conflict over oil and natural gas with Bothnia, a fictitious neighboring NATO country, with some presence of nearby neutral fictitious countries Nordistan and Suomia, who refer to Norway and Finland, respectively.” [8]

As the war games were getting underway Stefan Lindgren, vice chairman of Afghan Solidarity in Sweden, filed a complaint with the official ombudsman for discrimination matters and stated that the NATO exercise was both a defamation of the Sami people and also Muslims in Sweden. The “istan” ending reveals a mental connection with NATO’s war in Afghanistan.

The indigenous people of the region, the Sami, protested against the racist term “Laps” and also against the description of the exercise. [9]

A mainstream newspaper elaborated on the controversy in reporting that “The main indigenous people of Northern Sweden, the Sami, are discontented with the fact that the ‘enemy nation’ in the exercise’s scenario is called ‘Lapistan’ and have joined the protesters against NATO in the demonstrations. The name is invented by NATO and resembles the derogatory term for Sami people, ‘Lapps'”. [10]

The American Christian Science Monitor followed up on the story on June 11 with the following quotes:

“‘These exercises increase the risk of a conflict,’ says Anna Ek, head of Sweden’s Peace and Arbitration Society. ‘They send out offensive and aggressive signals. Should we really be planning for a conflict with Russia while there is still a window of opportunity for cooperation in the Arctic?’

“‘Neither the Parliament nor the defense committee were informed about the size of this exercise,’ says Peter Radberg, a Green Party member of Parliament. ‘It looks like a serious attempt to market NATO in Sweden….It risks causing a military escalation in a region where we should be disarming.'” [11]

As the first excerpt reveals, not only were the security, livestock and the very status of the Sami people of northern Sweden endangered, but Loyal Arrow 2009, in conjunction with other military exercises and initiatives to be examined later, is directly targeted against Russia, NATO’s only challenger in its drive into and for domination over the Arctic.

The NATO Out of Sweden group organized activities in Lulea (the site of the Swedish airbase used in the drills) and demonstrated against NATO’s use of Norrbotten County as a training ground and firing range for prospective actions at home and abroad.

The organization’s Anna-Karin Gudmundson said, “This [exercise] can be perceived as very provocative. The Barents region with its proximity to the Arctic makes it a sensitive area. With all the talk about melting ice and the fight over natural resources this can look like a demonstration of power from NATO’s side.” [12]

Ofog, another Swedish peace group, announced on June 8 that it was deploying activists to a bombing range near the Vidsel Air Base in Norrbotten to “stop the preparation of war crimes” and to “prevent NATO from bombing the area further.” [13]

The group issued a press release that said “Just like NATO we will be in the air, on the land and in the sea. We will do everything in our power to show NATO that their business is hideous and deadly.

“NATO is not a defensive alliance. It is the world’s largest nuclear weapons club and war machine.” [14]

On the second day of the exercises, June 10th, five members of Ofog were arrested after penetrating the bombing range.

Six more members were arrested as the NATO bombing continued and one of the Ofog activists at the range, Miriam Cordts, said: “NATO is the world’s biggest war machine and nuclear weapons club. This aerial exercise in northern Sweden is their largest this year and is designed to make the NATO Response Force even more able to attack wherever they want. 90% of those who are killed in NATO’s wars are civilians. It is our responsibility as human beings to do all we can to stop this exercise.” [15]

The Ofog activists’ intention was to bring a halt to the bombing with their presence, but the NATO exercise continued.

A spokesman for the group commented, “We know that NATO bombs civilians, but this is the first time they have threatened to bomb civilians in Sweden” [16]

Sweden, though not yet a full member of NATO, is hosting the exercises through obligations to the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program and in doing so advancing ever closer to complete NATO integration despite opposition by the majority of Swedes.

Sweden In NATO: Neutrality Is Past Tense

The groundwork for Sweden’s incorporation into NATO has been methodically planned for years.

In mid-May Member of Parliament and Liberal Party foreign policy spokesperson Birgitta Ohlsson stated that “For me, and for the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), it is more evident than ever before that Sweden should be a member of NATO. Political parties can’t just follow public opinion, they have to influence it too – and isolationism is very passe.” [17]

Shortly thereafter the nation’s defense minister, Sten Tolgfors, announced the “biggest restructuring of Sweden’s armed forces in modern times” and that “Sweden will, for the first time in many decades, have one defense organization.”

What he meant was defined more clearly when he added, “Today, we have a force with one organization for national use, based on a conscript system, and another for international use, based on standing units.

“We will reform our defense based on the lessons we learned from our lead-nation position with the Nordic Battle Group. We will have a battle-group-based defense in the future.

“We have built the Nordic Battle Group together. We are together with Finland in Afghanistan.”

That Afghanistan wasn’t the only rationale behind Sweden’s increased militarization and integration into NATO structures was revealed when Tolgfors, while speaking of the Loyal Arrow exercises in June, said, “Russia has certainly raised its tone of voice over the last couple of years….” [18]

Two days later he visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels where he met with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and “briefed the Secretary General on the upcoming transformation of Sweden’s defence capabilities, which should make Swedish forces more efficient, more deployable and more capable of conducting international operations.” [19]

Four days before NATO launched the Loyal Arrow war games, Sweden’s ambassador to France, Gunnar Lund, “speaking on behalf of Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt,” promoted the use of a five-nation Nordic contingent of the European Union’s battle groups (to function under NATO’s lead through the Berlin Plus and related agreements) in saying “On the military side, I would like to draw your attention to the use of battle groups – a potentially very useful tool to the support of international peace and security.”

The Swedish government regretted that the EU hadn’t earlier employed the Nordic battle group – with forces from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Ireland and Estonia – and “did not give the green light to sending it to Chad and the Central African Republic last year.” [20]

(Sweden, Finland and Ireland are three-fifths of Europe’s remaining – nominal – neutral nations, the other two being Switzerland and Austria. All five have now deployed military contingents of varying sizes to serve under NATO in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In Switzerland a peace group, Switzerland without an Army, “accus[ing] the government of trying to move neutral Switzerland to the NATO military alliance,” recently turned in over 100,000 signatures – the amount required to introduce legislation in the parliament – to the federal government against a proposed purchase of new fighter jets to insure NATO interoperability.)

1,300 Kilometer Border With Russia: NATO Integrates Finland

Last month a meeting of the Nordic Defence Ministerial [the defense chiefs of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland; there is also a joint Nordic-Baltic Defence Ministerial) occurred in Finland where the defense ministries of the five nations “discussed security developments in Northern Europe and exchanged views on the ongoing national defence transformation processes” and “evaluated common challenges in Africa and Afghanistan.”

“The ministers discussed developments in the High North and possibilities for Nordic cooperation there.

“Similarly, they analyzed possibilities for enhanced Nordic cooperation in the Baltic Sea.” [21]

This came shortly after “Former Norwegian foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg…concluded in a report on Nordic defence cooperation that the five Nordic countries should strengthen security cooperation in the Arctic….” [22]

Less than a week later U.S. Air Force pilots were in Finland to train their counterparts in air refueling procedures of the sort used for long-distance missions, including warfare.

According to the operations officer of the Finnish Air Force’s 21st Fighter Squadron, “a captain who asked to remain anonymous due to government policy,” the week-long exercises with Navy F-18 Hornets and an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, “help[ed] the squadron, and the service as a whole, meet a government requirement to be able to deploy outside Finland to support NATO forces. Although Finland is not a member of NATO, it is a part of the organization’s Partnership of Peace program, which USAFE [U.S. Air Forces in Europe] also supports.

“This opens our eyes to a much wider operating area.”

The report from which the above comes informed readers that “It’s the first time U.S. Air Forces in Europe has deployed a tanker team to Finland for an air-to-air refueling operation.” [23]

On May 25 of this year the Finnish foreign trade and development minister, Paavo Vayrynen of the Centre Party, said his party’s partner in the ruling coalition, the conservative National Coalition Party, “had mounted a sustained campaign to mould public opinion behind NATO membership.” [24]

Similar initiatives, concerted and surreptitious, to drag nations into NATO against the will of a clear majority of their populations are underway in Sweden and Cyrpus, inter alia.

From June 1-4 NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT), based in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Finnish Defence Forces conducted a NPETN [NATO & Partners’ Education and Training Portal] in Helsinki.

A Turkish air force colonel assigned to NPETN described the program as “basically a human network that provides a venue to the members including the NATO Defense College, Joint Warfare Centre, Joint Force Training Centre, NATO School, NATO Communications and Information Systems School, NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre, NATO Centres of Excellence, and NATO and Partner Nation’s military education and training centres.” [25]

The three-day conference wasn’t a bilateral affair between NATO’s headquarters in the United States and Finland, however, as it took in nations from no fewer than five continents.

“For the first time in conference history, a representative from Australia, a NATO Contact Country, will attend the discussions.”

The same Turkish NATO representative quoted earlier said, “The conference gives us the opportunity to reach our goals because we will have more input from our Partner Nations, representatives from NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), Contact Countries (CC).” [26]

With NATO’s 28 full members, 25 Partnership for Peace candidates, seven members of the Mediterranean Dialogue, six of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative [the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council) and several Contact Countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, etc., the number adds up to nearly a third of the 192 nations in the world.

On the day after the NATO conference in Finland’s capital ended, the nation’s police arrested six peace activists for painting NATO symbols in – blood – red on the walls of the Finnish Defence Command headquarters in Helsinki.

The group, Muurinmurtajat, released a statement saying “it wanted to draw attention to how the practical work of bringing Finland militarily closer to NATO is being done at the Defence Command.” [27]

Five days later the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Finland on defense technology.

“Finland is a long-standing participant in the NATO Partnership for Peace programme with a strong track record of contributing to NATO missions and exercises.

“Sweden was the first partner country to sign a similar agreement with NC3A in 2007.” [28]

On the same day the Finnish armed forces began “their largest military exercise in decades.”

Maanvyory 2009 (Landslide 2009) includes “18,000 service men, including 7,000 reservists from all three branches of the service.” [29]

Norway: NATO Moves Its Military Into The Arctic

On June 2nd it was announced that Norway will move its Operational Command Headquarters from the south of the nation at Stavanger north to Reitan outside Bodo, “thus making Norway the first country to move its military command leadership to the Arctic.”

“The move is in line with the Government’s increased focus on the northern regions. With the new location above the Arctic Circle, Norway’s supreme operational command will gain first hand contact with all questions concerning the High North.” [30]

During a meeting of NATO parliamentarians in Oslo from May 22-26 NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer held meetings with Prime Minister Stoltenberg, Foreign Minister Store and Defence Minister Strom-Erichsen and had an audience with King Harald V. “Discussions focused on NATO’s post-summit agenda, including the upcoming update of the Alliance Strategic Concept, relations with Russia and new security challenges facing Allies.” [31]

At the same meeting of NATO parliamentarians Norwegian cabinet members told the participants that “NATO should increase its role in the High North,” with State Secretary for Defence Espen Barth Eide insisting “that the High North should be addressed by the next reorganisation of the NATO command structure….” [32]

Norwegian Ambassador to NATO, Kim Traavik, escorted the ambassadors of five fellow NATO countries on a “study trip” to the north of the country after the parliamentarians meeting ended to inspect the site of the intended future conflict.

A week before, Norwegian Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen “outlined the importance of shaping a common position in defence and security matters concerning the High North. The Minister particularly called for ‘strengthening the relevance of NATO.’ Considering Russia’s recent push in its military and economic spheres in the Arctic Sea, Strom-Erichsen sees a worrying potential for a possible destabilisation in the region.” [33]

The defense chief in her own words:

“The Alliance is at the core of the security and defence strategies of all but one Arctic Ocean state. It therefore cannot avoid defining its role in the area. The challenge will be to devise policies that address fundamental Western security interests….” [34]

At the current time NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is conducting a CWID [Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration] in Lillehammer, Norway from June 1-26 “with particular emphasis on those that would be deployed with NATO-led operations such as Article 5 Response, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Active Endeavour, Kosovo Force or within a NATO Response Force (NRF)….” [35]

An Article 5 response means activating NATO’s collective military assistance provision as has been done with the nearly eight-year-old Afghan war.

On June 6th it was reported that Norway had established a historical record in arms exports and that “Most of the export of Norwegian defence material goes to NATO member nations and to Sweden and Finland.” [36]

Further Encroachment On Russia: NATO In The Baltic Sea

It was reported late last month that NATO would continue its rotational air patrols over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania until at least 2020. [37] As has been mentioned by Russian officials, the NATO warplanes involved are a five-minute flight from Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.

The Baltic Eagle NATO Response Force (NRF-14) multinational exercise is being conducted from June 2-18 in the Adazi Military Area in Latvia to prepare the Baltic Battalion of Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian armed forces “to test the combat readiness level of the unit.”

“According to the exercise scenario, the troops will deploy into the region of a military conflict and will conduct a wide scale of operations….A significant number of modern weaponry and equipment, including third generation Spike anti-tank guided missiles, modern heavy SISU 8×8 multi purpose transporters, SISU armored personnel carriers, personal assault rifles G36, and others, will be used in the exercise….”

The Baltic Battalion is a component of the NATO Response Force which in turn “is a highly ready and technologically advanced force of the Alliance made up of land, air, sea and special forces components that can deploy quickly wherever needed. It is self-sustainable and capable of performing missions worldwide across the whole spectrum of operations.” [38]

During the same period the U.S. Navy has been leading the annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercises in the region.

“Maritime forces from 12 countries will participate in the largest multinational naval exercise this year in the Baltic Sea June 8-19.

“The Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise is an annual event aimed at improving interoperability and cooperation among regional allies” and this years includes naval forces from the US, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.” [39]

Present are American Rear Adm. John N. Christenson, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 12, and Swedish Rear Adm. Anders Grenstad, commander of the Maritime Component Command and “the Swedish equivalent of the U.S. Navy’s chief of naval operations.” [40]

Five days before BALTOPS 2009 began, the USS Mount Whitney – the flagship of the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet and the command and control ship for the Commander Joint Command Lisbon and the Commander Striking Force NATO, deployed against Russia in the Black Sea after last August’s Caucasus war – arrived off the coast of Lithuania and hosted American expatriate and current Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus.

The latter used the occasion to affirm that “On behalf of the entire nation, the Mount Whitney’s presence is significant to the entire country. It shows respect, provides additional strength and belief to fight for their commitment, but most importantly, the solidarity of the NATO community.”

The U.S. commander responded with, “I would like to publicly thank Lithuania for their [sic] support in Kosovo, Iraq, and especially Afghanistan.” [41]

German Navy, Air Force Return To Neighborhood Of Leningrad

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung toured the Baltics last week and met with his Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts to “discuss…pressing issues within NATO and the European Union” and to “strengthen the well-functioning security relations with the three Baltic states.” [42]

German warplanes are to take over the NATO Baltic patrol later this year, which is sure to conjure up memories among those in St. Petersburg old enough to have survived the 900-day siege of the city when it was Leningrad.

As is the arrival of the German navy recently. “A German auxiliary repair ship, one of 10 German units, provides support to more than 40 allied ships participating in [the] Baltic Operations exercise 2009 here….” [43]

NATO’s Main Base On The Baltic: Poland

In mid-May a senior Polish defense official stated that “Poland expects a U.S. Patriot battery to be deployed on its soil in 2009 regardless of whether President Barack Obama opts to press ahead with missile defence plans in Europe” and urged NATO “not to neglect potential security threats closer to home in Europe and…expressed [the Polish government’s] willingness to host alliance infrastructure.” [44]

Washington was quick to oblige: “The U.S. Department of State has confirmed that the Patriot missile battery will be deployed in Poland regardless of what happens with plans for the missile shield system.” [45]

Three days later the Financial Times reported that in relation to the Pentagon stationing Patriot missiles in Poland “talks were on track for the completion of final agreements in July, followed by a deployment of 100-110 US soldiers and 196 missiles by the year-end.”

Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski was quoted as saying, “This will be the first time US soldiers are stationed on Polish soil, other than those who come under NATO control, on exercises for example….This will be symbolic for Poland.” [46]

In early June Polish President Donald Tusk affirmed “that Poland had not changed its mind about the U. S. anti-missile shield,” [47] specifically the stationing of 10 American ground-based interceptor missiles in Redzikowo, northern Poland, site of a former Nazi German Luftwaffe airbase, another historical parallel that should make any informed and sensible Russian nervous.

Late last week Polish government spokesman Pawel Gras said that “the bilateral agreement on the deployment of a U.S.-sponsored anti-missile shield in Poland provided for the delivery of a combat-ready battery” and that planned U.S. Patriot missiles would be “armed and stationed permanently.” [48]

On the same day Poland’s Defense Minister Bogdan Klich “announced that NATO will locate the Joint Battle Command Centre in Bydgoszcz, northern Poland, following a decision by defense ministers at a NATO meeting in Brussels.” [49] The Joint Battle Command Centre will be added to the NATO Joint Forces Training Center already in Bydgoszcz.

A meeting of NATO defense chiefs was held in Brussels on June 11 and included the defense ministers of all 28 NATO and 22 partner states; the heads of fifty national militaries discussed the war in Afghanistan, the occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo, naval operations off the coast of Somalia and the Georgian-Russian conflict in the South Caucasus.

The defense chiefs of half a hundred nations not only discussed military operations in three continents but in addition “members of the Nuclear Planning Group held consultations on key current issues related to the Alliance’s nuclear policy.” [50]

The central component of NATO’s 21st Century new Strategic Concept currently being crafted is a continuation and intensification of the bloc’s drive east and Poland is marked for a large share of its military deployments and infrastructure.

Poland’s Defense Minister Klich “highlight[ed] the fact that NATO has decided to heavily invest in Poland by modernizing military infrastructure including air and sea bases.”

The sea bases will be on the Baltic and the air bases within easy striking distance of Russia and its two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Klich offered details on the plans decided upon by NATO last Thursday in revealing that “The Alliance has made the decision to open a new NATO cell, a new joint regiment within NATO. According to the decision, commanders from three regiments will be located in Bydgoszcz.”

“In Bydgoszcz, we will have the permanent commanders of the battalion and other components: one of the six joint mobile modules, a security component and logistics and support operators.” [51] The unit stationed in Poland will be composed of approximately 200 NATO soldiers.

Several days earlier Klich invited the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Russia’s neighbor Ukraine to join a collective international expeditionary brigade, for alleged peacekeeping operations.

“The Polish defense minister…said that the talks dealt with Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO and the European Union, as well as the countries’ role in military operations, including Ukrainian servicemen’s participation in operations in Afghanistan….The parties also discussed assistance to Ukraine in its efforts to join NATO….

“Ukrainian and Polish defense ministers Yuriy Yekhanurov and Bogdan Klich have invited the Baltic states to join the initiative on the formation of a joint peacekeeping brigade.” [52]

The First American War Against Russia In The Arctic: Lessons Learned And Not Learned

From May 11-21 NATO held the twice-annual Joint Warrior war games – Europe’s largest military exercise – off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, which connects with the Norwegian Sea bordering the Arctic Ocean.

“More than 20 warships, 75 aircraft and hundreds of personnel were tested in various scenarios” including one in which “a task group of 33 ships and French marines were sent into the fictitious Northern Dispute Zone to tackle the ‘Dragonians’ who had been harassing the ‘Caledonians’ and ‘Avalonians’.

“Soldiers, sailors and air crews from Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US were also involved.” [53]

According to the same source the autumn Joint Warrior exercises will be extended from two to three weeks this year.

Regarding American participation in last month’s drills, “USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 193), and COMDESRON 24 took part in the scenario-driven engagement, along with vessels from nine other members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO). [The Joint warrior] exercise [is] expected to increase fleet efficiency and battle readiness for U.S. and allied navies alike.” [54]

On the other end of the Arctic, from June 15-26 the U.S. will conduct operation Northern Edge 2009 in Alaska which will include “More than 200 aircraft, including B-52s, F-16s and Blackhawk helicopters….In addition, the USS John C. Stennis and its carrier strike group will be operating out of the Gulf of Alaska during the exercises. The nuclear-powered supercarrier has an air wing of more than 70 aircraft and a crew of 5,000 sailors.” [55]

In a feature from a newspaper in the state of Michigan on May 28th, a review of a documentary film included this commentary on an American military unit deployed to Russia’s Arctic region in the ending days of World War I:

“[The] Polar Bear Expedition saw some 5,500 soldiers sent to Archangel, Russia, near the Arctic Circle, in September 1918, just two months before the armistice would end the war. The expedition took shape after the 1917 Russian Revolution, when Russia signed a separate peace with Germany and pulled out of the war.

“At the urging of Winston Churchill – then in the British war office – President Woodrow Wilson…agreed to furnish troops to support the anti-Communist White Russian army. The Americans and some Canadians, who thought they were headed to France, were placed under British command.”

U.S. Senator Carl Levin was present for the screening of the documentary and told the audience, “There are lessons to be learned in history; there are lessons here….The lesson is we must be clear in our mission.” [56]

There are lessons, indeed. American troops fought on Russian soil and ended up on the losing side. This is not the lesson that Levin and the political and military leadership of NATO countries as a whole have learned and so risk repeating them on a far grander and more dangerous scale.

1) National Security Presidential Directive 66
2) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
3) Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Stop NATO, June 3, 2009
4) Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2009
5) Allied Air Component Command HQ Ramstein, April 9, 2009
6) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, June 8, 2009
7) Barents Observer, June 8, 2009
8) “Lapistan” inte bra sager Nato, Norrbottens-Kuriren via Wikipedia
9) Aftonbladet, June 5 by way of Stefan Lindgren
10) Barents Observer, June 8, 2009
11) Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2009
12) Sveriges Radio via Barents Observer, June 8, 2009
13) The Local, June 10, 2009
14) The Local, June 8, 2009
15) From Agneta Norberg
16) Ibid
17) The Local, May 12, 2009
18) Defense News, May 17, 2009
19) NATO, May 19, 2009
20) Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2009
21) Defense Professionals, May 13, 2009
22) Barents Observer, May 12, 2009
23) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, May 18, 2009
24) NewsRoom Finland, May 25, 2009
25) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, May 29, 2009
26) Ibid
27) Helsinki Times, June 4, 2009
28) NATO International, June 9, 2009
29) Finnish Broadcasting Company, June 9, 2009
30) Barents Observer, June 2, 2009
31) NATO, May 26, 2009
32) Jane’s Defence Weekly, June 1, 2009
33) Norwegian Ministry of Defence, May 14, 2009
34) Ibid
35) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, May 18, 2009
36) Norway Post, June 6, 2009
37) Defense News, May 28, 2009
38) Lithuania Ministry of National Defence, May 28, 2009
39) U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Navy NewsStand, June 6, 2009
40) Ibid
41) United States European Command, June 3, 2009
42) United Press International, June 9, 2009
43) U.S. Naval Forces Europe, June 11, 2009
44) Reuters, May 18, 2009
45) Warsaw Voice, June 3, 2009
46) Financial Times, May 21, 2009
47) Trend News Agency, June 3, 2009
48) Xinhua News Agency, June 12, 2009
49) Polish Radio, June 12, 2009
50) NATO International, June 11, 2009
51) Polish Radio, June 12, 2009
52) Interfax-Ukraine, May 29, 2009
53) BBC News, May 22, 2009
54) United States Navy, Navy Newsstand, May 22, 2009
55) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, June 12, 2009
56) Hometown Life, May 28, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

June 10, 2009

Azerbaijan And The Caspian: NATO’s War For The World’s Heartland
Rick Rozoff

Welcoming Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to her haunts in Foggy Bottom in early May of this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could think of nothing more original to say than “Azerbaijan has a very strategic location that is one important not only to their country, but really, regionally and globally….” [1]

But what Clinton’s statement lacked in innovation it compensated for in accuracy. Azerbaijan is as strategically situated as any nation in the world within the current contest between Western plans for global military domination and control of energy resources and contrasting efforts by other nations to secure a peaceful and multipolar international order.

The nation of only slightly more than eight million people is nestled in the far southeast corner of the Caucasus on the coast of the Caspian Sea, bordering all the other Caucasus nations – Armenia, Georgia and Russia – on its northern and western borders and Iran on its southern one.

Even more than Turkey, Azerbaijan is that nation which links Europe with Asia and, neighboring Iran, also connects Eurasia with the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Strategic Energy Projects Of The 21st Century

The nation is also the linchpin in several Western oil and natural gas transit projects constituting what the U.S. White House calls the East-West Energy Corridor – the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline (delivering high-grade crude from Azerbaijan’s Caspian offshore Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields to Turkey’s deepwater Mediterranean terminal at Ceyhan), the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and the Nabucco/Southern Corridor natural gas pipelines – which in turn are linked with several extensions running from and to three continents as well as the Middle East.

These include transporting oil (and natural gas) from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the eastern shores of the Caspian to Azerbaijan – either by ship or under the sea – then to Georgia and Turkey, where one route will ship oil from the Black Sea coast of Georgia to the Ukrainian port city of Odessa and from there via pipeline to Brody and into Poland to Plock and then Gdansk on the Baltic Sea for further transportation to Germany and the rest of Europe.

Other branches of this vast transcontinental energy transport project include those carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field to Europe through the “Interconnector pipeline linking Turkey to Italy via Greece and the White Stream, which would run from Georgia to Romania across [or under] the Black Sea,” [2] and the proposed shipping of oil from Ceyhan in Turkey to the Israeli Mediterranean port city of Ashkelon and from there by pipeline to the Red Sea port of Eilat where it can be shipped on tankers across the Indian Ocean to East Asia. Last year it was announced that “the pipeline company Ashkelon-Eylat [Eilat] initiated a channel for transportation of oil from the Turkish Ceyhan port to East Asia by using Israel’s infrastructure.” [3]

The last-named presents the eventual prospect of oil emanating from as far east as Kazakhstan, which borders China, being shipped across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, then through the South Caucasus to Turkey, from there down the Mediterranean coast to Israel, and later shipped through the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean and back to East Asia.

During the European Union summit in Prague on May 7 of this year it was announced that the Nabucco gas pipeline – planned to transport natural gas from Erzurum, Turkey where the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey gas pipeline ends, to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary – would be fed by natural gas from Northern Iraq through Turkey and from Egypt.

“After meeting with EU officials, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia and Turkey signed a joint declaration on the Southern Corridor [Nabucco] that involves countries from Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Mashreq [Jordan, Lebanon, Syria] and the Middle East.” [4]

“[Iraqi] supplies will be sufficient to feed the long-planned Nabucco pipeline, which proposes pumping gas to Austria via Turkey.

“The pipeline would reduce Europe’s dependency on gas from Russia.

“Iraq has the world’s tenth-largest gas reserves, and the world’s third largest supply of crude oil.

“A consortium of oil companies plans to revive a project to supply Europe with gas from northern Iraq.” [5]

Azerbaijan: Central Link In Extended Chain

At the very center of this unprecedentedly wide-ranging energy transit nexus is a small country with a population only slightly larger than that of New York City, Azerbaijan.

And Azerbaijan is neither solely a transit state like Georgia and Turkey nor only an exporting nation like Kazakhstan, Iraq and Egypt, but both an oil- and natural gas-producing country and the very hub of a transportation network whose spokes reach out in almost all directions. All, that is, except for Russia and Iran, both neighboring Azerbaijan, which are deliberately circumvented in the energy routes listed above.

And without Azerbaijan’s participation various Western trans-Caspian and trans-Eurasian energy, transportation and military projects would have no central and unifying base.

Before Cold War Was Even Cold: NATO’s Designs On Former Soviet Space

The foundation of Western plans for Azerbaijan’s role in not only regional but ultimately global energy strategies began immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the same year. After three and a half years of negotiations the so-called Contract of the Century was signed in the capital of Baku in 1994 with British Petroleum and other foreign oil companies including the American Amoco, Pennzoil, UNOCAL, McDermott and Delta Nimir firms.

The pivotal Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project was agreed upon in 1998 and went into effect in 2006.

In March of this year the Azerbaijani government announced that its military expenditures had increased 9.7 times – almost 1,000% – over the past five years. Neighboring nation and fellow NATO outpost Georgia has registered a similar increase in the same period. In both cases income from oil and natural gas export and transport played a large role in funding this monumental percentage increase. Oil for war.

In this morning’s Azerbaijan press the head of NATO’s Defense and Security Economics Directorate, Michael Gaul, is quoted as saying that “NATO realizes the whole importance of the Nabucco project and backs Azerbaijan.”

The same source added that “NATO can render assistance in [the] provision of pipeline security.” [6]

Ten days earlier the Russian ambassador to Brussels Vladimir Chizov warned “that Moscow is skeptical about any possible involvement of NATO” in arrogating to itself the right to police oil and gas pipelines and other means of transit from the Caspian. [7]

On May 6th Azerbaijan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Araz Azimov – addressing a conference in his nation’s capital called NATO-Azerbaijan: Assessing the Past, Looking at the Future – “said a new era started for NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union, adding newly established states in Eastern Europe and the issues of their independence were included in the new Strategic Concept of NATO which was prepared during the Rome Summit in 1991.” [8]

That is, even before the recently fragmented remains of the Soviet Union could regenerate themselves, NATO had plans in place to absorb them. And Azerbaijan was among the priorities, if not the main one.

NATO formally established ties with the country in 1992 by bringing it into the North Atlantic Cooperation Council [the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council since 1997], the format the Alliance employs for coordinating relations between members and various partners and candidates.

Two years later Azerbaijan was one of the first nations to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program that trains affiliates for eventual full membership.

Challenging Post-Soviet Commonwealth Of Independent States

It was also chosen to be not only a member but the nucleus of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) bloc formed in 1997 to create the basis for subsequent energy and military projects and to pull nations away from the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with Russia, effectively a second generation breaking up of Soviet space. The GUAM project was an initiative of the Clinton administration like the oil and gas Contract of the Century and its first realization, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which were continued and consolidated through the Bush and into the Obama presidency.

GUAM, now expanded to include Armenia and Belarus with the European Union’s Eastern Partnership, a subject explored in an earlier article in this series [9], is a de facto mechanism for NATO integration and membership.

A letter from U.S. President Barack Obama was read to the opening ceremony of the Sixteenth International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference in the Azerbaijani capital last week which included this:

“Your success is exemplified in Azerbaijan’s invitation to international investors in the mid-1990s to develop its oil and gas fields, and the realization of the East-West Energy Corridor, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and South Caucasus gas pipeline.” [10]

NATO’s Forward Operating Base At Border of Europe And Asia

Anyone visiting the capital recently would be forgiven for thinking he was in Brussels rather than Baku and perhaps at NATO Headquarters at that. If the matter was not so deadly serious it might be observed that the Azerbaijani capital resembles a gigantic NATO theme park.

Since the beginning of last month the nation has announced, hosted or been the subject of: On May 1st a spokesman of the Defense Ministry boasted that “thousands of Azerbaijani military men have participated in more than 200 activities of NATO through the last year.” [11]

The preceding day the Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev held a joint press conference at NATO Headquarters in Belgium, where the NATO chief informed the press that “It goes without saying that Azerbaijan is a very important player in the region, but also beyond, as a nation which is crucial in the very important area of energy, and energy security is a highly valued and highly respected partner of NATO.

“[O]nly last year in almost 200 events, Azerbaijan participated in the framework of our cooperation with NATO. We highly value this partnership. Azerbaijan is redoubling its military presence in Afghanistan.”

The Azeri president said:

“We discussed energy security and energy cooperation today, and we cannot consider the general security of the region regardless [of] energy security. Energy security, energy cooperation become more important in today’s world….So far our role was limited by regional dimensions. But now I think there are very good prospects for mutual cooperation on a global scale. Our pipelines and oil and gas resources serve today’s stability and the security of the region, and in the future will serve…global energy security.” [12]

On May 5th former Turkish foreign minister and current NATO senior civil officer in Afghanistan Hikmet Cetin was in Baku and asserted “[O]ne day Azerbaijan will be a full-fledged NATO member” and in addition “NATO is counting on expanding its activity in the South Caucasus states by admitting them as members.” [13]

He also applauded Turkey’s role in that process, affirming it “has been playing a key role in bringing Azerbaijan`s armed forces in line with NATO standards.” [14]

The same day the U.S. Defense Department’s Deputy Assistant for European and NATO Policy Mary Warwick arrived in the Azerbaijani capital to attend the NATO-Azerbaijan: Assessing the Past, Looking at the Future conference commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the nation joining the NATO Partnership for Peace program.

A video address to the conference by NATO Secretary General Scheffer communicated the fact that “he highly appreciated Azerbaijan’s participation in the ISAF program in Afghanistan” and quoted him saying “We are working with Azerbaijan as a reliable partner in the field of regional security.” [15]

Azerbaijan General Major and Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations Etibar Mirzayev used the occasion to state “We want some NATO exercises to be held in Azerbaijan,” and elaborated by saying “We propose to hold some NATO exercises in Azerbaijan. Sea rescue, oil pipelines security and other exercises can be held in Azerbaijan.” [16]

On May 12th Robert Pszczel, NATO’s Deputy Press Secretary, said that “Azerbaijan is one of the most active participants in military exercises” and “There is a bright future in co-operation between Azerbaijan and NATO. A number of issues, particularly the country’s role as a main energy exporter, bear huge importance….” [17]

The same day the Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Nicolae Ureche, whose country has been tasked by the Alliance to be the main liaison for Baku’s NATO integration, stated that “Azerbaijan’s strategic location may be beneficial for NATO in case of it joining the alliance” at the European Security and NATO conference, adding “One of the advantages is the country’s strategic location on the South Caucasus, as an important transit route.” [18]

The following day Azerbaijan`s Defense Industry Minister Yavar Jamalov hosted former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh and the two “discussed prospects for boosting military cooperation between the two countries.” [19]

Azerbaijan-Israel-NATO Connection: Armenia And Iran Targeted

Israeli President Shimon Peres is expected in Azerbaijan on June 28 to consolidate energy and military ties with Baku, much as Tel Aviv has done with Azerbaijan’s neighbor, Georgia, modeling both relationships after those with Turkey.

Last September Israel concluded a weapons deal with Azerbaijan worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“According to agreements signed by the Defense Ministry and the government of Azerbaijan, which borders on Iran, Israel will sell the southern Caucasus state ammunition, mortars and radio equipment.

“Foreign news outlets have reported that the two countries maintain intelligence and security contacts. The bolstering of these ties has reportedly been achieved by former Mossad agent Michael Ross.”

And on the other end of the Caspian Sea, “Israeli companies have also recently signed deals worth tens of millions of dollars with Kazakhstan.” [20]

An Azeri press agency revealed that military cooperation with Israel was no new phenomenon as “Israel was supplying weapons to Baku in the period of the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh” and “US sources stated at different times that Mossad helped Azerbaijani special services” and “that Israeli points of radioelectronic reconnaissance are set on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.” [21]

The above developments alarmed Armenia, still at conflict with its neighbor over Nagorno Karabakh. In an article of last October, shortly after the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in the South Caucasus, called “Israel selling weapons to Azerbaijan fuels possibility of new war,” an Armenian website contended that “A dangerous pattern is emerging in the Caucasus with new reports that Israel is continuing to sell advanced military armaments to Azerbaijan, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The above feature quotes a former chairman of the Armenian Assembly of America as saying, “They [the Israelis] sell these arms at a time when Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, has repeatedly threatened to recapture Nagorno Karabakh by military force.” [22]

At the fifteenth anniversary NATO conference in Azerbaijan early in May Turkey’s Hikmet Cetin said of the lingering Nagorno Karabakh conflict:

“I think not only the Minsk Group, but the USA, Turkey and Russia, as well as NATO can reach [a] solution to the problem.

“NATO has larger opportunities and therefore I consider that NATO should be involved in the process.” [23]

Azerbaijan and the West: Strategic Partnership At Eurasia`s Crossroads

On May 14 the American think tank the Jamestown Foundation hosted a conference in Washington called Azerbaijan and the West: Strategic Partnership at Eurasia`s Crossroads at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Speakers included former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Daniel Fata, now with the Cohen Group of second term Clinton administration Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

A few days later it was announced that Azerbaijani troops would participate in several NATO Partnership for Peace military trainings including in fellow GUAM state Ukraine where they would be given a “tour of the military facilities in Simferopol and Sevastopol.” The two cities are in the Crimea where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based. [24]

In a May 19th report called “Azerbaijani, US militaries hold joint events” a local news source noted that “The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry is holding joint military events with the United States in Baku…in accordance with the bilateral cooperation plan signed between Azerbaijan and the United States,” and that “a business meeting is being held on May 18-22 to support the implementation of the Strategic Defense Review and development of final documents.” [25]

To demonstrate how thoroughly NATO’s efforts are progressing in the drive to infiltrate every aspect of the country’s existence, two days later “NATO’s representative in Azerbaijan’s Romanian embassy and the NATO International School in Azerbaijan (NISA) organized a roundtable on the theme [of] NATO and Azerbaijani youth.” [26]

On the same day it was reported that NATO Supreme Allied Commander and the U.S. European Command chief General Bantz John Craddock met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on the topic of “implementing fruitful bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and the USA.” [27]

In the same visit to the capital of Azerbaijan Craddock also met with the country’s Defense Minister Safar Abiyev and “hailed Azerbaijan`s contribution to the international security system and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.” [28]

Early this month Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov was in Brussels to attend the Azerbaijan’s European and Euro-Atlantic Integration – Trends and Future Prospects conference which was addressed by Assistant Secretary General of NATO Jean-Francois Bureau, Permanent Representative of Romania to NATO Sorin Ducaru and Deputy Director of the International Military Staff of NATO Maj. Gen. Georges Lebel.

For whatever the distinction is worth, the meeting was nominally under European Union auspices.

At the same time the Pentagon was conducting a workshop in Baku in conjunction with the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry as part of bilateral military agreements.

First Full NATO Member In Caucasus: “Azerbaijan Is NATO’s Strategic Point In The South Caucasus”

On June 4th the George Soros Open Society Institute’s EurasiaNet website ran an article entitled “Azerbaijan: Baku Can Leapfrog Over Ukraine, Georgia For NATO Membership” and included the claim that “A senior source within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Joint Force Command has told EurasiaNet that Azerbaijan stands a better chance of gaining NATO membership in the near future than either Georgia or Ukraine.”

The feature went on to say that “Earlier, the perception in both Brussels [North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] headquarters] and Baku was that Georgia should integrate into NATO first and Azerbaijan should follow.

“However, the situation has changed and it might be that in the year to come Azerbaijan will become the frontrunner. Baku may enter NATO earlier than Ukraine and Georgia.

“‘If Azerbaijan opted to petition for NATO accession, ‘no one could stop it. And if NATO will decide to accept Azerbaijan, Russia would hardly be able to hold it back.'” [29]

The same report concluded by adding: “A NATO diplomatic source, who did not want to be named, said some key officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels were pushing hard for engaging Azerbaijan on the membership question. ‘Turkey, Romania, Italy, Poland, [the] UK and [the] Baltic states,’ are among the member-states also backing a fast track for Azerbaijan’s NATO membership, the diplomatic source said.”

Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan and official NATO point man for the country Nicolae Ureche, also pointing out the nation’s strategic location (“The case for Azerbaijan comes down to geography and energy”), is quoted as saying that “Azerbaijan is NATO’s strategic point in the South Caucasus.” [30]

Today, June 10, Azerbaijan begin hosting its annual NATO week in Baku, actually a seventeen day “series of workshops, conferences and working meetings” including a “conference on the Role of Armed Forces and Law-Enforcement Organizations in Cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.”

NATO’s Partnership for Peace liaison officer for the South Caucasus, Poland’s Colonel Zbigniew Rybacki, flew in for the events. [31]

Yesterday the Azeri press announced that the nation was working on fifty NATO partnership projects and on the second phase of its NATO Individual Membership Action Plan. [32]

Also in attendance, Romania’s Secretary of State for Strategic Affairs Bogdan Aurescu assured the host government that the “alliance’s doors are open for the country,” [33]

On June 9, a day before the official opening of the extended NATO Week in Baku, Aurescu also delivered “a speech on the role of NATO in the 21st century at the NATO International School in Azerbaijan.”

Today he was a speaker at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council seminar Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities, also held in the Azerbaijani capital. [34]

Tomorrow the new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, will arrive as part of a three-day visit to the South Caucasus. While in Azerbaijan Gordon, former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton administration, “will discuss US-Azerbaijan cooperation on energy matters and security.” [35]

It was also reported today that on June 16-19 another conference, one billed as The Role of Reforms in Azerbaijani Law-Enforcement Bodies and Armed Forces in the Integration into the Euro Atlantic space, will be conducted and that “The conference will be held with the support of NATO and the Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan. NATO Liaison Officer in the South Caucasus region Zbigniew Rybacki will also attend the conference.” [36]

Romanian Foreign Ministry Secretary of State for Strategic Affairs Aurescu was quoted again today, this time stating:

“Energy security must be reflected in the coming NATO documents. Romania sees NATO’s role in support of regional initiatives and beginnings. Diversification of energy resources is a peculiar bridge which links Europe with the Caspian region.” [37]

U.S. Energy And Geopolitical Objectives Converge

The efforts by the State Department’s Philip Gordon will be joined with those of the new Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, Richard Morningstar, who was in the Azerbaijani capital on June 1-3 for the Caspian Oil and Gas international exhibition and conference.

While there Morningstar said, “Delivering its gas to Europe via the Southern Corridor, Azerbaijan will be able to establish strong relationships with the West,” and “We are ready to assist Azerbaijan in the delivery of hydrocarbons to markets.” [38]

“Morningstar’s remarks echoed a consistent theme of Washington’s since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent development of the Caspian’s hydrocarbon resources: that oil should move westwards along a Western-built and dominated energy corridor, bypassing both Russia and Iran.” [39]

He had traveled to fellow oil-rich Caspian nation Turkmenistan before arriving in Baku and left for Turkey afterward. While still in Baku Morningstar said, “These projects are very important in terms of diversification of energy sources and strategy. These projects will have a positive influence not only on Azerbaijan, but also on Turkmenistan and Iraq….”

When asked about Iran, a far more sensible supplier of and transit nation for Caspian hydrocarbons, he said, “Iran continues violating international commitments and posing a threat to peace and stability. Under these circumstances, it is too early for this country to realize its gas resources within any project….” [40]

Threat To Iran

U.S. and NATO forces are stationed in and have airbases or access to them in three nations that border Iran – Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan – and nearby in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania and Washington’s and Brussels’ military integration of Azerbaijan will add to the encirclement of the country. In addition, ethnic Azeris are the largest minority group in Iran, estimated to constitute some 25% of the nation’s population, and Azerbaijan could be used to foment separatist violence after the Yugoslav model, possibly in unison with a “velvet” or “color” uprising scenario as the national presidential election occurs in less than two days.

NATO’s role in expanding into the South Caucasus and in building a string of military bases from the Balkans to Central Asia has been dealt with in previous articles [41,42].

This past March the Pentagon’s U.S. European Command (EUCOM), whose commander is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, announced that it “will continue the Caspian Regional Maritime Security Cooperation Program with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in 2009….The United States is planning to continue its efforts toward coordination between the navies of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan within the program.” [43]

Not identified as such, the Pentagon’s plan to project military presence into the Caspian Sea Basin is a continuation of the Caspian Guard initiative of the first George W. Bush administration’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who launched the program in 2003 and by 2005 had allotted over $100 million dollars for it.

U.S. naval forces in the Caspian Sea, even if initially as advisers, are the equivalent of Russia and Iran signing an agreement with Canada to deploy military vessels in the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes, the American response to which wouldn’t be long in coming and wouldn’t be pacific.

Eurasian Heartland And Plans For Global Domination

Azerbaijan lies at the very center of what 20th century British geographer Halford Mackinder named the Heartland – Eurasia from Eastern Europe to China – control over which would guarantee domination of what he termed the World Island (Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East), which in turn would allow for control of the entire world.

It is also in the middle of what the contemporary adaptation of Mackinder’s model by the Russophobe and self-styled geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski refers to as the Eurasian Balkans.

Perhaps never before in modern history has such a small country as Azerbaijan been poised to play such a large role in the grand schemes of major powers.

1), May 6, 2009
2) Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009
3) Trend News Agency, July 24, 2008
4) Xinhua News Agency, May 9, 2009
5) BBC News, May 17, 2009
6) Azertag, May 6, 2009
7) New Europe, May 31, 2009
8) AzerTag, May 6, 2009
9) Stop NATO, February 13, 2009
Eastern Partnership: West’s Final Assault On Former Soviet Union
10), June 2, 2009
11), May 1, 2009
12) NATO International, April 30, 2009
13) Azerbaijan Business Center, May 5, 2009
14) Azertag, May 6, 2009
15) Azeri Press Agency, May 5, 2009
16) May 6, 2009
17), May 12, 2009
18) Trend News Agency, May 12, 2009
19) Azertag, May 13, 2009
20) Ha’aretz, September 26, 2008
21), September 26, 2008
22), October 16, 2008
23) Azeri Press Agency, May 7, 2009
24) Azeri Press Agency, May 19, 2009
25) Trend News Agency, May 19, 2009
26) Azeri Press Agency, May 21, 2009
27) Trend News Agency, May 21, 2009
28) Azertag, May 21, 2009
29) EurasiaNet, June 4, 2009
30) Ibid
31) Azeri Press Agency, June 5, 2009
32) Trend News Agency, June 9, 2009
33) Trend News Agency, June 9, 2009
34) Azeri Press Agency, June 8, 2009
35) Azeri Press Agency, June 10, 2009
36) Azeri Press Agency, June 10, 2009
37) Trend News Agency, June 10, 2009
38) Trend News Agency, June 1, 2009
39) United Press International, June 3, 2009
40) Azeri Press Agency, June 2, 2009
41) Stop NATO, April 7, 2009
42) Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
43) Azeri Press Agency, March 11, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

June 3, 2009

Canada: Battle Line In East-West Conflict Over The Arctic
Rick Rozoff

Referring to newly released documents, though not revealing what they were, a major Canadian news agency reported on May 26 that the government plans to acquire a “family” of aerial drones over the next decade. [1]

The dispatch was only two paragraphs long and could easily be overlooked, as one of the two intended purposes for expanding Canada’s reserve of military drones was for “failed or failing states.” Afghanistan is unquestionably one such deployment zone and Ottawa sent its first Israeli-made Heron drones there this January for NATO’s war in South Asia.

Another likely target for “dull, dirty and dangerous” missions suited for unmanned aircraft is Somalia, off the coast of which the frigate HMCS Winnipeg, carrying a Sea King helicopter it’s had occasion to use, is engaged with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) in forced boarding and other military operations. The use of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) in a likely extension of military actions on the Somali mainland would, unfortunately, not raise many eyebrows.

The last sentence in the brief report, though, says that “Senior commanders also foresee a growing role for drones in Canada, especially along the country’s coastlines and in the Arctic.”

To provide an indication of what Canada’s Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) has in mind for future use in the Arctic, a likely prospect is the “Heron TP, a 4,650-kilogram drone with the same wingspan as a Boeing 737,” which can “can carry a 1,000-kilogram payload and stay aloft for 36 hours at an altitude of about 15,000 metres” for “long-range Arctic and maritime patrols.” [2]

Project JUSTAS will “cost as much as $750 million and…give the Canadian military a capability that only a handful of other countries possess….” [3]

The day after the first news story mentioned above appeared the same press source summarized comments by Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay as affirming “The global economic downturn won’t prevent the Canadian Forces from spending $60 billion on new equipment.”

Although Canada’s federal deficit is expected to rise to $50 billion this year from $34 billion in 2008, “MacKay said the government’s long-term defence strategy would grow this year’s $19-billion annual defence budget to $30 billion by 2027. Over that time, that will mean close to $490 billion in defence spending, including $60 billion on new equipment.” [4]

It’s doubtful that many Canadians are aware of either development: Plans for advanced drones designed not only for surveillance but for firing missiles to be used in the Arctic and a major increase in the military budget of a nation that has already doubled its defense spending over the last decade.

Of those who do know of them, the question should arise of why a nation of 33 million which borders only one other country, the United States, its senior partner in NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and since 2006 increasingly the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM) would need to spend almost half a trillion dollars for arms in the next eighteen years. And why in addition to acquiring weapons for wars and other military operations in Europe, Asia and Africa, Canada would deploy some of its most state-of-the-art arms to the Arctic Circle.

A French writer of the 1800s wrote that cannon aren’t forged to be displayed in public parks. And the deployment of missile-wielding drones to its far north are not, contrary to frequent implications for domestic consumption by members of the current Stephen Harper government, meant to defend the nation’s sovereignty in the region; only one state threatens that sovereignty, the United States, and Ottawa has no desire to defend its interests against its southern neighbor.

Recent unparalleled Canadian military exercises and buildup in the Arctic, of which the proposed use of aerial drones is but the latest example, are aimed exclusively at another nation: Russia.

A document from 2007 posted on a website of the Canadian Parliament states, “In recent years, Canada has been asserting its nordicite (nordicity) with a louder voice and greater emphasis than before. Such renewed focus on the Arctic is largely linked to the anticipated effects of climate change in the region, which are expected to be among the greatest effects of any region on Earth. By making the region more easily accessible, both threats and opportunities are amplified and multiplied. Canada’s claims over the Arctic are thus likely to emerge as a more central dimension of our foreign relations. Hence, it appears timely to highlight the extent of Canada’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over Arctic waters and territory, and to identify issues that are controversial.” [5]

Canada’s Arctic claims extend all the way to the North Pole, as do Russia’s and Denmark’s, as long as Copenhagen retains ownership of Greenland.

The basis of the dispute between Canada and Russia is the Lomonosov Ridge which runs 1,800 kilometers from Russia’s New Siberian Islands through the center of the Arctic Ocean to Canada’s Ellesmere Island in the territory of Nunavut, part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Russia maintains that the Lomonosov Ridge and the related Mendeleyev Elevation are extensions of its continental shelf. Russia filed a claim to this effect in December of 2001 with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), renewing it in late 2007.

The answer to what is at stake with control of this vast stretch of the Arctic Ocean and that to the earlier question concerning Canada’s military escalation and expansion into the Arctic are both threefold.

Strategic Military Positioning For Nuclear War

Eleven days before vacating the White House on January 20th, U.S. President Bush W. Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 on Arctic Region Policy. [6]

The document states that “The United States is an Arctic nation, with varied and compelling interests in that region” and “The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.” [7]

Washington’s Arctic claims are based solely on its possession of Alaska, separated from the rest of the continental United States by 500 miles of Canadian territory.

National Security Directive 66 exploits Alaska’s position to demand U.S. rights to base both strategic military forces – long-range bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons and warships and submarines able to launch warheads – in the Arctic within easy striking distance of Russia, both to the latter’s east and over the North Pole.

It also, as indicated above, reserves the right to station so-called missile defense components in the area. The words missile defense are not as innocuous as they may appear. In the contemporary context they refer to plans by the United States and its allies to construct an international interceptor missile system connected with satellites and eventually missiles in space to be able to paralyze other nations’ strategic (long-range and nuclear) military potential and to prevent retaliation by said nations should they be the victims of a first strike.

U.S. and NATO interceptor missile silos and radar sites in Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and Britain to Russia’s West – already in place and planned – and an analogous structure in Alaska, Japan and Australia to the east of both Russia and China aim at the ability to target and destroy any intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and long-range bombers left undamaged after a massive military first strike from the U.S. and allied nations.

The term interceptor missile is deceptive. As America’s so-called missile defense plans prepare for knocking out ICBMs in not only the boost and terminal but the launch phases, it’s a single step from striking a missile as it’s being launched to doing so as it’s being readied for launch and as it is still in the silo.

Although in theory both a first strike missile attack and an interceptor missile response need not involve nuclear warheads, they are almost certain to if aimed against a nuclear power, which would be expected to retaliate with nuclear weapons.

The third leg of a nation’s nuclear triad, in addition to long-range bombers and land-based missiles, are submarines equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) capable of carrying nuclear warheads. These could be tracked by space surveillance and in the future hit by space-based missiles.

Russia is the only non-Western, non-NATO country with an effective nuclear triad.

Under the above scenario there is one spot on the earth where Russia could maintain a credible deterrent capability: Under the Arctic polar ice cap.

A report in 2007 said that “Amid great secrecy, NATO naval forces are trying to control the Arctic Ocean to continue the military bloc’s expansion to[ward] Russia, the newspaper Military Industry Herald reported….

“Like in the tensest times of the Cold War, troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are trying to take control of the Arctic route, said the newspaper….[T]he US Navy, in conjunction with its British allies, is meeting the challenge of displacing Russian submarines from the Arctic region.” [8]

The U.S. and Britain held Operation Ice Exercise 2007 under the polar cap and repeated the maneuvers earlier this year with Ice Exercise 2009.

During the 2007 exercises a U.S. Navy website revealed that “The submarine force continues to use the Arctic Ocean as an alternate route for shifting submarines between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans….Submarines can reach the western Pacific directly by transiting through international waters of the Arctic rather than through the Panama Canal.” [9]

The subject of employing the Arctic, especially the long-fabled and now practicable, navigable Northwest Passage, for both civilian and military transit will be examined with the second component in the battle for the Arctic.

Also in 2007 Barry L. Campbell, head of operations at the U.S. Navy Arctic Submarine Laboratory, in referring to joint NATO war plans for the Arctic, said: “We’re a worldwide Navy and the Navy’s position is we should be able to operate in any ocean in the world….When you go through the Arctic, no one knows you’re there….We expect all our subs to be able to operate in the Arctic….Our strategic position is to be able to operate anywhere in the world, and we see the Arctic as part of that….[I]f we ever did have to fight a battle under there it would be a joint operation.” [10]

In a previous article in this series, NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic [11], it was observed that “with U.S. and NATO missile and satellite radar and interceptor missile facilities around the world and in space, the only place where Russia could retain a deterrence and/or retaliatory capacity against a crushing nuclear first strike is under the polar ice cap….[W]ithout this capability Russia could be rendered completely defenseless in the event of a first strike nuclear attack.”

In 2006 a Russian military press source quoted Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Masorin commenting on the requirement for Russian submarines to maintain a presence under the Arctic polar ice cap: “[T]raining is needed to help strategic submarines of the Russian Fleet head for the Arctic ice region, which is the least vulnerable to an adversary’s monitoring, and prepare for a response to a ballistic missile strike in the event of a nuclear conflict.

“In order to be able to fulfill this task – I mean the task of preserving strategic submarines – it is necessary to train Russian submariners to maneuver under the Arctic ice.” [12]

Northwest Passage Could Transform Global Civilian, Military Shipping: Canada Confronts Russia

In recent years a direct shipping route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific in the Northern Hemisphere through the Northwest Passage has presented the prospect of cutting thousands of kilometers and several days if not weeks for ships – civilian and military – from the traditional routes through the Panama and Suez canals and for larger vessels even having to round the southern tips of Africa and South America.

Arctic melting has reduced the ice in the area to its lowest level in the thirty-three years satellite images have measured it, with the Northwest Passage entirely open for the first time in recorded history.

U.S. National Security Presidential Directive 66 also includes the intention to “Preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic region” and to “Project a sovereign United States maritime presence in the Arctic in support of essential United States interests.” [13]

Canada claims the Northwest Passage as its exclusive territory but Washington insists that “The Northwest Passage is a strait used for international navigation, and the Northern Sea Route includes straits used for international navigation; the regime of transit passage applies to passage through those straits. Preserving the rights and duties relating to navigation and overflight in the Arctic region supports our ability to exercise these rights throughout the world, including through strategic straits.” [14]

That is, the Washington bluntly contests Canada’s contentions about the passage, which runs along the north of that nation and no other, being its national territory and insists on internationalizing it.

Notwithstanding which there is no evidence that any member of the Canadian government, the ruling Conservative Party, its Liberal Party opposition or even the New Democratic Party has responded to the U.S. National Security Directive, the first major American statement on the issue in fifteen years, with even a murmur of disapprobation.

Instead, all concern and no little hostility has been directed by Canadian authorities, particularly the federal government, at a nation that doesn’t assert the right to deploy warships with long-range cruise missiles, nuclear submarines and Aegis class destroyers equipped with interceptor missiles only miles off the Canadian mainland in the wider Western extreme of the Passage and other naval vessels between the mainland and its northern islands. The nation that doesn’t present such demands but which is targeted nevertheless is Russia.

The threats and bluster, insults and provocations staged by top Canadian officials over the past three and a half months have at times reached a hysterical pitch, not only rivaling but exceeding the depths of the Cold War period.

The current campaign was adumbrated last August after the five-day war between Georgia and Russia when Prime Minister Stephen Harper “accused Russia of reverting to a ‘Soviet-era mentality'” [15] and Defence Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said “When we see a Russian Bear [Tupolev Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18” [16] and has not let up since.

After then recently inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama make his first trip outside the United States in mid-February to the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Defence Minister MacKay stated regarding an alleged interception of a Russian bomber over the Arctic Ocean – in international, neutral airspace – shortly before Obama’s arrival:

“They met a Russian aircraft that was approaching Canadian airspace, and as they have done in previous occasions they sent very clear signals that are understood, that the aircraft was to turnaround, turn tail, and head back to their airspace, which it did.

“I’m not going to stand here and accuse the Russians of having deliberately done this during the presidential visit, but it was a strong coincidence.” [17]

Russia has routinely flown such patrols over the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea and North Sea and off the coast of Alaska since the autumn of 2007. Moreover, depending on where in the Arctic the Russian bomber was at the time, it may well have been 6,000 kilometers from Ottawa, thereby posing no threat or constituting no warning to either Obama or Canada.

Prime Minister Harper echoed MacKay’s tirade with:

“I have expressed at various times the deep concern our government has with increasingly aggressive Russian actions around the globe and Russian intrusions into our airspace.

“We will defend our airspace, we also have obligations of continental defence with the United States. We will fulfil those obligations to defend our continental airspace, and we will defend our sovereignty and we will respond every time the Russians make any kind of intrusion on the sovereignty in Canada’s Arctic.” [18]

After Russia announced that it planned to have a military force available to defend its interests in the Arctic by 2020 – eleven years from now – Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon followed the lead of his predecessor and current Defence Minister MacKay and Prime Minister Harper and said, “Let’s be perfectly clear here. Canada will not be bullied.

“Sovereignty is part of that (Northern policy). We will not waiver from that objective. Sovereignty is uppermost for us, so we will not be swayed from that.” [19]

Cannon left it unclear in which manner Russia had questioned his country’s sovereignty, except perhaps by not gratuitously ceding it the Lomonosov Ridge, though if Cannon had bothered to read U.S. National Security Directive 66 he would have received a blunt introduction to the genuine threat to Canada’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It will be seen later how Canada has matched the action to the word.

Control Of World Energy Resources And NATO’s Drive Into The Arctic

A U.S. Geological Survey of May of 2008 on the Arctic “estimated the occurrence of undiscovered oil and gas in 33 geologic provinces thought to be prospective for petroleum. The sum of the mean estimates for each province indicates that 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84 percent is expected to occur in offshore areas.” [20]

“The unexplored Arctic contains about one-fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and nearly a third of the natural gas yet to be found….The untapped reserves are beneath the seafloor in geopolitically controversial areas above the Arctic Circle.” [21]

Four days ago Science magazine published a new U.S. Geological Survey study that “assessed the area north of the Arctic Circle and concluded that about 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil may be found there, mostly offshore under less than 500 meters of water. Undiscovered natural gas is three times more abundant than oil in the Arctic and is largely concentrated in Russia.” [22]

The full report is only available to subscribers, but the Canadian Globe and Mail provided this excerpt: “Although substantial amounts as may be found in Alaska, Canada and Greenland, the undiscovered gas resource is concentrated in Russian territory, and its development would reinforce the pre-eminent strategic position of that country.” [23]

In addition to estimating that the Arctic Circle contains 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas, the survey increased its figure for potential oil there from 90 billion barrels last year to as many as 160 billion in this year’s report.

A news report summarized the findings on the region’s natural gas potential by saying “The Arctic region may hold enough natural gas to meet current global demand for 14 years and most of it belongs to Russia….” [24]

A website report adds this perspective on the importance of the new estimate: “The new discovery amounts to over 35 years in US foreign oil imports or 5 years’ worth of global oil consumption.

“Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States, all of which border the Arctic Circle are racing to compete for the untapped resource.

“The oil reserves could fetch a price of $10.6 trillion dollars at current oil prices. Most of the reserves are in shallow waters – less than 500 meters (about 1/3rd of a mile) – making extraction relatively easy.” [25]

And a Canadian newspaper offered this terse reminder: “The updated estimates of the North’s promising oil and gas resources comes as Canada and its polar neighbours aggressively pursue competing claims to vast areas of continental shelf under the Arctic Ocean.” [26]

Where vast previously unexploited hydrocarbon reserves are discovered or suspected NATO is never far behind, from the Caspian Sea to Africa’s Gulf Of Guinea to the Arctic Ocean. On January 28-29 of this year the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held a meeting on the Arctic in the capital of Iceland entitled Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North.

It was attended by the bloc’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO’s two top military commanders and the Chairman of the Military Committee “as well as many other decision-makers and experts from Allied countries.” [27]

Scheffer’s address was marked by a fairly uncharacteristic degree of candor, at least when he said, “[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….

“NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states [Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States] can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.” [28]

Also addressing the meeting was NATO Supreme Allied Commander and the Pentagon’s European Command chief General Bantz John Craddock, who “opined that NATO could contribute greatly to facilitating cooperation in areas such as the development and security of shipping routes, energy security, surveillance and monitoring, search and rescue, resource exploration and mining….” [29]

Craddock inherited his dual assignments from Marine General James Jones, the architect of the new U.S. Africa Command and current National Security Adviser, who is certainly overseeing the role of the American military and NATO in securing control of world energy supplies.

Peaceful Multilateral Development Or War In The Arctic?

U.S. and NATO designs on the Arctic for strategic military purposes, for the potential of the Northwest Passage to redefine international shipping and naval commerce and for gaining access to and domination over perhaps the largest untapped oil and natural gas supplies in the world are hardly disguised.

As with numerous energy transportation projects in the Caspian Sea Basin, the Caucasus, the Black Sea region and the Balkans, Iraq and Africa, for the West oil and gas extraction and transit is a winner-take-all game dictated by the drive to master others and share with none.

The recent U.S. Geological Survey study suggests that the Arctic Ocean may contain not only one-third of the world’s undiscovered natural gas but almost two-thirds as much oil as Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer, is conventionally estimated to possess: 160 billion barrels to somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 billion barrels.

That Russia might gain access to the lion’s share of both is not something that the U.S. and its NATO allies will permit. The latter have fought three wars since 1999 for lesser stakes. Iraq, for example, has an estimated 115 billion barrels of oil.

Last month Russian President Dmitry Medvedev approved his nation’s National Security Strategy until 2020 document which says that “the main threat to Russia’s national security is the policy pursued by certain leading states, which is aimed at attaining military superiority over Russia, in the first place in strategic nuclear forces.

“The threats to military security are the policy by a number of leading foreign states, aimed at attaining dominant superiority in the military sphere, in the first place in strategic nuclear forces, by developing high-precision, information and other high-tech means of warfare, strategic armaments with non-nuclear ordnance, the unilateral formation of the global missile defense system and militarization of outer space, which is capable of bringing about a new spiral of the arms race, as well as the development of nuclear, chemical and biological technologies, the production of weapons of mass destruction or their components and delivery vehicles.” [30]

The strategy also, in the words of The Times of London, “identified the intensifying battle for ownership of vast untapped oil and gas fields around its borders as a source of potential military conflict within a decade.”

“The United States, Norway, Canada and Denmark are challenging Russia’s claim to a section of the Arctic shelf, the size of Western Europe, which is believed to contain billions of tonnes of oil and gas.” [31]

In a foreign ministers session of the Arctic Council in late April Russia again warned against plans to militarize the Arctic. Its plea fell on deaf ears in the West.

On May 28 the Norwegian ambassador to NATO took his British, Danish, German, Estonian and Romanian counterparts on a “High North study trip” near the Arctic Circle where the Norwegian foreign minister “emphasised the importance of NATO attention to security issues of the High North.” [32]

Three days earlier the same nation’s State Secretary, Espen Barth Eide, addressed the Defence and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Oslo and said, “Russia has shown an increased willingness to engage in political rhetoric and even use of military force….NATO has a very important role to play and Norway has argued the case for a long time. The Alliance is at the core of the security and defence strategies of all but one Arctic Ocean state.

“NATO already has a certain presence and plays a role in the High North today, primarily through the Integrated Air Defence System, including fighters on alert and AWACS surveillance flights. Some exercise activity under the NATO flag also takes place in Norway and Iceland….We would like to see NATO raise its profile in the High North.” [33]

Canada: West’s Front Line, Battering Ram And Sacrificial Offering

As tensions mount in the Arctic, especially should they develop into a crisis and the military option be employed, Norway will play its appointed role as a loyal NATO cohort, as will its neighbors Denmark, Finland and Sweden, the last two rapidly becoming NATO states in every manner but formally.

Yet the battle will be joined where three of the four NATO states with Arctic territorial claims – the United States, Canada and Denmark – base them, in the northernmost part of the Western Hemisphere.

And having by far the largest border with the Arctic and the most sizeable portion of its nation’s territory there, Canada is the shock brigade to be used in any planned provocation and open confrontation.

Nine days ago it was reported that “Canada’s mapping of the Arctic is pushing into territory claimed by Russia in the high-stakes drive by countries to establish clear title to the polar region and its seabed riches.

“Survey flights Ottawa conducted in late winter and early spring went beyond the North Pole and into an area where Russia has staked claims, a Department of Natural Resources official said Sunday.”

The account continued by stating, “If Canada eventually files a claim that extends past the North Pole, it could find itself in conflict with Russia.

“Canada and Russia have both committed to a peaceful resolution of conflicts over claims submitted under the international process, a pledge [that] will be put to the test if Ottawa and Moscow submit overlapping stakes.

“Canadian scientists contend that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of the North American continental shelf.

“It is estimated that a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas lies under the Arctic.” [34]

Canadian military and civilian leaders have been laying the groundwork for this confrontation since the advent of the Harper administration.

In August of 2007 the prime minister “announced plans to build a new army training centre in the Far North at Resolute Bay [east end of the Northwest Passage] and to outfit a deep-water port for both military and civilian use at the northern tip of Baffin Island.

“His trip to the Arctic earlier this month was accompanied by the biggest military exercise in the region in years, with 600 soldiers, sailors and air crew participating.” [35]

A year later the Harper and Bush governments laid aside a long-standing dispute in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea “in the name of defending against Russia’s Arctic claims, which clash with those of the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway.” [36]

In the same month Canada conducted what it called the first of several military sovereignty exercises in the Arctic, a full spectrum affair including “In addition to the army, navy and air force, several federal agencies and departments are participating, including the Coast Guard, RCMP, CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, Transport Canada and Health Canada.

“Military officials say this year’s exercise involves the most number of departments and agencies ever.” [37]

Later in August of 2008 Harper and Defence Secretary MacKay visited the Northwest Territories to inspect “four CF18 Canadian military jets sent to Inuvik in response to what officials said was an unidentified aircraft that had neared Canadian air space.” [38]

Last September the Canadian Defence Ministry launched “Operation NANOOK 2008, a sovereignty operation in Canada’s eastern Arctic. Not only that, but Harper also voiced support for plans to build a military port and a military base beyond the Polar Circle.”

This at a time when “The United States has joined the race, too, teaming up with Canada to map the unexplored Arctic sea floor.” [39]

On September 19th Harper was paraphrased as saying “Canada is stepping up its military alertness along its northern frontier in response to Russia’s ‘testing’ of its boundaries and recent Arctic grab.

“We are concerned about not just Russia’s claims through the international process, but Russia’s testing of Canadian airspace and other indications…(of) some desire to work outside of the international framework. That is obviously why we are taking a range of measures, including military measures, to strengthen our sovereignty in the North.” [40]

In December of last year defence chief MacKay “singled out possible naval encroachments from Russia and China, saying, ‘We have to be diligent.'” [41]

This March MacKay “announced…the locations of the two satellite reception ground stations for the $60 million Polar Epsilon project designed to provide space-based, day and night surveillance of Canada’s Arctic and its ocean approaches. [42]

In April Canada held Operation Nunalivut 2009, the first of three “sovereignty operations” scheduled in the Arctic this year.

MacKay said of the exercises, “Operation Nunalivut is but one example of how the Government of Canada actively and routinely exercises its sovereignty in the North. The Canadian Forces play an important role in achieving our goals in the North, which is why the Government of Canada is making sure they have the tools they need to carry out a full range of tasks in the Arctic, including surveillance, sovereignty, and search-and-rescue operations.”

Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Commander of Canada Command, added:

“In keeping with the Canada First Defence Strategy, we are placing greater emphasis on our northern operations, including in the High Arctic. This operation underscores the value of the Canadian Rangers, our eyes and ears in the North, which at the direction of the Government are growing to 5,000 in strength.”

Brigadier-General David Millar, the Commander of Joint Task Force North, contributed this:

“This operation is a golden opportunity to expand our capabilities to operate in Canada’s Arctic. In addition to air and ground patrols, this operation calls on a range of supporting military capabilities–communications, intelligence, mapping, and satellite imaging.” [43]

The Commander of the Greenland Command, Danish Rear-Admiral Henrik Kudsk, attended the exercises to “discuss military collaboration in the North.” [44]

To further demonstrate NATO unity in the face of a common enemy, Russia, “A Canadian research aircraft is expected to fly over 90 North this month as part of a joint Canada-Denmark mission to strengthen the countries’ claims over the potentially oil-rich Lomonosov Ridge.” [45]

In the same month, April, this time in a show of bipartisan unity, a Liberal Party gathering in Vancouver discussed “a tough Arctic policy that calls on the government to ‘actively and aggressively’ enforce Canada’s sovereignty in the North, including expanding its military role.” [46]

A major Canadian daily revealed information on the Canadian Department of National Defence’s Polar Breeze program, referring to it as a $138 million “military project so cloaked in secrecy the Department of National Defence at first categorically denied it even existed.

“Today – apart from backtracking on their denial – the military is refusing to answer any questions on the project that experts believe has a role to play in protecting Canada’s Arctic sovereignty and security.” [47]

The newspaper also said that the project “involves the Canadian Forces’ secretive directorate of space development, computer networks and geospatial intelligence – data gathered by satellite” and that it “could have farther ranging functions including sharing sensitive military intelligence across the various branches of the Canadian Forces and with key allies.” [48]

In early May the Canadian Senate issued a report demanding that “Canada should arm its coast guard icebreakers and turn the North’s Rangers into better-trained units that could fight if necessary.” [49]

Slightly later in a news report called “After Russian talk of conflict, Tories say military is prepared,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the “government’s defence strategy will help the military ‘take action in exercising Canadian sovereignty in the North,’ and highlighted plans for a fleet of Arctic patrol ships, a deepwater docking facility at Baffin Island, an Arctic military training centre and the expansion of the Canadian Rangers….” [50]

The repeated, incessant references to Russia and to no other nation while Canada boosts military cooperation with fellow NATO Arctic claimants leave no room for doubt regarding which nation Canadian military expansion in its north is aimed against. Recent deployments and new and upgraded installations cannot be used to fight a conventional conflict with any modern military adversary. But they are indicative of an intensifying campaign to portray Russia as a threat – as the threat – to Canada.

Piotr Dutkiewicz, director of Carleton University’s Institute of European and Russian Studies, is quoted in a Canadian online publication recently as worrying that “There is a very strange rhetoric that is coming in recent months as to portray Russia as a potential enemy….” [51]

The rhetoric is backed up by action and it isn’t strange but perfectly understandable.

Canada is primed for a role much like that of Georgia in the South Caucasus has been for the past several years, as a comparatively small (in terms of population) nation close to Russia which will be employed to play a part on behalf of far more powerful actors. And should Russia respond in any way to attempted Canadian efforts to “stand tall” against it, from scrambling jets to shooting down a bomber – bravado can always go awry – the U.S. and NATO will be compelled to offer support and assistance, including military action, under the provisions of NATO’s Article 5. In fact that may be exactly what Washington and Brussels have planned.

Rather than continuing to lend Georgia diplomatic and military support, it would behoove Canadians to borrow a lesson from last August’s war in the Caucasus: A war can be launched on an aggressor’s terms but end on someone else’s.

