Archive for September, 2010

Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars

September 30, 2010 3 comments

September 30, 2010

Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars
Rick Rozoff

With the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into Eastern Europe from 1999-2009, the U.S.-led military alliance has grown by 75 percent, from 16 to 28 members.

By 2009 all former non-Soviet Warsaw Pact member states had been incorporated into NATO, the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) being absorbed with its merger into the Federal Republic in 1990. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO in 1999 and Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia in 2004. Albania, which suspended participation in the Warsaw Pact six years after its founding, in 1961, was brought into the Alliance last year.

The 2004 expansion included seven nations in all, the three mentioned above, the first former Yugoslav republic, Slovenia, and the first former Soviet republics: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Immediately upon their accession, the United States began to employ the new members’ territory for military bases, troop deployments, air patrols and the initial stages of a continent-wide anti-ballistic missile system beyond already existing NATO plans for the bloc’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme.

The year after Romania was brought into NATO’s ranks, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement with its government to acquire the use of four military bases in the country, including the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in southeast Romania near the Black Sea which had been used two years before for the invasion of Iraq. Romanian President Traian Basescu paid his first official visit to Washington to meet with President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld five months before the treaty was signed.

At the time the Pentagon’s acquisition of the bases was characterized as part of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s “strategic shift intended to place US forces closer to potential areas of conflict in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.” [1] Washington had led NATO’s nearly three-month air war against nearby Yugoslavia five years before, invaded Afghanistan two years after that and launched the attack on Iraq another two years later. Three wars in less than four years and all to the east of NATO’s former area of responsibility.

The pact with Romania was the first of its kind in a former Warsaw Pact nation. It was followed the next year by a comparable arrangement with neighboring Bulgaria in which the U.S. secured the indefinite use of four military facilities, including two air bases.

This February the governments of Romania and Bulgaria announced their willingness to host components of the American interceptor missile system designed to cover all of Europe under what the White House and the Pentagon call a new phased adaptive approach.

But the first U.S. and NATO military presence in what had been Warsaw Pact member states occurred the year before the U.S.-Romanian Defense Cooperation Agreement and moreover was in former Soviet space. After Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO in March of 2004 the North Atlantic bloc immediately began what it deems a Baltic air policing mission in the airspace of the three nations as a Quick Reaction Alert operation.

In the interim warplanes from several NATO member states – the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania to date – have flown what at first were three-month and are now four-month around-the-clock rotations over the three Baltic states, all of which have borders with Russia. Estonia and Latvia adjoin the Russian mainland to their east and Lithuania Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave to its west. (Northeast Poland also borders Kaliningrad.)

On September 1 the U.S. took over NATO’s Baltic air patrol with the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England to the Siauliai International Airport in Lithuania where the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission is based. Four U.S. F-15 C Eagle jet fighters, capable of being armed with four types of air-to-air weapons including Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles, and 120 personnel are assigned to the mission.

It is the third time American warplanes have been deployed for the Baltic air operation and the second time F-15 C Eagles have been employed for the purpose.

U.S. ambassador to Lithuania Anne Derse, who came to the position from being American envoy to Azerbaijan, said as the U.S. Air Force took over from its Polish counterpart: “The (493rd has) already established a legacy of professionalism in the Baltics, and we look forward to building upon it. As all warriors know, the surest way to maintain peace is to exercise constant vigilance and rigorously prepare to meet all potential threats. The Baltic air policing mission is just one of many facets of NATO’s vigilance and preparation.” Derse didn’t indicate which potential threats the warriors were preparing to confront, but a look at a map of the Baltic Sea does.

Major General Mark Zamzow, vice commander of the 3rd Air Force based at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, added, “Our relationship with the Baltic nations has grown remarkably since the inception of the Air policing mission.”

He was also cited claiming “a 2008 endeavor designed to provide complex air policing training has since evolved with a broader scope emphasizing a wide spectrum of air operations over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.” [2]

Two weeks after the U.S. warplanes and airmen arrived in Lithuania, the president of neighboring Estonia officiated over the opening of the newly expanded and modernized Amari Air Base in his nation, which the local press reported can accommodate 16 NATO jet fighters, 20 military transport planes and 2,000 troops. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said “The construction of the Amari Air Base, which was jointly financed by the Estonian state and NATO, is a perfect expression of the solidarity between allies” [3] and that “the completion of the air base would make it much easier to bring allied troops and their equipment to Estonia in the event of a crisis situation.”

He also “underscored the fact that from 2012, when the complex as a whole is due for completion, NATO will have one of the most modern air force bases in the region at its disposal.” [4]

Estonian Air Force chief Brigadier General Valeri Saar confirmed that Baltic air policing warplanes could use the base in the future and that NATO pilots will begin to employ it for training purposes beginning in October.

Not only have NATO and the U.S. moved military personnel and aircraft into nations bordering northwestern Russia, but they have done so in flagrant violation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) negotiated in 1989 between the 16 members of NATO and six of the Warsaw Pact at the time, which mandated comprehensive limits on several categories of conventional military equipment in Europe.

The treaty was signed in 1990 and ratified the next year after the dissolution of both the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, which created gray areas that the Pentagon could exploit – as it has through NATO’s eastward expansion in the interim – to station military hardware and personnel in Russia’s fellow Black Sea states Bulgaria and Romania and in its Baltic Sea neighbors Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.

The CFE pact was signed by 22 nations and ratified by 30: The 16 members of NATO, six non-Soviet former members of the Warsaw Pact and eight ex-Soviet republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not signatories to the treaty. Neither is former Yugoslav republic Slovenia, inducted into NATO along with the three Baltic states in 2004.

In 1999 an Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE-II) was signed during the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe summit in Istanbul by the same 30 countries that had endorsed the original.

To date only four former Soviet republics – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine – have ratified it. NATO nations have sabotaged the treaty’s implementation by linking it, without legitimate legal or other grounds, with the withdrawal of what until recently were small Russian peacekeeping contingents in Transdniester, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. What NATO refers to as the Istanbul Commitments. 1,500 Russia troops in Transdniester have no impact on European security, but by preventing the CFE-II treaty from entering into force the U.S. and NATO retain the right to violate the treaty’s (and its predecessor’s) limits on troops and armaments – including combat aircraft and attack helicopters – in non-signatory nations like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Russia suspended its commitments under the CFE-II treaty three years ago because of concerns over the U.S. and NATO deploying troops and equipment to Eastern Europe and the threat of missile shield deployments to follow.

This past May the first deployment of U.S. anti-ballistic missiles in Europe was achieved when a Patriot Advanced Capacity-3 missile battery and over 100 troops were moved into the Polish city of Morag near the Baltic Sea.

When on September 17 of last year U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the decision to shift from previous interceptor missile plans for Eastern Europe to the “smarter, stronger, and swifter” phased adaptive approach, discussions began on stationing Standard Missile-3 interceptors, both the traditional ship-based and new land-based versions, in the Baltic as well as the Black and Mediterranean Seas.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania not having signed the original CFE treaty or its successor and no NATO state having ratified the adapted agreement permit Washington to deploy longer-range interceptor missiles as well as warplanes to and off the coasts of the three Baltic states.

The U.S. and NATO have claimed that moving military forces and equipment into Eastern Europe, several thousand U.S. troops to Bulgaria and Romania at any given times along with jet fighters to the Baltic Sea region and missiles to Poland, is not in violation of the CFE treaty as they are not permanent deployments. But they are. NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, for example, has been conducted for almost six and a half years and, as seen above, is expanding in scope into the indefinite future.

Moreover, NATO’s four new members on the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have been transformed into training grounds for the Pentagon’s and NATO’s wars abroad, especially that in Afghanistan, and to prepare for potential confrontation and conflict with fellow Baltic littoral state Russia.

U.S. troops, warships and warplanes are present in the region on a regular basis, conducting military exercises several times a year.

The trade-off between the U.S. and other founding members of NATO on the one hand and the bloc’s new members in Eastern Europe on the other is for the latter to provide bases for use by Washington and Brussels and to supply troops for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as others to come in exchange for NATO and its main member the U.S. – the world’s sole military superpower – placing them under the Alliance’s Article 5, the bulk of which states:

“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.”

As examples of the obligations imposed on new member states, Poland ran the Multinational Division Central-South in Iraq from 2003-2008 with NATO assistance and deployed 2,500 troops for the command. It currently has 2,600 troops in Afghanistan, where it has lost 21 soldiers, and another 400 held in reserve for the mission. The Iraq and Afghanistan deployments are the largest overseas military commitments undertaken in Poland’s history.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all had troops in Iraq – Latvia’s and Lithuania’s under Polish-NATO command – and all three countries currently have forces serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

NATO maintains a Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland, responsible to its Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, and in 2008 NATO inaugurated the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia, also connected with the U.S.-based Allied Command Transformation. The second was established a year after cyber attacks in Estonia which domestic – and U.S. – officials blamed on Russia, although Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo was compelled to admit he had no evidence that Russian government agencies played any role in the attacks. Notwithstanding which, the Western press at the time was rife with speculation over NATO invoking its Article 5, first used as a justification for NATO entering the war in Afghanistan, for the occasion.

This June the Times of London wrote that “NATO is considering the use of military force against enemies who launch cyber attacks on its member states.” A report issued by the Group of Experts – led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – that NATO appointed to promote the new Strategic Concept that will be adopted at the bloc’s summit in Lisbon in November stated, “a cyber attack on the critical infrastructure of a Nato country could equate to an armed attack, justifying retaliation.” [5]

Estonia is a likely test case for the policy.

The U.S. and NATO are ensuring they have the military forces in place to make good on their threat by conducting almost constant war games in the Baltic Sea.

On September 13 over 4,000 troops and 60 ships along with planes and helicopters from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden participated in this year’s Northern Coasts exercises in the Baltic Sea, the largest maneuvers ever staged in Finnish territorial waters.

On September 20 U.S. Special Operations Command Europe launched the Jackal Stone 10 multinational military exercise with 1,300 special forces from the U.S., Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine. The exercises began at a Polish air base and continued at two bases in Lithuania. The U.S. dispatched USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet (whose area of responsibility is the Mediterranean Sea) to participate in the drills.

According to a U.S. Naval Special Warfare official: “During the 10-day special operation exercise, Mount Whitney’s presence was a huge asset. The ship provided excellent surveillance of targets at sea and helped the SOF [special operations forces] planners maintain an excellent perspective of the big picture by strategically placing itself off the coast, ready to perform any task the SOF required.” [6]

The United States European Command website said of the war games: “The experiences and lessons learned from the current war in Afghanistan underscore the critical importance of deliberate planning for coalition special operations forces (SOF) missions.

“Training opportunities such as the Jackal Stone 10 exercise, co-hosted this year by Poland and Lithuania and coordinated by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, provide a unique venue for the U.S. to develop commonalities with its international SOF partners whether by land, air or sea….The Jackal Stone 10 exercise allows SOCEUR [Special Operations Command Europe] an opportunity to enhance the capabilities of its partner nations so they can become an integral part of the NATO footprint, specifically in developing the staff planning and operational ability of special operations forces.” [7]

A Polish newspaper revealed intentions beyond the war in Afghanistan in reporting that “Exercise Jackal Stone 2010 was designed to enhance international military cooperation and increase military preparedness in CEE [Central and Eastern Europe].” It also quoted the previously mentioned Naval Special Warfare official asserting that “[the exercise] was a unique opportunity for SOF units from these countries to promote better communication and improve our readiness to build a greater fighting force worldwide.” [8]

The U.S. 352nd Special Operations Group conducted “midnight training maneuvers” in the skies above Poland: “The mission began with two Combat Shadows flying in formation. As the training progressed, the crews conducted evasive maneuvers while flying at low levels in reaction to simulated area threats.” [9]

U.S. and Polish forces also held a mass casualty exercise to prepare for “potential ‘real world’ emergencies” at the 21st Tactical Airbase in Swidwin where the opening ceremony for Jackal Stone 10 was held.