1) CanWest News Service. May 26, 2009
2) Canwest News Service, December 11, 2008
3) Ibid
4) Canwest News Service, May 27, 2009
5) Library of Parliament, December 7, 2007
6) National Security Presidential Directive 66 on Arctic Region Policy
7) Ibid
8) Prensa Latina, March 29, 2007
9) Navy NewsStand, March 20, 2007
10) Navy NewsStand, March 29, 2007
11) Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
12) Interfax-Military, September 26, 2006
13) National Security Presidential Directive, January 9, 2009
14) Ibid
15) Canwest News Service, August 19, 2008
16) Canwest News Service, September 12, 2008
17) CBC, February 27, 2009
18) Ibid
19) Vancouver Sun, March 27, 2009
20) U.S. Geological Survey, May, 2008
21) Live Science, July 24, 2008
22) Science, May 29, 2009
23) Globe and Mail, May 28, 2009
24) Bloomberg, May 29, 2009
25) Daily Tech, June, 1, 2009
26) Globe and Mail, May 28, 2009
27) NATO International, January 29, 2009
28) Ibid
29) NATO International, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe,
January 29, 2009
30) Itar-Tass, May 13, 2009
31) The Times, May 14, 2009
32) Barents Observer, May 28, 2009
33) Defense Professionals, May 25, 2009
34) Globe and Mail, May 24, 2009
35) Canadian Press, August 19, 2007
36) Financial Times, August 18, 2008
37) Canwest News Service, August 19, 2008
38) Reuters, August 28, 2008
39) RosBusinessConsulting, September 18, 2008
40) Agence France-Presse, September 19, 2008
41) Canwest News Service, December 15, 2008
42) Daily Gleaner (New Brunswick), April 22, 2009
43) Department of National Defence, Canada Command, April 2, 2009
44) Ibid
45) Canwest News Service, April 5, 2009
46) Edmonton Sun, April 13, 2009
47) Globe and Mail, April 27, 2009
48) Ibid
49) Canadian Press, May 7, 2009
50) Canwest News Service, May 15, 2009
51) Embassy, April 29, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

May 30, 2009

NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica
Rick Rozoff

On May 28, Carolina Toha, spokeswoman for Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, stated that “Chile has developed strategic ties with the United States since long ago” and expressed her government’s eagerness to expand them. [1]

Employing the current standard rationale of sharing “more similarity with the Obama administration” than with its predecessor, a pose adopted by world politicians of all stripes since the U.S. presidential election of last November 4th – including conservatives like France’s Nicolas Sarkozy – the Chilean statement could be seen as nothing more than desiring to be on the winning side and to curry favor with the new Planitarchis (lord of the planet), as Greek demonstrators who curtailed a proposed three-day visit to Athens in November of 1999 of Obama’s predecessor once removed, Bill Clinton, described the post of U.S. president.

Even if so, however, Chile’s stance is at variance with the prevailing trend throughout South and all of Latin America, with nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Argentina and most recently El Salvador moving away from a “special relationship” with Washington, especially in the military sphere, and promoting multilateral international ties, notably defense agreements with Russia and a general orientation toward new multipolar international security and economic arrangements.

An equally revealing news report surfaced two weeks ago concerning an agreement signed by the foreign ministers of Chile and the Czech Republic on creating a legal framework for cooperation in Antarctica, to which Chile lays both longstanding and expanding claims.

The Czech Republic is no ordinary European nation but a post-Cold War zealot, full of new convert fervor, devotedly serving American and NATO interests in the Eastern and Central sections of the continent and acting as the intermediary for Washington and Brussels in several international capacities, from waging information and diplomatic offensives against countries like Belarus and Cuba to offering to host U.S. third position interceptor missile radar and providing troops for the war in Afghanistan, there serving under NATO (International Security Assistance Force) and direct U.S. (Operation Enduring Freedom) commands.

A battle royal is in progress for securing control over the vast Antarctic region and its hitherto untapped oil, gas, mineral, fresh water and fishing resources and potential. The Antarctic’s strategic military value is increasing in importance commensurately, as is that of the Arctic Circle on the opposite end of the earth. The subject has been explored in an earlier article in this series, Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica. [2]

The four countries directly north of the Antarctic Ocean are Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and all four are to varying degrees being integrated into Western military alliances; all four have bilateral military ties to the United States and with other NATO states, three directly with NATO itself.

With Britain filing a claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on May 11th of this year for one million square kilometers of the South Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans and Australia being granted 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean by the same UN Commission last year (the Australian Antarctic Territory takes in 42% of Antarctica) the region is now arguably one of the most closely contested territorial – and resource and strategic – disputes in the world.

Seven countries have formal claims to Antarctica: Three NATO states in Europe, two British Commonwealth nations in the South Pacific and two South American countries, respectively Britain, France and Norway; Australia and New Zealand; and Argentina and Chile. The Argentine, British and Chilean claims all overlap at places.

Peru, Russia, South Africa and the United States have reserved the right to future claims on Antarctic territory and Brazil has designated what it refers to as a zone of interest in the region.

Of the seven official claimants, five are members of what is generally considered the Western world, geography aside, leaving only Chile and Argentina as rivals to them.

Latin America: Chile And Argentina

Two months ago Argentina and Chile united their efforts to counter the unprecedented million square kilometer British claim, based largely as it is on the disputed Falklands/Malvinas Islands. In early March of this year Argentine and Chilean parliamentarians visited the Chilean Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva and the Argentine Jubany military bases on the Antarctic continent to demonstrate their mutual resolve not to cede either the continent or its outlying shelf to British claims.

But Argentina and Chile have had and still have their own territorial conflicts of interest. In 1978 a dispute over three islands in the Beagle Channel led to both countries dispatching troops to the Patagonia border where a war was narrowly averted.

Boundary issues in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field are still a bone of contention between the two nations. In 2006 Argentine President Nestor Kirchner offered Chile a plan to define the border, which the Bachelet government declined.

Chile and Argentina, in addition to Britain, claim the entirety of the Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of the continent.

Should Chile ally itself with the West and against Argentina, the latter would be isolated and could become a potential victim of a Falklands War-style defeat should it continue to press its claims. Russia would also be excluded from the battle for the Antarctic.

On the latter score, this January a Russian icebreaker and cargo ship traveled to Antarctica to deliver equipment to six Argentine polar stations and the previous month Argentina expressed interest in obtaining Russian helicopters as “their performance characteristics make them perfectly suitable for Antarctic expeditions.” [3]

The purchase of Russian helicopters would be in line with recent trends in South America. In addition to Venezuela purchasing 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles along with plans for jet fighters, submarines and air defenses, Nicaragua announced three weeks ago its plan to obtain Russian helicopters and aircraft [4] and eight days ago Bolivia signaled its intention to conclude a multi-million dollar arms deal with Russia, including the purchase of military helicopters. Last October the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, visited the Argentine capital and met with the nation’s foreign and defense ministers and its secretary of intelligence.

“Patrushev indicated that the two countries have identical viewpoints on all issues and especially ones pertaining to international policies, and this has a good effect on bilateral relations.

“Patrushev named a host of areas where Russia and Argentina have mutual interests – the nuclear power industry, power engineering, nanotechnologies, oil and gas exploration and production, and the use of the Russian icebreaker fleet.

“He also mentioned plans to develop relations between the two countries’ Defense Ministries.

“More specifically, Patrushev said that his Argentine hosts and he had discussed a possibility of joint military exercises and joint training of defense cadres.” [5]

This diversification by major Latin American states of ties in all areas, but particularly in the defense realm and especially with Russia, a European nation, has been heralded as the effective demise of the 186-year-old Monroe Doctrine.


In contradistinction to this pattern though, Argentina’s neighbor Chile has been arming itself to the teeth with weaponry from the United States and other NATO nations.

During the last four years, beginning with the Ricardo Lagos presidency and continuing with its Bachelet successor, Chile has been amassing a formidable armory of advanced weapons that has alarmed its neighbors Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. (After her return from exile in the German Democratic Republic in 1979, Bachelet studied military strategy at Chile’s National Security Academy and Military War College, attended the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, DC and in 2002 was appointed Defense Minister for the Lagos government.)

And with more than sufficient justification, as the last three countries would have to be nervous about Chile acquiring or soon to acquire by late 2005:

200 state-of-the-art German Leopard 1 tanks.

60 French AMX-30 tanks.

60 American M-41 light tanks.

10 US F-16 multirole jet fighters.

18 used F-16s provided by the Netherlands.

Four Dutch and three British destroyers.

Two French Scorpion submarines.

The source from which the above information was obtained commented, “Foreign analysts have said that Chile is seeking hegemonic military power in Latin America vis-a-vis Peru, Argentina and Bolivia in order to defend Chilean economic interests in those countries and, in case of armed conflict, to expand its territory in the way it has done in the past.” [6]

The last reference is to the War of the Pacific of 1879-1884 which led to Chile’s defeat of Bolivia and Peru and the annexation of both defeated nations’ territory, leaving Bolivia landlocked.

In March of 2006 Chile signed an agreement with Germany to purchase 118 Leopard 2 tanks.

“The Leopard 2 is one of the most up-to-date battle tanks in the world. These tanks are similar to the M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, which has figured in the Iraq War.” [7]

Press reports following the announcement of the agreement included the observation that “Chile’s acquisitions of military hardware in recent years have stirred criticism among neighbors, especially Peru, who say Chile is upsetting the equilibrium of military power in the Southern Cone region of South America.” [8]

The preceding month the Pentagon delivered the first F-16s to Chile, part of an arms buildup which also included “two submarines made by a Spanish-French consortium, eight secondhand frigates from Britain and Holland, 100 German-made Leopard tanks and 18 more secondhand F-16s from the Dutch air force.”

“While the Chilean government has not disclosed the total cost of its recent military purchases, published reports indicate that the F-16s alone will cost $745 million.

“Air Force Commander Gen. Osvaldo Sarabia said the F-16s, which will replace the force’s French-made Mirages, will be stationed in the northern port city of Iquique,” close to both Peru and Bolivia. [9]

Such deployments can only add to the alarm of Chile’s neighbors as “Peru and Chile disagree over their 200-mile maritime boundary, while many Peruvians and Bolivians still hold a grudge over territory lost to Chile in the 1879-84 War of the Pacific.” [10]

As does Argentina, which recalls the role of the Pinochet junta in providing surveillance and logistics support to Britain during the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War.

A month ago Chile finalized a deal with the Netherlands to acquire 18 more F-16s at a cost of $278 million.

Defense Minister Francisco Vidal said, “The deal is closed – only the signatures are missing.”

“The F-16 fighters will replace Chile’s aging F-5 jets, which have been in use since 1976. ‘Chile has acquired a new fleet of F-16 planes,’ Vidal announced….” [11]

This steady escalation of advanced arms acquisitions was commented on in a press release by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs of August 8, 2007 which pointed out that “Chile’s aggressive military arms purchases are ruffling the region, alarming in particular Bolivia, Peru and Argentina” and further detailed:

“Despite the fact that Chile has not engaged in a conflict with another state since the War of the Pacific in the late nineteenth century, the Chilean military has been carrying out aggressive weapons purchases in recent years.

“Long known for having an almost semi-autonomous military force, Chile, in recent years, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its armed forces, transforming them into the most consequential military establishment in the subcontinent.

“From a practical point of view, the country is not facing any conceivable external military threat. The wide range of military purchases over the past few years demonstrates that the previous Socialist-led administrations of Ricardo Lagos as well as the current one of President Michelle Bachelet, for all their leftist rhetoric, are reluctant to confront the country’s powerful military establishment over how it should spend its budget, and would far rather appease it.” [12]

Chile’s integration into a worldwide military network led by the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, however, is not limited to weapons purchases.

The nation was one of only five non-NATO states to provide troops for the first-ever NATO out-of-area military deployment, Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia, in 1995 along with the Argentina of President Carlos Menem, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

It has since participated in regular military exercises under the command of the United States and its NATO allies.

As other nations in Latin America are increasingly distancing themselves from war games and military planning that they see as potentially directed against themselves at some point in the future, with even more cause for concern as the U.S. Navy reactivated its 4th Fleet in the Caribbean and Central and South America last year after being disestablished in 1950, Chile stands alone with nations like Colombia in breaking ranks.

It participates in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercises led by the United States and Britain, the largest naval exercises in the world.

For the 2006 exercise – an American Navy website designed for the occasion is subtitled “Wargames on a global scale” [13] – only one other Latin American nation, Peru, joined Chile in war games consisting of 40 warships, 160 aircraft, six submarines and 19,000 troops from the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea. [14] Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico also border the Pacific Ocean but didn’t participate.

In 2008 the RIMPAC exercise included 35 ships, six submarines, over 150 aircraft and 20,000 troops from Chile, the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea and Singapore, a NATO/Asia-Pacific NATO/Latin American NATO nexus in embryo.

In October of 2007 Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru and Suriname and announced that the U.S. was planning to build a jungle base in the last-named nation. [15] Suriname borders Guyana to its west, another nation marked by the West as part of a South American military bloc to compensate for the recent loss of bases and deployments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, and Guyana in turns borders Venezuela to its west.

In recent year Bolivia has accused the U.S. of constructing new bases in Paraguay and Peru.

Just this week Ecuadorian Defense Minister Javier Ponce Cevallos reiterated his nation’s resolve to close the American military airbase at Manta. U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield last month said that Washington will relocate its base to Ecuador’s northern neighbor, whose narcotrafficking- and death squad-linked government is more compliant in that respect.

El Salvador has been lost to the Pentagon’s plans for Latin America with this March’s election victory by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, but Panama has been regained after this month’s election victory by multi-millionaire conservative Ricardo Martinelli.

Pentagon Tries To Reclaim Latin America

Chile remains a steadfast ally of the U.S. and its NATO allies.

Earlier this year the head of the American military, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, visited five Latin American nations, four in South America – Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Peru – and Mexico, returning to state, “The U.S. military is ready to help Mexico in its deadly war against drug cartels with some of the same counter-insurgency tactics used against militant networks in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [16]

Like Chile, Brazil has been purchasing large quantities of European arms and currently stands between those South American nations moving away from subordination to the West and those continuing to play a subaltern role toward it. Paraguay and Uruguay possess a similar status.

Chile is in the second category and in fact is expanding collaboration with the U.S. Defense Department. In April of 2008 the Pentagon’s Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) conducted an exercise with the Chilean Air Force.

“Chile boasts one of the most modern air forces in South America [while] many of the [other] U.S. allies in the region bought their military aircraft in the 1970s….”

“Air Forces Southern has scheduled a number of exercises with more advanced militaries in the region — the goal of building relationships between U.S. airmen and their foreign counterparts.

“U.S. crews spent three days alternating between hook-ups with Air Force fighters and Chilean jets as part of the NEWEN exercise.” [17]

The following month an American Navy battle group arrived in Chile for ten days of military exercises.

The nuclear supercarrier USS George Washington visited the Port of Valparaiso in central Chile where it linked up with the Chilean Navy “to improve the navies’ capabilities in anti-air and anti-submarine warfare.

“More than 3,000 U.S. Marines [participated] in the annual drill, which [was] coded ‘Partnership of the Americas.'” [18]

Last December the U.S. held an international drill at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona – “For many of the military participants, the drills
will serve as pre-deployment training for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan” – with “troops from Germany, Chile, Colombia and observers from Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Pakistan.” [19]

Last month Washington’s recently reactivated 4th Fleet led the Unitas exercise, the world’s longest-running multinational naval drills, off the coast of Florida which this year featured “live-fire exercises, undersea warfare, helicopter and amphibious operations, among other training” and “more than 25 ships, four submarines, 6,500 sailors and 50 aircraft.” [20]

In addition to the U.S. and its Canadian and German NATO allies, Chile joined fellow Latin American nations Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

In the words of the commander of the ships participating in the exercises, “We’re helping each other to train the future navies of the world.” [21]

Chile’s true value lies in its proximity to Antarctica but can also be employed to anchor the southern end of its continent for U.S. plans to retain and expand its military presence there.

Clinton’s New Cold War

This May 1 American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the State Department about Latin America and in the course of her talk identified Washington’s new “axis of evil”: Russia, China and Iran.

The U.S. was going to “reach out” to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador who have strayed from the Monrovian fold to “counter growing Iranian, Chinese and Russian influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

“We see a number of countries and leaders – Chavez is one of them but not the only one – who over the last eight years has become more and more negative and oppositional to the United States.” [22]

This triad of malignancy model is old-hat to the U.S. State Department. In addition to the George W. Bush axis of countries to be bombed – Iraq, Iran and North Korea – it was also used by the Reagan administration during its Contra war against Nicaragua in the 1980s. After the Russia-Cuba-East Germany bugbear had been used for all the mileage it could be exploited for, the U.S. attempted to add Libya (a main villain at the time, bombed by Reagan in 1986), the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran and the Palestine Liberation Organization as another trio of unmentionable malefactors.

Clinton dug deep in Foggy Bottom’s files for her scare tactics, dusted them off and added China for good measure.

Though perhaps this is genuinely hers:

“We are looking to figure out how to deal with Ortega. [T]he Iranians are building a huge embassy in Managua. You can only imagine what it’s for.” [23]

For Clinton and the State Department she heads up it is inconceivable that an embassy would not serve the purpose of conducting surveillance and subversion in a host country. An understandable case of attributing one’s motives to others.

Chile And Global NATO

The ultimate plan for Chile was divulged this January by someone Hillary Clinton is quite familiar with, Will Marshall.

He was one of two staff members for the Democratic Leadership Council after it was established in 1985 and is the president of its think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. The two organizations have given the world New Democrats, “triangulation” between liberalism and conservatism, President Bill Clinton, “humanitarian” war and NATO expansion.

The Democratic Leadership Council and the Progressive Policy Institute – the second’s website is called Progressive Policy Institute: Defining the Third Way – have played a major role in reconciling the U.S. Democratic Party and much of the world to Reaganism.

Marshall’s own recent history is emblematic: “He recently served on the board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization chaired by Joe Lieberman and John McCain designed to build bipartisan support for the invasion of Iraq. Marshall also signed, at the outset of the war, a letter issued by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) expressing support for the invasion. Marshall signed a similar letter sent to President Bush put out by the Social Democrats USA on Feb. 25, 2003, just before the invasion.

“The SDUSA letter urged Bush to commit to ‘maintaining substantial U.S. military forces in Iraq for as long as may be required to ensure a stable, representative regime is in place and functioning.'” [24]

In a January 19, 2009 article for the Progressive Policy Institute called “Taking NATO Global” Marshall, in feigning a direct address to then soon-to-be-inaugurated president Barack Obama, told his intended interlocutor:

“You should seize the opportunity to lead NATO’s transformation from a North American-European pact into a global alliance of free nations. By opening its doors to Japan, Australia, India, Chile, and a handful of other stable democracies, NATO would augment both its human and financial resources. What is more, NATO would enhance its political legitimacy to operate on a global stage.” [25]

He added to the roster of global NATO candidates with the following:

“This alliance would be stronger still if expanded to include free nations in other, more volatile parts of the world. Likely candidates include Japan and South Korea, which have entrenched market democracy in East Asia; India, which is modernizing rapidly and dominates South Asia; Australia and New Zealand, liberal bastions in the South Pacific; and Chile and Brazil, which have stood against a rising tide of authoritarianism in South America. More controversially, some Italian leaders have even broached the idea of offering NATO membership to Israel.” [26]

He recommended an equivalent of the NATO Partnership for Peace program which prepared the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia for their current full membership status.

Marshall speaks for forces in the United States and Europe with the ability to implement this directive and ones which – considering the replication of the New Democrat/Third Way model in Britain with Tony Blair’s New Labour, in Germany with Gerhard Schroeder’s Die Neue Mitte (The New Middle) Social Democrats and in less-noted examples throughout the world, including in Chile, South Africa and Australia – are willing to follow his lead.

South Africa

In 2003 British Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted and presided over an international “third way” summit that included the other two successful specimens of the strategy, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroeder, and also then South African President Thabo Mbeki and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Blair’s chief lieutenant and major architect of New Labour – Peter Mandelson, now Lord and even Baron – remarked at the time, “What unites the conference delegates is their belief that conservatism on the left must not be allowed to undermine attempts to modernise and reform.” [27] By conservatism on the left Mandelson meant opposition to neoliberalism, in fact to global Reaganism.

During the apartheid years South Africa’s main military partners and arms suppliers were, in addition to Israel, NATO states: The United States, Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.

Though no NATO military deployments occurred then.

However, in August of 2007 a NATO naval group, the Standing Naval Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), circumnavigated the African continent and after a stay in the strategic oil-rich Gulf of Guinea its six ships – from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal – arrived in Cape Town.

The NATO force held a series of joint exercises with South Africa including with the nation’s newly acquired German warships and its submarines.

The exercises marked “the first time that South Africa engage[d] its newly acquired frigates as well as its submarines in a training exercise with foreign forces in local waters.” [28]

“Other South African Navy ships as well as aircraft of the South African Air Force will also be involved in taking on NATO’s Maritime Group One.” [29]

The South African armed forces’ first direct contact with NATO started in 2005 with the Alliance flying African Union troops into the Darfur region of Western Sudan.

Earlier this week South Africa hosted a NATO Submarine Escape and Rescue Work Group (SMERWG) Meeting in Cape Town. The importance of the submarine component for future plans in the South Atlantic and the Antarctic Ocean is worth noting.

“South Africa as a submarine-operating nation has been a member of the SMERWG with a permanent status for a number of years.

“More than 100 delegates from NATO and non-NATO nations are expected to attend the SMERWG meeting in Cape Town.

“As a non-NATO Navy, the hosting of this important meeting by the South African Navy contributes significantly to cooperation and interoperability within and between non-NATO and NATO navies.” [30]

Perhaps in part to remind post-apartheid South Africa that is was far more indebted to Russia as the Soviet Union’s successor state than to its new Western military partners, this January Russia sent the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser to the port of Cape Town, the first time a Russian warship had ever visited the country. [31]


The role of Australia in expanding U.S. and NATO influence throughout the Asia-Pacific area has been dealt with extensively in an earlier piece, Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO. [32]

Briefly, Australia like its neighbor New Zealand is a NATO Contact Country and with over 1,000 troops in Afghanistan and another 400 on the way is the largest non-member contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force waging war in that country and across the border into Pakistan.

It has become the major military force in its region, deploying troops to East Timor (Timor-Leste) and the Solomon Islands as well as farther afield in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has naval forces in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman and the Horn of Africa and a military base in the United Arab Emirates.

The same NATO Standing Naval Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) that conducted war games in South Africa two years ago was heading to Australia earlier this year when it was diverted to operations off the shores of Somalia.

Australia will soon host a U.S. military base and is an active partner with Washington in its global interceptor missile system and its international naval Proliferation Security Initiative. The nation recently announced that it will “launch its own…spy satellites [and], more importantly, it wants to create a new cadre of military space experts inside the Australian Defence Forces.” [33]

That is, Australia is to coordinate plans with the U.S. and Japan for the weaponization of space with anti-missile satellites as well as with interceptor missile deployments, land- and sea-based, for the worldwide U.S. and allied anti-ballistic missile network.

This March 2nd the Australian Department of Defence unveiled its Defending Australia in the Asia-Pacific century: force 2030 white paper which proposed the largest military buildup since World War II and includes adding 100 US F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters, doubling and upgrading its submarine fleet, and acquiring 46 Tiger multi-role combat helicopters, Hercules and other new generation military transport planes, 100 armored vehicles, and cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers.

New Zealand

New Zealand has a bilateral partnership with NATO, has troops serving under the Alliance in Afghanistan and has indicated that it is reconsidering its 25-year ban on nuclear-armed ships in its ports and waters.

Last October New Zealand Defense Minister Phil Goff visited Washington and indicated closer bilateral military cooperation with his host by saying, “The defense relationship with the United States has undergone a major shift over the past nine years.” [34]

The end of the Cold War a generation ago has brought neither global peace and disarmament nor the abolition of military alliances and blocs.

On the contrary, the alleged victors, the United States and its allies around the world, have only intensified the consolidation of an international military network extending to all compass points, not only East and West but also North and South, the Far North and the Far South.


1) Xinhua News Agency, May 28, 2009
2) Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica
Stop NATO, May 16, 2009
3) Voice of Russia, December 30, 2008
4) Russian Information Agency Novosti, May 8, 2009
5) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 15, 2008
6) OhmyNews International (South Korea), December 31, 2005
7) Ibid
8) Reuters, March 24, 2006
9) Associated Press, February 1, 2006
10) Ibid
11) Agence France-Presse, April 30, 2009
12) Alex Sanchez, Chile’s Military Arms Purchases Alarm The Region
Council on Hemispheric Affairs, August 8, 2007
13) RIMPAC 2006, Rim of the Pacific Exercise
14) Associated Press, June 27, 2006
15) Canadian Press, October 7, 2007
16) Reuters, March 6, 2009
17) Stars and Stripes, April 29, 2008
18) Xinhua News Agency, May 8, 2008
19) Arizona Daily Star, November 15, 2008
20) Canadian Press, May 2, 2009
21) Florida Times-Union, April 25, 2009
22) Associated Press, May 1, 2009
23) Ibid
24) Wikipedia
25) Progressive Policy Institute, January 15, 2009
26) Ibid
27) The Guardian, July 7, 2003
28) BuaNews (South Africa), August 28, 2007
29) South African Press Association, September 3, 2007
30) Afrique en ligne (Africa Online), May 25, 2009
31) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 12, 2009
32) Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009
33) Space Review, May 11, 2009
34) Stars and Stripes, October 14, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO

August 29, 2009 2 comments

May 27, 2009

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
Rick Rozoff

Ten years ago it first became evident to the world that moves were afoot in major Western capitals to circumvent, subvert and ultimately supplant the United Nations, as the UN could not always be counted on to act in strict accordance with the dictates of the United States and its NATO allies.

At that time in 1999 the NATO alliance was waging what would become a 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in flagrant contravention of the United Nations and of international law in general.

As two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the five permanent members being the main victorious World War II allies, with the People’s Republic of China having replaced the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1971 and with Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union – exactly China and Russia, not being NATO members states, opposed that war and in several other instances the use of sanctions and military force against nations targeted for both by the West.

The first indication that the United Nations was marked for marginalization, selective application (and exploitation) or even de facto dissolution, however, occurred three years earlier in 1996 when the United States single-handedly browbeat the other fourteen then members of the Security Council to depose Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and replace him with Kofi Annan, who the preceding year had been appointed UN special envoy to NATO and authorized the NATO bombing in Bosnia behind the back of Boutros-Ghali.

Boutros-Ghali was deprived of the traditional second term for not authorizing NATO’s bombing of Bosnian Serb targets in 1995 and for speaking the truth about the deadly Israeli bombing of a refugee camp in Qana, Lebanon in the following year when 106 civilians were killed and 116 injured.

As the former Clinton and Bush administrations’ National Security Council counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke acknowledged:

“[Madeleine] Albright and I and a handful of others (Michael Sheehan, Jamie Rubin) had entered into a pact together in 1996 to oust Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General of the United Nations, a secret plan we had called Operation Orient Express, reflecting our hope that many nations would join us in doing in the UN head.

“In the end, the US had to do it alone (with its UN veto) and Sheehan and I had to prevent the President from giving in to pressure from world leaders and extending Boutros-Ghali’s tenure, often by our racing to the Oval Office when we were alerted that a head of state was telephoning the President. In the end Clinton was impressed that we had managed not only to oust Boutros-Ghali but to have Kofi Annan selected to replace him.” [1]

By 1999, however, even having a UN secretary-general handpicked and forced upon the world by Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright wasn’t sufficient to meet NATO’s requirements as it finalized plans for its first war, the Operation Allied Force aerial assault against Yugoslavia.

The U.S. and its Alliance allies could not be assured of gaining a majority of votes in the 15-member Security Council to authorize the war and even if successful in that regard could not be certain that Russia, China or both would not veto the resolution.

So the United Nations, whose procedures and requirements for 54 years had been observed even in the breach, was now disregarded, downgraded and severely if not mortally wounded, not yet having recuperated from the blow of ten years ago.

American and NATO subordinate Annan officiated over the debasement and humiliation of the organization he headed and never once criticized NATO’s waging war without a United Nations mandate and in open defiance of the institution.

Guarantor Of Peace Versus World’s Only Military Alliance

The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations identifies the purpose of the UN’s founding in 1945 as being “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” and “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.” [2]

To accentuate and complete the message that NATO had launched its post-Cold War transformation from Euro-Atlantic military bloc to self-designated and sole international arbiter of conflicts within and between nations and of the authorization of extraterritorial military force, with the concomitant usurpation of the role of the United Nations, on April 23-24 NATO held its 50th anniversary jubilee summit in Washington D.C.

Unveiling what it called its new Strategic Concept, the summit also issued a Washington Declaration which inter alia stated “We are charting NATO’s course as we enter the 21st century” and “We pledge to improve our defence capabilities to fulfill the full range of the Alliance’s 2lst century missions.” [3]

Video clips and photographs of the summit at the time revealed what 21st Century NATO was intended to become: With the U.S.’s Bill Clinton and Britain’s Tony Blair at the center of other world leaders, the flags of nearly fifty nations – nineteen full NATO member states, 25 Partnership for Peace affiliates and others – decked the auditorium. As did the NATO flag, a facsimile of a compass with its four arms pointed to north, south, east and west.

The message could not have been more clear, more irrefutable: A new world organization, an expanded version of a Western military bloc, was replacing that which had emerged from the smoldering ruins of a war that had cost over fifty million human lives.

NATO lost no time and spared no effort in implementing its plans for the new millennium. In addition to its military deployment in Bosnia the bloc continued its occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

In 2001 it inaugurated a military deployment in Macedonia, Operation Allied Harmony, after armed invasions of the nation by an extremist offshoot of the NATO-allied Kosovo Liberation Army based in Kosovo, and later in the year it participated in the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan where NATO continues its first ground war almost eight years later.

It insinuated itself into the Darfur region of western Sudan in 2005 and thus was simultaneously engaged in operations in three continents in that year.

Or as then State Department Deputy Assistant for European Affairs and later American ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker said of 2005, NATO was “engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents.” [4]

In the last five years of the 20th Century and the first five of the 21st NATO had evolved from a regional alliance based in Western Europe to a global force contending with the United Nations for the number and geographical range of the missions it was conducting.

That expansion in both extent and essence has not been limited to frequently overshadowing and nullifying the role of the UN, but has also been a component in undoing the entire post-World War II order of which the UN was the cornerstone.

Results Of World War II Undone: Inauguration Of Post-Post-Yalta World

In early May of 2005 U.S. President George W. Bush paid what the State Department must have intended as a “freedom crusade” tour to the capitals of two former Soviet republics, Latvia and Georgia.

The choices were deliberately selected to antagonize Russia, which has borders with both, as Latvia has disenfranchised millions of the minority residents of the country who are 40% of the total, especially ethnic Russians and other Slavs (Europe’s only “non-citizens”), and has permitted the rehabilitation of Nazi Waffen SS veterans as “defenders of the nation,” and Georgia has been a thorn in Russia’s side since its formerly U.S.-based head of state Mikheil Saakashvili came to power on the back of the “rose revolution” of late 2003 with the assistance of U.S. governmental and non-governmental funds and direction. That antagonism reached a breaking point last August with the five-day war between Georgia and Russia.

Bush overtly baited Russia in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi with comments like “Before there was a purple revolution in Iraq or an orange revolution in Ukraine or a cedar revolution in Lebanon, there was a rose revolution,” [5] “In recent months, the world has marvelled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan],” [6] and that thanks to Georgia, “freedom is advancing to the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and around the world,” [7] as an image of his face was projected onto a giant screen in the background.

Earlier in the Latvian capital of Riga Bush delivered a blunt and unprecedented attack on the Yalta Conference of 1945 and its aftermath. The historical meeting of Britain’s Winston Churchill, the U.S.’s Franklin Roosevelt and the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin in February of that year was denounced by Bush with such characterizations of the summit as constituting one of “the injustices of our history,” which “followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact,” and that “the legacy of Yalta was finally buried, once and for all” in 1991. [8]

This animus against the post-World War II system that evolved out of the Yalta and later Potsdam conferences remained a recurring motif for Bush, who in his last appearance as American president at a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in 2008 denounced “the bitter legacy of Yalta,” and to demonstrate what the post-post-Yalta era was intended to be added, “I spoke those words on the soil of a nation on the Baltic. Today, on the soil of a Black Sea nation, I have come to see those words fulfilled. The NATO alliance that meets here this week now stretches from the shores of Klaipeda [Lithuania] to the beaches of Neptun [Romania].

“[O]ur Alliance must also decide how to respond to requests by Georgia and Ukraine to participate in NATO’s Membership Action Plan. These two nations inspired the world with their Rose and Orange revolutions….

“As NATO allies fight…in Iraq and Afghanistan, our Alliance is taking on other important missions across the world. In the Mediterranean, NATO forces are patrolling the high seas…as part of Operation Active Endeavor. In Kosovo, NATO forces are providing security and helping a new democracy take root in the Balkans….NATO is no longer a static alliance….It is now an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world….” [9]

To understand the nature of this abiding, visceral, monomaniacal hostility toward what with a comparable degree of venom Zbigniew Brzezinski for years has contemptuously derided as the post-Yalta world, excerpts from a column by Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan immediately after Bush’s Riga speech of 2005 are quoted below.

“[Bush’s] attack on Yalta shows the U.S. is not interested in cooperative security.

“Historians of the Cold War will not have missed the significance of President George W. Bush choosing Riga as the venue for his speech on Saturday repudiating the 1945 Yalta Agreement.

“[W]hen Mr. Bush said in Riga that Yalta was ‘one of the greatest wrongs of history’ because it traded the freedom of small nations for the goal of stability in Europe, he was not merely echoing Cold War dogma. He was also sending out a message to the world — and particularly to Great Powers like Russia and China — that the era of collective security established at
Yalta and later, at the United Nations, is decisively over. And that if the restraints placed by this system ever come in the way of U.S. national interests, they will be brushed aside.” [10]

Varadarajan included in his piece this quote from President Franklin Roosevelt on March 1, 1945 on the meaning of Yalta as it was understood at the time:

“The Crimea Conference was a successful effort by the three leading Nations to find a common ground for peace. It ought to spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balances of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries — and have always failed. We propose to substitute for all these, a universal organisation in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a choice to join.” [11]

The universal organization Roosevelt referred to only 42 days before his death was the United Nations, which would come into existence formally on October 24, 1945.

On the very day that Bush traduced Yalta and its legacy in Latvia, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said on the same topic, “I am deeply convinced that the essence of the 1945 Yalta accords was as follows: The anti-Hitler coalition’s leaders strove to build a new international system that would prevent the revival of nazism, and that would shield the world from destructive global conflicts,” explicitly mentioning the United Nations Organization and its Charter. [12]

Bush’s statement in Riga, “the significance of the venue” having been pointed out above, was calculatingly delivered in the capital of a country that has witnessed a disturbing revival of Nazi revisionism, apologetics, nostalgia and rehabilitation in recent years. Animosity toward the Yalta principles, including their most enduring and essential institutional embodiment, the United Nations, means preferring in some manner what preceded the Yalta conference to what came after it. That either means the state of affairs in Europe before World War II or – that during the war years of 1939-1945.

Von Sponeck’s Warning: Subverting The United Nations From Within

This past February Hans von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, wrote a probing indictment called “The United Nations and NATO” for a Swiss Journal.

It it he warned that “The world of the 192 UN member states has come to a fork in the road. One way leads to a world focused on the well being of society, conflict resolution and peace, i.e. to a life of dignity and human security with social and economic progress for all, wherever they may be as stated in the United Nations Charter. Down the other road is where the nineteenth century ‘Great Game’ for power will be further played out, a course which, in the twenty-first century, will become more extensive and dangerously more aggressive than ever.

“This road supposedly leads to democracy, but in truth it is all about power, control and exploitation.” [13]

Contrasting explicitly what the above excerpt had done tacitly, he remarked of his former employer and its would-be replacement:

“A comparison of the mandates of the United Nations and of NATO shows clearly how opposed the purposes of these two institutions are. In the 63 years of its existence, the United Nations mandate has remained the same.

“The United Nations was created to promote and maintain worldwide peace. NATO exists to assure the self-interest of a group of 26 UN member countries.” [14]

In a section of his article titled “21st century NATO incompatible with UN Charter,” von Sponeck added, “In 1999, NATO acknowledged that it was seeking to orient itself according to a new fundamental strategic concept. From a narrow military defense alliance it was to become a broad based alliance for the protection of the vital resources” needs of its members. Besides the defense of member states’ borders, it set itself new purposes such as assured access to energy sources and the right to intervene in ‘movements of large numbers of persons’ and in conflicts far from the boarders of NATO countries. The readiness of the new alliance to include other countries, particularly those that had previously been part of the Soviet Union, shows how the character of this military alliance has altered.

“[T]he United Nations monopoly of the use of force, especially as specified in Article 51 of the Charter, was no longer accepted according to the 1999 NATO doctrine.

“NATO’s territorial scope, until then limited to the Euro-Atlantic region, was expanded by its member to encompass the whole world in keeping with a strategic context that was global in its sweep.” [15]

In a following section named “UN-NATO-accord: incompatible with UN Charter,” he exposed a clandestine accord signed between the secretaries general of NATO and the United Nations, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Ban Ki-moon, respectively, on September 23, 2008, which “took place without any reference to the United Nations Security Council.

“In the generally accepted agreement of stated purposes, one reads of a ‘broader council’ and ‘operative cooperation,’ for example in ‘peacekeeping’ in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. Both secretaries general committed themselves to acting in common to meet threats and challenges.

“The UN/NATO accord is anything but neutral and will thus not remain without serious consequences.” [16]

Shortly after the unauthorized pact signed behind the backs of the UN Security Council, in addition to the General Assembly, by NATO chief Scheffer and Ban, who has proven to be as obsequious toward and obedient to the interests of the West as his predecessor had been, the Russian press reported:

“Russia’s representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said that in the document there is not a single word on the UN’s leading role in ensuring stability in the world.

“NATO and the United Nations have signed a new cooperation accord on prerogatives for UN member states – but have angered Russia by not telling them about it in advance.” [17]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was similarly caught off guard and indignant alike, stating “We knew that the UN and NATO secretariats were drawing up an agreement. And we assumed that before the signing, its draft should be shown to the member states. But it never happened,” accusing Scheffer and Ban of operating secretly and in violation of UN norms.

“The Russian minister said that he discussed the problem with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. ‘I did not hear any reasonable explanations. It surprised me,’ said Lavrov….’We asked the leadership of the two secretariats what it might mean. We’re awaiting answers.'” [18]

Another Russian report added, “Russia has recently vented its displeasure over what it called the ‘furtive signature’ of a cooperation agreement between the secretariats of the United Nations and NATO, which took place late last month. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complained that this country, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, was not even consulted on the matter.

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that Moscow and other UN members had not been consulted on the essence of the UN-NATO cooperation agreement, although, he said, the document contained clauses that concern the prerogatives of UN member states.” [19]

A third source referred to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko who, in stressing that the surreptitious pact was “riding roughshod over Moscow’s interests,” affirmed that “a big question mark currently hangs over the professional skills of some UN officials, who try to involve the UN Secretary-General in covert activities.” [20]

An Azerbaijani news source added, “If the agreement, signed in September, is only confirming the status quo, it [is] surprising why the information about it was not published on the NATO website, which even has a special section called ‘NATO’s relations with the United Nations.’ This fact perpetuates Russia’s perception of NATO as a hostile bloc.” [21]

In a news dispatch titled “UN and NATO team up behind Russia’s back,” Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin – who was himself not informed of the backroom deal – said “NATO should fully acknowledge the UN’s universal role and not try to substitute UN functions.” [22]

In the article discussed earlier, Hans von Sponeck asked “Is the United Nations accord with NATO – a military alliance with nuclear weapons – in contradiction with Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which requires that conflicts be resolved by peaceful means? Can UN and NATO actions be distinguished when three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are also NATO members? How can future violations of international law by NATO be legally prosecuted? Is an institution like NATO, which in 1999, without a UN mandate, unlawfully bombed Serbia and Kosovo, a suitable partner for the United Nations?” [23]

And in a section entitled “UN mandate makes NATO obsolete,” he finished with “Any evaluation of the UN/NATO pact must take into account that NATO is a relic of the Cold War; that NATO, as a Western alliance, is regarded with considerable mistrust by the other 166 United Nations member states; that a primary NATO aim is to assert, by military means, its energy and power interests in opposition to other United Nations member states and that the United States, a founding member of the NATO community, in the most unscrupulous ways, has disparaged the United Nations and broken international law.

“It is urgent that one or several member states petition the International Court of Justice to rule on the interpretation of the UN/NATO pact of 23 September 2008, in conformity with the Courts statutes.

“The people of the world have a right to request such a ruling and a right to expect an answer.” [24]

Parallel Assault On UN’s Integrity: George Soros

Late last September, only weeks after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had unleashed a military attack on South Ossetia resulting in a five-day war with Russia, a New York City daily reported that “Russia’s confrontation with the West is escalating, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accusing the U.N. Development Program of collaborating with the financier George Soros to fund Mikheil Saakashvili’s rise to the Georgian presidency.” [25]

Lavrov’s exact words were these:

“Now regarding what sources are drawn on to pay for the activities of the Georgian leadership. I have heard many rumors and reports. I know that they are now being checked and verified. At a point in the past, I believe, George Soros sponsored Georgian government members. Now I hear that the United Nations Development Program spent some of its funds for this purpose. This has to be sorted out. The chief thing is that the rules should not be violated on the basis of which the world body and all of its entities, funds and programs operate. Somebody privatizing this organization cannot be tolerated.” [26]

Lavrov and his colleagues wouldn’t have to delve too deeply into the matter to discover the truth.

Over five years ago a major English language Georgian website contained this report:

“The Capacity Building Fund (CBF), set up with the financial assistance of the UNDP [UN Development Program] and billionaire philanthropist George Soros to support governance reforms in Georgia, launches activities and will provide salaries to Georgian officials.

“In a joint news conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the World Economic Forum on January 22, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and George Soros announced the creation of a CBF.

“‘In total, 5 thousand state officials will receive salaries from this fund. However, the main attention will be focused on employees of the law-enforcement agencies,’ Director of the Fund Kote Kublashvili told Civil Georgia.” [27]

The American source cited above in reminding its readers that “Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Mr. Soros’s OSI [Open Society Institute] has concentrated much of its pro-democracy activities in former Soviet republics…with local leaders and their nationalist supporters pledging to sever ties with Moscow,” added more details:

“The Georgian president, prime minister, and speaker of the Parliament received monthly salary supplements of $1,500 each; ministers received $1,200 a month, and deputy ministers $700….

“The program was funded initially by Mr. Soros’s OSI, which gave $1 million, while the UNDP gave $500,000.” [28]

As subsequent examples cited later will document, the relations between American self-styled non-governmental organizations, think tanks, the State Department and NATO Headquarters in Brussels are not only cordial, not only symbiotic, but incestuous, with key individuals passing from one to another without missing a paycheck.

The US-based billionaire currency speculator Soros and the former U.S. head of state worked in perfect unison when it came to Georgia and the overall objective of isolating and encircling Russia with hostile regimes.

Think Tank Origins: NATO Undermining The UN From Inside And Out

The current U.S. permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO is Netherlands-born Ivo Daalder, who like so many others of his type cut his foreign policy teeth in the Balkans in the 1990s. In fact he was the director for European Affairs on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, where he was in charge of Bosnia policy. Although a Clinton appointee Daalder criticized his chief during the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, calling for a ground invasion of the country in addition to the devastating air war.

The day after President Barack Obama announced the selection of Daalder for the NATO post, a news account from his homeland described him as a “liberal hawk” who was “a signatory to the January 2005 Project for a New American Century letter to Congress urging an increase in the number of troops in Iraq. The Project for a New American Century is a neoconservative think-tank linked to the American Enterprise Institute, where much of the foreign policy of the Bush administration originated.

“He often wrote about the right (or duty) of the international community to use military and humanitarian action to intervene in countries that fail to meet their responsibilities.” [29]

At the time of his nomination Daalder was a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The day after the Dutch feature appeared, the print edition of Russia Today television had this to say:

“Barack Obama’s administration sees NATO as the nucleus for a global organization of democracies that will eventually replace the United Nations, believes an influential Russian newspaper [Kommersant].

“Washington wants NATO to expand by inviting counties like Australia, Japan, Brazil and South Africa and become a global organization tackling not only security issues but also epidemics and human rights….The next US Ambassador to NATO Ivo H. Daalder is a great supporter of this idea.

“Daalder, an expert at the Brookings Institution and a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama during the election campaign, is a strong proponent of the so-called Concert of Democracies.

“The idea, coined by the think-tank Princeton Project on National Security, is that the United Nations is outdated….” [30]

The source added that “Daalder believes that NATO is a prototype of the proposed concert, being an alliance of democracies with a long success record, and can be extended to the new global organization” and that “a source in the White House [says] that Vice President Joe Biden is among the supporters of the Concert of Democracies.” [31]

As the American magazine Newsweek reported late last year under the headline Fighting Wars of Peace, “Vice President-elect Joe Biden called during the campaign for imposing a no-fly zone in Darfur and, a year earlier, advocated committing ‘U.S. troops on the ground’ if necessary. And Hillary Clinton, the incoming secretary of state, was a forceful advocate of the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo during her husband’s administration.

“[A]s Ivo Daalder, [a] prominent Obama adviser, and Robert Kagan have pointed out, between 1989 and 2001 America dispatched significant military force to foreign hot spots so often — once every 18 months — that intervention became something of a standard weapon of U.S. foreign policy, and one with bipartisan support.” [32]

The genesis of the “war for peace” Concert of Democracies concept under NATO auspices and in opposition to the UN, at least as far as Daalder is concerned, may have been in a “guest” column in the Washington Post over five years ago called An Alliance of Democracies and co-authored by Daalder and James Lindsay, then vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the article Daalder and his colleague leave no doubt as to which institution global NATO stands in opposition to:

“An immediate problem is that the United Nations lacks the capability to make a difference. Its blue-helmeted troops can help keep the peace when warring parties choose not to fight. But as we learned in the Balkans, they cannot make peace where none exists. And as we saw in the 12 years preceding the Iraq war, the United Nations cannot enforce its most important resolutions. The deeper problem is that these reform proposals do not go to the heart of what ails the organization: It treats its members as sovereign equals regardless of the character of their governments.

“The idea of sovereign equality reflected a conscious decision governments made 60 years ago that they would be better off if they repudiated the right to meddle in the internal affairs of others. That choice no longer makes sense.

“Today respect for state sovereignty should be conditional on how states behave at home, not just abroad.

“We need an Alliance of Democratic States. This organization would unite nations with entrenched democratic traditions, such as the United States and Canada; the European Union countries; Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia; India and Israel; Botswana and Costa Rica.” [33]

Analogous demands have been voiced over the past few years by former Spanish prime minister Jose Aznar, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and spokesman James Appathurai and U.S. Republican Party candidates in last year’s presidential election Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain, alternately identified as an alliance, a concert or a league of democracies.

In 2007 the now deceased U.S. congressman Tom Lantos, at the time chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “NATO should seriously consider expanding into a global alliance including democratic countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Israel,” and posed the rhetorical query “Would it not make the (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander feel more comfortable about upcoming global crises if he would have a NATO of a global reach?” To which the commander identified, Gen. Bantz John Craddock, replied: “From a best military advice perspective, it would indeed be enormously helpful to have more democratic, peace-loving nations as part of the alliance.” [34]

The advocates of the ultimate “coalition of the willing” call for expanding NATO from its current 28 full members, 22 Partnership for Peace states in Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, seven Middle Eastern and North African nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue, six Persian Gulf countries covered under the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and several individual Contact Countries – in total over a third of the nations in the world – into a comprehensive, worldwide political-economic-military bloc with members in six of the world’s seven continents and with its eye set on the remaining one, Antarctica.

The nations targeted for the NATO-led Alliance of Democracies include Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea inter alia.

From Design To Execution: Ivo Daalder

Daalder would follow up on this initiative two and a half years later, this time in a forum generously provided him by the International Herald Tribune, sister publication of the New York Times, the other main pillar of the American “free press,” and co-written by the Council on Foreign Relations’ James Goldgeier.

The piece in question, “For global security, expand the alliance,” states:

“NATO must become larger and more global by admitting any democratic state that is willing and able to contribute to the fulfillment of the alliance’s new responsibilities.

“Other democratic countries share NATO’s values and many common interests – including Australia, Brazil, Japan, India, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea – and all of them can greatly contribute to NATO’s efforts by providing additional military forces or logistical support….”

The contribution is urgent because “NATO militaries are stretched thin by the many new missions they are called on to perform in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Sudan, Congo and other parts of Africa.”

The column raised the stakes to a degree that is deeply unsettling, fraught as they are with the threat of nothing less than world war.

“Collective defense, enshrined in Article 5’s dictum that an attack on one member is an attack on all, must remain at the core of an expanded alliance as it has in the past. For the United States, such commitments elsewhere would not be novel, as it already guarantees, either formally or informally, the security of countries such as Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

“[A]ll NATO members contributed to the grand coalition that reversed Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which is not even a democracy. If Australia or Japan were attacked, would the European democracies simply shrug their shoulders?” [35]

Far more is involved than the deployment of troops, warships and warplanes to all parts of the globe on the arbitrary decision of the major NATO partners, as unparalleled a danger to the world as that is.

In speaking of Washington’s ongoing global missile shield program – one that could neutralize the potential for nations, Russia and China come immediately to mind, to maintain a deterrence or retaliation capacity and thus serve as an invitation for a first strike – in March of 2007 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Rood asserted that planned interceptor missile sites in Poland and the Czech Republic “would be integrated with existing radar sites in the United Kingdom and Greenland as well as missile defense interceptors in California and Alaska,” adding that at the time some fourteen nations were already involved in the plans, including “Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, India, Japan, the Netherlands and Ukraine. Taiwan is also participating….

“[There] is a cooperative understanding among the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Israel, Italy and Denmark to conduct government-to-government and industry-to-industry missile defense cooperation.” [36]

The correlation between the non-NATO nations mentioned as members of a concert or alliance of democracies under NATO leadership and those being integrated into the global interceptor missile system is striking.

While still U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and before being appointed Ivo Daalder’s predecessor as ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker said:

“[A]s NATO is active in places like Afghanistan or Iraq or Darfur, we are working together with countries that share NATO’s values and that are capable of contributing to security, such as Australia or New Zealand or South Korea or Japan, and we would like to find ways to cooperate with these countries….

“Some countries which, from a geographic standpoint, see themselves as front line states, have a high interest in theater missile defense, and other countries say it’s something we ought to do….For the U.S. there is no such thing as theater missile defense because we look at missile defense in a global scale….” [37]

The complement to the above, popularly referred to as Star Wars or Son of Star Wars, is an even more dangerous threat: Space war.

Last November Russia, as it has routinely done for years at UN General Assembly meetings, urged “UN member-states to join the moratorium on the deployment of weapons in outer space.”

The nation’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, pointed out that “it is on Russia’s initiative that the UN General Assembly has been adopting resolutions, for many years now, aimed at the prevention of an arms race in space.

“The only one who objected to the adoption of this resolution was the United States – this was earlier this year.” [38]

Another report revealed that “Washington does plan to deploy its ABM system elements in near-Earth orbits, and it is only Russia that can counter such plans.

“In the United Nations 166 countries have voted for the Russia-proposed resolution on measures to ensure transparency and build up confidence in space activities.” [39]

As with questions of war and peace, the United Nations is used by the U.S. and its allies solely to punish weaker nations and if the UN would ever begin to function as it was designed to – including attempting to prevent the militarization of space – it will be bypassed and rendered powerless by a NATO-led “Alliance of Democratic States.”

As recently as a few days ago Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, on the sidelines of the foreign ministers meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Damascus, Syria, “express[ed] his country’s worries over giving NATO an international mission where it will be able to interfere anywhere in the world without permission from the Security Council, affirming that this is very negative and can undermine the basis of international law and the UN Charter.” [40]

NATO No Alternative To United Nations

Conceived during the waning days of the world’s most destructive and deadly war and born two months after the only use to date of nuclear weapons, the United Nation’s still bears its birth marks. 74 years later the five chief victors of World War II remain the only permanent members of the Security Council and alone have veto power. Three of them are founding members of NATO and all five are nuclear powers, hardly representative of the world community.

Not a single nation in Africa, South (indeed all of Latin) America, the Middle East and Oceania have such status.

Also, the 192-member General Assembly has largely been shunted aside in favor of the five permanent and ten rotating members of the Security Council, not to mention events of major world importance being conducted by the secretary-general and other officials behind the backs of even permanent members of the Security Council as with last September’s agreement with NATO.

The General Assembly represents humanity not only on a day-to-day basis but in a more substantive and legitimate manner than ten of its 192 members on the Security Council at any given time. It must play a larger role in all deliberations.

A revived, robust, empowered and democratized UN must shift focus from a disproportionate emphasis on negotiating trade, treaty and other agreements in service to world commerce and in ceding vast tracts of the earth to interested parties under suspicious circumstances, as with the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon and 2.2 million square kilometers of the resource-rich Antarctic Ocean to Australia recently, to what needs to be its main objective: Exerting all efforts to eliminate forever the scourge of war.

The record of the past thirteen years under the stewardship of Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon has been abysmal. Three major wars have been conducted by the United States and its NATO allies, the first against a founding member of the UN, Yugoslavia, while the organization made no meaningful efforts to prevent or halt them once started and has even legitimized them after the fact with assorted resolutions. Even UN resolutions following unauthorized wars are trampled on, as with the recognition by most NATO members of the illegal secession of Kosovo from Serbia last February, flagrantly contradicting UN Resolution 1244 which commits the UN to “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act….”

However, even with its manifold problems, the United Nations was intended to prevent the replication of the horrors of World War II which ended only two months before its creation. The world would hardly gain by having it further weakened, sidelined and in effect reduced to a hollow shell by an expanding military bloc that has already waged wars on two continents and set its sights on penetrating and dominating the entire world.

1) Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies, 2004
2) Charter of the United Nations, Preamble
3) NATO International, May 23, 1999
4) U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
5) Agence France-Presse, May 10, 2005
6) Agence France-Presse, May 11, 2005
7) Agence France-Presse, May 10, 2005
8) Washington Post, May 8, 2005
9) USA Today, April 1, 2008
10) The Hindu, May 9, 2005
11) Ibid
12) Russian Information Agency Novosti, May 7, 2005
13) Current Concerns (Switzerland), February 13, 2009
14) Ibid
15) Ibid
16) Ibid
17) Russia Today, October 9, 2008
18) Ibid
19) Voice of Russia, October 13, 2008
20) Voice of Russia, October 9, 2008
21) Trend News Agency, October 14, 2008
22) Russia Today, October 9, 2008
23) Current Concerns, February 13, 2009
24) Ibid
25) New York Sun, September 30, 2008
26) The Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO, October 2, 20
27) Civil Georgia, March 22, 2004
28) New York Sun, September 30, 2008
29) NRC Handelsblad, March 12, 2009
30) Russia Today, March 13, 2009
31) Ibid
32) Newsweek, December 13, 2008
33) Washington Post, May 23, 2004
34) Reuters, June 23, 2007
35) International Herald Tribune, October 12, 2006
36) UNIAN (Ukraine), March 5, 2007
37) U.S. State Department, February 24, 2006
38) Voice of Russia, November 20, 2008
39) Voice of Russia, November 1, 2008
40) Syrian Arab News Agency, May 24, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World

August 29, 2009 1 comment

May 21, 2009

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World
Rick Rozoff

On June 15th and 16th the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will hold its ninth annual heads of state summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

It will be attended by the presidents of its six full members – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – and by representatives of various ranks from its four observer states – India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan – and from several aspiring partner nations yet to be announced.

The SCO as an institution and as a concept represents the world’s greatest potential and in ways is its major paradox, as its capacities and their actualization to date are so far apart.

Its six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a third of the world’s. With observer states included, its affiliates account for almost half of the human race.

At its fifth and watershed summit in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, in June of 2005, when representatives of India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan attended an SCO summit for the first time, the president of the country hosting the summit, Nursultan Nazarbayev, greeted the guests in words that had never before been used in any context: “The leaders of the states sitting at this negotiation table are representatives of half of humanity.” [1]

Former Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and political analyst Leonid Ivashov later described the significance and unique nature of the SCO in asserting that “Contrary to Samuel Huntington’s concept of the allegedly inevitable clash of civilizations, the conclusion drawn in the SCO framework was that harmonized interactions between civilizations and their mutual assistance were possible.

“The contours of an alliance of five non-Western civilizations – Russian, Chinese, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist – began to materialize.” [2]

To emphasize the world-historical prospects of the organization, he added: “The SCO is supposed to be a special world without a clearly defined boundary, a world spanning the entire global space.

“The quadrangle of the new global entity – Brazil, Russia, China, and India – is already taking shape….The above and certain other formations are related to the SCO.” [3]

The quartet Ivashov mentions above – Brazil, Russia, China, and India – has since 2001 been known by the acronym formed by the first letters of the nations’ names, BRIC, the world’s fastest and most consistently growing economies with the largest foreign currency and gold reserves.

BRIC held a foreign ministers summit last May in the same city as this year’s SCO summit will occur, Yekaterinburg, and will be holding its first heads of state summit on June 16th, the second day of the ninth SCO summit in the same city.

Three of the four members of BRIC are also members or observers of the SCO, as are four of the world’s seven official nuclear states.

As a Russian daily said in 2006, “The SCO is a momentous organisation which occupies territory from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean and from Kaliningrad to Shanghai.

“It may become the second political pole of the world.” [4]

SCO members and observers also take in a stretch of Eurasia from the South China Sea to the Baltic Sea and from the Persian Gulf to the Bay of Bengal.

At the 2006 heads of states summit in Shanghai the presidents of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan – Hamid Karzai, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pervez Musharraf – attended as observers. Photographs of the three standing side by side appeared on numerous websites at the time and abounded in importance, both symbolic and substantive. The Afghan and Pakistani presidents had been hurling mutual accusations for years over the other’s nation being the base of destabilization of his own and there even had been loss of life in military exchanges between the two states’ armed forces.

Iran was the intended victim of thinly veiled threats of U.S. military strikes. In fact the granting of observer status to the nation in 2005 and Ahmadinejad’s attendance at three successive heads of state summits – China in 2006, Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and Tajikistan in 2008 – played no small role in thwarting whatever plans the United States and Israel have nurtured for attacking Iran.

To see the three above-mentioned leaders in the founding city of the SCO under the auspices of a multinational security alliance headed by Russia and China, as all three of their nations were at war or could soon be, revealed the regional and global prospects for the SCO as a new model for conflict resolution and cooperation.

During the 2007 summit the SCO discussed establishing a “unified energy market” and then Russian president Vladimir Putin stated, “I am convinced that energy dialogue, integration of our national energy concepts, and the creation of an energy club will set out the priorities for further cooperation.” [5)

The following year Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov speaking in reference to an impending meeting of SCO energy ministers and in affirming that “the existing system of pipelines on the SCO space connecting Russia, Central Asian states and China is a serious basis for the establishment of an SCO unified energy space,” said:

“The projects on the establishment of a unified energy market and the SCO common transport corridor could become bright examples of the global approach to defining the forms and mechanisms of cooperation.” [6]

By 2007 the SCO had initiated over twenty large-scale projects related to transportation, energy and telecommunications and held regular meetings of security, military, defense, foreign affairs, economic, cultural, banking and other officials from its member states. No multinational organization with such far-ranging and comprehensive mutual interests and activities has ever existed on this scale before.

America’s First Afghan War And Its Aftermath In Central Asia

Leaders of SCO member states routinely deny that the organization is a military alliance or one in the process of formation or that it entertains plans to model itself after or to directly challenge NATO. The first half of the claim is perfectly true, the second may be an obligation forced on it.

A penetrating Iranian analysis of late last year, “Iraq Smoke Screen” by Hamid Golpira, had this to say on the topic:

“According to Brzezinski’s theory, control of the Eurasian landmass is the key to global domination and control of Central Asia is the key to control of the Eurasian landmass….Russia and China have been paying attention to Brzezinski’s theory, since they formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2001, ostensibly to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security, but most probably with the real objective of counterbalancing the activities of the United States and NATO in Central Asia.” [7]

The SCO grew out of the Shanghai Five alliance of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan formed in 1996 on the basis of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions to insure boundary demarcation and security in an area of the world thrown into turmoil by the precipitous break-up of the Soviet Union five years earlier.

Mutual concerns of the five nations also included cross-border armed extremism based in the Ferghana Valley that takes in parts of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and the threat of violent secessionist movements often connected to it.

What Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were in fact contending with was the aftermath of the American Afghan proxy war of 1978-1992 which had spread, as its architect Zbigniew Brzezinski intended it to, into the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union during that period and continued to expand in the region after 1991.

When Uzbekistan joined the Shanghai Five in June of 2001 the group was formalized as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and commenced annual heads of state and heads of government (prime ministers) summits.

Less than three months later the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. occurred and in October the U.S. and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan and began establishing military bases in that nation and in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

It was at that point which, whatever the SCO’s original purpose and goals envisioned, it was brought face-to-face with the U.S. and NATO deploying troops, warplanes and military installations on SCO territory and in adjoining nations.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, SCO members like the rest of the world seemed inclined to give Washington the benefit of the doubt and take it at its word: That it would launch a – limited – military operation in Afghanistan to avenge the attacks and perhaps along the way address the situation in the country and its environs that its own actions had in large part brought about.

These included the destruction of Afghanistan as a nation-state after Washington’s mujahedin clients took the capital of Kabul in 1992 and soon reduced much of it to rubble with mortar attacks and other acts of factional fighting.

The resultant collapse of the nation’s economy and infrastructure.

The second-generation invasion of the shattered country by Taliban and their capture of Kabul in 1996 with the support of American favorite Benazir Bhutto and the active connivance of the U.S. Earlier this month current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told NBC News, concerning Taliban, that it is a “part of our past and your past, and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] and CIA created them together.” [8]

By the time of the fifth SCO heads of state summit in Kazakhstan in 2005, with few of the claimed objectives of the U.S. – and NATO which joined the fray by invoking its Article 5 mutual military assistance clause – accomplished and no sign of the Pentagon and NATO ever preparing to remove their military forces from Afghanistan and four neighboring nations, patience had worn thin among SCO member states.

The United States and its NATO allies had launched three unprovoked wars in four years – Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 – as well as waging counterinsurgency and proxy conflicts and subversion campaigns in Colombia, Macedonia, Ivory Coast, Yemen, the Philippines, Liberia and elsewhere.

What alarmed SCO members as much as the preceding was the so-called Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in March of 2005 and what government authorities in Tashkent saw as a variation on the theme of regime change in Uzbekistan in May of that year, a month before the SCO summit.

The uprising in Kyrgyzstan and the overthrow of its president Askar Akayev was the fourth in a series of Western-backed “color revolutions” in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union following those in Yugoslavia in 2000, Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in December of 2004, only three months before that in Kyrgyzstan. The dominoes were falling with an increasing rapidity and now were occurring on the Chinese as well as Russian borders. And in the very heart of the SCO community.

The newspaper of the Chinese ruling party, People’s Daily, wrote a month after the summit:

“The recent SCO Summit was held against a background featuring major changes taken place in the regional political situation. After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and other direct military actions, the United States and other Western powers have basically completed integration of the world security pattern, launched offensives of ‘democratic reform’ and ‘elimination of tyrannical outposts’ in former Soviet states and the Greater Middle East region and started ‘color revolutions’ one after another.” [9]

At the summit in Kazakhstan the SCO issued a Declaration of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which addressed a broad panoply of concerns and which contained a general statement on the situation obtaining in the world at the time and an elaboration of the organization’s principles. It included:

“The heads of the member states point out that, against the backdrop of a contradictory process of globalisation, multilateral cooperation, which is based on the principles of equal right and mutual respect, non-intervention in internal affairs of sovereign states, non-confrontational way of thinking and consecutive movement towards democratisation of international relations, contributes to overall peace and security, and call upon the international community, irrespective of its differences in ideology and social structure, to form a new concept of security based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and interaction.

“Diversity of cultures and civilisations in the world is a common human value. At a time of fast developing information technologies and communications it must stimulate mutual interest, tolerance, abandonment of extreme approaches and assessments, development of dialogue. Every people must be properly guaranteed to have the right to choose its own way of development.

“The heads of the member states are convinced that a rational and just world order must be based upon consolidation of mutual trust and good-neighborly relations, upon the establishment of true partnership with no pretence to monopoly and domination in international affairs. Such order will become more stable and secure, if it comes to consider the supremacy of principles and standards of international law, before all, the UN Charter. In the area of human rights it is necessary to respect strictly and consecutively historical traditions and national features of every people, the sovereign equality of all states.” [10]

As an earlier quote mentioned, the SCO is composed of six member states and four observers representing a true diversity of cultures, civilizations, histories and political systems, from many of the world’s oldest and most venerable traditions to some of its newest nations, from the world’s two most populous states to Kyrgyzstan with slightly over five million citizens, and with political structures ranging from secular to religious and multi-party to single-party. The internal demographic composition of the ten members and observers, excluding Mongolia, is also a rich tapestry of ethnic, national, linguistic and confessional pluralism and variety.

In addition to calling for a just, rational and peaceful world in a global situation that was little enough of any of the three, the Declaration contained both an appeal and blueprint for the sort of international order required as an antidote to the current one of unipolarity, unilateralism, cutthroat competition, cynical complacency, brute force and war.

The summit declaration was the opening salvo in a long-overdue campaign for a multipolar international system, one not dominated by a self-appointed sole superpower or by several powers with presumptions to global domination or respective spheres of influence, but a democracy between nations that would augment the development of democracy within nations.

In November of 2005 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that the “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is working to establish a rational and just world order” and that “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation provides us with a unique opportunity to take part in the process of forming a fundamentally new model of geopolitical integration.” [11]

It also recognized that no single, standardized model of political, economic, social, cultural and ethical development and practices could be forced on the 88% of humanity that lives outside the Euro-Atlantic world, not a parliamentary system devised in the British Isles centuries ago nor a consumerist culture and pseudo-civilization designed on Madison Avenue and in Hollywood.

That genuine structural problems exist in the political systems of SCO member states is indisputable. Five of the six were thrust into sudden independence in 1991 with the near instantaneous break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the USSR’s former Central Asian republics were among the most adversely affected by that catastrophic occurrence. Social dislocation, economic destitution, cross-border armed incursions and general destabilization are not conducive to the optimal development of electoral and other political institutions.

The SCO Declaration evinced a recognition that even if trends in all nations and societies should evolve in the direction of government that is equitable, accountable, accessible and humane, each nation and culture will arrive at that destination by its own path as it also abides by universal principles.

The West that presumes to dictate, often to the point of blackmail and bombs, that its increasingly constricted and impracticable model of governance must be enforced always and everywhere, even where the native soil rejects such transplantation, would be better advised to examine its own deficiencies.

The standard-bearer of Western values, the United States, held federal elections last year in which two billion dollars of private funds were expended in an effort to buy influence. And that in a system where only two established political parties are given automatic ballot status and thus have a monopoly on fielding candidates broadly and surely in winning posts.

Time For U.S. And NATO To Leave Central Asia

The Declaration adopted at the 2005 SCO summit also contained this provision:

“Considering the completion of the active military stage of antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan, the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation consider it necessary that respective members of the antiterrorist coalition set a final timeline for their temporary use of the above-mentioned objects of infrastructure and stay of their military contingent on the territories of the SCO member states.” [12]

Which is to say that the U.S. and NATO had outlived whatever usefulness their presence in South and Central Asia had served and it was now time for them to leave.

A Chinese daily expressed the matter in these terms:

“The Declaration points out that the SCO member countries have the ability and responsibility to safeguard the security of the Central Asian region, and calls on Western countries to leave Central Asia. That is the most noticeable signal given by the Summit to the world.” [13]

On July 7 of 2006 Uzbekistan issued an eviction notice to the 800 U.S. military personnel housed in its base at Karshi-Khanabad, stating that the use of the base had been allowed “for the sole purpose of ousting Taliban rulers from Afghanistan” which had been achieved almost four years earlier.

The government demarche said “Any other prospects for a U.S. military presence in Uzbekistan were not considered by the Uzbek side.” [14]

On the 17th Kyrgyzstan’s newly elected President Kurmanbek Bakiyev “stressed …that with the appeasement of the situation in Afghanistan, it is the time for the United States to schedule its pullout of forces from the base in his country,” where an estimated 1,500 American and NATO military personnel were stationed.

On July 20 Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov said “it is time for the United States and its allies to set a date to pull their conventional troops out of Central Asia as the situation in Afghanistan has stabilized,” with local reference to the use of the former Soviet Kulyab airbase and the use of Tajikistan’s airspace. [15]

“Nazarov reiterated the call made jointly by the six member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) earlier this month that the US- ed anti-terror coalition should set a deadline for the withdrawal of their troops and the temporary use of infrastructure in Central Asian countries.” [16]

Later in the month Russia signed an agreement with the government of Tajikistan for the use of a military base in the country.

The U.S. Secretary of State at the time, Condoleezza Rice, denounced the SCO Declaration’s call for the removal of American and NATO bases in Central Asia with the pat response that “there is still a lot of terrorist activity in Afghanistan and US troops were needed to train the Afghan army to counter it,” [17], a state of affairs that from the Western perspective persists to this day, four years later, and into the indefinite future with the war now fully extended into Pakistan.

So concerned was Washington that its plans for permanent military deployments in Central and South Asia under the guise of the so-called Global War on Terror were in jeopardy that it deployed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a hastily scheduled tour to the region, visiting Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

At the time the U.S. had “1,000 planes in the Ganci military base” in Kyrgyzstan and “about 1,500 military staff and planes in the Khanabad base in Uzbekistan.” [18]

“Rumsfeld planned his trip after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization called for a timetable for US withdrawal in an early June summit in Astana.

“During his talks in Bishkek, Rumsfeld will demand the lease of [the] Ganci military base, in the vicinity of Bishkek’s Manas Airport, to be extended.” [19]

Washington had leverage with the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in two respects: The ever-looming threat of another “color revolution” could be activated against any government that defied U.S. diktat and America could offer economic incentives to the two Central Asian nations that had no substantial oil and natural gas resources, unlike Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

In August what were described as anti-terrorist exercises (most any military deployment or exercise since September 11, 2001 has been characterized as such) were conducted in the Caspian Sea with the participation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (composed of Russia, Armenia, Belarus and the four Central Asian nations in the SCO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States anti-aircraft defense allied command.

Participants included the chiefs of anti-terrorist units and secret services from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and officials from the Iranian Security Ministry attended the exercise in the capacity of observers for the first time. [20]

This was while U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was conniving to establish a Western-dominated Caspian Guard in the region.

Days later Russia and China launched their first-ever joint military exercises, the eight-day Peace Mission 2005, in Eastern Russia and in China’s Shandong Province, consisting of land, sea and air components and 10,000 troops.

In December the Chief of the Russian General Staff at the time, Yuri Baluyevsky, announced that “Our goal is to organise such multi-country military exercises [with both India and China] within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.” [21]

A Pakistani commentary in the same period drew attention to the purpose of such exercises:

“NATO was often regarded as the hidden fist behind a…US-led drive for equal access to the vast energy resources of the successor states of the Soviet Union.” [22]

SCO Appeal Resonated Throughout Eurasia

But the most significant aspect of the period following the SCO June, 2005 summit was the eagerness with which nations outside the organization welcomed its new enhanced role and the underlying call for global multipolarity.

Indian External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, who had represented his nation at the summit, announced a month afterward “To deepen engagement with the region, India plans to apply for full membership of the SCO,” [23], a position he repeated in November when stating that India planned to expand its engagement with the SCO and “declared India’s intention for a greater role in the organisation.” [24]

At the same time the Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz “stressed that the SCO…represents [a] 3 billion population of the world” [25] and said his country “wanted to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” adding, “This organization is of immense strategic importance” and “that if the SCO conducted military exercises like those performed by Russia, China, and India recently, Pakistan would consider participating.” [26]

New observer state Iran also expressed its desire to become a full member and stated that it would offer the SCO access to the Middle East and, according to Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref, “Iran would play a key role in linking the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to Persian Gulf states and even Europe.” [27]

Malaysian Ambassador to Russia Mohamad Khalis, who had attended the Astana summit, said “Malaysia completely supports the goals set by the SCO and is ready to cooperate with the organisation and its members for common interests.” [28]

In the ensuing months similar interest was expressed by nations as diverse as Bangladesh, Belarus, Nepal, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

On November 4, 2005 a ceremony was held at the SCO Secretariat to sign a protocol on the establishment of a Contact Group between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Afghanistan. [29]

The SCO has also established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The response to the prospects of an expanded SCO was such that a Pakistani commentator considered “The new contenders for admission are Afghanistan, North Korea and South Korea. If the SCO continues its southward expansion, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia may join in the future.” [30]

U.S. Strikes Back: India

The U.S. counteroffensive was not long in coming nor was it limited to attempts at maintaining airbases in Central Asia.