In the words of Polish Warrant Officer Anna Matulska, “I’ve been deployed to Iraq before and it’s the same way. We have to work quickly, we have to triage and as in the case of our burn patients, we have to make sure they are kept warm.” [10]

Jackal Stone 10 had among other purposes that of preparing Poland to become a “framework nation,” which will “enable it to assume command of multinational special forces within NATO by 2014.” [11]

The launching of the war games at the Swidwin air base included an address by Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, who said “Special operations in the world today are becoming increasingly important in the conduct of combat operations. And exercises like this check the ability of allied and international cooperation, which is essential for the success of the Allies.” [12]

On the closing day of Jackal Stone 10 Klich left for Washington, D.C. to meet with Pentagon Chief Robert Gates and “hold talks…on Afghanistan and the future of NATO” as well as U.S. missile shield plans. He also participated in the swearing-in ceremony of Polish General Mieczyslaw Bieniek as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia. “This is the highest post that a Polish officer has ever taken in NATO,” Klich said. He was reported as “adding that his presence at the ceremony is necessary to show how important NATO is for Poland and how important it is for the country to have its representative in high NATO structures.” [13]

On the same day the Polish defense minister arrived in Washington, Polish Radio announced that former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski wrote to 738 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and “dozens of ambassadors worldwide, urging them to help block an expansion of Russia’s influence abroad.”

In what was described as “an unprecedented move for a leader of an opposition party,” the twin brother of recently deceased President Lech Kaczynski demanded that “Washington and Brussels should…give greater assistance to countries that want to free themselves from the Russian sphere of influence.” [14]

The ambassadors Kaczynski sent his letter to were those of the other 26 European Union member states, plus the U.S., Canada, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

The last six nations are targeted by the Eastern Partnership initiative of the EU, first promoted by Poland in 2008, which is designed to recruit the former Soviet republics away from the Commonwealth of Independent States and thus complete the isolation, the effective quarantine, of Russia in Europe. [15]

The U.S. and NATO are expanding the use of the Alliance’s Baltic Sea member states to train for wars outside the region and for moving American and NATO military forces into it.

On September 27 the PRT-12 Challenge training exercise started at a military base in Lithuania. PRT is short for Provincial Reconstruction Team, a joint military-civilian counterinsurgency pacification project. 27 PRTs operate in Afghanistan under the command of several NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troop contributing countries.

Lithuania’s Kæstutis Battalion, the majority of whose troops “have been deployed to multinational missions in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan previously,” is being prepared for a new rotation to Afghanistan. “Representatives of Denmark, Georgia, Japan, the USA, Poland, Finland and Ukraine serve together with Lithuanian military and civilian personnel in the Ghor PRT camp in Chaghcharan.” Japan is not officially acknowledged as an ISAF contributor.

The training involves 200 troops, including Ukrainian forces. “A camp was installed for the purpose of the exercise in the Kazlu Ruda Military Area; it parallels the camp of the Lithuanian-led PRT in Ghor….Soldiers will demonstrate their ability to respond to fictitious situations, such as demonstrations of the local population, insurgent attacks with IEDs on provincial roads, firing at the camp, etc. The exercise is organised by the leadership of the Lithuanian Land Force.” [16]

On September 28 it was reported that 50 advance troops from other NATO nations had arrived in Latvia for the Sabre Strike 2011 military exercise to be conducted at the Adazi Training Area from October 18 to 31. “The aim of Sabre Strike 2011 is to tune [up] interoperability procedures and improve the integration of the land and air operational ability of three Baltic States and the U.S with prospects of participation in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operation in Afghanistan and other multinational operations in the future.” [17]

One of the purposes of the exercises is the implementation of Latvia’s role as part of the NATO Host Nation Support system – whose “requirements include the deployment of NATO HQs, multinational HQs and forces for exercises or for operations during peace, crisis, or conflict” [18] – which “is one of the main tasks to ensure Latvia’s successful integration in NATO.” [19]

NATO’s new members on the Baltic Sea are delivering on the demands imposed upon them by accession to the Alliance.

They host NATO – particularly U.S. – troops, bases, warplanes, warships and missiles. They provide troops for wars far abroad. They supply training opportunities on the ground and in the air for the war in Afghanistan and for future conflicts with none of the restrictions that exist in North America and Western Europe. And they render those multiple services near Russia’s western border.

1) BBC News, December 6, 2005
2) Headquarters Allied Command Ramstein, September 1, 2010
3) Estonian Public Broadcasting, September 15, 2010
4) Office of the President, September 15, 2010
5) The Times, June 6, 2010
6) Warsaw Business Journal, September 28, 2010
7) United States European Command, September 28, 2010
8) Warsaw Business Journal, September 28, 2010
9) United States European Command, September 24, 2010
10) United States Air Forces in Europe, September 29, 2010
11) Warsaw Business Journal, September 28, 2010
12) U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 23, 2010
13) Polish Radio, September 28, 2010
14) Polish Radio, September 29, 2010
15) Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union
Stop NATO, February 13, 2009
16) Baltic Course, September 28, 2010
17) Defence Professionals, September 28, 2010
18) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
19) Defence Professionals, September 28, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

Bangladesh: U.S. And NATO Forge New Military Partnership In South Asia

September 29, 2010 2 comments

September 29, 2010

Bangladesh: U.S. And NATO Forge New Military Partnership In South Asia
Rick Rozoff

The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh disclosed on September 26 that the United States had requested combat troops for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s military command in Afghanistan.

The effort to recruit Bangladeshi soldiers for the nine-year-old war was made in an overture by U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke to Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni in New York City, presumably on the sidelines of or following last week’s United Nations General Assembly session.

A statement issued by the government of Bangladesh said that Holbrooke “sought for any kind of help like deploying combat troops, providing economic and development assistance or giving training among the law enforcement agencies.” [1]

Should the government of Bangladesh accede to the American request, it would become the 48th official Troop Contributing Nation for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the seventh Asia-Pacific nation to provide troops to the North Atlantic military alliance for its war in South Asia, one which has further advanced across Afghanistan’s eastern border into Pakistan with marked ferocity during the past five days. NATO will have gained another major ally in the building of its Asian complement using the Afghan-Pakistani war theater as the grounds for integrating the armed forces of countries on the other side of the world from the North Atlantic for what is expanding into a global U.S.-led military network.

Bangladesh’s combat forces would join military units from Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand among Asia-Pacific countries, with a report that a 275-troop marine contingent from Tonga is also to arrive in Afghanistan soon. Japan has personnel assigned to NATO’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the country and in the past has supplied the U.S. with naval assistance for the war effort.

The inclusion of Bangladesh into the ranks of NATO’s ISAF, however, would constitute a milestone in two key ways. It would be the only country in South Asia with troops in the war zone aside from the two nations in which the expanding conflict is being fought: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Bangladesh would be the second most populous state contributing to NATO’s military campaign, only surpassed by the U.S., as it has the seventh largest population in the world at 160 million.

The war in Afghanistan has provided the Pentagon and NATO the groundwork for working with the militaries of scores of nations under real world and real time combat conditions. Every European country except Belarus, Cyprus, Malta, Moldova, Russia and Serbia has deployed troops to Afghanistan under NATO command, as have the nations of the South Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The United Arab Emirates is the first Persian Gulf state to do so.

Though not yet official contributing nations, several other countries have personnel in Afghanistan or on the way, including Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt and Japan. Over a quarter of the world’s nations have supplied military contingents for the North Atlantic bloc’s war in Afghanistan.

In the past year both the U.S. and NATO have intensified activities aimed at integrating Bangladesh into the West’s military nexus, both in preparation for the deployment of its troops to Afghanistan and for solidifying what for the past decade has been referred to as Asian NATO.

This May 12 a roundtable meeting was held in the capital of Bangladesh entitled “The Role of NATO in the New Security Order” with the participation of several “experts, military personnel and former government officials from the region.” [2] The title of the event suggests it was conducted in the context of last year’s discussions of the new NATO Strategic Concept held in several European and North American nations. The Indian subcontinent is far-removed from the North Atlantic Alliance’s point of origin, but the new doctrine to be adopted this November at NATO’s summit in Portugal will institutionalize the bloc’s expansion into an international military and – to use its own term – security organization.

The keynote address was delivered by former Norwegian defense minister Anders Christian Sjaastad and the roundtable as a whole “discuss[ed] the present and possible role of NATO in [the] new security order….”

A local newspaper account of the meeting reported that “Speakers at a roundtable here…said the greatest evolution taken place in NATO over the past 20 years was its transition from a static, defensive force to a force ready to take on security missions well beyond its traditional Trans-Atlantic borders.”

“Since the last revision of the strategic concept, NATO forces have undertaken missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, counter-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, counter-terrorism missions in the Mediterranean Sea, training missions in Iraq, and active military operations in Afghanistan.” (NATO’s bombing campaign in and deployment of 60,000 troops to Bosnia in 1994-1995 predated the current Strategic Concept adopted in 1999.)

NATO has in fact expanded into a global military force, the first in history, and in the words of the former Norwegian defense chief, “It was the attacks of September 11 in 2001 and the Afghanistan campaign that turned what had been theoretical analysis into reality.” [3]

“The event made NATO ‘go global.'” [4]

Whether fully cognizant of it at the time or not, Sjaastad spoke volumes regarding NATO’s 21st century plans in stating that Asia “is where the action is nowadays. Europe, in comparison, is rather dull….All the global conflicts originated from this part of the world.” Whether regarding the recent or remote past, his claim that all global conflicts originated from Asia is an absurd contention, but is indicative of NATO’s determination to pacify and subjugate “unruly” parts of the non-Euro-Atlantic world.

The opening remarks were made by retired Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, the founder and president of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies which sponsored the event, who “spoke of the eastward expansion of NATO, saying that the institution has undergone a sea change. The New NATO had a fresh strategic concept and was expanding beyond its original Eurocentric perimeters.” That is, Europe has been united under NATO control and now it is time to move on Asia.

Someone identified as retired Major General Roomi was in the audience and commented from the floor:

“NATO instead of doing policing is protecting its own security and posing a threat to others. And why are you in Afghanistan? It is not just because of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is also because of the oil in the region. You want to ‘tame’ Pakistan, Iran. All this has other motives. NATO only comes with its own interests at heart.” [5] The former general evidently remembered which side the U.S. and its NATO allies were on during his country’s 1971 war of independence.

Since late last year the Pentagon has demonstrably increased efforts to pull the armed forces of Bangladesh into its geopolitical orbit.

In early November three U.S. military commanders visited Bangladesh. Theirs were names to conjure with: Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon, Commanding General of United States Army Pacific and former commander of the Multi-National Division North in Iraq. Vice Admiral John Bird, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the largest forward-deployed fleet in the world. U.S. Marine Corps Major General Randolph Alles, Director for Strategic Planning and Policy at the U.S. Pacific Command, the largest overseas military command in the world.

The three made “separate trips, but the goal of each of the visits [was] to strengthen bilateral security cooperation between the two countries.” They met with the chiefs of the host country’s army and navy as well as senior government officials. Beforehand the U.S. embassy in Dhaka announced that “Their discussions will focus on interoperability, readiness in the region, security-force assistance, and bilateral approaches to maintaining regional stability.” [6]

Also in early November the U.S. led the first of four Tiger Shark military exercises held in the nation. The latest, Tiger Shark-4, ended on September 26.

At the close of the first, U.S. Ambassador James F. Moriarty attended a graduation ceremony for 59 navy commandos at the Bangladesh Navy Special Warfare and Diving Salvage Centre at the BNS (Bangladesh Naval Ship) Issa Khan Naval Base in Chittagong. “The commandos received specialised training during the US-Bangladesh ‘Tiger Shark’ exercise” that ended on November 13.

According to the American envoy, “The United States Government will continue to assist the Government of Bangladesh in developing this professional, elite force.