It targeted the most populous new SCO observer state and that nation which can tilt not only the region but the world either toward Western dominance or a new multipolar international order: India. July 18, 2005 American President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a joint statement on the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement that came into effect three years later and that permitted a waiver to be granted to India to commence civilian nuclear trade.

This was the economic enticement to lure India away from the SCO and closer security arrangements with Russia and China and begin the process of its orientation toward strategic military ties with Washington and its serving as the fourth pillar of an emerging Asian NATO along with Japan, Australia and South Korea. India as a full member of the SCO would insure the demise of global unipolarity, of bloc and power politics on the world stage and of Western domination on not only the military but the diplomatic and economic fronts.

India as a U.S. military ally will perpetuate divisions in the world and hostilities in Eurasia.

An Indian analyst warned two years ago that “Washington is not interested in New Delhi’s official admission to the nuclear power club because that would enhance the latter’s influence in international affairs. An important objective of the Americans in the region is to turn India into a major factor capable of counterbalancing a rapidly growing China.

“In order to reduce the SCO’s role and influence in the region and to promote realisation of the American concept of a ‘Greater Central Asia,’ Tokyo and Washington are trying to drag New Delhi into a so-called Quadrilateral of Democracies aimed at building an alliance-like relationship between the US, Japan, Australia and India.” [31]

Another Indian writer at the time echoed the same concern in stating, “It is indeed sad that New Delhi should continue to underestimate the importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

“So enamoured are our foreign policy mandarins of the new found friendship with Washington that they have found no time to evaluate the SCO’s great potential strategic importance to India.

“The US has sought to undermine the SCO and given an opportunity, it would have loved to throttle it in its infancy.

“India is the most important ‘swing state’ in the international system. It has the potential to emerge as a strong, independent centre of power. Must India allow the US to play midwife to the birth of a new great power?” (32)

India is, as a member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, India) and RIC (Russia, India, China; the Strategic Triangle that former Russian foreign minister and prime minister Yevgeny Primakov spoke of in 1998) group of nations, as a major economic power in its own right and as a nation of over one billion citizens, that country in the world which can decide whether efforts by the SCO and complementary ones in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East toward securing a democratic, peaceful, prosperous and safe world system are successfully expedited or are made more laborious, painful and costly by artificially prolonging the disproportionate and by now manifestly unjust and disastrous power of the major Western states in and over the world.

West Contained And In Decline

Yet the 2005 SCO summit has not been without effects. Since that time the cycle of wars waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies from 1999-2003 has been halted. There have been no more successful “color” coups in the former Soviet Union, notwithstanding attempts in that direction in Belarus, Armenia and most recently Moldova.

The current president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, attended the 2007 heads of state summit as did Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the second for two years in a row.

In early October of 2007 the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization signed a memorandum of mutual understanding to integrate regional and international security cooperation and the following month agreed on a collaborative approach to Afghanistan.

This May 15th Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov informed the news media that the SCO had recommended what is described as dialogue partner status to Belarus and Sri Lanka, which would extend the geographical range of the SCO to a nation entirely in Europe and to another not part of the Eurasian landmass.

And not only has the post-World War II global domination of the West, given an extended and virtually unbridled license after the end of the Cold War, been curtailed by the new assertiveness of a revived Russia, a democratized and progressively more integrated Latin America and new formations like the SCO, but its power to dictate economic, financial, trade, copyright, political and energy terms to the rest of the world – and its ability to reserve the exclusive prerogative of using military force outside its own borders – has begun to collapse under its own weight.

Not that the military, including strategic, threats have abated. A Turkish analyst reminded readers last September that “the SCO has seen the unipolar mentality of the US as a source of conflict rather than a cure for the world’s common challenges.

“Stressing the necessity of a multipolar world for the sake of international security, the SCO has supported the maintenance of a strategic balance of power.

“The SCO has thus warned that the US endeavor to create a global missile defense system, as in Poland and the Czech Republic, is a futile attempt, as such efforts will neither help uphold the strategic balance nor prevent the spread of weapons of every kind, including nuclear.” [33]

In the same month the head of Russia’s Center for Contemporary Studies on Iran, Rajab Safarev, indicated the outlines of an alternative: “If Iran would become a SCO member, the SCO would become the third most influential, most powerful international body after the United Nations and the European Union.”

“I even believe the SCO would rank second, next to the UN, from the competence point of the view, after Iran’s membership.”

“The SCO would also get stronger following Iran’s membership, because its member states would be the owners of two thirds of the world’s energy sources which gives them a great financial power.” [34]

Caucasus War As Turning Point

On August 1st of last year Georgian armed forces launched artillery barrages against the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, killing several people including a Russian peacekeeper. Only the preceding day a U.S.-led NATO military exercise had been completed in Georgia and American troops and hardware remained in the country. Six days later Georgia, hours after its U.S.-educated leader Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire, unleashed a full-scale invasion of South Ossetia.

Russian forces beat back the Georgian offensive and decisively defeated an army that for years had been armed and trained by the Pentagon and NATO.

The Caucasus war was a double precedent. It marked the first time that a U.S. and NATO proxy army had come into direct armed conflict with Russia and its defeat put the first dent in the West’s post-Cold War image of invincibility.

After the war last August and in response to it Iranian President Ahmadinejad affirmed his country’s intention of joining the SCO and added, “The thing is that every organization has its own functions. We have our own expectations related to the SCO. The world does not consist only of NATO and the United States.” [35]

Addressing the Georgia-Russia war also, the head of the Russian Center of Political Information Alexei Mukhin took the above point to the next level: “If we are talking about SCO’s move from an economic organization to a military one, then this has already happened….All the member states were willing to respond to the strengthening of NATO.” [36]

The director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ center for SCO and regional problems, Anatoly Bolyatko, added:

“[T]he recent conflict in the Caucasus underscored the need for a multipolar world order. If NATO and even the UN are unable to settle this conflict, the SCO could well become a viable platform for resolving such problems….

“The SCO should eventually start playing a new role both in and outside the Caucasus. What we see now is a real crisis of the idea of a unipolar world now that the US and its NATO allies pretend they are unable to get to the core of what’s been happening in the Caucasus.

“I believe that organizations like the SCO and BRIC, that brings Russia together with Brazil, India and China, should play an important role here.” [37]

Russian political analyst Andrei Areshev also noted on this score that “Following the August crisis in the Caucasus, political consultations within the SCO have intensified….The SCO’s transformation into an organisation capable of effective resolution, inter alia, of joint defense issues will become ever more relevant as the tension on the Eurasian continent, which is provoked from without, increases further.” [38]

An even more forceful assessment is that which follows:

“Changes in world politics that took place after ‘the awakening of the Russian bear’ could open the SCO’s doors for Tehran, which remains one of the key oil suppliers for China.

“If this should be the case, it may be possible to speak of an unprecedented consolidation of the countries of the Eurasian continent around Beijing and Moscow.

“This will render the US’s attack on Iran impossible and put an end to America’s plans of redrawing the lines in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“Such developments…change the entire world order formed after the collapse of the USSR.” [39]

Prospects: World Crisis And Emerging International Alternative

In late October of 2008 the prime ministers of the SCO member states met in Kazakhstan against the backdrop of the worst world financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

At the summit Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that “Amid the global financial turmoil the SCO function acquires new meaning.” [40]

He specified that each member of the organization “offers its competitive advantages to be added to the common asset of interaction on international markets.”

“In this sense, the organization’s role doubles today, since we are going through a complicated process in the international financial system and in the world economy. God has blessed the countries of our region to make use of their competitive geographical and historical advantages.” [41]

What Putin was alluding to was a central hallmark, indeed the very foundation, of the SCO and its model of horizontal rather than vertical integration. What provides the organization the vast potential it has both as the major multifaceted alliance and structure in Eurasia and also as microcosm and prototype alike for an international transformation in all realms is not only the individual or even collective resources of its members, but its principle and practice of complementarity, of avoiding inefficient and costly repetition and redundancy and what in the West is uncritically celebrated as “competition.”

It is that precise variant of myopic and avaricious, ruthless and asocial policy practiced over the past twenty years – when the U.S. and its allies held practically uncontested sway over the world and were free to fashion it just as they chose to – that has led to the people of the West and the world staring into an economic and social abyss. The last mechanisms left available to power-obsessed Western political elites is to rob their own citizens and those of the world to subsidize the institutions and individuals that created the crisis and to maintain war as their ultimate trump card.

At last October’s SCO summit Iranian Vice President Parviz Davudi addressed an initiative that has been garnering greater interest and assuming a heightened sense of urgency when he said, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a good venue for designing a new banking system which is independent from international banking systems.” [42]

The address by Russia’s Putin also included these comments:

“We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem Russia will to take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress.”

“The world is seeing the emergence of a qualitatively different geo-political situation, with the emergence of new centers of economic growth and political influence.

“We will witness and take part in the transformation of the global and regional security and development architectures adapted to new realities of the 21st century, when stability and prosperity are becoming inseparable notions.” [43]

The world is at a historical crossroad with the security and even survival of humanity at stake. One path continues along the way that has been pursued to date, of the right of might and every person for himself regardless of the consequences.

The other is one of a more rational, just, peaceful and multipolar alternative.

1) Kazinform, July 5, 2005

2) Strategic Culture Foundation, January 8, 2008
3) Ibid
4) From Pravda as quoted in Daily Jang (Pakistan), June 14, 2006
5), August 16, 2007
6) New Europe (Belgium), November 4, 2008
7) Tehran Times, November 20, 2008
8) Press Trust of India, May 11, 2009
9) People’s Daily, July 6, 2005
10) The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, July 13, 2005
11) UzReport, November 28, 2005
12) Ibid
13) People’s Daily, July 8, 2005
14) New York Times, July 8, 2005
15) Xinhua News Agency, July 21, 2005
16) Ibid
17) Xinhua News Agency, July 21, 2005
18) Cihan News Agency (Turkey), July 26, 2005
19) Ibid
20) Itar-Tass, August 17, 2005
21) The Hindu, December 4, 2005
22) Daily Times, December 2, 2005
23) Indo-Asian News Service, July 6, 2005
24) Indo-Asian News Service, October 27, 2005
25) Pakistan Tribune, October 27, 2005
26) Russian Information Agency Novosti, October 27, 2005
27) Islamic Republic News Agency, July 5, 2005
28) Vietnam News Agency, December 9, 2005
29) Shanghai Cooperation Organization, November 4, 2005
30) Daily Jang, June 14, 2006
31) Mansoor Ali, Choice between Quadrilateral of Democracies and SCO
Mainstream, October 9, 2007
32) Ash Narain Roy, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – Towards New
Mainstream, September 18, 2007
33) Guner Ozkan, Russia and the remaking of the ‘near abroad’ part 2
Zaman, September 23, 2008
34) Islamic Republic News Agency, September 15, 2008
35) Interfax, August 29, 2008
36) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 27, 2008
37) Voice of Russia, September 7, 2008
38) Strategic Culture Foundation, December 24, 2008
39) RosBusinessConsulting, August 30, 2008
40) Voice of Russia, October 31, 2008
41) Interfax, October 30, 2008
42) Mehr News Agency, October 31, 2008
43) Russia Today, October 30, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica

August 28, 2009 2 comments

May 16, 2009

Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica
by Rick Rozoff

The Arctic and Antarctica are the last vast untapped reservoirs of mineral resources on the planet. [1]

If the expansion of Australia’s territory is formalized, this will disrupt the operation of international legal mechanisms, which have already been seriously affected by the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence.

Worse still, this will open the door to a large-scale re-division of the world. The South Pole precedent could be applied in the North Pole, which will turn the struggle for the Arctic resources into a global war, inevitably involving Russia. [2]

May 13th of this year marked the deadline for “states to stake their claims in what some experts are describing as the last big carve-up of maritime territory in history,” Reuters reported in October of 2007. [3]

At the time the British Foreign Office announced that it was submitting a claim to expand the nation’s Antarctic territory by a million square kilometers and would also submit “four other claims…for Atlantic seabed territory around South Georgia and the Falkland Islands and also around Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, near the Bay of Biscay in the North Atlantic, and in the Hatton-Rockall basin off Scotland’s coast.” [4]

Prior to 1962, the British Antarctic Territory was a dependency of the Falkland Islands and also included South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

On March 31 of this year Britain made a partial submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding the Hatton-Rockall area in the Northeast Atlantic (Rockall is a minuscule craggy isle, though one with strategic significance way out of proportion to its size), which gives the country its only claim to the Arctic shelf that is estimated to contain a fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and nearly a third of undiscovered natural gas.

London started talks with Iceland, Ireland and Denmark (in its capacity of owner of the Faroe Islands) to jointly use Rockall to penetrate the Arctic in the impending scramble for its resources, a subject that has been explored extensively in another study in this series.[5]

In a parallel but far grander move, on this May 11 Britain submitted its claim to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for the one million square kilometers it covets in the South Atlantic reaching into the Antarctic Ocean.

This was the formalization of plans initially revealed in October of 2007 and described in a press report of the time as a plan to “extend British sovereignty in Antarctica,” a zone which “covers a vast area of the seabed around British Antarctica near the south pole.” [6]

Immediately nations far nearer Antarctica and as such with better claims to its territory, Argentina most notably, lodged complaints as “The British claim…conflicts with the spirit of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, to which Britain is a signatory, which prevents all exploitation of oil gas and minerals, other than for scientific research.” [7]

Alarms were sounded from other quarters too. Shortly after the British announcement the Chinese People’s Daily reported:

“The South Pole, a world of ice and snow, has become a hot spot in recent years. The Argentinean Foreign Ministry stated that vice-foreign ministers from Argentina and Chile would be meeting in early December to discuss the South Pole issue, and work out a joint strategy to boycott British sovereignty demands on the South Pole’s continental shelf.” [8]

The same source provided this background information:

“The vastness of seemingly barren, ice-covered land is uncovered and exposed to the outside world, revealing a ‘treasure basin’ with incredibly abundant mineral deposits and energy reserves….A layer of Permian Period coal exists on the mainland, and holds 500 billion tons in known reserves.

“The thick ice dome over the land is home to the world’s largest reservoir for fresh water; holds approximately 29.3 million cubic kilometers of ice; and makes up 75% of earth’s fresh water supply.

“It is possible to say that the South Pole could feed the entire world with its abundant supplies of food [fish] and fresh water.”

And warned that “the value of the South Pole is not confined to the economic sphere; it also lies in its strategic position.

“The US Coast Guard has long had garrisons in the region, and the US Air Force [is] the number one air power in the region.

“[T]he South Pole [Antarctic] Treaty points out that the South Pole can only be exploited and developed for the sake of peace; and can not be a battle ground. Otherwise, the ice-cold South Pole could prove a fiercely hot battlefield.” [9]

Within weeks of the British statement in 2007 Chilean Defense Minister Jose Goni and Air Force Chief of Staff General Ricardo Ortega visited the South Pole “declaring that the use of the Arturo Prat naval base would be formally resumed in March 2008.

“Goni said the resumption of the use of the naval base, along with another two military bases in the Antarctic region, is to demonstrate the presence and sovereignty of Chile….” [10]

A Canadian daily described another element of the intensified rush to and scramble for the Antarctic:

“[W]hy would anyone feel the need to claim territory off the shore of the Antarctic, a nearly uninhabited frozen island we only reached a hundred years ago? The motivation lies deep under the sea floor: minerals, oil and gas.” [11]

In October of 2007 the Russian foreign ministry responded to Britain’s Antarctic plans by stating, “Being one of the nations that made the biggest contributions to the development of the 1959 [Antarctic] Treaty and studies of Antarctica this country has consistently worked against the idea of dividing Antarctica on the basis of unilateral territorial claims and has not recognized them.” [12]

One of the bluntest assessments of the project to carve up the largest unexploited area of the planet came from a Scottish newspaper:

“Not since the Golden Age of the Empire has Britain staked its claim to such a vast area of land on the world stage. And while the British Empire may be long gone, the Antarctic has emerged as the latest battleground for rival powers competing on several fronts to secure valuable oil-rich territory.” [13]

The author of the above-quoted piece, Tanya Thompson, went on to characterize what was at stake.

“Britain is preparing territorial claims on tens of thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean floor around the Falklands and Rockall island in the hope of annexing potentially lucrative oil and gas fields.

“The Falklands claim has the most potential for political fall-out, given that Britain and Argentina fought over the islands 25 years ago, and the value of the oil under the sea in the region is understood to be immense. Seismic tests suggest there could be about 60 billion barrels of oil under the ocean floor.”

“[I]t’s inevitable that they’ll tap into this area for oil and gas. Look what happened in the Falklands in 1982. But this is an uninhabited continent and there would be heavy diplomacy and sanctions if a war was about to be fought over Antarctica.” [14]

With the May 13, 2009 deadline approaching for submitting Antarctic claims, Russia sent explorer and member of parliament Arthur Chilingarov, the Russian president’s special representative for international cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, to Antarctica in January. Chilingarov led the Russian expedition which planted the national flag on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole in 2007.

Heading the Antarctica-2009 expedition and accompanied by fellow parliamentarians, he said at the time: “We are definitely showing the whole world that we have serious plans to continue polar research.” [15]

For Argentina, Britain formally attempting to arrogate to itself a million square kilometer swathe of the Antarctic was preceded by the United Kingdom granting a new constitution to the Falklands Islands (Las Malvinas to Argentina) last November, one which while granting a greater degree of nominal autonomy still invested London with power over “external affairs, defense, internal security and the administration of justice.” [16]

Argentina lodged a protest, with the country’s foreign ministry stating “This British unilateral act mainly constitutes a new and open violation of the 31/49 Resolution taken in 1976 by the UN General Assembly, which urges both parties in dispute (Argentine and United Kingdom) to abstain from taking decisions to introduce unilateral decisions.” [17]

Buenos Aires condemned the British action as a “violation of Argentine sovereignty and international law.” [18]

This January Argentina renewed its concerns over the “anachronistic colonial situation unsuitable with the course and evolution of the modern world.” [19]

As May 13 grew more close, in late April Argentina filed a counter-claim based on twelve years of research to challenge “the illegitimate British occupation of the southern archipelagos” [20] and affirmed that “its continental shelf extends out from the South American and Antarctic continent and from an archipelago of islands Britain also lays claim to.” [21]

Both claims are to be examined and adjudicated on by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf based on Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, but indisputably more is at stake than legal fine points. What is being fought over is control of vast natural resources including hydrocarbons, untold mineral wealth, the world’s largest fresh water supply and fishing rights as well as geostrategic positioning which includes military objectives.

And the intensified interest shown in the Antarctic by not only Britain but its former colonial appendage Australia, which will be examined later, is not an isolated instance of aggressive if not illegal pursuit of strategic energy and economic interests abroad at the expenses of others – all others – but part of an accelerating pattern by the major Western powers and their military outposts to gain control over world resources and that at a breakneck pace.

The same campaign by the West, acting in various ad hoc or longstanding coalitions, but especially in the collective military condominium that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is being conducted in the Arctic Circle [22], the Persian Gulf [23], the Caspian Sea Basin [24] and the African continent, especially in the Gulf of Guinea [25].

In the Antarctic Ocean it isn’t limited to Britain’s audacious maneuvers, ones which would never have been attempted without the complicity of its allies, but by a little-noted and just as large-scale and unprecedented move by Australia.

In April of last year the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf – through who knows what combination of select compliance and international negligence – granted Australia 2.5 million more square kilometers in the Antarctic Ocean so that the nation’s territory, in the words of Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, “expanded by an area five times the size of France,” which could “potentially provide a ‘bonanza’ in underwater oil and gas reserves.”

“The decision gives Australia the rights to what exists on and under the seabed, including potentially lucrative oil and gas reserves and biological resources.” [26]

The expansion of Australia’s seabed borders included the Kerguelen Plateau around the Heard and McDonald Islands, which extend southwards into Antarctica. As such Australia became the first nation to be granted exclusive property rights in the ocean.

Referring to the Western-engineered secession of Kosovo from Serbia two months beforehand, Dmitry Yevstafyev of the Center for Policy Studies in Moscow sounded this grave warning:

“This precedent is much more dangerous than Kosovo’s independence. I am surprised that Russian authorities have remained silent on the issue. They must declare that this is an illegal decision creating a dangerous precedent, and demand that the UN Secretary General explain the reasoning behind the decision.”

“If the expansion of Australia’s territory is formalized, this will disrupt the operation of international legal mechanisms, which have already been seriously affected by the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence.

“Worse still, this will open the door to a large-scale re-division of the world. The South Pole precedent could be applied in the North Pole, which will turn the struggle for the Arctic resources into a global war, inevitably involving Russia.” [27]

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty stipulates that “No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica.”

The deputy head of the Russian Antarctic expedition, Vladimir Kuchin, said at the time that “The Antarctic Treaty does not recognize any claims, and the UN does not own any territory and therefore cannot approve territorial expansions.” [28]

A year later Australia would unveil its largest military buildup since World War II, one that projects a $72 billion dollar increase in military spending and the acquisition of twelve advanced “hunter killer” submarines, three new interceptor missile destroyers, both to be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles having a range of 2,200 kilometers, and 100 US F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters. [29]

This new war machine will now have 2.5 million more square kilometers to deploy to and maneuver in, deep into the Antarctic Ocean which the Antarctic Treaty stipulates is to be free of military hardware and weaponry.

Th Treaty states “it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord” and “Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. There shall be prohibited, inter alia, any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military maneuvers, as well as the testing of any type of weapons.” [30]

A massively militarized Australia will be free to roam the expanded and self-proclaimed Australian Antarctic Territory, recognized only by Australia and Britain, France, New Zealand and Norway among the world’s 192 nations.

As a writer from Britain posited over a year and a half ago, “The days of British Imperialism may be behind us, but critics fear we are trying to carve out a new empire, with serious political repercussions.” [31]

And what pertains to Britain applies with comparable force to its allies in Europe, North America and the South Pacific.

With the end of the Cold War almost twenty years ago any spot on the earth that had escaped 500 years of European colonialism and its European and American neocolonialist successor is now fair game for the West’s avarice and aggression. The bottom of the world is no exception.

1) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, July 27, 2007
2) Russian Information Agency Novosti, April 24, 2008
3) Reuters, October 7, 2007
4) Ibid
6) People’s Daily, December 4, 2007
5) Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
6) Reuters, October 7, 2007
7) Ibid
8) People’s Daily, December 4, 2007
9) Ibid
10) Xinhua News Agency. November 3, 2007
11) Toronto Star, November 18, 2007
12) Interfax, October 31, 2007
13) The Scotsman, October 23, 2007
14) Ibid
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, January 15, 2009
16) Associated Press, November 7, 2008
17) Xinhua News Agency, November 7, 2008
18) Associated Press, November 7, 2008
19) Xinhua News Agency, January 3, 2009
20) The Guardian, Friday 24 April 2009
21) The Telegraph, April 24, 2009
22) Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
23) Stop NATO, February 6, 2009
NATO In The Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul Cooperation
24) Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From the Balkans To the Chinese Border
25) Stop NATO, January 22, 2009
Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans
26) Agence France-Presse, April 21, 2008
27) Russian Information Agency Novosti, April 24, 2008
28) Ibid
29) Stop NATO, May 6, 2009
Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
31) The Scotsman, October 23, 2007

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon Preparing For War With The Enemy: Russia

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

May 14, 2009

Pentagon Preparing For War With The Enemy: Russia
Rick Rozoff


“Today the situation is much more serious than before August 2008….[A] possible recurrence of war will not be limited to the Caucasus.

“The new President of the United States did not bring about any crucial changes in relation to Georgia, but having a dominant role in NATO he still insists on Georgia’s soonest joining of the Alliance. If it happens, the world would face a more serious threat than the crises of the Cold War.

“Under the new realities, Georgia’s war against South Ossetia may easily turn into NATO’s war against Russia. This would be a third world war.”


On May 12 Marine General James Mattis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation [ACT] and commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, spoke at a three-day symposium called Joint Warfighting 09 in Norfolk, Virginia, where NATO’s Allied Command Transformation is based, and stated: “I come with a sense of urgency. The enemy is meeting like this as well.” [1]

A local newspaper summarized his speech:

“Mattis outlined a future in which wars will not have clearly defined beginnings and ends. What is needed, he said, is a grand strategy, a political framework that can guide military planning.” [2]

He failed, for what passes for diplomatic reasons no doubt, to identify who “the enemy” is, but a series of recent developments, or rather an intensification of ongoing ones, indicate which nation it is.

Last week the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, General Kevin Chilton, told reporters during a Defense Writers Group breakfast on May 7 “that the White House retains the option to respond with physical force – potentially even using nuclear weapons – if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks….”

An account of his talk added “the general insisted that all strike options, including nuclear, would remain available to the commander in chief in defending the nation from cyber strikes.”

Chilton “said he could not rule out the possibility of a military salvo against a nation like China, even though Beijing has nuclear arms,” [3] though the likely first target of alleged retaliation against equally alleged cyber attacks would be another nation already identified by U.S. military officials as such: Russia.

In late April and early May of 2007 the government of Estonia, which was inducted into NATO in 2004 and whose president was and remains Toomas Hendrik Ilves, born in Sweden and raised in the United States (where he worked for Radio Free Europe), reported attacks on websites in the country which were blamed on Russia.

Over two years later no evidence has been presented to substantiate the claim that Russian hackers, much less the government itself, were behind the attacks, though it remains an article of faith among American and other Western officials and media that they were.

The response from American authorities in the first place was so sudden and severe, even before investigations were conducted, as to strongly suggest that if the attacks hadn’t been staged they would need to be invented.

Right afterward Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne stated, “Russia, our Cold War nemesis, seems to have been the first to engage in cyber warfare.”

The U.S. Air Force news source from which the above is quoted added that the events in Estonia days earlier “did start a series of debates within NATO and the EU about the definition of clear military action and it may be the first test of the applicability of Article V of the NATO charter regarding collective self-defense in the non-kinetic realm.” [4]

NATO’s Article 5 is a collective military defense provision, in fact a war clause, one which first was used to support the protracted and escalating war in Afghanistan.

References to it, then, are not to be taken lightly.

On a visit to Estonia last November Pentagon chief Robert Gates met with the country’s prime minister, Andrus Ansip, and “discussed Russian behavior and new cooperation on cyber security….”

It was reported that “Ansip said NATO will operate under the principle of Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is treated as an attack on all,” and “We are convinced that Estonia, as a member of NATO, will be very well defended.” [5]

That the repeated mention of NATO’s Article 5 continued a year and a half after the alleged cyber attacks when none had occurred in the interim is revealing.

At the beginning of this month the Pentagon announced that it was launching what it called a “digital warfare force for the future,” at Fort Meade in Maryland under the control of the U.S. Strategic Command, whose chief, Gen. Kevin Chilton, was quoted earlier as threatening the use of force up to and including nuclear weapons.

The initiative was characterized in a news report as follows:

“Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, also the Pentagon’s leading cyber warfare commander, said the U.S. is determined to lead the global effort to use computer technology to deter or defeat enemies….” [6]

The Pentagon is a synecdoche for the Department of Defense and everything related to its activities is cloaked in the same euphemism, so when pressed the U.S. will insist its new cyber warfare project is intended for defensive purposes only. Any nation which and people who have been on the receiving end of U.S. Defense Department actions know better. The new Pentagon cyber warfare command, its rationale based on a supposed Russian threat emanating from a non-military incident in the Baltics over two years ago, will be used to cripple the computer systems of any nation targeted for direct military assault, thus rendering them defenseless, and will be particularly effective for space-based and Star Wars (missile shield, interceptor missiles) first strike plans.

On the same day the report of General Alexander’s pledge to “defeat enemies” appeared another news item reported that “A quasi-classified satellite that will serve as an engineering trailblazer for ballistic missile tracking technologies flew into space Tuesday [May 12].” [7]

It was a Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology
Risk Reduction (STSS-ATRR) satellite, which “is part of a space-based system for the Missile Defense Agency.

“Sensors aboard the STSS-ATRR satellite and on the ground will communicate with other systems to defend against incoming ballistic missiles.” [8]

A few days earlier the California-based manufacturer Ducommun in a news report titled Ducommun Incorporated Announces Delivery of Nanosatellites to U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command announced that “its Miltec Corporation subsidiary delivered flight-ready nanosatellites to the U.S. Army pace and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) in Huntsville, Alabama on April 28, 2009.”

The delivery was “the completion of the first U.S. Army satellite development program since the Courier 1B communications satellite in 1960.”[9]

Military satellites used for neutralizing the potential of a rival nation not so much to launch a first strike but to respond to one blur the distinction between so-called Son of Star Wars missile shield projects and full-fledged militarization of space.

A recent Russian commentary saw it in just that light:

“Withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty signified a switch to the testing and deployment of a global missile defense system, with a view to fully removing the deterrent potential of China, and partially that of Russia.

“Washington [is] still trying to eliminate international legal restrictions on the formation of a system, which would theoretically make it invulnerable towards an act of retaliation, and even a launch-under-attack strike.” [10]

Added to which is another “quasi-classified” subterfuge related to a prospective resumption of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) talks between the U.S. And Russia.

American Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller stated this week “that the US is not prepared to cut warheads removed from delivery means and kept in storage.” [11]

So in addition to American plans to deploy ground-, sea-, air- and space-based anti-missile systems primarily around and against Russia (Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway, Britain, Japan and Alaska to date), the Pentagon will hold in reserve nuclear warheads for activation without a monitoring mechanism provided to Russian inspectors and arms reduction negotiators.

On May 6 Euronews conducted an interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who warned, “The way it [the U.S. anti-ballistic missile shield] is designed has nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program. It is aimed at Russian strategic forces, deployed in the European part of the Russian Federation.” [12]

To add to the concerns of Russia and other nations, On April 30 the U.S. established a Navy Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMDC) at the Naval Support Facility at Dahlgren, Virginia.

“NAMDC is the lead organization for Navy, joint and combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). NAMDC serves as the single warfare center of excellence to synchronize and integrate Navy efforts across the full spectrum of air and missile defense to include air defense, cruise missile defense and ballistic missile defense.” [13]

The past two weeks has been a fertile period for stories in this vein and, to bring attention nearer the Earth, the U.S.-based Strategy Page reported from a Russian source that “The United States has bought two Su-27 fighter jets from Ukraine” to “be used to train American military pilots, who may face opponents in them” and that the “U.S. military will use them to test its radar and electronic warfare equipment.” [14]

This was at the very moment that the American client in Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko, his national poll ratings plummeting to near 1%, signed a directive to prepare for full NATO membership and a few days after a U.S. military delegation visited the country to inspect a tank unit and to plan “reforming the system of combat training….” [15]

In terms of Pentagon training for warfare against the Russian Air Force, the Ukrainian development is only the latest in a number of such activities.

Immediately following the nation becoming a full member of NATO, the U.S. 81st Fighter Squadron flew to Constanta, Romania (in which nation the Pentagon has acquired four new bases since) to engage in combat training against Russian MiG-21s.

According to one U.S. pilot present, “It was pretty neat – you’re sitting in a MiG-21 that will be airborne with a MiG-21 pilot within days. This was an arm of the Soviet Union. These pilots were flying before the Soviet Union fell. They have quite a bit of perspective.” [16]

In July of the next year the U.S. 492nd Fighter Squadron was deployed to the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in neighboring Bulgaria to insure the opportunity for “Air Forces from multiple nations to learn about each other’s aircraft tactics and capabilities.

“The pilots of the F-15E Strike Eagles and the MIG-29s and MIG-21s are sharing knowledge of aircraft and tactics as the exercise wraps up its first week of training.”

An American Air Force colonel was quoted as saying, “Only two of the 38 aircrew members have had a chance to fly against MIGs. By the time the exercise is over, everyone will have had a chance to either fly in a MIG or fly against one.” [17]

A month afterward the U.S. Air Force 22nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived in Romania for the Viper Lance exercises which “marked the first time U.S. F-16 pilots have trained in Romania” and “where “MiG-21 and F-16 pilots [flew] integrated formations to conduct basic fighter maneuvers, dissimilar air combat training and air-to-ground strike missions….” [18]

This time the quote is from an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot:

“My flight in the backseat of a Lancer [MiG-21] is a good opportunity to look at different aircraft and it’s a real privilege and an honor. I want to see what they see from their cockpit, and view a new angle of understanding against our adversaries.” [19]

Two weeks ago an U.S. Air Force fighter squadron flew to the Bezmer Air Base in Bulgaria where an American airman said, “This is the first time a USAFE [United States Air Forces in Europe] fighter squadron has deployed to this location….The most rewarding part of this experience is knowing that I am helping the pilots train for war.” [20]

To prepare the U.S. for air combat against the full range of Russian military aircraft, India was invited to the annual Red Flag air combat exercises in Alaska in 2007, war games “meant to train pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries for real combat situations.

“This includes the use of ‘enemy’ hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises.” [21]

India provided six Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighters which were “particularly interesting to the exercise as [they are] Russian-made, thus traditionally considered ‘hostile.’” [22]

May 1st, on the occasion of the Czech Republic taking over the six-month NATO air patrol rotation in the Baltic skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – five minutes flight from Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg – a Czech official boasted “The area we are protecting is about three times larger than that of the Czech Republic. This is a NATO outpost.”

Lithuanian Air Force Commander Arturas Leita announced that “the Baltic countries would probably ask for the prolongation of the air force mission within NATO until 2018.” [23]

From June 8-16 Sweden will host a NATO drill, Loyal Arrow, described as “biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnian Bay,” [24], also not far from St. Petersburg, with a British aircraft carrier and more than 50 fighter jets participating.

That exercise will begin exactly a week after the U.S.-led NATO Cooperative Lancer 09 war games end in Georgia on Russia’s southern flank.

In speaking of the dangers of the last-named but with equal application to all that has preceded it, the South Ossetian Ministry for Press and Mass Media website recently quoted political scientist Irina Kadzhaev as warning:

“Today the situation is much more serious than before August 2008. The then threat endangered only South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but after Russia’s recognition of these states’ independence and the conclusion of agreements envisaging the presence of Russian armed forces on their territories, a possible recurrence of war will not be limited to the Caucasus.

“The new President of the United States did not bring about any crucial changes in relation to Georgia, but having a dominant role in NATO he still insists on Georgia’s soonest joining of the Alliance. If it happens, the world would face a more serious threat than the crises of the Cold War.

“Under the new realities, Georgia’s war against South Ossetia may easily turn into NATO’s war against Russia. This would be a third world war.” [25]

1) Virginian-Pilot, May 13, 2009
2) Ibid
3) Global Security, May 12, 2009
4) Air Force Link, June 1, 2007
5) U.S. Department of Defense, November 12, 2008
6) Associated Press, May 5, 2009
7) Space Flight Now, May 5, 2009
8) Pratt & Whitney, May 5, 2009
9) Ducommun Incorporated, April 29, 2009
10) Russian Information Agency Novosti, May 7, 2009
11) Russia Today, May 5, 2009
12) Euronews, May 6, 2009
13) Navy News, April 30, 2009
14) Moscow News, May 11, 2009
15) National Radio Company of Ukraine, April 29, 2009
16) Air Force Link, August 2, 2005
17) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, July 24, 2006
18) Stars and Stripes, August 26, 2006
19) Air Force Link, August 17, 2006
20) Air Force Link, April 28, 2009
21) Indo-Asian News Service, November 26, 2007
22) Avionews (Italy), November 28, 2007
23) Czech News Agency, May 1, 2009
24) Barents Observer, May 7, 2009
25) Ministry for Press and Mass Media of the Republic of South Ossetia,
April 27, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

May 13, 2009

Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO
Rick Rozoff

Outgoing NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is to be succeeded by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who resigned his position as Danish prime minister to accept the post, on August 1st of this year.

During the past two and a half weeks Scheffer has been paying a series of farewell visits to newly acquired NATO territories like Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia and to former sovereign nations marked for closer integration and full absorption, Macedonia and Finland.

In the time-honored tradition of retiring Roman proconsuls and British viceroys, he has been making valedictory tours of inspection to admire his handiwork. During his tenure as chief of the world’s only military bloc the Alliance added nine new members – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – three-quarters the amount of member states NATO had when it was formed sixty years ago.

All nine new acquisitions are in Eastern Europe, three border Russian territory and two-thirds of them were former republics of the three multi-ethnic (and in the first two cases multi-confessional) European nations torn apart between 1991-1993: The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

Smaller morsels are easier to swallow.

On May 9 “De Hoop Scheffer expressed satisfaction with the fact that nine new members joined NATO on his watch as Secretary-General, hoping for Macedonia to become the 10th.” [1]

It is assumed that the major factor in Scheffer being named NATO secretary general was his support of the invasion of Iraq when he was Dutch foreign minister and his role in deploying his nation’s troops to that country.

His replacement, Rasmussen, played a comparable role as Danish prime minister in 2003 and afterward.

Of the nations Scheffer helped corral into what he is fond of referring to as global NATO, all nine have deployed troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan, in several cases before their accession to and as a precondition for membership in the Alliance.

It was also under his reign that NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to increase military cooperation and exercises with and deployments to the Mediterranean Dialogue partner states – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, thereby tightening the bloc’s grip from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Persian Gulf.

His swan song, or eagle’s shriek, though is consolidating NATO’s military integration of the region of Southeast Europe where its international expansion began: The Balkans.

Speaking on May 8 in the capital of Albania, Scheffer acknowledged that “In many respects, the origins of NATO’s transformation after the end of the Cold War lie here in Southeast Europe.” [2]

He was addressing a meeting of the Adriatic-5 Group in Tirana with the foreign ministers of Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro.

The Adriatic-5 Group is an expanded version of the Adriatic Charter established in May of 2003 by then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, “an initiative in the spirit of the 1998 U.S.-Baltic Charter” [3], after discussions between George Bush and his Albanian, Croatian and Macedonian counterparts at the NATO summit in Prague in November of 2002.

All three nations were already and remain NATO Partnership for Peace adjuncts, but the Adriatic Charter was a specifically designed program to place the three states on the fast track to full integration.

As mentioned earlier, expectations for proving the three’s NATO readiness included offering the United States and the Alliance troops for the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as sponsoring and participating in military exercises and hosting visits by American and allied warships, troops and air forces.

Macedonia’s accession was blocked by Greece because of the ongoing name dispute and so it didn’t join its Albanian and Croatian partners in being granted full membership earlier this year, but on May 8 “NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Friday urged Macedonia to solve its name row with Greece, saying it’s the only obstacle on its way to NATO.” [4]

On December 4th of last year Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina were officially invited to join the Adriatic Charter, hence the new designation Adriatic-5 [A5].

At the meeting in Tirana on May 8 “At a joint press conference following the meeting, the [foreign] ministers expressed hope that Serbia and Kosovo would joint the Adriatic group as soon as possible….” [5]

With Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia NATO members since 2004 and Albania and Croatia since April of this year, the incorporation of the remaining three Adriatic Charter nations, Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo into the Alliance would make the entire Balkans region NATO territory.

The “the origins of NATO’s transformation after the end of the Cold War” began in the Balkans fifteen years ago and the world’s first global military bloc returned to complete its conquest. One which now includes the world’s newest small nation, Montenegro, which under Western tutelage left the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro to become independent in 2006, and the world’s newest pseudo-state, Kosovo, whose secession from Serbia was formalized by the major NATO powers in February of last year.

As to what degree of sovereignty new NATO members and candidates possess, on May 7 it was announced that “NATO and the Albanian government were in negotiations on the take-over by the Alliance of full control of Albania’s air space.” [6]

One is reminded of the Aesopian apologue of the wolf offering to free the sheep from the harsh ministrations of the sheepdog.

Kosovo has hosted the largest U.S. overseas military bases constructed since the Vietnam War, Camp Bondsteel and Camp Monteith, since NATO’s takeover of the province in 1999.

At the beginning of this year the secessionist entity in Kosovo, brought to power through NATO’s relentless bombing and occupation in 1999, proclaimed its intention to create its own armed forces, the Kosovo Security Force, “a NATO sponsored army established as part of Kosovo’s status arrangements for its declaration of independence of last year.

“The United States has already provided the force with army uniforms, while Germany has equipped them with firearms. The training of the force is handled by British KFOR troops.” [7]

In addition, Colonel Dieter Jensch of the German Ministry of Defense said that “Germany will assist Kosovo Security Force with 204 military vehicles. The assistance is valued at 2.6 million Euros. Germany will also send 15 military personnel to help build KSF structures and to train the members of this force.” [8]

Creating such a force is flagrantly and grossly in violation of United Nations Resolution 1244 and to render this Western-engineered travesty even more criminal, “The Kosovo Security Forces will be commanded by former Kosovo Liberation Army military leader and, until yesterday, Kosovo Protection Corps commander Sulejman Selimi….

“Selimi…was the military head of the Kosovo Liberation Army that fought Serbia in the separatist war of 1998-99.” [9]

Regarding the world’s – officially – youngest nation, Montenegro, no sooner had former NATO Secretary General and then European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana assisted in wresting it from the State Union with Serbia than the Pentagon spotted another stray lamb.

In October of 2006 the American guided missile cruiser USS Anzio paid the first of a series of ongoing visits to “Montenegro [which is] eager to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace outreach program, considered a stepping stone to alliance membership.” [10]

The following spring “Four NATO ships, including USS Roosevelt, arrived Saturday in Montenegro’s coastal town of Tivat.” [11]

Within weeks the USS Emory S. Land submarine tender and the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe, US Navy Adm. Harry Ulrich, arrived in the same city to “host an independence day celebration,” with the “Emory S. Land visit[ing] Tivat to provide training and assistance for the Montenegrin Navy and to strengthen the relationship between the two navies,” and Ulrich stating:

“We’re honored to be here during this historic time of renewed independence in Montenegro’s proud history.

“I’m also proud to have worked regularly with many of the visionary leaders of your great nation in the last year.” [12]

Members of the cigarette smuggling and sex-slave trafficking cabal of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic have been called many names, but it took the U.S. Navy chief in Europe to elevate them to the status of “visionary leaders.”

The Pentagon conducted a “three day military-to-military familiarization seminar: in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica in August of the same year.” [13]

“Historic time of renewed independence” indeed.

The same Ulrich, “responsible for NATO-led missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean,” had paid a visit to Macedonia in September of 2006 to recruit troops for deployments abroad. News reports of the time spared readers further examples of his inflated oratory.

Not to ignore any former Yugoslav entity, in December of 2008 it was reported that “NATO foreign and defence ministers have prepared a Partnership for Peace action plan to expand co-operation with Serbia.” [14]

This March NATO summoned the defense ministers and other defense officials of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey to the Croatian capital of Zagreb to “discuss regional security challenges and trends and new possibilities for regional cooperation within the Adriatic Charter….” [15]

The Adriatic Charter was crafted by Washington and personally supervised and implemented by Colin Powell and the Pentagon with the purpose of turning the entire Balkans into an American and NATO military “forward base” and recruiting ground for wars in the so-called Broader Middle East and former Soviet space in the Caucasus and elsewhere.

From the onset of the breakup of Yugoslavia the NATO powers have had ambitious and permanent plans for the Balkans. The expanded – and still expanding – Adriatic Charter is the culmination of those designs.


1) Xinhua News Agency, May 9, 2009
2) NATO International, May 8, 2009
3) U.S. Department of State, January 20, 2009
4) Xinhua News Agency, May 9, 2009
5) Macedonian Information Agency, May 9, 2009
6) Makfax, May 7, 2009
7) Balkan Insight, February 27, 2009
8) Kosova Information Center, February 9, 2009
9) B92, January 21, 2009
10) Associated Press, October 23, 2006
11) Associated Press, April 3, 2007
12) United States European Command, May 24, 2007
13) United States European Command, August 7, 2007
14) Southeast European Times, December 5, 2008
15) Xinhua News Agency, March 3, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO War Games In Georgia: Threat Of New Caucasus War

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

May 8, 2009

NATO War Games In Georgia: Threat Of New Caucasus War
Rick Rozoff

On May 6 the Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 U.S.-led NATO Partnership for Peace exercises began in Georgia.

More exactly, the first half of the paired exercises, Cooperative Longbow 09, which is a command post operation conducted at Georgian military headquarters in Tbilisi. The second, Cooperative Lancer 09, is a field exercise and was scheduled to include 1,300 servicemen from 19 countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Britain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.), including 1,089 foreign troops and 214 Georgian servicemen in exercises at the Vaziani base of the Georgian Defence Ministry near the capital. The first started on May 6; the second will run from May 17-June 1.

This is the fourth in what have become annual Cooperative Longbow/Cooperative Lancer exercises, the first having been held in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova in 2006, the following year’s in Albania and last year’s in Armenia.

The exercises are referred to by NATO and the United States as routine and no cause for concern.

That the last two series of planning exercises and war games have been scheduled in the South Caucasus, and the current one in a nation that not only borders Russia but fought a five-day war with it only nine months ago, and that the military bloc running the exercises and its main member, the U.S., armed and trained Georgia before and have continued to do so after last August’s war make Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 anything but an innocuous occurrence.

Yearly multinational military drills in Russia’s neighborhood by an alliance that is an effective belligerent once removed are events that are taken for granted by the West, though to gain an appreciation of how they appear from the other side imagine this scenario: During the Cold War era the Soviet Union initiated a series of annual military exercises in Central America with members of the Warsaw Pact and prospective members from three continents and every Central American nation.

The latest of those war games was held in Mexico in close proximity to the U.S. border. A few years before Russia had covertly sponsored the overthrow of Mexico’s elected president and had supported his replacement by someone who earlier had received a grant from the Soviet Foreign Ministry to study in Moscow and after completing his degree and practicing law there returned to his homeland.

The USSR then immediately deployed its special forces and other military units to Mexico to revamp its armed forces, training and arming them to be interoperable with Warsaw Pact nations for combat missions both at home and abroad.

Over several years the Soviet-trained Mexican army and special forces launched regular gunfire and artillery attacks across its border resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians with U.S. citizenship.

Then nine months before the latest Warsaw Pact war games in the country Mexico launched an armed assault against contested border areas, killing some 1,600 U.S. nationals, displacing 100,000 more and precipitating an American intervention in which 64 American soldiers were killed and 283 wounded.

If the expression turnabout is fair play has any meaning, this imaginary reversal of events is a fair representation of how Russia is forced to view the current situation in the South Caucasus.

And that is precisely how matters are interpreted in Russia. Before the beginning of the exercises in Georgia Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that, “NATO’s plans to hold exercises in Georgia…are an open provocation. Exercises must not be held there where a war has been fought,” and referred to the Alliance’s behavior as “muscle-flexing.”

The Russian ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Anvar Azimov, said on May 8 that “NATO’s ongoing exercise in Georgia is a downright provocation, since it is held in a region where a war was fought just months ago and where blood was spilt and civilians died.” [1]

On May 5 the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that meetings of the Russia-NATO Council would be postponed indefinitely primarily because of the Alliance’s exercises in Georgia.

However, on that day and the following two other meetings went on as scheduled.

NATO held a meeting with the chiefs of the general staffs of forty members and partners, including the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Devi Chankotadze, at its headquarters in Brussels on May 6-7 and the day before all forty military chiefs attended a session of the NATO-Georgia Commission to discuss Georgia’s Annual National Program.

The NATO-Georgia Commission was announced in mid-September of last year only weeks after the August war ended, following a visit to the Georgian capital by the Alliance’s North Atlantic Council, which consists of all 28 NATO permanent representatives.

The Annual National Program (an equivalent exists for Ukraine) was designed by NATO last year as a substitute for the standard Membership Action Plan, the final stage before full membership.

The meeting of the 28 NATO and 12 partnership military chiefs and that of all forty, including Georgia and Ukraine, at the NATO-Georgia Commission occurred on the day before and the first two days of Cooperative Longbow 2009.

Before the Cooperative Longbow exercise started, however, four NATO Partnership for Peace members – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Serbia – announced their withdrawal in deference to Russian concerns.

NATO Members Estonia and Latvia also withdrew for reasons not entirely evident.

Former member of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Igor Korotchenko said that Cooperative Longbow 2009 “aims to improve ‘interoperability between NATO and partner countries,’ a euphemism for streamlining the Georgian Army and NATO coalition-force operations against the Russian Armed Forces.” [2]

On the day the first phase of the drills began the interior minister of South Ossetia, Valery Valiev, stated “We are most concerned about the full-scale NATO military exercise in Georgia bearing risks for the security of South Ossetia.” [3]

The day before Longbow began, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, “accused Georgia of provocations in the areas that are adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“As he spoke during a news conference in New York, he said Georgia was building up its military presence in the areas in question.

“According to Churkin, Georgia has concentrated over 2,000 Army and Interior Ministry servicemen on the border with Abkhazia, and also a large number of GRAD multiple rocket launchers and heavy machineguns. [Both were used extensively in the August war.]

“On the border with South Ossetia the Georgian military has also deployed heavy firepower equipment, armoured fighting vehicles and artillery guns. Some 2,500 Georgian servicemen are deployed on South Ossetia’s border.” [4]

At the end of April Russia offered to help protect Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s borders with Georgia “against a feared new Georgian attack that Tbilisi may be heartened to launch after a NATO exercise next month.” [5]

Deputy of the Russian Duma Boris Gryzlov “floated the idea of a response to the NATO move that would entail Cuba and Venezuela taking part in ‘large-scale drills’ in the Caribbean Sea on July 2.

“According to the lawmaker, the NATO decision to hold the drills in Georgia during the WWII Victory Day celebrations was a ‘total revision of the history of the Great Patriotic War’ and a direct insult to [the] country….” [6]

On the day the exercise started a delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly was in Georgia to meet with Deputy Defence Minister Goirgi Muchaidze, and the two sides “dealt with important issues related to sharing the experience gained from the Russia-Georgia August war and reviewed the present status of the Georgian Armed Forces.” [7]

The head of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly “urge[d] Russia to leave the occupied territories of Georgia [Abkhazia, South Ossetia].” [8]

Emboldened by this and NATO’s uncritical and unconditional backing in general, Georgian Defence Minister David Sikharulidze said “The exercises contribute to the Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia and enhance the compatibility of the Georgian armed forces with NATO standards” and Chairman of the Georgian Parliament David Bakradze asserted that “Despite all Russia’s attempts NATO has not changed its decision [to conduct the exercises]. NATO has sent a clear signal to Russia that whatever the Russian position is NATO and Georgia will continue their cooperation.” [9]

Earlier in the month the Georgian ambassador to the U.S., Batou Koutelia, said in reference to any future conflict with Russia on the order of that of last August: “If it happens, we are determined to make responses together with our partners and allies, NATO member countries, the United States. And we will have a joint response to this.” [10]

Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze announced that on May 2 he had received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which “highlights the US position of unconditional support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Georgia`s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.” [11]

“US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has announced that the United States government would fulfill all promises given by the previous administration of the US….

“Arguably, the Secretary meant one billion dollar assistance, which the Bush administration allocated to Georgia before handing over power to Obama. In the 2010 budget of the US, $242 million will be earmarked for Georgia.” [12]

What as much as anything else lends credence to the concerns of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia about the ongoing NATO exercises, especially the field component that will begin on May 17, is the parallel to developments that preceded and contributed to the five-day war of last year.

Om May 15, 2008 a U.S. warship arrived at Batumi on Georgia’s northern Black Sea coast near Abkhazia where “Georgian and U.S forces conducted military exercises together on the frigate USS John L. Hall.” [13]

From July 15-31 the U.S. led a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise called Immediate Response 2008 in Georgia. The Pentagon deployed 1,000 troops from the Vicenza base in Italy, the largest amount ever deployed to Georgia.

“Called Immediate Response-2008, the manoeuvres are reportedly sponsored by the US Pentagon to the tune of USD 8 million.” [14]

“About 2,000 troops, including some from Azerbaijan, Armenia and
Ukraine are conducting exercises at the Vaziani military base near Tbilisi.” [15]

On the Georgian side “1,625 Georgian military servicemen are taking part in a large-scale international military training, alongside US forces, known as Immediate Response at the site of the fourth infantry brigade of Vaziani base. This training is the first of its kind to be held in Georgia and is part of the joint Georgian-American project.

“William Bigaret, head of US south European forces, said that the main goal of the training program would be to provide compliance between Georgian and American soldiers and develop cooperation between Georgian [and] US armed forces.” [16]

The exercises were timed to coincide with a major Russian one at the same time, Kavkaz [Caucasus] – 2008 which involved “some 8,000 military personnel, about 700 combat vehicles and more than 30 aircraft.

“The main goal of the exercise…is to work on…defense of Russia’s state borders, and to practice support of Russian peacekeepers in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” [17]

Troops from the world’s two major nuclear powers were within firing distance of each other. The Russian forces were in their own country; the American ones were several thousand miles away from theirs.

When the war games ended – just a week before Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and the war with Russia started – not all the American troops and not all their military equipment were removed from the nation.

As Immediate Response wrapped up, “The U.S. European Command said on Monday that there were no plans at this time to withdraw the U.S. military trainers from the country. There are still 127 U.S. trainers in Georgia.” [18]

Speaking about what occurred the very day after Immediate Response ended, South Ossetian envoy to Russia Dmitry Medoyev claimed that “Georgian troops that took part in NATO exercises in the region launched artillery fire on the South Ossetian capital on August 1, killing six people. There is a direct connection between the exercises of NATO troops and the latest attacks on us. And there can’t be two opinions about it.” [19]

One of those killed was a Russian peacekeeper from North Ossetia.

Six days after that, in the name of “restoring constitutional order,” U.S.- and NATO-trained Georgian forces would launch a devastating artillery barrage on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali and begin an equally savage ground invasion.

As the war was still raging Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council initiated by the United States and Georgia, pointed out that “Georgia unleashed its military campaign against South Ossetia on August 7, following the completion of a joint US-Georgian military exercise, in which 1,000 US military advisers took part.”

Commenting on the name of the war games, Immediate Response, Churkin added, “Trained by their American colleagues, Georgian troops did just that, they responded immediately” [20]

A few days after the war began the Deputy Chief of Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said, “The invasion plan was rehearsed and perfected during Georgian-American war games in Georgia.” [21]

At the very time the Pentagon and NATO were training their Georgian surrogates for the impending war in South Ossetia, 900 U.S. troops were completing a series of war games across the Black Sea from Georgia in Romania.

“The month-long training at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, under Joint Task Force-East…included an airborne operation, live-fire exercises at
squad level, military operations in urban terrain, joint patrolling [and] situational training exercises….” [22]

And occurring simultaneously with Immediate Response in Georgia the U.S. and NATO conducted Exercise Sea Breeze 2008 up the Black Sea coast in Ukraine, “incorporating 16 countries and more than 2,000 service members [in] a joint and combined maritime exercise held annually in the Black Sea and at various land-based Ukrainian training facilities.

“The air component, comprised of 17 aircraft from four countries, flew nearly 50 sorties. During the sorties, it completed 17 para drops of nearly 400 paratroopers, anti-submarine warfare operations and search and
rescue missions.

“The maritime component, comprised of 16 ships from six countries, conducted maritime interdiction operations, air warfare, search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations and mine countermeasure operations.

“Nations participating in this 11th anniversary of Exercise Sea Breeze include host country Ukraine as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.” [23]

After the war in the South Caucasus ended Washington sent the flagship of its Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, and the USS McFaul to deliver “humanitarian aid” to the Georgian port cities of Poti and Batumi, respectively.

Later in August NATO deployed a naval strike force to the Black Sea, eventually totaling as many as 19 ships, with the USS Mount Whitney coordinating the flotilla.

U.S. warships in Batumi and Russian ones off the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi were only 150 kilometers apart.

In October of 2008 a team of Pentagon experts visited Georgia and were “looking into the reasons behind the defeat of the Georgian army in the armed conflict with South Ossetia. American consultants had provided the Georgian military with state-of-the-art weapons and excellent training.

“As they analyze the Georgian-American exercises and Tbilisi’s subsequent attack against South Ossetia experts argue that it was the success of those exercises that inspired the Georgian president with more confidence in his army and its military potential.” [24]

As a general summary of what preceded the Pentagon’s and NATO’s last major exercise in Georgia, a U.S. Navy news source last September said, “For the past three years, several hundred American military trainers have run the GSSOP (Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program), which has trained over 5,000 Georgian troops, many for eventual service in Iraq.

“The trainers were American soldiers and marines, who imparted their combat experience to the Georgians….The U.S. trainers, usually a team of 70 Americans taking a 600 man Georgian infantry battalion through a 17 week training program, concentrate on combat subjects.”

“Georgia has a population of about 4.6 million, and an active duty military of about 28,000 troops….The U.S. has been helping Georgia train and equip an army reserve force of about 100,000.” [25]

Washington and Brussels have invested far too much in their joint Georgian outpost and its ruthless and reckless leader to abandon them now. Just as the last NATO war games ignited a real war, so the current ones are reason for grave concern that the same may happen again and that a conflict may erupt between the world’s two major nuclear powers that was narrowly averted last time.

1) Voice of Russia, May 8, 2009
2) Vedomosti [Russia], May 5, 2009
3) Ministry for Press and Mass Media of the Republic of South Ossetia,
May 6, 2009
4) Voice of Russia, May 5, 2009
5) Itar-Tass, April 30, 2009
6) Press TV, May 7, 2009
7) Trend News Agency, May 6, 2009
8) Ibid
9) The Messenger [Georgia], May 7, 2009
10) Press TV, May 2, 2009
11) Rustavi 2 [Georgia], May 6, 2009
12) Rustavi 2, May 1, 2009
13) Rustavi 2, May 15, 2008
14) The Messenger, July 18, 2008
15) Ibid
16) Georgian Times, July 28, 2008
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 16, 2008
18) Stars and Stripes, August 12, 2008
19) Interfax, August 6, 2008
20) RosBusinessConsulting, August 10, 2008
21) The Hindu, August 13, 2008
22) Army News Service, July 31, 2008
23) Navy NewsStand, July 29, 2008
24) Voice of Russia, October 18, 2008
25) Navy NewsStand, September 1, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO

August 28, 2009 2 comments

May 6, 2009

Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Rick Rozoff

On March 2, 2009 the Australian Department of Defence released a 140-page white paper called Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific century: force 2030 (1), which announced $72 billion in new military spending for an island nation of barely 20 million inhabitants with no adversaries except those it chooses to make for itself.

The document details the Australian government’s plans to acquire and expand a full spectrum – air, sea and land – arsenal of advanced weaponry in the nation’s largest arms buildup since World War II. Canberra will replace six submarines with double that amount possessing greater range and longer mission capabilities, “hunter-killer submarines” [2], representing “a big new investment in anti-submarine warfare” [3] ; three new destroyers “specialising in air warfare” [4], which presumably will be Aegis class ones with missile killing capacity, and eight new frigates.

All of the above are to be equipped with land-attack cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, almost certainly of the Tomahawk ground-launched cruise missile variety, which will make Australia “the first regional defence force to have the potent weapons system.” [5]

The nation is also to acquire 46 Tiger [German-French Eurocopter multi-role combat] helicopters, Hercules and other new generation military transport planes, 100 armored vehicles and, most alarmingly, 100 F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters. The last is a Lockheed Martin-manufactured fifth-generation, multi-role stealth-capable military strike fighter capable of short- and medium-range bombing.

Australia has been working with Norway on the Joint Strike Missile, “a newly developed anti surface warfare and land attack missile that will be adapted to meet an uncovered operational need on the F-35 Lightning II – Joint Strike Fighter” [6], which will be available for the 100 of the F-35s Australia plans to obtain.

In addition, plans include “the veteran AP-3 Orion [anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare] fleet being replaced with a mix of at least eight P-8 Poseidon [U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare and electronic intelligence] long-range surveillance aircraft, together with up to seven unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, possibly the US-made Global Hawk….” [7]

Insular, comparatively isolated, unthreatened Australia has no legitimate reason to amass such an array of offensive, advanced weapons for use on land and sea and in the air. An article in a major Australian daily entitled “Kevin Rudd’s push for missile supremacy,” referring to the prime minister’s unprecedented peacetime military expansion, states inter alia that the “navy will acquire a formidable arsenal of long-range cruise missiles for its new submarines, destroyers and frigates, able to strike at targets thousands of kilometres from Australia’s shores.” [8]

To project deadly force thousands of kilometers from its shores in various interpretations of the new military policy is based on designs that “Our military strategy will be a proactive one in which we seek to control the dynamic of a conflict, principally by way of sea control and air superiority” and “The government intends to place greater emphasis on our capacity to detect and respond to submarines” [9] and “Force 2030…will be a more potent force in certain areas, particularly in undersea warfare and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) surface maritime warfare, air superiority, strategic strike, special forces, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and cyber warfare” for use in a potential “wider conflict in the Asia-Pacific region.”

What the nature of that conflict might be and which nations are viewed as prospective co-belligerents in it was alluded to in a feature in the Financial Times: “Joel Fitzgibbon, defence minister, said the country’s first defence white paper in almost a decade acknowledged the continued regional dominance of the US. But he warned of ‘strategic tensions’ arising from new powers, particularly China but also India, and the re-emergence of Russia.” (10)

India is a red herring as it too is enmeshed in U.S.-led plans for the creation of an Asian-Pacific military bloc unless, of course, a change in the political leadership and foreign policy orientation of the country would ally it with Russia and China, thereby in fact creating “strategic tensions” from the West’s point of view.

The white paper, as seen above, grants the United States “regional dominance” in an area thousands of miles away from the superpower yet simultaneously attempts to strike a pose of Australian assertiveness and even self-reliance and independence. This is quite in keeping with the foreign policy of the Nixon-Kissinger years in which certain key allies were assigned the role of regional military policemen and enforcers or, as many described it at the time, regional subimperialist strongholds.

There is no truth to this “patriotic” posturing, though. Australia is being built up as the major military strike force in its neighborhood and far beyond it even as it is being integrated ever more tightly with the Pentagon. And NATO.

In February of 2007 in an article called “Secret new US spy base to get green light,” it was announced that “Australia’s close military alliance with the United States is to be further entrenched with the building of a high-tech communications base in Western Australia” which “will provide a crucial link for a new network of military satellites that will help the US’s ability to fight wars in the Middle East and Asia” and “will be the first big US military installation to be built in Australia in decades, and follows controversies over other big bases such as Pine Gap and North West Cape.”[11]

Last September Australian Prime Minister Rudd visited Hawaii and met with the head of the Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Admiral Timothy Keating, to brief him “on the Australian Defence Force deployments in East Timor and [the] Solomon Islands.

“The pair are understood to be discussing broader strategic trends in the western Pacific, including the steady build-up in regional maritime capabilities.

“Admiral Keating told a seminar at the East-West Center in Honolulu in July that Asia wanted the US to maintain a strong and visible presence throughout the region. ‘It is certainly in the minds of all our friends, partners and colleagues that the US should maintain military superiority in the theatre.'” [12]

Australia has more troops serving with its U.S. counterparts and under NATO command in Afghanistan, over 1,000, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announcing a few days ago that 400 more (including some to serve with the Special Operations Task Group elite combat group) on the way, than any other non-NATO member.

Australian troops, along with those from New Zealand, are among the foreign forces scheduled to be evicted from the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan where American and NATO personnel have been stationed for several years in pursuit of the war in Afghanistan.

Last June the nation’s Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, was already calling for an expansion of the Afghan War theater to include neighboring Pakistan, saying: “I think we’ve got to start looking at the border between Afghanistan not just as a bilateral issue between those two nations, but a regional issue in which the international community has to play a role.” [13]

In the same month the head of Australia’s Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said of the U.S. and NATO war in South Asia: “I would say it’s an endeavour that will last at least 10 years.” [14] If so Australia has no plans to leave.

Australia’s troops were also among the first to enter Iraq after the March 2003 invasion and are among the few national contingents that are remaining there. At the end of 2008 the Iraqi parliament, not without dissension, passed a resolution authorizing individual agreements on the only non-U.S. troops there: Those from Australia, Britain, Estonia, Romania and NATO.

In January of this year when the head of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, announced plans for aggressive naval moves in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, Australia was one of the first nations to offer support.

A month earlier Australian Prime Minister Rudd traveled to the United Arab Emirates “where Australia is in the process of consolidating its air crews and Middle East command headquarters in a single secret base.” [15]

This April Australia completed its first command of the Combined Task Force 152, a permanent naval surveillance and interdiction operation in the Persian Gulf run by the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. “The Royal Australian Navy’s command rotation also saw the integration of representatives from Australia, the U.S., Bahrain and other Gulf Cooperation Council nations into the CTF 152 staff.” [16]

Australia also participates in Combined Task Force 150, a sister operation in the Gulf of Oman and the Horn of Africa.

Last summer the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Admiral James Winnefeld, referred to Iran as an “unpredictable adversary” that “demands our immediate attention in the event of a need for Australia or NATO response.” [17]

Like the secret consolidated Australian base in the United Arab Emirates, Winnefeld was evidently speaking of matters not known to the general public or ordinarily divulged by Western military officials.

In February Canberra announced that it was quadrupling the amount of Pakistani military officers to be trained in Australia for the expanding war in South Asia, the same month that Australian troops killed five Afghan children while engaged in a combat mission.

Foreshadowing what would become this month’s defense white paper, in September of last year Prime Minister Rudd stated that his nation needed “an enhanced naval capability that can protect our sea lanes of communication and support our land forces. We need an air force that can fill support and combat roles.” [18]

The wire service from which the above is quoted reminded its readers that “Australia still has 1,000 personnel in and around Iraq, about 1,000 soldiers under NATO command in southern Afghanistan and about 750 peacekeepers in East Timor and 140 in the Solomon Islands.”

In the case of the last two nations, Australia’s role is indeed that of a subimperialist regional policeman, with its nearly nine-year deployment in East Timor (Timor Leste) as much a matter of protecting preferential oil and natural gas concessions in the Timor Gap and defying its major regional rival Indonesia as it is one of peacekeeping.

Though the same news conference reported above, Rudd also affirmed that “Australia will strengthen security cooperation with Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.”

There are two significant aspects to the last statement. The first is the nation not mentioned, China, and the second is that it reflects a basis for what for several years now has been referred to as Asian NATO.

The expression has been used since the beginning of this century but first gained wider currency after then U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz paid a five-day trip to Japan, South Korea and Singapore in May of 2003. The first two countries already had troops stationed in Iraq, and South Korea and Singapore would later deploy military forces to Afghanistan with the Japanese navy playing a supporting role in the Indian Ocean.

Asian NATO has been referred to with increased frequency over the past several years and the concept, and project, was poignantly demonstrated in the 2007 Malabar naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal where warships from India, the United States, Japan, Australia and Singapore engaged in the largest multinational exercise of its sort – 25 ships – in Indian history. The exercises ranged from “Vizag on the eastern seaboard to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that guard the approaches to the Strait of Malacca, considered the world’s busiest waterway.” [19]

The Malabar exercises before 2007 were bilateral U.S.-India affairs but two years ago were employed to showcase an emerging American-led Asian military bloc.

In most discussions of Asian NATO the term is used metaphorically, as in an Asian-Pacific military alliance that parallels the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Euro-Atlantic zone, if in no other manner than it is becoming a military bloc in a world that has only one other, NATO.

This loose connotation of the term doesn’t do justice to the truth.

Even with the addendum that Asian NATO is an attempt by Washington to reproduce NATO in the Asia-Pacific, also under its domination, it is not the full truth.

In fact what has developed is an ever-broadening structure for integrating Asian nations directly with NATO as well as with its individual members, the U.S. primarily of course, and an extension of NATO into the East. Previous articles in this series have examined direct NATO penetration of Asia and the South Pacific [20], the stationing of the bloc’s military forces and the securing of permanent bases from the Balkans to the eastern rim of the Caspian Sea [21] and efforts by the U.S. and its NATO allies to establish a global naval fleet to dominate most of the world and the Asia-Pacific region in particular. [22].

The main components of this absorption of the Asia-Pacific zone include individual partnerships; establishment of bases and positioning of military, including combat, forces; actual invasions, wars and occupations; conducting regular Western-led multinational military, including live-fire, exercises; recruiting and deploying troops from Asian nations to war zones like those in Afghanistan and Iraq; and in general integrating the military of Asia-Pacific states under the direction of individual NATO nations and the alliance collectively.

Applying the above criteria, as will be shown below or has been examined in reference to the South Caucasus and Central Asia in the Stop NATO articles referred to earlier, there are few nations in the entire Asia-Pacific area, including the South Caucasus and West Asia (the Middle East), that are not to some degree involved in the process of creating a Western-dominated Asian military bloc.

Excluding several smaller island nations in the South Pacific, those exceptions are Russia, China, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, Bhutan, Iran and Syria.

In addition to collective NATO partnerships partially or entirely outside of Europe and North America – the Partnership for Peace includes all three South Caucasus and all five Central Asian former Soviet republics; the Mediterranean Dialogue takes in all North African nations on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea from Mauritania to Egypt except for Libya as well as Israel and Jordan; the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative includes the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with Oman and Saudi Arabia soon to follow, and NATO has a category of individual partnerships it refers to as Contact Countries.

This is how NATO itself describes it:

“In addition to its formal partnerships, NATO cooperates with a range of countries that are not part of these structures. Often referred to as ‘other partners across the globe’ or ‘Contact Countries’, they share similar strategic concerns and key Alliance values. Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are all examples in case.” [23]

The Alliance has de facto individual partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan and heads up a Tripartite Commission with both nations for the prosecution of the war in South Asia.

Asia Pacific partners are also integrated in other fashions.

Last autumn the U.S. Congress “passed a bill…aimed at helping South Korea purchase American weapons systems cheaper and faster in order to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance, as well as increased interoperability between the two countries’ militaries. Under the bill, South Korea will be granted the same status as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and three FMS [foreign military sales]-favored nations – Australia, Japan and New Zealand.” [24]

When the Senate passed an equivalent resolution days later, a South Korean official stated, “Now we can call the highest U.S. FMS group `NATO+4.’ That is a symbolic move to prove the Korea-U.S. alliance has been upgraded further.” [25]

Australia and Japan both participate in a NATO/Partnership for Peace Trust Fund in Azerbaijan, the Alliance’s main military outpost on the Caspian Sea and the most pivotal partner for trans-Eurasian energy strategies.

This January NATO held a conference in Turkey called Changing Security Environment and a Renewed Transatlantic Vision for the 21st century which “highlighted the importance of setting up cooperation ties with countries such as Japan and Australia.” [26]

This year the Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1 was scheduled to visit Pakistan, Australia and Singapore and travel through the strategic Strait of Malacca – the first time the bloc would penetrate this part of the world – but was diverted to the coast of Somalia. However, the warships joined with the Pakistani navy for a two-day exercise in late April.

In September of last year NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, General John Craddock, visited Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to “provide their leadership with an assessment of the current operations in Afghanistan and express his appreciation for their efforts in the NATO-led mission.” [27]

Australia is the only non-NATO country involved in the global Sea Sparrow (ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile missile) system, along with members Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the U.S.

This March it was announced that “Australia is set to conclude a deal with NATO on exchanging secret military information” in order to insure “a deeper strategic dialogue between Australia and NATO and increased cooperation on long-term common interests.” [28]

In June of last year NATO deployed AWACS to Australia for the first time for Exercise Pitch Black “a Royal Australian Air Force led exercise with international participation that includes 3,000 participants and more than 60 aircraft from Australia, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, France and the E-3A Component.” [29]

The E-3A is “NATO’s Flagship Fleet. The E-3A Component is the world’s only integrated, multi-national flying unit, providing rapid deployability, airborne surveillance, command, control and communication for NATO operations.” [30]

“This historic deployment to Australia is another example of our transformation into a world-wide deployable force,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, Component Commander.

“We are a lead element of the NATO Response Force and our daily mission requires that we be prepared to deploy on short notice to any location in the world as required by the Alliance….” [31]

Last winter NATO conducted joint training in Germany with Afghan troops and their counterparts from the United States, Germany, France, Hungary, Canada, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy…and Australia.

In the same month perhaps the most influential – and infamous – Australian, media baron Rupert Murdoch, citing the “Russian invasion of Georgia,” delivered himself of this demand:

“Australia needs to be part of a reform of the institutions most responsible for maintaining peace and stability. I’m thinking especially of NATO….The only path to reform NATO is to expand it to include nations like Australia. That way NATO will become a community based less on geography and more on common values. That is the only way NATO will be effective. And Australian leadership is critical to these efforts.” [32]

Murdoch echoed demands of a Republican presidential candidate in last year’s primary campaign: Rudolph Giuliani, who in 2007 called for NATO to admit Australia, India, Israel, Japan and Singapore to its ranks as full members.

This January NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer while visiting Israel spoke on this and related topics:

“NATO has transformed to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. We have built partnerships around the globe from Japan to Australia to Pakistan and, of course, with the important countries of the Mediterranean and the Gulf. We have established political relations with the UN and the African Union that never existed until now. We’ve taken in new [countries], soon 28 in total, with more in line.

“[The] Alliance is projecting stability in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, in the Mediterranean (with Israeli support), and elsewhere – including fighting pirates off the Somali coast….” [33]

The incoming U.S. ambassador to NATO, the Brookings Institution’s Ivo Daalder, is reportedly an advocate of “Washington want[ing] NATO to be expanded by inviting counties like Australia, Japan, Brazil and South Africa and becom[ing] a global organization….” [34]

The mainstays for the evolving Asian NATO, or as Daalder’s, Scheffer’s and Giuliani’s positions make clear an Asian NATO plus, are Australia and Japan with India eyed as the third leg of the stool.

Australia and Japan both have, in addition to hosting American military bases and deploying forces for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, entered on yet more dangerous ground by joining the American worldwide interceptor missile system.

In May of 2007 “Australia said…it had joined the U.S. and Japanese missile defense plans and would consider the deployment of a missile shield on its soil” at the same time that NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that his “organization will create its own missile defense system, which would be linked to the American system.” [35]

With U.S. interceptor missile installations in place at Fort Greely on the Alaskan mainland and the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea facing Russia, the incorporation of Japan and Australia into the missile shield system complements plans for similar facilities and deployments in Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and elsewhere in Europe, neutralizing Russia’s deterrence and retaliation capabilities on both ends of its territory.

Ahead of a visit to Japan in October of 2007 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “Moscow regarded the joint missile defense effort as an ‘object of concern,’ expressing wariness over what he called the possibility that the system could be directed against Russia and China.

“We oppose the construction of missile defense systems whose purpose is to ensure military superiority.” [36]

Lavrov would reiterate Russian concerns late last year when he “mentioned the problem of antimissile defences, which actually stands to reason, since the United States seeks to build such system on a global basis and deploy, among others, some of the system elements in Asia and the Pacific.”

The report from which the preceding came concluded with the observation that “Moscow has major strategic interests in Asia and the Pacific, interests that invariably clash with no less significant US interests.” [37]

A week later the U.S. and Japan, in a significant return of the latter’s military to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, conducted a sea-based interceptor missile test.

“The Japanese missile destroyer Chokai will take part in a training firing session as part of the American-Japanese programme for testing a sea-based missile defence system, Christopher Taylor, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency says, adding that the destroyer which is equipped with the AEGIS BMD Weapon System and with the Standard -3 interceptor missiles, has already arrived at the U.S.-operated Pearl Harbor Base in Honolulu.

“Missile defence complexes the Japanese destroyers are equipped with are linked to the U.S missile defence system.

“They can receive information about targets and provide it to the American warships, equipped with both missile defence systems and bases for interceptor missiles in Alaska and California.” [38]

The U.S. has also shifted substantial military forces and focus from Okinawa to Hokkaido on the Sea of Japan immediately across from Russia.

It is not only Russia that is alarmed by these developments and not only Australia and Japan that are being integrated into the global American interceptor missile, so-called son of Star Wars, network.

Last December the defense ministers of China and Russia met in Beijing and “Anatoly Serdyukov and Liang Guanglie [discussed] a project by the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Taiwan to establish a regional missile defense system. China is against the project….” [39]

Earlier in the year Andrew Chang, a Hong Kong-based military expert, remarked on the U.S. missile shield component in Asia that “it is aimed at targeting not only North Korea but China as well” and “that China has every reason to voice unease over the matter, adding that US plans stipulate the deployment of elements of the missile defense shield also in Japan and Australia.

“Aside from missile interceptors, an array of high-power radars will be deployed in the areas – a move that will make it possible for the US to track down China’s launchings of its missiles from the main launch pad in the Shangsi province.” [40]

The purpose of Asian NATO, then, is to establish American and broader Western military superiority, even invincibility, throughout Asia across the full spectrum of ground, air, naval and space forces and weapons.

Lastly, the following survey of reports over the past few months is not an exhaustive one, but provides an overview on how the web of Western military penetration of the Asia-Pacific region is simultaneously widening and tightening.

As an illustrative example, the U.S. has just completed the two-week (April 16-30) Balikatan 2009 joint military exercise in the Philippines, the latest in a series of annual war games. This year 5-6,000 American troops participated and at one point U.S. Marines conducted a drill that can only be training for use against unarmed civilians, one described in part in this manner: “‘When you’ve got a big crowd agitated and moving at you,'” the nonlethal grenade would be a good choice.” [41]

The exercise was held on the grounds of the former Clark Air Base which the U.S. Air Force vacated in 1991, one of only a few bases the Pentagon has departed voluntarily. Not only were U.S. Marines back on the site of the base, but F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft were employed for Balikatan 2009, the first American warplanes operating in the Philippines in sixteen years.

The Pentagon also deployed the PHIBRON-11, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious squadron, consisting of four warships, from Japan for the occasion.

The war games, note, were conducted in a nation that is waging several years-long counterinsurgency operations against not only the Abu Sayyaf Group but also the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the secular New People’s Army.

That war is backed by and includes the direct participation of U.S. military forces (and those of Australia) who have established camps in Mindanao.

Given that the war games were designed for combat operations in an armed conflict zone, it’s revealing that military observers were present from Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and South Korea. [42]

May 2008:

The defense ministers of Japan and South Korea met to “boost three-way military ties with the U.S.” and to “revive a suspended three-way military dialogue with the United States as soon as possible….”

South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee “also met his Australian counterpart Joel Fitzgibbon and stressed the need for a military information protection accord between the two countries.” [43]


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japanese and Australian foreign ministers Masahiko Komura and Stephen Smith, respectively, met at the third ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and vowed “to work in close strategic partnership to boost stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the world at large.” [44)


U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Carrol Chandler, mentioning that the American Air Force has partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, said “We’re not at war in the Pacific, but we’re really not at peace, either,” and stated that a “good example of…bilateral cooperation is missile defense.” [45]

It was announced that a large U.S. military contingent would participate in Exercise Maru in New Zealand along with Australian warships and aircraft and with Japan contributing a P3 Orion surveillance aircraft.

“In what will be seen as another step in breaking down the 20-year freeze by the Americans on joint participation in routine military exercises, its military will be strongly represented….” [46]

The U.S. hosted the annual Rim of the Pacific naval exercise in Hawaii which involved naval forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Peru, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

“A total of 35 ships, six submarines, 150 aircraft and 20,000 personnel from the maritime forces of the 10 nations were involved in the exercise.

“[T]he 22-day sea phase exercise which covered combined anti-submarine and air defence exercises including the live-firing of the missile off the Hawaiian coast….” [47]

In a related development, the 2008 Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium was held in the capital of Malaysia, hosted by Royal Malaysian Air Force and U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ 13th Air Force officials and which included the participation of delegations from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

“‘Through this symposium, we have a great opportunity to share and understand what each nation brings to the battlefield,’ said Lt. Gen. Loyd S. “Chip” Utterback, the 13th Air Force commander.” [48]


The Japanese defense ministry announced that in his upcoming visit to the United States the country’s defense minister would discuss a series of proposals for expanding bilateral military cooperation including “rendering …logistical support by Japan to a group of US battleships in the Indian Ocean that are involved in a military operation in Afghanistan.

“[T]he last few years saw Japan and the US successfully cement bilateral military cooperation, including the joint deployment of missile defense
systems….Aside from missile interceptors, an array of high-power radars will be deployed….” [49]


Australian and New Zealand troops were among 2,000 from the Anglo-Saxon quint, along with forces from Britain, Canada and the United States, that trained in Germany for warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“[A] group of New Zealand soldiers are practicing breaking into buildings and then making instant decisions on whether the occupants are friendly or hostile.

“The Kiwis are taking part in joint exercises with four other English-speaking nations — the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia — designed to help them operate together and work out any kinks before they hit the battlefield….” [50]


India and Japan signed a defense pact during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Tokyo, “a security cooperation agreement under which India and Japan…will hold military exercises, police the Indian Ocean and conduct military-to-military exchanges….Japan has such a security pact with only two other countries – the United States and Australia.” [51]

In a trip to the Czech capital of Prague, U.S. Missile Defense Agency chief Henry Obering and Czech first Deputy Defence Minister Martin Bartak signed a framework treaty on strategic cooperation in missile defence, about which the local press revealed, “The United States has signed a similar agreement only with Australia, Britain, Denmark, Italy and Japan.” [52]

A New Zealand government website inadvertently divulged that military ties with the U.S. were being strengthened.

“After decades of cold-shoulder treatment, United States military brass are now saying a US-New Zealand military partnership is vital to meet security challenges in the Pacific region.

“Joint military exercises are on offer again, according to US Air Force commander Lieutenant General Loyd S. Utterback, who was in Wellington last month for a conference hosted by air force chief Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott.” [53]


Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon and her Australian counterpart Joel Fitzgibbon signed an agreement for defense industry cooperation. “Earlier this year, the two members of NATO [verbatim] struck a deal to enhance cooperation between their naval forces.” [54]


Australia and Japan signed an agreement in Tokyo to increase security cooperation and to conduct more joint military operations.

“Japan only has a similar security pact with the United States, while
Australia has agreements with the US and Great Britain.” [55]

Japan’s parliament voted to extend the nation’s naval operations in the Indian Ocean to support the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan by another year.

January 2009:

The outgoing American ambassador to Japan, Thomas Schieffer, called for Tokyo to play a larger role in global military missions “including reinterpreting its pacifist constitution to allow it to defend an ally if attacked.” The Japanese constitution forbids what it calls collective self-defense.

Evoking a hypothetical case, “if a Japanese destroyer failed to eliminate a missile launched from Asia on the basis that it was headed for the US,” Schieffer warned “I think the American people would find that very difficult to understand the value of the alliance with Japan.”

He added that, in regards to U.S.-Japanese post-World War II military relations, a “redefinition would be appropriate.” [56]

The Financial Times reported that “The US is in preliminary talks with India over the sale of missile shield systems” in reference to Pakistan and “other volatile countries in the region.” [57]

An Indian press service reported that “After signing its biggest-ever military deal with the US for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian Navy for $2.1bn, New Delhi is now eyeing to fast track three key military pacts with Washington.” [58]


In a visit to Japan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington and Tokyo had “agreed to intensify consultations and coordination with the Republic of Korea, Australia, and India, which share universal values.” [59]


The head of Singapore’s military, Lt-General Desmond Kuek, visited India to meet with his counterpart, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, and discuss increasing military ties and sign pacts for joint military training.

“Singapore has signed similar agreements for training facilities with countries like the US, France, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan….” [60]

The U.S. deployed F-15s to Thailand for Exercise Cope Tiger 2009 to engage in air combat training with the Thai and Singaporean air forces.

An American military official speaking of the exercise said:

“This exercise is a great opportunity to hone our air combat skills while practicing against different adversaries than we normally train against here.

“This will facilitate any responses to regional events or contingencies in the future.” [61]

Gen. Songgitti Jaggabatara, chief of the defense forces of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, invited the Philippines to join in a U.S.-led multinational military exercise in his country.

“We have a multi-national exercise between Thailand, the United States, Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan and the Philippine Armed Force still is an observer. After this, maybe the Philippine Armed Force will join the exercise.”[62]

Cambodia announced it will host a U.S. and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) military exercise.

Pol Saroeurn, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said “It is an honor for Cambodia to be chosen by ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the superpower U.S. as the location for such a large-scale international military exercise” and recalled that in 2008 his forces had participated in a three-week exercise in Bangladesh which “involved some 400 soldiers from 12 countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nepal, Brunei, Mongolia, Tonga, Cambodia and the U.S.” [63]

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met in Seoul and signed a bilateral security treaty, one which “calls for increasing joint military training exercises and peacekeeping operations, as well as military-to-military exchanges and cooperation in [the] defense industry, including the exploration of airborne early warning and control aircraft.” [64]


American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin officials met with ranking Indian naval officers to discuss Aegis ship-launched anti-missile missile acquisitions.

“Apart from the US Navy, the Aegis system is operational on Japanese, South Korean, Norwegian, Spanish and Australian naval vessels.” [65]

In coordination with U.S.-supplied Aegis class destroyer and joint U.S.-Japanese ground-based missile shield elements, Japan announced what the government called its first strategic space policy.

By which it meant not only space surveillance but preparing for warfare in outer space. Joining the United States in the militarization of the heavens. Plans for Asian NATO are not limited to Asia. Or to earth.


1) Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific century: force 2030 (PDF)
2) Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2009
3) The Australian, April 25, 2009
4) Financial Times, May 4, 2009
5) The Australian, May 2, 2009
6), May 1, 2009
7) The Australian, April 25, 2009
8) The Australian, May 2, 2009
9) Ibid
10) Financial Times, May 4, 2009
11) Sydney Morning Herald, February 15, 2007
12) The Australian, September 23, 2008
13) Agence France-Presse, June 15, 2008
14) Agence France-Presse, June 4, 2008
15) Sydney Morning Herald, December 22, 2008
16) U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs, April 27, 2009
17) Zee News (India), July 4, 2008
18) Bloomberg News, September 10, 2008
19) India Defence, September 3, 2007
20) Global Military Bloc: NATO’s Drive Into Asia
Stop NATO, January 24, 2009
21) Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
22) Proliferation Security Initiative And US 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of
World’s Oceans, Prelude To War
Stop NATO, January 29, 2009
23) NATO, March 9, 2009
24) Korea Times, September 24, 2008
25) Korea Times, October 2, 2008
26) Xinhua News Agency, January 30, 2009
27) NATO International, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, September 1, 2008
28) Canberra Times, March 13, 2009
29) NATO International, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, June 13, 2008
30) NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force, April 23, 2009
31) NATO International, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, June 13, 2008
32) ABS CBN News (Philippines), November 5
33) Ha’aretz, January 10, 2009
34) Russia Today, March 13, 2009
35) Russian Information Agency Novosti, May 22, 2007
36) Associated Press, October 13, 2007
37) Voice of Russia, November 8, 2008
38) Voice of Russia, November 17, 2008]
39) Russian Information Agency Novosti, December 10, 2008
40) Voice of Russia, August 29, 2008
41) Stars and Stripes, April 26, 2009
42) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 29, 2009
43) Yonhap News Agency (South Korea), May 31, 2008
44) Xinhua News Agency, June 27, 2008
45) Pacific Air Forces, July 11, 2008
46) The Dominion Post, July 22, 2008
47) (Malaysia), July 29, 2008
48) Air Force Link, July 23, 2008
49) Voice of Russia, August 29, 2008
50) Associated Press, September 25, 2008
51) Reuters, October 25, 2008
52) Czech News Agency, October 30, 2008
53) The Dominion Post, October 11, 2008
54) Agence France-Presse, November 25, 2008
55) Radio Netherlands, December 18, 2008
56) Agence France-Presse, January 14, 2009
57) Financial Times, January 7, 2009
58) Indo-Asian News Service, January 6, 2009
59) The Hindu, February 18, 2009
60) Times of India, March 3, 2009
61) Air Force Link, American Forces News Service, March 6, 2009
62) Xinhua News Agency, March 3, 2009
63) Xinhua News Agency, March 3, 2009
64) Defense News, March 5, 2009
65) Indo-Asian News Service, April 23, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Cold War Origins Of The Somalia Crisis And Control Of The Indian Ocean

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

May 3, 2009

Cold War Origins Of The Somalia Crisis And Control Of The Indian Ocean
Rick Rozoff

For the past seven months world news outlets have provided daily coverage on what has been described as escalating piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden and attempts by international, primarily Western, military vessels to combat it.

Absent from such reporting, as the exigencies of commercial news broadcasting inevitably entail, is how and why the situation in the region reached the impasse it has and what its broader significance is.

Instead the picture presented is, according to the standard formula, a point on a blank canvas with no historical depth, no socioeconomic and geopolitical width and no strata of diversified and interrelated causes that contribute to, and dynamics that result from, what is in truth a lengthy and complex process of developments.

In short the Somali situation is portrayed as a simple and self-contained event that at a seemingly gratuitous moment was declared a crisis.

There are dozens of comparable cases in the world, analogous in the general sense of presenting economic, security, national and regional threats to other nations and their environs, but these have not been declared crises and so aren’t given world attention.

The determination of what constitutes a crisis, and a world crisis at that, since the end of the Cold War is a prerogative of the United States and its allies, the governments of which render the verdict with their own and much of the world’s news media echoing the claim.

And the evaluation is inevitably a one-sided affair. What has been observed about Europe’s most mature writers – Shakespeare, Goethe and Balzac, for example – that their antagonists were never mere villains, that they reflected the complexity and ambiguity of real life with no character monopolizing the virtues or the vices – is summarily discarded and a broad panorama of multifaceted motives, players and conflicts reduced to a banal pseudo-morality play with just three sets of actors: Evil culprits, innocent victims and valiant heroes.

The first category is assigned to any individual or group which is opposed to the designs on their nation by major Western powers or, what is interpreted by the latter as the same thing, pursues a policy of protecting local rights and interests. The second is composed of whoever can be cast into the role to arouse indignation and hostility against the first, currently the crews of Western commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden. And the third is led by the United States, NATO and the European Union, the self-deputized military vigilantes of the world.

That many of those off the Somali coast capturing foreign, mainly Western, vessels and holding them, their cargo and their crews for ransom are reported to be former fishermen driven out of their sole occupation by years of intrusive and illegal large-scale poaching by world commercial concerns or affected by eighteen years of toxic, including nuclear, wastes dumped off their shores isn’t acknowledged. To do so would complicate the narrative contrived by those who have with disastrous consequences interfered in the internal affairs of Somalia and its neighborhood for several decades and are in large part responsible for the current crisis.

Instead the action begins where the governments of the Western states that have deployed warships, helicopters, snipers and bases to the region script its opening act: With pirates.

As though a director would begin a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the protagonist thrusting his sword through Polonius and not with the visitation of his father’s ghost, so that Hamlet appeared as a brutal murderer and not a reluctant avenger of parricide and regicide.

The national tragedy of Somalia didn’t begin last summer with an increase in the seizure of foreign vessels off its coast; it didn’t begin with the armed conflict between the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts Union in 2006 and the invasion by military forces of the U.S. proxy government of Ethiopia; it didn’t commence in 1991 with the ouster of long-time president Siad Barre and internecine fighting between militia groups.

It started in 1977.

Eight years earlier, almost forty years to the day, a military government headed by General Siad Barre came to power in Somalia. Anticipating what would become a general pattern in Africa and indeed throughout most of the non-Euro-Atlantic world, the government pursued a path of non-capitalist, avowedly socialist development. The term Barre and his allies used was scientific socialism; that is, Marxism.

In the decade between 1969 and 1979 similar political and socioeconomic transformations occurred throughout Africa, resulting in socialist-oriented governments allied with and receiving assistance from the Soviet Union. In addition to Somalia, nations matching this description included Angola, Benin, Capo Verde, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), the Republic of Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe, with Namibia, Rhodesia, South Africa and Western Sahara poised to follow suit.

The pattern also emerged in Asia – Vietnam with its unification in 1975, Laos, Cambodia (after the ouster of the Khmer Rouge in 1978) and Afghanistan; on the Arabian peninsula with South Yemen; and in Latin America and the Caribbean with Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Jamaica, Peru and Suriname during the same period.

What was progressing at an apparently inexorable pace was the integration of the Soviet-led socialist bloc, including Cuba, with the entire developing, non-aligned world which coincided with and gave substance to the demands for a New International Economic Order advocated by the developing nations through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and supported by the world socialist community.

Demands included the replacement of the U.S.-enforced Bretton Woods system – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the first instances – in a revision of the entire international economic system that would elevate the nations of the South from mere monoculture exporters to diversified and modernized countries with industrial bases.

On March 25, 1975 the Second General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, meeting in Peru, adopted the Lima Declaration and Plan of Action on Industrial Development and Co-operation which included the following provisions:

“That every state has the inalienable right to exercise freely its sovereignty and permanent control over its natural resources, both terrestrial and marine, and over all economic activity for the exploitation of these resources in the manner appropriate to its circumstances, including nationalisation in accordance with its laws as an expression of this right, and that no state shall be subjected to any forms of economic, political or other coercion which impedes the full and free exercise of that inalienable right.”

“That special attention should be given to the least developed countries, which should enjoy a net transfer of resources from the developed countries in the form of technical and financial resources as well as capital goods, to enable the least developed countries in conformity with the policies and plans for development, to accelerate their industrialisation.”

“The new distribution of industrial activities envisaged in a New International Economic Order must make it possible for all developing countries to industrialise and to obtain an efficient instrument within the United Nations system to fulfil their aspirations.”

One objective of the plan was to insure that by 2000 25-30% of world industrial production was to occur in the developing world – and not in the manner that has ensued in the current neoliberal order with the transfer of manufacturing to underdeveloped states in a manner that has rather intensified than diminished exploitation of both labor and resources.

With the rising tide of political changes in the developing world during the same time, a shift from neocolonialist dependency toward genuine independence and development, and the support of the Soviet-led socialist bloc – which with its industrial base was issuing long-term, low-interest loans to southern nations for infrastructural and industrial projects – the prospects for the creation of new global economic and political order was on the near horizon.

But not everyone was pleased with this development.

The U.S. – alone – opposed the Lima Declaration and the follow-up New Delhi Declaration and Plan of Action four years later.

America’s NATO allies, almost to a member at the time former colonial powers bent on maintaining historical prerogatives over their former possessions, were no less dissatisfied.

And the People’s Republic of China, having lost earlier bids to dominate the world communist movement and what it deemed the Third World alike, was focused entirely on combating what it derided as “Soviet social imperialism” and after the secret meeting of Henry Kissinger and Chou En-lai in Beijing in 1971, followed by Richard Nixon’s meeting there with Mao Tse-Tung the next year, worked hand-in-glove with the U.S. to counter Soviet influence around the world, including providing joint support to armed groups fighting against the governments of Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Ethiopia.

With what would in the 21st Century be called the U.S.’s hard power/soft power duality and rotation, the Nixon era method of dealing with the reorientation of developing nations away from the West and toward the East – most cynically and brutally exemplified by its support to the military overthrow of the elected Salvador Allende government in Chile in 1973 – gave way to that of the Carter administration and its foreign policy grey eminence and all-purpose Mephistopheles Zbigniew Brzezinski in January of 1977.

The Carter administration had barely moved into the White House when it began to bribe the governments of Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iraq into entering political and military alliances and in several cases giving notorious “green lights” for military invasions of other nations. Its foreign policy architect was not Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, but the man who brought about Vance’s downfall and resignation over the Operation Eagle Claw fiasco in Iran in 1980: Brzezinski, an arch-Russophobe during the Soviet period and ever since even onto the grave.

Somalia is the main subject of investigation, but a brief review of similar cases is in order.

In its first year in office the Carter administration bought off Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, splitting the Arab world, destroying any unified approach to the Palestinian catastrophe and the realization of UN resolutions 242 and 338 and ousting the Soviet Union as the fourth partner in the Middle East peace process, leaving Israel and Egypt armed and backed by the U.S., and the rest of the Arab world, including Palestine, unrepresented, unprotected and defenseless.

Since 1979 Egypt has been the second largest recipient of American military aid in the world, with only Israel besting it in that category. Over the past thirty years Egypt has received more U.S. aid, over $30 billion, than any other country.

In the period between Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in November of 1977 and the Camp David Accords of September of 1978, in March of 1978 Israeli launched an invasion of Lebanon, Operation Litani, with over 25,000 troops, a warm-up exercise for the full-fledged attack of 1983.

This was one of the green lights given by the Carter administration.

In 1979 Washington gave a green light to China to invade Vietnam, according to Beijing to “punish” the latter for its role in helping drive the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia earlier in the year.

In the summer of 1978 U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, emulating Kissinger’s trip in 1971, paid a secret visit to Beijing to normalize relations with China, leading to recognition of the People’s Republic and derecognition of Taiwan on January 1, 1979.

On January 29, 1979 Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping arrived in Washington, the first visit by a senior Chinese official to the United States since 1949.

According to former Balkans hand and current U.S. Afghanistan-Pakistan point man Richard Holbrooke, the trip “began with a private dinner at Brzezinski’s house.” [1]

Deng left on February 6 and eleven days later China launched an invasion of Vietnam along its entire northern border.

Reports exist that in July of 1980 CIA officials – some rumors say Brzezinski himself – travelled to the Jordanian capital of Amman to meet with high-ranking officials of the Iraqi government. Then Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr claims the meeting included both Brzezinski and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. [2]

As recently as March of 2009 Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei renewed the accusation, stating that “They gave Saddam the green light to attack our country. If Saddam had not received the green light from the U.S., most probably he would not have attacked our borders.”

Later the first Reagan administration secretary of state, Alexander Haig, wrote in a memo to Reagan that “President Carter gave the Iraqis a green light to launch the war against Iran through [Saudi Arabian Prince] Fahd.”

In appreciation of Somalia’s geostrategic importance, in the first days of the Carter-Brzezinski administration efforts were made to wean Somalia from its pro-Soviet stance and to secure military, mainly naval, bases on its territory.

The covert campaign was largely conducted through the mediation of Saudi Arabia and in July led to the Somali invasion of the Ogaden region of Ethiopia with tens of thousands of troops, tanks and warplanes.

“Somalia had mounted its major offensive in Ogaden because of a U.S. promise to furnish arms aid. The U.S. policy had resulted from Ethiopia’s decision to expel U.S. military advisers from the country and its successful bid for aid from the Soviet Union.

“According to the report, Somali President Mohamed Said Barre had received secret U.S. assurances that the U.S. would not oppose ‘further guerrilla pressure in the Ogaden’ and would ‘consider sympathetically Somalia’s legitimate defense needs.'” [3]

The Soviet Union and its Cuban ally assisted Ethiopia and the U.S. and China, mainly through Saudi Arabia, provided arms to Somalia.

Brzezinski urged the deployment of the American aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk to the region as a show of support to Somalia and an act of defiance toward the Soviet Union and its Ethiopian ally and, referring to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks of the time, said “SALT lies buried in the sands of the Ogaden.” As a report of the time phrased it “signifying the death of détente.”

Somalia was defeated and withdrew the last of its military forces from the Ogaden Desert in March of 1978. Estimates are that the war cost Somalia one-third of its army, three-eighths of its armored units and half of its air force.

In marked the beginning of the end for Barre and for Somalia itself. Barre would linger on as president of a weakened Somalia until his overthrow in 1991, yet another former client cast off after having served his purpose.

His ouster would be followed by years of conflict between rival armed militias and U.S. military intervention that caused the deaths of thousands of Somalis.

Yet for all the horrors American administrations from that of Carter to the current one have visited upon the Somali people, Washington gained what it intended to: Military bases and forces astride many of the world’s most strategic shipping lanes and choke points in an area encompassing the Suez Canal and the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

In 1977 the Carter White House issued a presidential directive calling for a worldwide mobile military force which in October of 1979 Carter would officially designate Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF).

The site for its first deployments were to be the recently acquired military client states of Somalia and Egypt along with Sudan, Oman and Kenya.

The initiative was inaugurated as the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) on March 1, 1980 and according to its first commander, “It’s the first time that I know of that we have ever attempted to establish, in peacetime, a full four service Joint Headquarters.” [4]

Originally envisioned to focus on the Persian Gulf, the RDJTF was expanded to include Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia as well as Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of Yemen [Aden], Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Yemen Arab Republic.

That is, from the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf to the eastern coast of Africa to the western one of the Indian subcontinent with the northern half of the Indian Ocean and its seas and gulfs included.

Carter’s announcement of the launching of the Rapid Deployment Forces preceded by three months his 1980 State of the Union Address in which he laid out the doctrine that has since borne his name.

Coming less than a month after the first Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, Carter’s comments included this disingenuous hyperbole:

“The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Straits of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world’s oil must flow.”

That at the time a small handful of Soviet troops had arrived in Kabul, the capital of a landlocked nation hundreds of miles from one of the world’s five oceans, could in no conceivable manner affect the Straits of Hormuz.

Carter continued: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

Brzezinski claims credit for authoring the second half of the above sentence, modeling it on the Truman Doctrine “to make it very clear that the Soviets should stay away from the Persian Gulf.” [5]

It is exactly the Carter Doctrine that was employed by the U.S. for its war against Iraq in 1991 and for its ongoing military presence in the Persian Gulf in preparation for aggression against Iran.

As “soft power” Carter was succeeded by “hard power” Reagan, the Rapid Deployment Forces were converted into Central Command, the U.S.’s first new regional military command since World War II, under Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.

Central Command (CENTCOM) has as its area of responsibility twenty nations: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. It also takes in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and western portions of the Indian Ocean.

It also included the only African nations not formerly assigned to the European and Pacific Commands – Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia and the Sudan – until all 53 African states (except for Egypt) were turned over to the new Africa Command last October.

CENTCOM was the main force in the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq and the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Both Iraq and Afghanistan remain in its area of responsibility and its current commander, General David Petraeus, is in charge of operations in both nations.

It has bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan and Central Asia and until recently at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, now part of Africa Command.

The Command’s zone of operations is in fact the northern half of the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz where some 40% of the oil shipped in the world passes to the Gulf of Aden, where as recent reports frequently repeat ten percent of all global shipping occurs, to the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia where 25% of world trade, including half of all sea shipments of oil and two-thirds of global liquefied natural gas shipments bound for East Asia, pass.

In addition to the U.S., NATO launched its first naval operation in the Gulf of Aden last October and has now resumed it with the deployment of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1).

The SNMG1 held naval maneuvers with Pakistan last week off the coast of Karachi in the Arabian Sea.

These deployments are a continuation of NATO’s plans in the region described last year by veteran Indian journalist M K Bhadrakumar in an article titled “NATO reaches into the Indian Ocean”:

“By October 15 [2008], seven ships from NATO navies had already transited the Suez Canal on their way to the Indian Ocean. En route, they will conduct a series of Persian Gulf port visits to countries neighboring Iran – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are NATO’s ‘partners’ within the framework of the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The mission comprises ships from the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

“NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General John Craddock, acknowledged that the mission furthers the alliance’s ambition to become a global political organization.

“By acting with lightning speed and without publicity, NATO surely created a fait accompli.

“NATO’s naval deployment in the Indian Ocean region is a historic move and a milestone in the alliance’s transformation. Even at the height of the Cold War, the alliance didn’t have a presence in the Indian Ocean. Such deployments almost always tend to be open-ended.

“In retrospect, the first-ever visit by a NATO naval force in mid-September last year to the Indian Ocean was a full-dress rehearsal to this end. Brussels said at that time, ‘The aim of the mission is to demonstrate NATO’s capability to uphold security and international law on the high seas and build links with regional navies.’ In 2007, a NATO naval force visited Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and Somalia and conducted exercises in the Indian Ocean and then re-entered the Mediterranean via the Red Sea in end-September.

“[An] Indian warship [dispatched off the coast of Somalia] will eventually have to work in tandem with the NATO naval force. This will be the first time that the Indian armed forces will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO forces in actual operations in territorial or international waters.

“The operations hold the potential to shift India’s ties with NATO to a qualitatively new level.” [6]

Securing the safe passage of vessels in the Gulf of Aden and particularly those delivering United Nations World Food Programme aid is a legitimate concern.

But plans by the United States and NATO to take control of the whole Indian Ocean for military purposes and to insure global energy dominance is not a legitimate concern.

1) Project Syndicate, December 28, 2008
2) My Turn To Speak: Iran, The Revolution And Secret Deals With The U.S, 1991
3) Newsweek, September 23, 1977
4) Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Journal,
June 1981
5) Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser
6) Asia Times, October 20, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

April 16, 2009

Canada: In Service To The Pentagon And NATO At Home And Abroad
Rick Rozoff

Canada is the only nation in the world whose mainland borders three of the world’s five oceans: The Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The United States only secured access to the Arctic Ocean with the acquisition of non-contiguous Alaska from Russia in 1867 and Russia can only access the Atlantic through the Barents and Norwegian Seas.

The three oceans in question are exactly those in and over which Russia has recently resumed strategic air patrols and naval and submarine deployments starting in late 2007 after a hiatus of almost twenty years.

Should East-West tensions parallel – or exceed – those of the Cold War era Canada will be on several frontlines and is now being actively prepared for just such an eventuality.

The campaign to employ Canada as a spearhead against Russia in the Arctic and generally in furtherance of NATO’s plans for the Northwest Hemisphere will have little to do with the word that has become a shibboleth for Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Liberal opposite numbers alike, sovereignty, and still less with defense.

Instead the nation’s role, given its unique geographical location, will be as the West’s advance guard in a geostrategic showdown in the northern latitudes.

Not that Canada’s service to the United States and NATO collectively is limited to its own coasts and the oceans they abut.

Despite rhetoric to the contrary by two of the country’s last three prime ministers, Liberal Jean Chretien and Tory Stephen Harper, aimed at domestic audiences and for votes in parliamentary elections, about the nation’s supposed proud tradition of independence, if there has ever been a nation that never truly possessed a foreign policy of its own – particularly in respect to military conflicts – that country is Canada.

From supplying its former colonial master Britain with a disproportionate amount of troops in both world wars to following the lead of Britain and the United States in wars from Korea in 1950 to Yugoslavia in 1999 to Afghanistan at present, Canada has rarely balked at demands for political acquiescence and military complicity from its Anglo-Saxon big brothers and the NATO alliance of which it is a founding member.

If in early 2003 Ottawa refused to supply troops for the invasion of Iraq it aided that effort in other ways beforehand, including supporting NATO’s deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey on the eve of the war and afterward by assigning personnel to the NATO Training Mission – Iraq.

Many suspect that then prime minister Jean Chretien’s government avoided potential fallout on the home front by reaching a quid pro quo with Washington whereby Canada would avoid the Iraqi quagmire by stepping into the Afghan crevice. It took over the International Security Assistance Force (which had been officially turned over to NATO) mission in the capital of Kabul in 2003 and two years later deployed over 2,000 troops to the southern province of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s main battlefield from that time onward. The initial 1,950 troops Canada assigned to ISAF represented the largest single contingent at the time.

Canada signed both a Faustian pact and a fool’s bargain. Most all non-American troops have been pulled out of Iraq or will be soon, with the majority of the contributing nations focused on increasing deployments to Afghanistan for an expanding South Asian war, while Canadian forces have been bogged down in Afghanistan for almost seven and a half years and notwithstanding claims by Ottawa officials to have them withdrawn by 2011 may well be there indefinitely.

117 Canadian soldiers have been killed in the Afghan war, about 10 per cent of total Western military deaths, the number and ratio out of proportion to Canada’s population of a little over 33 million.

The death toll is the highest the country has experienced since the Korean War (when 516 soldiers were killed) and the first combat fatalities in over half a century. The Korean War was the prototype for almost sixty years of U.S. and NATO military campaigns fought far from North America and Europe by self-defined coalitions of the willing. Direct Western military involvement began in July of 1950, fifteen months after the formation of NATO, and Korea was the testing ground for the new alliance with, in addition to American forces, troops from NATO allies Canada, Belgium, Britain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands participating. All seven nations lost troops, as did Greece and Turkey, themselves having just been first subjected to the sanguinary effects of the Truman Doctrine and for whom participation in the Korean War was the precondition for their induction into NATO in 1952.

The model was replicated in the post-Cold War period with the two wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, the 78-day air war against Yugoslavia in 1999 and the endless war in Afghanistan that commenced in October of 2001.

Canada contributed 4,500 troops to the first Persian Gulf War, including 2,700 stationed in the area, and ran its own national complement to the U.S.-led Operation Desert Storm, Operation Friction.

In 1999 Ottawa, without a parliamentary resolution or declaration of war, provided eighteen warplanes for the merciless terror bombing of Yugoslavia and stationed 800 troops in neighboring Macedonia for a possible land invasion.

(It joined most of its NATO allies in recognizing Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in February of last year, a detestable act of duplicity given the Canadian federal government’s ruthless use of all means fair and foul to stifle the independence drive in its province of Quebec.)

With the expanding war in Afghanistan, though, Canada has returned to combat in Asia, ground operations and casualties for the first time since Korea.

Late last year it deployed six Mi-8 helicopter gunships, its first combat wing deployment, the significance of which was described by Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, commander of Task Force Kandahar: “Now we’re not talking about an individual unit which would be the army equivalent of a battalion. This is the equivalent of committing a brigade to overseas operations. I don’t think this has occurred since the Korean time (war).” (1)

At the beginning of this year with the addition of “six Chinooks, newly retrofitted with heavy machine guns…eight hefty, even more heavily-armed, Griffons to act as backup” the escalation was “Canada’s biggest air force presence in a combat zone since the end of the Second World War.” (2)

Attack helicopters weren’t the only addition to the deadly arsenal. In the summer of 2007 Canada leased 20 Leopard tanks from Germany for the erstwhile ISAF “peacekeeping mission” in Afghanistan and signed a deal with the Netherlands to purchase 100 more.

In March of this year Canada started flying Israeli-made Heron drones capable of carrying weapons, bombs and guided missiles. The head of the Canadian Air Force, Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt, said on the occasion: “Armed UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] with air to ground weapons are a valuable capability and it’s a good option to have.” (3)

Drones have been used expensively by the United States over the past year not only in Afghanistan but in Northwest Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of over 500 suspected militants and Pakistani civilians. The estimated 2,800 Canadian troops in Afghanistan are stationed in Kandahar Province which borders Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province. Threats of U.S. missile attacks in Baluchistan have been sounded over the past several weeks and the prospect of Canada following up on them is more likely than not.

Military hubris has its limits: Pakistan has a population more than five times that of Canada and nuclear weapons into the bargain.

Not that dangers of that magnitude are likely to deter a government whose recently retired but then just appointed Chief of the Defence Staff General Rick Hillier, who a year earlier was in command of NATO’s ISAF, referred to his intended targets in Afghanistan as “detestable murderers and scumbags” and who said of the Canadian armed forces he was in charge of: “We’re not the public service of Canada. We’re not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”

Afghanistan – South and Central Asia in general – is Canada’s largest current military operation but hardly its only one. In fact it has forces deployed throughout what Western government officials and their policy think tanks for years have dubbed the Broader Middle East and the arc of instability – from Mauritania on the Atlantic Ocean to Kazakhstan on Russia’s and China’s borders – and beyond. Far beyond.

Canadian military forces are among those scheduled to be evicted from the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan shortly along with armed forces from the United States, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Denmark, Spain, France, Australia, South Korea, Italy, Turkey and Norway.

Last autumn Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, in a news dispatch with a title containing an optimistic preposition, “After Afghanistan, Canada will still have military obligations: MacKay,” was quoted as follows:

“I hope that we have elevated in the hearts and minds of people in our own country just how important having a robust military is. That includes peacekeeping but it also includes to do the business when called upon, whether it’s been in Afghanistan, or as it has been in past conflicts in Korea or Yugoslavia or in places around the world like Haiti.” (4)

As with its American mentor, for the Canadian political establishment one war is never enough.

This February the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg the joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) in the Alliance’s first penetration of Southeast Asia “through areas such as the Strait of Malacca, Java and the South China sea, an area of the world that is not frequented by NATO fleets.” (5)

“[T]he SNMG1, a squadron primarily of destroyers and frigates from Alliance nations, [will enter] the Indian Ocean.

“The warships provide rapid intervention capability for a broad spectrum of NATO operations. However, on this mission they’ll operate outside their usual theatre of operation, which is the Mediterranean Sea and east Atlantic Ocean.”

The flotilla included destroyers and frigates from Canada, Portugal, Germany, the United States, Spain and the Netherlands and its commander, Portuguese Rear Admiral Jose Domingos Pereira da Cunha, said of the mission that “We will be operating from the Red Sea to the coast of Australia.” (6)

In addition to NATO’s maiden voyage through the strategic Strait of Malacca, the HMCS Winnipeg’s itinerary includes a “six-month deployment to the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.” (7)

NATO spokesman James Appathurai announced in March that “NATO governments – ambassadors – have approved the operational plan for the deployment of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) to conduct counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.” (8)

In early April the HMCS Winnipeg had wended its way to the Somali coast with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 where it “ward[ed] off suspected pirates” and “dispatched its Sea King helicopter to check out several skiffs.”

“Being able to perform a variety of functions for NATO in the Gulf [of Aden] is satisfying,” Commander Craig Baines affirmed. (9)

The Canadian military action prefigured and preceded by three days the American commando attack on a vessel off the Somali coast which resulted in the deaths of three men holding an American hostage.

Last year the HMCS Ville de Quebec deployed on Operation SEXTANT, Canada’s maritime contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, “to participate with the NATO fleet in a series of naval exercises to maintain a high degree of readiness capability should SNMG1 be tasked to engage in directed operations” and completed “a very successful mission in the Mediterranean Sea with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and an anti-piracy escort mission in the Indian Ocean….” (10)

A year before that the Canadian HMCS Toronto joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 – “an integral part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), a highly ready and technologically advanced force made up of land, air, sea and Special Forces components that can be deployed quickly” – in a five-month deployment to “conduct operations in the Mediterranean and conduct an historic 12,500 nautical mile circumnavigation of Africa.”

“It is historic in the sense that it’s the first time the task group is going to circumnavigate Africa,” said Cmdr. Stephen Virgin, Toronto’s captain. (11)

When the HMCS Toronto reached Africa’s southern tip it and its fellow NATO warships engaged in exercises with the South African navy. “I don’t think it’s been done before, certainly not a combined NATO-South African exercise,” Cmdr. Virgin said.

At the same time then Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor announced that the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto and six CF-18 aircraft would be made available to the NATO Response Force until January of 2008.

Earlier in the year Canadian Commodore Denis Rouleau, prefacing his comments with “I speak as a NATO officer,” stated, “Canada is at the top of the heap when it comes to contributions to this NATO [maritime] force.” (12)

Alleged defense of Canadian sovereignty over the past two years, then, has included dispatching warships to the Mediterranean Sea with NATO’s six-and-a half-year long Operation Active Endeavor interdiction efforts, and on other NATO missions to the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca, the Indonesia archipelago, the coast of Australia and along the entire perimeter of Africa.

Patrolling the world’s seas and oceans, and note that none of the deployments listed above were in the Western Hemisphere, with military vessels provided with artillery and combat helicopters for live-fire engagements in pursuit of commercial and geopolitical objectives is the furthest thing in the world from protecting one’s borders and sovereign rights.

Policies and terminology, rationales and contrived crises can be adopted, adjusted and applied as required by imperial powers bent on intruding themselves into and gaining domination over vast tracts of the world. Canada’s integral involvement in naval operations in several seas and all five oceans may be attributed to the supposed exigency of the day, but it is a practice going back centuries and has little to do with whatever officials in Washington, Ottawa and Brussels proclaim it to be.

The U.S. rescue operation in the Gulf of Aden this last Sunday, where Navy snipers killed three abductors of the captain of an American-Danish commercial vessel, is being celebrated in the American press and that of the West in general as a purgative, expiatory and redemptive milestone in undoing the blight of a U.S. military helicopter shot down in the capital of Somalia sixteen years ago and a demonstration of American resolve – even the first blood rite of the new administration (though Pakistan was the location of its initial bloodletting in a zone outside of those charted by its predecessor) – is nothing unprecedented.

“There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror.”

The above is not a threat by al-Qaeda or any other targeted group. It was issued by American General William Eaton in 1799 in reference to the so-called Barbary pirates of North Africa, described in an American journal four years ago as “arguably the first international terrorists the United States ever faced.” (13)

In 1785, only nine years after the founding of the American republic, an American commercial vessel was seized in the Mediterranean Sea by what Washington labeled as pirates, in the words of the same source cited above, “initiating events that would lead to America’s first war on terrorism – the Tripolitan War of 1801.”

The same General Eaton quoted above, at the time U.S. consul in Tripoli, recruited an armed mercenary force of “several hundred Arabs, 24 Greeks, 8 U.S. marines, and a former Army officer (who led the campaign). The force crossed 600 miles of desert to the ‘shores of Tripoli,’ as recited in the Marine Corps hymn, and captured Derna, Tripoli’s second-largest city.” (14)

If the above sounds eerily similar to current demands by American elected officials to expand anti-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden into amphibious and helicopter assaults on the Somalia mainland, it should. The model is the same.

There is nothing new in warships from North America conducting operations off the coast of northeast Africa or in the Mediterranean. What is novel is their current scope. On October 4, 2001 NATO for the only time in its sixty year history activated its Article 5 mutual military assistance provision and one of eight measures implemented – support for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan being another – was the establishment of Operation Active Endeavor, a comprehensive naval surveillance and interdiction program continuing to this day and one that will never end until NATO itself does.

The bloc’s warships police the entire sea and control access to and from the Mediterranean at all its main choke points – the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles Strait – leading into the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea and the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, respectively.

NATO ships have monitored over 100,000 ships and boarded over a hundred. As part of Operation Active Endeavor and related operations Canadian and U.S. military vessels are active in the Mediterranean.

In February of this year Canada participated in NATO’s two-week Noble Manta ’09 exercise in the Ionian Sea, the purpose of which was to “demonstrate NATO’s determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine, anti-surface and coastal surveillance operations using a multinational force of ships, submarines and aircraft. The exercise also provided operational training in potential NATO Response Force (NRF) tasks/roles and missions, exercising the procedures for possible NRF operations….” (15)

Canada also contributes to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) operation, which after Israel’s sustained military assault on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 was expanded to include increased NATO states infantry, armor and naval deployments to secure the country’s border with Israel for the protection of the latter, patrol the border with Syria and enforce a select naval blockade of the nation’s Mediterranean coast.

A Canadian was among four soldiers killed by an Israeli air strike on a UN observation post in July of 2006.

The U.S. has provided over $400 million in military aid in the interim and Canada, Britain, Germany and Belgium are also instrumental in rebuilding the Lebanese armed forces as a Western proxy institution in the nation and the region.

The European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR) that maintains the blockade of Lebanon’s coast has approached more than 22,000 ships and referred 240 to Lebanese authorities.

In February of this year the Danish foreign ministry announced that a two-day meeting had been held with representatives from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway “on how to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza.” (16)

In March a British diplomat stated that nine NATO members, “The United States, Canada and seven European states” had agreed in a London meeting “to stop alleged weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip by campaigns of information sharing, diplomatic pressure and interception at sea.” (17)

That is, a replication of the naval blockade of Lebanon is being planned for the Gaza Strip’s Mediterranean coastline, one which may be presented as a European initiative but, as noted above, as it will include Canadian and U.S. participation will be a NATO operation in all but name.

In the middle of Israel’s 22-day onslaught against Gaza early this January new Canadian Liberal Party leader and prospective future prime minister Michael Ignatieff, a “humanitarian bomber” when it came to the Balkans, stated: “Canada has to support the right of a democratic country to defend itself.”

Canadian warships have also participated in U.S.-led patrols of the Persian Gulf near Iranian waterways. The frigate HMCS Charlottetown last year deployed with a 50-ship USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier strike group for a seven month Gulf deployment.

In addition, in March it was announced that “The Canadian navy is deploying three war ships to the Persian Gulf, one of the largest single naval contributions to the war against terrorism since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

The three warships – the HMCS Calgary, HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Iroquois – met up with counterparts from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Pakistan and the Netherlands in Task Force 150, to “run missions in the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Canadians plan to take a Sea King helicopter detachment with them.” (18)

Days after Georgia launched an armed assault against South Ossetia last August 7-8, triggering a five-day war with Russia, former New Democrat and current Liberal Party Foreign Affairs critic Bob Rae urged the Conservative minority government of Stephen Harper to open a Canadian embassy in Georgia for the first time, stating:

“Russia’s invasion of Georgia clearly demonstrates the strategic importance of the region. We need to make it clear, both to the countries of the region and to Russia, that we take their sovereignty and independence seriously, and that we deeply support their quest for international respect.” (19)

The very next day the Russian General Staff revealed that a Canadian warship was entering the Black Sea (with American and Polish ships) for a two-week NATO deployment, an act Russia viewed as a dangerous provocation as it has deployed its own warships off the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, north of Georgia.

Prime Minister Harper, whose government had pushed Georgia’s and Ukraine’s full NATO membership at the Alliance’s summit in Romania earlier in the year, was in accordance with Rae:

“I think if we had taken a stronger position on the membership of (Georgia and the Ukraine), we would not have had the Russian aggression. I think that showing weakness or hesitation encourages this type of behaviour on the part of Russia.” (20)

Slightly afterward Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson said “the government views the recent actions of Russia in Georgia and in the Far North ‘with great concern,’ and this is helping drive the Conservatives’ Arctic strategy.” (21)

In October of last year Canadian military personnel participated in the annual NATO Cooperative Longbow/Lancer-2008 South Caucasus exercises, held in Armenia in 2008.

The yearly exercises aim at building up NATO presence in the Caucasus and integrating the militaries of former Warsaw Pact, Soviet and Yugoslav nations as well as Persian Gulf state and Gulf Cooperation Council/Istanbul Cooperation Initiative member the United Arab Emirates. In addition to Canada, nations involved were the U.S., Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Albania, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bosnia.

On May 6 of this year the Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 exercises will be held in Georgia, will again include Canadian forces and will last for almost four weeks. Today the Russian foreign minister and other officials condemned the exercises as a provocation and urged they be cancelled.

In a press report of early October of last year titled “NATO chief seeks defence plan for allies near Russia,” NATO Supreme Allied Commander U.S. General John Craddock, speaking after what was characterized as “Russia’s invasion of Georgia,” affirmed “The foundation of the NATO alliance is a collective defence promise known as Article 5, stating an attack on one is an attack on all. The Article 5 discussion is very much front and centre.”

In the same report it was noted that “U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, with Canada and Britain, will try this week in Budapest to mediate among European allies while supporting defence planning that reaffirms the Article 5 pledge.” (22)

Article 5 is not only a mutual defense but a potential war clause.

In November the Canadian military attache to Georgia, Colonel S. R. Lescoutre, “visited the Ministry of Defence and the Joint Staff of Georgia” and “expressed the readiness of the Canadian side for further close collaboration in providing military training for Georgian military servicemen.” (23)

Employing the Caucasus conflict of late last summer as pretext, the Pentagon and NATO brandished its Article 5 – a dangerous remnant of the Cold War’s prospect of armed conflict in and the possible nuclear destruction of Europe – to accelerate already existing plans in the Northwest Hemisphere.

Following up on last September’s 2008 Northern Viking NATO exercise in Iceland staged to “reinforce the resolve of the U.S. and its NATO partners in assisting in the defense of Iceland” (24) – although Iceland is geographically isolated in the North Atlantic and not threatened by any nation – with U.S., Canadian, Danish and Norwegian air and naval forces, it was announced this February that “NATO members Denmark, Spain and the US will be deploying fighter planes to Iceland. Germany and the US have confirmed that they will deploy aircraft in 2010. Other countries that have shown an interest in taking part in air patrols include Canada, Italy and Poland.” (25)

During the January 23, 2006 Canadian federal elections, then Conservative Party leader and later the nation’s new prime minister Stephen Harper made repeated demagogic vows to defend Canada’s Arctic claims and in particular to maintain exclusive control of the Northwest Passage which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic region.

The unavoidable implication – on the surface – is that Harper was pledging to prevent the transformation of the Northwest Passage into a recognized international territory, the U.S. position. As the American ambassador to Canada in 2006, David Wilkins, stated, “the U.S. position has not changed and the passage is international territory as far as the Bush administration is concerned.” (26)

The image that Harper was projecting – or rather the pose he was adopting – was, much like Jean Chretien in 2003, demonstrating that he was no neutered foreign policy poodle like Britain’s Tony Blair but a virile husky able to pull its own weight and mark its territory. In fact he was already planning to prove himself a docile lap dog loyal unto death to his masters: The United Kingdom residually, the United States primarily and NATO for a sixth decade.

The above-quoted statement by the U.S. ambassador, reflective as it was of the greatest threat to Canadian territorial claims and integrity since the pre-independence invasion of its land by the U.S. in 1812, didn’t appear to have fazed Harper overly much.

Harper’s wasn’t, and isn’t, concerned about Canada’s territorial claims; he’s been enlisted to challenge Russia’s.

He didn’t waste any time in fulfilling his true pledge, the expansion of Canada’s military into its northern frontier and into contested waters.

In his second year in office Harper “announced plans to build a new army training centre in the Far North at Resolute Bay and to outfit a deep-water port for both military and civilian use at the northern tip of Baffin Island.

“His trip to the Arctic earlier this month was accompanied by the biggest military exercise in the region in years, with 600 soldiers, sailors and air crew participating.” (27)

By this time anyone who had gained the impression that Harper’s jingoistic fulminations were in any manner directed at his neighbor to the south should have been disabused of that illusion.

The Financial Times reported that “a past land dispute over 12,000 sq km of seabed elsewhere in the Beaufort Sea is being put aside in the name of defending against Russia’s Arctic claims, which clash with those of the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway.” (28)

Shortly after the Caucasus war had ended, while a Canadian warship was only miles away from Abkhazia’s and Russia’s Black Sea borders, Ottawa conducted a week-long military “sovereignty exercise” in the Arctic, a full spectrum affair including “In addition to the army, navy and air force, several federal agencies and departments are participating, including the Coast Guard, RCMP, CSIS, Canada Border Services Agency, Transport Canada and Health Canada.

“Military officials say this year’s exercise involves the most number of departments and agencies ever.”

Invoking recent events in Georgia – half the world away – Defence Minister Peter MacKay “made it clear that asserting Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, and sending a message to circumpolar neighbours such as Russia, is also a key objective of the exercise.”

Harper a week before “accused Russia of reverting to a ‘Soviet-era mentality’….” (29)

Later the same month, August of last year, both Harper and MacKay visited the Northwest Territories to inspect “four CF18 Canadian military jets sent to Inuvik in response to what officials said was an unidentified aircraft that had neared Canadian air space.” (30)

Two weeks later defense chief MacKay outdid himself with swagger and braggadocio in stating, “When we see a Russian Bear [Tupolev Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18.” (31)

The F-18 is an American multirole fighter jet.

He would never have dared to issue such a blunt statement unless, to employ the street vernacular (or underworld argot) appropriate to the circumstances, he could count upon a bully with enough muscle to back him up.

In a further indication of who Canada was not “defending its sovereignty” against, days after MacKay’s comment his ministry launched “Operation NANOOK 2008, a sovereignty operation in Canada’s eastern Arctic. Not only that, but Harper also voiced support for plans to build a military port and a military base beyond the Polar Circle.”

The same reports adds, “The United States has joined the race, too, teaming up with Canada to map the unexplored Arctic sea floor.” (32)

Never relenting, on September 19 Stephen Harper was paraphrased in a news report with the title “Canada boosts frontier troops as Russia eyes Arctic” as saying “Canada is stepping up its military alertness along its northern frontier in response to Russia’s ‘testing’ of its boundaries and recent Arctic grab.”

Harper in his own words:

“We are concerned about not just Russia’s claims through the international process, but Russia’s testing of Canadian airspace and other indications…(of) some desire to work outside of the international framework. That is obviously why we are taking a range of measures, including military measures, to strengthen our sovereignty in the North.” (33)

In a December story with the headline “Tory bid to bolster Arctic presence must get ‘back on track’: MacKay,” Canada’s Minister of National Defence “singled out possible naval encroachments from Russia and China, saying, ‘We have to be diligent.'” (34)

On January 12, 2009 the outgoing Bush White House issued National Security Presidential Directive 66, the first section of which reads:

“The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.”

The fifth point is just as stark and unequivocal:

“Freedom of the seas is a top national priority. The Northwest Passage is a strait used for international navigation, and the Northern Sea Route includes straits used for international navigation; the regime of transit passage applies to passage through those straits. Preserving the rights and duties relating to navigation and overflight in the Arctic region supports our ability to exercise these rights throughout the world, including through strategic straits.”

Ottawa was, predictably enough, mum.

On January 28-29 NATO held a euphemistically named Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in the capital of Iceland, attended by “the Secretary General of NATO, its two top military commanders and the Chairman of the Military Committee ‘as well as many other decision-makers and experts from Allied countries.'” (35)

NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s address included the reminder that “At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security….NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance.” (36)

The four states Scheffer alluded to are Canada, the United States, Denmark and Norway, frequently described at being in competition regarding Arctic claims but all subsumed under the NATO banner.

The four countries are partners in any number of projects from the NATO global Sea Sparrow naval missile system to the war in Afghanistan.

The four also share air surveillance and defense facilities in the North Atlantic, Denmark through its Greenland island possession, and Norway is already tied into the U.S. European missile shield project and according to Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart Jr., head of both the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, “We are in discussions with the MDA [Missile Defense Agency] on alternatives if the discussions in Europe do not continue,” and the FTG-05 – Ground-based Midcourse [Missile] Defense-05 – “involve[s] both operational commands, Norad and NorthCom, and ‘operationally sound execution,'” he added. (37)

NORTHCOM is the United States Northern Command and NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, run jointly by the U.S. and Canada since 1958.

This march, months after Washington proclaimed its right to use the Arctic region for missile defense and strategic sea and air systems and after NATO rallied its members in pursuit of strategic military objectives there, Russia announced plans to prepare a military force by 2020 to defend its Arctic claims.

The turn for saber-rattling passed from Canadian Defense Affairs Minister MacKay to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, who said “Let’s be perfectly clear here: Canada will not be bullied.” (38)

To quote the Canadian military at some length on this April’s Operation Nunalivut 2009, the first of three “sovereignty operations” scheduled in the Arctic this year:

“In keeping with the Canada First Defence Strategy, we are placing greater emphasis on our northern operations, including in the High Arctic. This operation underscores the value of the Canadian Rangers, our eyes and ears in the North, which at the direction of the Government are growing to 5,000 in strength.

“In addition to air and ground patrols, this operation calls on a range of supporting military capabilities-communications, intelligence, mapping, and satellite imaging.

“[T]his year’s operation will involve an exchange visit with the Commander of Greenland Command, Danish Rear-Admiral Henrik Kudsk, to discuss military collaboration in the North.

“The North represents 40 per cent of Canada’s land mass and is Canada Command’s single biggest region,” said Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Commander of Canada Command.

“‘This operation is a golden opportunity to expand our capabilities to operate in Canada’s Arctic,’ said Brigadier-General David Millar, the Commander of Joint Task Force North.” (39)

As Operation Nunalivut 2009 was underway, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a joint Arctic-Antarctic summit in Washington while Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon was also in Washington “giving a speech about Canada’s Arctic strategy amid rising tensions with Russia over its northern military ambitions.

“A Canadian research aircraft is expected to fly over 90 North this month as part of a joint Canada-Denmark mission to strengthen the countries’ claims over the potentially oil-rich Lomonosov Ridge.” (40)

The Lomonosov Ridge is named after the 18th century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, which should provide some indication even to American and Canadian government officials as to who first charted and claimed it.

A few days ago Canadian Colonel Greg MacCallum, commander of 37 Brigade Group, in claiming that “should an incident occur in the Arctic…soldiers would be available to respond,” was quoted as saying:

“Over the course of the next five years, this capability is going to build right across the country….You do that, at least in part, by being able to project military forces into that region to show a presence and to show a capability and intent to exercise ownership of it.

“[W]ith Afghanistan deployments and the Arctic announcement, reservists are being given chances to apply their talents….’That gives the local unit that extra exciting reason to exist. Basically, before you were at the base training for a war in northwest Europe and kind of going through the motions. But this is something useful, something you can reach out and grasp.'” (41)

A sentiment echoed by Canada’s opposition party: “Liberals meeting in Vancouver this month will debate a tough Arctic policy that calls on the government to ‘actively and aggressively’ enforce Canada’s sovereignty in the North, including expanding its military role.” (42)
In the months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 the cruder type of American war hawk and chauvinist reviled and condemned Canada for its perceived lack of loyalty.

These critics were rank ingrates. The U.S. – and NATO – have never had more blindly, stubbornly obedient allies than Canada’s ruling and governing elites.


(1) Canadian Press, December 7, 2008
(2) Canadian Television, January 10, 2009
(3) Canwest News Service, March 5, 2009
(4) Canwest News Service, November 23, 2008
(5) Victoria News, January 30, 2009
(6) Victoria Lookout, February 2, 2009
(7) Victoria News, January 30, 2009
(8) Xinhua News Agency, March 11, 2009
(9) Canadian Press, April 6, 2009
(10) NATO International, December 12, 2008
(11) Chronicle Herald, July 21, 2007
(12) The Chronicle Herald, January 27, 2007
(13) Military Review, November-December, 2005
(14) Ibid
(15) United States European Command, March 2, 2009
(16) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 5, 2009
(17) Ma’an News Agency (Palestine), Agencies, March 14, 2009
(18) Canwest News Service, March 1, 2008
(19) Liberal, August 18, 2008
(20) Chronicle Herald, September 22, 2008
(21) Canadian Television, August 24, 2008
(22) Reuters, October 6, 2008
(23) Georgia Ministry of Defence, November 3, 2008
(24) United States Air Forces in Europe, September 4, 2008
(25) EUobserver, February 9, 2009
(26) Canadian Press, November 1, 2006
(27) Canadian Press, August 19, 2007
(28) Financial Times, August 18, 2008
(29) Canwest News Service, August 19, 2008
(30) Reuters, August 28, 2008
(31) Canwest News Service, September 12, 2008
(32) RosBusinessConsulting, September 18, 2008
(33) Agence France-Presse, September 19, 2008
(34) Canwest News Service, December 15, 2008
(35) NATO International, January 29, 2009
(36) Ibid
(37) Aviation Week, December 17, 2008
(38) Globe and Mail, March 27, 2009
(39) Department of National Defence, Canada Command, April 2, 2009
(40) Canwest News Service, April 5, 2009
(41) Daily Gleaner, April 11, 2009
(42) Edmonton Sun, April 13, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

End of Scandinavian Neutrality: NATO’s Militarization Of Europe

August 28, 2009 2 comments

April 10, 2009

End of Scandinavian Neutrality: NATO’s Militarization Of Europe
Rick Rozoff

There was a noble if naive expectation that with the effective dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact in 1989-1990 and even more so with its formal dismantling and the breakup of the Soviet Union itself into fifteen new countries in 1991 that an era of peace in the world and demilitarization of the European continent was dawning.

The peace might not be a just one, leaving the major Western military and economic powers in charge of the planet, but peace of a sort – any sort – seemed preferable to a continued state of armed, which meant nuclear, confrontation, some thought.

Hopes and talk abounded of a global peace dividend, with hundreds of billions of dollars and pounds, marks and francs and rubles hitherto expended on the production of weapons, the maintenance of armies and the prosecution of wars to be allotted to civilian production and to basic human needs in Europe, North America and throughout the world, especially its most underdeveloped and desperately needy nations.

The past twenty years, even the very first year that began that double decade, 1989, proved that perspective wrong, tragically wrong, wrong in every particular.

With a diminished and all-but-dead Warsaw Pact and an internally weakened and infinitely compliant Soviet Union in 1989, the U.S. felt free to invade Panama in late December of that year; the German Democratic Republic was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany – and NATO – the following year; and in January of 1991 the United States, acting on the so-called Carter Doctrine, launched Operation Desert Storm, a series of devastating and deadly attacks on Iraqi forces in Kuwait and on Iraq itself, with the assistance of local client states and NATO allies Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Portugal, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway. The only NATO nations not participating were diminutive Iceland and Luxembourg.

In March of 1991, six days after the war ended, then U.S. President Bush H.W. Bush described the results of Operation Desert Storm and of the soon-to-be post-Cold War period: “Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order.”

The new global order had no room for either peace or disarmament. It never intended that either should ever prevail.

Had the unified Germany of 1990 announced its withdrawal from both NATO and the by then largely fictitious Warsaw Pact, disbanded its redundant armed forces and thereby provided a precedent and model for a genuine new international order, matters may have proceeded otherwise.

After all, the Warsaw Pact was formed six years after NATO was and then only in response to West Germany being taken into the bloc earlier in 1955 with most of the military-industrial potential inherited from a Nazi Third Reich defeated only ten years before.

But the Europe Whole And Free (1), the title of a speech delivered by Bush in the West German city of Mainz on May 31, 1989 – the catchphrase still routinely used to this day by major American officials, most recently by current president Obama in his first trip to NATO headquarters last week – envisioned in Washington and Western European capitals didn’t include a demilitarized Germany and Europe or a peaceful world.

Neither would it brook neutrality or non-alignment.

Over the past twenty years not only the former East Germany but all Warsaw Pact members outside of the Soviet Union have been taken into NATO: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999 and Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia five years later. (Albania, which left the Warsaw Pact in 1961, was brought into NATO less than a week ago.) In addition, in 2004 three former Soviet Republics – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – were incorporated and in the same year the beginning of the full integration of ex-Yugoslav republics was marked by Slovenia’s accession.

Far from the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union leading to either the abolition or shrinking of NATO, the end of both, the alleged opposition to which was for decades NATO’s raison d’être, rather unleashed the Alliance to become an expansionist and now international military power.

One which has expanded from an original twelve members to sixteen at the end of the Cold War to twenty eight as of last Saturday; one which has through collective or individual partnerships formal military arrangements with and commitments from over sixty nations, a third of the those in the world; members and partners in five of the world’s seven continents, only uninhabited Antarctica and South America so far not ensnared in the bloc’s worldwide nexus; and one which in 2005 conducted “eight simultaneous operations on four continents with the help of 20 partners in Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranean, four in the Persian Gulf, and a handful of capable contributors on our periphery.” (2)

That historically unmatched and until recently unimaginable expansion of the world’s only extant military bloc into all parts of the globe is dismissed by most commentators, both NATO supporters and detractors, who either bemoan or ridicule the bloc as a paper organization. Family members of killed and maimed Serbians, Afghans and of late Pakistanis as well as those of young men and women from scores of nations serving under NATO command in war and post-war occupation zones in three continents would disagree.

Sceptics of all stripes may view NATO’s star as dimming; Alliance policy planners see it as beginning its ascendancy to an intended zenith.

After its recent sixtieth anniversary summit, NATO is crafting an updated Strategic Concept which will elaborate on and expand a list of self-selected missions – and potential casus belli – mentioned over the past several years by its secretary general and others. The list includes enough issues to allow the bloc to intervene anywhere on the Earth for any number of often unrelated and even mutually exclusive purposes. It includes but is by no means limited to: Protecting national sovereignty if it suits NATO’s objectives in a given region and overriding and trampling upon the same at its whim in the name of human rights or other subterfuges; guaranteeing energy security as it chooses to define it, again ad hoc and in service to broader geopolitical designs; cyber security and protecting against computer system sabotage, which as it pertains to the World Wide Web is correspondingly global and even ethereal in nature, sufficiently nebulous and elastic to be invoked wherever and whenever convenient; natural disasters, crisis management and relief efforts, which can provide valuable reconnaissance opportunities as with Pakistan in 2005-2006; guarding the world’s sea and shipping lanes and escorting, intercepting, boarding and seizing vessels and their cargoes at will as has been done throughout the Mediterranean Sea since 2001 and off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden since last autumn, with the west coast of Africa the next likely area of operations; addressing the effects of climate change, especially in the Arctic Circle as an oil and gas bonanza presents itself and Russia must be kept out of the scramble; the eternal war against terrorism, contraband uranium (so-called loose nukes) and nuclear espionage, piracy, poaching, illegal immigration and human trafficking, drug cultivation and running, the smuggling of goods and weapons, resource conflicts and urban unrest occasioned by the world economic crisis; most anything can and will provide NATO with grist for its expansionist and interventionist mill.
During the forty-five years of the Cold War few European states were not members of either of Europe’s two blocs. The small handful of exceptions were Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia on the continent, Malta and Cyprus in the Mediterranean.

On April 4th Croatia followed Slovenia in gaining full NATO membership and the other four former Yugoslav federal republics – Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – are members of the Partnership for Peace apprenticeship program and the first two have troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan. Kosovo, which ex-Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica last year referred to as “the first NATO state,” has since June of 1999 been the Alliance’s prototype consummate colony.

Regarding Malta, “NATO is an inescapable military locked vault; a nation never exits once it’s entered. Since NATO was formed 60 years ago no member has ever left. Of the 23 members of NATO’s transition Partnership for Peace program (ten former members of the latter have joined NATO and two more have been invited), only Malta left, in 1996, but was brought back in several months ago.” [Boris Yeltin’s Russia was a member until 1999, when it pulled out in protest against NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia.] (3)

Cyprus is the only European nation [smaller states like Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino are excluded for present purposes] never to have been in NATO or its Partnership for Peace program and is currently, along with Russia (more in Asia than Europe), not affiliated with either. Last week pro-Western members of the Cypriot parliament secured a majority vote to demand inclusion in the Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Austria and Switzerland are members of the Partnership for Peace, are included in the NATO air surveillance system and have sent small deployments of security personnel to serve with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Europe’s most-celebrated neutrals, however, are Finland and Sweden, particularly the latter. Over the past fifteen or so months pressure has been exerted both inside and outside the two nations to fully integrate them into NATO, the campaign advancing at a breathtaking pace.

Of the eight European countries that have borders with Russia, both its main body and the Kaliningrad exclave, five are now in NATO – Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with Poland joining ten years ago and the three Baltic states five years later.

Of the remaining three, Ukraine is on a fast track to full integration, having received a specially crafted Annual National Program substitute for the traditional Membership Action Plan, the penultimate phase of full NATO membership.

Belarus, Russia’s closest ally in most every respect – geographically, culturally, historically – is being weaned from the long-standing project of a Union State with Russia through the mechanism of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program. The Eastern Partnership was launched by Sweden and Poland. Likely to follow will be an upgrading of its Partnership for Peace status and the threat of abrogating joint air surveillance and defense systems, leaving the entire western flank of Russia vulnerable to the buildup of NATO military infrastructure and with no buffer against air and missile strikes.

The full integration of Finland and Sweden poses an analogous and in some ways even greater threat to a Russia that is being increasing surrounded by a Western military cordon sanitaire, with U.S. and NATO air, naval, surveillance, missile and infantry deployments increasing from the Barents to the Baltic to the Black Seas.

Russia and Finland share a 1,200 kilometer border and Finland is located on or near three northern seas – the Baltic, Barents and Norwegian – which currently host permanent NATO air patrols, the European Union (NATO-linked) Nordic Battlegroups and other new and expanding military formations that face Russia to the east and the new global battleground at the top of the world, the Arctic, to the north.

For background information see:

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic (4)
Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict (5)

In the autumn of 2007 Finnish Defense Minister Jyri Hakamies was in Washington where he stated that Finland’s biggest security challenge was threefold, “Russia, Russia, and Russia! And not only for Finland, but for all of us.” (6)

A year before, the chief of the Russian armed forces general staff at the time, General Yuri Baluyevsky, was in the Finnish capital and warned his hosts of the perils of NATO membership as regards relations with their eastern neighbor and also in two other respects: That, like Poland, Finland ran the risk of losing several prerogatives of national sovereignty like the determination of its foreign policy and military commitments and like the three Baltic states could be transformed into a “gray area” outside of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty where Western armaments, conventional and perhaps otherwise, could be deployed without notification provided and inspection rights granted to Russia.

Finland and Sweden, both PfP members with troops in Afghanistan, are being herded into NATO directly and through such mechanisms as the Nordic Council, a proposed Nordic Defence Alliance, European Union Nordic Battlegroups and through the increased merging of NATO and EU military roles.