“The training demonstrates the United States Government’s commitment to Bangladesh and to regional security by promoting military-to-military relationships throughout Asia and the Pacific.” [7]

Tiger Shark-2 was held this May and U.S. army personnel “provided highly sophisticated training to the Bangladesh Army on counter terrorism, marksmanship and urban operations.” Ambassador Moriarty “reaffirmed the US government’s support to the Bangladesh government’s efforts to establish a more capable military.” [8]

Tiger Shark-3 occurred the next month and this time was multi-service on the Bangladeshi side, with army, navy, air force and coast guard units training with the U.S. to “enhance interoperability between the militaries of the two countries” in exercises that included “combat diving, infiltration and ex-filtration techniques, rappelling, helicopters operations, vessel boarding search and seizure, small boat maintenance and repair, maritime navigation, small unit tactics and small boat handling and tactics.” [9]

Tiger Shark-4 was held from September 19-26 with 500 Bangladesh army, air force and navy personnel along with helicopters and ships and 350 U.S. troops and aircraft, helicopters and ships. For the first time the exercises provided comprehensive “joint military exposure between Bangladesh and the USA,” and “a Commodore from the Bangladesh side and a Rear Admiral from the US side” led their respective nation’s forces. [10]

As the largest of the four Tiger Shark exercises was underway, 65 American airmen and two C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft arrived in Bangladesh for the three-day Cope South 2010 exercise to practice “aircraft generation and recovery, low-level navigation, tactical airdrop, and air-land missions; and conducting subject-matter expert exchanges in the operations, maintenance and rigging disciplines” [11] for regional disasters. In the words of U.S. 36th Airlift Squadron commander Lieutenant Colonel Tim Rapp, “The techniques our two nations share and the relationships we build will significantly ease planning and execution of any future combined efforts.” [12]

Washington’s efforts to recruit Bangladesh into an Asia-Pacific military alliance that includes all but a small handful of nations in the region complements its building a new army and upgrading strategic air bases in Afghanistan. Its penetration of Pakistan’s armed forces. Its further forging of a strategic military alliance with India. [13]

After employing NATO to subjugate Europe, launching U.S. Africa Command to gain military dominance over the 54-nation continent, and occupying and pacifying most of the Middle East, the Pentagon is concentrating on Asia and increasingly on South Asia.

1) Radio Netherlands/Agence France-Presse, September 26, 2010
2) The New Nation, May 11, 2010
3) The New Nation, May 13, 2010
4) Probe News Magazine, May 2010
5) Ibid
6) All Headline News, November 2, 2009
7) Financial Express, November 13, 2009
8) Associated Press of Pakistan, May 13, 2010
9) All Headline News, June 20, 2010
10) The New Nation, September 15, 2010
11) 13th Air Force Public Affairs, September 21, 2010
12) American Forces Press Service, September 21, 2010
13) India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure
Stop NATO, September 10, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan

September 28, 2010 3 comments

September 28, 2010

NATO Expands Afghan War Into Pakistan
Rick Rozoff

On October 7 the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization military allies will begin the tenth year of their war in Afghanistan, over 3,000 miles from NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The following month midterm elections will be held in the U.S. and NATO will hold a two-day summit in Portugal. The American administration is eager to achieve, or appear to have achieved, a foreign policy triumph in an effort to retain Democratic Party control of Congress and NATO something to show for the longest and largest military mission in its 61 years of existence.

President Barack Obama has tripled the amount of American combat troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 and along with forces from other NATO member states and partner nations there are now over 150,000 foreign troops in the nation, the most ever stationed in the war-wracked country. 120,000 of those soldiers are now under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the most ever serving in a North Atlantic Alliance-led military operation. NATO deployed 60,000 troops to Bosnia in 1995 and 50,000 to Kosovo four years later, in both instances after bombing campaigns and in post-conflict situations.

The 120,000 NATO forces currently in theater – from 50 nations already with more pegged to provide troops – are at the center of the world’s longest-lasting and increasingly deadly hot war. NATO’s first ground war, its first combat operations in Asia.

Last year was the most lethal for the U.S and NATO in what is now a nine-year conflict and this year has already proven even more costly in terms of combat deaths. And there are three more months to go.

Washington and Brussels could decide to save face and end the fighting through some combination of an internal political settlement and a true international peacekeeping arrangement – rather than the subversion of the International Security Assistance Force that was established by a United Nations mandate in December of 2001 but which is now the Pentagon’s and NATO’s vehicle for waging war in Afghanistan. And in neighboring Pakistan.

But the military metaphysic prevalent in Washington over the past 65 years will allow for nothing other than what is seen as victory, with a “Who lost Afghanistan?” legacy tarnishing the president who fails to secure it and the party to which he belongs being branded half-hearted and defeatist.

As for NATO, the Strategic Concept to be adopted in November is predicated upon the bloc’s expansion into a 21st century global expeditionary force for which Afghanistan is the test case. A NATO that loses Afghanistan, that loses in Afghanistan, will be viewed more critically by the populations of its European member states that have sacrificed their sons and daughters at the altar of NATO’s international ambitions. In the words of then-Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer six years ago: “What is NATO doing in Afghanistan? Defending values at the Hindu Kush in the present day international climate. We have to fight terrorism wherever it emerges. If we don’t do it at the Hindu Kush, it will end up at our doorstep. In other words, this perception gap [of the North Atlantic military alliance operating in South Asia] in the long run must be closed and must be healed – that is, for NATO’s future, of the utmost importance.” [1]

Not satisfied with the Vietnam that Afghanistan has become, NATO has now launched its Cambodian incursion. One with implications several orders of magnitude greater than with the prototype, though, into a nation of almost 170 million people, a nation wielding nuclear weapons. Pakistan.

As the U.S. delivered its 20th deadly drone missile attack of the month inside Pakistan on the 27th, five times the amount launched in August and the most in any month since they were started in 2004, NATO conducted a series of attacks with helicopter gunships in Northwest Pakistan. Claiming the “right of self-defense” and in “hot pursuit” of insurgents that had reportedly attacked a NATO camp, Combat Outpost Narizah, in Afghanistan’s Khost province near the Pakistani border, this past weekend NATO attack helicopters conducted two forays into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where U.S. drone strikes have killed a record number of people this month.

Estimates of those killed, dutifully referred to in the Western press as insurgents, militants or terrorists, were 30, then 50, afterward 60, 70 and later “82 or higher.” [2]

The amount, like the identify, of the dead will never be definitively known.

Press reports stated the targets were members of the Haqqani network, founded by veteran Afghan Mujahedin leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who when he led attacks from Pakistani soil against Afghan targets slightly over a generation ago was an American hero, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” Two years ago the New York Times wrote: “In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a ‘unilateral’ asset of the CIA and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in ‘The Bin Ladens,’ a recent book by Steve Coll. At that time, Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Coll wrote.” [3]

As to the regret that the otherwise praiseworthy Haqqani has of late allied himself with the Taliban, one voiced by among other people the late Charlie Wilson who once celebrated Haqqani as “goodness personified,” in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press last year Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told his American audience that the Taliban “was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them together. And I can find you 10 books and 10 philosophers and 10 write-ups on that….” [4]

On September 27 two NATO helicopters attacked the Kurram agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, killing six people and wounding eight. A local Pakistani government official described all the victims as civilians. According to Dawn News, “Nato has also shelled the area before.” [5] Three attacks in three days and as many as 100 deaths.

On the same day a U.S. drone-launched missile strike killed four people in the North Waziristan agency. “The identities of the four people killed in the attack were not known….” [6]

The above events occurred against the backdrop of the revelation in Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars that “a 3,000-strong secret army of Afghan paramilitary forces run by the Central Intelligence Agency had conducted cross-border raids into Pakistan.” [7]

After mounting in intensity for two years and consisting in part – helicopter gunship attacks and special forces assassination team raids – of covert operations, the U.S. and NATO war in Northwest Pakistan is now fully underway and can no longer be denied.

The Pentagon – the helicopters used in the attacks on September 25 and 26 were American Apaches and Kiowas – defended the strikes over the weekend as falling within its rules of engagement and Defense Department spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. had adhered to “appropriate protocol” and “Our forces have the right of self-defense.” [8]

A spokesmen for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force initially denied that Alliance forces had launched any attacks inside Pakistani territory, although Afghan police officials had confirmed that they did. On September 27, however, the International Security Assistance Force verified that NATO forces had conducted the deadly strikes. As the third attack by NATO helicopters occurred on the same day, “Coalition officials said the cross-border attacks fell within its rules of engagement because the insurgents had attacked them from across the border.” [9]

A NATO official informed the press that “ISAF forces must and will retain the authority, within their mandate, to defend themselves in carrying out their mission.” [10]

Mehmood Shah, former top security official of the Pakistani government in the region where the helicopter gunship and drone strikes have killed over 200 people so far this month, said of the recent NATO attacks: “This should be considered a watershed event. They [Nato] must be warned: the next time you do this, it can lead to war. Our units should be deployed to fire upon them. This border has sanctity. Nato must realise they have a mandate to operate in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.” [11]

On September 27 Interior Minister Rehman Malik denounced the NATO raids as a violation of Pakistani territorial integrity and national sovereignty and told the nation’s Senate that the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad would be summoned to explain the attacks. Malik and the Pakistani government as a whole know that the Hamid Karzai administration in Kabul has no control over what the U.S. and NATO do in its own country, much less in Pakistan. The interior minister’s comments were solely for internal consumption, for placating Pakistani popular outrage, but as Pakistan itself has become a NATO partner and U.S. surrogate [12] its officials, like those of Afghanistan, will not be notified of any future attacks.

Nevertheless domestic exigencies compelled Malik to denounce the strikes inside his country and assert “I take the drone attacks in Pakistani territory as an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan.” A senator from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz “asked the government to inform the parliament about any accord it had reached with the US under which drone attacks were being carried out.” [13]

At the same time Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit went further and lodged what was described as a strong protest to NATO Headquarters in Brussels over the weekend’s air strikes, issuing a statement that said in part: “These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates,” as its mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghan border.

“There are no agreed ‘hot pursuit’ rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.” [14]

By the evening of September 27, after the Pakistani complaints were registered, NATO’s ISAF attempted to conduct damage control and reverted to the military bloc’s original position: That it has not launched attacks inside Pakistan at all. On that very day it had dispatched two more helicopter gunships for the third raid in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

NATO will continue to launch lethal attacks inside Pakistan against whichever targets it sees fit and will proffer neither warnings nor apologies. The U.S. will continue to escalate attacks with Hellfire missiles against whomever it chooses, however inaccurate, anecdotal and self-interested the reports upon which they are based prove to be.

The death toll in Pakistan this month is well over 200 and for this year to date over 2,000. The justification for this carnage offered by the U.S. and NATO is that it is intended to extend the policy of Barack Obama to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” insurgent networks in Afghanistan into Pakistan, supposedly the sooner to end the war.

Forty years ago Obama’s predecessor Richard Nixon began his speech announcing the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia with these words: “Good evening, my fellow Americans. Ten days ago, in my report to the nation on Vietnam, I announced the decision to withdraw an additional 150,000 Americans from Vietnam over the next year. I said then that I was making that decision despite our concern over increased enemy activity in Laos, in Cambodia, and in South Vietnam. And at that time I warned that if I concluded that increased enemy activity in any of these areas endangered the lives of Americans remaining in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.” [15]

He claimed that “enemy sanctuaries” in Cambodia “endanger the lives of Americans who are in Vietnam,” and “if this enemy effort succeeds, Cambodia would become a vast enemy staging area and a springboard for attacks on South Vietnam along 600 miles of frontier: a refuge where enemy troops could return from combat without fear of retaliation.”

The course he ordered was to “go to the heart of the trouble. And that means cleaning out major North Vietnamese and Vietcong occupied territories, these sanctuaries which serve as bases for attacks on both Cambodia and American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.”

The practical application of the policy was that “attacks are being launched this week to clean out major enemy sanctuaries on the Cambodian-Vietnam border.”

In language that has been heard again lately in Washington and Brussels – with nothing but the place names changed – Nixon claimed: “We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam….”

Washington indeed expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia, with what disastrous effects the world is fully aware, and soon thereafter departed Southeast Asia in defeat, leaving vast stretches of Vietnam and Cambodia in ruins.

Afghanistan and Pakistan will not fare any better.

1) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, November 12, 2004
2) New York Times, September 27, 2010
3) New York Times, September 9, 2008
4) Meet the Press, May 10, 2009
5) Dawn News, September 28, 2010
6) Daily Times, September 28, 2010
7) Financial Times, September 27, 2010
8) Associated Press, September 27, 2010
9) New York Times, September 27, 2010
10) Dawn News, September 27, 2010
11) The Guardian, September 27, 2010
12) NATO Pulls Pakistan Into Its Global Network
Stop NATO, July 23, 2010
13) Dawn News, September 28, 2010
14) Dawn News, September 27, 2010
15) Richard M. Nixon, Cambodian Incursion Address

Categories: Uncategorized

America’s Undeclared War: Deadly Drone Attacks In Pakistan Reach Record High

September 26, 2010 8 comments

September 26, 2010

America’s Undeclared War: Deadly Drone Attacks In Pakistan Reach Record High
Rick Rozoff

On September 25 three missiles fired from a U.S. Predator drone killed four people near the capital of North Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, marking at least the 16th such attack in the country so far this month.

This September has seen the largest amount of American unmanned aerial vehicle – drone – attacks in Pakistan and the most deaths resulting from them of any month in the nine-year war waged by the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in Afghanistan and, though insufficiently acknowledged, increasingly in Pakistan.

By way of comparison, in the deadliest month preceding this one, January of 2010, there were 11 missile strikes directed by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities unit inside Pakistan. Last September there were six.

In 2009 there were 53 drone attacks. This year so far there have been nearly 75. The estimated death toll from strikes for last year was 709. In less than nine months this year there have been close to 650. If the annual, and surely if September’s monthly, rate continues, 2010 will be the deadliest year to date just as this month is already the deadliest month.

The amount of fatalities this year may well have been substantially higher except for the catastrophic flooding that beset Pakistan starting in late July and caused the confirmed deaths of at least 1,500 people, the destruction of one million homes and the displacement of millions of Pakistanis. Although the inundation and the damage it wreaked did not directly affect the main targets of U.S. drone strikes, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, there were only five unmanned aerial vehicle attacks in July and four in August. There have been at least four times more strikes and almost the same ratio of deaths this month than in the preceding one.

Reliable figures for fatalities are harder to determine than the number of Hellfire missiles fired by U.S. Predator drones. Calculations for both are provided on a daily basis by the website of the New America Foundation and by a Wikipedia page on the subject. [1]

The first is transparently supportive of the drone assassination campaign; the tone of the second is closer to being neutral. As of September 25 both sites show identical figures for the amount of attacks and deaths so far this year – 72 and 639, respectively – and list information on every individual incident from 2004 to the present. However, the casualty figures are within a range of minimum to maximum estimated deaths in each instance and are occasionally lower than reports in Pakistani news accounts.

For example, the New America Foundation reports the deaths of 4-6 people identified as militants on September 20 in North Waziristan and Wikipedia reports a total of 19 killed in two attacks in the agency on the same day, but Pakistan’s Daily Times revealed that “At least 28 people were killed in three US led drone strikes in the remote areas of South and North Waziristan” [2] on that day. The additional numbers in the Pakistani version alone push this month’s death toll – 122 by adding the Wikipedia numbers – to only one short of the previous monthly high of 132 from this January. And there are five more days left in September.

Wikipedia calculations from 2004 to now document 167 drone attacks and 1,753 deaths. 72 or more strikes this year, then, account for over 43 percent of the total in a six-year period, notwithstanding the lull following this summer’s flooding. The 2010 death count to date constitutes 37 percent of all fatalities since 2004.

The approximately 1,800 people killed in Pakistan by drone attacks are invariably referred to in the Western press as armed militants belonging to outfits affiliated with al-Qaeda, members of Pakistani Taliban and allied formations like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud (killed with his wife and in-laws in a drone strike in August of 2009), Lashkar al-Zil and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and veteran Afghan Mujahedin organizations such as the Haqqani network and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a handful of Arab and Chechen fighters, and members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Turkistan Islamic Party (al-Hizb al-Islami al-Turkistani), the last claiming to be fighting for the liberation of what it calls East Turkistan – that is, China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

It is worth recalling that last year then-commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, issued his COMISAF (Commander of International Security Assistance Force) Initial Assessment which, while calling for the surge in U.S. and NATO forces that has occurred in the interim, stated “The major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG).” [3]

The Haqqani network is led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin by its founder Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The elder Haqqani and Hekmatyar were among America’s – the CIA’s – main clients and proxies during the Pakistani-based war against the successive Afghanistan governments of Nur Muhammad Taraki, Hafizullah Amin, Babrak Karmal and Mohammad Najibullah and their Soviet backers from 1978-1992. Several thousand Afghans and Pakistanis have been killed in the past nine years in a war waged by Washington in large part against its former assets.

Citing Pakistani government sources, the nation’s Dawn News reported this January that in 2009 the U.S. launched 44 Predator drone attacks in Pakistan which killed 708 people. Contrary to how the victims were routinely characterized in the American and most of the world press, of the nearly four dozen attacks “only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians.”

As a result, “For each Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.” [4]

The persistent threat of attacks has instilled intense and abiding fear in the people of South Waziristan in particular and the cumulative effect of over two years of steady drone strikes – never knowing at what hour of the day or night they will occur, whether the first will be followed by others – will unavoidably create collective post-traumatic stress disorder among all sectors of the population, especially children, who face a lifetime of panic and other anxiety and mood problems, flashbacks, night terrors and hypervigilance.

With this month’s numbers added, U.S. drone attacks have killed more people in Pakistan than those confirmed dead from the recent disastrous flooding.

Starting last year strikes have expanded beyond the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (until this April the North-West Frontier Province). In 2009 the New York Times reported that leading American government officials were “proposing to broaden the missile strikes to Baluchistan,” on Iran’s southeast border.

Several milestones have been marked in South Asia this year. There are now more foreign troops in Afghanistan than in any other period in the nation’s history: 150,000 under U.S. and NATO command, currently 80 percent of them under NATO’s. On September 25 the 535th Western soldier was killed, surpassing last year’s previous high of 521.

And U.S. drones attacks in Pakistan have claimed more victims than in any previous year amid indications that their number and lethal effect will continue to escalate.

1) New America Foundation
The Year of the Drone

Wikipedia: Drone attacks in Pakistan
2) Daily Times, September 22, 2010
3) Washington Post, September 21, 2009
4) Dawn News, January 2, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe

September 23, 2010 8 comments

September 23, 2010

U.S. Consolidates New Military Outposts In Eastern Europe
Rick Rozoff

Two weeks after the United States started its third rotation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Baltic air patrol on September 1, with the deployment of F-15C Eagle fighter jets operating out of the Siauliai International Airport in Lithuania, neighboring Estonia finished a three-year project to upgrade its Amari Air Base in order to accommodate more NATO warplanes.

The opening ceremony for the enlarged base, which with expanded runways is able to host “16 NATO fighters, 20 transport planes [and] up to 2,000 people per day” [1], was held on September 15.

The Estonian base, like its Lithuanian counterpart, is a Soviet-era one modernized and extended for use by NATO, which financed 35 percent of the expansion.

Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said of the augmented air base that “You could say that it wasn’t just the Estonian Air Force that got a base, but our allies now also have a home, or if you prefer, a nest in Estonia where they can land and rest.” [2] The head of the Estonian Air Force, Brigadier General Valeri Saar, said that NATO aircraft involved in the air policing mission in place for over six years could be stationed at the Amari Air Base in the future.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, an American expatriate and former Radio Free Europe employee, made even stronger claims by stating the completion of the base will facilitate the deployment of fellow NATO members’ troops and military equipment to his nation for prospective direct intervention: “It is obvious that a small country like Estonia would need the help of its allies in the event of a serious military crisis. Likewise, it is obvious that no matter how willing someone is to provide this help, they cannot do so without the proper infrastructure. Let’s be honest: until today our ability to accept the airborne help of our allies has been extremely limited.” [3]

A “serious military crisis” only makes sense in relation to Russia. The air policing operation that was launched in March 2004 when Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were absorbed into the Alliance – the first former Soviet republics to enter the bloc – with the subsequent rotation of U.S., British, German, French, Turkish, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Belgian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and Czech warplanes has never identified against whom and what NATO was allegedly protecting the three Baltic states’ airspace.

As the stock villains – Iran and North Korea – cannot be invoked as threats to the region, Estonia’s and Lithuania’s joint neighbor Russia is the inescapable candidate.

Ilves also “underscored the fact that from 2012, when the complex as a whole is due for completion, NATO will have one of the most modern air force bases in the region at its disposal” [4] for the above-mentioned purpose.

By obtaining the use of the Siauliai and Amari air bases, NATO has secured facilities for air operations in five former Soviet states in total. The invasion of Afghanistan earlier brought the Alliance into air bases in Kyrgyzstan (Manas), Tajikistan (Dushanbe) and Uzbekistan (Termez). Comparable sites between the Baltic Sea and Central Asia – Georgia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus – are NATO’s for the asking and are already being used for supplying the war in Afghanistan.

Airfields are not the only locations where increased NATO and U.S. military presence is being felt in the Baltic Sea region.

On September 13 thirteen NATO member states and partners began this year’s annual Northern Coasts naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. Over 4,000 military personnel, more than 60 ships, and planes and helicopters from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden are involved in the largest exercise ever staged in Finnish waters, near the Bay of Bothnia where last year’s Loyal Arrow 2 NATO war games included “the biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnia Bay.” [5]

A week after Northern Coasts 2010 began, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe launched the Jackal Stone 10 multinational special forces exercise at the 21st Tactical Airbase in Swidwin, Poland, from which it will move to two other locations in Lithuania. 1,300 special forces from the U.S., Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine are participating, the first time that special operations units of the seven countries have engaged in joint maneuvers.

At the opening ceremony for the exercises Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich addressed the participants, stating, “Special operations in the world today are becoming increasingly important in the conduct of combat operations. And exercises like this check the ability of allied and international cooperation, which is essential for the success of the Allies.” [6]

The centerpiece of the exercise is the deployment of USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which was sent to the Georgian port of Poti on the Black Sea in a show of strength by Washington shortly after the 2008 Georgian-Russian war. The president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, inspected helicopters used in the exercises, was given a tour of the USS Mount Whitney and said “Lithuania’s active policy has helped to [assure] that such defense guarantees will be provided to us.” [7]

The war in Afghanistan is not the only application for the skills so acquired, although all 12 new NATO members in Eastern Europe – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – supplied troops for NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR), for the war in Iraq and for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

NATO Partnership for Peace allies and candidates Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine have provided forces for one or more of the above missions, in several cases for all three.

The West’s post-Cold War military colonies are levied not only for bases on their territory but for troops and military hardware to be used in wars abroad.

When this May the Pentagon moved a Patriot missile battery and over 100 troops into Morag, Poland – 35 miles from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad district – it was not for NATO’s first ground war in Afghanistan or against an imaginary missile threat from Iran. A Polish newspaper account of the ongoing Jackal Stone 10 special forces exercise – “US army to show its strength in Poland” – pulled no punches: “NATO is in the process of developing contingency plans to defend Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania against Russian attacks – the first time since the end of the Cold War that NATO has specifically identified Russia as a potential threat.” [8]

Poland’s fellow Visegrad Four member Slovakia hosted the NATO Military Committee, which consists of 450 military officers from all 28 member states, on September 17-19. The conference was attended by NATO’s two top military commanders, Admiral James Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and General Stéphane Abrial (Supreme Allied Commander Transformation). General David Petraeus, commander of 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, participated via video conference. The gathering focused on military operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo and on the new Strategic Concept to be adopted at the bloc’s summit in Lisbon in November.

Slovakia joined NATO five years after its Visegrad partners the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland because its citizens consistently voted in federal elections in a manner displeasing to Washington and Brussels, evidently preferring the notion that a government ought to represent the interests of the nation rather than those of the U.S. and should uphold the rights of its own people over those of the American president and NATO secretary general. NATO demands political subservience as well as warfighting and weapons interoperability.

After a compliant government was installed and Slovak troops had been dispatched to Iraq, the nation was brought into NATO in 2004. Its forces, like those of 16 other new NATO member states and partners, were transferred to Afghanistan beginning in December of 2008, much as NATO is now redeploying troops from Kosovo to the same war theater. It is hard to believe that many (if any) Slovaks are convinced that sending their sons and daughters to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in any fashion contributes to their nation’s defense and security.