To illustrate the degree to which European bodies have become – generally surreptitiously – integrated with and effectively subservient to NATO two reports, one from earlier this year and one a year before, provide stark testimony:

In January of this year the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee recommended strengthening cooperation with NATO and issued a document the conclusion of which was that “the European Parliament considers that future collective defense of the European Union can be realized within cooperation with NATO” and “Despite the fact that some of the EU countries like Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden are not involved in NATO, the European parliament considers that all EU countries should attend the EU-NATO meetings.” (7)

In January of the preceding year the general secretary of the Nordic Council – a post-World War II cooperation group consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – Jan-Erik Enestam, wrote an opinion piece in a Finnish newspaper which included his view that “NATO is the only important international organisation of which Finland is not a member. It would seem as if the time is now ripe for membership. Meanwhile it would be sensible to enter into closer defence co-operation with Sweden and Norway. Norway is after all a NATO country.” (8)

From that time, a year ago January, an unbroken succession of statements – and actions to match them – has issued from the mouths and pens of major Finnish and Swedish government and party officials and has been supported by NATO functionaries and American government officials.

Proceeding chronologically, the following is an examination based on press accounts of how rapidly and inexorably NATO is completing its domination of European military and foreign policy, leaving no former neutral outside its grasp.

The catalogue is lengthy and should prove edifying to persons who can still with a straight face place the acronym NATO and the word defense in the same sentence – in any context past, present or to come.

The end of military neutrality on the Scandinavian peninsula is of major world political and historical significance in its own regard, but is even more important by what it illustrates. The NATO integration of Finland and Sweden is a final detail in a grand landscape whose composite view is of every European nation – large and small, west and east, continental and insular – incorporated into and subordinated to a globally expanding military bloc controlled by a power in another hemisphere. A project exceeding by orders of magnitude the efforts of Napoleon and Hitler to achieve a comparable objective in the last two centuries.

In March of 2008, related to Finland supplying troops for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s Central Command acknowledged supplying regular military intelligence to its Finnish allies and a weekly “summary on the military situation within the areas of responsibility of the United States Central Command” which included “data regarding the war in Iraq, the Iran crisis, the situation in Sudan, and the piracy off the Somali coast.” (9)

The same report added “While Finland has been fine-tuning its degree of closeness to the NATO Response Force (NRF), cooperation between the Finnish and the United States armed forces has continued closely already for quite some time.”

Days later the Finnish parliament voted to contribute troops to the NATO Response Force.

In the same month Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced at a European Union meeting in Brussels that he “expected Swedish troops to join the rapid reaction force as another step in increasing cooperation with NATO” after “neighboring Finland definitely decided to participate.” (10)

Bildt’s colleague, Swedish Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors, the month before claimed that “Membership in NATO is a ‘natural’ step for Sweden….” (11)

In January of 2008 Finnish Defense Chief Admiral Juhani Kaskeala expressed intent to join NATO’s Early Warning Air Surveillance System (EWASS), reminding his listeners that “non-NATO members Austria and Switzerland are included in the NATO air surveillance system.” (12)

And as “Finland, Sweden and Norway are at present looking at the establishment of joint air surveillance…if these three Nordic countries decide to team up in this field, Sweden and Finland would have to take part in the NATO air surveillance system….” (13)

In February U.S. First Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Kurt Volker, now American ambassador to NATO, was in Scandinavia securing Finnish and Swedish troop commitments for Afghanistan and for NATO’s Response Force, an unorthodox task for a representative of the American diplomatic corps.

A local news source reported that “The tense situations in both Afghanistan and Kosovo were on the agenda during the half-hour discussion.” (14)

At the same time NATO was conducting an ordnance exercise off the coast of Northern Norway with the participation of forces from ten countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Estonia and Turkey.

Not to be left out, in the same month Finland hosted a staff officer course for NATO personnel organized by the international center of the Finnish Defence Forces. “The course involves planning and management of peacekeeping operations. Taking part will be officers from NATO countries as well as non-members who are part of the Partnership for Peace.”

The training was “the first time that a course of the NATO School in the German city of Oberammergau is held in a different location” and “there has also been talk of holding more NATO training courses in Finland.” (15)

Public opposition to NATO membership remained high in both Finland and Sweden and a major propaganda blitz was launched in the press of both nations which has intensified in the interim, enough to have some effect in recent polls.

In April Finnish troops joined a NATO CMX08 exercise “designed to practice crisis management procedures, including planning and consultations between NATO and its partner nations as well as cooperation on a national level….” (16)

The following month Finnish Defense Minister Jyri Hakamies, speaking at the Atlantic Council of Finland, said “With Denmark, Norway and Iceland already serving as NATO members…the joining of Finland and Sweden would make the Nordic bloc an influential force within the military alliance” and to make the plan more transparent added “NATO membership would further the Nordics’ position in the face of Russia’s growing power.” (17)

Hakamies was also quoted in a news dispatch called “Finland’s defence minister calls for Finland, Sweden to join NATO”, as saying that “a group of skilled and active Nordic countries would be seen as a positive thing in NATO. With a combined population of 24 million, the bloc of Nordic countries would not be a complete lightweight in decision making either.” (18)

May was a busy month for Hakamies, but not so busy that he couldn’t find the time to co-author with Swedish Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors an article for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter endorsing joining NATO air surveillance operations. “The defence ministers added that the Barents Region [shared by northern Scandinavia and Russia] has become an increasingly influential location, due to the discovery of oil.” (19)

In June Finland, which had “recently increased cooperation with the alliance and now also has soldiers in military operations under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan,” hosted 1,000 troops from 25 NATO and partnership countries in a disaster exercise that was “largest international exercise held in Finland.” (20)

At the beginning of the month the U.S. Carrier Strike Group 12 led the annual BALTOPS (Baltic Operations), the largest international exercise organized in the Baltic region “including ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground force elements from NATO and PFP nations, including Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Latvia; Lithuania; Norway; Poland; Russia; Sweden; the United Kingdom and the United States.” (21)

Before June had ended the new Finnish foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Brussels – “the first such meeting in six years” – where the two “discussed NATO’s operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Finland will take the lead in NATO’s combat division of the Kosovo Force, the KFOR, in August. By then the number of Finnish peacekeepers in the force will rise to 500.”

Stubb “emerged from [the] meeting…calling for more regular contact with the alliance” and said that “biannual meetings between Finland and NATO would be pencilled in from now on.” (22)

In July Swedish defense chief Sten Tolgfors repeated the message in his jointly written article of two months earlier and “suggested sharing airbases with Norway” and argued “that NATO is a natural source of Swedish security.”

“The Nordic countries cannot by themselves generate sufficient political and military weight.” (23)

Early in the following month the Pentagon announced that it had established its first-ever defense cooperation office in Finland, “part of a defense equipment cooperation deal between the defense ministries of the two nations.” (24)

Weeks later Sweden’s Liberal Party called for the country to join NATO and to boost its troop contingent in Afghanistan from 350 to 500 soldiers, its defense policy spokesperson Allan Widman saying “Sweden ought to send more soldiers to Afghanistan, participate in NATO’s rapid reaction force, as well as join the military alliance’s air patrols over the Baltic region” and that the recently concluded war in the Caucasus “makes Swedish NATO membership all the more important.” (25)

Sweden, of course is nowhere near the Caucasus and has no border with Russia.

In September ex-President Martti Ahtisaari asseverated, “There aren’t very many of these oddities – countries that say that they belong to the Western democracies, but which are not part of all of the organisations. I think that this also applies to Sweden. I see no reason why we could not join NATO: Norway is already there, and so are Denmark and Iceland”. (26)

He would take up the refrain again in stating “Finland should join NATO because it is the optimal channel through which to streamline peacekeeping efforts….I don’t want Finland to be the odd one out when most other states are already members.” (27)

Ahtisaari had the day before been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which says far more about the Norwegian Nobel Committee than about him, prompting outrage from those who had suffered directly at his hands. “The news sparked intense debate on the website of Serbia’s national broadcaster RTS. [Serb Radio and Television, which was bombed by NATO in 1999 with sixteen of its employees killed.] Some of the readers wondered why the prize should be given to a man who had ‘helped destroy the great state of Yugoslavia.'” (28)

Though no longer a government official, Ahtisaari’s assertions reflected more than his personal conviction. The pace of his nation’s drive toward full NATO integration was accelerating daily to the extent that it was noticed in Brussels: “Finland [which] has a 1,200 km long border with Russia…inched closer to NATO in March when it announced its intention to join future operations of the alliance’s rapid reaction force. It has developed technical capacities alongside NATO for several years and would be ready to join quickly if the decision was made.” (29)

With more international NATO and joint NATO-EU missions in mind, in September of 2008 Finland announced that it “would contribute half a million euros this year to a fund established under the auspices of NATO to help train helicopter aircrew and maintain and modernise aircraft in EU countries.” (30)

Weeks later an article appeared reporting that Sweden was testing its Gripen jet fighters in NATO exercises where they gathered “valuable experience from training alongside a variety of NATO types, and proving the domestic design’s potential as an expeditionary asset” and that “the Swedish air force has…embarked on international training deployments over the past few years, including with Lockheed Martin F-16-equipped neighbour Norway, and two major exercises in the USA.” (31)

In late October the Finnish government drew up “a draft security policy that for the first time presents NATO membership in a positive light. This is a departure from the strictly neutral view usually espoused by official government documents.” (32)

In the middle of the same month a German-run NATO multinational naval exercise, Northern Coast, was held off the shores of Denmark with the participation of vessels from Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, The
Netherlands and the Baltics states.

To demonstrate the purpose of the expansion of NATO naval presence and operations in the arc that takes in the North, Norwegian, Barents and Baltic seas and the Arctic Ocean, an article in The Economist titled “The Arctic contest heats up” reported “Norway is quietly boosting defence co-operation with Sweden and Finland. And it hopes to ‘NATO-ise’ a big land, sea and air military exercise next spring, named Response. Just what that is responding to is left tactfully unclear.” (33)

The pro-NATO Atlantic Community website at the time shared with the Euro-Atlantic initiated that “A Rand Corporation study of 2002 concluded that ‘for the United States and its allies, the greatest anti-access in-theater vulnerability is concentrated in the area of the Baltic Sea….’

“In order for any NATO contingency to succeed, the Baltic Sea must be controlled by strong NATO navies and air forces. Otherwise, the collective defense clause may be impossible to implement.” (34)

In the same month Finland and Sweden became the only non-NATO states to enter a joint arrangement with ten Alliance members to jointly purchase and operate three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift carriers.

NATO opened a base in Hungary in October of last year, staffed by U.S. military personnel, to support airlift operations for war zone and other deployments outside of Europe under the rubric of the Strategic Airlift Capability Partnership designed to “increase NATO’s ability to transport large numbers of troops and supplies to far-flung places, such as Afghanistan.”

The project includes twelve partners: “The U.S., Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and two non-NATO countries — Sweden and Finland.” (35)

Last November, Pekka Visuri, a political scientist at the Finnish National Defence College, warned that Finland’s joining NATO might unsettle the security of northern Europe and that “an increase in military power through an alliance with a distant superpower might undermine the region’s stability.” (36)

In a report commissioned by the Finnish foreign ministry itself, Legal Implications of NATO Membership, reservations were voiced that “Finland would commit itself to receiving and sending forces as well as to the advance planning for such situations” and “Accepting such a mechanism of mutual defence cannot be considered irrelevant for sovereignty.” (37)

Around the same time 44 prominent Swedish political and cultural figures signed their names to an appeal in the daily Svenska Dagbladet warning against the concerted and essentially covert drive to drag Sweden into NATO with the admonition that “Behind the people’s back, there has been a hidden adaptation to NATO. The process has now gone so far so NATO that supporters can say that Sweden is already a member ninety percent….so we can as well take the last step to full membership.” (38)

The above remonstrations were of no avail though, as the foreign and defense ministries of both countries had been so thoroughly infiltrated and subverted by NATO that in the period between the last two reports Swedish “Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors says that Sweden is ready to defend its Nordic neighbours and fellow EU members against any attack.

“Last week the Nordic and Scandinavian countries – Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland – signed a treaty on increased defence cooperation.

“Pointing to Russian patrols in the North the minister says that the Arctic region has a new strategic significance.” (39)

The news report from which the above is extracted added that “Sweden is now effectively linked to NATO, through military cooperation with Norway, as well as participating in the European Union’s military” and “This is in stark contrast to Sweden’s defence policy during the last 200 years, and especially during the Cold War, which was to avoid committing to any military alliances.”

Also in November the annual Viking multinational military exercise was held in Latvia, one described in the local press as “a Swedish-U.S. initiative with the purpose to bring together NATO and Partnership for Peace member countries.” (40)

Further consolidating the Scandinavia-Baltic NATO bond, in December it was reported that “The Baltic states are interested in entering into talks with Nordic nations about the basis for a regional defense strategy under the so-called Nordic-Baltic 8 format” and that “Baltic governments are working on a common air-defense solution with NATO. (41)

Last year ended with Sweden abandoning two centuries of military neutrality and both that nation and its neighbor Finland heading toward complete and irrevocable integration into NATO’s transcontinental and global military structure.

The new year has only intensified the process.

In early January Finland pledged to double its troop commitment to NATO for the Afghan war. It also announced that it was scrapping Russian air defense missiles, although only purchased a decade earlier, in favor of American counterparts to insure NATO interoperability. According to one report “Russian iron needs to be replaced by NATO iron.” (42)

A later account of the same decision said “Finland’s Ministry of Defence is looking at ways to upgrade its existing missile defence system, from the present arsenal of Russian Gadflies (now about halfway into its
expected life cycle) to something more compatible with NATO systems.

“Whether the move is designed to appease NATO allies or to distance Russian hardware from Finland’s defences can only be speculated.” (43)

Finnish Under Secretary of State Markus Lyra met with NATO Assistant Secretary General Martin Erdmann in Helsinki in early February and detailed the steady advance of his once non-aligned nation into NATO’s ranks: “Finland is developing and deepening its partnership with NATO.

“For instance, we have regularly increased our contribution to voluntary trust funds and Finland has five experts in the NATO Secretariat.” (44)

Lyra in speaking as he did confirmed the results of Finland’s latest annual Security and Defense Policy Report which were summarized by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen:

“NATO’s objectives, tasks and obligations correspond with the foreign and security policy goals of Finland and the European Union. There is and will continue to be a strong case to consider Finland’s membership of NATO in the future. Finland regards NATO as the most important military security cooperation organization.” (45)

Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, who earlier played a role as perfidious as his compatriot Ahtisaari in regards to Serbia and Kosovo, viewed the report as offering “strong arguments” in favor of NATO membership and actually provided a timeline for NATO membership: 2011, two years from now.

As with the Eastern European nations absorbed into NATO over the past ten years and the remaining Partnership for Peace states not yet elevated to full membership status, the testing ground for new subordination to NATO is the battlefield of Afghanistan. On February American State Department Official Patrick Moon was in Helsinki to both applaud Finland for its vow to double its troops in Afghanistan and presumably to pressure it for more. “Finland is making a very significant contribution to our efforts in Afghanistan. We certainly welcome a decision by Finland to deploy additional troops….” (46)

A little earlier Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan. An Associated Press report on the trip stated: “The Swedish contingent serves under NATO command as part of the International Security Assistance Force. Sweden decided in November to boost its size from 390 to 500 troops….” (47)

Though the U.S.’s and NATO’s expanding war in South Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is not the only touchstone for aspirants to NATO membership. In the middle of March NATO conducted a 7,000-troop war game, Cold Response, off northern Norway, one which simulated a military intervention by Alliance forces to confront an invasion by a fictitious Northland against Midland in a scenario whose description suggests that Midland may be either Estonia or Latvia and Northland is of course Russia. The NATO nations participating in the exercises included the U.S., France, Germany and Spain and two non-NATO members joined them: Finland and Sweden.

In early February Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg advocated that “The Nordic governments should issue a mutual declaration of solidarity in which they commit themselves to clarifying how they would respond if a Nordic country were subject to external attack or undue pressure.”

More than the temperature is heating up at the top of the world and NATO is recruiting Scandinavia’s former neutrals Finland and Sweden to be at the very center of it.

(1) Europe Whole And Free
(2) Quote from then State Department First Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, now US ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker
U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
(3) Stop NATO, January 8, 2009
(4) Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
(5) Stop NATO, February 27, 2009
(6) Bits of News, October 9, 2007
(7) As reported by Azeri Press Agency, January 23, 2009
(8) Nordic Council (Denmark), January 9, 2008
(9) Helsingin Sanomat, March 19, 2008
(10) Swedish Radio, March 11, 2008
(11) The Local (Sweden), February 16, 2008
(12) Defense News (US), January 24, 2008
(13) YLE News (Finland), January 21, 2008
(14) YLE News, February 14, 2008
(15) YLE News, February 22, 2008
(16) Xinhua News Agency, April 10, 2008
(17) YLE News, May 6, 2008
(18) NewsRoom Finland, May 6, 2008
(19) YLE News, May 26, 2008
(20) Associated Press, June 1, 2008
(21) United States European Command, June 3, 2008
(22) YLE News, June 27, 2008
(23) The Economist, July 3, 2008
(24) Xinhua News Agency, August 4, 2008
(25) The Local, August 28, 2008
(26) Helsingin Sanomat, September 10, 2008
(27) YLE News, October 11, 2008
(28) Helsingin Sanomat, October 13, 2008
(29) EUobserver, September 18, 2008
(30) NewsRoom Finland, September 19, 2008
(31) Flight Global, October 7, 2008
(32) YLE News, October 22, 2008
(33) The Economist, October 9, 2008
(34) Atlantic Community: Today’s Atlantic Agenda is Global, October 23, 2008
(35) Stars and Stripes, October 4, 2008
(36) NewsRoom Finland, November 3, 2008
(37) NewsRoom Finland, November 10, 2008
(38) Stockholm News, December 1, 2008
(39) Radio Sweden, November 20, 2008
(40) Baltic Course (Latvia), November 3, 2008
(41) Defense News, December 3, 2008
(42) Helsingin Sanomat, January 16, 2009
(43) Ice News (Iceland), February 2, 2009
(44) Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, February 5, 2009
(45) Defense News, January 29, 2009
(46) YLE News, February 13, 2009
(47) Associated Press, January 19, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In U.S.-NATO War Plans

August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

April 7, 2009

Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In U.S.-NATO War Plans
Rick Rozoff

The South Caucasus is rapidly becoming a critical strategic crossroads in 21st century geopolitics, encompassing the most ambitious energy transit projects in history and the consolidation of a military corridor reaching from Western Europe to East Asia, one whose command centers are in Washington and Brussels.

The culmination of eighteen years of post-Cold War Western designs is on the near horizon as oil and gas are intended to be moved from the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea to Central Europe and beyond and U.S. and NATO troops and equipment are scheduled to be deployed from Europe and the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Nothing less is at stake than control of world energy resources and their transportation routes on one hand and the establishment of a global army under NATO auspices fanning out in South and Central Asia and ultimately Eurasia as a whole on the other.

The three nations of the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – are increasingly becoming the pivot upon which that strategy turns. With the Black Sea and the Balkans to its west, Russia to its north, Iran and the Arab world to the south and southeast and the Caspian Sea and Central Asia to the east, the South Caucasus is uniquely situated to become the nucleus of an international geostrategic campaign by the major Western powers to achieve domination of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa and as such the world.

The overarching plan for the employment and exploitation of this region for the aforementioned purposes is and has long been an American one, but it also takes in the U.S.’s European allies and in addition to unilateral and bilateral initiatives by Washington includes a critically vital NATO component.

With the nearly simultaneous breakup of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991 – one a cataclysmic and instantaneous and the other a prolonged process – prospects were renewed for the West to engage in a modern, expanded version of the Great Game for control of Central and South Asia and for that vast stretch of land that was formerly the socialist world excluding Far East Asia.

Since 1991 a 20th and now 21st century Silk Road has been opened up to the West, one beginning at the northeast corner of Italy and ranging to the northwest border of China and taking in at least seventeen new political entities, some little more than diminutive mono-ethnic statelets sovereign in name only. They are the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia and the international no man’s land of Kosovo in the Balkans; Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus; and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, with Moldova and Ukraine representing the northern wing of this vast redrawing of historical borders and redefining of geopolitical space.

As previously noted, the South Caucasus lies at the very center of this new configuration. As in the days of empire, both ancient and modern, armies seeking plunder and states replenishing their treasuries with it must now pass through this region.

Pass through it, that is, if their intent is a hostile, confrontational and exclusionary one, a policy of containing Russia and Iran and effectively blockading both in their respective and shared neighborhoods, for example the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia.

On the energy front American, British, French, Norwegian and other Western nations, sometimes individually but most always as consortia, are the prime movers; on the military one the task has been assigned to NATO.

Of the seventeen new nations listed above, all except for the aborted Kosovo entity, aptly described by a leading Serbian political figure as a NATO pseudo-state, have Partnership for Peace and in many cases Individual Partnership Action Programs with NATO, and two former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia and as of three days ago Croatia, are now full Alliance members.

Of the seventeen only Serbia, Kosovo (so far), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have not been dragooned into providing troops for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The way stations on NATO’s 21st century caravan route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chinese frontier progressively reveal the pathetic – and tragic – status of what awaits much of the world in this not so grand plan. The West’s two latest mini-states, Montenegro which became the latest member of the United Nations in 2006 and Kosovo which was torn from Serbia a little more than a year ago, are both underworld enclaves, gangland smugglers’ coves carved out of broader states, Yugoslavia and Serbia, for the sole purpose of serving as military and black market transit points.

NATO’s latest additions, Albania and Croatia, belie in every particular NATO’s and the United States’ claims of the Alliance epitomizing alleged Euro-Atlantic values and a new international “union of democracies.” Croatia, still beset by fascist nostalgia and risorgimento, is guilty of the worst permanent ethnic cleansing in post-World War II Europe, that of the U.S.-directed Operation Storm of 1995 which drove hundreds of thousands of Serbs and other ethnic minorities out of the country. Albania is another crime-ridden failed state which played a key role in assisting the second worst irreversible ethnic cleansing in modern Europe, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Roma, Gorans, Turks and other non-Albanians from Kosovo since June of 1999. (At the recently concluded NATO 60th anniversary summit Croatian President Stjepan Mesic boasted that his nation would contribute to NATO operations with its “war experience.”)

After the U.S. and NATO brought what they triumphantly designate as peace and stability to the former Yugoslavia, they moved the battleground eastward toward the Black Sea and the Caucasus. Bulgaria and Romania were ushered into NATO in 2004 and Ukraine and Georgia were placed on the fast track to follow them.

With Turkey already a long-standing member of the Alliance, Russia is the only non-NATO and non-NATO candidate nation on the Black Sea.

Georgia is the major objective in this drive east as its western flank is the Black Sea and its eastern is Azerbaijan, whose eastern border is the Caspian Sea.

The South Caucasus is the land route from Europe to Asia in the east and to Iran and its neighbors – Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan – to the south.

It is at the center of a strategy that alone ties together the three major wars of the past decade – Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) – and that aims at preventing regional economic, security and infrastructural development cooperation between Russia, Iran, China, India and Turkey in the same Balkans-to-Asia Silk Road area.

As it was insightfully described by a Pakistani analyst recently, the current century is witnessing the final act in a drama that could be called the West versus the rest. The South Caucasus is the linchpin and the battleground of this geopolitical and historical denouement.

Yesterday the American warship USS Klakring, docked in the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi (capital of Ajaria, subjugated in 2004 by the U.S.-formed new Georgian army), welcomed aboard former U.S.-based President Mikheil Saakashvili to give him “a chance to visit with the crew and discuss the importance of a strong United States-Georgia relationship.”

The Klakring was “hosting visits and participating in theater security cooperation activities which develop both nations’ abilities to operate against common threats….” (1)

What “common threat” was meant is not hard to discern. Its capital is Moscow.

The Georgian Defense Minister appointed to that role after last August’s war with Russia, David Sikharulidze, said on the occasion that the arrival of the American warship – fresh from taunting Russia with a visit to Sevastopol where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based – represented “a guarantee for stability in the NATO space.” (2)

Sikharulidze let a cat out of a bag that the Pentagon and the White House would have preferred remain there. The two latter hide their military expansion into the Black Sea and the Caucasus under the masks of “guaranteeing maritime security” and “protecting a new democracy from its hostile northern neighbor,” but in fact Georgia is NATO’s beachhead and bridge for penetration of a tri-continental expanse of territory the West has set its sights on.

The Georgian Defense Minister was well-groomed for his current role. Prior to being appointed to his post last December Sikharulidze attended advance courses at the U.S. Navy’s Justice School, the NATO SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) School at Oberammergau and the NATO Defense College.

In a news column he wrote for a Georgian newspaper in early March Sikharulidze asserted “We will develop well-equipped, properly trained and rapidly deployable forces to defend Georgia and to meet our international obligations. Our capabilities and tactics will be designed to meet a considerably superior force.”

The considerably superior force in question doesn’t need to be named.

Regarding assisting Georgia in preparing for a – larger, more decisive – showdown with Russia, he added that “To enhance this effort, we look forward to the arrival of an expert team from NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.”

Just as importantly, he said that “as NATO seeks alternative routes to Afghanistan, we understand our strategic responsibility as gateway to the East-West corridor. Georgia will provide logistical support to NATO, opening its territory, ports, airfields, roads and railroads to the alliance.”(3)

Georgia’s appointed role in providing the U.S. and NATO with land, sea and air routes for the dangerously expanding war in South Asia will be taken up in more detail later. As to its defense minister’s allusion to NATO’s Norfolk, Virginia-based Allied Command Transformation (ACT) being tasked to assist the Pentagon in preparing the nation’s armed forces for a confrontation with a “considerably superior force,” on the very day Sikharulidze’s article appeared, the Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation for NATO, Gen. James Mattis, met with him and his commander-in-chief Saakashvili to plot “prospects for Georgia’s stronger cooperation with NATO” shortly after the release of a “document entitled The Defence Minister’s Vision 2009 that was made public on February 17 [and which stated that] one of the defence ministry’s priorities is to ‘adjust the Georgian armed forces with NATO standards.'”(4)

The day before the release of the Defence Minister’s Vision 2009, the Georgian defense chief welcomed the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simmons to “discuss” it. Whether Simmons bothered to have the document translated into Georgian beforehand was not mentioned.

Simmons also briefed Sikharulidze on the Annual National Program NATO had bestowed on Georgia on December 2, 2009 (a parallel arrangement was made with Ukraine), less than three months after Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia and war with Russia and following the launching of the NATO-Georgia Commission on September 15, barely a month after the war ended. (Washington signed a U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership on January 9, 2009.)

The same month, February of this year, the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces announced that it was “conducting a formal process to derive Lessons Learned from the August 2008 war,” which would confirm that “one of the main priorities of Georgia’s foreign and security policy is integration into NATO….From this standpoint, improving NATO interoperability and compatibility with a view to developing NATO-standard deployable forces is an important GAF priority” and that “A team from NATO’s Allied Command Transformation will advise on this effort,” as it later did.(5)

On March 30, the day before the USS Klakring arrived in Georgia, so did the Pentagon’s second major commander, General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He met with President Saakashvili and Defense Minister Davit Sikharulidze and inspected the “town of Gori, according to the Georgian MoD [Ministry of Defence], and visit[ed] the Gori-based first infantry brigade and the first artillery brigade.”(6)

Gori was occupied by Russian forces at the end of last August’s war and Cartwright’s tour of inspection was a blunt message to Moscow. And to Saakashvili and his defense minister. One of confrontation with the first and uncritical support to the other.

During Cartwright’s visit Saakashvili reminded him – and Russia and the world – that “Recently, I have met with General Petraeus [Commander of U.S. Central Command] who also spoke highly of the Georgian army’s prospects….Earlier, we trained our army for police and peacekeeping operations and not for large-scale military actions.”(7)

What the Georgian strongman was alluding to was that Washington was transitioning its American-made army from war and occupation zone training in NATO interoperability to preparations for “homeland defense” aimed at Russia.

During the meeting with the Pentagon’s number two commander he reminded listeners and readers that “Since 2001, Georgia [has performed] peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. However, in August last year during the Russian aggression there were withdrawn the last 2,000 Georgian soldiers from Iraq.

“Earlier, Georgia declared its readiness to send 300 soldiers to Afghanistan.”(8)

And: “Earlier we were preparing the army for police peacekeeping operations, but not for large-scale military action,” Saakashvili stressed, expressing confidence that the Georgian army “will continue to grow both quantitatively and qualitatively and will be equipped with all necessary weapons.”(9)

At the time of Georgia’s attempt on August 7, 2008 to advance its armored columns to the Roki Tunnel which connects South Ossetia to the Russian Republic of North Ossetia, thereby blocking off Russian reinforcements and capturing some 1,000 Russian peacekeepers – a humiliation for Russia in the eyes of the world had it succeeded – the U.S. flew the 2,000 Georgian troops in Iraq (near the Iranian border, the third largest foreign contingent) on American military transport planes back to Georgia, a move that were the situation reversed, say in a hypothetical conflict between the United States and Mexico, would have been treated as an act of war by Washington.

That airlift began the process of shifting battle-ready Georgian troops from supporting U.S. and NATO operations abroad to what six years of the American Train and Equip Program and comparable NATO assistance had intended them for: War with Russia.

“Cartwright said that the United States will train the Georgian armed forces, with the main focus of the training being ‘the defence of Georgia.'”(10)

What the “defense of Georgia” entailed was spelled out by Saakashvili, while Cartwright nodded approbation:

“Our struggle continues and it will end after the complete de-occupation of Georgia’s territory and expelling the last soldier of the enemy from our country. I am absolutely sure of that.”(11)

Cartwright added, “I want to say that you have a very good army and we know what they have done.

“We are glad that we will continue to cooperate with them in the future as well. Our strategic partnership is very important.”

He also “highlighted that after the August war it became easier to understand the Georgian armed forces’ training priorities and what new types of equipment were needed for defending the homeland.”(12)

The point wasn’t, could not be, missed in Moscow and “Russia sent a strong warning to the United States Thursday [April 2] about supporting Georgia in the U.S. ally’s efforts to rebuild its military following last year’s war.

“The Foreign Ministry said helping arm Georgia would be ‘extremely dangerous’ and would amount to ‘nothing but the encouragement of the aggressor.'”(13)

A Russian news source reported that “Turkey provided the Georgian Army, Air Force and Special Forces with unspecified military equipment, shortly after Georgia was visited by a high-ranking US General on Monday” in addition to having previously provided “60 armoured troop-carriers, 2 helicopters, firearms with ammunition, telecommunication and navigation systems and military vehicles worth $730,000,” and that “more armour, Pakistan-manufactured missiles, speedboats and other ammunition is planned for delivery in the near future.”(14)

Days later at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg the Alliance complemented the Pentagon’s enhanced support of Georgia.

NATO reiterated its intention to absorb Georgia – and Ukraine – “when the countries fall in line with the alliance’s standards.” (15)

Among the bloc’s standards are two preconditions for full membership worth recalling: The absence of territorial conflicts and of foreign (non-NATO) military forces in candidate countries. Abkhazia and South qualify doubly as “problems that must be resolved” as does the Crimea in general and the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in particular with the Ukraine.

Hence Saakashvili, flanked and coached by the Pentagon’s second-in-command, fulminating about the “complete de-occupation of Georgia’s territory and expelling the last soldier of the enemy from our country.”

In line with this plan, the Strasbourg summit issued a statement that “NATO will continue supporting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the South Caucasus countries and Moldova,” and “NATO declares its deep concerns over the unsettled conflicts in the South Caucasus countries [Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh] and Moldova [Transdniester].” (16)

NATO Spokesman James Appathurai, in issuing the mind-boggling declaration that the Alliance wouldn’t tolerate “spheres of influence” in post-Soviet space, stated: “We consider that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are integral part of Georgia. The issue of territorial integrity is a very serious problem. NATO always supports the territorial integrity of countries.” (As to the last sentence, see references to Kosovo and Montenegro above.) (17)

Georgia returned the favor by vowing to turn the Sachkhere Mountain Training School into a Partnership for Peace [NATO] Training Center and by hosting the annual NATO South Caucasus Cooperative Longbow/Cooperative Lancer exercises beginning on May 3 with troops from twenty-three nations.

The importance of Georgia, and of its neighbor Azerbaijan, is assuming heightened, indeed urgent, value for two not unrelated reasons: The activation of trans-Eurasian energy projects intended to knock Russia out of oil and natural gas sales and transit to Europe and the escalation of the war in South Asia.

At the 60th anniversary NATO summit, within the general framework of Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s demand that “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, now more than ever, must hold together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems,” was a renewed pledge to “protect Europe’s energy security.”

The main focus of the summit, however, was to formalize plans for the large-scale escalation of the war in Afghanistan and now in neighboring Pakistan.

Plans for unprecedented Western-dominated oil and gas pipelines from the eastern end of the Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus and the Black Sea north to the Baltic Sea and further on to all of Europe – and for the hub of that nexus, Turkey and the South Caucasus, to connect with more pipelines emanating from the Middle East, North Africa and eventually the Gulf of Guinea – have been addressed in some detail in an earlier article, Global Energy War: Washington’s New Kissinger’s African Plans.(18)

But a brief overview may be in order.

In October of 1998 United States Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson officiated over a meeting with the heads of state of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to launch the Ankara Declaration, a formalization of plans for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to run for 1,768 kilometers from the Caspian to the Mediterranean.

It was planned to be the world’s longest fully functioning oil pipeline as the Soviet and Comecon era Friendship Pipeline (4,000 kilometers) was already in decline and moreover was to be supplanted by the extension of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project through Ukraine to Poland and the Baltic Sea, the Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk route.

The last-named was agreed upon in May 11, 2007 by the presidents of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia and Azerbaijan and a special envoy of the president of Kazakhstan.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was brought on-line two years earlier in an inauguration attended by then U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Brodman and the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The presence of Kazakh officials at the two above events is significant because although the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline commences in Azerbaijan at the western end of the Caspian and ends at Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, the successor to the 1994 “Contract of the Century” signed by major American and British government and oil company officials with Azerbaijan envisioned since its inception that oil from fellow Caspian nations Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan would be run under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and be shipped further west and north.

As early as 1996 the U.S. planned to import natural gas to Europe from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan through a submarine pipeline in order to circumvent Russia and Iran. The trans-Caspian gas pipeline would parallel its oil counterpart as the current Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum land natural gas pipeline does the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil one and would link up with the trans-Caspian submarine gas pipeline described at the beginning of this paragraph.

Part of this vast trans-continental corridor is the proposed Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway, the foundation of a much-touted “China to Great Britain” line.

The major NATO states, the U.S. and EU members, are also working on the Nabucco pipeline, which is planned to transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey where the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline ends. Again the strategy is to circumvent Russia and Iran.

Furthermore, the West is pursuing a “strategic view to see the Arab Gas Pipeline, which links Syria to Egypt via Jordan, extended to Turkey and Iraq by some time this year. This, in turn, would link to the 30bcm-per year Nabucco pipeline, connecting the EU to new gas sources in the Caspian Sea and Middle East.” (19)

Last year “EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner met representatives of the Mashreq countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria), Iraq and Turkey on May 5 in Brussels to discuss the finalisation of the Trans-Arab gas pipeline, promote its role as a future supplier of the EU-backed Nabucco project and encourage the full participation of Iraq in regional energy activities, including as a partner in the Trans-Arab project.

“The Trans-Arab pipeline, which currently runs from Egypt through Jordan to Syria, has a capacity of 10 bn cm per year. The pipeline, which will be interconnected with Turkey and Iraq by 2009, will provide a new transport route for gas resources from the Mashreq region to the EU.” (20)

Recent discussions have included not only Egypt but Algeria as intended partners in this arrangement, which would extend the web of pipelines from the eastern extreme of the Caspian Sea to a nation that borders Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean.

Wherever the oil and gas may originate – from the Western border of China to a few hundred kilometers distance from the Atlantic Ocean – they are to converge in Turkey and the South Caucasus. Though however indispensable a role Turkey plays, it is entirely dependent on Caspian Sea oil and gas being shipped through the Caucasus for its importance in grander schemes.

As a Greek analyst commented this past February, this elaborate energy nexus is anything other than a merely economic proposition:

“Making inroads into Central Asia to access the oil and natural gas resources in this region would give the US a strategic advantage in the Eurasian Corridor, and if Middle East oil was added to this mix, control of the direction of the world economy….The success of Washington’s East European and Balkan-Caucasus-Central Asia strategies would have led to the encirclement of Russia, with a chain of military and economic links with countries stretching from the Baltic States and the former [Soviet] satellites in East Europe, via the Balkans, Caucasus, and Central Asia, to the borders of China.”(21)

This confirms revelatory admissions by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (and former Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy) Matthew Bryza last June that “Our goal is to develop a ‘Southern Corridor’ of energy infrastructure to transport Caspian and Iraqi oil and gas to Turkey and Europe” and, to transition to the war in South Asia, “The East-West Corridor we had been building from Turkey and the Black Sea through Georgia and Azerbaijan and across the Caspian became the strategic air corridor, and the lifeline into Afghanistan allowing the United States and our coalition partners to conduct Operation Enduring Freedom.” (22)

If the inextricable connection between the fifteen-year development of energy and transportation corridors by NATO states from Europe to Central Asia and the current “reverse flow” (the expression used for the short-lived transit of Russia oil through the Odessa-Brody pipeline before Kiev’s ever-obedient Western clients put a halt to it) of NATO men and materiel to Central Asia and to the Afghan-Pakistani war front still appears unsubstantiated, U.S. Navy Captain Kevin Aandahl, spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Command, in speaking of the new American administration’s plans for the massive escalation of the greater Afghan war, has put doubts to rest in saying, “[O]ne route…could involve shipping supplies to a port in Georgia on the Black Sea. Supplies would then be moved overland through Georgia to Azerbaijan, by ship across the Caspian to Kazakhstan and then south through other Central Asian countries to Afghanistan.

“The routes already exist. The facilities already exist. What we’re talking about is tapping into existing networks and using a variety of military and contractor commercial enterprises to facilitate the movement of materiel supply, non-lethal supplies and everything else that is needed in Afghanistan through these existing commercial routes.” (23)

The routes are about to be tested on a scale not previously used. In 2003, two years after the “lightning victory” of October of 2001, there were 10,000 American and allied NATO troops in Afghanistan. The following year there were 12,000. At the beginning of this year there were as many as 55,000 troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – 23,000 U.S. soldiers and the rest from NATO, Partnership for Peace, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and “Asian NATO” states – and 28,000 American forces attached to Operation Enduring Freedom. (The exact figures are difficult to arrive at. Some sources list 38,000 U.S. and 32,000 NATO troops without specifying how many U.S. servicemen are assigned to which command.)

The White House has pledged another 30,000 combat troops and an additional 4,000 trainers for this year (with more to join them in 2010 already being mentioned) and NATO offered 5,000 more at its summit three days ago. If all the numbers are accurate, there may soon be 122,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan later this year. A tenfold increase in five years.

Ongoing attacks on NATO supply lines and depots in Western Pakistan and the closing of the Kyrgyz airbase at Manas to U.S. and NATO forces will complicate the planned Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan and against targets in Pakistan.

Om March 31 the American Central Command chief General David Petraeus met at the Pentagon with the defense ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to plan the logistics for his attempt to replicate the Iraq “surge” in Afghanistan, only this time with hostilities also raging in neighboring Pakistan, a country with a population almost three times that of Iraq and Afghanistan combined and with nuclear weapons.

The war theater is ever-widening and the vortex is pulling in more and more regional and extra-regional actors. In addition to enmeshing the five Central Asian states, initially through transit and overflight commitments, the NATO-led ISAF has troops from some 45 nations serving under its command.

Never before have armed units from so many nations been deployed for a war in one country. Even Hannibal’s motley contingents in the second Punic War were not as diverse nor was their composite provenance anywhere near as far-ranging.

The troops come from four continents and the Middle East. And the South Caucasus. After a visit from NATO’s Caucasus and Central Asia representative Robert Simmons last June Azerbaijan announced it was doubling its troop deployment to Afghanistan. Georgia’s Saakashvili recently boasted of writing American President Barack Obama to offer him more forces for the war.

“I have already stated this to General Cartwright, as before to the U.S. political leadership. I wrote about this to President Obama and we are ready to develop our relations in this direction.” (24)

A year earlier “Georgia had filed an application with NATO, making a proposal to send its contingent to Afghanistan,” considering that “to settle the situation in Afghanistan is one of the main issues for the whole world.”(25)

Azerbaijan, like Georgia, is being built up as a forward deployment base for action in the Caspian and into Afghanistan.

“NATO is going to ship supplies to Afghanistan via Poti-Baku-Aktau container trains through the TRACECA [Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia] corridor, Azerbaijan, said Arif Asgarov, Chairman of Azerbaijan State Railways Company.” (26)

In less than two weeks Azerbaijan is going to host the NATO Regional Reply – 2009 eight-day command and field exercises with troops from the U.S., Bulgaria, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

Yesterday it was announced that American officials would arrive in the capital of Azerbaijan and that “maritime security, the results of US assistance, as well as work done within the Caspian Security Program added to the Working Plan of Military Cooperation are to be focused on at the meeting until April 10.” (27)

Later this month a delegation from the Pentagon’s European Command will visit Azerbaijan to “hold meetings with the leadership of the Azerbaijani armed forces and will attend the Bilateral Cooperation Planning Conference” and “discuss reports on the work done within the military cooperation program and details of a working plan for US-Azerbaijani military cooperation in 2009-2010.” (28)

Azerbaijani troops are participating in the NATO Cooperative Marlin/Mako 2009 exercises starting today. The Marlin drills are maritime Command Post Exercises focused on the NATO Response Force concept; the Mako drills are planned and conducted by NATO’s Joint Force Command Naples, Italy.

The combined exercise is aimed at providing “familiarisation with NATO organisation, Command and Control structures and clear understanding of NATO doctrine and to enhance the mutual interoperability between NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP)/Mediterranean Dialogue Countries (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) nations, focusing on NATO led operations with partners.” (29)

Lastly, high-ranking Azerbaijani officers are to attend the NATO Partnership for Peace Silk Road General/Admiral workshop in Turkey in June, one which featured 104 generals and admirals from 49 countries last year and whose purpose this year is to “discuss the security, military-political situation in the world, security of the transportation infrastructure, energy security and expected threats.” (30)

Azerbaijan offers the U.S. and NATO direct access to the Caspian Sea and to transport routes from the west for the deployment of troops, armor and warplanes and for the transfer of the same from Iraq to Afghanistan.

It borders northwest Iran on the Caspian and like Georgia can be used for attacks on that nation whenever the West orders it to permit the use of its territory and airbases for that purpose.

Last September Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said that “Russian intelligence had obtained information indicating that the Georgian military infrastructure could be used for logistical support of U.S. troops if they launched an attack on Iran.

“This is another reason why Washington values Saakashvili’s regime so highly, Rogozin said, adding that the United States had already started “active military preparations on Georgia’s territory” for an invasion of Iran. (31)

Other Russian sources affirmed that Russia’s defeat of Georgia last August preempted a planned attack on Iran, and commentators in the Caucasus have speculated that had Saakashvili succeeded in South Ossetia not only would he have immediately turned on Abkhazia but Azerbaijan would have launched a similar assault on Nagorno-Karabakh which would have led to Armenia certainly, Turkey probably and Iran possibly being dragged into a regional conflagration.

As to Western plans for Armenia, NATO has made incremental progress in integrating it through the Partnership for Peace and its own Individual Partnership Action Plan, but the nation remains a member of the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization and would first have to be weaned from the latter to be a likely candidate for a NATO Membership Action Plan or an equivalent of Georgia’s and Ukraine’s Annual National Program.

The European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, however, may be designed as a way of cutting through this Gordian knot, as with two fellow former Soviet republics “there are serious hopes in Ukraine and Georgia that the EPP will be one more step towards their integration with NATO and the EU as it requires that partner countries come closer to adopting the mutual values of NATO and the EU.”(32)

Early this year the former Indian diplomat and journalist M K Bhadrakumar synopsized the role the U.S. intends for its South Caucasus surrogates to play:

“The US is working on the idea of ferrying cargo for Afghanistan via the Black Sea to the port of Poti in Georgia and then dispatching it through the territories of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A branch line could also go from Georgia via Azerbaijan to the Turkmen-Afghan border.

“The project, if it materializes, will be a geopolitical coup – the biggest ever that Washington would have swung in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. At one stroke, the US will be tying up military cooperation at the bilateral level with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

“Furthermore, the US will be effectively drawing these countries closer into NATO’s partnership programs.”(33)

Just as the intensified and interminable war in Afghanistan and its extension into Pakistan provide the testing ground and training camp for a NATO global army, so the U.S. and its allies are employing it to achieve military and political and economic objectives far broader that their limited stated goals. In the middle of the far-reaching swathe of Eurasia the West plans on thus acquiring lies the South Caucasus.

(1) United States European Command, April 6, 2009
(2) Trend News Agency, April 3, 2009
(3) Georgian Daily, March 10, 2009
(4) Itar-Tass, March 10, 2009
(5) Georgian Daily, February 24, 2009
(6) Civil Georgia, March 30, 2009
(7) Interfax, March 30, 2009
(8) Trend News Agency, March 30, 2009
(9) Trend News Agency, March 30, 2009
(10) The Messenger (Georgia), April 1, 2009
(11) Civil Georgia, March 31, 2009
(12) The Messenger, April 1, 2009
(13) Associated Press, April 2, 2009
(14) Russia Today, April 1, 2009
(15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, April 4, 2009
(16) Trend News Agency, April 4, 2009
(17) Azeri Press Agency, April 3, 2009
(18) Stop NATO, January 2009
(19) Russian and Eurasian Security, March 30, 2009
(20), May 12, 2008
(21) Oil, War and Russia, George Gregoriou; Greek News, February 2, 2009
(22) U.S. Department of State, June 24, 2008
(23) Agence France-Presse, February 6, 2009
(24) Trend News Agency. March 30, 2009
(25) Itar-Tass, March 31, 2009
(26) Azeri Press Agency, April 2, 2009
(27) Azeri Press Agency. April 6, 2009
(28) Azeri Press Agency, March 31, 2009
(29) NATO International, Cooperative Marlin 2009
(30) Azeri Press Agency. March 29, 2009
(31) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 9, 2009
(32) The Messenger, March 31, 2009
(33) The Day After (India), January 2, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO’s Sixty-Year Legacy: Threat Of Nuclear War In Europe

August 27, 2009 2 comments

March 31, 2009

NATO’s Sixty-Year Legacy: Threat Of Nuclear War In Europe
Rick Rozoff

Since its birth the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has envisioned the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations.

One of the fundamental purposes for the creation of NATO in 1949 was to introduce the permanent stationing of nuclear arms in Europe.

In a Europe that, in 1949, had no nuclear nation and no atomic bombs of its own.

Whether the United States after the devastating display of its new weapon over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 deployed atomic bombs in Europe prior to 1949 will perhaps never be revealed, though reports claim that in 1948 Washington endorsed the deployment in Great Britain of B-29 strategic bombers capable of carrying bombs with nuclear warheads.

What is certain is that after the founding of NATO on April 4, 1949 U.S. nuclear weapons were stationed in several member countries and that several hundred remain on the continent to this day.

The launching of the alliance in no way signalled the beginning of a post-World War II reality in Europe but a continuation of the war, with the former Axis powers Germany and Italy incorporated into NATO and the Soviet Union the new adversary.

On his way to the American White House in January of 1953 General Dwight D. Eisenhower, formerly Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, became NATO’s first Supreme Allied Commander in 1951. Even the title didn’t change.

What had changed was that a military alliance had been formed in Europe by the only nuclear power at the time, the United States.

The official NATO handbook, reflecting on the nuclear doctrine of the bloc since its inception, says:

“During the Cold War, NATO’s nuclear forces played a central role in the Alliance’s strategy of flexible response….[N]uclear weapons were integrated into the whole of NATO’s force structure, and the Alliance maintained a variety of targeting plans which could be executed at short notice. This role entailed high readiness levels and quick-reaction alert postures for significant parts of NATO’s nuclear forces.”

NATO was inaugurated on April 4, 1949. The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949.

In that almost five month hiatus NATO had a nuclear monopoly in Europe. With current U.S. and NATO plans for integrated missile defense and with ongoing air patrols over the Baltic Sea, the Alliance is attempting to reassert its strategic, nuclear dominance over the continent, a topic to be addressed in more detail later.

From 1949 onward NATO’s nuclear doctrine has been one described as “flexible response”; that is, the first use of nuclear weapons against a conventional, non-nuclear opponent or for what had been a conflict with conventional weapons.

Its Article 5 mutual military assistance obligation was enforced, as noted earlier, several months before the Soviet Union had even tested an atomic weapon.

The rationale employed for this policy was that the Soviets at the time possessed conventional military superiority on the European continent and in the event of an armed conflict with the USSR the United States and its new NATO allies would resort to atomic attacks.

The Alliance’s Defense Doctrine of November 1949 called for insuring “the ability to carry out strategic bombing including the prompt delivery of the atomic bomb. This is primarily a US responsibility assisted as practicable by other nations.”

The deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe was effected through what is known as “nuclear sharing,” the basing of nuclear weapons on the territories of NATO non-nuclear weapon states.

By the mid-1950s Washington had confirmed the deployment of nuclear arms in Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany.

The stationing of such weapons increased steadily so that by the early 1970s there were an estimated 7,300 American nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

As to what use these weapons might be put to, U.S. National Security Archive documents released five years ago provide a horrifying indication.

In a meeting of the National Security Council in 1973 chaired by the National Security Adviser (and Secretary of State) of the time Henry Kissinger, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Adm. John P. Weinel, seemingly without reservation or regret, announced this plan:

“Now our objective is (to destroy) 70 percent of the floor space of war-supporting industry. A better criterion would be the post-recovery rate plus hitting the Soviet Army to prevent it from overrunning Europe.

“Another choice is to go for people – a goal of 70 million Russians for example.” [1]

Although the bombs stored in Europe were American and under the control of the Pentagon, war plans called for their being loaded onto fellow NATO nation’s bombers for use against the Soviet Union and its (non-nuclear) Eastern European allies.

The Alliance nations hosting the weapons were Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and Turkey.

All except for Greece still house U.S. nuclear arms on their territory.

With the dissolution of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact in 1991 and of the Soviet Union itself, NATO scaled back on nuclear weapons stationed in its member states but has retained several hundred to the present moment.

Several hundred tactical nuclear bombs and the advanced aircraft capable of delivering them are still in NATO’s arsenal in a post-Cold War Europe in which Russia is the only potential target.

The Strategic Concept adopted by the Alliance in April of 1999 – when NATO proved to be what its opponents had always suspected it was intended to be, an alliance for waging war as it was at the time against Yugoslavia – reaffirmed its commitment to its nuclear posture:

“The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States; the independent nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies.

“A credible Alliance nuclear posture and the demonstration of Alliance solidarity and common commitment to war prevention continue to require widespread participation by European Allies involved in collective defence planning in nuclear roles, in peacetime basing of nuclear forces on their territory and in command, control and consultation arrangements. Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”

Although the Pentagon has never and still doesn’t acknowledge the true figures, the Federation of American Scientists estimates there are between 200 and 350 warheads at bases in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey.

A Time magazine report of June of last year revealed that “The U.S. keeps an estimated 350 thermonuclear bombs in six NATO countries. In four of those — Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — the weapons are stored at the host nation’s air bases, where they are guarded by specially trained U.S. military personnel.

“A ‘burden-sharing’ agreement that has been at the heart of NATO military policy since its inception.

“Although technically owned by the U.S., nuclear bombs stored at NATO bases are designed to be delivered by planes from the host country.”

The bombs include B61-3, B61-4, and B61-10 nuclear weapons at eight different bases.

The B-61 in its latest variant, the 1997 Mod 11, is a thermonuclear gravity bomb and 180 are estimated to be stationed on European airbases under the NATO nuclear sharing arrangement. It is the standard contemporary American nuclear bomb.

The basing of nuclear arms in non-nuclear-weapon states with the further intent of their being used by warplanes of the latter under NATO burden sharing and nuclear sharing agreements runs afoul of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT).

Article I of the Treaty states:

“Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.”

Article II continues:

“Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

Five of the six NATO nations still hosting U.S. nuclear weapons and obligated to deploy their own aircraft to use them if ordered to are non-nuclear-weapon states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Turkey.

Last June a spokesman for the Global Peace and Justice Coalition in the Turkish city of Adana, only a few kilometers from the Incirlik air base used for decades by the Pentagon and NATO, asserted that Incirlik contained the largest amount of U.S. nuclear weapons outside the United States itself and “We have organized many protests for this base of war to be shut down and for the disarmament of the nuclear warheads. We do not wish to see Adana and Turkey becoming Hiroshima. We will not give up.” [2]

In the same month a German federal official, Ulrich Wilhelm, stated that his nation was duty-bound to the use of nuclear arms as an alleged military deterrent and added, “For the foreseeable future….we remain of the view that a deterring military capacity includes not only conventional capacity but also nuclear components.” [3]

Up to 20 American nuclear warheads are reportedly deployed at the German airbase in Buechel, where they can be mounted on German Tornado fighter planes for missions to the east. An additional 130 American warheads are suspected to be stored at the U.S. airbase in Ramstein for similar purposes.

German peace groups and the Left Party have for years demanded the removal of the weapons and a nuclear-free Germany.

In December of 2007 the mayors of the Italian cities of Aviano and Ghedi, which both host dozens of U.S. nuclear warheads, signed a petition demanding the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

“Stefano Del Cont, mayor of Aviano since June, said he and Anna Giulia Guarneri, the mayor of Ghedi, joined hundreds of other city leaders around the globe in seeking the ban. They’re all members of Mayors for Peace, an organization started in the 1980s by the mayor of Hiroshima — one of two Japanese cities hit by atomic bombs at the end of World War II.” [4]

The references to Hiroshima by both the Turkish and Italian opponents of nuclear warheads in their nations under NATO obligations are not alarmist.

In January of 2008 a 150-page manifesto was prepared for the then upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff and NATO Supreme Commander, General Klaus Naumann, Germany’s former top military commander and ex-chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, former Dutch chief of staff General Henk van den Breemen, former French chief of staff Admiral Jacques Lanxade and British field marshal and ex-chief of the general staff and the defence staff Lord Inge.

It stated inter alia that “The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the [NATO] quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction” as well as demanding the “end of European obstruction of and rivalry with Nato,” and “the use of force without Security Council authorisation….”

As recently as this January NATO Supreme Commander General John Craddock reinforced the point, stating:

“[T]he fact is there is strategic need and advantage for nuclear weapons….The alliance has made the decision to have them. There has been no debate to retrograde them out.” [5]

Pentagon chief Robert Gates commissioned a report that was released on January 8 of this year which urged that the “United States should keep tactical nuclear bombs in Europe and even consider modernizing older warheads on cruise missiles….”

The report included the contention that “The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe remains a pillar of NATO unity.” [6]

NATO has come full circle. Or rather it has never abandoned its plans for nuclear superiority, only now not only in Europe and the so-called Euro-Atlantic sphere, but globally. And it no longer hides its intention to use nuclear weapons first and against non-nuclear nations.

Since the accession of the three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into NATO in April of 2004, Alliance warplanes have flown air patrols over the Baltic Sea region in four-month rotations by member states.

Most all the NATO partners have used the jet fighter of choice for most Alliance members, the US Raytheon-produced F-16. (France has used Mirages and Poland and Romania MiGs.)

Though a jet fighter, the F-16 is a modern multirole combat aircraft which among other capabilities has that of dropping 1,000-pound bombs as it has in Iraq and Afghanistan and of firing cruise missiles. Cruise missiles can be equipped with nuclear warheads.

Raytheon has recently successfully tested its Network Centric Airborne Defense Element missile defense system on the F-16 with the intercept of a test ballistic missile.

The U.S. Baltic rotations have employed the F-15 Eagle, the latest version of which, the F-15E Strike Eagle, is equipped with laser-guided Bunker Buster bombs and anti-satellite missiles.

NATO warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea states are within a four-minute flight from Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg.


Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict

The most advanced current U.S. stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, is described by its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, as “a low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defense shields. It is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000ft, with a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refuelling, giving it the ability to fly to any point in the world within hours.”

Its prospective replacement, the New or Next Generation (2018) Bomber, will be yet more difficult if not impossible to detect with radar and repulse by air defenses and would be the warplane of choice to deliver nuclear payloads deep inside the interior of an intended target nation as it is able to “survive in hostile airspace for extended time” and can carry nuclear weapons.

The deployment of either of the above to Europe would raise an alarm in Russia for just that reason, but could be done under NATO “mutual defense” auspices, either to Poland and the Baltic states or to newly acquired U.S. strategic airbases in Bulgaria and Romania, directly across the Black Sea from Russia.

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East

Cloaked in secrecy as they have been for more than half a century, if U.S. warheads are transported from bases in Germany to Poland, Estonia or Bulgaria, it won’t be reported on the evening news.

The air component is an integral part of a broader strategy that also includes nuclear cruise missiles and the third position American missile shield plan for Eastern Europe that would serve as the foundation for a NATO continent-wide missile system.

A commentary in the Russian Information Agency Novosti of almost two years ago provided this unnerving scenario:

“[L]ong-range cruise missiles should be launched from [several] areas to hit Russian ICBM silos. Their flying time to targets is between 2.5 and
three hours. The American ABM in Europe is supposed to destroy the surviving Russian missiles. This is the whole point….[T]here are numerous indications of a war in the making.”

On the issue of so-called missile defense plans for NATO nations in general and new member states in Eastern Europe in particular, see:

21st Century Star Wars And NATO’s 60th Anniversary Summit

Last month the same above-cited Russian source warned that, “The missile defense problem has nothing to do with Iran, but it cannot be separated from Russia’s relations with NATO countries. It is impossible to pluck the issue of missile defense out of the whole range of security issues in Europe….At the end of the day the possible deployment of American bases with strike weapons in the new NATO member countries is no less of a threat than the deployment of a missile defense system or the possible accession of Georgia and Ukraine to NATO.”

No less a Western establishment authority as the Council on Foreign Relations recently quoted an expert acknowledging that “[Russia believes] that nuclear missiles will be deployed in Poland near Russia and these nuclear missiles will have also a first-strike capability and could hit Moscow before [Russia’s response] could get airborne, so this is going to actually be seen not so much as missile defense as a deployment of first-strike capability.” [7]

Although the deployments of U.S. warplanes, missiles and nuclear warheads in Europe are often presented as bilateral arrangements between Washington and the respective host countries, in fact they are an inevitable and ineradicable component of NATO relations and demands.

Self-styled global, 21st Century NATO will meet for its sixtieth anniversary summit in France and Germany in three days and is expected to craft a new Strategic Concept, one that will leave few spots on Earth unaffected.

And it will reaffirm its policy of basing and when it deems fit using nuclear weapons.

1) Associated Press, November 24, 2004
2) Turkish Daily News, June 30, 2008
3) Agence France-Presse, June 23, 2008
4) Stars and Stripes, December 18, 2007
5), January 9, 2009
6) Washington Post, January 9, 2009
7) Council on Foreign Relations, March 18, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Afghanistan: U.S., NATO Wage World’s Largest, Longest War

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

March 24, 2009

Afghanistan: U.S., NATO Wage World’s Largest, Longest War
Rick Rozoff

The U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan is the largest and longest war in the world.

On October 7 it will enter its ninth calendar year and with the projected deployment of at least 30,000 more American and thousands of more fellow NATO nations’ troops this year it promises to go on indefinitely.

It is the second longest war, both on the air and ground fronts, in United States history, with only its protracted involvement in Indochina so far exceeding it in length.

The Afghan war is also the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s first armed conflict outside of Europe and its first ground war in the sixty years of its existence. It has been waged with the participation of armed units from all 26 NATO member states and twelve other European and Caucasus nations linked to NATO through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Partnership for Peace and the Adriatic Charter with the first-ever invocation of the Alliance’s Article 5 mutual military assistance provision.

The twelve European NATO non-member partners who have sent troops in varying numbers to assist Washington and the Alliance include the continent’s five former neutral nations: Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The European NATO and partnership deployments count among their number troops from six former Soviet Republics – with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine tapped for recent reinforcements and the three Baltic states represented disproportionately to their populations – although Western officials and media refrain from using words like invasion, empire and occupation that were tossed around so profligately in the 1980s.

The conflict marks the first time since the Vietnam War that U.S., Australian, New Zealand and South Korean troops have fought in the same campaign in the same theater. (Although all four also had troops in Iraq after March of 2003, only American forces were engaged in combat. In Afghanistan, however, over 1,000 Australian troops, including special forces, participate in counterinsurgency operations and ten of their soldiers have been killed.)

In all, 42 nations have military contingents ranging from a handful to thousands of troops serving under NATO in a war nearly as far removed from the North Atlantic as could have been imagined and embroiled in an endless engagement because of a 1949 commitment by the major Western powers to render each other military aid in the event of a conflict in Western Europe or North America.

Over a thousand American, NATO and NATO partner nations’ soldiers have been killed in the war, including servicemen from all three Baltic States, Australia and South Korea.

From the beginning of the invasion of and war in Afghanistan in early October of 2001 under the aegis of so-called Operation Enduring Freedom, which commenced with U.S. and British air and missile attacks, the model used seventeen months later in Iraq, the conflict has not been limited to Afghanistan itself but rather has exploited the nation’s alleged and highly tenuous connections to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington to situate U.S. and other NATO military forces in several neighboring and nearby nations, including airbases and troop and naval deployments in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the Indian Ocean (where the Japanese navy has been assisting Operation Enduring Freedom).

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported last December that 120,000 U.S. and NATO soldiers passed through the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan in 2008.

2009 has brought the Pentagon and NATO the bad news that the government of Kyrgyzstan may close the base to warplanes used for the war in Afghanistan, a base that since 2001 has hosted military personnel from the United States, Australia, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and South Korea.

The Pentagon officially defines Operation Enduring Freedom’s area of responsibility as encompassing fifteen nations: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay Naval Base), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, the Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

After the invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001, Washington and its NATO allies obtained from the United Nations of ever-obliging Secretary General Kofi Annan (who in 1995 held the posts of Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to the former Yugoslavia and special envoy to NATO and was installed as Secretary General after the U.S. deposed his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali and browbeat the other 14 Security Council members in 1997 to accept him) a resolution authorizing the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), initially to oversee Afghanistan’s occupation, but later to wage a full-blown counterinsurgency campaign inside the country and across the border into Pakistan.

There was and is nothing international about ISAF. It is a NATO operation entirely.

From December of 2001 until August of 2003 command of ISAF was held in six month rotations by major NATO nations. At the end of that period it passed to NATO collectively. Initially its mission was limited to the capital of Kabul, but by 2003 its mandate was extended beyond the capital and by 2006 to all of Afghanistan’s provinces.

To deploy combat forces to a nation that was bombed and invaded and to conduct aerial and ground assaults throughout its territory is as good a working definition of the word war as could be devised.

Afghanistan has become a permanent training ground and firing range for providing the U.S. and its NATO allies and candidate members opportunities to test out new weapons systems, wage 21st Century counterinsurgency operations and integrate so-called niche deployment military units from over 42 nations to achieve weapons and warfighting interoperability.

Polish military officials among others have openly stated that in Afghanistan NATO has provided them with the conditions to modernize their armed forces, which had not been employed in war zone and combat operations since the beginning of World War II. Coupled with recent statements by Polish and Baltic officials that NATO should renew its focus on “defending” Europe, the Greater Afghan war theater is a laboratory for preparing Eastern European and South Caucasus nations for actions on Russia’s western and southern borders.

Last month the U.S. signed an agreement with Poland to train their special forces (comparable to what the Pentagon has already done with Georgia), citing Afghanistan as the immediate locale for the training’s joint implementation.

The comparative size of each NATO nation’s contribution is less important than the fact that several tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of NATO troops have been rotated through Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over the past seven and a half years and in the process gained experience in serving under the command of major NATO powers.

Earlier this year the U.S.’s Central Command chief David Petraeus began focusing on the Caucasus nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan as military transit routes for the expanding war in Afghanistan and visited the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to also incorporate them into the ever-widening South Asian war vortex.

Late last year General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, warned that “American military bases are dotted throughout the world. The U.S. has opened bases in Romania and Bulgaria, and according to our information plans to establish them in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.”

Much is made in Western official circles and in the obedient media about the pretexts under which the U.S. and NATO attacked and invaded Afghanistan, took over all its strategic Soviet era airbases (as was done most recently with the Shindand airbase in 2005 in Herat Province, near the Iranian border) and installed a compliant puppet government to rule over the nation and its people.

At first as the memory of the attacks of September 11, 2001 were still freshly burned into America’s and the world’s imaginations, the rationale for Operation Enduring Freedom was to hunt down and “bring to justice” – or kill – Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and several of their top associates in a lex talionis punishment for the deadly attacks on New York’s financial center and the headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department.

As the years proceeded and not only weren’t bin Laden and Mullah Omar apprehended but their whereabouts couldn’t even be determined, emphasis was shifted to the fight against Taliban for having hosted the above two.

That fallback position was belied by the fact that Washington in the person of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld right after 9/11 asserted that as many as sixty nations, almost a third of the world’s states, were harboring terrorists and as such were fair game for missile and other attacks, but conspicuously left off the hit list the only three nations that had recognized, funded and no doubt armed the Taliban: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Nor was the Taliban argument helped by U.S.-installed President Hamid Karzai being quoted regularly on the U.S.’s Voice of Afghanistan (an offshoot of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) applauding “our Taliban” who “fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us in the jihad against the Soviets.”

The American and NATO tact was then to adopt an ex post facto humanitarian guise to justify their fanning out into Afghanistan’s provinces in 2003 (in addition to the original in Kabul, NATO launched North, South, East and West commands): Establishing so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs).

Invading armies with their bombers, cruise missiles, 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter bombs and long-range artillery are designed to destroy and not construct buildings and the PRTs would be better termed provincial pacification teams, with the model being the Strategic Hamlet Program in South Vietnam in the early 1960s.

More reasons would be devised to explain the West’s continuing and growing presence and intensifying military operations in Afghanistan and its environs.

Four years of Taliban power had at least accomplished one objective: It had curbed opium cultivation.

However, after a few years of NATO occupation Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer and exporter of opium and so last autumn the Alliance announced that it was planning to conduct armed raids against opium and “drug traffickers,” however the West decided to define the second.

The ongoing and endless war in Afghanistan – and now Pakistan – has metamorphosed from a hunt for bin Laden to a fight against Taliban to a drug war modeled after the U.S.’s murderous Plan Colombia initiated in 1999. There are reports that 300 Colombian troops are slated for deployment to Afghanistan to replicate that model.

Notwithstanding recent talk by American President Barack Obama about an Afghan exit strategy, it’s not apparent that Washington and its allies ever intend to leave the country and the broader South Asia/Central Asia/Caspian Sea Basin/South Caucasus circumference whose center Afghanistan is.

Two weeks ago the Russia Novosti website featured this observation: “Central Asian states think the U.S. started the Afghan war to change the regional regimes into local analogues of Georgia’s Saakashvili and Ukraine’s Yushchenko, and that it began with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Iran, China and Russia think the war could be Washington’s attempt to reduce their influence in Central Asia to zero.”

Less than four months before the invasion of Afghanistan China, Russia and four of the five former Soviet Central Asia republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – founded the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a mutual security grouping that would later include India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers.

It’s purpose is to provide regional security and to address the issues of trans-border crime, including narcotics smuggling, armed extremism and separatism.

Since its inception it has also increasingly focused on joint development projects in the spheres of energy, transportation, trade and infrastructure.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Central Asia was seen by the SCO’s founding members and since by its observers as a mechanism for fostering mutually beneficial relations among the nations of Central Asia and Russia, China, Iran, India and even Turkey eventually.

Afghanistan has been hurled into interminable turmoil, with hundreds of thousands of its citizens displaced; almost daily bombing runs, drone missile attacks, middle-of-the-night commando raids, indiscriminate shooting of civilians at checkpoints; mass-scale drought and famine; an explosion of opium cultivation and trafficking; expansion of that destabilization by setting Pakistan aflame with the potential for its fragmentation and dismemberment and heightened tensions with its – fellow nuclear – neighbor India.

This is the current, grave situation seven and a half years after the invasion of Afghanistan.

With the deployment of another 30,000 U.S. troops and thousands more from NATO’s ranks (recently Italy, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan and other nations have announced increases) Western troop strength will soon approach 100,000.

This is pouring fuel on fire. Taliban has become as amorphous a term as al-Qaeda has been; anyone in Afghanistan, even in the non-Pushtun North and West of the nation, who takes issue with Western warplanes and combat troops dealing out death and destruction in their nation and their villages is now a Talib. An enemy.

The more American and NATO troops that arrive in Afghanistan, the more resentment, resistance and violence will ensue. Inevitably.

The U.S. and NATO have arrogantly spurned offers by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization to assist in bringing a regional – and non-military – resolution of the myriad crises afflicting Afghanistan, its long-suffering people and the region.

NATO is not a nation-building, peacekeeping or humanitarian outfit – it is an aggressive military bloc. When it and its individual member states’ military forces leave South and Central Asia then healing, reconstruction and lasting peace can begin.

Categories: Uncategorized

White House And Pentagon: Change, Continuity And Escalation

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

March 19, 2009

White House And Pentagon: Change, Continuity And Escalation
Rick Rozoff

Few of his contemporaries knew and far fewer since have known of the nineteenth century French journalist and novelist Alphonse Karr, but most everyone is familiar with some variant of his quip plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose: The more it changes the more it’s the same thing.

Anyone driving the streets of major American cities over the past year or more has seen a bumper sticker that simply read 01-20-2009.

The numbers indicated the date that George W. Bush would leave the White House.

Until last November no one knew who his replacement would be or even with which of the two major political parties he or she would be affiliated; it was enough to anticipate Bush’s departure as an end in itself.

Judging by other bumper stickers that often accompanied this one on a given vehicle, it was assumed that those who so adorned the back of it looked forward to the end of eight years of an aggressive foreign policy, one marked by the war in Iraq and, for anyone who had paid attention to other matters, that in Afghanistan and assorted counterinsurgency and proxy wars such as those in Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines.

But for most of those sporting the 01-20-2009 sticker and desiring a change in American foreign policy the sentiment was reducible to withdrawing American troops from Iraq and less so concern for the people of the nation that had been invaded, devastated and occupied.

It seems to have been assumed if rarely opening acknowledged that the eight years of the Bush administration had been an egregious anomaly, an uncharacteristic and unprecedented straying from the path of his predecessor’s and indeed all former presidencies.

That with Bush’s leaving the Oval Office the traditional U.S. practice of diplomacy as first and war as last resort would be resumed.

No matter that said diplomacy more often than not entailed heavy-handed diktat and demarche, embargoes, sanctions, trade restrictions, the freezing of a nation’s and its leaders’ financial assets, travel bans, financing of propaganda messages flooding a targeted country, assistance in running opposition election campaigns and attempts to falsify their results, and even covert operations like supporting armed uprisings and attacks on civilian targets – at which alleged diplomacy the Bush administration also proved adept. At least it was something short of war.

Short of war for the United States, that is.

In the preceding presidential election year, 2004, another popular bumper sticker was seen on American cars, trucks, vans, sports utility and recreational vehicles, Jeeps and hummers: When Clinton lied no one died.

The allusion was to the Monica Lewinsky affair, but when Clinton lied about issues other than extramarital dalliances hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Colombia inter alia, so the real message was that when Clinton lied no Americans died.

More precisely, no American combat troops died.

When Bush lied thousands of American servicemen died. In Iraq.

The subtext of bumper stickers is best left to social psychologists and cultural semioticians, but what is bracketed out of their meaning is frequently as important as what appears on them.

Nevertheless a sentiment, resilient if not conscious, prevailed that with the replacement of one administration by another in the world’s most expensive election – $2 billion dollars was spent for the November 2008 polls, half of that on the presidential campaigns – that somehow there would emerge a dramatic if not instantaneous shift in U.S. foreign policy and Americans could again hold their heads up high and be liked by others around the world.

Nations like individuals can be vain and even narcissistic.

And the real human cost of the Iraq war to U.S. servicemen and their families cannot be lightly dismissed.

Not that anything said by any of the major presidential contenders provided specific plans for a reduction in the size of the Pentagon’s budget or the abandonment of major weapons programs, much less a willingness to recognize that their nation, as important as it is in many respects, is in the end a nation among 191 others and not the lighthouse, beacon, guide, model, farseeing older brother or stern taskmaster for all the others.

The switch from one zoological totemic image to another – the Democratic donkey succeeding the Republican elephant – was not accompanied by any analogous change in fundamental worldview. If anything there may have been a revival and reinforcement of the conviction that the United States is the indispensable and preeminent nation in moral as well as in military matters.