Slovak troops that have been sent to the three war zones have had the opportunity to renew acquaintances with their former fellow countrymen from the Czech Republic. The European Union has formed a 2,500-troop Czech-Slovak battlegroup.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels on September 17 and confirmed that “Presence in NATO´s Afghan mission is a long-term priority of the new Czech government.”

Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra recently disclosed that he had submitted a proposal to the Czech government for streamlining the procedure for deploying and maintaining troops abroad to circumvent oversight in the parliament where opposition parties can scrutinize the deployments. Vondra wants to shift troops from NATO’s mission in Kosovo to its war in Afghanistan where there are now 530 Czechs deployed, and Necas “would like the current system of approving missions for one year only to be extended to two years….” [9] On September 23 Vondra announced that 200 more Czech troops are headed to the Afghan war front and that the nation’s special forces are to resume combat operations there.

Popular and parliamentary objections will not be allowed to interfere with NATO obligations.

A government report of earlier this month detailed that Czech overseas military missions cost almost three billion crowns last year, up by half a billion from the preceding year. The 2009 expenditure for Afghanistan was forecast to be 1.73 billion crowns but rose to 2.32 billion crowns.

It was recently reported in an article called “Czech military strategy looks toward U.S.” that former Czech defense minister and current NATO Assistant Secretary General Jiri Sedivy (the first Czech to be appointed to such a major NATO post) is heading up a team of 15 security and international relations experts drafting a white paper on the transformation of the country’s armed forces.

“The new strategic concept of NATO will be one of the important works in creating” the white paper, a Defense Ministry spokesman recently stated, in fact asserting that “NATO initiatives will take precedence.” He added that “The ambition is that three quarters of the armed forces of the Czech Republic are consistent with NATO standards.” [10]

This past weekend a “two-day NATO Days military air show” was held in Moravia and attended by 205,000 observers. “One of the major attractions was a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber. The aircraft, which was deployed in the Vietnam war, in the Persian Gulf war, in the bombing of Yugoslavia and in the recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, is on the territory of Central Europe for the first time ever.” [11]

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher has recently reconfirmed American interests in basing an interceptor missile radar facility in the Czech Republic to complement missile deployments in Romania and Poland. NATO plans radar sites near Nepolisy in Bohemia and in Slavkov (Austerlitz) in Moravia.

On July 27, 2009 officials from NATO and 12 participating nations – NATO members the U.S., Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Slovenia and Partnership for Peace allies Finland and Sweden – were present for the activation of the “first-of-its-kind multinational strategic airlift unit” [12] at the Papa Air Base in Hungary, which in the interim has been used extensively for the war in Afghanistan.

To Hungary’s west, it was reported this week that the head of the Slovenian Armed Forces Union, Gvido Novak, sent a letter to President Danilo Turk informing the latter that the Slovenian government was “illegally sending troops” to participate in NATO operations in Afghanistan, that “the commander-in-chief…was unconstitutionally and illegally sending Slovenian soldiers to Afghanistan.”

Novak’s accusation came a week before the latest deployment of troops to Afghanistan and was based on the fact “that without a state of war being declared, the decision cannot be made without parliament, while the government is yet to send its proposal to MPs.” His letter additionally warned that “the new Slovenian military mission to Afghanistan will not be peacekeeping and defensive any longer, and that it will be a war mission….” [13] Slovenes are also learning that the popular will and parliamentary procedures are overridden by demands imposed under NATO membership conditions.

After NATO’s 78-day air war against Yugoslavia in 1999, 50,000 troops marched into Kosovo under NATO command and the U.S. built the colossal Camp Bondsteel and its sister site Camp Monteith there, the first foreign military bases on Yugoslav soil since World War II.

Earlier this week Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov announced that the draft of his nation’s National Security Strategy is “in total harmony with the draft Strategic Concept of NATO” and, contradicting a recent claim by President Georgi Parvanov, said “We should not make wrong conclusions from the contents of the draft National Security Strategy – such as concluding that the Bulgarian armed forces can protect the country in a large-scale military conflict on their own, and without NATO’s collective security system.”

Angelov also stated: “I personally think that Bulgaria must stick to the US missile shield….Our commitment to active participation in the missile defense of the US and NATO in Europe must be part of the Strategy.” [14]

After a seven-day visit to Washington beginning in late June during which he met with Pentagon chief Robert Gates, NATO Allied Command Transformation officials in Virginia and missile shield coordinator Ellen Tauscher, the defense chief “confirmed Bulgaria’s firm position that it will participate in the US missile defense in Europe, and that the shield must be a crucial project for the entire NATO.”

He also disclosed “that the United States has confirmed its plans for deploying its troops in Bulgaria and Romania in the so-called Joint Task Force East….Under an inter-governmental agreement, the US will be able to use together with the Bulgarian Army four military bases on Bulgarian soil, with a total of 2,500 soldiers, to go up to 5,000 during one-month rotation periods.” [15]

Last month Angelov revealed why he does not believe that Bulgarian troops can defend their nation without NATO support – because their purpose is not to defend their country but to assist NATO in wars abroad – when he “announced that Bulgaria was going to change the functions of the Bulgarian troops in Afghanistan, and that instead of guard units it was going to send a 700-strong combat regiment by the end of 2012.” [16]

At the beginning of this month Angelov flew to Poland to meet with Defense Minister Bogdan Klich for discussions concentrating on “the US missile shield in Europe.” [17]

On September 19 the Bulgarian defense minister “expressed strong support for his colleague, Economy Minister Traikov, who invited US companies to consider investments in Bulgarian military plants.” Traikov was in the U.S. at the time where he “invited Boeing to study opportunities for the privatization of the ailing Bulgarian military industrial giant VMZ Sopot.” Angelov applauded the offer as an effort to “breathe life into the Bulgarian defense industry.” [18]

A new member state doesn’t only turn the nation’s military bases over to the Pentagon and NATO and offer them combat troops for wars thousands of miles away, it is also compelled to cede national defense industry assets to the U.S. and its main NATO allies as well.

Immediately afterward it was reported that a NATO team led by Frank Boland, director of NATO’s Defense Policy and Planning Department, was arriving in Bulgaria “to review the level of implementation of the agreements between Sofia and Brussels,” in particular to examine, adjust and approve the nation’s aforementioned new National Security Strategy. [19]

In neighboring Romania, last week it was announced that Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Policy and Verification Operations, was in the capital for a “third round of negotiations centered on Romania’s participation in the US missile defence system,” [20] following the Supreme Defense Council approving U.S. Standard Missile-3 deployments in the country on February 4 of this year and official negotiations on the agreement led by Ellen Tauscher in Bucharest on June 17. On September 16 Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, fresh from a meeting with his American counterpart Robert Gates in Washington, said of U.S. interceptor missile plans in Eastern Europe: “They tell us their missile shield is not aimed against us, but we tell them our calculations show it is aimed against us.” [21]

The year after Romania’s NATO accession, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice secured an agreement with the nation for the acquisition of four military sites: The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and training bases and firing ranges in Babadag, Cincu and Smardan. The air base had been used in 2003 for the invasion if Iraq, a year before Romania joined NATO, and has been employed since for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006 a similar pact was signed with Bulgaria for the use of the Bezmer Air Base, Graf Ignatievo Air Base and Novo Selo army training range. The seven military sites were the first the U.S. gained access to in former Warsaw Pact countries. They have been used not only for air operations but for the training of a Stryker regiment, special forces and other combat units for “downrange” conflicts like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon’s Joint Task Force-East, “the largest U.S. military contingent operating in Eastern Europe,” [22] spends much of its time training at Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and Babadag Training Area.

It was announced last year that the U.S. will spend $110 million to upgrade a base apiece in Bulgaria and Romania as 2,000 American troops were completing military exercises with the armed forces of both countries that ran from June to the end of October.

With NATO as intermediary, facilitator and Trojan horse, the Pentagon has established itself – with bases, troops and missiles – along the entire length of Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

1) Estonian Public Broadcasting, September 15, 2010
2) Ibid
3) Office of the President, Public Relations Department, September 15, 2010
4) Ibid
5) Barents Observer, June 8, 2009
6) U.S. Army, September 22, 2010
7) Press Service of the President, September 21, 2010
8) Warsaw Business Journal, September 21, 2010
9) Czech News Agency, September 17, 2010
10) Prague Post, September 8, 2010
11) Czech News Agency, September 20, 2010
12) U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs, July 27, 2010
13) B92, September 20, 2010
14) Sofia News Agency, September 19, 2010
15) Sofia News Agency, July 3, 2010
16) Sofia News Agency, August 18, 2010
17) Sofia News Agency, September 5, 2010
18) Sofia News Agency, September 20, 2010
19) Standart News, September 21, 2010
20) Nine O’Clock News, September 17, 2010
21) Itar-Tass, September 17, 2010
22) Stars and Stripes, October 17, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

NATO Provides Pentagon Nuclear, Missile And Cyber Shields Over Europe

September 22, 2010 5 comments

September 22, 2010

NATO Provides Pentagon Nuclear, Missile And Cyber Shields Over Europe
Rick Rozoff

The Pentagon’s number two official, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, was in Brussels, Belgium on September 15 to address the North Atlantic Council – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s top civilian body – and the private Security & Defence Agenda think tank.

His comments at the second event, hosted by the only defense-related institution of its type in the city that hosts NATO’s and the European Union’s headquarters, dealt extensively with what Lynn referred to as a “cyber shield” over all of Europe, which he described as a “critical element” for the 28-nation military bloc to address and endorse at its summit in Lisbon, Portugal on November 19-20.

Lynn added that “The alliance has a crucial role to play in extending a blanket of security over our networks,” and placed the issue in stark perspective by stating “NATO has a nuclear shield, it is building a stronger and stronger defence shield, it needs a cyber shield as well,” according to Agence France-Presse. [1]

The Security & Defence Agenda website states that it “regularly brings together senior representatives from the EU institutions and NATO, with national government officials, industry, the international and specialised media, think-tanks, academia and NGOs.” [2]

It is, in short, one of dozens if not scores of trans-Atlantic elite planning bodies, quasi- and supra-governmental alike, on both sides of the ocean, ones which demand to be addressed by leaders of what style themselves model open and transparent societies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations is another instance of the practice and the principle. [3]

In fact, Deputy Defense Secretary Lynn has an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, entitled “Defending a New Domain: The Pentagon’s Cyber Strategy.”

Pentagon, State Department and White House officials – and their European counterparts – enter and leave government service but maintain lifetime memberships in organizations like the Security & Defence Agenda and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Brussels-based think tank lists among its partners, in addition to NATO and the Mission of the United States of America to NATO, American arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and United Technologies as well as their European equivalents.

William Lynn came to his current Pentagon position from that of senior vice president of Government Operations and Strategy for the Raytheon Company.

Corporate leadership posts with weapons firms, membership in private trans-Atlantic planning bodies and top positions in national governments are all but interchangeable roles, held either successively or simultaneously.

Lynn’s comments before the Security & Defence Agenda gathering also included the demand that NATO apply the concept of “collective defense” – which is to say its Article 5 military intervention provision – to the realm of information technology and computer networks, as seen above at the same level of seriousness and urgency as maintaining a nuclear arsenal and constructing a global interceptor missile network. In his words, “The Cold War concepts of shared warning apply in the 21st century to cyber security. Just as our air defences, our missile defences have been linked so too do our cyber defences need to be linked as well.” [4]

As with stationing nuclear warheads in Europe, as far east and south as Turkey, and the “phased adaptive approach” multilayered missile shield in Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Seas, building a cyber warfare system – for that in truth is what is being discussed – in all of Europe as part of an even broader – global – project depends upon the compliance and complicity of NATO’s 26 members and 13 Partnership for Peace adjuncts in Europe.

U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Belgium (20 bombs), Germany (20), Italy (50), the Netherlands (20) and Turkey (90) – the numbers are estimates, only the Pentagon knows the true figures and of course will not divulge them – were brought into and are kept in Europe under NATO arrangements. The affected countries have never conducted referendums to determine whether their citizens support the basing of American nuclear arms on their soil notwithstanding NATO’s claim to be a “military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America.” No European population is clamoring to be saved – from whom? from what? – by the Pentagon’s nuclear gravity bombs. Or its interceptor missiles. Or its cyber warfare operations.

No more than the citizens of 35 European nations that have supplied troops for NATO’s war in Afghanistan were consulted on whether sending their sons and daughters to Asia to kill and die guarantees the security of their homelands.

“Speaking at his residence in a luxurious suburb of south Brussels, a day after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington” earlier this month, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a major British newspaper that “If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability that will be very dangerous, and a direct threat to the allies. That is the reason why I am now proposing a new and effective Nato missile defence system.”

If Iran acquires a nuclear capacity….As Washington uses NATO to stationed 90 nuclear bombs in Turkey, a state bordering Iran. Weapons that have been stored there for several decades.

The same newspaper quoted Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, offering a rare ray of truth on the matter: “Missile defence is more about shovelling money to American contractors than protecting people in Basingstoke.” [5]

After meeting with NATO’s North Atlantic Council in Brussels on September 15, Lynn said, “I think at Lisbon we will see [a] high-level leadership commitment to cyber defence. It’s the foundation for any alliance effort….I was very impressed with the unity of purpose and the similar vision that most nations in the alliance seem to have towards the cyber threat.” [6]

Neither the Pentagon nor NATO will be starting from scratch.

This May 21 Lynn’s superior, Pentagon chief Robert Gates, announced the launching of U.S. Cyber Command [7], the world’s first such multi-service military command. On the same day Lynn “called the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command…a milestone in the United States being able to conduct full-spectrum operations in a new domain,” and contended that the “cyber domain…is as important as the land, sea, air and space domains to the U.S. military, and protecting military networks is crucial to the Defense Department’s success on the battlefield.” [8]

The website of the Security & Defence Agenda reiterated the last point in reporting on Lynn’s speech at the Hotel Renaissance in Brussels on September 15. The address called for “[p]rioritising cyberspace as an additional domain of warfare (beyond land, sea and air) in which America must be able to operate freely and defend its territory.” How defending mainland America, or even its farflung Pacific island possessions, is achieved by a cyber warfare dome over all of Europe is not explained, anymore than how nuclear bombs in Europe or Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic missiles in Poland and Romania protect New York City or Chicago. The report reminded its readers that “the Pentagon has built layered and robust defenses around military networks and inaugurated the new U.S. Cyber Command to integrate cyberdefense operations across the military.” [9]

The U.S. military has been consistently blunt in defining the purpose of CYBERCOM as being to “deter and or defeat enemies” [10] in the words of its commander, General Keith Alexander.

The use of the word defense in regard to U.S. and NATO cyber warfare operations is the same as it was when the United States Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense in 1947. And in reference to what is called missile defense. A euphemism and a disguise for aggression. The Defense Department has waged war against and in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq and launched attacks inside Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen in a little over a decade.

NATO has been working on complementary operations since the beginning of the century, long before the cyber attacks in Estonia in 2007 which led to accusations in the West against Russia and calls for NATO’s Article 5 war clause to be invoked.

The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in the Estonian capital of Tallinn was established five years before, in 2002, and formally accredited as a NATO Center of Excellence in 2008.

In fact NATO’s North Atlantic Council implemented the bloc’s Cyber Defence Programme in 2002 and “In parallel, at the Prague Summit the same year, heads of state and government decided to strengthen NATO’s capabilities. This paved the way for the creation of the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) in 2002 as a part of the Cyber Defence Programme.”

The Cyber Defence Management Authority “is managed by the Cyber Defence Management Board, which comprises the leaders of the political, military, operational and technical staffs in NATO with responsibilities for cyber defence. It constitutes the main consultation body for the North Atlantic Council on cyber defence and provides advice to member states on all main aspects of cyber defence.” [11]

In August of 2008 NATO began extending its cyber warfare capacities beyond its 28 member states and created the (North Atlantic) Council Guidelines for Cooperation on Cyber Defence with Partners and International Organisations, which was followed in April of 2009 by the Framework for Cooperation on Cyber Defence between NATO and Partner Countries. In the Alliance’s own words, “NATO should be prepared, without reducing its ability to defend itself, to extend to Partner countries and international organizations its experience and, potentially, its capabilities to defend against cyber attacks.” [12]

The Lisbon summit will inaugurate a new NATO military doctrine for the next ten years. It will confirm the bloc as a 21st century expeditionary force without geographical or thematic limits, one which will seek any opportunity to intrude itself anywhere in the world under a multitude of subterfuges. [13]

The summit will voice unanimous support for a U.S.-led interceptor missile system to cover all of Europe. It will maintain the position that American nuclear weapons must be kept on the continent for “deterrence” purposes. And it will authorize the subordination of nations from Britain to Poland and Bulgaria under a common American-dominated cyber defense structure for war in the “fifth battlespace,” for “full-spectrum operations in a new domain.”

1) Agence France-Press, September 15, 2010
2) Security & Defence Agenda
3) Global Grandiosity: America’s 21st Century World Architecture
Stop NATO, September 13, 2010
4) Agence France-Press, September 15, 2010
5) Daily Telegraph, September 11, 2010
6) Agence France-Press, September 15, 2010
7) U.S. Cyber Command: Waging War In World’s Fifth Battlespace
Stop NATO, May 26, 2010
8) U.S. Department of Defense, May 21, 2010
9) Security & Defence Agenda
10) Associated Press, May 5, 2010
11) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
12) Ibid
13) Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses
Collude On New Global Doctrine
Stop NATO, October 2, 2009

Categories: Uncategorized

Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil

September 17, 2010 2 comments

September 17, 2010

Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil
Rick Rozoff

The current century’s only and history’s largest military bloc will hold the latest of what have become annual summits in Lisbon, Portugal this November 19 and 20. Heads of state, defense chiefs and chiefs of general staff from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 full members will be in attendance, as will be leaders from an unannounced number of the military alliance’s forty some odd partner states.

Starting last year a 12-member Group of Experts headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ex-president and chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Jeroen van der Veer toured Europe and North America to promote NATO’s new Strategic Concept, its first in the 21st century as the current version was adopted in 1999, the year of the bloc’s first expansion into Eastern Europe and its 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, the first military assault against a sovereign nation in Europe since World War II.

On May 17 of this year Albright and her cohorts submitted their recommendations – a set of already determined priorities for the expanding military alliance – to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top governing body, to be formally endorsed at the Lisbon summit. [1]

The new Strategic Concept will elaborate upon and extend the policies of its predecessor and will reflect the past decade’s transformation of an erstwhile Cold War-era alliance into an increasingly global warfighting machine. One which has grown in the interim from 16 to 28 full members, the 12 new inductees all in Eastern Europe, 10 of them former members of the Warsaw Pact and three of those ex-Soviet republics.

When the 1999 Strategic Concept was approved NATO was conducting its first full-blown war, Operation Allied Force, a nearly three-month-long relentless bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, followed by the deployment of 50,000 troops under NATO command to the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Two years afterward the North Atlantic bloc intervened in an armed conflict in Macedonia, itself the offshoot of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, with the deployment of troops under the banner of Operation Amber Fox.

Since 2001 all Balkan nations, including ones that did not exist as the time, have become NATO members or partners. [2]

In the same month, September, NATO activated its Article 5 collective military assistance provision for the first time in its then 52-year history the day after the September 11 attacks in the United States, although no state actor had been accused of perpetrating them. In so doing it committed itself to the following month’s invasion of Afghanistan and all that has ensued.

The war in Afghanistan will enter its tenth year almost two months before this year’s NATO summit and there are currently 150,000-strong foreign troops in the war zone, 120,000 from 50 nations serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The Alliance also has bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and has conducted shelling and helicopter and special forces raids inside Pakistan.

After invoking its war clause on September 12, 2001, NATO launched the ongoing Operation Active Endeavor naval surveillance and interdiction mission throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea, which will last as long as NATO itself does.

NATO has also run troop airlift operations in Africa, first in the Darfur region of western Sudan and later in Somalia. Since 2008 it has conducted naval surveillance, interdiction and boarding operations off the Horn of Africa.

The NATO Training Mission – Iraq continues to instruct Iraqi officers and soldiers inside the country and at NATO facilities in Europe. [3]

What has occurred since and as a result of the adoption of the last Strategic Concept at the 50th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. while the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were welcomed as member states and bombs and cruise missiles descended on Yugoslavia, is a qualitative transformation of the U.S.-dominated, European-based military alliance into an international intervention and occupation force.

In 2003 the bloc launched its first rapid reaction force, the NATO Response Force, described by NATO as to consist of 25,000 troops “capable of performing missions worldwide across the whole spectrum of operations.” [4] Its initial test was in the Steadfast Jaguar exercise in the African nation of Cape Verde in 2006 with 7,800 troops, U.S. F-16s, German armored vehicles and Spanish helicopters. NATO’s first major deployment on African soil.

What has transpired in the interim is what Ivo Daalder, now U.S. permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO, advocated in a 2006 article in Foreign Affairs appropriately titled “Global NATO”: The Alliance has expanded into not only a combat-capable and expeditionary organization but one with members and partners far from its original area of responsibility and one conducting operations around the world.

In the same year as Daalder’s article appeared Kurt Volker, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and two years later U.S. ambassador to NATO, said in February and May, respectively, that “NATO currently has partnership relationships with 30 countries in Eurasia and another 22 countries in the broader Middle East, and it is looking at other relationships” [5] and in 2005 had been “engaged in 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.” [6]

To bring matters up to date, this September 14 the Pentagon’s website paraphrased Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, as maintaining that “NATO’s roadmap for a new world and its mission in Afghanistan will be the main topics of discussion when the alliance’s leaders gather in Lisbon….” Describing NATO’s global objectives within the context of the upcoming summit, she said in her own words: “The first will be revitalizing the alliance for the 21st century and the second will be succeeding as an alliance in Afghanistan….NATO has now had more than a decade of experience in the requirements to do expeditionary operations – to actually have your command structure actually be able to deploy and employ forces in real-world contingencies.”

She also mentioned a third, critically important, aspect of 21st century global NATO: Participating in the belated realization of the Ronald Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative, so-called Star Wars. The same Defense Department article quoted from above stated, “Missile defense is another priority for NATO in Lisbon, Flournoy said, and the United States hopes the alliance will embrace missile defense as a mission.” [7]

A day after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described to Britain’s Daily Telegraph plans in which “an anti-ballistic missile ‘shield’ would be extended across Nato’s territory, coordinated by a new command and control system that would ‘knit together’ existing radar and other sensor systems, with new SM-3 missiles based on land.”

Rasmussen also asserted that he has “full American backing for a proposed $200 million (£165 million) defensive ‘shield’, which he hopes will be agreed in November at a summit of members in Lisbon.” [8]

Three days earlier he was cited claiming that “an alliance-wide territorial missile defense system would cost about €200 million ($245 million) over the next 10 years.

“This is above the €800 million ($1.2 billion) investment already required to field theater missile defenses designed to protect deployed troops.” [9]

That is, almost a billion and a half American dollars for a layered, integrated interceptor missile system expanding from theater to regional to continental range and ultimately linking up with Pentagon plans for a worldwide network even reaching into space.

The founding of NATO in the last century allowed the U.S. to station nuclear weapons in Europe, where hundreds of them remain, and in the new century NATO will assist Washington in placing all of Europe under an American missile shield, one that is being extended into the South Caucasus and the Middle East. [10]

NATO has also provided the Pentagon with the mechanism for penetrating almost all of Europe, gaining new bases and other military facilities in the east of the continent – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Kosovo and Poland – and integrating the armed forces of all but three countries – Russia, Belarus and Cyprus – for interoperability for missions in Europe and around the world.

Perhaps not a day passes that U.S. military personnel are not leading exercises in Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia in some manner linked with NATO, especially with its Partnership for Peace program.