There was discussion of a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq – the major military engagement of the time – but those who advocated it simultaneously urged an increase in troops to Afghanistan.

On all other issues concerning the use of American military might – for example the so-called war on terror, the expansion of NATO to and around Russia’s borders, the arming and training of proxy armies for regional wars like those of Georgia in the South Caucasus and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, and the provision of Israel with military and diplomatic support for armed attacks like those against Lebanon and Gaza – the main candidates of both the Democratic and Republican parties maintained a staunch unanimity. In fact their positions were and are identical.

When tactical differences existed they were in the manner of a seesaw; where one side went down the other went up.

In the 2004 contest between then incumbent George Bush and challenger John Kerry the second regularly said of the war in Iraq – which he had voted to authorize in the U.S. Senate in 2002 – that it was “the wrong war at the wrong time.”

During that year he had also called for a quintupling of American troops in Afghanistan from the 12,000 at the time to 60,000. The precise figure was used at the same time by former vice president Al Gore (who was then also considering another presidential run) and future presidential candidate and now secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

A curious mind, one unblinded by partisan party spirit, would have asked how all three had arrived at exactly the same number.

Afghanistan was the right war at the right time. Kerry’s accusation that the Bush-Cheney administration had “taken its eye off Afghanistan” would be echoed four years later by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

No one in either major party would mention that there would have been no war in Afghanistan, or presumably the events of September 11, 2001 that served as its justification, without the fully bi-partisan U.S. orchestration of the 1978-1992 mujahedin war in and against that nation, one that included the active participation of an estimated 10,000 “Afghan Arabs,” among them Osama bin Laden.

Earlier this week Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the main recipient of billions of dollars of the CIA’s Operation Cyclone aid to the Afghan mujahedin and someone then president Ronald Reagan once compared to America’s founding fathers, boasted that his forces had killed four American soldiers in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

A year ago last December one of the most successful American films during that Christmas season was Charley Wilson’s War which depicted – celebrated – the role of the U.S. in arming Hekmatyar and his allies with Stinger missiles and other weaponry to prolong the Afghan war until America’s clients entered the capital of Kabul in 1992 and laid waste broad swathes of it in internecine fighting.

Tens of millions of Americans flocked to movie theaters to watch the film and applaud its “flawed but admirable” hero and many more approvingly viewed it on DVD at home. Perhaps as many as 100,000,000 Americans whooped, whistled and clapped their hands with delight as young Russian conscripts, their bodies on fire, were blown out of helicopters by U.S. missiles.

Now the moral equivalents of the founding fathers of the United States are slaying the latter’s descendants in South Asia.

The world’s first uncontested superpower doesn’t have to account for its actions to anyone, even its own people.

In the words of the first President Bush after his government shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in 1988, killing all 290 persons on board, “I’ll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don’t care what the facts are.”

During last year’s presidential campaign and most notably during the debates of the general election, Barack Obama repeatedly vowed that “If we have actionable intelligence about high-level al Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s border region, we must act if Pakistan will not or cannot.”

Rarely (never before to this writer’s recollection) has a candidate for the post of U.S. president with a serious chance of winning, and a standing Senator moreover, so brazenly proclaimed the intent of launching deadly military attacks inside a nation that the U.S. was not at war with, that is in fact a major half-century-long American ally and military client. And rarely has a campaign pledge been delivered on so promptly and resolutely.

Again leaving aside the origins of al-Qaeda in U.S.-assisted training camps in Pakistan in the 1980s, the best that one could say about the above-quoted statement is a desideratum written at the time by an American political journalist: One hopes it was only another false campaign promise.

It wasn’t. Between the election of November 4 and the changing of the guard on January 20 of this year the incumbent Bush government acted on Obama’s words and launched a series of missile attacks on and suspected commando raids in Pakistan’s tribal regions with the outgoing president perhaps wishing to steal some of the incoming’s thunder.

On only his fourth day in office Obama delivered on his promise and five missiles were launched into North and South Waziristan, killing 14 people, suspected armed militia and others.

The attacks have continued uninterruptedly with over 30 killed in missile strikes in South Waziristan on February 14; 30 in the Kurram Agency on February 16; seven more on March 1 in South Waziristan; 24 on March 12 in the Kurram Agency; and most recently at least five killed on March 16 in the North-West Frontier Province.

The U.S.’s preceding post-Cold War wars – Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Operation Allied Force in 1999, Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 – were waged against basically defenseless nations with populations under 30 million.

Pakistan has 173,000,000 citizens, nuclear weapons and the bombers and missiles to deliver them.

In the give and take of American foreign policy, the Democratic Party handed the Korean and Vietnam wars over to the Republicans and the Republicans have now returned the favor by bequeathing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to the Democrats.

Republican President Dwight Eisenhower ended the U.S. military campaign on the Korean peninsula (though bases and troops remain there fifty-six years later).

His vice president Richard Nixon while later president himself inherited the Vietnam war from Democrat Lyndon Johnson and escalated the bombing of North Vietnam and expanded the war into Cambodia before pulling his nation’s troops from Indochina.

The current Obama administration may commence partial military disengagement from Iraq but has already continued, as detailed above, to extend the war into neighboring Pakistan.

The New York Times of two days ago wrote of plans by Obama and his national security advisers to further deepen military attacks inside Pakistan, reaching beyond the tribal belt to the environs of the capital of Baluchistan, Quetta.

Pakistani Baluchistan borders with Baluch-inhabited southeastern Iran and missile attacks and commando raids on the Pakistani side could spill over to and drag in Iran. Perhaps that’s Washington’s intention.

The White House has also announced that it is going to rush 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 38,000 already there. Altogether an addition of 30,000 new troops is planned.

This would bring total U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 55,000 immediately and 68,000 later in the year. That is, on either side of the 60,000-troop number advocated by leading Democratic elected officials five years ago.

Om March 9 the second-in-command of American forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, stated that only 12,000 American troops would be withdrawn from Iraq this year.

If his estimate proves to be correct and if as many as 30,000 more American troops are deployed to Afghanistan, the net change in war zone deployments for 2009 would be 18,000 more than in the preceding year.
Indications that the current administration would be anything other than a seamless continuation of its predecessor in the foreign and military policy spheres should have been dispelled when Joseph Biden was selected (or appointed) Obama’s vice presidential running mate last August.

In his 35 years in the U.S. Senate Biden has never opposed and has instead avidly supported every American war of aggression including the attacks on Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Iraq in 1991, Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001.

He voted for the Iraq War Resolution (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution) in the Senate in October of 2002.

Immediately before his selection as Obama’s running mate Biden visited the Georgian capital of Tbilisi only days after the nation’s American-trained, -armed and -advised invading army was driven out of South Ossetia by Russian forces.

How close the world was to a direct confrontation between its two major nuclear powers will be revealed by historians, but Biden further inflamed still fresh Russian fears and resentment (over two hundred Russian soldiers had been killed and wounded in five days by a U.S. proxy army) by giving fulsome assurances to the American client regime in Georgia of its unstinting support and pledging $1 billion in post-war aid.

As a reward for this provocative mission, less than a week later he was chosen as Obama’s vice presidential pick and the future second-in-command and potential power behind the throne in the White House.

Two days after his election victory Barrack Obama named Rahm Emanuel as his presidential chief of staff.

Emanuel is a hawk who supported the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and during the first Gulf War while half a million of his fellow citizens were sent to Saudi Arabia for the impending war with Iraq served with the Israeli Defense Forces.

Shortly after this display of patriotic zeal he was awarded the posts of Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy in the Clinton administration from 1993 onward and, after making $16 million in three years as an investment banker, essentially had a congressional seat (that of now discredited former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich) conferred on him in the 2002 election.

Next Obama announced that he was retaining Bush’s appointee as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA director with a doctorate degree in Sovietology and Russian studies from Georgetown University, and was naming former United States Marine Corps four-star general and Bush administration-appointed NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of United States European Command James Jones as his National Security Adviser.

It was under Jones’ double tenure at the U.S. European Command and NATO that the Pentagon’s first new regional command in over a quarter century, Africa Command (AFRICOM), was devised and nurtured.

The Obama foreign policy triad was rounded out with the nomination and subsequent appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

Clinton has never been timid in touting her foreign policy credentials or appropriating credit for achievements, real and imagined, both during her six-year stint in the U.S. Senate from 2003-2008 and as the nation’s first lady from 1993-2001.

In the second capacity she has repeatedly boasted of partnering with her husband in formulating and implementing his administration’s foreign policy, one which was marked by the bombing of more unoffending nations than during any other presidency before and since. Victims included Iraq, Somalia, Serbian positions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Yugoslavia as well as cruise missiles landing in Pakistan in 1998 and on the outskirts of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia in 2001. As embassies are the extension of a nation’s sovereignty abroad, Clinton, who was reported to have personally reviewed all bombing targets during NATO’s 1999 war against Yugoslavia, was also responsible for the devastating triangulated cruise missile attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade that killed three and wounded 20 of the nation’s citizens.

Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman wrote of Clinton’s second-term secretary of state Madeleine Albright that for her foreign policy was a quiz where the answer was always bombs.

The Obama White House’s choice for Director of National Intelligence is retired four-star Navy admiral Dennis Blair, who is a former associate CIA director for military support with a doctorate degree in Russian studies from Oxford University, which he attended at the same time as Bill Clinton and his roommate Strobe Talbott, another Russia hand who currently heads up the Brookings Institution.

After stepping down from his post in the Navy, Blair and James Jones served together on the Project for National Security Reform which in the words of its website is “carrying out one of the most comprehensive studies of the U.S. national security system in American history.”

Only yesterday Obama named retired U.S. Air Force major general J. Scott Gration as his envoy to Sudan. Under the Bush administration Gration served as Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs and later as the Director of the Plans and Policy Directorate of United States European Command.

(His new role will complement that of the abrasive and insufferable Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan where he is overseeing the expansion of the U.S.’s South Asian, and NATO’s first ground and first Asian, war.)

Gration’s history as an Air Force pilot includes 1,000 hours of combat and combat support time in 274 combat missions over Iraq.

For years Hillary Clinton has been demanding the creation of an Iraq-type no-fly zone over the Darfur region of Western Sudan – under NATO command – and Gration seems just the person to put the plan into effect.

What such an initiative might result in is indicated by recalling that Clinton’s spouse bombed Iraq regularly for all eight years of his tenure and once, according to the Iraqi government at the time, even damaged the tomb of St. Matthew the Apostle near Mosul.

Regarding James Jones, Dennis Blair and now J. Scott Gration and their new roles, the appointments of former EUCOM and NATO chief commander Alexander Haig as the Reagan administration’s first secretary of state and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell to the same position in the first George W. Bush White House rightly raised concerns about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy.

Now three former top career military officers – a Marine general, an Air Force general and a Navy admiral – are playing crucial roles in the new administration’s policies.

Just as the Obama administration insisted on retaining Bush appointee Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, so Gates has announced that he will keep Navy Admiral Mike Mullen on as chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two weeks ago Mullen offered to assist counterinsurgency war efforts in Mexico; in the words of a Reuters account of his statement “The US military is ready to help Mexico in its deadly war against drug cartels with some of the same counter-insurgency tactics used against militant networks in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In Mullen’s own words “They [Mexican authorities] need intelligence support, capabilities and tactics that have evolved for us in our fight against networks in the terrorist world. There are an awful lot of similarities.”

Mullen also drew a parallel between the nearly nine-year-old Plan Colombia program initiated by Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright – supposedly a drug eradication initiative but in fact a ruthless death squad-linked counterinsurgency war – and his plans for Mexico. The Bush administration had previously deployed Colombian military and security personnel to Afghanistan in an earlier effort to replicate Plan Colombia’s putative success in Asia.

As though Pakistan with a population of 172,000,000 and Mexico with 110,000,000 were not enough for the Pentagon to contend with, North Korea and the world’s most populous nation, China, have also been added to its list.

Washington is currently conducting 12-day joint war games, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, in South Korea with the involvement of 26,000 American troops, destroyers, the John C. Stennis nuclear aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered attack submarine.

The destroyers are Aegis-class with not only Tomahawk cruise but also interceptor missiles.

Late last month the new director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, announced that the U.S. was prepared to shoot down what North Korea described as a planned satellite launch.

Also, two days ago Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, boasted during a congressional hearing of the U.S.’s ability to shoot down North Korean missiles and other launches.

On March 8 the American surveillance vessel USS Impeccable approached a new Chinese submarine base in Yulin off the southern end of Hainan in the South China Sea.

Chinese vessels surrounded the Impeccable in what China considers its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (based on the Convention on the Law of the Sea which China has signed and the U.S. hasn’t).

According to a Time magazine report shortly after the incident occurred, “The U.S. wants to know how well it can track Chinese submarines moving in and out of their new and growing base” and “Any intelligence gathered would be useful in a future showdown. Because U.S. aircraft carriers would play a vital role in any clash with China over Taiwan, being able to bottle up Chinese subs at their base — and measuring the range from their base within which U.S. technology could be used to hunt them before they escape into the open sea, where they would be much more difficult to detect….”

It was in the same area in 2001 that a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese jet fighter resulting in the death of a Chinese pilot.

In late February Democratic Congressman John Murtha announced that the Obama administration would request a record $537 billion in military expenditures for the next fiscal year, one that Murtha described as a base budget.

As roughly the same time it was revealed that the White House would seek an additional $205.5 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many have urged that the new U.S. administration be given time to settle in before being criticized. As the preceding accounts demonstrate, a lot can be known about a new government even before it formally takes charge and a lot can occur in two months.

There are important and indisputable social, historical and even moral dimensions to the election of Barack Obama as the president of the United States.

In the political sphere, particularly in the areas of general foreign and military policy, there has been nothing to celebrate.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tenth Anniversary Of NATO’s Drive Into Eastern Europe

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

March 13, 2009

Tenth Anniversary Of NATO’s Drive Into Eastern Europe
Rick Rozoff

March 12 of this year marked the tenth anniversary of NATO expanding into Eastern Europe and incorporating former members of its Warsaw Pact rival.

Nine years after the George H.W. Bush’s administration’s Secretary of State James Baker had assured the Soviet Union’s last president Mikhail Gorbachev that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east,” the Alliance, in the case of one of its new members, Poland, moved directly to the border of Russia’s Kaliningrad territory.

Om March 12, 1999 Baker’s successor once-removed, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, gathered the foreign ministers of the new inductees, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri where in NATOese she “accepted the instruments of accession to NATO of the three countries.”

The speeches of all four foreign policy chiefs were larded with celebratory and self-congratulatory effusions about the end of the Cold War, with the Hungarian, Czech and Polish foreign ministers competing with each other in claiming that the beginning of the new Jerusalem and the advent of post-history – or the new secular eschaton – was first signaled by events in Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968 or Gdansk in 1981.

The Polish foreign minister of the time, Bronislaw Geremek, in noting the proximity of Independence to another city of some note, observed that “Fifty-three years ago, in nearby Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill delivered his famous address.”

Geremek was of course referring to the Iron Curtain speech of 1946 and the official trumpet blast of the Cold War. The Polish foreign minister also dutifully quoted the American president of the time, Harry Truman, he who lent his name to the doctrine of the following year, one which was immediately implemented with the U.S. and its Western allies intervening in civil conflicts in Greece and Korea, the latter leading to direct combat between the United States and China.

Forty full years of Western-instigated wars – conventional, colonial, counterinsurgency, proxy and civil – and military-backed coups d’etat throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America would be the fruits of the policies advocated by Churchill, inaugurated by Truman and continued by his successors in history’s longest self-proclaimed crusade, that of “containing communism.”

It was the victory of that campaign that Madeleine Albright and her three Eastern European counterparts were celebrating ten years ago by welcoming three former Warsaw Pact nations into what was at the time and remains today the world’s only military bloc.

The Polish visitor’s speech contained a line about the end of the bipolar era, meaning that of the U.S. and Soviet led alliances.

Many in 1991, though far fewer when Geremek spoke eight years later, hoped that the alternative to a bipolar world be be non-polar or at any rate a multipolar one.

The formal accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to NATO and events that followed close on its heels would soon dispel any such illusions. The bipolar world had given way to history’s first unipolar global order.

Even at the time of the accession ceremony the contours of the evolving post-Cold War U.S.- and NATO-dominated world were becoming incontestably clear.

The speeches at Independence were replete with words like freedom, democracy, liberty, independence and self-determination; words that have in earlier periods been noble and inspiring ones, the concepts and practices they represent causes that countless millions have lived and often died for.

However, there have been few occasions throughout human history when even the most ambitious and ruthless tyrants and empire-builders have not invoked one or more of these terms, according to their own lights and for their own purposes, to justify conquest, pillage and in the worst cases extermination of adversaries and their populations.

Grand words are like coins that have become effaced by passing through too many hands, often in illicit transactions.

How sincerely the words were used by Albright and her collaborators was demonstrated even at the time of their meeting and with a savage vengeance shortly thereafter.

There was an empty seat in the Truman Library on March 12 of ten years ago: That of the foreign minister of Slovakia.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are three of the four members of the Visegrad Four grouping established in 1991 to “further European integration.”

The fourth is Slovakia. All four nations joined the European Union simultaneously in 2004.

The Visegrad Four group has been routinely characterized as an alliance of Central European nations; not Eastern European, as the same countries were referred to during the Cold War era.

Geography as well as terminology assume a huge degree of plasticity in the view of NATO nations’ planners and both are harnessed to the cart of geopolitical and military expediency.

Even more preposterously, political leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are now referring to their nations as being in Central Europe; all three countries are on the Baltic Sea and border Russia in one manner or another.

Officials in Georgia and their Western sponsors frequently speak of the nation, especially in reference to NATO membership, as “rejoining Europe.” Georgia lies to the south of Turkey and a sizeable part of the nation is to the east of the eastern-most part of Turkey, which the West considers an Asian nation.

If integration with NATO and the European Union demands as a prerequisite and enforces as a membership rule the uniform subordination to Brussels of a nation’s military, security, defense industry, judicial and economic prerogatives, it also mandates that candidates and new members be whipped into line politically.

Slovakia wasn’t invited to join NATO in 1999 because it was inhabited by a population that interpreted the words thrown around by Western power brokers, especially self-determination and freedom of choice, in the traditional, literal sense. That is, according to Brussels and Washington, they persistently voted the wrong way.

In federal election after federal election Slovaks gave the political party of the country’s first prime minister Vladimir Meciar, the People’s Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), a plurality of their votes.

And just as consistently American, European Union and even NATO officials issued the diktat that not only could the HZDS not form, it could not join, a federal cabinet.

It took five more years before NATO considered the country sufficiently tamed and broken in to join the Alliance.

The genuine, violent and horrific, meaning of what the new expansionist NATO portended for Europe and the world didn’t take long to manifest itself.

Only twelve days after Albright’s conclave in Missouri, with herself as arguably the prime mover NATO launched its first sustained campaign of all-out military aggression, the 78-day Operation Allied Force onslaught against Yugoslavia.

The Czech Republic, Hungary (which then bordered Yugoslavia) and Poland hardly had time to catch their collective breath when they were plunged into the first war against a sovereign European nation since Hitler’s blitzkrieg assaults of 1939-1941.

Unremittingly and with increasing ferocity NATO unleashed an almost three month attack on a small nation with 1,000 warplanes flying over 38,000 combat missions (which included the return of the German Luftwaffe to the skies of Europe for the first time since the defeat of the Third Reich) and, along with cruise missiles launched from warships and submarines in the Mediterranean, spared nothing in an aerial avalanche of cluster bombs, graphite weapons and depleted uranium: Factories, apartment complexes, broadcasting facilities, hospitals, power grids, passenger trains, refugee columns, religious processions and the Chinese embassy.

A month into the conflict the NATO 50th anniversary jubilee summit was held in Washington, DC, where the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were formally inducted into the bloc, one now at war for the first time.

There can be little doubt that the timing of the attack on Yugoslavia on March 24 was coordinated with the scheduled NATO summit on April 23-24 and that the second was planned to celebrate an anticipated capitulation by Yugoslavia and the unveiling of the new, global NATO as the world’s preeminent arbiter of internal as well as international disputes, the redrawing of national borders and the use of military force.

This is in open opposition to the United Nations and international law, both of which had been circumvented, subverted and supplanted by a Western military bloc with the war against Yugoslavia with neither the UN nor international law yet recuperated from the blow.

NATO underestimated Serbian resolve, as Hitler had done in 1941, delaying the arrival of his Wehrmacht to the gates of Moscow for several critically important weeks.

The NATO summit then, far from dragging the pennants of a subjugated nation cum conquered province through the dust and conducting a triumph reminiscent of those of the Rome of the Caesars, was on April 24 rather confronted with considering a ground invasion of the nation it had failed to bomb into submission.

The three new NATO members, none of whom had deployed troops for combat missions since World War II, were close to discovering what joining the “alliance of free nations” actually entailed.

Largely through the treachery of Finland’s Maarti Ahtisaari and the complicity of Russia’s Viktor Chernomyrdin they weren’t provided that opportunity in 1999 but neither did they have to wait long for another.

One of the catchphrases employed at the time that the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were being integrated into NATO was mutual defense; that is, by joining the world’s sole remaining military bloc the three countries would acquire powerful protectors – the United States, Britain, France and Germany most notably – in the event any or all of the three were victims of armed aggression.

This means the activation of NATO’s Article 5, which obligates all Alliance member states to offer military assistance to any other that requests it.

In 1999 Washington and Brussels had a compliant Boris Yeltsin government in power in Russia, one that would have ceded the West anything it asked for short of Cathedral Square in the center of Moscow’s Kremlin, so it was evident that Article 5 in fact had nothing to do with defense but everything to do with joint military action of another nature.

This was two and a half years before NATO and the U.S. seized upon the alleged war on terrorism (prior to that they were inclined in the opposite direction), so mythic threats by non-state actors couldn’t be employed as a pretext for an urgent need to take the three new members under NATO’s collective defense – and nuclear – umbrella.

Other motives were behind doing so, including moving NATO military hardware, surveillance, air patrols, training centers and operational contingencies further eastward up to the Russian border.

But NATO first implemented its mutual military assistance clause because of events and against targets in parts of the world never expected by most: The bloc used the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States to launch a full 19-member military operation in Afghanistan.

In thirty five years as members of the Warsaw Pact the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland had never been called upon to send troops to a war zone; in only 30 months as NATO members they were pulled into what is soon to be an eight-year war in South Asia.

All three nations have troops deployed in Afghanistan and all three have suffered combat fatalities there.

The seven other Eastern European nations that followed them into NATO – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia – and the three that are to follow the above ten – Albania, Croatia and Macedonia – also have troops stationed in the world’s most dangerous war zone, and most all of them, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, had troops stationed in Iraq after March of 2003.

The last three countries have all lost troops there also.

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq and the deployment of a U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad and a British counterpart in Basra, a third, middle zone around the ancient city of Babylon and Karbala was under Polish military command (consisting of up to 7,000 troops) with NATO assistance.

The main Polish base was called Camp Babylon in fact and was the site of desecration and destruction of some of the world’s most treasured artifacts at the hands of new NATO’s occupation forces.

Collectively the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland had not lost a single troop in combat operations since World War II, but now all have done so in two nations, with the Polish death toll in Iraq at 21 and in Afghanistan at 9.

Serving NATO at the expense of one’s nation and people is not limited to killing and dying overseas, however, as the Alliance has endangered the three states at home in addition.

The U.S. intends to station an X-Band radar transferred from the Marshall Islands to the Czech municipality of Brdy as part of a global missile shield system and NATO is constructing a radar installation in the city of Slavkov near the site of the Battle of Austerlitz.

There is fierce and committed local opposition to both deployments, two of the many onerous obligations of NATO membership.

A comparable campaign exists in Hungary to stop the deployment of a NATO radar facility on Tubes Hill near Pecs.

Poland is slated for the most provocative and threatening projects: Ten American interceptor missile silos at or near the Redzikowo airport in Slupsk near the Baltic Sea coast and a Patriot missile battery not too far from Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Redzikowo formerly housed a Nazi German airbase, from where Luftwaffe warplanes took off to bomb Poland itself in World War II.
A decade later the 1999 NATO accession was marked by expensive celebrations and hollow speeches in Budapest, Prague and Warsaw with Madeleine Albright condescending to visit the three capitals – recall she had summoned the foreign ministers to Missouri to recruit them ten years earlier – and Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich opening a “NATO village” on the grounds of the University of Warsaw and decking the capital with NATO flags.

The European Union’s Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General during the time of the three nations’ absorption, boasted of his own accomplishment while waxing enthusiastic over the prospects of the bloc moving yet further east into former Soviet space.

Ex-Czech president Vaclav Havel used the occasion to call for NATO to continue the trend by dragging in Belarus and Ukraine.

Hungarian Defence Minister Imre Szekeres was ordered to Washington during the anniversary to get his latest marching orders from Pentagon chief Robert Gates and current National Security Adviser and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Jones.

Ten years ago there was only one NATO state bordering Russia, Norway, with a narrow corridor linking the two nations.

Now there are four new full members on Russia’s borders – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – and four former Soviet Republics with NATO Individual Partnership Action Plans also abutting Russia – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Finland, a former neutral sharing a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, is being prepared for further NATO integration and has proven its bona fides in this respect by deploying troops under the Alliance’s command in Afghanistan.

A decade after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were absorbed by NATO the state of the world and the landscape of Europe have changed.

Yugoslavia no longer exists, even on maps.

And other nations within or against whom NATO has attacked or conducted other military operations – Bosnia, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan and Somalia – may suffer the same fate.

March 12 is not an occasion for celebration but a cause for the deepest concern and a spur to oppose history’s first attempt at creating a worldwide military bloc ahead of its 60th anniversary summit beginning in less than three weeks.

Categories: Uncategorized

Recent Words Aside, U.S. Continues Military Encirclement Of Russia

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

March 7, 2009

Recent Words Aside, U.S. Continues Military Encirclement Of Russia
Rick Rozoff

American Vice President Joseph Biden at the Munich Security Conference in early February pledged to “press the reset button” with Russia.

Since then prominent Washington officials have repeated their intention to reset, reboot, restart and so forth relations with Russia but have, starting with Biden at Munich, not relented in a substantive manner on any of the behaviors and projects that have antagonized Moscow.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently and American President Obama is to meet with his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev in London early next month.

Russia has permitted the U.S. and its NATO allies transit rights for non-military goods to assist the West’s expanding war in South Asia, though in the process is abetting the extension of the NATO military nexus from the Baltic to the Black to the Caspian Seas and hence tightening the noose around its own neck.

How are the U.S. and NATO demonstrating their supposed resolve to mend ties with Russia, not in words but in deeds?

Starting at Russia’s northwestern most border and proceeding counter-clockwise, in the following manner:

In nine days NATO will commence a ten-day military exercise, Cold Response 2009, consisting of 7,000 troops from thirteen nations in northern Norway, off the coast of the Norwegian Sea, adjoining the Barents Sea and the Russian coast.

It will be a full spectrum exercise with land, naval and air forces simulating an “emergency” military intervention.

The Barents Observer reports:

“This year, about 700 of the participants are special forces. The [imaginary] conflict increased in 2008 when Northland attacked and occupied Midland. After a cease-fire Northland withdraws its forces and a power vacuum which NATO has to fill, occurred.”

Moving slightly southeast, NATO has just completed the four-day Baltic Host 2009 exercise in Estonia, which Russia’s Novosti described as involving “a series of scenarios simulating the arrival and deployment of NATO troops in a member country.”

Participating in the war games were forces from the United States, Britain, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in “the first exercise of this type in the Baltic region, which could become a regular event in the future to improve interoperability between NATO troops.”

Continuing southward, nine days ago Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski met with American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and insisted that American Patriot missiles would be deployed in his country.

The new U.S. Patriot PAC-3 missile covers seven times the area of the original model and has double the range, enabling such missiles in Poland to hit Russian territory in the Kaliningrad region.

Two weeks ago U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a pact with his Polish opposite number Defense Minister Bogdan Klich “to bolster Poland’s special forces and enhance how it operates within the NATO military command structure” as the American armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.

This was two days after Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski said, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine, “that there is much more of a discussion right now within the alliance [NATO], to a large extent because many partners realize that the enemy unfortunately can be much closer to our borders” and “We have to take this into account when we plan the future of the alliance.”

At the same time NATO announced that it was going to establish a permanent military force in Eastern Europe which would draw troops from the NATO Response Force (NRF).

Further pursuing the path south and east along the Russian border, the Chief Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Ihor Tenyukh, announced that the annual U.S.-led Sea Breeze NATO military exercises in Crimea would “be of a larger scale regarding the strength and number of military personnel” than any of its predecessors.

His claim was made within weeks of the signing of the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership.

At the Krakow, Poland meeting of NATO defense chiefs on February 20 the Alliance’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer pledged that “NATO remains ready to assist Ukraine in undertaking comprehensive reforms in its defence and security structures. We are determined to continue to develop this strategic partnership.”

Down the Black Sea coast, NATO’s annual Cooperative Longbow / Cooperative Lancer month-long Caucasus military exercises are to be held in Georgia starting on May 3 and as the Georgian Times reported “Georgia’s participation in NATO trainings is seen as the first serious step NATO has taken after the August conflict and the subsequent creation of the NATO-Georgian Commission in

900 troops from 23 nations will participate in the exercises.

Two weeks ago American defense chief Gates reiterated that the Pentagon has a “continuing security relationship with Georgia both bilaterally and through the NATO-Georgia Commission” and according to Civil Georgia “We’re involved in training. We are involved in military reform in Georgia.”

On the western end of the Black Sea directly across from Georgia – and Russia – the U.S. has begun the two-week Thracian Spring 2009 joint air and infantry exercises with the Bulgarian armed forces, starting at the Washington’s newly acquired Bezmer airbase.

Two weeks ago the U.S. European Command spoke of expanding its military presence in Bulgaria and its Black Sea neighbor Romania: “It is larger in scale than it has been in previous years and we think that is an important consideration. If our current plans hold, we’ll cycle a number of U.S. companies through both Romania and Bulgaria under battalion-level leadership to partner with the Bulgarians and the Romanians for the training that will occur roughly from July
through October. So a larger presence and for a longer period of time….”

Southeast of Georgia and on Russia’s southern flank, U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus announced that Azerbaijan would be used as a transit route for NATO arms headed to the Afghan war theater. The U.S. has also ordered more Azerbaijani troops deployed there to serve under NATO command and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency is considering expanding its global missile shield program to include what is now a Russian surveillance base in Garbala, Azerbaijan.

In late February former U.S. National Security Adviser and arch-Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski stated, “We should work so that Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan do not become victims of the US-Russia dialogue….We should do everything to defend these countries.”

Proceeding steadily toward the east, the Pentagon and NATO have recently secured transit rights for the Afghan war with Kazakhstan, which borders both Russia and China.

A year ago the American Defense Department signed a military treaty with Kazakhstan, and as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Mitchell Shivers vowed, “As a member of NATO, the U.S. is committed to helping Kazakhstan in improving its inter-operability with equipment and training to U.S. and NATO standards.”

The Pentagon continues to participate in the annual Khaan Quest military exercises in Mongolia, which also borders Russia and China.

At the far opposite end of Russia from where this survey began, the Barents Sea, the U.S. has begun ICEX-2009 by deploying nuclear submarines for simulated warfare exercises off the coast of Alaska and into the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

The last such exercise, in 2007, included American and British nuclear submarines maneuvering under the polar ice cap.

Several days earlier the chief of the Russian general staff, General Nikolai Makarov, warned that “Russia will respond to any attempts to militarize the Arctic,” as Reuters reported.

A news dispatch of two days ago mentioned a recent poll that demonstrated half of all Russian adults fear military aggression from foreign nations. Small wonder, notwithstanding ingenuous blandishments from the likes of Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

March 4, 2009

Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
Rick Rozoff

The death of American sociologist C. Wright Mills at 45 years of age in 1962 was an irreparable loss not only to the United States but to the world, and not only to his generation but the three that have succeeded it and on into the indefinite future.

He was as at home quoting Rousseau, Balzac and Jacob Burckhardt, always to good purpose, as he was formulating such concepts and models as military metaphysics, mass society, the higher immorality and the cult of celebrity as early as 1955.

Mills did so in his mature, post-university writings with a simplicity of style and expression matching the profundity and perspicacity of his observations and conclusions.

In his work of the same name Mills defined the sociological imagination as the intersection of biography and history.

The same may be said of politics, particularly world politics, and if the word can still be used in the current “postmodern” and “post-historical” epoch, destiny. Indeed for Mills sociology was no dry discipline, no mere compendium of data and experimental results but living history, the historical dynamic captured in the moment, and perhaps the collective human exemplification of philosophical principles employed in a conscious manner.

History is replete with examples of an individual’s personal trajectory paralleling and illustrating the trends of a historical period and process, for better or worse, with benign or malignant effects. Sometimes with both.

A standard example is that of Talleyrand-Perigord (“Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not”), whose diplomatic career both reflected and affected for the 45 years from 1789-1834 the tumultuous developments in France from the fall of the ancien regime to the abrupt end of its restoration.

A person performing such a role, whether possessed of a more than usual degree of energy and ambition or of a steadily plodding nature, will be the equivalent of a tracer bullet or dye injected into the bloodstream for an angiogram. One can view in the person the intricacy of broader patterns and learn to spot the presence and trajectory of the second by that of the first.

A person matching the description offered, though not likely to be discussed centuries later like Talleyrand or even decades afterward like Mills, is Robert F. Simmonds, Jr.

Biographical information on him is scant and basically reducible to the official sketch provided for him on the NATO website dated December 14, 2007 at:

Dates aren’t often provided, but the NATO site mentions that Simmons was U.S. State Department Deputy Director of the Office of Regional Political and Security Issues in the Bureau of European Affairs at some point presumably in the mid-1990s.

The entry in question mentions that in the above position “[H]e managed U.S. policy in connection with NATO, the OSCE, and European security architecture. The issues he covered included NATO enlargement; NATO adaptation, including the creation of EAPC and PfP; and the development of the role of the OSCE. Previously he was assigned as Deputy Political Advisor to the U.S. Mission to NATO and U.S. Representative to the NATO Political Committee.”

PfP is the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace transitional program to full membership and was inaugurated in 1994. In the intervening years it has absorbed all fifteen former Soviet republics, recently completed grabbing all six former Yugoslav federal republics and every once neutral state in Europe – Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Malta – except for Cyprus, although the European Union has of late applied pressure on the island nation, now that it’s in the EU, to join the Partnership for Peace.

The EAPC is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which subsumes all current NATO members with all candidate and other PfP nations as well as assorted bilateral partnerships, conceivably as many as a third of the countries in the world.

The PfP and EAPC have prepared twelve (with Macedonia thirteen) states for full NATO integration and ten have already become members – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia over the past decade, with Albania and Croatia to join next month at the 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl.

In addition, as mentioned above, Simmons was instrumental in determining “the development of the role of the OSCE,” the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the world’s largest intergovernmental security organization with 56 members in Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America, which assumed its current dimensions and name in 1995.

Although in theory a multinational structure for cooperation in providing and maintaining security throughout greater Europe, the OSCE has evolved into yet another mechanism which the major Western powers employ to threaten other nations on the eastern periphery of NATO and the EU.

Simmons’ role in establishing and consolidating these four post-Cold War initiatives – an expanding NATO, the latter’s Partnership for Peace and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and an Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe under the control of a power not even in Europe, the United States – alone would make him worthy of attention that his career to date has somehow not received.

After performing the functions listed, he, again according to the NATO biographical sketch, “served as Senior Advisor to the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs on NATO. As Senior Advisor, Mr Simmons played a significant role in developing U.S. policy on the full range of NATO and European security issues.”

In 2003 he was transferred from the U.S. State Department to NATO headquarters in Brussels, much as every few years American generals are shifted from the Pentagon to Brussels to assume the mantle of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the first being General Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1951-1952) as well as the complementary position of chief commander of United States European Command.

His transfer to the European branch office of the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, as it were, was to take up new duties described on the same NATO page as “Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Security Cooperation and Partnership in September 2003. As Deputy Assistant Secretary General, he is responsible for NATO-Russia and NATO Ukraine relations, Euro-Atlantic Integration and Partnership, and relations with other organisations, including the European Union.”

His preceding decade in the State Department had prepared Simmons well for his new role and for that which would be added to it the following year, 2004.

It was within months of his move to Brussels that the string of so-called color revolutions commenced in Georgia in November of 2003.

Crafting his plans after the joint CIA, National Endowment for Democracy and Soros Foundation and Open Society Institute effort to topple the government of Yugoslavia in September and October of 2000, Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to the U.S. on a State Department grant in the early 1990s and received his law degree at Columbia University, seized power from standing president Eduard Shevardnadze, who was manhandled by young Kmara thugs trained by their Otpor prototypes in Serbia, and introduced a new model of Western-financed putsches in the former Soviet Union. (1)

In the summer of 1999 a BBC story, “‘CIA ordered to topple Milosevic’: US report,” detailed the genesis and gestation period of Washington’s new and refurbished coup design:

Replete with sledgehammer-wielding toughs, rent-a-mobs attacking the parliament building, ballots in the contested election being burned by Western-controlled “democracy advocates” and suitcases of domestic and foreign currency provided by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright smuggled in from Hungary, the 2000 Belgrade coup was the fons et origo of all subsequent “regime change” campaigns in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, first replicated in Georgia in 2003.

The scenario would be repeated in most every particular a year later in Ukraine, which readers will recall was one of Simmons’ main bureaux at his new NATO post.

The third “color” coup, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, occurred shortly after Simmons added to his NATO portfolio the title and function of the Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia in September of 2004.

The Kyrgyz coup in March of 2005 would emulate to a predictable and even tedious degree those of Georgia and Ukraine, sixteen and three months earlier, respectively.

In all three instances, as with the Yugoslav precedent, well-financed and -organized street demonstrations would accompany and follow national elections in which Western and Western-funded election observers, exit pollsters and media would cry foul when the incumbent appeared to have won and demands for unconstitutional – that is unprecedented and illegal – special elections were put forward as the price for domestic peace.

And in all cases the opposition was a triumvirate of party leaders, two men and a woman. In Georgia the trio consisted of Mikheil Saakashvili, Nina Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania; with Ukraine Viktor Yuchshenko, Yulia Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Moroz; and in Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Roza Otunbayeva and Felix Kulov. Zhvania would die shortly after the so-called Rose Revolution’s first anniversary, with the government attributing his death to accidental causes and his family accusing Saakashvili of ordering his murder.

Such a well-crafted model could not have been created domestically.

Simmons’ former colleagues in the State Department no doubt led the charge, but he himself was no bit player in the new drama, having donned the mantle of NATO’s special envoy to the South Caucasus and Central Asia in the interval between the Georgian prototype and its replication in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

The creation of his new position was one of several initiatives unfolded at NATO’s summit in Istanbul, Turkey in June of 2004.

Indeed never in history had a military bloc at one time expanded so broadly both in terms of new members and partners and in the breadth of its geographical sweep.

The Istanbul summit issued in:

– The incorporation of all former Warsaw Pact members outside the ex-Soviet Union not already brought into NATO, adding Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, inducted in 1999, and eastern Germany which was brought into the Alliance in 1990 with the nation’s reunification

– The accession of the first former Yugoslav federal republic, Slovenia

– The hitherto unimaginable absorption of three former Soviet republics: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

– Under the rubric of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the upgrading of NATO’s seven Mediterranean Dialogue members – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – to a heightened partnership status and the introduction of a formal military alliance with the six Persian Gulf Cooperation Council states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Growing out of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative were Individual Cooperation Programmes with Egypt and Israel

With the three Baltic states and the Black Sea nations of Bulgaria and Romania joining NATO, only Georgia and Ukraine remained to complete a full military cordon along Russia’s entire Western flank. (As will be seen later, Simmons has had a role to play with those two countries’ NATO integration also.)

Simmons’ appointment would extend that presence along Russia’s complete southern one.

His purview includes eight of fifteen former Soviet federal republics and in 2004 two-thirds of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States members: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

The three Caucasus nations are all members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace; Azerbaijan and Georgia have both had troops gaining combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and Armenia deployed troops to the first.

After Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were brought into the NATO fold and the eight nations assigned to Simmons to soften up are added to the column, only Belarus and Moldova remain of the Soviet Union outside of Russia itself.

Moldova sent troops to Iraq under Partnership for Peace obligations and both it and Belarus are now targeted by the European Union’s Eastern Partnership for further distancing from the Commonwealth of Independent States and Russia and to be corralled into the EU-NATO-U.S. paddock.

Though the lion’s share of the task remains with Simmons.

His objective and the underlying geostrategic exigencies actuating it are clear.

“[T]he only alternative [to Kyrgyz] routes into Afghanistan are from the north, through the Central Asian countries….Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are pivotal.

“NATO’s greater strategic interest is in the South Caucasus East-West Corridor, which, some commentators have said for years, is much more than three energy pipelines.

“With NATO allies Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey on the western and southern shores of the Black Sea, Georgia, on the eastern shore, is the natural gateway to a corridor that connects Europe to Afghanistan.” [2]

A Turkish analyst traced the intended trajectory as follows:

“The recent struggle around the Black Sea region has now reached Georgia, having moved from Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria and Romania, one by one.

“Poland and the Czech Republic could be added to this list, since the clash over the missile shield has led to the perception of an encirclement policy.

“The U.S. is gradually directing its resources away from Europe towards the Middle East, the Caucasus and its neighboring regions.” [3]

In conjunction with the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried [4] and its Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (and previously Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy) Matthew Bryza [5] – who arrived at their current posts in May and June of 2005, respectively – reviewing Simmons’ travels and actions over the past year is the best manner in which to examine how his and his superiors’ plan is progressing.

He continues to hold two top NATO posts, that of Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Security Cooperation and Partnership as well as Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, and as such his range is broad though his projects are integrally related.

In January of last year, seven months before the Georgia-Russia Caucasus war and the near U.S./NATO-Russian showdown in the Black Sea, Simmons was paraphrased as advocating that “NATO is ready to contribute to resolution of conflicts in the Black Sea region.”

In his own words,“NATO can play a significant role in the establishment of stability in the region.” [6]

Two days later he was in the capital of Moldova, one of the few post-Soviet nations he’s not directly tasked to draw into NATO, where “According to the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, Robert Simmons will have meetings with Moldovan officials to discuss the current relations between Moldova and NATO, the head of state’s initiatives aimed at solving the Transdniestrian dispute and the implementation of the NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan.” [7]

“Solving the Transdniestrian dispute” alludes to NATO intervening in one of the four so-called frozen conflicts in the ex-Soviet Union. Simmons would attempt to intrude the Alliance into the other three after his trip to Chisinau.

In Azerbaijan in March of the same year, Simmons announced that “NATO is prepared to provide aid to South Caucasus and Central Asia countries to protect energy facilities.” [8]

The above report added “There are large energy facilities in Azerbaijan, including oil and gas terminals in Sangachal, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Novorossiysk and Baku-Supsa and South-Caucasus gas pipelines.”

While in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku he also said that “NATO is ready to consider the membership of Azerbaijan,” as he oversaw the second part of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) for the nation. [9]

Azerbaijan had recently withdrawn its contingent of troops serving with NATO’s Kosovo Command because it feared that the Western-engineered secession of the Serbian province might serve as a precedent for Nagorno-Karabakh, which Baku still insists it will regain by military means.

But the position of the local government – president and parliament alike – meant nothing to Simmons, such is NATO’s contempt even for its partners, who averred “I think the situation on the withdrawal of Azerbaijan’s peacekeeping forces from Kosovo can change.” [10]

His main goal was achieved, though, as he had delivered the second phase of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.

“Simmons said that the key issues in the Plan are training of Azerbaijan’s army for participation in the joint operations with NATO forces, the holding of trainings, as well as military training and support by the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry.” [11]

A few days earlier Simmons had stirred up a controversy by claiming that Uzbekistan had agreed to turn the Khanabad base it had evicted U.S. military forces from almost two years before back over to the Pentagon for the war in South Asia, which elicited this reaction from an Uzbek official: “Farkhad Murtazayev bristled at comments made earlier by NATO special envoy to Central Asia and the Caucasus Robert Simmons, who insisted that Uzbekistan was ready to give its go-ahead.” [12]

And this from the Russian Defense Ministry:

“The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation has…reported that any notices from the military establishment of Uzbekistan about permitting the US to use the Uzbek airbase didn’t come to the Russian Defense Department.

“‘It, maybe, was “a trial balloon,” a sort of probe,’ said a spokesman of the Ministry, meaning the utterances of the representative of NATO.” [13]

Later in March Simmons would repeat his plan for a NATO military buildup in the Caspian Sea, an Alliance complement to former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s proposed Caspian Guard:

“Establishing a military-marine fleet in the Caspian is part of our co-operation with Central Asia and the Caucasus.

“It mostly deals with the defence of infrastructure in the Caspian.

“We are holding talks with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan with regards to the defence of energy facilities, and the issue of establishing a military-marine fleet remains open.” [14]

Another Azerbaijani press source added “He said secure transportation of hydrocarbon resources to Europe is what NATO is concerned about.” [15]

The following month Simmons reprised his intentions, saying “the issue of protecting energy infrastructure belonging both to NATO members and their partners was on the agenda.” [16]

Later in April he was in Kazakhstan promoting the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO and taunting Russia with “Russia protested against the admitting of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary into NATO as well and the enlargement of the Alliance into the Balkan Peninsula. But, these countries became NATO member states.” [17]

Not longer afterward, in Georgia, Simmons met with the nation’s State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili – the person who would help prepare the invasion of South Ossetia and a five-day war with Russia less than four months later – and in reference to a reported Russian overflight the minister said “If Georgia had been a member of the program, then NATO, not just Georgian radars would have registered the April 20 attack of the Russian fighter in Georgian air space and it’s departure to Russian territory.” [18]

This is no record that Simmons did anything other than nod willing agreement to the comments, especially with his statement that “I think it’s fair to say that a number of allies believe that recent Russian actions, which we condemn, do call into question Russian neutrality as an arbitrator or facilitator of the [South Ossetian and Abkhazian peace] process.” [19]

While in the Georgian capital Simmons also consulted with the Georgian Defense Minister and the ambassadors of NATO member states in the nation and the “sides discussed the resources of NATO which can be used in the conflict zones to improve the peacekeeping process there.” [20]

That is to say, Commonwealth of Independent States-mandated peacekeepers must leave and be supplanted by NATO troops so that the U.S.- and NATO-trained Georgian armed forces would have a free hand to invade Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania had finished three weeks earlier and Georgia’s full membership bid had been held up for two reasons: Unresolved conflicts on its soil and foreign (non-NATO) troops in its presumed territory, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Simmons, above, indicated NATO’s plans for eliminating those barriers to complete integration.

Understanding the message that Simmons was delivering, the president of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, responded as reported in a dispatch worth quoting in length:

“The replacement of Russian peacemakers will lead to a direct conflict. We will not let foreigners into Abkhazia and all of us will stand at the border.”

In reference to Simmons’ comments on evicting Russian peacekeepers from his own nation as well as South Ossetia, the Abkhaz president added:

“This right is the right of the strong. This is the same right as the one not to take into consideration of the decision of the Security Council on Yugoslavia.

“Well, the Security Council hasn’t reached any decision, so let’s bomb Yugoslavia!’

“And once the Council didn’t [resolve] the question, they themselves have settled the question regarding Kosovo.

“This is, to our great regret, the right of the strong that now leads to the fact that such an important institute of the world community as the United Nations Organization loses its prestige and becomes pointless.” [21]

The Russian forces didn’t leave as Simmons demanded but war in South Ossetia ensued four months later anyway.

He revisited the issue after Georgia launched an invasion of South Ossetia on August 8 as will be seen further on.

In May of 2008, though, Simmons headed to Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea.

With the sudden death of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, who had run an autarkic government since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country was open to foreign penetration and NATO wasted no time in moving on it, both for military transit and trans-Eurasian energy projects; Simmons’ demand for NATO naval presence in the Caspian Sea two months before was documented earlier.

Meeting with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Simmons pledged that “NATO is going to continue building up its relations with Turkmenistan” and “the interlocutors discussed issues related to cooperation within the format of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, as well as pressing problems related to strengthening stability in the region.” [22]

Turkmenistan is rich, it’s not yet determined how rich, in natural gas, and lies off the southeast corner of the Caspian Sea with Iran to its south.

Securing NATO overflight, basing and surveillance rights in the nation – not to mention deployment of naval forces inside the Caspian – would be a direct threat to Iran and part of the general displacement of both Russia and China from the region and the denial of its resources to both.

The succeeding month, June, Simmons returned to Azerbaijan on the western side of the Caspian directly across from Turkmenistan and Iran’s neighbor to the northwest. There he officiated over annual NATO week events.

During the seven days Simmons oversaw a NATO/Partnership for Peace Trust Fund seminar, “organized for the first time in a partner country” that brought together “NATO member and partner countries, as well as about seventy representatives from the Mediterranean Dialogue [Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia] countries….” [23]

Another illustration of NATO’s integration of European, Caucasus, Central Asian, Middle Eastern and North African nations into a rapidly evolving global military nexus.

Later in the same month, and with the countdown to war in the South Caucasus nearing, Simmons joined the State Department’s Matthew Bryza and Georgia’s Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili in Warsaw, Poland for a meeting of the New Group of Friends of Georgia, which included the participation of “Top officials from the foreign ministries of Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Latvia [and] Bulgaria.” [24]

That is, a month and a half before the Caucasus war commenced, top NATO and U.S. officials orchestrated a meeting of Baltic, Black Sea and other nations to shore up support for the Saakashvili regime in its impending showdown with South Ossetia and Russia.

The very next day, June 25, Simmons was in the world’s newest nation, Montenegro, which of course is neither in the Caucasus nor Central Asia but the Balkans, where he met with deputy ministers of the ministries of defense and foreign affairs and initiated “A first round of consultations at staff level [which] opened the Intensified Dialogue between NATO and Montenegro on 24 June 2008.” [25]

Three months later Simmons would host Bosnia’s Deputy Minister of Defence at NATO Headquarters in Brussels in the first staff level meeting to plan the nation’s Intensified Dialogue with the Alliance. Bosnia and Montenegro have recently been pulled into the Adriatic Charter, a mechanism devised by the US State Department to initially transition Albania, Croatia and Macedonia into full NATO Membership.

Simmons’ role in the integration of the five former Yugoslav republics not already in NATO extends and complements that of expanding the bloc into the Black Sea region, the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin, Central Asia and, as the next paragraph shows, South Asia.

The always mobile Simmons was back in Azerbaijan in late June ordering more Azeri troops for NATO’s Afghan war, in fact doubling them. [26]

After the August 8-12 Georgian-Russian war, one which was fraught with potential for a one-on-one showdown between the world’s two major nuclear powers as Georgia’s army is a U.S. proxy creation and American warships were deployed within kilometers of their Russian opposite numbers in the Black Sea, Robert Simmons was in the Georgian capital to aid in rebuilding the nation’s military capabilities for a new round of hostilities.

He was quoted in Tbilisi stating, “NATO will help Georgia in seven ways. First of all this means air defense and the restoration of defensive infrastructure.” [27]

Meeting with Simmons and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. General John Craddock, Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili said that “NATO’s 26 member-countries will form a special group, which will study the Georgian defence system” and that “the group will study the country’s need in the defence sphere and the size of aid the alliance can render to Georgia.” [28]

During the same visit and apparently to reward Georgia for triggering the Caucasus war of only two weeks prior, Simmons asserted, “I can say that Georgia’s movement towards the action plan for its membership in NATO is operative and I can confirm that Georgia will become a NATO member for sure.” [29]

In October of last year Simmons was back in neighboring Azerbaijan to attend the inauguration of the country’s reelected president, Ilham Aliev, an unconventional role for a special envoy for NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, in the midst of general consultations on Alliance integration.

In January of 2009 after the government of Kyrgyzstan began the process of closing the U.S. and NATO airbase in Manas that had been employed for the war in Afghanistan over several years, Simmons was dispatched to that nation to preserve the base.

Before his departure it was announced that “during the visit a new contact officer for NATO in Central Asia will be introduced.” [30]

An Azerbaijani news source reported on his visit.

“Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said at a news conference in Moscow that the Manas air base would be shut down.

“NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus [and Central Asia] Robert Simmons said during his visit to Kyrgyzstan several days ago that the organization would like to see the continuation of this agreement….” [31]

Leaving Kyrgyzstan, Simmons led a NATO delegation to the capital of Turkmenistan.

Within a few days he headed a delegation of NATO experts to Ukraine to craft the Ukraine-NATO national program for 2009. Note how seamlessly Simmons shifts between his two NATO posts and roles while always advancing a common geostrategic agenda, the campaign to gain control of post-Soviet space and Eurasia as a whole.

Within a few brief months he worked at integrating the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan into NATO; accelerating the integration of ex-Yugoslav nations onto the Alliance’s conveyor belt to imminent membership; demanding that Russian peacekeepers leave Abkhazia and South Ossetia, leaving both open to an onslaught by the Georgian army, trained and armed and advised by the Pentagon and NATO; failing that, rushing to Georgia after the August war to provide assistance in upgrading its military including its air defense system; visiting the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan just as the new U.S. presidential administration assumed power and began to implement the intensification of the war in South Asia.

If Simmon’s work in the South Caucasus, Ukraine and the Balkans is read in Russia as completing the process of its encirclement and if his frequent visits to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea are seen by Iran as efforts to isolate and besiege it, then his efforts to more tightly bind Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the Alliance and its escalating war in Afghanistan (and into Pakistan) will be viewed with serious concern by China, which has borders with the three aforementioned Central Asian nations.

China and Russia have even more reason for apprehension. Roberts Simmons’ post as NATO envoy for the Caucasus and Central Asia pits him and the bloc directly against the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).

Armenia is part of Simmons’ Caucasus assignment and to the degree he succeeds in strengthening NATO’s grip on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, China and Russia both will lose the only collective security partnerships they have in their own neighborhoods in favor of a Western military bloc, effectively depriving them of influence even in bordering nations.

Simmons is his dual capacity at NATO is the main agent in driving the Alliance from the Balkans and the Black Sea through the Caucasus and into Central and South Asia, isolating and separating Russia, China and Iran.

Should that scenario develop, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization would cease to exist and with them the only effective challenges to Pentagon and NATO international military superiority and impunity in Eurasia and in the world as a whole.

In his 1956 volume The Power Elite in the chapter called The Military Ascendancy, C. Wright Mills warned that “war has become seemingly total and seemingly permanent” and that “diplomacy becomes merely a prelude to war or an interlude between wars” in service to “what can only be called a military definition of reality.”

1) The cosmopolite billionaire and self-styled philanthropist George Soros may have postured for eight years as George Bush’s arch-adversary, but when it came to plotting, funding and choreographing multi-hued coup attempts in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia – successfully in Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan, not so yet in Armenia, Belarus, Myanmar and elsewhere – the two Georges worked hand-in-glove.

Former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze and the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union, who was deposed in his nation’s “rose revolution,” himself accused Soros of organizing and funding the uprising.

The following is from a semi-official Georgian website only four months after the putsch:

Capacity Building Fund (CBF), set up with the financial assistance of the UNDP and billionaire philanthropist George Soros, to support governance reforms in Georgia, launches activity and will provide salaries to the Georgian officials.

In a joint news conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the World Economic Forum on January 22, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and George Soros announced the creation of a CBF.

“In total, 5 thousand state officials will receive salary from this fund. However, main attention will be focused on the employees of the law-enforcement agencies,” Director of the Fund Kote Kublashvili told Civil Georgia.

The President of Georgia, the Parliamentary Chairperson and the Prime Minister will receive USD 1500 each, while the Ministers, the Secretary of the National Security Council and the Prosecutor General will have USD 1200 per month.
(Civil Georgia, March 22, 2004,

Since Mikheil Saakashvili’s March on Tbilisi in 2003 George Bush has celebrated and evoked it on every possible occasion as the inspiration and model for his “global wave of democracy.”

So involved have the two Georges been in events in Georgia for the past five years plus that the nation is now doubly eponymous.
2) From Peshawar to Batumi: Time to Realize the East-West Corridor
Georgian Daily, December 29, 2008
3) The new battle zone for global hegemony: the Caucasus
Turkish Daily News, October 22, 2008
4) The State Department web page on Daniel Fried says this about him:
Daniel Fried took the oath of office as Assistant Secretary of State on May 5, 2005. Before taking the helm of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Fried served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council since January 22, 2001.

Ambassador Fried was Principal Deputy Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States from May 2000 until January 2001. He was Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 until May 2000.

Daniel Fried, of Washington, DC, began his career with the Foreign Service in 1977. He served in the Economic Bureau of the State Department from 1977 to 1979; at the U.S. Consulate General in then-Leningrad from 1980 to 1981; as Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1985; and in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the State Department from 1985 to 1987. Ambassador Fried was Polish Desk Officer at the State Department from 1987 to 1989 as democracy returned to Poland and Central Europe. He served as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw from 1990 to 1993.

Ambassador Fried served on the staff of the National Security Council from 1993 until 1997, first as a Director and then as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Central and Eastern Europe. At the White House, he was active in designing U.S. policy on Euroatlantic security, including NATO enlargement and the Russia-NATO relationship.
5) The State Department page on Matthew Bryza

Matthew J. Bryza assumed his duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in June 2005. In this capacity, he is responsible for policy oversight and management of relations with countries in the Caucasus and Southern Europe.

He also leads U.S. efforts to advance peaceful settlements of the separatist conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Additionally, Mr. Bryza coordinates U.S. energy policy in the regions surrounding the Black and Caspian Seas…..

In April 2001, Mr. Bryza joined the National Security Council as Director for Europe and Eurasia, with responsibility for coordinating U.S. policy on Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Caspian energy.

Mr. Bryza served as the deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy from July 1998 to March 2001. In this capacity, Mr. Bryza coordinated the U.S. Government’s inter-agency effort to develop a network of oil and gas pipelines in the Caspian region.

During 1997-1998, Mr. Bryza was special advisor to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. Government assistance programs on economic reform in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Mr. Bryza served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during 1995-1997, first as special assistant to Ambassador Thomas Pickering, then as a political officer covering the Russian Duma, the Communist Party, and the Republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus.

He worked on European and Russian affairs at the State Department during 1991-1995.

Mr. Bryza served in Poland in 1989-1991 at the U.S. Consulate in Poznan and the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, where he covered the “Solidarity” movement, reform of Poland’s security services, and regional politics.

He joined the United States Foreign Service in August, 1988.

Mr. Bryza graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He received his master’s degree in the same field from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is fluent in Russian and Polish, and also speaks German and Spanish.
6), January 14, 2008
7) Reporter.MD, January 16, 2008
8) Trend News Agency, March 7, 2008
9) Interfax, March 8, 2008
10) Azeri Press Agency, March 8, 2008
11) Trend News Agency, March 10, 2008
12) Voice of Russia, March 7, 2008
13), March 7, 2008
14) Trend News Agency, March 21, 2008
15) Azertag, March 27, 2008
16) The Financial [Georgia] April 5, 2008
17) Trend News Agency, April 12, 2008
18) Interfax, April 25, 2008
19) Associated Press, April 24, 2008
20) Rustavi 2, April 25, 2008
21) Interfax, April 25, 2008
22), May 14, 2008
23) Azertag, June 16, 2008
24) Civil Georgia, June 24, 2008
25) NATO International, June 25, 2008
26) Today.AZ, June 28, 2008
27) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 21, 2008
28) Trend News Agency, August 22, 2008
29) Focus News Agency, August 22, 2008
30) Trend News Agency, January 30, 2009
31) Trend News Agency, February 4, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

February 27, 2009

Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict
Rick Rozoff

Since the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, the third war by major Western powers against defenseless nations that had not threatened any other country (Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001 being the previous examples) in a four-year span, speculation has been rife as to which country would be the next target of military attack and where the next war would ensue.

So accustomed has the world become to expecting if not accepting wars, serial and gratuitous, to occur in the natural order of things that the discussion has centered not so much on whether war should be waged or whether it will be but solely on which nation or nations will be the next victim or victims of an unprovoked military onslaught.

In such an environment of international lawlessness and heightened alarm over military threats, otherwise minor contretemps and even fears of a neighbor’s and potential adversary’s intents can spark a conflict – and a conflagration.

The world has been on edge for a decade now and a form of numbing has set in with many of its inhabitants; a permanent condition of war apprehension and alert has settled over others, particularly those in areas likely to be directly affected. Over the past six years the worst and most immediate fears have centered on the prospects of three major regional conflicts, all of which are fraught with the danger of eventual escalation into nuclear exchanges.

The three are a renewed and intensified Indian-Pakistani conflict, an outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula and an attack by the U.S., Israel or both in unison against Iran.

The first would affect neighbors both in possession of nuclear weapons and a combined population of 1,320,000,000.

The second could set Northeast Asia afire with China and Russia, both having borders with North Korea, inevitably being pulled into the vortex.

The last could lead to an explosion in the Persian Gulf and throughout the Middle East, with the potential of spilling over into the Caspian Sea Basin, Central and South Asia, the Caucasus and even the Balkans, as the U.S. and NATO have strategic air bases in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and, at least for the time being, Kyrgyzstan that would be employed in any major assault on Iran, and the latter would retaliate against both land- and sea-based threats as best it could.

In the event that any of the three scenarios reached the level of what in a humane and sensible world would be considered the unthinkable – the use of nuclear weapons – the cataclysmic consequences both for the respective regions involved and for the world would be incalculable.

Theoretically, though, all three nightmare models could be geographically contained.

There is a fourth spot on the map, however, where most any spark could ignite a powder keg that would draw in and pit against each other the world’s two major nuclear powers and immediately and ipso facto develop into a world conflict. That area is the Baltic Sea region.

In 2003, months before NATO would grant full membership to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Russian Defense Minister at the time, Sergei Ivanov, warned that such a development would entail the deployment of NATO, including American, warplanes “a three-minute flight away from St. Petersburg,” Russia’s second largest city.

And just that occurred. NATO air patrols began in 2004 on a three-month rotational basis and U.S. warplanes just completed their second deployment on January 4 of this year.

Had history occurred otherwise and Soviet warplanes alternated with those of fellow Warsaw Pact nations in patrolling over, say, the St. Lawrence Seaway or the Atlantic Coast off Nova Scotia, official Washington’s response wouldn’t be hard to imagine or long in coming.

A 2005 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council confirmed that the U.S. maintained 480 nuclear bombs in Europe, hosted by six NATO allies, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey.

More recent estimates indicate that over 350 American nuclear weapons remain in Europe to the present time.

If the six above-mentioned nations continue to host nuclear arms, what would new NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – the first and third currently governed by former U.S. citizens, president Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Valdas Adamkus, respectively – deny the Pentagon?

In the interim between the accession of the three Baltic states and former Soviet republics into NATO and now, the Alliance as a whole and the U.S. in particular have expanded their permanent military presence within all three nations: Estonia and Latvia which both border the main body of Russia and Lithuania which abuts the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

All three nations have been tapped for expeditionary deployments in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, where their complete NATO integration is effected through combat zone training and, as is the case with Estonian forces recently, direct participation in active combat operations in Afghanistan.

Along with the agreement reached by Washington to station interceptor missiles in Poland – on the Baltic coast, only 200 kilometers from the Russian border – NATO’s absorption of three nations directly bordering Russia and within a short striking distance of both St. Petersburg and Moscow itself has belied the U.S.’s promise in 1990 not to expand NATO “one inch eastward” and created a situation for Russia that, were it reversed, the U.S. and its NATO allies would consider intolerable and a veritable casus belli.

After a series of computer attacks in Estonia in early 2007, which the authorities in Tallinn blamed on hackers in Russia and then the Russian government itself, the accusations dutifully taken up by Western officials and media through open assertion or repeated insinuation, NATO announced that it was establishing a so-called Cyber Defense Center in the nation’s capital.

The operation, now called the Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, was accredited in November of 2008 and “activated as an International Military Organisation by a decision of the North Atlantic Council.” (1)

One person’s defense is another’s aggression – wars after all are declared and waged by what call themselves departments and ministries of defense – and what in fact NATO has initiated is a cyber warfare center with the means for conducting intelligence gathering, sophisticated surveillance and when the need arises the immobilizing of the enemy’s communications, command and control systems.

Shortly after the cyber attacks in Estonia in May of 2007, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne first invoked what will be the main theme of this article in asserting: “The Russians have denied that this was their action, contrary to all the evidence. However, the good news is the attacks didn’t shut down this small country. But it did start a series of debates within NATO and the EU about the definition of clear military action and it may be the first test of the applicability of Article V of the NATO charter regarding collective self-defense in the non-kinetic realm.” [2]
Six months earlier ranking Senator Richard Lugar, at the time chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued this demarche to Russia:

“Article 5 of the NATO charter identified an attack on one member as an attack on all. It was also designed to prevent coercion of a NATO member by a non-member state….[A]n attack using energy as a weapon can devastate a nation’s economy and yield hundreds or even thousands of casualties, the alliance must avow that defending against such attacks is an Article 5 commitment.” [3]
The main paragraph of NATO’s Article 5 reads:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

The only time in NATO’s sixty year history the article has been invoked and acted upon is after the attacks in New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001. (Though it was used on a smaller scale in 2003 to dispatch Patriot missiles and AWACS to Turkey on the eve of the war against Iraq.)

Article 5 was the pretext NATO used to justify its role in the invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001, NATO’s first ground war and its first war in Asia.

A war now in its ninth calendar year and set to escalate further as the tenth approaches and one which has served as the pretext for NATO also launching attacks inside Pakistan and stationing its military in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to follow.

Notwithstanding attempts by NATO and assorted Western government officials to portray it otherwise, for example as a vague pledge for mutual support in the event of natural catastrophes, Article 5, as the language above demonstrates, is an obligation to take collective military action by all twenty-six member states – including those which account for half the entire world’s military spending and those with five of the world’s eight largest military budgets, NATO states collectively having spent $1.049 trillion of the $1.470 trillion allotted for arms worldwide last year – against any state deemed to pose a threat to any member.

Article 5 is a war clause.

Not a defense against armed aggression but a mechanism for waging war under whichever rubric and for whatever ostensible reason the bloc or any individual member of it chooses.

As evidenced above, it is openly being discussed in reference to cyber attacks and energy concerns. NATO has also identified such disparate topics as food shortages, water wars, piracy, poaching, drug trafficking, terrorism, failed states and uranium smuggling as examples of alleged strategic mutual threats to Alliance members and the bloc as a whole.

The above catalogue of reasons for NATO activating its mutual military assistance article was enumerated prior to August 8, 2008 when Georgia unleashed its military, armed and trained and advised by the Pentagon and NATO, on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers based there, in a move calculated to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing that same day.

Having failed in its blitzkrieg drive to the Roki Tunnel to head off Russian reinforcements preparatory to launching a parallel invasion of Abkhazia, the Saakashvili regime turned to the U.S. and NATO to bail it out.

The first to arrive in the Georgian capital to pledge support to the aggressor were the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine on August 12 while the war was still raging.

The talk in the main Western capitals at the time was of the applicability of NATO’s Article 5 to candidates in addition to full members of the Alliance.

Although the three Baltic states were overtly aiding and encouraging one of the belligerents, in fact the initiator of the war, and although the chief of the Georgian Defense Ministry International Relations Department Nino Bakradze acknowledged on August 14 that fifty Latvian mercenaries had enlisted in the Georgian army to fight Russia (4), Western government and media sources engaged in an hysterical campaign to convince the world that the Baltic states and Ukraine were only minutes away from Russian invasions, with Moscow’s tanks on the outskirts of Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius and Kiev.

At this point and for months afterward the threat of employing NATO’s Article 5 was resounding broadcast in Western capitals.

Representative samples include:

In a joint column in the Wall Street Journal just two weeks after the war ended U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham wrote:

“Contingency planning for the defense of all member states against conventional and unconventional attack, including cyber warfare, needs to be revived. The credibility of Article Five of the NATO Charter – that an attack against one really can and will be treated as an attack against all – needs to be bolstered.” [5]
A month later U.S. President Georgia Bush said, “It’s important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment through, for example, Article 5 of the treaty, we mean it.” [6]
In New York City at the time, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski “said NATO must get back to the basics of exerting its role as a military organisation in light of the war [in the Caucasus],” reminding his audience that “as the Atlantic alliance we have nukes too.” [7]
In announcing that he and all twenty-six NATO ambassadors would visit Georgia to demonstrate and provide support to Saakashvili, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was joined by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who added: “Members of NATO states are confident Article 5 works. In this context NATO’s visibility in Estonia has importance. Today we see it in the form of the airspace guarding operation. There should be more such elements in the future.” [8]
American NATO ambassador Kurt Volker “said Nato was firmly committed to defending the Baltic states from attack because they were signatories to the alliance’s Article 5, which commits countries to come to the defence of fellow members.” [9]
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said “NATO states back a U.S. call to show the alliance is prepared to defend Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from any attack after Russia’s intervention in Georgia” and in the same press report Kurt Volker said, “We will have to make sure…that the Article 5 commitment is realizable, not just as a political matter, but as a military matter too.” [10]
The U.S. State Department’s Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, visiting Lithuania in October, said “Lithuania is a NATO member, and NATO is a serious organization, and Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides for collective security, is a serious obligation,” and speaking as it were ex officio for the Alliance further affirmed that “NATO is now authorized to do what it should do: to revise how the Alliance is ready to fulfill its obligations under Article 5.” [11]
While also in the capital of Lithuania, the U.S.’s top military commander, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, reiterated that “NATO’s commitment under Article Five for mutual defence is a very real commitment and it is one that NATO, I am confident, would stand up to.” [12]
In meeting with Pentagon chief Robert Gates in November of last year, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was confident that “NATO will operate under the principle of Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is treated as an attack on all,” and added “NATO has plans to defend all members of the alliance.” [13]
The Pentagon’s Press Secretary Geoff Morrell characterized Gates’s own position as wanting to “send a very strong signal of his support for Ukraine and the Baltic States and our other NATO allies from Eastern Europe that the United States stands firmly behind them.” [14]
A month before NATO Supreme Allied Commander (and top military chief of the Pentagon’s European Command) General John Craddock had dropped the final veil and, in recounting that “Prior to the Russian incursion in Georgia, Nato members had refused to draw up plans to fight the Russian military in Eastern Europe,” but now he “has asked for the political authority to draw up contingency defence plans at a Nato meeting in Budapest later this week.”

Indeed “Nato’s top military commander has demanded the authority to draw up detailed military plans to defend former Soviet bloc members for the first time since the alliance expanded eastward” and he “has already proposed that Estonia, the Baltic state that has a 20 per cent Russian speaking minority, should be the first country to undergo a formal military risk assessment.” [15]
Craddock has taken the call by the Polish foreign minister recorded above to its logical conclusion – to actively prepare NATO for war in Europe, namely on its northeast frontier – one which has been intensified evenly more dangerously this year at the Munich Security Conference this month and since.

This year’s acceleration of those plans will be detailed after a brief chronicle of how NATO has matched its pronouncements with actions.

During the last few months alone the following initiatives have been added to NATO’s buildup in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania:

– In mid-September General Roger Brady, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO air forces chief, visited Lithuania and inspected its main airbase.

– At the same time NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was in the Baltics to inspect the Alliance’s naval exercise Open Spirit 2008 and to meet with officials of the three nations, during which trips he stated “NATO is a very flexible organisation and our planning system is also very flexible” in reference to “Baltic fears over Russia.” [16]
– In late October Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Lithuania meeting with President Valdas Adamkus, where “Adamkus expressed confidence that NATO is a guarantee of security for the Baltic states, while Mullen spoke of the United States as a reliable ally of Lithuania….” [17]
– Also in October NATO conducted the Strong Shield 2008 war games in Lithuania which trained over a thousand troops from the three Baltic states for the Baltic Battalion to be assigned to the NATO Response Force.

– NATO warplanes from the U.S., Poland and Denmark conducted the Quick Reaction Alert exercises over Baltic skies.

– In the same month the American warship USS Doyle joined a Lithuanian counterpart for joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea.

– In November NATO held the Viking ‘08 military exercises in Latvia to train and integrate NATO and Partnership for Peace forces.

– Days later the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency confirmed that it would provide Lithuania with advanced air radar.