This month alone U.S. European Command ran Combined Endeavor 2010 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany from September 2-16, “the world’s largest military communications and information systems exercise,” a purpose of which was to build “interoperability between NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations.” [11] Other nations participating included Austria, Afghanistan, Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Britain, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Iraq, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

On September 13 the latest Northern Coasts military exercise was begun in Finland, the first time in that NATO partner state, with “50 warships and 4,000 naval personnel from 13 countries including Finland, Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, Sweden, Denmark and Norway” in what is “the largest military exercise ever staged in Finland’s territorial waters.” [12]

Five days before over 300 U.S. and local troops “kicked off a military exercise…dubbed Medical Central and Eastern Europe Exercise 2010 (MEDCEUR 2010),” in Montenegro – the world’s newest nation – a NATO Partnership for Peace initiative and “the biggest military exercise held in Montenegro so far.” [13]

Last month Canada conducted the largest of regular military exercises in the Arctic started in 2007 after Russia renewed its territorial claims in the region. Operation Nanook 2010 was not only the biggest such exercise, but for the first time included military forces from other nations: NATO allies the United States and Denmark. [14]

In early 2009 NATO held a two-day conference in Iceland called Security Prospects in the High North which was attended by its secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee. [15]

This week Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon [16] disclosed that Ottawa will contest ownership of the main basis for Russia’s Arctic claims, the Lomonosov Ridge. On September 15 President Dmitry Medvedev warned “The Russian Federation is keeping a close eye on this activity (NATO in the Arctic) because it (Arctic) is a zone of peaceful and economic cooperation.” [17]

The following day Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Canadian counterpart Cannon in Moscow and said, “We do not see what benefit NATO can bring to the Arctic…I do not think NATO would be acting properly if it took upon itself the right to decide who should solve problems in the Arctic.” [18]

A Chinese analysis of a week before indicated why the U.S. and NATO – with Canada the proxy and if need be the sacrificial offering – are moving into the Arctic Ocean. Author Wang Wei identified two of the strategic purposes motivating NATO states’ drive into the Arctic, the third being massive reserves of oil and natural gas: “[T]he Arctic is important in the military field. Currently, all global powers are located in the northern hemisphere just a short distance to the North Pole. This makes the region the most strategic place to launch a ballistic missile. The special landscape of the polar region makes it easy to hide nuclear submarines. These factors combine to pose a great challenge to the defense of countries neighboring the Arctic.”

Russian intercontinental ballistic missile-equipped submarines operating under the Arctic polar ice cap are that component of the country’s nuclear triad least susceptible to a U.S. first strike, but in recent years the U.S. and Britain have conducted joint anti-submarine warfare maneuvers under the ice cap.

“[T]he famous Northwest Passage, a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, will be fully navigable. There will be no need for European vessels to detour to the Panama Canal to reach Asia.” [19]

It is not only at the top of the world that NATO’s global ambitions are touching a raw nerve.

On the same day that the Russian foreign minister issued his statement, it was revealed that senior Brazilian government aides were cited warning that “Brazil is opposed to any NATO presence in the South Atlantic or any attempt to forge links between the north and the south of the oceanic region.”

Defense Minister Nelson Jobim “made clear his country would oppose any inroads by NATO or its members,” and said that NATO’s intrusion into the South Atlantic region would be “inappropriate.” [20]

He was responding in part to comments by his Portuguese counterpart, Defense Minister Augusto Santos Silva, who demanded the new NATO Strategic Concept address the South Atlantic region, stating it “does not pay as much attention to the South Atlantic as NATO should” and that he would raise the matter with Secretary General Rasmussen.

Santos Silva added that the South Atlantic is “strategic” and that it should be included in NATO’s “lines of fundamental action.” [21] He made specific reference to his nation’s historical role in the area, where it had possessed major colonies on both sides of the South Atlantic: Brazil in the west and Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Principe and Sao Tome to the east. Over the past decade NATO founding member Portugal has led joint military exercises with all the above-mentioned nations as well as fellow former colonies Mozambique and Timor-Leste.

NATO’s drive to the east has taken it to China’s borders and its plans for the south are just as far-reaching. Moving into the South Atlantic permits the military alliance to penetrate alike Latin America and Africa, especially its oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, and positions it for the impending battle for Antarctica and its resources which will parallel that over the Arctic. [22]

The expansion of a Northern Hemispheric military bloc to all compass points, from the South Atlantic [23] to the North Pole, is a threat that should concern the people of the world.

On September 16 Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, retired major-general and professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, wrote that NATO’s new Strategic Concept “will give it undivided global responsibility.” Driven by the “desire by the US to use the military alliance as an instrument of its foreign policy in the security sphere, and American plans to replace the UN with NATO,” [24] he continued, “NATO’s desire to operate in the whole world first surfaced in the 90s of the 20th century” when the “US-led aggression against Yugoslavia showed that the global plan of NATO is to dominate the world,” adding that the “invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are other concrete examples of the plan.” [25]

Zolotarev’s comments are truly the last word on the subject.

1) 21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
Stop NATO, February 26, 2010
NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine
Stop NATO, May 8, 2010
Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude
On New Global Doctrine
Stop NATO, October 2, 2009
2) Full Circle: NATO Completes Takeover Of Former Yugoslavia
Stop NATO, March 23, 2010
Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 14, 2009
Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO
Stop NATO, May 13, 2009
3) Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Stop NATO, August 13, 2010
4) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
5) U.S. State Department, February 24, 2006
6) U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
7) United States Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
September 14, 2010
West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
Stop NATO, May 27, 2009
8) Daily Telegraph, September 11, 2010
9) Aviation Week, September 8, 2010
10) Nuclear Weapons And Interceptor Missiles: Twin Pillars Of U.S.-NATO
Military Strategy In Europe
Stop NATO, April 23, 2010
Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
Stop NATO, March 14, 2010
NATO’s Sixty-Year Legacy: Threat Of Nuclear War In Europe
Stop NATO, March 31, 2009
11) United States European Command, September 8, 2010
12) Xinhua News Agency, September 11, 2010
13) Southeast European Times, September 10, 2010
14) Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
Stop NATO, August 29, 2010
15) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009
16) Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare
Stop NATO, December 1, 2009
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 15, 2010
18) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 16, 2010
19), September 8, 2010
20) United Press International, September 16, 2010
21) Lusa News Agency, September 18, 2010
22) Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica
Stop NATO, May 16, 2009
23) NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica
Stop NATO, May 30, 2009
24) West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
Stop NATO, May 27, 2009
25) Voice of Russia, September 16, 2010

Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. And NATO Strengthen Positions Along Russia’s Southern Flank

September 16, 2010 2 comments

September 16, 2010

U.S. And NATO Strengthen Positions Along Russia’s Southern Flank
Rick Rozoff

On September 15 U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation in Washington, D.C.

The two defense chiefs also issued a joint declaration committing their respective states to establishing a defense working group which will meet annually.

According to a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, the two officials discussed what is euphemistically referred to as missile defense and ratification of the updated Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) agreement. In addition, “The parties also plan[ned] to focus on some problems of regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasus,” according to Itar-Tass.

The mainstream media in both countries will doubtlessly herald the news as further confirmation of warmer ties between the nations after the current U.S. administration succeeded that of George W. Bush in the tiresome seesaw of Republican-Democratic rotations that have gone on since 1852 with little enough substantive difference in foreign policy.

Obligatory and unimaginative references to a largely rhetorical “reset button” and similar cliche-mongering will be rife.

All’s now right with the world whether or not God’s in his Heaven, and the unfortunate contretemps that set in after then-Russian president Vladimir Putin dared to speak the truth about contemporary world affairs at the Munich Security Conference three years ago and the five-day war between Washington’s client in Georgia and Russia of a year later has been relegated to the realm of the regrettable past.

Official Moscow is permitting the transit of non-lethal cargo across Russian territory for NATO’s war in Afghanistan – evidently without any sense of historical irony – and there is talk of reactivating the NATO-Russia Council after the suspension of its work following the 2008 Caucasus war.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will tout his role in recalibrating relations with the world’s sole military superpower and expect to harvest corresponding political rewards for himself and his United Russia party.

Russia’s experience with military cooperation pacts, from that with Napoleon Bonaparte’s France in 1807 to that of Adolf Hitler’s Germany in 1939, might have taught it a lesson or two. But history is long and memory is short.

While Gates and Serdyukov discussed South and Central Asia and the Caucasus, the Pentagon, in its own right and through the global military bloc it controls, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has been doing more than talking.

Reports persist of the U.S. planning to set up new military training sites in the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, in addition to the Pentagon and NATO continuing to transit an estimated 50,000 troops a month through Kyrgyzstan for the war in Afghanistan and NATO running operations from an air base in the Tajik capital.

American troops and those of its British ally wrapped up ten days of 2010 Steppe Eagle military exercises in Kazakhstan, the one Central Asian nation that borders Russia.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet defense alliance led by Russia which also includes Belarus, Armenia and Uzbekistan. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan are the only nations outside of Europe to have been granted a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan.

On September 11 of this year the CSTO’s main rival in post-Soviet space, NATO, began disaster simulation exercises in Armenia under the auspices of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, one that includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. That is, all former Soviet republics except for Russia and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the last three full NATO members since 2004.

The Armenia 2010 exercise includes troops from 15 Partnership for Peace and Mediterranean Dialogue NATO partners. The Mediterranean Dialogue consists of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Five warships with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 docked in Morocco on September 16 to “allow NATO forces to develop cooperation with civil and military (Moroccan) authorities,” according to a statement by the North Atlantic military alliance.

Russia and Armenia signed an agreement on August 20 to extend the lease on a Russian military base in the South Caucasus country until 2044. But leases are frequently broken.

Last December Armenia approved a request from NATO to deploy its troops to serve under the bloc in its war in Afghanistan, the first and to date only CSTO member state to do so. Its two neighbors in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia, have over a thousand troops assigned to NATO in the Afghan theater of war.

This week Robert Simmons, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, was in the Armenian capital as the Armenia 2010 exercise was underway.

Simmons’ post was created at the 2004 Istanbul summit of the North Atlantic military bloc, one which registered the largest single expansion in NATO’s 61-year history with seven new members – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia – inducted, and the launching of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to elevate the six-nation Mediterranean Dialogue to the level of the Partnership for Peace (the recruiting mechanism for NATO’s 12 newest members) and to build military partnerships with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The last-named is the first Persian Gulf state to provide NATO with troops for Afghanistan.

The year before Simmons, an American, was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Security Cooperation and Partnership, where he concentrates on the former Yugoslavia and the western portion of the former USSR, a position he holds in addition to that for the Caucasus and Central Asia. His agenda is to expand NATO influence and presence from the Balkans to China’s western border.

While in Yerevan, he discussed further implementation of the country’s Individual Partnership Action Plan, invited Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to attend this year’s NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal for discussions on the military alliance’s first 21st century Strategic Concept, and broached the subject of deploying NATO forces as putative peacekeepers for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The U.S. and its NATO partners have long entertained plans to “internationalize” the Karabakh dispute after the earlier Yugoslav model.

Earlier this month the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, John Tanner, pledged to raise the Nagorno-Karabakh issue at the Assembly’s autumn session. Several Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers have been killed in fighting in the last three weeks.

This month Azerbaijani troops have been involved in NATO training exercises in Germany, Ukraine and Montenegro.

Earlier this month Simmons continued efforts to bring Uzbekistan back into NATO’s and the Pentagon’s fold after the country expelled U.S. military forces five years ago following a deadly uprising in Andijan. German NATO troops have remained near the city of Termez and the Uzbek government has reached an agreement with NATO for the transit of supplies as part of the Northern Distribution Network for the Afghan war.

In a message on the nation’s independence day, Simmons praised Uzbekistan for the use of an air base, the transit of NATO supplies and its recently intensified efforts toward NATO integration under Partnership for Peace provisions.

Ten days later it was announced that Uzbekistan would not participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission-2010 exercises in Kazakhstan with fellow members Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Last week Georgian officials revealed that NATO will open a permanent mission in their country later this month, “another step in deepening the integration of Georgia into NATO” according to the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Akaki Minashvili. Until now the Alliance has been represented by a liaison officer in the Georgian Defense Ministry. Shortly after the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August of 2008 – which began with a Georgian assault against South Ossetia a week after NATO exercises in Georgia with 1,000 U.S. Marines ended and with American troops and equipment still in the country – NATO granted Georgia an unprecedented Annual National Program and Washington crafted the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.