– Still in November, the US 493rd EFS [Expeditionary Fighter Squadron] deployed to the Siauliai airbase in Lithuania “to provide air policing for the independent and democratic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to fulfill NATO air defense commitments in the region.” [18]
– At the end of the month the Czech Republic stated that its newly acquired supersonic Jas-39 Gripens would be tested out in the Baltic in “the biggest Czech military mission in modern history.” [19]
– In the beginning of last December it was reported that “The Baltic states are interested in entering into talks with Nordic nations about the basis for a regional defense strategy under the so-called Nordic-Baltic 8 format” and that the “Baltic governments are working on a common air-defense solution with NATO.” [20]
– On the same day it was reported that Lithuania called for the extension of Baltic patrols by NATO warplanes for another decade, until 2018, and issued a draft that included the call for “the deployment of allied forces: and “Sea, airport and other infrastructures necessary for or incoming back-up forces in Lithuanian territory”. [21]
– A week later the U.S. hosted the 2009 BALTOPS exercise, which gathered together delegations from Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United States – that is the expanded Baltic front against Russia – with the head of the German naval delegation saying, “Normally, we don’t train with the United States, so this is the only time we have training with Americans inside the Baltic. It’s a very important thing.” [22]
– On the same day NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and NATO spokesman James Appathurai pledged an “increase of NATO presence and visibility in both Ukraine and in Georgia. The same is about Latvia you know, we’re going to increase NATO visibility in Latvia including air policing and training, military training, and also military exercises.” [23]
– Later in the month the U.S. Air Force and NATO dispatched engineers for the expansion and upgrading of Lithuanian air basing capacities with an American Air Force officials stating, “This base is undergoing an evolution and as new NATO partners, we can help them expand to allow more aircraft to occupy this space. The airbase will be a first-rate, top-of-the-line fighter base once everything’s complete.” [24]
At the 2009 Munich Security Conference British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said:

“NATO provides a commitment to collective defence. The Article 5 Guarantee and the integrated military structures reassure each and every one of our Allies that their borders are inviolable.”

Neither Europe nor the world required a further reminder of the fact, but Miliband’s words foreshadowed a concrete implementation for NATO military plans in Europe as two weeks later his government proposed “that Nato member states should set up a standing force of 3,000 troops that would be permanently committed to defending the Alliance’s collective territory from any future attack.” [25]
At last week’s NATO defense ministers meeting in Krakow, Poland Britain’s Defence Secretary John Hutton argued “that [a] standing force should be created to underpin Nato’s Article 5 commitment to the mutual defence of any member state that finds itself under threat” and “that the creation of the standing force would be reassuring to Nato’s eastern European members – above all the Baltic states….” [26]
American expatriate and current Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves had anticipated Hutton by two weeks when at the Munich Conference he advocated:

“No longer can we assume that international aggression, (as opposed to the civil wars of the Balkans) is excluded as a possibility in Europe….We can and must revisit the assumptions held in the past 17 years about the use of military force in Europe and we must follow our own legislation to ensure that we not become politically hostage to energy supplied by an outside power….NATO itself must deal with the new paradigm of in area armed aggression….”

Between the Munich and the Krakow gatherings NATO’s Baltic clients performed their appointed roles with Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene stating she plans to tell her American counterpart Robert Gates “that Lithuania would like to see NATO and the United States expand their presence in the Baltics, considering the nervousness that has followed Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August.” [27]
Not since the end of World War II, since the advent of the nuclear era, have major powers, ones moreover united in the world’s first global military bloc, so openly brandished plans for military action in Europe and just as indisputably named their intended target.

NATO has been pounding a steady, relentless drumbeat for the activation of its collective military plans in the Baltic Sea region and all it will take to bring that about is something as otherwise insignificant as the crash of an Estonian government website or Western proxies in Ukraine refusing to pay standard market prices for Russian natural gas. Nothing more.

1) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, November 13, 2008
2) Air Force Link, June 1, 2007
3) International Herald Tribune, November 28, 2006
4) Interfax, August 14, 2008
5) Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2008
6) Associated Press, September 29, 2008
7) Reuters, September 26, 2008
8) Trend News Agency, September 13, 2008
9) Financial Times, September 4, 2008
10) Reuters, September 3, 2008
11) Interfax, October 3, 2008
12) Reuters, October 22, 2008
13) U.S. Department of Defense, November 12, 2008
14) Voice of America News, November 11, 2008
15) Daily Telegraph, October 7, 2008
16) Reuters, September 12, 2008
17) Interfax, October 22, 2008
18) United States European Command, November 20, 2008
19) Czech News Agency, November 25, 2008
20) Defense News, December 3, 2008
21) Permanent NATO mission priority for Lithuania
       Baltic Times, December 3, 2008
22) United States European Command, December 10, 2008
23) NATO, December 10, 2008
24) United States European Command, December 19, 2008
25) Financial Times, February 18, 2009
26) Ibid
27) Associated Press, February 11, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East

August 27, 2009 1 comment

February 21, 2009

Black Sea: Pentagon’s Gateway To Three Continents And The Middle East
Rick Rozoff

The Black Sea region connects Europe with Asia and the Eurasian land mass to the Middle East through Turkey on its southern rim, which borders Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The northern Balkans lie on its western shores and the Caucasus on its eastern end, the latter a land bridge to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.

Ukraine, Russia and the strategic Sea of Azov are on its northern perimeter.

Given its central location, the Black Sea has been coveted for millennia by major powers: The Persian and Roman empires, Greeks and Hittites, Byzantines and Huns, Ottoman Turkey and Czarist Russia, even by Napoleon’s France and Hitler’s Germany in their wars to unite Europe to Asia and the Middle East.

The famed Trojan War was fought for control of Troy/Dardania/Ilium, the entrance to the Sea of Marmara which connects the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. The strait connecting the two is still called the Dardanelles after ancient Dardania.

Going back to antiquity a third continent has also been involved, Africa; the Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Black Sea city of Colchis, now in modern Georgia, was founded by Egyptians and in Virgil’s if not Homer’s account of the siege of Troy Memnon, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), is slain by Achilles fighting in defense of Troy.

A Romanian news source recently reiterated the importance of the region for the modern era:

“Through the Black Sea, the European area strategically meets Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, hydrocarbon production and transit areas.” [1]

Allusions to the Black Sea’s importance for not only energy and transit but for world military purposes will occur frequently in citations to follow.

Prior to the breakup of the Warsaw Pact in 1990 and the Soviet Union a year later the Black Sea was mainly off limits to the West in general and to the Pentagon and NATO in particular. Until 1991 only four states bordered the sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Soviet Union.

Turkey as a key NATO member state was the West’s sole beachhead in the region with Bulgaria and Romania, the second more nominally than in fact, members of the Eastern bloc and the Warsaw Pact.

In the intervening eighteen years the situation in this region, like so many others, has been transformed and a new battle for control of it has emerged.

There have arisen two new littoral states, Georgia and Ukraine, with Abkhazia added last August, and every past Warsaw Pact nation outside the former Soviet Union is currently a full member of both NATO and the European Union – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the former German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – with three former Soviet republics on the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – also dual members.

As an Indian commentator, Premen Addy, described it last summer:

“NATO’s noose is drawn ever tighter round the Russian neck. American military and missile bases are already ensconced in Romania and Bulgaria – two states once in harness with Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and the invading Nazi legions into the USSR – in a bid to strangle the possible emergence of a rival centre of power in the Black Sea….” [2]

A year earlier the online intelligence site The Power and Interest News Report in an analysis called “Bulgaria, U.S. Bases and Black Sea Geopolitics” summarized the situation regarding one key Black Sea state in the following words:

“Geographically speaking, Bulgaria provides the U.S. (and N.A.T.O.) a greater presence in the Black Sea, through which there are plans to build oil and gas pipelines.

“Also, it is close to the former Yugoslavia, a place of constant tensions, particularly in the last decade.

“The [new Pentagon] bases allow the U.S. to keep increased control of the country and the Greater Middle East region, as Washington now has a military presence in the south (America’s 5th fleet is based in Bahrain) and will have a presence in the north through nearby Bulgaria.” [2]


Since 1991 but especially since the December 2003 “Rose Revolution” the United States has transformed Georgia on the Black Sea’s eastern border into a private military preserve, first dispatching Green Berets, then Marines to train, equip and transform the nation’s armed forces for wars abroad and at home.

The revamped Georgian army was first tried out in Iraq, where with a 2,000-troop contingent it had the third largest foreign force in Iraq until last August when the U.S. military, whose creation it was, flew the soldiers home for the war with Russia.

Before the echoes of last August’s gunfire and artillery rounds had died down the U.S. sent its warship the USS McFaul to the Georgian port city of Batumi and the flagship of its Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, to Poti whose mission was announced to the chronically credulous as delivering “juice, powdered milk and hygiene products.”

Batumi is the capital of Ajaria (Adjaria), a former autonomous region subjugated by the then newborn “Rose” regime in April of 2004 after its American-trained army staged Georgia’s largest-ever military exercises in nearby Poti and threatened invasion, lies just south of the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi, where Russian ships were then stationed. Warships of the world’s two major nuclear powers faced off against each other off the Black Sea coast just 75 kilometers apart.

At the same time NATO deployed a naval strike group to the Black Sea consisting of three U.S. warships, a Polish frigate, a German frigate and a Spanish guided missile frigate as well as four Turkish vessels with eight more warships planning to join the flotilla.

The NATO warships were only 150 kilometers from their Russian counterparts then docked in Abkhazia.


On the north end of the Black Sea the U.S. has led annual Sea Breeze NATO exercises in Ukraine’s Crimea, evoking mass outrage and spirited protests from the Crimeans themselves whose parliament three days ago voted against a proposed U.S. representative office being set up, one which no doubt would oversee both the suppression of increased autonomy demands and anti-NATO actions in Crimea and prepare the groundwork for the eviction of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol.

Regarding the second point, a Russian news site offered these insights:

“Analysts speak about Ukrainian plans to kick out Russia and turn over the Crimean bases to NATO and the United States, as both salivate for a military presence in the Black Sea Basin.” [4]

“One of the conditions for NATO membership is absence of foreign bases on the country’s territory….[Ukraine’s “orange” authorities] do what they can to drive away the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Crimea. In such a way Kiev signals to Brussels that it is preparing a base for NATO naval ships in the Black Sea.” [5]

Georgia’s and Ukraine’s next, complete, phase of integration as Pentagon military outposts was announced last December and January, respectively, when Washington signed Strategic Partnership Charters with first Kiev and then Tbilisi. Months before that and only days after Georgia launched its attack on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers there, triggering last August’s war, all 26 NATO members sent representatives as part of a delegation to the Georgian capital to establish a new NATO-Georgia Commission.

At the same time the regime of Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko, who rode to power on the U.S.-financed and -directed “orange revolution” of December 2004, and whose wife Kathy is a Chicago-born and -raised former official in the Reagan State Department and the George H. W. Bush Treasury Department and was once described by a fawning admirer as “a Reaganite’s Reaganite,” used the deployment of Russian ships to the Black Sea during the war with Georgia to apply pressure on the Black Sea Fleet, at one point implying the ships might not be permitted to return to Sevastopol.

Several weeks after the Caucasus war ended, Washington sent an intelligence gathering ship, U.S. Pathfinder, to Sevastopol harbor.

The Yushchenko government renewed its accusations against the Russian fleet late last month on another score, slightly over a month after the Charter on Strategic Cooperation was signed with Washington.

The Black Sea connects with the Sea of Azov, surrounded almost entirely by Russia, at the Kerch Strait, the scene of a confrontation between Russia and Ukraine in 2003.

A Russian newspaper at the time explained what was at stake in the dispute:

“The Kerch Strait at the center of Russia’s dispute with Ukraine controls access to the Azov Sea, which is reputed to have largely untapped hydrocarbon reserves.

“Ownership rights to potential oil and gas resources have not been decided between the two countries, despite years of negotiations to delimit the seabed.

“Although unlikely to be a second Caspian, geologists believe the Azov Sea is likely part of the same seam of hydrocarbon deposits that stretches from southern Ukraine and Russia through the Black Sea to the Caspian and beyond.” [6]

The U.S.’s Stratfor augmented the above with this brief analysis:

“The Kerch Strait is a 25-mile-long channel that is no wider than 9 miles, linking the critically important Black Sea to the Sea of Azov off of Russia’s Northern Caucasus border. It has served as a key location for some strategic battles in the past from the Crimean wars to a Nazi-Soviet naval clash. To Russia, the Kerch Strait is a continuation of the Northern Caucasus into Ukraine’s Crimea regions, which is one of the country’s most pro-Russian regions and home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet located at Sevastopol.” [7]

More concisely and even more to the point, a few weeks ago this quote appeared in a Ukrainian press wire report:

“Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations require that it solves all its problems, including border disputes. They need a border [in the Kerch Strait] for just one reason: to be able to join NATO as soon as possible.” [8]

Bulgaria and Romania

Washington has signed Strategic Partnership Charters with both Georgia and Ukraine over the past two months and the two nations are the centerpieces for Washington’s takeover of the Black Sea and indeed the former Soviet Union as a whole.

They are the main fulcra for the U.S.-created GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) bloc originally set up in 1997 as the main transit route for 21st century Eurasian energy wars and for undermining and undoing the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. They are also the foundation stones of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership.

But to date the main emphasis of the Pentagon’s campaign to conquer the Black Sea region, and arguably the major focal point for its international shift to the east and the south, is with Bulgaria and Romania.

Both nations were formally brought into NATO at the 2004 Istanbul summit of the Alliance and since became the last – perhaps in both senses of the word, most recent and final – members of the European Union.

Earlier, Bulgaria and Romania both denied Russia use of their airspace to transport supplies to troops they had moved into Kosovo in June of 1999.

Russia was acting within its rights under the terms of UN Resolution 1244 to protect ethnic minority communities in the Serbian province, but clearly Bulgaria and Romania were following U.S. and NATO orders in blocking the flights.

Whether, if Russia had persisted in its intent, the two nations would have grounded the Russian aircraft or even shot them down is a matter of conjecture, though perhaps not much.

Later Romania allowed the U.S. to use its Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base in 2002 for the buildup to the following March’s invasion of Iraq.

In December of 2005 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the Romanian capital to sign an accord to use – take control of – four military bases, the aforementioned Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and training and firing grounds in Babadag, Cincu and Smardan.

The U.S.’s explanation at the time was that it was to employ the four bases for training, including joint and multilateral exercises, provision of supplies and transit for the downrange wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And Romanian territory has served those purposes ever since.

In April of the following year, 2006, Washington signed a comparable agreement with neighboring Bulgaria for the use of three of its major military bases – the Bezmer air base, the Novo Selo army training range and the Graf Ignatievo airfield.

Both pacts were signed for an initial ten year duration.

The U.S. was allowed to station troops – estimates vary from 5,000-10,000 – on a rotating or permanent basis in both countries.

In the case of Bulgaria it will be the first time foreign troops have been stationed on its soil since Nazi Wehrmacht forces were driven out in 1944 and with Romania since Soviet troops withdrew in 1958.

The seven sites in both countries will be the first U.S. military bases in former Warsaw Pact territory.

The Bezmer air base in Bulgaria is a major facility, similar in scope to Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu, and its scale and purpose for current and futures campaigns in the east and south are indicated by this Bulgarian description:

“[T]he airbase…according to the US-Bulgarian agreement…will acquire the status of a strategic military facility in two years, like the Incirlik airbase in Turkey and Aviano in Italy.” [9]

The same newspaper added that, “The Bezmer military airport near the town of Yambol (southeastern Bulgaria) will be transformed into one of the six new strategic airbases outside US borders.” [10]

Britain’s Jane’s Defence Weekly in late 2006 informed its readers of the strategic sweep of the Pentagon’s move into the Black Sea:

“[T]he new land, sea and airbases along the Black Sea will provide much improved contingency access for deployments into Central Asia, parts of the Middle East and Southwest Asia. [11]

From the other end of the planet Lin Zhiyuan, deputy office director of the World Military Affairs Research Department of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, saw the developments through the same lens but with trepidation:

“[N]ew military bases, airports and training bases will be built in Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and other nations to ensure ‘gangways’ to some areas in the Middle East, African and Asia in possible military actions in the years ahead.” [12]

Both preceding analyses were confirmed by the U.S. military itself the following year when Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the U.S. Army Europe operations chief and deputy chief of staff, spoke of Romania to an armed forces publication:

“It’s in a critical location with emerging partners, at a location which is really a place that has been a historical transit route for bad guys.”

The interview added “The bases would house rotating U.S. troops that would train under the command of Joint Task Force East, headquartered at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base.

“The U.S. signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement with Romania in December 2005 to allow U.S. forces to use the former communist nation for training, pre-positioning of equipment and, if necessary, staging and deploying troops into war zones.” [13]

Two months after the U.S.-Bulgarian agreement the U.S. led joint military training exercises in Bulgaria in which the head of local troops involved effused, “We want to be certified as part of NATO forces. We want to conduct expeditionary exercises as part of NATO.” [14]

The war games, named Immediate Response 2006, were designated to break in the new bases in Bulgaria and Romania and to implement the Rumsfeld era Pentagon’s plans for military “lily pads” from which to spring into action to points east and south.

In reporting on the exercise the main newspaper of the American armed forces provided this background perspective:

“According to the agreements, the U.S. would be able to use the Romanian and Bulgarian bases for pre-positioning of equipment, and to send U.S. troops and equipment into war if necessary. The ‘forward operating sites,’ as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calls them, would be in Romania at the Smardan Training Range, Babadag Training Area and Rail Head, Mihail Kogalniceanu air base, and Cincu Training Range.” [15]

A Bulgarian civilian cited by the same source said, “Every day we can see them (U.S. troops) in the cities and villages.” [16]

By September of the same year, “Sofia and Washington are to sign about 13 additional agreements to regulate the joint usage of several military bases in Bulgaria.

“Defence Minister Veselin Bliznakov has announced that next week US European Command (EUCOM) experts will arrive in Bulgaria to draw a draft document.” [17]

The pacts with Bulgaria and Romania are, as usual in such instances, to be jointly used by NATO, as all three signatories are members of the bloc.

In a U.S. armed forces dispatch titled “England-based airmen head to NATO exercise in Bulgaria” it was reported that a British “squadron plans to test-fire laser-guided and general-purpose weapons at a Bulgarian range, as well as conduct air-to-air training with the Bulgarian MiG-29 and -21 aircraft” in war games coded Exercise Immediate Response. [18]

Later NATO continued its leapfrogging over the Pentagon into Bulgaria as detailed in an article called “NATO bases may be set up near Bulgaria’s Sungulare” which included this report:

“NATO asked if the former buildings of a tank brigade in the town of Aitos could be turned into a reserve storage base.

“NATO planned to store here the equipment for one or two battalions, which would be based in the military bases of Novo Selo and Bezmer.” [18]

In fact what NATO achieved was securing a base of its own.

“NATO will pay 150 million US dollars to the municipality of Sungurlare (central Bulgaria) in exchange for a plot of municipal land for the construction of a military base.” [20]

The comparison between the Bulgarian Bezmer air base and the U.S.’s and NATO’s main strategic air (bombing) bases in Aviano, Italy and Incirlik, Turkey was established earlier and this report later confirmed the analogy’s accuracy, though immediately in reference to another air base.

“NATO will move aircraft from the US air base in Aviano, northeastern Italy, to Bulgaria’s Graf Ignatievo air base near Plovdiv.” [20]

The above news item described the transfer as temporary, but it may have been a portent of what is planned for the future.

Aviano was the main base used by the U.S. and NATO in their joint Operation Deliberate Force bombing of the Bosnian Serb Republic in 1995 and in the 78-day terror bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999.

To leave no further doubt as to under whose auspices the Pentagon was able to secure its seven new bases for attacks to the east and south, in the autumn of 2007 “A top general from the NATO’s Southern Command in Naples will inspect the two-week military exercises of army units from Bulgaria, the USA and Romania which will be held near the town of Sliven, in southern Bulgaria.” [22]

And to dispel any misconceptions as to who the main target of the U.S.- and NATO-acquired bases was, in June of that year Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing the emerging and unmistakable pattern of “a new base in Bulgaria, another in Romania, a site in Poland, radar in the Czech Republic,” rhetorically queried “What are we supposed to do? We cannot just observe all this.” [23]

The severity and urgency of the threat perceived by Russia was such that General Vladimir Shamanov, adviser to Russia’s Defense Minister, was quoted as saying “We will point our missiles at the US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.” [24]

This concern was echoed by the Russian foreign ministry:

“Russia once again voiced her concern with the deployment of US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.

“‘We are deeply concerned, because such a move entails an expansion of the US forces in countries, which not long ago were allies of Russia,’ Anatoly Antonov, Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Security and Disarmament Department, said at an extraordinary conference on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (DOVSE,) held in Vienna.” [25]

The Russian military, most directly alert to and aware of the repercussions of the deployments, voiced its alarm in the person of Maj. Gen. Vladimir Nikishin, a representative of the Defense Ministry’s Main International Military Cooperation Department, who said, “The location of NATO bases in Bulgaria and Romania actually means that the Alliance is creating bases for building up it forces in Eastern Europe, which is at variance with the adapted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.” [26]

Two months afterward Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would add, “Russia finds it hard to understand some decisions of NATO like, for example, the deployment of US military facilities in Bulgaria and Romania.” [27]

Lastly, the then chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, Yuri Baluyevsky, voiced concern that “Plans are…afoot to set up new US military bases in Bulgaria and Romania, and unlike Russia, no NATO country has so far raised a finger to ratify the modified CFE treaty.” [28]

The references to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) pertain to a 1989 pact signed between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact limiting the deployment of conventional weapons and equipment. No member of NATO has ratified the treaty.

The above apprehensions could not have been assuaged by comments that year from Solomon Passy, former Bulgarian foreign minister, advocating that American infantry, air and naval forces be followed by missile deployments.

“Following the NATO treaty and the agreement for joint military bases in Bulgaria I think this will be the next strategic step that would enhance the security of the country, the region and the whole of Europe….This shield should be [placed] above all member states of NATO and the EU.” [29]

Nor could Russian fears be alleviated by the announcement the same month that “NATO defence ministers agreed at their Friday meeting in Brussels to initiate procedures for adding a short-range missile defence system in Eastern Europe to the on the US proposes that would also include Bulgaria.” [30]

Slightly over a year after the U.S.-Bulgarian bases accord had been inked it was announced that U.S. troops were heading there and to Romania and “The bases are part of an ambitious plan to shift EUCOM’s [the Pentagon’s European Command’s] fighting brigades from western Europe – mostly Germany – to forward bases closer to the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa, for a quicker strike capability.” [31]

The same report added:

“‘When this rebasing process is complete, two-thirds of USAREUR’s [United States Army Europe and Seventh Army’s] maneuver forces will be positioned in southern and eastern Europe,’ [EUCOM and NATO’s top commander John] Craddock told the U.S. Senate in written testimony.

“USEUCOM has requested $73.6 million to build out Mikhail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, and to establish a forward operating station in Bulgaria.” [32]

The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base received the first U.S. troops deployed to Romania in 2007 and has hosted the U.S. European Command’s newly formed Joint Task Force East, formerly the Eastern Europe Task Force.

The title of that unit alone reveals volumes.

As soon as the Bulgarian and Romanian “full spectrum” air, land and sea bases were acquired, the Pentagon moved to expand and integrate them with its other Black Sea military partners, Georgia and Ukraine.

Referring specifically to the Romanian bases, it was reported that “It is also possible that troops from others nations would go to the sites to train, and that U.S. forces based there would, as part of their six-month tour, travel to nearby nations such as Georgia and Ukraine for shorter training missions.” [33]

In May of 2007 the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Gen. Tom Hobbins, “visited with defense and air force leaders in Bulgaria and Georgia May 14-16 to discuss air force capabilities, modernization and future goals.” [34]

The same commander the following month, described as looking “eastward to the Black Sea and southward into Africa,” said: “Both Bulgaria and Romania have over a dozen projects where runways are being enhanced, facilities [and] buildings are being built. So we’re actually taking advantage of the fact that there’s a lot of NATO money being spent….” [35]

To make maximal use of the runways Hobbins mentioned, in February of 2007 Reuters reported that the U.S. was selling Romania 48 new fighter jets and recalled that “The Romanian facilities and bases in Bulgaria will be the first U.S. military installations in the former Soviet bloc.” [36]

In August Washington launched war games in Romania to inaugurate its new forward sites and break in its new Joint Task Force East, a process accompanied by no little fanfare:

“About 1,000 mostly Europe-based military personnel and civilians will have a ceremony today to commence the United States’ first deployment to Joint Task Force East.” [37]

The significance of the exercise, named Proof of Principle, was highlighted as being a watershed, that “The U.S. military’s new era in Eastern Europe has begun.”

The same news source elaborated:

“American and Romanian military forces marked the start of a historic, two-month exercise on Friday that will serve as a trial run for thousands of U.S. troops expected to rotate in and out of Romania and Bulgaria for years to come.” [38]

Two months afterward the U.S. held the Rodopi Javelin 2007 air warfare exercise in Bulgaria at the Graf Ignatevio air base where US F-16s were able to practice against Russian-made Bulgarian MiG-29s for future purposes.

Earlier in the year a U.S. destroyer, the San Jacinto, docked in the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna.

In April of last year the U.S. reprised the earlier joint air exercise, also at the Graf Ignatevio air base. Similar aerial combat drills have been conducted in Romania and in both countries American warplanes are provided the opportunity of testing their abilities against Russian-made aircraft.

A month afterward the U.S. embassy announced “a deal to re-fit a Bulgarian military base, one of four due to be used…in autumn 2008.

“The Novo Selo camp in eastern Bulgaria will undergo a $6.5 million refurbishment by the German-based company Field Camp Services (FCS).

“The Pentagon has also set aside some $60 million for the construction of a permanent base at Novo Selo.” [39]

In June a Bulgarian news source, in an article titled “US Army Town to be Built near Novo Selo,” wrote:

“Five hundred soldiers and officers will settle in Bulgaria permanently, the other 2,500 will live in the bases of Bezmer, Novo Selo, Graf Ignatievo and Aitos on a rotation principle.

“It means that up to 5,000 troops may be using the bases when need arises….The first US servicemen will arrive in Bulgaria this August.

“Over 1,200 soldiers will take part in a three-month exercise called ‘The Bulgarian Panther.'” [40]

The following day another Bulgarian report appeared on the expansion of U.S. military sites in the nation:

“{T]he US military base to be built near Novo Selo…is expected to be of the size of an average Bulgarian town….500 US rangers and their entire families would arrive at the base then to live permanently there while deployed to Bulgaria.

“Another 2,500 US soldiers would use on rotation bases the military facilities in Bezmer, Graf Ignatievo and Aitos….[T]he military airport in Bezmer…is slated to become one of the 6 strategic military airport bases outside the US….” [41]

Events proceeded similarly in Romania.

“Construction of a permanent U.S. base in Romania to house 1,700 personnel is well under way, with work on a similar facility for up to 2,500 personnel due to start in Bulgaria this winter, according to a U.S. official.” [42]

In August of 2008 the Deputy of the Office for Defense Cooperation with the American embassy in the Bulgarian capital, Jake Daystar, held an interview with a Bulgarian news agency in which he said of one of the new U.S. bases in the nation, “The main purpose of the base is to improve abilities through training – both of NATO troops and divisions of the US Army….The imperatives are hidden in the location of the state” as “with its geographic location Bulgaria has always been a strategically important country, as it stands on the crossroad between Asia and Europe.” [43]

By September of last year Russian concerns over the escalating U.S. military buildup in the Black Sea had not abated and in citing the Pentagon’s new bases in Bulgaria and Romania as well as its missile shield plans and ongoing NATO expansion to its borders, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Parity as the basis of the strategic balance in the world has been violated.” [44]

Nothing loath, within days of Lavrov’s dire warning it was reported that “U.S. warships will call at the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas, and drills involving the U.S. and Bulgarian air forces are also scheduled for next month….” [45]

While that dispatch was being filed U.S. and Bulgarian troops were engaged in a joint military drill at the Novo Selo Training Area and “Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe Gen. Carter Ham…watched the drill….”

The news story added, “More than 62 million dollars will be spent on the training area’s permanent facilities and equipment in the next two years, and construction is expected to be completed by then [for] conflict zones in the Middle East and beyond.” [46]

Bulgaria and Romania, now full NATO members for almost five years, have deployed military contingents to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq and have lost troops in the last two nations.

While neither hosted Soviet forces or Warsaw Pact bases during the Cold War, both are on the front line of future wars in the Black Sea region like that of last August between Georgia and Russia, one which might easily have drawn in Ukraine and in alleged defense of Ukraine NATO and the U.S. directly.

Romanian President Traian Basescu was quoted in a feature of last August titled “Romania is responsible for EU, NATO borders protection” as saying that “The Romanian navy is responsible in the name of the EU and allied countries.” [47]

Romania and Bulgaria will both be held to that pledge. That is one of the crucial reasons they were absorbed into the Alliance.

Both will be ordered to intervene in former Yugoslavia – Kosovo and Bosnia – if their masters in Washington and Brussels will it.

They are both involved in the transit of troops and materiel for the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.

For two years now it has been repeatedly mentioned that Bulgarian, now joint Bulgarian-U.S., air bases may be used for attacks against Iran, most recently by Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin last September.

The U.S. and allied NATO military expansion into the Black Sea is aimed at all four compass points.

A proponent of this dangerous strategy, Vakhtang Maisaia, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Association of Georgia, offered this terse yet comprehensive summary of what is involved in the Georgian Times of April 2, 2008:

“The Black Sea is a vital geo-strategic area for the Alliance in conjunction with the Alliance’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, logistic operations in Darfur, the NATO training mission in Iraq, and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo.

“Currently, some clear signs of the new interest of NATO in the Black Sea region comprised of the South Caucasus and the South-East Europe sub-regions and Black Sea area itself, can be seen by looking at the geo-economics (including the Caspian energy reserves)….” [48]

“[W]ith the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria into the Alliance, the Black Sea has been incorporated into NATO’s Article 5 (collective defense) operational zone where activation of the Combined Joint Task Force (a deployable, multinational, multi-service force with a land component and comparable air and naval components) is possible.

The author cited a statement from the 1999 NATO fiftieth anniversary summit in Washington, DC: “In the event of crises which jeopardize Euro-Atlantic stability and could affect the security of Alliance members, the Alliance’s military forces may be called upon to conduct crises response operations.” [49]

1) Nine O’Clock News, May 14, 2008
2) Daily Pioneer, August 16, 2008
3) The Power and Interest News Report, August 29, 2007
4) Voice of Russia, May 28, 2008
5) Voice of Russia, May 22, 2008
6) Moscow Times, October 24, 2003
7) Stratfor, November 10, 2008
8) Interfax-Ukraine, January 31, 2009
9) Standart News, June 10, 2007
10) Standart News, June 6, 2007
11) Sofia Echo, November 17, 2006
12) People’s Daily, December 5, 2006
13) Stars and Stripes, May 4, 2007
14) Stars and Stripes, July 22, 2006
15) Stars and Stripes, July 5, 2006
16) Stars and Stripes, July 24, 2006
17) Sofia News Agency, September 21, 2006
18) Stars and Stripes, July 13, 2006
19) Sofia Echo, January 3, 2008
20) Standart News, December 2, 2007
21) Sofia News Agency, October 6, 2007
22) Standart News, September 3, 2007
23) New Europe [Belgium], Week of June 2, 2007
24) Standart News, June 6, 2007
25) Standart News, June 13, 2007
26) Interfax-Military, September 19, 2007
27) Standart News, December 7, 2007
28) Voice of Russia, December 17, 2007
29) Focus News Agency, June 10, 2007
30) Sofia News Agency, June 15, 2007
31) United Press International, May 18, 2007
32) Ibid
33) Stars and Stripes, July 8, 2007
34) U.S. Air Forces in Europe, May 18, 2007
35) Air Force Magazine, June 2007
36) Reuters, February 22, 2007
37) Makfax, August 17, 2007
38) Stars and Stripes, August 18, 2007
39) Agence France-Presse, May 14, 2008
40) Standart News, June 23, 2008
41) Sofia News Agency, June 24, 2008
42) Stars and Stripes, July 27, 2008
43) Focus News Agency, August 14, 2008
44) Itar-Tass, September 29, 2008
45) Sofia News Agency, October 15, 2008
46) Ibid
47) Focus News Agency, August 15, 2008
48) Georgian Times, April 2, 2008
49) 1999 NATO Washington Summit

Categories: Uncategorized

EU, NATO, US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination

August 26, 2009 1 comment

February 19, 2009

EU, NATO, US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination
Rick Rozoff

With France’s reintegration into NATO’s military command after a 33-year hiatus to be formalized at this year’s Alliance summit in Strasbourg, which will also upgrade the 1999 Strategic Concept with increased emphasis on NATO-EU-U.S. military integration, and with the EU intensifying the creation of a 60,000-troop rapid deployment force and its own and affiliated Nordic battlegroups for use around the world, the mutual relations obtaining among the three major centers of Western economic, political and military power – the EU, NATO and the U.S. – require urgent examination.

To date the conventional wisdom in establishment circles has largely consisted of a set of four false dichotomies:

The progressively more ambitious development of EU military capabilities is in competition with if not a direct challenge to NATO and the strategic trans-Atlantic alliance with Washington.

NATO is a multilateral antidote to U.S. unilateralism.

The EU is a principled practitioner of peaceful diplomacy whereas the U.S. and NATO are often too hasty in relying on the military necessity.

The EU is a or even the main competitor of the U.S. in Europe and increasingly throughout much of the world.

One is free to believe as many of these canards as one chooses, but the words and the actions of the policymakers and officials in charge of enforcing policy in the EU, NATO and the U.S. foreign policy establishment refute them at every turn.

21 of 27 members of the EU are also members of NATO. Of the six that aren’t, all except Cyprus (for the time being) – Austria, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden – are members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. Of the last five, only tiny Malta doesn’t have a military contingent serving under NATO in Afghanistan, the Balkans and elsewhere.

Of the 26 NATO member states, all but Norway, Turkey, the U.S., Canada and Iceland, the latter three not in Europe and so not qualifying, are in the EU.

The three key players may occasionally quibble over secondary questions of tactics, timing and technicalities, but remain united over substantive and strategic concerns.

The EU and NATO have been military partners openly since 1992 when the Berlin Plus agreement on joint sharing of military assets was signed.

Even EU members that aren’t yet in NATO are affected by the continent’s subordination to the bloc as the Alliance’s 1999 Strategic Concept, still in effect, stipulates that the nuclear arsenals of the United States, in particular, but also of Britain and France, are “essential to preserve peace” and are “an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance.”

With the events of 1989-1991 bringing about the collapse of the post-World War II order in Europe and the world as a whole – the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), the breakup of the Soviet Union and the violent fragmentation of Yugoslavia – the major Western powers immediately resumed plans for global domination interrupted after the two world wars and, having learned their own lessons from the latter, formed a condominium to share the spoils of the entire world, not just the multitude of former colonies, territories, protectorates and mandates, but parts of the globe never before available to them, including the former Soviet Union.

Confirmatory of this is a statement by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer almost four years ago:

“NATO and the EU are making rather good progress in coordinating the development of modern military capabilities. I am optimistic that we can extend our cooperation to additional areas where we have a common security interest, where we can complement each other, and reinforce each other’s efforts. And here I mean functional areas…such as the Caucasus and Central Asia.” [1]

Two months later, then U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, coming to that post after being U.S. ambassador to NATO, spoke in a similar strain when he “welcomed a call by the NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, for the alliance and the EU to increase cooperation to ensure security beyond NATO’s borders in Europe, Africa and Central Asia.” [2]

Burns explained the division of labor intended, as least from Washington’s perspective:

“‘Let’s get it straight. NATO does the big military operations,’ but the EU handles peacekeeping operations….” [3]

In the intervening month, April of 2005, then German Defense Minister Peter Struck, addressing a conference on European security in Berlin, underlined the same point in affirming that “It would be totally wrong to view the development of European defense capabilities separately from advances within NATO,” and “added that both NATO and the European Union are currently making efforts to be better prepared for out-of-area missions in a bid to adapt to a fast changing security environment.’ [4]

That is, the EU and NATO have designated all of the world except for the Western Hemisphere, that presumably belonging to the U.S. (though even there NATO states are involved individually, severally and collectively), as fair game for military deployments.

Another qualitative shift from the pre-1991 international situation and reversion backward to the era of Western European colonial ambitions and pretensions, one of gunboat diplomacy and bayonets drawn against “unruly natives.”

In fact the post-Cold War epoch has in essence returned Europe, the West in general and as much of the world as NATO states influence to not only the pre-World War II status quo ante but even further back to the 1800s and the apex of European colonial expansion.

Effectively if not formally the major Western powers have created modern equivalents of the Congress of Vienna of 1815 and the Congress of Berlin of 1878.

The first occurred toward the very end of the Napoleonic Wars with Bonaparte’s defeat at Waterloo impending and laid the foundation for the Holy Alliance and its then new order, one which was to insure that never again would European thrones be challenged by the threat of republicanism.

The post-1991 dispensation has reenacted the proscription against the republican form of government and applied it to communist and other variants of socialism and indeed any popular political parties and movements that might defend the interests of the majority, inside Europe or outside it, vis-a-vis transnational – so-called Euro-Atlantic – elites.

The second model, that of the Congress of Berlin, was the opening salvo in redrawing national boundaries in the Balkans and commencing the scramble for Africa, which would be launched in earnest six years later at the Berlin Conference.

Similarities between then and the current period don’t require much comment as they are glaringly evident.

The Berlin Conference, attended by representatives of Austria–Hungary, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Spain and Sweden-Norway, opened up all of Africa, especially the Congo River basin and Great Lakes region, to the most brutal and cynical forms of rapine and plunder.

It was also the prototype of joint, collective Western European military and economic onslaughts against virtually defenseless nations, one not long afterward replicated in China in 1900 when military forces from Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States invaded to suppress the Boxer Rebellion and protect Western economic interests.

To demonstrate to what degree the past is now the present, in a jointly written article in The Times of London last June George Robertson and Paddy Ashdown, about both of whom more later, asserted that “Multilateral co-operation at [the] European level must…involve greater defence co-operation if it is to be taken seriously. The drive to create EU battle groups should be accelerated, made fully compatible with Nato response forces and should form the basis of an emerging European counter-insurgency capacity capable of operating in failed states and post-conflict environments.” [5]

The feature, really a military manifesto and call to action for Western elites, also included the observation that “This will be vital if we are called upon…to extend public authority into some of the ungoverned spaces that globalisation is helping to generate.”

And the piece culminated in this analysis – blunt, revealing and hubristic alike:

“For the first time in more than 200 years we are moving into a world not wholly dominated by the West. If we want to influence this environment rather than be held to ransom by it, and if we want to take hold of some of the worrying features of globalisation, then real, practical multilateralism is a strategic necessity….”

Whether or not the desire of major Western powers and their governing classes to hold onto, reclaim and expand global dominance can be seen by anyone else in the world as a necessity, the plan is decidedly strategic.

Unlike the maunderings of obscure academics redesigning the world and its national divisions in the safety of their own minds and plush chairs in university libraries, the pronouncement in The Times appeared there because its authors are anything but abstract theoreticians, historians or political philosophers.

They are major architects and ruthless implementers of the order they advocate, both tested in the post-Cold War or as they themselves may portray it post-modern laboratory that was the Balkans in the 1990s.

Lord George Robertson, former British Defense Secretary and still life-time peer and Baron of Port Ellen, was Secretary General of NATO from 1999-2004 succeeding Javier Solana, who has since gone on to become the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Secretary General of both the Council of the European Union and the Western European Union. In effect, the European Union’s collective foreign minister.

Paddy Ashdown was international High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from September 2002 to May 2006, ruling with a brazen arbitrariness, right-handedness and ferocity that earned him the informal title of a former age, viceroy, one he arguably came by legitimately both because his father had been an officer in the British colonial service in India and because Ashdown fils’ mission and style were not only evocative of the past colonial era but were also emblematic of its current revival.

Nearly four years ago the International Commission on the Balkans, founded by among other institutions the German Marshall Fund of the United States, “issued a scathing critique of EU and UN policies in the Balkans.

“The commission asserts that democracy has been stifled in Bosnia ‘by the coercive authority’ of Paddy Ashdown, the EU’s high representative.

“The international representatives, the commission says, ‘dabble in social engineering but are not held accountable when their policies go wrong. If Europe’s neocolonial rule becomes further entrenched, it will encourage economic discontent….'” [6]

As though to reward him for the above, a year ago Ashdown was being touted as a successor to his father’s former bosses on the Indian subcontinent, to wit what the press at the time referred to as “super envoy” to Afghanistan, and which one British newspaper described in these rhapsodic words:

“The proposed role would see Lord Ashdown being charged with uniting the efforts of both Nato and the UN in Afghanistan. Nato officials are understood to support his candidacy for a job with exceptional power.” [7]

The Afghan government was less enthusiastic than Ashdown’s claque in the Western press and the position was not given him, thereby demonstrating the “pre-modern” make-up and temperament of the Afghan people, the adjective to be explained later.

What Ashdown epitomized to the Afghans, whether or not their government was aware of the antecedents, was the “post-modern” position of former British diplomat and Cardinal Richelieu to Tony Blair’s Louis XVIII in matters of foreign affairs, Robert Cooper.

The grey eminence in question is the author of two books, The Post-Modern State and the World Order (2000) and The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century (2003), and contributed a version of the first to the collection Re-Ordering the World: The Long-Term Implications of September 11 (2002).

Cooper has been characterized as the father of the “new liberal imperialism” and was Tony Blair’s Special Representative in Afghanistan after the invasion of 2001 for a brief period.

Like Robertson and Ashdown, he played a role in the enforcement as well the elaboration of rationalizations for imperial strategies and policies.

His first book, The Post-Modern State and the World Order, trifurcated the world’s nations into pre-modern, modern and post-modern states; in no essential manner different in substance if superficially in style from those of his colonialist forebears in dividing the peoples of the world into civilized and uncivilized nations and cultures.

Variations of this worldview have resurfaced throughout the West after the end of the Cold War, and the new international order which followed permitted the major Western powers to dispense with halfhearted vows to respect the newly freed majority of humanity, often with genuine cultures far older and more venerable than those of their past colonial masters and the latter’s North American allies.

After Ashdown was refused the opportunity to continue the family tradition in Afghanistan, he went to work as Javier Solana’s right-hand man as Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, a position he holds today.

Cooper is also considered to have been instrumental in the creation of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), originally introduced as the European Security and Defence Identity at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin in 1996 where it was agreed that the Western European Union (WEU) would oversee its creation within NATO structures.

The ESDP is now effectively run by the High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Javier Solana, whose chief lieutenant Cooper is. The ESDP was first tested on the ground in Macedonia in 2003 when it took over for NATO and has remained the EU’s main defense and military arm.

Macedonia, the second victim of NATO’s 1999 war against Yugoslavia, was the prototype for the EU supplanting NATO occupation and interdiction forces, with the former’s EUFOR Concordia succeeding the latter’s Operation Allied Harmony.

In 2004 NATO again handed over a protectorate, Bosnia, under its Stabilisation Force (SFOR) to the EU and its EUFOR Althea operation.

In 2008 NATO started transitioning its Kosovo Force (KFOR) command, alone authorized under UN Resolution 1244, to the European Union’s Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), drawing harsh condemnation from Serbia and Russia.

In November of last year NATO turned over the far-reaching naval interdiction EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa to the EU, which was described as “something entirely new for the EU because it is taking place far from Europe itself….Operation Atlanta is an ambitious project. The area of sea to be policed is enormous….” [8]

The joint EU-NATO “civilizing mission” to “ungoverned spaces” in the pre-modern and modern world is constantly expanding.

Earlier this month Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, enlarged on the triadic EU-NATO-U.S. worldwide mission by heralding the “need for a new form of world governance in which NATO, the EU, and other major international organisations have a part to play.” [9]

What sort of world governance is meant and who the intended and self-appointed guardians of it are warrant an examination in some depth.

Officials in Brussels and Washington routinely invoke the term international community when it suits their purposes – and just as regularly ignore the wishes of the true community of nations when it doesn’t.

The combined population of all 27 EU member states is under 500,000,000, less than a thirteenth of the human race.

If the numbers from NATO states that aren’t in the EU – the U.S. whose 300,000,000 occupants match 40% of the EU number, Canada, Norway and Iceland – are added, the total is still barely over 800,000,000, less than one-eighth of humanity.

The main EU and European NATO states are the former colonial powers – Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark, and the second, “place in the sun,” contingent of Belgium, Italy and Germany.

Starting with trade missions that soon became monopolies, shortly afterward including military outposts and eventually complete economic, political and military subjugation, the major Western powers carved out broad expanses of territory in Asia, Africa, North and Central and South America and all of Oceania as their respective domains and spheres of influence.

Many NATO and EU states still retain the vestiges of that scramble for the world, especially overseas and other non-contiguous, mainly island, possessions originally seized from indigenous inhabitants.

Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and the United States are in that category.

These are the states that forbid others, even in the European context, the right to exercise influence in territories that were an integral part of their country for several centuries, such as Serbia with Kosovo and Russia with Ukraine.

The main Western nations were also the perpetrators of the African slave trade, the largest forcible migration of people in human history with estimates of those transported across the Atlantic Ocean ranging from 10-30 million from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Those involved included, on one or the other sides of the ocean, often on both, Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark and later the United States.

One of the unspoken foundations of the trans-Atlantic community.

Outdated and discredited terms and concepts like the White Man’s Burden, Manifest Destiny, a place in the sun, Lebensraum and empires upon which the sun never sets have been abandoned, but the underlying worldview and geopolitical objectives that motivated them have not and instead have been repackaged under new brand names over the past generation.

Western military forces have returned to nations that thought themselves forever rid of the them; for example, British troops are back in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sierra Leone; French ones in Haiti, returning on the bicentennial of its independence from France, and Cote d’Ivoire; American armed forces are back in the Philippines.

Not just a sum total of individual actions by allied Western powers, what has emerged is a systematic and international nexus of planned and coordinated deployments with precise and extensive geostrategic goals.

Notwithstanding the much-publicized difference of opinion concerning the 2003 invasion of Iraq, all 26 NATO states have military personnel assigned to Iraq and neighboring Kuwait under NATO Training Mission – Iraq.

Less than two years after the invasion the Alliance announced that “NATO’s goal is to train 1,000 middle- and high-ranking security officers this year” and “the European Union has agreed to train some 700 Iraqi judges, prosecutors and prison guards.” [10]

Later in 2005 then American ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland, former security adviser to now past vice president Dick Cheney, asserted “We need once and for all to break down the rivalries — some real, some imagined — between the EU and NATO.”

Her comments were characterized by a military website as advocating that “NATO and the European Union (EU) must establish a much deeper dialogue than in the past to address the wide range of military, political, equipment and funding issues that face the trans-Atlantic security community….” [11]

The U.S.’s first ambassador to Afghanistan after the invasion of 2001, James Dobbins, who at the time was director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation, reflected a similar stance in urging that “It is time, therefore, to stop asking what NATO can do for the EU, and begin asking what the EU can do for NATO. And Afghanistan is the place to start. This might best be done in a triangular dialogue between NATO, the EU and the United States.” [12]

To further demonstrate that the EU-NATO-U.S. triangle affects more than just developments on the European continent, a month after Dobbins’ comments Julianne Smith, the deputy director for international security programs of the U.S. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), at a conference held by the CSIS, rued the fact that:

“Yes, they confer on the Balkans, but that is not enough. NATO and the EU should be talking about nonproliferation, the Caucasus, Ukraine, Moldova — the whole package.” [13]

Klaus Naumann, former head of NATO’s Military Committee, spoke at the same conference and revealed more than he possibly intended to in bemoaning that “Europe is again being haunted by the ghosts of sovereignty,” meaning that residual love of one’s land and people is an impediment to the further consolidation of NATO’s and the EU’s unchallenged domination in Europe and beyond. [14]

The following month the EU’s Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary General, said that the EU’s expanding military buildup and plans for global deployments were “not about replacing NATO” and instead “by becoming a stronger and more capable international actor, we will be a better partner for the United States,” citing the Balkans as the original testing ground for this triumvirate, “Through our concerted efforts, with the United States and NATO….” [15]

The next month the aforementioned Klaus Naumann wrote a column which contained the demand that “The EU should…take steps to improve its ability to conduct operations. New EU Battlegroups should be strengthened through regular training and certification, preferably using NATO standards….” [16]

The piece also urged that “The two bodies must expand their strategic dialogue beyond their current focus on the Balkans and Afghanistan” and included the same recommendation made by Julianne Smith earlier that the EU and NATO must jointly escalate their intrusion into other areas including “regions such as Ukraine or Moldova.” [17]

The integration of EU and NATO military and foreign policy continued apace for years and reached its crescendo at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year.

During the summit “US Permanent Representative to NATO Victoria Nuland asserted that the key to strengthening NATO was to build a stronger European Union.” [18]

A newspaper from the host country reported that “A high American official has recently stressed that, far from being considered a threat to NATO, the consolidated European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) is an immediate necessity….” [19]

The EU’s presidency was held by France last year and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the prime mover in pushing for the EU-NATO-U.S. axis at the Bucharest summit.

Though he wasn’t its only proponent:

“US President George W. Bush backed Thursday the idea that Europe should build up its own defence capability, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, describing it as a ‘historic turning point.’

“Bush’s support for a ‘Europe of defence,’ as Sarkozy described the intervention, was voiced at a summit of NATO leaders in Bucharest….” [20]

Bush’s speech at the summit reiterated that “NATO is no longer a static alliance….It is now an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world….” [21]

His address also contained the by now routine denunciation of the post-World War II [1945-1991] order in Europe with “I said that Europe must overturn the bitter legacy of Yalta, and remove the false boundaries that had divided the continent for too long.” [22]

A Romanian news source reported of EU-U.S. relations during the summit that “[T]he quality of Transatlantic cooperation is currently going through a profound transformation, adapting to the new post-Cold War conditions and preparing for a new type of global partnership.” [23]

The same source a day earlier quoted former Romanian foreign secretary Mircea Geoana as claiming that “What this Summit is expected to bring about is….a new alliance of the 21st Century.” [24]

To week after the summit concluded Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in warning that NATO was bent on usurping the role and functions of the United Nations said, “This is….an attempt to form some new global union with a Western core wishing to claim all but UN functions.” [25]

With France as the main go-between, as holding the presidency of the EU and having announced its intention to rejoin NATO’s military command, the drive for EU-NATO-U.S. military symbiosis accelerated throughout last year.

In a dispatch with the headline “France trumpets EU defences, key plank for NATO future,” French Defence Minister Herve Morin boasted of having “boosted the European Union’s military capacities, a key condition for France to fully reintegrate into NATO.” [26]

Morin provided an idea of the pace of EU military buildup at a meeting of European defense ministers (most wearing both EU and NATO caps) in stating, “I can say, that as of November 10…we have already made substantial and considerable progress, probably as much as we have seen in 10 years.” [27]

At the same time Jean-Francois Bureau, NATO’s assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy, said that “Twenty-one of 27 EU nations are also members of NATO, and both organizations ‘are active together in the same theaters of conflict.’

“‘From a NATO perspective, there is a huge need for even more cooperation’ with the EU on military matters.” [28]

The same news report mentioned that, as in Iraq, the EU is training security personnel in Afghanistan.

In December of last year a draft declaration by the European Council on the enhancement of European Security and Defence Policy [ESDP] reaffirmed the goal of “strengthening the strategic partnership between the EU and Nato….” [29]

The above source added “EU leaders are also set to endorse a declaration on the enhancement of capabilities of European Security and Defence Policy [ESDP], which will set new goals for the EU to be able to deploy 60,000 soldiers within 60 days and thousands of civilian personnel on at least a dozen simultaneous missions.” [30]

Another account of EU plans for a 60,000-troop rapid reaction force reports that EU leaders issued a joint statement in which they “acknowledged the need to strengthen and optimize Europe’s defence capabilities and vowed to work more closely with NATO.” [31]

In another report from the same day French President Nicolas Sarkozy is paraphrased as affirming “the US no longer saw the ESDP as an aggressive policy against NATO, with both outgoing President George W. Bush and incoming President Barack Obama now supporting the EU policy.”

And is quoted as saying “It’s not a choice between the US and the ESDP. The two go together.” [32]

On December 9 British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner signed their names to a joint opinion piece which included confirmation of the EU’s role in supplementing U.S. and NATO arms and military involvement in the South Caucasus and the interchangeability of NATO and EU roles:

“[T]he EU sent over 200 civilian monitors to Georgia. They arrived within a few weeks of the hostilities….

“There is no such thing as a European army; nor is there a NATO army.

“There are national forces, which are used, according to the needs, for national or multilateral operations, whether in the European framework or the NATO framework.” [33]

Leading up to the April 3-4 60th Anniversary NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, earlier this month the heads of state of the two host countries, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, wrote a joint commentary for Le Monde calling for greater EU-NATO cooperation and integration.

At the annual Munich Security Conference on February 7 British Foreign Secretary David Miliband while also advocating tighter integration of EU and NATO policies and actions invoked NATO’s mutual defense (war) clause:

“NATO provides a commitment to collective defence. The Article 5 Guarantee and the integrated military structures reassure each and every one of our Allies that their borders are inviolable.” [34]

American Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the conference was interpreted by a major German news source as follows:

“The Americans will be scrupulously careful that the confrontation with Tehran does not develop into a one-on-one battle between the US and Iran. Biden’s message from Munich is the following: Every NATO country and every member of the European Union is now involved, as of today. This is the price for the new trans-Atlantic openness and cooperation.” [35]

That is, all NATO states are obligated to the U.S. under Article 5 provisions – the Article was first invoked and acted upon after September 11, 2001 – and the EU is now so inextricably enmeshed with NATO that it too will continue to follow not only NATO but individual U.S. policies and actions.

With the New Year the Czech Republic assumed the presidency of the EU.

It a news report called “Vondra calls for EU, NATO unity on Russia, missiles, gas,” Czech Deputy Premier Alexandr Vondra marshalled support for the U.S. missile shield radar site in his nation by stating “Europeans and Americans need to enjoy the same level of protection … therefore it is important to develop the missile-defence system.” [36]

It’s not difficult to trace where matters are proceeding; the EU is becoming integrated with NATO to the point of merging its military, security and foreign affairs policies and programs with the Alliance, and as the U.S. is not only a member, but the central foundation, of NATO, then the EU is also inescapably linked with and in effect subordinated to Washington.

Three days ago the U.S. House majority leader Nancy Pelosi was in Italy where she appealed to not only her host but all of Europe regarding the Afghan War in claiming that “We have to make a judgement….And I mean we, Italy, the European Union, the United States, NATO – all of us – as to what is in our national security interests….” [37]

Two days later Italy announced that it would deploy more troops to Afghanistan.

Western powers assembled under the banner of the NATO star reserve – arrogate to themselves – the exclusive prerogative of intervening in the regional and internal affairs of nations anywhere in the world and the sole right to employ military force beyond their borders.

Although paying lip service to the United Nations when it can be used against a targeted nation or to justify a war before or after the fact, Western leaders see no role for organizations like the 114-state Non-Aligned Movement, the 53-nation African Union, the 33-member Organization of American States, the 23-member Arab League, the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States and Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Not in addressing global issues or even in playing a leading role in regional and local matters that impact the respective groups and their constituent member states directly.

One could be pardoned for reworking the NATO acronym as Nordic Aryan Teutonic Order.

Three days ago in a session of the European Parliament pressure was being exerted for the EU to integrate further with NATO.

Ari Vatanen, a member representing France, was among those commissioned for this purpose and said, inter alia, that the EU “can only fully realise its potential by developing a strong transatlantic tie and a complementary relationship with NATO.”

To which German Member of the European Parliament Tobias Pfluger responded, “Every effort to strengthen NATO via a closer cooperation with the European Union increases the potential for international conflicts. It will also lead to a further militarization of the EU’s foreign policy and accelerate the tendency to use military force in order to ‘solve’ conflicts.” [38]

The positions of Vatanen and Pfluger are not only opposing but exclusive, both in the sense that neither can accommodate the other and that they are the sole alternatives. This is no middle ground or third choice.

Europe, and the world as a whole, can either acquiesce in its domination by an increasingly expansionist and aggressive international military bloc – the first in history – or it can actively organize to dismantle it.

1) NATO, March 31, 2005
2) Associated Press, May 26, 2005
3) Ibid
4) Deutsche Welle, April 13, 2005
5) The Times, June 12, 2008
6) International Herald Tribune, April 29, 2005
7) Daily Telegraph, December 6, 2007
8) Radio Netherlands, November 21, 2008
9) ADN Kronos International [Italy], February 13, 2009
10) San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2005
11) Defense News, September 23, 2005
12) International Herald Tribune, September 30, 2005
13) Defense News, October 14, 2005
14) Ibid
15) Defense News, November 10, 2005
16) Daily Times [Pakistan], December 1, 2005
17) Ibid
18) Der Spiegel, April 1, 2008
19) Nine O’Clock News [Romania], March 31, 2008
20) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 3, 2008
21) USA Today, April 1, 2008
22) Ibid
23) Nine O’Clock News, April 3, 2008
24) Nine O’Clock News, April 2, 2008
25) Interfax, April 17, 2008
26) Agence France-Presse, November 10, 2008
27) Ibid
28) United Press International, November 12, 2008
29) Irish Times, December 11, 2008
30) Ibid
31) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, December 12, 2008
32) EUobserver, December 12, 2008
33) United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, December 9, 2008
34) United Kingdom  Foreign and Commonwealth Office, February 7, 2009
35) Der Spiegel, February 9, 2009
36) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 7, 2009
37) Agence France-Presse, February 16, 2009
38) European Parliament, February 17, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union

August 26, 2009 1 comment

February 13, 2009

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union
Rick Rozoff

At a meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on May 26 of last year, Poland, seconded by Sweden, first proposed what has come to be known as the Eastern Partnership, a program to “integrate” all the European and South Caucasus former Soviet nations – except for Russia – not already in the EU and NATO; that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The above are half of the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) established as a sop to Russia immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and in theory to be a post-Soviet equivalent of the then-European Community, now European Union. (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania never joined and both were absorbed into the European Union and NATO in 2004.)

The Eastern Partnership has since last May been presented as an innocuous enough proposal containing a mission statement to promote “a substantial upgrading of the level of political engagement, including the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements, far-reaching integration into the EU economy, easier travel to the EU for citizens providing that security requirements are met, enhanced energy security arrangements benefitting all concerned, and increased financial assistance.” [1]

The key phrases, though, are “upgrading of the level of political engagement” and “enhanced energy security arrangements.”

What the Eastern Partnership is designed to accomplish is to complete the destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) comprised of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the only post-Soviet multinational security structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), as well as to abort the formalization of the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Which is to say, to isolate Russia from six of the other eleven CIS states, with the remaining five, in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), simultaneously targeted by a complementary EU initiative.

The ultimate intent of the Eastern Partnership is to wean away all the other ex-Soviet states from economic, trade, political, security and military ties with Russia and to integrate them into broader so-called Euro-Atlantic structures from the European Union itself initially to NATO ultimately.

Coming out of last year’s NATO summit in Romania the increased political, security and military integration – one is tempted to say merger – of the EU and NATO, trumpeted by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, warmly embraced by the Bush administration and since affirmed most strongly by British Foreign Minister David Miliband at the recent Munich Security Conference, is the yet further consolidation of the longstanding EU-NATO “soft power, hard power” division of labor mutually agreed upon.

“[T]he Partnership would demonstrate the ‘power of soft power’ and acknowledge that the conflict in Georgia in August had influenced the decision to launch the Partnership.” [2]

The Eastern Partnership was first proposed in May of 2008 as mentioned earlier, but the impetus to endorse it at a meeting of leaders last December was the “soft power” response by the EU to complement NATO’s establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission a month after Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia triggered last summer’s Caucasus war.

The EU will provide the “diplomatic” persuasion and the economic subsidies as NATO and its individual member states (in almost every instance in Europe the same as the EU’s) continue to supply Georgia with advanced offensive arms, surveillance systems, military training and permanent advisers.

As a further indication of what the EU’s true objective is, Belarus has been added to the other five only with the proviso it will be accepted “if it accepts a democracy improvement plan.” [3]

The same has not been openly stated regarding Armenia, but for two critical reasons it is in the same category as Belarus, all pabulum concerning democracy notwithstanding. (If democracy in any acceptation of the term was a precondition, then the U.S.-installed despot and megalomaniac Mikheil Saakashvili and the hereditary president-for-life dynasty of the Aliev family would disqualify Georgia and Azerbaijan, respectively.)

Armenia and Belarus are both in the second tier of Eastern Partnership candidates and will require a good deal of “improvement” before being absorbed into the West’s new “soft power” drive to the east.

Neither is part of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) anti-CIS bloc set up in 1997 through the joint efforts of the Clinton administration and its secretary of state Madeleine Albright and its European Union allies in Strasbourg.

Both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with Russia and four Central Asian nations (all except for Turkmenistan), which has in recent years taken on a more overt military mutual defense nature.

The deadly “Daffodil Revolution” in Armenia a year ago and the attempted “Denim Revolution” in Belarus two years before having failed to replicate their predecessors and prototypes in Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004 and Kyrgyzstan in 2005, other means were required to “reorient” the two nations from their close state-to-state and security relations with Russia.

Hence the need for the Eastern Partnership.

The role of GUAM, whose members are both identified by the EU as the preferred four in the Partnership and who collectively comprise two-thirds, indeed the foundation, of it, will be taken up in depth later on.

As will the simultaneous and complementary Brussels program aimed at Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, itself mirroring U.S. and NATO military and energy plans for Central Asia.

The day after Poland and Sweden first proposed the initiative in May of last year, the British newspaper The Telegraph, under the headline “Poland takes on Russia with ‘Eastern Partnership’ proposal,” wrote that “Poland will take on its mighty neighbour Russia today when it proposes that the European Union extends its influence deep into the former Soviet Union by establishing an ‘Eastern Partnership'” and more markedly that “The Eastern Partnership would be particularly galling for the Kremlin if its aspiration to include Belarus is achieved.” [4]

Ahead of last December’s EU summit where the plans were formalized for the implementation of the Eastern Partnership project at the summit of EU heads of state in March of 2009, the following commentary appeared in a Georgian paper:

“[T]his latest EU action could entail another consequence, one that few appear to be thinking about now.

“In the early 1990s, the United States took the lead in pushing the idea that EU membership for East European countries could serve as either a surrogate or a stepping stone to NATO membership.

“If that idea should resurface, and some of its authors will be returning to office with the incoming Obama Administration in Washington, it would change both the EU and NATO and equally would change how Moscow would deal with Brussels, thus introducing yet another complication in East-West relations.” [5]

With the Czech Republic poised to take over the presidency of the EU in two days, The Telegraph of Britain accurately characterized not only the subversive but the provocative nature of the Eastern Partnership by indicating that “The Czech Republic, which will become the first former Warsaw Pact country to hold the presidency, has made a priority of a scheme to establish closer ties with former Soviet states, irrespective of Russian concerns of encroachment close to its borders.”

It further stated that Czech Foreign Minister Karol Schwarzenberg, coincidentally or otherwise a staunch supporter of U.S. missile radar plans for his country, “stressed that the EU’s relations with the former Soviet states were its own affair and that Russia should not interfere.” [6]

To insure that the point wasn’t missed in Moscow, Schwarzenberg thundered that Russia should abandon any illusions it might entertain concerning “some privileged interests abroad” and, throwing down the gauntlet altogether, “in such cases a red line must be established beyond which the EU must not make concessions.” [7]

The Czech foreign minister evinced a curious sense of geography in his use of the word abroad, as Russia borders Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine and is only one nation removed from Armenia and Moldova, whereas his own government is pressing for the deployment of missile radar facilities and troops from the other side of the world and has troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As though in anticipation of Schwarzenberg’s diktat, two weeks earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned “[W]e cannot agree when attempts are being made to pass off the historically conditioned mutually privileged relations between the states in the former Soviet expanse as a ‘sphere of influence,'” adding “If you accept that logic, then under this definition fall the European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Partnership and many other EU (let alone NATO) projects, on which the decisions are taken without the participation of Russia or countries to which they apply.” [8]

Two days ago the last American ambassador to the Soviet Union [1987-1991], Jack Matlock, “explained Russian motivations and highlighted what he considered to be American hypocrisy in geopolitical affairs. While America has claimed nearly monopolistic power in the Western Hemisphere for 200 years, Matlock said, it has increasingly denied Russia its own regional sphere of influence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The West has been picking and choosing which principles to uphold.” [9]

To backtrack, a month after the initial proposal for the establishment of the Eastern Partnership in May of 2008 Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski called the Partnership “the practical and ideological continuation of the European Neighbourhood Policy,” which should become a supplement to the Mediterranean Union…. [10]

Sikorski was alluding to the Mediterranean Union project of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, which in July 13, 2008 was renamed the Union for the Mediterranean, the southern wing of the European Union’s “push east and south” (U.S. State Department phrase for its own emphasis in and from Europe), the eastern complement of which is, of course, the Eastern Partnership.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels in the same month, June of 2008, further pursued the initiative and the “Eastern Partnership…Polish- Swedish proposition of deepening cooperation with Eastern European countries” was discussed. [11]

The above advancement of the project evoked these comments from a Caucasus news source:

“Moscow itself understood that the main aim of the initiative was to save the above-mentioned countries from the influence of Russia” and “According to the EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations and Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner at least one billion euro per year will be allocated for the Black Sea Synergy project.” [12]

The Black Sea Synergy project is synergy not as in the word whose adjective form is synergistic but as in syn + energy. Of the six nations targeted for the Eastern Partnership two, Georgia and Ukraine, are on the Black Sea and one, Azerbaijan, is a Caspian Sea littoral state.

The Eastern Partnership is designed among several other purposes to complement the Union of the Mediterranean and to augment the Black Sea Synergy program as an integral and advanced component of the West’s campaign to dominate world energy supplies and transit and to provide the civilian supplement to NATO’s expansion throughout Eurasia, the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East.

The website of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, on a page dedicated to Black Sea Synergy includes these comments:

“The Black Sea region, which includes Bulgaria and Romania, occupies a strategic position between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. The European Union intends to support regional commitments tending to increase mutual confidence and remove obstacles to the stability, security and prosperity of the countries in this region.”

“Black Sea Synergy is a cooperation initiative that proposes a new dynamic for the region, its countries and their citizens. Regional cooperation could provide additional value to initiatives in areas of common interest and serve as a bridge to help strengthen relations with neighbouring countries and regions (Caspian Sea, Central Asia, South-eastern Europe).”

And, which will bring the issue back to GUAM and the prospects for further armed confrontations after the model of last August’s war in the Caucasus:

“The EC advocates a more active role in addressing frozen conflicts (Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh).” [13]

GUAM was set up by the West in 1997 to accomplish several strategic objectives: As a Trojan Horse within the Commonwealth of Independent States – until Georgia withdrew after the war last August all four GUAM member states were in the CIS – it was intended to undermine and ultimately dissolve the community, eventually luring other CIS states away from it. The inclusion of Armenia and Belarus in the Eastern Partnership is an example of this strategy.

Incorporating the four ex-Soviet states into a trans-Eurasian strategic energy and military transit corridor from the Black Sea through the Caspian Sea Basin to Central and South Asia. The addition of Uzbekistan in 1999 extended the range of the bloc, although Uzbekistan would withdraw in 2005.

The GUAM states are involved in all four of the so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union: Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia; Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh; Moldova with Transdniester (Pridnestrovie).

In fact there are several other unresolved territorial disputes in the GUAM states including Adjaria (suppressed and occupied by Georgia in 2004 after a show of force by Saakashvili’s American-trained and -equipped army, the first example of the “peaceful resolution of a frozen conflict”) and the ethnic Armenian inhabited area of Samtskhe-Javakheti/Javakhk in Georgia; Gaugazia in Moldova; and the Crimea and potentially even the Donetsk region in Ukraine.

The four frozen conflicts proper – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester – are illustrative of the cataclysmic consequences of the precipitate breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. All four former autonomous republics seceded from the respective ex-Soviet Socialist Federal Republics they had belonged to, in all cases also entailing armed conflict and loss of life.

The four, and the other potential conflict areas mentioned above, for example Crimea in Ukraine, part of Russia for almost two centuries until being ceded to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, had belonged to the federal republics they did until 1991 only within the context of the broader Soviet framework; once the latter ceased to exist, so too did the rationale for the autonomous republics remaining within new states that had never before existed as nations – Moldova and Ukraine – or, if so, not for centuries except for a three year period during the Russian civil war with Georgia from 1918–1921 and a two year interlude with Azerbaijan from 1918–1920.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are past masters at fishing in troubled waters and in troubling the waters the better to fish in them, and the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union allow the West to impede integration processes within the Commonwealth of Independent States, develop close military ties to the nations involved with them and increasingly to intervene in post-Soviet territory under the auspices of peacekeeping operations whether through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union or, the ultimate objective, NATO.

Most dangerously, the U.S. and all its NATO allies have refused to ratify the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms treaty – which has only been approved by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine (as successor states to the former Soviet Union) – and have justified their non-ratification by linking it to the withdrawal of small Russian peacekeeper contingents – mandated by the Commonwealth of Independent States and in at least one instance the United Nations – from Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

In the eighteen year interim since the treaty was negotiated until now numerous new nations have been created in Europe – Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia (and of course the pseudo-state of Kosovo) and in the South Caucasus Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – which are not signatories to the CFE and which then could have American and NATO forces and arms stationed on their territories without any provisions made for Russia and the three other nations that have ratified the treaty to monitor them.

Such deployments are not limited to conventional weaponry.

At the 2006 summit in Kiev, Ukraine GUAM expanded its name to GUAM -Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, declared itself an international organization and announced the creation of a joint military (alleged peacekeeping) force.

The summit also laid out in more detail and candor why the U.S. and its allies created and fostered GUAM, whose expanded format is the Eastern Partnership, to begin with:

“The creation of the bloc is a bold step in promoting energy supply routes linking the Caspian Sea basin and consumers in the E.U. allowing to reduce heavy dependence on Russian energy.

“One of the main projects to be promoted is launching supplies of Caspian Sea crude oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan via Georgian and Ukrainian pipelines to markets in Europe….[T]he plan also calls for extending the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Plock in Poland, which is already hooked up with a major oil terminal and an oil refinery in Gdansk.” [14]

The same report contains this important detail: “[T]he situation changed last year when Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, had been inaugurated to the presidency in Ukraine and had pledged to replace Russian shipments with Caspian supplies. The pipeline would bypass Russia on the way to Ukraine and to the E.U….” [15]

A Russian commentary of late last autumn reflected the last paragraph’s allusion to the role of putative “color revolutions” in strengthening GUAM’s subservience to Western interests by remarking that the group “was created with a broad list of functions to combat Russian influence in the region, but remained largely unused, before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and Mikhail Saakashvili’s coming to power in Georgia.” [16]

The following year at its summit in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a GUAM-U.S., GUAM-Japan, GUAM-Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), GUAM-Baltic and other new partnerships were launched.

In November of 2007 the U.S. hosted a meeting of GUAM states national coordinators in Washington where “A special topic of the discussions was the assessment of the potential of Caspian Sea networks in the consolidation of the GUAM states’ energy security and the present-day shape of the Nabucco Project.” [17] The latter is a proposed tran-Caspian natural gas project promoted by the West to squeeze Russia out of the European energy market.

At the 2008 GUAM summit in Batumi, the capital of Georgian-subjugated Adjaria, “The sides [chartered a] course for the development of regional cooperation as a part of the European and Asian integration processes, and for strengthening partnership relations with the US, Poland, Japan and other states as well as international organizations.

“The declaration expressed concern over the protracted conflicts [and] aggressive separatism…and underlined the importance of the international community’s support for the settlement of the conflicts.” [18]

David Merkel, Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State, “said GUAM unites the Caspian and Black Sea regions and can fulfill the function of connecting Central Asia with the Near East.” [19]

The Georgian Energy Minister, Aleksandre Khetaguri, extended the reach of GUAM-centered energy projects to the Baltic Sea in adding “We have discussed the question of an Odessa–Brody–Gdansk pipeline, which will allow the oil from the Caspian countries to be transported first to Ukraine and then to other parts of Eastern Europe.” [20]
The turning point in the West’s resolve to back its GUAM, and now Eastern Partnership, clients to definitively “solve” the issue of the frozen conflicts came at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year.

All twenty six Alliance members affirmed that Georgia and Ukraine, the most pro-American and pro-NATO of the four GUAM and six Eastern Partnership states, were on an irreversible road to full NATO accession but baulked at granting them a Membership Action Plan, the final stage to complete integration.

Two central barriers to a nation joining NATO are unresolved conflicts in and foreign (that is, non-NATO nations’) bases on their territories.

Georgia still laid claim to Abkhazia and and South Ossetia and Ukraine still hosted the Russian Sixth Fleet at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Far from being the rebuff to Georgia and Ukraine and to their American sponsor the non-granting of Membership Action Plans to the two candidates appeared to some, Georgia and Ukraine were both given not only a green light to resolve these issues but in fact were directed if not ordered to do so.

At the beginning of last August Georgian shelling killed six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, and wounded twelve on the outskirts of the South Ossetian capital and on August 7 Georgia’s American-armed and -trained military forces crossed the border and laid waste to much of the capital.

The assault, coming only days after the Pentagon had completed a two week military drill, Exercise Immediate Response 2008, under the sponsorship of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program with troops from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, weeks after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had visited the Georgian capital and hours after Georgia’s Saakashvili had proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire, led to direct military hostility between Russia and the preeminent client of the U.S.

During the same interim after the NATO summit Ukrainian authorities escalated their demands that the lease for the Russian Sixth Fleet not be renewed.

Weeks after the Caucasus war ended, the EU convened an extraordinary summit “devoted to the situation in Georgia” at which it adopted a resolution stating that “it is more necessary than ever to support regional cooperation and step up its relations with its eastern neighbours, in particular through its neighbourhood policy, the development of the Black Sea Synergy initiative and an Eastern Partnership.” [21]

Shortly thereafter Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk revealed the true dimensions of the Eastern Partnership when he said that, “Developments of the past months, especially the crisis in the Caucasus, have shown the farsightedness of the Swedish and Polish initiative – a proposal for the entire European Union with a global dimension….” [22]

The above occurred as the U.S. sent a flotilla of warships to Georgian ports on, and NATO boosted its naval presence in, the Black Sea.

In the middle of last November an energy summit was held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and attended by the presidents of Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Georgia and other heads of states.

American expatriate and current Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus said that “The number of letters in the word ‘GUAM’ should be increased: it would consolidate both the organization and the participating countries,” explaining “[W]e are working towards strengthening the GUAM organization, expanding contacts between the countries of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Sea regions, and making cooperation in the energy field more intense.” [23]

Adamkus’ statements were supported in a Western press report of the same day:

“The plan [elaborated at the summit] emphasised developing a ‘southern gas corridor” to transport supplies from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions, bypassing Russia, as well as an energy ring linking Europe and southern Mediterranean countries.” [24]

The meeting was overseen by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and special envoy of the American president for Eurasian energy issues Boyden Gray.

The main focus was on the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic, Odessa-Brody-Gdansk oil pipeline project but also included as the Agence France-Presse dispatch earlier alluded to the Nabucco natural gas mega-project which is to take in North African and Persian Gulf as well as Caspian energy resources and transit lines.

While at the summit, U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman effused that the “Baku Energy Summit is the continuation of ‘The Contract of Century’ signed in 1994,” an allusion to the contract signed between American and Western companies and Azerbaijan in that year which laid the foundation for the subsequent trans-Eurasian Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines as well as the Nabucco project.

Those three energy undertakings, unprecedented in scope and political capital expended, are to be expanded with the new Eastern Partnership.
In late November of last year the EU issued a draft communique on the Eastern Partnership which stated, inter alia, “On the energy front, Memorandums of Understanding are to help guarantee EU energy security, leading to ‘joint management, and even ownership of pipelines by companies of supplier, transit and consumer countries,'” as well as noting “EU ‘concern’ over energy infrastructure in conflict zones, such as a Russia-Balkans gas pipeline running through the disputed Moldovan region of Transdniestria.” [25]

A European Commission report of a few days later included the demand that “The EU must significantly boost relations with Ukraine and five other ex-Soviet republics and make easing Moscow’s sway over them a priority.

The report says the EU must seek “diversification of energy routes by enabling the ex-Soviet nations to build new and better connected pipelines and oil and gas storage facilities.

“The EU wants to see a gas pipeline from the Caucasus fully skirting Russia.” [26]

As mentioned above the EU signed the draft communique on the Eastern Partnership in December of last year with the intent of pulling “the EU’s six post-Soviet neighbors closer to the West by recognizing their ‘European aspirations’ and creating a new European Economic Area….” [27], the process having been “Accelerated partly because of the summer 2008 conflict in the Caucasus….” [28]

On December 12 the heads of state of all 27 EU members approved the establishment of the Eastern Partnership.

Twelve days later the EU special representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, added, “This program was elaborated in the light of the recent developments in the region, the war in Georgia, as well as the concerns of the South Caucasus countries on security issues….” [29]

On December 19 Washington signed a United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership with its compliant client in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko, and within a week the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute began, plunging much of Europe into a crisis and renewing Western calls for – as was to be expected – energy routes circumventing Russia.

On February 10 of this year Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs for the Czech Republic, which assumed the EU presidency on the first of the year, Alexandr Vondra, announced that he expected the Eastern Partnership to be formally inaugurated on May 7 in Prague at the EU summit to be held there.

Dispensing with the standard verbs like assisting and aiding, he added another one – stabilizing.

“The recent gas crisis has not only its technical but also political  implications. The crisis highlighted how important it is for the EU to assume responsibility for the stabilisation of its eastern neighbours and to pay them more political and financial attention.” [30]

The report from which the preceding quote is taken fleshed out the strategy in more detail:

“The Eastern Partnership summit is to be followed by a meeting of the countries that are connected with the ‘southern energy corridor’ that links the Caspian region with world markets, bypassing Russia….[T]he meeting will probably take place on the same day as the Eastern Partnership summit.” [31]

To further tie together the West’s plans to penetrate and assimilate all of former Soviet territory, the following day it was reported that “Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will go to Central Asia on Thursday to have talks on the Eastern Partnership and possible gas supplies for the European Union that would reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian gas” and that “During his two-day visit, Topolanek will have talks with top politicians of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, ” and, lastly, “Topolanek will negotiate in Central Asia on behalf of the EU as the Czech Republic has been EU president since January.” [32]

And to further confirm the predetermined and integrated approach toward all non-Russian Commonwealth of Independent States nations, last December a Central Asian news sources revealed:

“The European Union launched, on 28 November, a rule of law initiative for Central Asia – one of the key elements of its strategy for a new partnership with five Central Asian countries adopted in May 2007.

“The initiative provides for support for Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan….” [33]

Exploiting the issue of alleged European energy security, a campaign first addressed in a major manner by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Alliance’s 2006 summit in Riga, Latvia, the real intent of the Eastern Partnership is to subordinate eleven of the twelve former Soviet states not already in the EU (and NATO) to Brussels…and Washington.

By adding Belarus, either through cooptation or “regime change,” to the Western column Russia will lose its only buffer against NATO in Europe and the only substantive early warning missile surveillance and air defenses it has outside its own borders.

By adding Armenia Russia will effectively be driven out of the South Caucasus.

With the absorption of the five Central Asian nations, Russia would lose all influence throughout the entire former Soviet space except for its own territory.

1) European Union press release, December 3, 2008
2), December 11, 2008
3) PanArmenian. net, December 12, 2008
4) Daily Telegraph, May 26, 2008
5) Georgian Daily, December 8, 2008
6) Daily Telegraph, December 30, 2008
7) Black Sea Press [Georgia], December 30, 2008
8) Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 15, 2008
9) Yale Daily News, February 12, 2009
10) Infotag [Moldova], June 26, 2008
11) Polish Radio, June 20, 2008
12) Azeri Press Agency, June 30, 2008
13) Europa, June 3, 2009
14) Ukrainian Journal, May 23, 2006
15) Ibid
16) Russia Today, November 7, 2009
17) Infotag, November 2, 2007
18) Azeri Press Agency, July 2, 2008
19) Georgian Public Broadcasting, July 1, 2008
20) The Messenger [Georgia], July 1, 2008
21) ForUm [Ukraine], September 2, 2008
22) UNIAN [Ukraine], September 18, 2008
23) Today.AZ [Azerbaijan], November 14, 2008
24) Agence France-Presse, November 14, 2008
25) Azeri Press Agency, November 25, 2008
26) Associated Press, November 30, 2008
27) PanArmenian. net, December 3, 2008
28) Sofia Echo, December 3, 2008
29) Today.AZ, December 24, 2008
30) Czech News Agency, February 10, 2009
31) Ibid
32) Czech News Agency, February 11, 2009
33) UzReport [Uzbekistan], December 19, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Balkans: Staging Ground For NATO’s Post-Cold War Order

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

February 9, 2009

Balkans: Staging Ground For NATO’s Post-Cold War Order
Rick Rozoff

The world hasn’t begun to recover from the events of 1991, a true annus terribilis whose watershed nature was insufficiently appreciated at the time and has been practically ignored since.

The year initiated the first attempt in history to enforce worldwide military, political, economic and cultural unipolarity; the advent in earnest of neoliberalism with all the devastating economic and social consequences it has wrought since then; the genesis of U.S.-led and Western-supported air, ground, counterinsurgency and proxy wars against defenseless targets from the Middle East to the Balkans, South Asia to Africa.

The major political events of the year were three:

The Operation Desert Storm war against Iraq and the inauguration of U.S.-engineered gratuitous wars of convenience waged under the auspices of self-designated coalitions of the willing – major NATO powers and whichever client states could be bribed or bullied into providing false plumage for the alias adopted then and ever after, the “international community” – as often as not impersonating the United Nations or even more presumptuously humanity.

The seemingly instantaneous breakup of the Soviet Union into its fifteen constituent federal republics.

The beginning of the fragmentation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the largely German-instigated secession of, first, Croatia and Slovenia, and then Macedonia.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Europe saw the simultaneous end of the only two multi-ethnic and multi-confessional federated nations in Europe, leaving only Serbia and Russia (meaningfully) now in that category.

With these two concomitant dismemberments, 1991 also issued in the demolition of the edifice of the entire post-World War I and -World War II system of international relations which had often been observed even in the breach, with the main institutional manifestation of the second, the United Nations, undermined and supplanted, and the confirmation and codification of the post-World War II definition of state-to-state principles in Europe, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, torn to shreds.

The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (Helsinki) Final Act of August 1, 1975 states in its section on Inviolability of frontiers that:

“The participating States regard as inviolable all one another’s frontiers as well as the frontiers of all States in Europe and therefore they will refrain now and in the future from assaulting these frontiers.

“Accordingly, they will also refrain from any demand for, or act of, seizure and usurpation of part or all of the territory of any participating State.”

In its statement on Territorial integrity of States the Final Act adds:

“The participating States will respect the territorial integrity of each of the participating States.

“Accordingly, they will refrain from any action inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations against the territorial integrity, political independence or the unity of any participating State, and in particular from any such action constituting a threat or use of force.”

Strongly implicit in the above principles is the acknowledgment that national borders in Europe as decided upon at the 1945 Yalta and Potsdam conferences and confirmed in the United Nations at its founding in 1945, however imperfect in various respects, were inviolable and all the signatories to the Helsinki Final Act – including the U.S. and all its NATO allies – committed themselves to the irrefragable territorial integrity of all European nations as constituted after the end of the world’s most deadly and devastating war, one caused by the last attempt to redraw borders in Europe and Asia.

There are now nineteen nations in Europe (including the South Caucasus) that could not be found on a map at the time of the Helsinki Final Act: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany (united), Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, and one aborted pseudo-state, Kosovo.

All but reunified Germany (itself only two years old at the time) didn’t exist until 1991 and many are nations that never were independent countries until that year.

If Operation Desert Storm was the opening act in defining the Post-Cold War new American and NATO order, and the breakup of the Soviet Union allowed for its full implementation and the launching of a new Eurasian Great Game from the Baltic to the Black and the Caspian seas, Yugoslavia and its former republics would be the main laboratory for the post-post-Yalta and post-Helsinki world.

In reference to the Balkans wars of the 1990s, the aftermath of which alone will be dealt with here, suffice it to say that a veritable mountain range of selective hyperbole, inverted logic, puerile bromides, the attribution of collective and exclusive guilt to one party (the Serbs), the “clairvoyant” ascription of evil motives to only one of the belligerents (again the Serbs, at almost all times to almost all Serbs), ad nauseam, the popularized distillation of them has been summed up by most all Western commentators with two cliched chestnuts: Yugoslavia broke up because of a mythic Greater Serbia project and former and late Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic “started and lost four wars.”

Parroting the last two inanities is all that’s required to pass muster as a Balkans expert in most circles in the West and much of the rest of the world.

Starting in the summer of 1991 this writer asserted that the entire compendium of such received prejudices could be refuted, could be demolished, with one word: Macedonia.

The events in Macedonia at that time are a subject fairly begging for book-length examination and analysis, but this synopsis will due for now:

Following the NATO takeover of the Serbian province of Kosovo in June of 1999, with its so-called Kosovo Liberation Army allies in tow, the latter almost immediately metastasized into similar armed formations in South Serbia (Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja) and Macedonia (National Liberation Army) as well as suspected offshoots in Montenegro and northeastern Greece (Epirus).

The National Liberation Army (NLA} of Ali Ahmeti, also a founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), launched murderous attacks inside Macedonia from its bases in NATO-occupied Kosovo, at times marching right past American Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops, even dragging artillery with them as they did so. Macedonia was in the opening stages of a full-fledged civil war instigated from neighboring Kosovo.

While then NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson initially referred to the NLA invaders as “murderous thugs,” NATO, the U.S. and the European Union threatened the Macedonian government into signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement on August 13, which legitimized the NLA, brought it into the national parliament as a political party (under a different name) and even installed Ahmeti as a cabinet minister in the federal government.

The above is detailed for two reasons: There is only a negligible Serbian minority in Macedonia and at the time of the events described above former Yugoslav president Milosevic was languishing in a prison cell in the Hague, where he had been taken after being illegally whisked away from Belgrade in a NATO helicopter.

Remember the Western mantra: Serbian nationalism and Sloboban Milosevic were culpable for all unrest and violence in former Yugoslavia.

Having unleashed the prototype of the now infamous “color revolutions” that have since afflicted Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon and toppled the government of Slobodan Milosevic in the autumn of 2000, the U.S. and NATO now had governments installed in all six former Yugoslav federal republics that would permit what the Rambouillet Appendix B ultimatum to Yugoslavia ten years ago had aimed at, the rejection of which by Belgrade had been used by NATO for its 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia the same year, particularly this provision:

“NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations.”

What has occurred in the interim incontrovertibly reveals what was hidden behind the mask of NATO’s “humanitarian intervention,” replete with cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions, graphite weapons and terror bombing, arming and training of racist pogromists for ethnocide and murder, the demolishing of bridges, factories, broadcasting stations and the Chinese embassy in Belgrade: To turn the Balkans into a permanent military colony for the subjugation of the region and for the expansion of NATO to points east and south, along its new Silk Route to the Chinese border and throughout the so-called Broader Middle East and into Africa.

In the seminal and near-prophetic presentation “Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?” of January of 1996, the late and irreplaceable American scholar Sean Gervasi remarked of NATO’s first military deployment, in Bosnia in the preceding year, that its objectives included a far broader strategy:

“These have to do with an emerging strategy for securing the resources of the Caspian Sea region and for “stabilizing” the countries of Eastern Europe – ultimately for ‘stabilizing’ Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States….Not a few commentators have made the point that Western actions in extending NATO even raise the risks of nuclear conflict….”

The paper is worth reading in its totality at:

A recent news item offers the latest verification of the claim regarding the current escalation of war in South Asia:

“Navy Captain Kevin Aandahl, spokesman for the US Transportation Command [said] one route could go from the Balkans to …south through Central Asia to Afghanistan.” [1]

NATO’s longstanding plans to transform the Balkans into one large military colony for bases locally, troops for wars further afield and a staging ground for military actions to the east and the south will be explored nation by nation and after that in terms of the general strategy at the end of this article.

The consolidation of American and NATO military integration of the Balkans as a whole, the former Yugoslavia in particular, has proceeded unremittingly and inexorably over the past ten years and is most disturbingly exemplified by recent developments in the world’s newest nation, Montenegro, and the West’s new, less than a year old, “NATO pseudo-state,” Kosovo.

Montenegro declared its unilateral abrogation of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, itself created from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2003, on May 21, 2006.

It is the 192nd and latest state to join the United Nations.

Within seven months, perhaps before it even completed putting its national seal on government stationary, it was absorbed into NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.

Montenegrins themselves were never consulted on the matter: “Polls have suggested that 70% of Montenegrins would vote against joining NATO if given a chance to do so.

“One of the primary reasons for the citizenry’s resistance to the desires of their political leaders is lingering resentment for the NATO’s intervention in the Balkans in 1999.” [2]

Last June NATO’s Norfolk, Virginia-based Allied Command Transformation conducted a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Work Programme (EAPWP) seminar in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, which was described as being “designed for regional Partnership for Peace (PfP) defence and military officials who are responsible for security and defence policy, strategic planning and execution.

“Partners were introduced to transformational principles for maintaining competitive military advantage over potential adversaries in the 21st
Century….” [3]

Less than two weeks later NATO launched an Intensified Dialogue with Montenegro after “Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Dragana Radulovic and Deputy Minister for Defence Mr. Drasko Jovanovic met with NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security Cooperation and Partnership [and for the Caucasus and Central Asia] Robert F. Simmons Jr….” [4]

Only five months later, such is the accelerated pace of integration, the U.S.’s and NATO’s long-term client in Podgorica, President Milo Djukanovic, announced that he had been assured by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that “NATO is not tired of enlargement,” and then “handed over Montenegro’s formal application for NATO’s membership action plan [Individual Partnership Action Plan]…seen as the last step before full membership….” [5]

Less than a month afterward – – note the breathtaking telescoping of time and stages – Montenegro joined Bosnia in being pulled into the Adriatic Charter, which is “a cooperation mechanism initiated by the United States in 2003 [which] consists of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia [and] aims to co-ordinate NATO membership preparations.” [6]

Albania and Croatia are slated to be granted full NATO membership at the Alliance’s sixtieth anniversary summit on April 3-4, with Macedonia to follow once the “name dispute” with Greece is settled.

The next, inevitable, step soon followed.

On December 17, 2008 Montenegro’s ambassador to the U.S., Miodrag Vlahovic, signed a NATO Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement, which establishes terms and conditions for the stationing of NATO nations’, including the U.S.’s, military forces in a partner nation.

The very same day the Montenegrin parliament authorized the first, nominal but precedent setting, military deployment to Afghanistan to serve under NATO command.

This is in keeping with the simultaneous withdrawal of troops by fellow Balkans NATO members and partners – Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia – from Iraq in December and the announcement that all four would increase their troop commitments in Afghanistan.

On January 27 of the current year a NATO delegation arrived in the capital of Montenegro “for the evaluation of the IPAP [Individual Partnership Action Plan}” just commenced last November, the demands of which are far-reaching enough to entail “[C]riteria for NATO and EU membership [including] the significant role of the Directorate for Anticorruption Initiative in drafting anticorruption laws [and a] recently initiated process of drafting the Law on integrity, which is completely a new piece of legislation in Montenegro [and projects] planned in the field of local self-government, public administration and the private sector.” [7]

To be NATOized is to be subordinated in every category, even being dictated to in matters of “local self-government.”

Only days ago Frank Boland, head of NATO’s Defense Policy Planning Directorate, told a Balkans daily that “Montenegro could become a NATO member in 2012 given the overall progress the country has made thus far” but that “Montenegro first will have to get rid of its old weapons, which needs to be stored safely and later destroyed. The country also needs to adjust troop training in line with NATO standards.” [8]
Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia on February 18, 2008 after the mediation of Britain, France, Germany and Italy – the very four nations that “mediated” Nazi Germany’s seizure of the Czech Sudetenland 60 years earlier at Munich – is, almost a full year later, only recognized by 54 of the world’s 192 nations.

It is the site of Camps Bondsteel and Camp Monteith, built after Serbian forces were expelled from the province and the largest overseas US military installations constructed since the Vietnam War.

The majority of the countries recognizing the illegal secession are NATO members, candidates and partners with an assortment of “coalition of the willing” entities – so far has the stature and influence of the West waned in the past few years – as Belize, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Samoa.

Within five months of the U.S.- and NATO-engineered breaking off of the historical heart of Serbia, Kosovo’s prime minister and former KLA commander Hashim Thaci, who then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright first started grooming as a future head of state in 2000 when she personally squired him around the State Department, United Nations and Democratic Party nominating convention in Los Angeles, delivered himself of the pledge that:

“We will present our goal and vision that Kosovo be part of the Euro-Atlantic family, part of NATO and the European Union as soon as possible.” [9]

Eight days later Thaci was in Washington, his first visit as “head of state,” meeting with Albright’s successor once removed Condoleezza Rice, where he effused that “Kosovo and the people of Kosovo bow before the government and the people of America for their support.” [10]

To be recalled the next time one reads in reference to Kosovo such elevated terms as independence, freedom and self-determination. Thaci’s “capital” of Pristina as of last December now has a George Bush Street as well as a statue erected to Bill Clinton.

The following month Kosovo Defense Minister Fehmi Mujota (readers can add as many inverted commas here and afterward as they choose) affirmed that “Kosovo will build a continuous partnership with NATO, fulfilling its standards and necessary capacities in the defense field” and that the “Kosovo Security Force will be the nucleus of the future Kosovo army matching NATO standards.” [11]

In a remarkable feat of historical and geographic legerdemain, Thaci last month asserted that Kosovo was “never Serbian” and that “We are part of the European family, we will be part of the EU and NATO….” [12]

A demonstration of the diplomacy and statesmanship taught to him by his tutors Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and former United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) chief Bernard Kouchner, now French foreign minister.

Local Serbs, whose ancestors lived in Kosovo for at least 800 years of course have, to the West, the temerity to differ with Thaci’s revisionist history and NATO’s KFOR troops have dealt with them ruthlessly on behalf of Thaci and his fellow KLA veterans.

The commander of French NATO forces in Kosovo, General Michel Yakovleff, early last month threatened besieged Serbs with the warning to “Be aware of the strong determination of KFOR to respond, even brutally if necessary, to all forms of violence.” [13]

That is, to any attempts by ethnic Serbs and other minorities to defend themselves after thousands of Serbs, Roma, Ashkalis, Egyptians, Gorans and Turks have been murdered and “disappeared” since June of 1999 and as many as 4-500,000 have been terrorized into fleeing the province.

A week earlier a Kosovo separatist authority announced that the former KLA and current Kosovo Protection Corps would be transformed into a Kosovo Security Force – the embryo of a national armed forces – and that a “nine-week training course would be run by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Kosovo Force, or KFOR, an international peacekeeping mission led by NATO.” [14]

Within days NATO announced it was in fact forming a new Kosovo army.

In a dispatch titled “NATO says new Kosovo force to be launched on Jan 21,” it was announced that “[The Kosovo Security Force] will replace the KPC [Kosovo Protection Corps], a 3,500-strong…force backed up by some 2,000 reservists that was mostly composed of former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas who fought against Serbian rule” and that “Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu has named KPC [and before that KLA] commander Sylejman Selimi to head the new force.” [15]

The Kosovo Security Force’s uniforms will be supplied by the Pentagon [16] and its troops “will be trained by British Army officers, with their uniforms provided by the U.S., and their vehicles by Germany.” [17]

And if any doubts could remain regarding the organic and inextricable links between NATO and the KLA (in whichever avatar), a former KLA commander has eliminated them.

“The Kosovo Security Force is striving to become part of NATO…said Kosovo Security Force commander Sylejman Selimi [who added] ‘NATO has been showing interest in assisting the establishment of the Kosovo Security Force and I believe that the cooperation will go on. We are happy to acquire NATO’s experience in training, equipment and infrastructure'” [18]

NATO returned the favor the next day by formally announcing on its website that “KFOR representatives will present the concept of the recruitment campaign for the new Kosovo Security Force to the public at the University of Pristina.” [19]

The above immediately drew the well-warranted ire of both Serbia and Russia, with, in addition to current Serbian government officials, former prime minister Vojislav Kostunica complaining that “”NATO is making and arming Kosovo’s army” and that NATO (and its KFOR operation) are “no longer paying any attention to Serbia, and are implementing the Ahtisaari plan openly, building a Kosovo army.”

Kostunica in the same statement urged a reevaluation of Serbia’s Partnership for Peace status, which had been secured by NATO two years ago, in the (certain) event that the Alliance persists in building its proxy army.

The Russian ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin was equally vehement in his denunciation, stating “Forming these forces is a remilitarization of Kosovo and, in itself, runs counter to Resolution 1244.” [20]

Lastly on this topic, Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac claimed at the end of last month that the new Kosovo army is also being prepared, in addition to suppressing minority and other loyalist forces in Kosovo, for integration into NATO military operations aboard, presumably to join their Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Romanian and Slovenian Balkans counterparts in Afghanistan and future NATO war zones.

In 2004 arch-war criminal and then head of the Kosovo Protection Corps Agim Ceku offered members of the Corps, referred to by Western officials and journalists as a “civilian emergency services organisation,” to the U.S. for use in the war in Iraq.
Serbia itself is not to get away unmolested and its sons and daughters won’t be spared the fate of their neighbors.

It was dragged into NATO’s Partnership for Peace along with Bosnia and Montenegro in 2006 and last October NATO Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac signed a security agreement that “will facilitate military-to military cooperation between Serbia and the alliance.” [21]

In 2003 the Western press was replete with accounts of 1,000 Serbian troops being sent to Afghanistan to fight under NATO command.

The deployment never materialized, but with Serbia the only former Yugoslav Partnership for Peace member without troops there the prospect still remains.
Bosnia is the first former Yugoslav republic to have suffered the presence of NATO troops.

In the opening days of this year the Bosnian government, which had just recalled its last troops from Iraq, transparently in response to U.S. and NATO demands, revealed that it had authorized the first deployment of troops to Afghanistan to serve with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
Croatia, which has been shepherded toward full NATO membership over the past five years through the U.S.’s Adriatic Charter along with Albania and Macedonia, will be inducted into the Alliance at its April summit.

Preparatory to its final initiation, Washington signed an “Additional SOFA” (Status of Forces Agreement) with the nation last summer described at the time as “an international agreement between Croatia and the US determining issues regarding US forces’ presence in Croatia within the framework of cooperation connected with the NATO and PfP.” [22]

In the spring of last year Croatia hosted an international NATO exercise called MEDCEUR 08, which in addition to the U.S., its sponsor, included “12 members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine,” in an illustration of how NATO is jointly integrating Balkans and former Soviet states into its global army. [23]

Shortly thereafter Croatia was also the site for Adriatic Shield 08, an international “exercise…being held under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) that was launched by the United States in 2003.

“The three-day exercise…is co-organized by Poland and the United States, with Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia also taking part.” [24]
Albania, another Adriatic Charter graduate, for years hosted NATO forces in Durres.

Last November its Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha met with NATO chief Scheffer and pledged assistance in the creation of Kosovo’s new army.

The nation has troops stationed in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Chad. In April it will be brought into NATO as a full member.
In November of 2008 Macedonia held the largest military exercise in its history, Macedonian Flash – 04, “an air-land exercise aimed at evaluating the preparedness of ARM [Army of the Republic of Macedonia] troops for deployment in NATO-led missions,” for which a “NATO team [was] tasked to observe and evaluate the units’ operational capabilities, their inter-operability and application of the NATO standards in conducting of the training exercises” [25], indeed “watched by 70 NATO representatives from 26 Alliance” member states. [26]

A month later a high-ranking delegation of the NATO Military Committee, led by the committee chairman Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, arrived in Macedonia to discuss “the current and future participation of Macedonian troops in missions abroad.” [27]

Early last month Macedonia deployed another contingent of troops to Afghanistan to serve with a NATO mechanized infantry unit.

A few days ago a delegation of the French armed forces visited the country to evaluate the “participation of its troops in missions abroad.” [28]
Slovenia, one of the first two Yugoslav federal republics to secede from the nation, is the first and to date only one to be fully integrated into NATO, being absorbed after the Istanbul summit in 2004.

Before leaving office last month US President George Bush included Slovenia and the other six newest NATO members in the classified nuclear information agreement ATOMAL.

Last November its troops were among those participating in a joint NATO-Afghan army Joint Multinational Training Command exercise in Germany.

A month earlier a NATO flotilla of four warships and 800 sailors docked in the Slovenian port of Koper.

Days ago its government announced a modest increase in troops being deployed to Afghanistan in addition to sending security personnel to Gaza.

NATO has plans to open a center for training mountain troops in Slovenia, if it hasn’t done so already.
Bulgaria and Romania became full NATO members after the Istanbul summit also.

The next year the U.S. commenced plans to take over three bases in Bulgaria and four in Romania as “forward operating sites: and “pre-positioning” staging grounds for operations to the east.

The Pentagon is to station several thousand troops at these full spectrum – infantry, air force, naval – locations.
In October of 2008 U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a meeting of the Southeast European Defense Ministerial (SEDM} in Macedonia “urged Eastern European leaders to shift their military efforts from Iraq to Afghanistan, where their forces are more urgently needed.” [29]

At the time, of the ten non-American members of the SEDM nine – Italy, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Slovenia and Croatia – had a combined level of 5,100 troops in Afghanistan. The last, Bosnia, also has now pledged troops in responses to Gates’ orders.

A concise summary of the SEDM is as follows:

“The SEDM currently includes Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Romania, the United States, Slovenia, Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and such observer countries as Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro.

“The Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial was set up in 1996….as a bridge with Euro-Atlantic organizations, particularly NATO.” [30]

Before his appearance at the SEDM ministerial Gates was in Kosovo meeting with leaders of the separatist regime there and “went from Kosovo to Macedonia, where he participated in a southeastern Europe defense ministers conference. While there, he met with his Ukraine counterpart and expressed America’s support for NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. He also spoke to the defense ministers of Montenegro and Macedonia about recognizing Kosovo. Both nations did so Oct. 9.” [31]

That is, the U.S. Pentagon chief went to Kosovo to meet with American troops stationed there and with Kosovo officials, surely Hashim Thaci among others, then left for Macedonia where he ordered the host government and that of Montenegro to recognize Kosovo’s independence, which both did the following day.

Also in October President Bush, while signing papers formalizing Washington’s support for Albania’s and Croatia’s NATO admission, “reiterated U.S. support for prospective NATO members Ukraine, Georgia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina,” and added, “The door to NATO membership also remains open to the people of Serbia should they choose that path.” [32]

A sentiment seconded by former Bulgarian foreign minister and current reputed candidate for NATO’s top post Solomon Passy, who said at practically the same moment “I hope this won’t stop until the other countries from the West Balkans (Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Kosovo) become NATO member states” and said that “if this happens, one third of NATO member states will be from the Balkans….” [33]
At the beginning of 1991 Yugoslavia was a united country, a member and founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, with no foreign bases on its soil and no troops stationed abroad.

In the intervening eighteen years it has been torn to pieces and its fragments turned into little better than NATO military occupation zones and recruiting grounds for foreign wars.

The prototype for what awaits much of the world if the developments of 1991 aren’t soon halted and reversed.
1) Agence France-Presse, February 6, 2009
2) Montenegro Times, April 4, 2008
3) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, June 12, 2008
4) NATO, June 25, 2008
5) Associated Press, November 5, 2008
6) Makfax, December 4, 2008
7) Government of Montenegro, January 27, 2009
8) Makfax, February 2, 2009
9) Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, July 9, 2008
10) Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, July 18, 2008
11) New Kosova Report [Sweden], August 19, 2008
12) Tanjug News Agency, January 24, 2009
13) Deutsche Welle, January 9, 2009
14) Associated Press, February 2, 2009
15) Reuters, January 14, 2009
16) B92 [Serbia], January 17, 2009)
17) Beta News Agency, January 20, 2009
18) Focus News Agency [Bulgaria], January 23, 2009
19) NATO, January 24, 2009
20) FoNet/Danas [Serbia], January 27, 2009
21) New Europe, October 6, 2008
22) Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European  
    Integration, July 3, 2008
23) Agence France-Presse, May 2, 2008
24) Agence France-Presse, May 12, 2008
25) Makfax, November 2, 2008
26) Makfax, November 3, 2008
27) Makfax, December 8, 2008
28) Focus News Agency, February 4, 2009
29) Associated Press, October 9, 2008
30) National Radio Company of Ukraine, October 9, 2008
31) United States European Command, October 14, 2008
32) Agence France-Presse, October 24, 2008
33) Focus News Agency, October 23, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul

August 26, 2009 1 comment

February 6, 2009

NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul
Rick Rozoff

[NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in the Kingdom of Bahrain for the NATO-Bahrain Relations and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative conference in 2008]

The NATO summit held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on June 28-29, 2004 was nothing less than epochal in terms of its geopolitical repercussions, where several historical thresholds were crossed and post-World War II international taboos violated.

Some of the decisions reached at the summit were commented upon in the world press at the time as the precedents they were, but the implementation of the same has in the interim come to be accepted as not only an accomplished fact but as within the natural and inevitable nature of things.

The multifaceted expansion plans formalized by NATO at the summit will be dealt with separately below and major emphasis will be directed to that least examined aspect, the eponymous Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

On January 3 of this year Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Admiral Luciano Zappata was obliging enough to issue this statement:

“The vast dimension of the emerging area of responsibility and interest covers traditional NATO borders, but also ranges from the Strait of Bering to Norway and Estonia; from the Bosphorus-Dardanelles, the Gibraltar Strait and the Mediterranean Sea to the High North; and from the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, Horn of Africa, the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf – and possibly beyond.” [1]

The Persian Gulf and beyond will be the main focus of this article.

But to provide historical context, the last four NATO summits have been held in Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic in 2002, Turkey in 2004, Latvia in 2006 and Romania in 2008.

Three of the four host nations were formerly in Warsaw Pact territory and one, Latvia, was a former Soviet Republic. Latvia and Romania were only inducted into NATO in 2004, at the Istanbul summit, and were the sites of summits themselves only two and fours years later, respectively.

A lot has happened since then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker assured the Soviet Union’s last president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.”

What began to happen, four years later to be exact, was that NATO instituted two transitional mechanisms for integrating states traditionally “out of area” (Alliance term) into what were even at that time plans for a global military nexus.

The two programs were the so-called Partnership for Peace (PfP) and Mediterranean Dialogue partnerships, both of which were initiated in 1994.

The first, with Ireland didn’t join until 1999, included every nation in non-post-Soviet continental Europe not already one of NATO sixteen members (here and henceforward by European nations are designated all but minor entities like Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City State) except for what remained of Yugoslavia and two former Yugoslav republics (Bosnia and Croatia, both still riven by post-conflict instability) and Cyprus, and included all fifteen former Soviet republics.

In the first category were Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland and in the second Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Russia would pull out of the PfP in 1999 in reaction to NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, about which more later, and Ireland would join in the same year.

Malta, which was incorporated into the PfP in 1995 would withdraw the following year – the only nation ever to have pulled out of a NATO structure – but was dragged back in last year.

Also in 1994 NATO launched what it called the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), a military and political partnership with seven nations on the southern flank of the Mediterranean Sea, on or near its eastern wing and all the way to Africa’s Atlantic coast: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

[Military officials from Jordan and Mauritania at a Mediterranean Dialogue meeting with the NATO Military Committee in Brussels in 2007]

With Bosnia (2006), Croatia (2000) and Montenegro (2006) being pulled into the PfP, 17 of 21 nations with coastlines on the Mediterranean are now full NATO members or members of the bloc’s partnerships.

Starting clockwise from the Strait of Gibraltar they are: Gibraltar/Great Britain (NATO), Spain (NATO), France (NATO), Italy (NATO), Malta (PfP), Slovenia (NATO), Croatia (PfP, soon to be a NATO member), Bosnia and Herzegovina (PfP), Montenegro (PfP), Albania (PfP, also soon to be inducted into NATO), Greece (NATO), Turkey (NATO), Israel (MD), Egypt (MD), Tunisia MD), Algeria (MD) and Morocco (MD).

The only exceptions currently are Cyprus, Lebanon, Libya and Syria. (For the purposes of this study the Palestinian Gaza Strip will be considered separately.)

[Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) visiting Morocco as part of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue]

After Israel’s war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006, German warships were deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean to lead a naval blockade of the nation, leading a Western news source to note, accurately enough but also blandly, that the German deployment represented “this country’s first military engagement in the Middle East since World War II.”

Berlin’s cohorts in this ongoing blockade include Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Bulgaria. In other words, a NATO operation in all but name.

And one that is slated to be extended to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza.

In April of last year it was announced that “Libya has agreed to participate in its first NATO naval exercise” and “Libya will send naval vessels to NATO’s Phoenix Express-2008. …” [2]

On January 28 of this year a Cypriot paper wrote that the opposition Democratic Rally (DISY) party had “re-introduced the issue of Cyprus joining the Partnership for Peace, a programme of practical military and security co-operation between NATO and individual countries,” and that “DISY is trying to forge alliances with other parties that support its entry.” [3]

One has to assume that the above initiative was forged in Brussels and Washington and not Nicosia.

Should all the above efforts to pull hitherto unaffiliated nations into NATO’s military nexus succeed, that would leave only Syria unaligned in the entire Mediterranean.

The Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) of imperial Rome at its zenith never dreamed of such comprehensive control. Neither did the Berlin-Rome Axis of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, even with the former’s Vichy France proxy’s control of what are now Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Syria.

At the 1999 50th anniversary summit in Washington, as the bloc was waging its first full-blown war – against Yugoslavia, which then didn’t even border a NATO state much less threaten one – the first post-Cold War NATO expansion was effected.

It was not only the single largest extension of memberships at any one time – three countries were brought into the fold – but all the new inductees were former Warsaw Pact members: The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, with one, Poland, bordering Russia (the Kaliningrad enclave).

Only three years later the Czech capital hosted the next NATO summit and two years after that the Alliance further demonstrated its new drive east by holding a summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

That summit make a complete mockery of James Baker’s earlier-cited pledge and in a number of alarming ways.

First, NATO accepted seven new members, more than half the number of original NATO members at its founding summit in 1949.

Also, it brought into its phalanx six more nations once in the Warsaw Pact (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the first two new members on the Black Sea since Turkey joined in 1952 (Bulgaria, Romania), the first former Yugoslav republic (Slovenia) and, what was unimaginable a few years earlier, three former Soviet republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).

The Istanbul summit also signaled an equally dangerous shift in another direction: The south.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was created to elevate the Mediterranean Dialogue to full partnership status and to initiate a military arrangement with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in the Persian Gulf.

On the opening day of the summit the NATO website published a description of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative which is at this link:

It contains plans to promote “military-to-military cooperation to contribute to interoperability through participation in selected military exercises and related education and training activities that could improve the ability of participating countries’ forces to operate with those of the Alliance in contributing to NATO-led operations” and to “invite interested countries to observe and/or participate in selected NATO/PfP exercise activities” such as “to join Operation Active Endeavour (OAE)….”

Operation Active Endeavour is the all-encompassing naval surveillance and interdiction deployment that was started in October 4, 2001 under NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause and is slated to end…never.

[NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor]

Also, the ICI intends to not only upgrade Mediterranean Dialogue but eventually also Persian Gulf allies to the level of the Partnership for Peace apprenticeship and gateway to complete NATO integration; or, as the Alliance document states, to provide the thirteen new partners “access to appropriate PfP programmes and training centres.”

The last-named is already being implemented with the annual Cooperative Longbow / Cooperative Lancer multinational military exercises in the South Caucasus – last year in Armenia (which included Istanbul Cooperation Initiative forces), this year in Georgia.

Last year in the third South Caucasus nation, Azerbaijan, the annual NATO Week activities included the participation of “Representatives from about 100 member countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” members. [4]

One astute Persian Gulf observer characterized the ICI in these terms:

“Nato, as a…tool in the hands of the US, became the final arbiter in world disputes and effectively sidelined the UN. It took on the mantle of the ‘world cop’…In 2004, after the US and the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations coined the new term ‘Broader Middle East and North Africa’, Nato launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), an ambitious joint-venture endeavour with the GCC countries.”

And added that “A sensitive aspect of the ICI is the clause that it ‘should be complementary to the alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue and would complement Nato’s specific relationship with the partner countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue’… .Oman is apprehensive the ICI stands the risk of being interpreted by Iran as an attempt to rope in Nato to intimidate it.” [5]

In addition to the Alliance filling in another geopolitical gap in its expansion from its Euro-Atlantic metropolis southward and eastward toward what is a self-proclaimed global NATO, and as will be documented later the bloc’s plan to police world energy resources and their transit, the invitation to the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council to be integrated into the regional and worldwide ambitions of NATO was aimed squarely at Iran.

To both solidify and camouflage what has been, particularly since 1990, a permanent and ever-growing and deepening U.S. military presence in the Gulf, already used to wage two wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, since 2004 NATO has been used to ensnare the Persian Gulf sheikdoms and monarchies into a military cordon sanitaire around and a string of basing and transit launching pads for potential attacks against Iran.

Regarding the already extant U.S. buildup in the region, it’s worth recalling that the American Navy’s 5th Fleet is based in Gulf Cooperation Council/Istanbul Cooperation Initiative member state Bahrain. The 5th Fleet takes in the entire area of responsibility of the Pentagon’s Central Command (CENTCOM) including 25 nations in and bordering the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the coastline of East Africa south to Kenya.

The Fleet was decommissioned after World War II and only recommissioned in 1995, in between the two wars against Iraq.

The Pentagon’s Central Command headquarters was shifted to Qatar for the war on Iraq named Operation Iraqi Freedom in and after March of 2003.

100,000 U.S. troops were amassed in Kuwait for the initial attack and the nation remains a key transit station for the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Slightly over a year ago the Congressional Research Service in the U.S. reported that Washington had provided $72 billion dollars worth of arms to the six Gulf Cooperation Council members from 1981 to 2006.

Regarding just U.S. air forces in the region, “About 27,000 Air Force personnel are stationed in the Middle East region….They operate from a network of bases that stretch from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia. The Air Force has at least five air bases inside Iraq, one in Afghanistan, one in Kyrgyzstan, and several others in Qatar, Kuwait, and surrounding countries.” [6]

The Gulf is also an integral part of the U.S.’s plans for a global layered interceptor (Star Wars) missile system and has been for a while.

“The Bush administration announced plans on Wednesday to sell advanced anti-missile systems to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait with a combined potential value of nearly $10.4 billion.

“The Pentagon told Congress the United Arab Emirates had asked about buying 288 Patriot Advanced Capability PAC-3 missiles and related gear worth up to $9 billion.” [7]

“The UAE (United Arab Emirates] led the region in missile defense deals, receiving approval from the Pentagon to buy Patriot 3 launchers and systems. It also became the first country outside the US to receive approval to purchase the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) designed to shoot down incoming missiles, in a deal valued at $7b.” [8]

In December of 2007 Pentagon chief Robert Gates traveled to Bahrain to issue a call for an “‘air and missile defence umbrella'” over the Gulf region to deter missile attacks by Iran.” [9]

The following month the U.S. Defense Department “proposed sales of Patriot missile defence and early warning systems to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait worth more than $US10 billion.” [10]

It’s upon the above foundation that NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative is being constructed.

The following excerpts from a speech by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer illumine another aspect of NATO plans in the Gulf:

“[NATO] can help to police the oceans….Just a few days ago NATO defence ministers decided to detach parts of a NATO Maritime Task Force to the Gulf of Aden….Just this week we are holding a major conference in Doha [Qatar] on energy security with our partners from the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Those partners include Qatar, which is the world’s largest producer of liquified natural gas, but also major energy producers in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan, not to speak of important African producers such as Nigeria….Energy security is today very much on the agenda when we meet with these countries in our Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, our Mediterranean Dialogue or our Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.. ..” [11]

Again NATO’s plans regarding energy and military expansion are not only integrally, indeed inextricably, linked but are fully reciprocal. Allegedly providing for “energy security” and “protecting shipping lanes” are in fact just as much the public relations rationale for projecting military power into strategic areas as they are concerns and objectives in themselves.

A review of NATO’s relations with the ICI since the 2004 summit will illustrate the bloc’s major strategies in relation to the Persian Gulf, which include:

-Integrating the Gulf Cooperation Council states into NATO’s global army. The progressively larger involvement of GCC military forces in exercises in the South Caucasus alongside those of the Mediterranean Dialogue and Partnership for Peace has been discussed earlier.

The United Arab Emirates has assigned troops to serve under NATO in Afghanistan alongside counterparts from the Partnership for Peace and so-called Contact Countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore.

In increasingly frequent meetings of NATO Chiefs of Defence, the Alliance’s highest military authority, the heads of defense and other representatives from ICI partners are in attendance.

-Employing GCC states to base troops, warplanes, cargo and surveillance for operations both in the area and throughout the so-called Broader Middle East.

-As mentioned above, incorporating the Gulf states into a global missile surveillance and missile shield program

-Bringing the GCC nations not only under the U.S.’s missile and nuclear umbrella, but effectively under NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense provision, the latter entailing the possibility of claiming that one or more GCC members is threatened by a non-member (that is, Iran) and using that as a pretext for “preemptive” attacks.

-Reprising NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor in the Gulf by inaugurating a comprehensive naval interdiction – that is, blockade – in the Strait of Hormuz where an estimated 40-50% of world interstate oil transportation occurs.

The following chronology attests to how far these plans have advanced since 2004.

At a conference entitled International Conference of NATO and Gulf Countries: Facing Common Challenges Through ICI attended by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and delegates from all NATO and GCC states held in Kuwait City in December of 2006, the head of Kuwait’s National Security Agency, Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah, said:

“Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are looking forward to building strategic security cooperation with NATO” and the Alliance’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that “cooperation between NATO and Gulf states had already increased in the fields of political contacts, intelligence sharing and military inter-operability. ” [12]

The latter also revealed that NATO had submitted a list of demands to Kuwait, that was more elaborate than the list previously presented to GCC states, “regarding border security, counter-terrorism, crisis management, as well as military training and development.” [13]

The above-mentioned conference was touted as gathering “together for the first time in the region the NATO secretary general and the North Atlantic Council – which includes top NATO officials, academics and government officials from all six Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) invited countries – to exchange views on the ICI and opportunities for cooperation available to the countries of the broader Middle East region.” [14]

The Alliance’s motives were characterized as NATO seeking “to establish a political and security partnership with important international and regional blocs including the GCC due to the Gulf states’ strategic location, natural resources and their investment and economic role internationally….” [15]

[Signing of an agreement between NATO and the United Arab Emirates in 2009]

During the meeting NATO signed a military intelligence agreement with Kuwait, the first such between the Alliance and a GCC member state.

Several months later NATO commenced negotiating a transit pact with Kuwait, described in the local press as “the first of its kind in the Gulf region, and NATO is working to conclude a similar one with Qatar.” [16]

Representing NATO, its Deputy Secretary General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo also announced that “the alliance was now developing a ‘training and education initiative’ including a new faculty for the Middle East at NATO Defense College in Rome.” [17]

In the interim between the last two reports, “Experts from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [arrived] in Kuwait…to assess the Gulf Arab nation’s preparedness to deal with a nuclear emergency.” [18]

Two months later someone NATO called its Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre head, Ted Whiteside, asserted “We have to organise our efforts and move towards global integration to improve our performance.” [19]

In September of 2007 the aforementioned NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo, while in Bahrain, stated that nation would “host a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the most important decision-making body in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)….” [20]

By 2007 four of the six Gulf Cooperation Council members had formally joined the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – and Oman and Saudi Arabia had not.

Oman’s possible objections have been alluded to earlier, to wit that the ICI could embroil GCC states in a regional war should the U.S. and its NATO allies stage a provocation against Iran.

A not unlikely scenario at a time when then U.S. Central Command chief Adm. William Fallon was in Bahrain, en route to Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, “pressing Arab allies to form a more united front against Iran,” and “seeking to quietly galvanize Gulf leaders while letting others sharply escalate pressure on Tehran” and “express[ing] support for a possible $300 million upgrade for the nation’s [Bahrain’s] F-16 fleet.” [21]

Two weeks later NATO chief Scheffer was in the Israeli capital meeting with the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee where they discussed “developments in the enhanced Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative launched at the 2004 Istanbul Summit.” [22]

Several months earlier “a Centre for Strategic Studies is to be established in one of the GCC countries,” the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee General Raymond Henault announced while in Qatar. [23]

Later in the year, this time in the United Arab Emirates, the same Henault “noted that intensive consultations are going on with Qatar and Bahrain in an effort to pen a security agreement, close on the heels of a similar agreement signed with Kuwait last year.” [24]

Pressure was brought to bear on seemingly refractory Saudi Arabia early in the year.

In January “NATO appealed to Saudi Arabia…to consider entering a cooperation agreement with the Western alliance” and its Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo effused “I do want to stress here today that NATO would very much value the participation of Saudi Arabia.” [25]

The following day a joint NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council Security Cooperation Forum opened in Riyadh which focused on “how to strengthen security cooperation within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.” [26]

By early 2008 NATO had succeeded in recruiting the first troops from the GCC, Emirati ones, for the war in Afghanistan. To date they are the only contingent from an Arab country serving under the Alliance in the Afghan War.

And no later than January NATO had appointed a head of a bureau for Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and Contact Countries, one Dr. Alberto Bin, who was in Kuwait to finalize the Alliance’s military transit agreement with his host as part of a delegation that “came to enhance already existing military and diplomatic relations with Kuwait.” [27]

At the same time the new Sarkozy government announced that France was “Setting up a permanent military presence in the Gulf region, where they had no such presence before,” by establishing a base in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

With this unprecedented move, as France is a NATO member and the UAE part of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, one observer opined that “we can assume that a military base in Abu Dhabi would contribute to a better NATO-GCC understanding.

“For France, the military base certainly improves its status within NATO as well as with the US as it would become the only NATO member other than the US that is stationed in the Gulf.” [28]

A couple of days before, NATO’s Secretary General Scheffer signaled his approval of the initiative in advance by visiting the UAE, when it was noted “that his first ever official visit to this region showcases the strengthening pace of cooperation between NATO and the countries of this region.”

On that occasion Scheffer emoted that “Even before the launch of the ICI, the UAE displayed strong cooperation with NATO in the Balkans during the 1990s” and threatened that “The issue of nuclear proliferation has again taken center stage owing to the ambitions of Iran and North Korea….” [29]

And it was added, not that it needed to be, “The United Arab Emirates and Nato mull the establishment of cooperation in line with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), said the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.” [30]

On January 29 NATO Assistant Secretary Jean-Francois was in Qatar where he told the local press corps:

“Our practical cooperation has intensified as well, especially at the military-to-military level. There has been a growing number of participants from Qatar in NATO courses and seminars. Besides, Qatar was the first ICI country to appoint a Liaison Officer to NATO in Brussels, in order to facilitate our cooperation,” after which the press reported that “A NATO team recently visited Doha to discuss…the possibility of elaborating an Individual Cooperation Programme with the Alliance….” [31]

Not to be left out, the Pentagon announced the following month that it was establishing a major Army command in Kuwait. Its commander described it as “a permanent platform for ‘full spectrum operations in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East’ and added, “That’s full spectrum operations. We’re able to adapt better…and go from high-intensity to regular warfare….” [32]

Among the command’s objectives was “facilitating Patriot missiles in Qatar and Bahrain to discourage attacks from Iran.” [33]

Five months later Kuwait placed a $156 million-order with the U.S.’s Raytheon to purchase the Patriot air and missile defense system.

The same month, July, the Director of the Security Office of NATO was in Kuwait to complete the joint security accord negotiated in 2006.

“The current security situation in the region and means to promote Kuwait-NATO ties within the Istanbul Initiative for Cooperation were also discussed.” [34]

In April NATO held its second international conference in Bahrain which was the first occasion in which it openly identified Iran as the target of its Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

“A 110-member NATO delegation, including ambassadors from all of Nato’s 26-member countries, will discuss the changing security landscape of the Gulf from a Bahrain and regional perspective, as well as Gulf-Nato relations.” [35]

During the gathering, which included “Ambassadors from all of [NATO’s] 26-member countries…including the head of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Co-operation Initiative Nicola de Santis,” it was announced that “Bahrain is on the verge of signing a security agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.” [36]

But the major policy statement would come from Jaap de Hoop Scheffer:

“NATO’s secretary-general told Gulf Arab states on Thursday that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were a major threat to regional stability.

“‘Iran’s pursuit of uranium enrichment capability in violation of its U.N. Security Council obligations is a serious concern not just for Iran’s neighbors but for the entire international community,’ Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a conference to promote ties between NATO and Gulf Arab states.” [37]

The following month, right on cue, the U.S., France, Italy, Australia, Egypt, Jordan and all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – conducted a joint air force exercise in Bahrain.

In October NATO would drop the last veil and expose what the ultimate purpose of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was: Preparing for possible military action against Iran.

Jean-Michel Boucheron, then outgoing chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group, said “that while Nato states did not have the same obligation to defend GCC countries as they would other alliance members in the event they were attacked, Nato would ‘not remain indifferent’ if a Gulf country were subject to aggression.

“’Gulf countries are friends of Nato countries and of other western countries, notably France, for example,’ he said, citing Nato’s involvement in the First Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait, as well as French overtures towards establishing a military base in the UAE.

“’An attack against a country of the Gulf would be very, very badly viewed because it would be against the security interests of all.’” [38]

Another account of Boucheron’s comments is even more revelatory of NATO’s role in the region for the past nineteen years:

“For example, when Kuwait was attacked in 1990, we were unanimous in condemning this and taking part in the first war….Kuwait was attacked and therefore we were in agreement with the war.” [39]

At practically the same moment NATO parliamentarians were holding a seminar on Middle East and Global Challenges in the United Arab Emirates, whence the following statement was issued:

“This strategic meeting contributes to creating a common understanding between NATO countries and the GCC region, and will address the global challenges faced by Middle East.” [40]

Within weeks, matching the action to the word, NATO held its first ever operation within the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, a multinational naval exercise, described by a Gulf newspaper:

“German, Turkish and US ships are expected to hold their first joint exercise with the Bahraini Royal Navy today.

“The exercises will be repeated with other Gulf navies following visits to Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. involves the U.S., France, Italy, Australia, Egypt, Jordan and the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.” [41]

Note that all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states were brought into the war games.

Two weeks later “Rear Admiral Ignacio Horcada, Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) Support CC-Mar Naples, who is currently in Doha leading a three-vessel fleet of Standing Nato Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), told Gulf Times that they would like to expedite the level of co-operation between Qatar and Nato.”

“‘This is our first practical activity as part of the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI) in the region’….” [42]

NATO’s penetration of and military buildup in the Persian Gulf continues apace into this New Year.

After a meeting of Kuwaiti Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister and Acting Oil Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah with NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero on January 27, the former said that he had been “briefed on Nato’s role, which was to form a defense mechanism and ‘prepare for the Third World War, which was the ‘mindset’ from which the alliance expanded” and on “Nato’s training of Iraqi security forces, as well as exercises with armed forces in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, noting Nato’s relations with all countries of the region.” [43]

Preparing for the Third World War remains NATO’s mindset and no better proof of it exists than the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
1) NATO, Allied Command Transformation, February 3, 2009
2) World Tribune, April 4, 2008
3) Cyprus Mail, January 28, 2009
4) Azertag, May 27, 2008
5) Gulf News [United Arab Emirates], October 13, 2008
6) Boston Globe, December 23, 2008
7) Reuters, December 5, 2007
8) Jerusalem Post, October 16, 2008
9) Agence France-Presse, December 8, 2007
10) Khaleej Times [United Arab Emirates], January 27, 2008
11) Quoted in Lloyd’s List [Britain], December 9, 2008
12) Agence France-Presse, December 12, 2006
13) Kuwait News Agency, December 12, 2006
14) Kuwait News Agency, December 4, 2006
15) Ibid
16) Kuwait Times, September 9, 2007
17) Ibid
18) Associated Press, April 3, 2007
19) Gulf Daily News [Bahrain], November 20, 2007
20) Gulf News [United Arab Emirates], September 12, 2007
21) Associated Press, September 18, 2007
22) NATO International, October 4, 2007
23) Gulf Times [Qatar], May 16, 2007
24) Gulf News [United Arab Emirates], November 26, 2007
25) Reuters, January 21, 2007
26) Xinhua News Agency, January 22, 2007
27) Kuwait News Agency, January 17, 2008
28) Gulf News [Saudi Arabia], January 27, 2008
29) Dubai City Guide, January 24, 2008
30) Khaleej Times [United Arab Emirates], January 27, 2008
31) The Peninsula [Qatar], January 29, 2008
32) Stars and Stripes, February 19, 2008
33) Ibid
34) Kuwait News Agency, July 10, 2008
35) Gulf Daily News [Bahrain], April 24, 2008
36) Gulf Daily News, April 24, 2008
37) Reuters, April 24, 2008
38) The National [United Arab Emirates], October 9, 2008
39) Gulf News [United Arab Emirates], October 10, 2008
40) Emirates News Agency, October 6, 2008
41) The National [United Arab Emirates], November 2, 2008
42) Gulf Times [Qatar], November 14, 2008
43) Kuwait News Agency, January 27, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic

August 26, 2009 3 comments

February 2, 2009

NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Rick Rozoff

In the waning days of the Bush presidency while the domestic press corps was preoccupied with the impending inauguration of his successor, the White House effectively sneaked through a major, groundbreaking directive on the Arctic.

What little was reported on the matter at the time and since – and it has been little, readers can attempt a Bush + Arctic hunt on any major search engine – was perfunctory and provided an innocuous gloss to a deadly serious initiative.

The subject is the National Security Presidential Directive 66 of January 9, 2009, the contents of which will be detailed shortly and will be demonstrated to contrast starkly with what scant coverage was accorded it, such as items bearing titles like “White House Directive Guides Policy on Arctic” from the Washington Post and “Bush issues U.S. policy on Arctic energy supplies” from Reuters.

National Security Presidential Directive 66 can be read in its entirety at:

It contains as its first two points:

1. The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.

2. The United States also has fundamental homeland security interests­.

And also includes the intent to “Preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic region” and mandates in its fourth point that “The Senate should act favorably on U.S. accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea promptly, to protect and advance U.S. interests, including with respect to the Arctic. Joining will serve the national security interests of the United States, including the maritime mobility of our Armed Forces worldwide. It will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain.”

The Reuters dispatch alluded to above adds that “The presidential directive represents U.S. policy on the Arctic and carries over to the incoming Barack Obama administration. The policy, which updates a 1994 presidential directive on the Arctic, remains in effect until it is changed by a future president.”

If next to no one Stateside paid any attention to this development, writers on the other side of the world understood its import precisely.

Six days later Voice of Russia ran a feature which said, inter alia:

“In his final days in power, President George W. Bush asserted U.S. military ‘sea power’ over the oil-rich Arctic in a fresh effort to ensure permanent American presence in the region and the deployment of missile defense facilities there.

“According to the text of a sweeping new directive on the Arctic released just eight days before Barack Obama is to be sworn in, the United States declares the territories within the Arctic Circle a zone of its strategic interests and the new Administration is advised to expand the US foothold in the Arctic.” [1]

On January 28-29 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization held a meeting in the capital of Iceland on the Arctic and endowed it with the quasi-academic sounding name of Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North.

The gathering did not include experts on climate change, geology or energy transportation but instead the Secretary General of NATO, its two top military commanders and the Chairman of the Military Committee “as well as many other decision-makers and experts from Allied countries.” [2]

The main address was by NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, whose observations and recommendations include, in addition to NATO humor in the form of a sophomoric play on words in the first paragraph, an incontestable claim to the Alliance’s self-designated role as global military policeman in the service of Western “energy security”:

“The Alliance’s agenda recently appears to have been dominated by events in Afghanistan, the Caucasus and the Horn of Africa – areas that can rightly be described as ‘hot.’  So it is very welcome to shift our attention to a colder region.

“[T]he High North is going to require even more of the Alliance’s attention in the coming years.

“As the ice-cap decreases, the possibility increases of extracting the High North’s mineral wealth and energy deposits.

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security, as well as five specific areas for possible NATO involvement­.

“The third issue is territorial claims. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas is the legal framework that applies to the Arctic Ocean – a fact that was reiterated by the five Arctic coastal states at their meeting in Greenland last May.

“However, it is already clear that there are certain differences of opinion between the five states over the delineation of the 200 nautical mile limits of the Exclusive Economic Zones, as well as over the extension of the continental shelves.

“NATO provides a forum where four of the Arctic coastal states can inform, discuss, and share, any concerns that they may have. And this leads me directly onto the next issue, which is military activity in the region.

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance. But so are the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean.” [3]

His Arctic manifesto, anything but a modest proposal, was commented upon by a press agency:

“De Hoop Scheffer noted that sea routes through the Arctic will be significantly shorter than many of those that currently require passage through the Suez or Panama canals.

“He said the melting of the Arctic will open up opportunities for the extraction of the mineral wealth and energy deposits in this area. In this context, NATO will have a role to play as the alliance’s heads of state and government have identified energy security as a new task for NATO.” [4]
Note that Scheffer’s earlier quotes were structured in such a manner that, after skirting the main topic for several paragraphs, emphasis was finally laid on “military activity in the region” in relation to and, as will be addressed later, even more important than “opportunities for the extraction of the mineral wealth and energy deposits.”

Confirming Scheffer’s plans was NATO Supreme Allied Commander General John Craddock, late of ordering anyone in Afghanistan suspected of involvement in the drug trade to be shot dead, whose address was reported on a NATO website as follows:

“General John Craddock, attending a NATO seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland examining future security issues, spoke of the need to think strategically when planning for security in the High North.

“General Craddock opined that NATO could contribute greatly to facilitating cooperation in areas such as the development and security of shipping routes, energy security, surveillance and monitoring, search and rescue, resource exploration and mining­.” [5]

Having read Craddock’s and Scheffer’s comments an uninformed reader, or one unaware of the international and historical context, would be excused for thinking that the world’s first global military bloc was going in for some harmless diversion by dabbling in the extractive industry, as it earlier was in humanitarian intervention, disaster relief, ridding the coasts of Africa of poachers and pirates and Afghanistan of opium.

Again a dose of reality from the Voice of Russia:

“NATO is seriously thinking of [establishing] military presence in the Arctic. It considers global warming and consequently an Arctic thaw as an occasion for this. NATO sees this as a possibility for its Arctic expansion.

“When taking into account the fact that all Arctic littoral nations but Russia are NATO member countries, it is quite clear who the alliance considers its rival in this region.” [6]

But one doesn’t have to go as far as Russia to determine the true purpose of the Reykjavik conference.

“At least four people were arrested outside the Reykjavik conference venue Wednesday before the meeting – two of them for burning a NATO flag. Many Icelanders oppose the volcanic island’s membership in the military bloc, fearing it compromises the nation’s independence.” [7]
Icelanders themselves realized what was at stake and the protesters turned out to confront the NATO conclave in actions that “resulted in a violent clash with police for the first time in Iceland since 1949.” [8]

The U.S. news source doesn’t provide background information to explain what occurred in 1949, as it might reflect poorly on NATO and its chief architect, the U.S.

Sixty years ago as Iceland was being pulled into the newly formed Alliance, protests and riots broke out in the capital and had to be, as with three days ago, put down by force in the name of “Euro-Atlantic values” and the “Atlantic community.”

The same Fox News dispatch, though, does reveal these facts:

“The most favored political party right now in Iceland is the Left-Greens, which will be a principal member of the interim coalition government here. It doesn’t fully support possible European Union membership for Iceland, but more significantly for the US, it would like to pull Iceland out of NATO.

“Iceland was a founding member of North Atlantic Alliance. Due to its utterly strategic location just under the Arctic Circle it played a crucial role for the U.S. during the Cold War. There was a U.S. air base on the island up until 2006.” [9]

NATO’s “military activity in the High North” may then be put to purposes other than its main function of confronting Russia.

The Icelandic protesters realized what the Fox writer did when he finished his report with “The image Wednesday of a NATO flag being burned by protesters in front of a meeting held by the Alliance cannot be too pleasing to the U.S.”

One has come to expect of NATO to dutifully and punctually follow every twist and turn, every disingenuous casus belli proffered by the US – war to defend the concept of national sovereignty (Iraq, 1991), war to override national sovereignty (Yugoslavia, 1999), war on behalf of narco-trafficking extremists (Kosovo, 1999), war to exterminate anyone accused of the same (Colombia since 1999, Afghanistan now) – but why the urgency just now?

Three years ago the London Times in a report from Norway wrote about what it called the “Arctic Bridge” and “The fabled Northwest Passage, from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic archipelago of Canada,” remarking that the two could insure that “Cargo from Europe to the Far East could cut 4,000 miles from the journey by cruising through the passage, compared with the route through the Panama Canal­.” [10]

And a year and a half ago a Russian press source stated “the Northern Sea Route, running through the Arctic Ocean along Russia’s northern coast, is the shortest way from Europe to Asia and the Pacific coast of America, which will make it easy to transport oil and gas from Arctic deposits.” [11]
In the same month the U.S. government’s Radio Free Europe revealed yet more:

“The Arctic and Antarctica are the last vast untapped reservoirs of mineral resources on the planet. Underneath the Arctic Ocean, there are gigantic reserves of tin, manganese, nickel, gold, platinum, and diamonds.

“But the Arctic’s most lucrative treasure is the enormous deposits of oil and gas, which could amount to 25 percent of the world’s resources.” [12]

The following month a major Chinese newspaper wrote about the Arctic:

“This will probably be the last big shift in ownership of territory in the history of the earth,” said Lars Kullerud, who advises developing states on submissions at the GRID-Arendal foundation, run by the UN Environment Program and Norway.

“Many countries don’t realize how serious it is.” [13]
At the same time the Russia daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta “[said] the division of the Arctic is the start of a new redistribution of the world.” [14]
Confirmatory of the above and serving as a spur to both U.S. National Security Presidential Directive 66 and the NATO conference on the Arctic of four days ago is a U.S. Geological Survey of May of 2008.

The complete report can be read at:

The gist of it is:

“The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed an assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in all areas north of the Arctic Circle.

“Using a geology-based probabilistic methodology, the USGS estimated the occurrence of undiscovered oil and gas in 33 geologic provinces thought to be prospective for petroleum. The sum of the mean estimates for each province indicates that 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84 percent is expected to occur in offshore areas.”

A Reuters report of two months after the release of the report bore the title “Arctic’s oil could meet world demand for three years” and a synopsis of the Geological Survey study framed its significance in these words:

“The unexplored Arctic contains about one-fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and nearly a third of the natural gas yet to be found­…. The untapped reserves are beneath the seafloor in geopolitically controversial areas above the Arctic Circle.” [15]

However, the geological survey only substantiated in detail what was known years before and merely accelerated initiatives long in the planning.

A year before the survey results were released, “U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar said Russia is aspiring to take control over potential energy reserves in the Arctic Ocean at the expense of U.S. interests.” [16]

The same Russian feature added, “The senator, known for his anti-Russian statements, urged U.S. authorities to join the struggle for the polar oil and gas resources by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

That is precisely what the Bush report of 21 days ago recommended, oddly enough drawing plaudits in many Western quarters because it supposedly signaled a reversal of general Bush era “unilateralism.”

A flawed and seriously mistaken reading.

Washington will now sign onto the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea the better to wage war for energy and military positioning in the top of the world, and its newly rediscovered reverence for international norms and for alleged multilateralism is reducible to a closing of the ranks with its NATO allies against Russia and, as is of late increasingly mentioned, China in the Arctic Circle.

Regarding the original recommendation on ratifying the Convention by American Senator Richard Lugar, it’s important to recall that the same Lugar led the charge to invoke NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense clause – in reality a war provision – against Russia in June of 2006 in the U.S. Senate on the same topic of “energy security.”

Lugar’s own senatorial website reported at the time:

“On Thursday, June 8, 2006, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar’s resolution that calls upon the United States to lead the discussion at NATO headquarters about the role the alliance could play in energy security and the President to submit to Congress a report that details “a strategy for NATO to develop secure, sustainable, and reliable sources of energy, including contingency plans if current energy resources are put at risk.”

“NATO is now facing new challenges and new priorities. To be fully relevant to the security and well being of the people of its member nations, NATO must think and act globally,” said Lugar.

“International developments are calling attention to the growing importance of energy security for NATO member countries and other non-member partners….On a global scale, increased competition for finite supplies of oil and gas could lead to conflict that would directly or indirectly involve NATO member states­.” [17]

Earlier this year, Lugar introduced the Energy Diplomacy and Security Act (S. 2435), which “recognizes energy security to be a foremost concern for United States national security and would realign of our diplomatic priorities to meet energy security challenges.” [18]

Lugar has not been alone in agitating for invoking energy issues as a pretext for military expansion, including expansion of a strategic character, as what he and others like him are demanding is, even when not overtly mentioned, direct confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

In 2007 a U.S. commission released a study called “Strategy of cooperation on the navies of the 21st century,” in which “The future situation in the Arctic was included by the document’s authors into the list of the ‘new era’s challenges,’ which the USA is to be ready for.” [19]

The same year this version of the new Bush Arctic doctrine was adumbrated:

“As much as a quarter of the world’s oil and gas supplies could be in the region, Rear-Admiral Brian Salerno of the U.S. Coast Guard said today, citing statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey. Global warming in the Arctic has “implications for national energy security.”

“Will we have a constant aircraft carrier presence? I don’t know, but we might.”

“The U.S. Navy pledged to increase its fleet of ships and other craft in the Arctic, a day after Canada promised to build as many as eight new vessels to patrol the region.” [20]
The same month this development surfaced:

“For the first time this week, top US Naval and Coast Guard commanders are meeting with Arctic scientists and climate experts to assess the situation….[T]he US ‘absolutely’ must boost its presence in the Arctic region as part of an international coalition. The US would establish forward bases, increase its fleet patrols of Arctic waters, review its Arctic policies.” [21]
Which “international coalition” was intended was evident last week in Iceland.

Aware of NATO states’ plans for the Arctic – for energy, transit and military purposes – Russia sent two mini-subs to the Arctic Circle in August of 2007, renewing 80-year-old Russian claims to a large swathe of the region and planting a flag at the sea bed of the North Pole, later pressing its claim at the United Nations.

At roughly the same time Russia resumed strategic bomber patrols in the world’s oceans for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union, including in the Arctic Circle, off the coast of Alaska and over the North and Norwegian Seas.

After the August 2007 Russian polar expedition, in a feature entitled “Arctic expedition backs up Russia’s claim for larger economic zone,” it was reported:

“Experts believe the Arctic Ocean contains about 100 billion tonnes of various hydrocarbons, mostly oil and gas, which is much more than the reserves of Saudi Arabia and twice more than Russia’s land reserves….’If we manage to prove at the United Nations that the Lomonosov Ridge is a continuation of the Siberian platform – the Russian continental shelf – we will control about two-thirds of the entire hydrocarbon reserves of the Arctic Ocean….'” [22]

An Indian daily had warned beforehand that:

“Experts doubt western nations will let Russia win its claim of the Arctic shelf in the U.N. no matter how solid its scientific evidence may be. Moreover, the U.S., acting through the Arctic Council, has been pushing to internationalise the Arctic Ocean – that is, secure free access to its seabed resources and trade routes even within Russia’s exclusive economic zone.” [23]

Washington was not slow to respond.

In June of last year the Pentagon held a 12-day exercise, Northern Edge 2008, in Alaska, in which 5,000 soldiers, 120 aircraft and several warships participated.

In anticipation of the the war games, whose target was the Arctic, this warning was sounded from Moscow:

“Russia’s military leadership will react to the large-scale US exercises in the northern latitudes by the adjustment of the plans of combat training of its army for the reliable protection of the country’s national interests in the Arctic, the head of the main combat training and service department of Russian troops, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov told Itar-Tass on Monday.” [24]

The New York Times reported on a meeting in May of leaders of the Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Northern Command and Transportation Command which strongly recommended in a letter that the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorse a push by the Coast Guard to increase the U.S.’ ability to gain access to and control its Arctic waters.

In July, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen testified before a committee of the Congress and informed his audience “that Russia is getting ahead of the United States in the ‘Arctic race’ and the current U.S. administration must urgently revise its approach to Arctic exploration.”

A contention supported by Mead Treadwell, chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, who added:

“In the 20th century, the advent of aircraft, missiles, and missile defense made the Arctic region a major venue for projection of power and a frontier for protecting the security of North Ameri