This September 8 Frank Boland, director of NATO’s Defense Policy and Planning Department, arrived in Georgia to join a group of NATO experts to evaluate the country’s implementation of obligations under the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process and the Annual National Program. The delegation met with officials of the defense, interior and finance ministries and the National Security Council, including Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and other defense and military officials as well as military attaches of NATO nations and representatives of member states’ embassies.

On August 30 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was quoted in the Russian newspaper Kommersant warning that the U.S, is still rearming Georgia, stating, “further rearmament of Georgia is underway. Why? That’s real; we see that. There would have been no aggression and bloodshed if not for the rearmament of Georgia two years ago; we had been telling this to our partners, including to our European friends; and everyone kept silence; and how did it all end? It led up to the war. This rearmament continues today.”

Last week former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Georgia to attend a “symposium dedicated to discussion of the issues [relating to] global challenges.”

On September 13 Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke at a military base in the city of Kutaisi where a NATO Square was inaugurated during last October’s NATO Days events in the country. Days after Georgia lost its first soldier in Afghanistan, the U.S.-educated leader stated that the nearly 1,000 troops he has provided to NATO for the war were gaining “combat experience” and were becoming “further integrated with its Western allies.” According to the Civil Georgia website, he asked “can we say no to a war school? This is an opportunity to become integrated to the world’s best armies, to see the most advanced (military) equipment and achievements.”

When Saakashvili attacked South Ossetia on August 7-8 of 2008, 2,000 Georgian troops were in Iraq – the third largest contingent after those of the U.S. and Britain – receiving war zone experience, and they were flown home on U.S. military transport planes for the war with Russia. The Georgian soldier killed in Afghanistan had earlier served in Iraq. In all three of the nation’s soldiers were killed in Iraq and 19 were wounded.

Like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, Georgia borders southern Russia and like the two other nations has an advanced NATO integration program; in fact two, an Individual Partnership Action Plan and an Annual National Program.

On the eastern sector of Russia’s southern flank, last month U.S. Pacific Command led the latest of annual Khaan Quest military exercises conducted since 2003 to train Mongolian troops for deployments to, first, Iraq, and lately Afghanistan. This year’s war games included forces from the U.S.’s NATO allies Canada, France and Germany and Asian nations India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, all of whom except for India – officially – have provided troops for or in other manners assisted the war effort in Afghanistan.

Along with the Pentagon’s recent deployment of a Patriot missile battery and over 100 troops to eastern Poland, 35 miles from Russian territory, to be followed by the stationing of a land-based version of Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic missiles and radar in Romania and Bulgaria across the Black Sea from Russia, NATO has expanded and modernized the Soviet-era Amari Air Base in Estonia which will now be able to accommodate 16 NATO fighters, 20 transport planes and 2,000 military personnel daily. The base will complement one in Lithuania, the Siauliai Air Base, used by NATO aircraft to patrol Baltic airspace since Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia joined NATO in 2004.

The four-month rotation started on September 1 is being conducted by the U.S. with F-15C Eagle warplanes.

The U.S. led the 12-nation, two-week Sea Breeze 2010 Partnership for Peace maritime exercise in Ukraine’s Crimea in July, the largest maneuvers in the Black Sea this year with 20 ships, 13 aircraft and over 1,600 troops from Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and U.S.

On September 14 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned against a NATO build-up to Russia’s north, in the Arctic Ocean, and the following day Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated, “We do not see what benefit NATO can bring to the Arctic….I do not think NATO would be acting properly if it took upon itself the right to decide who should solve problems in the Arctic.”

When Pentagon chief Robert Gates, who has a doctorate degree in Russian studies from Georgetown University, met with his opposite number this week, Defense Minister Serdyukov would not have been out of line asking his counterpart to genuinely push the reset button and cease U.S. and NATO military encroachment on his nation from almost every direction.

Categories: Uncategorized

Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs

September 15, 2010 2 comments

September 14, 2010

Asia: Pentagon Revives And Expands Cold War Military Blocs
Rick Rozoff

The year before the Korean War began the United States established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Western and Southern Europe to contain and confront the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies. NATO opened the door for the Pentagon to maintain, expand and upgrade, and gain access to new, military bases in Europe from Britain to Turkey, Italy to Norway, West Germany to Greece.

During the Korean War and after its end in 1953 (with Greece and Turkey having been absorbed into NATO), the U.S. replicated the NATO model to varying degrees throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty was set up in 1951 as troops from all three nations were fighting in Korea. Australian and New Zealand troops would also fight under American command in the Vietnam War under ANZUS obligations.

In 1954 the U.S. and fellow NATO founders Britain and France created the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand as members and South Korea and South Vietnam as Dialogue Partners.

With U.S. encouragement and support, the next year Britain oversaw the creation of the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO), also known as the Baghdad Pact Organization, which included Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Pakistan. In 1958 the METO/Baghdad Pact supported the U.S.’s deployment of 14,000 troops to Lebanon under the so-called Eisenhower Doctrine.

After the anti-monarchical revolution in Iraq of the preceding year led to that nation leaving the bloc in 1959, METO was renamed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO): There could be no Baghdad Pact without Baghdad itself where its headquarters had been. (Half a century later the Iraqi capital is home to United States Forces – Iraq headquarters.)

METO/CENTO, like SEATO before it, was modeled after NATO and served the same purpose as the original: To encircle the Soviet Union and its allies and, in the first-named instance, allow the Pentagon to penetrate the USSR’s southern flank as NATO did its extended western one. CENTO was dissolved in 1979 after the revolution in Iran and the withdrawal of that country.

All Asia-Pacific SEATO members and partners except for Pakistan – Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and South Vietnam – provided the U.S. with troops for the war in Vietnam, but Pakistan withdrew in 1973 because SEATO hadn’t supported it in its 1971 war with India. France followed suit in 1975 and SEATO was disbanded two years later, three years after the U.S.-Chinese rapprochement formalized by Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1972.

With China the U.S.’s regional and global ally against the Soviet Union, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization served no further purpose.

ANZUS was weakened in 1984 when a new government in New Zealand forbade all nuclear weapons-capable and nuclear-powered ships from entering its ports. Two years later the Pentagon suspended security guarantees to New Zealand under the ANZUS Treaty, though Australia has maintained its obligations to both the U.S. and New Zealand.

The end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union a generation ago eliminated any conceivable rationale for the continuation of Cold War-era military blocs, but instead NATO has expanded from 16 to 28 full members in the interim and has also gained forty new cohorts under several partnership programs. NATO members and partners now account for over a third of the nations in the world.

The North Atlantic bloc, for example, includes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia in its Mediterranean Dialogue program; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in its Istanbul Cooperation Initiative; Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea as NATO Contact Countries; and Afghanistan and Pakistan are subsumed under the Alliance-led Tripartite Commission, which met again in Kabul last month. NATO and U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan is now 150,000-strong.

All eight former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus and Central Asia are members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace transitional program. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan also have Individual Partnership Action Plans and Georgia a specially designed Annual National Program.

NATO has expanded into former and current territory and integrated past and present members of SEATO, CENTO and ANZUS.

What has also been underway over the past eight years is the consolidation of what is referred to as an Asian NATO which ultimately will include most all members of CENTO, SEATO and ANZUS and dozens of other nations as well.

Australia has the largest contingent of troops – 1,550 – serving under NATO command in Afghanistan of any non-member state and New Zealand has over 200 doing the same with more on the way. Other Asia-Pacific states that have provided NATO with troops for the Afghan war are South Korea, Singapore, Mongolia and Malaysia.

The U.S. is using a 21st century expeditionary – a global – NATO as its meta-military bloc.

It is also developing closer bilateral military ties with every nation in Asia except China, North Korea, Myanmar, Bhutan, Iran and Syria.

During the last month and a half alone U.S. troops and warships have participated in military exercises in and off the shores of Cambodia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Vietnam and Nepal.

In the broader Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. led the biggest-ever biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) war games, the world’s largest multinational naval exercise, from June 23-August 1, with an estimated 22,000 troops, 34 ships, five submarines and over 100 aircraft involved.

RIMPAC military maneuvers were begun in the Cold War period (1971) and initially consisted of three nations: The U.S., Australia and Canada.

This year’s war games, 20 years after the end of the Cold War, featured the participation of five times as many countries: The U.S. and NATO allies Canada, France and the Netherlands. Asia-Pacific nations Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Tonga, and South American states Chile, Colombia and Peru. In addition, Brazil, India, New Zealand and Uruguay were invited to send teams of observers.

The quintupling of the number of nations participating in RIMPAC war games indicates the degree to which the Pentagon is integrating bilateral military partners into broader regional formations and ultimately into a global network, nowhere more so than with the war in Afghanistan. The majority of the Asia-Pacific nations in this year’s RIMPAC exercise – Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Tonga (which recent reports document will provide several hundred marines) – have assigned troops to serve under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the South Asian country.

Last month’s Khaan Quest military exercise in Mongolia, the latest in a series of what until recently had been bilateral U.S.-Mongolian affairs, included troops from, in addition to the U.S. and the host nation, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

The 19-day Angkor Sentinel 2010 command post and field exercises in Cambodia ending on July 30 were led by U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Army Pacific and included in all over 1,000 troops, including contingents from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

The U.S. is currently conducting the large-scale, 10-day Valiant Shield exercises on and near Guam, the new hub for the Pentagon’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region, with an aircraft carrier, amphibious ships and an Air Force expeditionary wing. On September 1 a Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle was flown from California to the Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

The Pentagon is planning a $278 million program to expand interceptor missile testing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for ship-based Standard Missile-3 (and soon land-based versions of the same in the Baltic and Black Seas regions) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missiles. Washington’s strategy for a layered, global missile shield system already includes the participation of Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the Asia-Pacific area, with India soon to be included.

In a revival of ANZUS emblematic of the reactivation of U.S. Cold War military alliances, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell recently revealed that the U.S. and New Zealand will soon resume military training and joint exercises after a 26-year suspension of both.

U.S. military activity in Northeast and Southeast Asia has raised tensions with China to an intensity not seen since the first decade of the Cold War.

In late July the U.S. and South Korea held war games codenamed Invincible Spirit in the Sea of Japan with 8,000 troops, 20 ships and submarines – led by the USS George Washington nuclear-powered supercarrier – and 200 aircraft, including U.S. F-22 Raptors.

Last month USS George Washington and the USS John S. McCain guided missile destroyer led the first-ever joint naval exercises with Vietnam, in the South China Sea.

Shortly after those maneuvers ended the U.S. and South Korea began 11 days of war games in the second country, the latest of annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, this one featuring 27,000 American military personnel and 500,000 from South Korea.

USS George Washington is to head to the Yellow Sea in waters close to those claimed by China as part of its exclusive economic zone for more military exercises with South Korea, including anti-submarine warfare drills. The exercises were planned for September 5-9, but postponed because of a tropical storm. Last week Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell insisted that “The USS George Washington will indeed exercise in the Yellow Sea.”

Admiral Robert Willard, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, the largest of the Pentagon’s Unified Combatant Commands, was in South Korea in late July, in the Philippines in mid-August and in Japan the following week. The focus of his visits was China.

Last week Willard spent two days in India, a nation that until now has remained outside regional military blocs and that with its 1.1 billion citizens has a population larger than those of all SEATO, ANZUS and CENTO nations combined, the U.S., Britain and France included. Since then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee signed the New Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship in 2005, the Pentagon has strengthened ties with one of Asia’s two largest states.

While in New Delhi Admiral Willard met with Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V.K. Singh, respectively the heads of India’s air force, navy and army. Later this month Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony and navy chief Verma will travel to Washington, D.C., and Verma will also visit U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii.

India under Jawaharlal Nehru was a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. Throughout the 40 years of the Cold War it never joined a military bloc.

Now, however, it is being recruited by Washington as both a bilateral strategic military ally and as a – as the largest and most decisive – partner in a U.S. organized Asia-Pacific military alliance that dwarfs in comparison the Pentagon’s earlier efforts in that direction from 1951 onward.

Not having a serious adversary, active or fancied, has never been an impediment to American military expansion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and indeed the rest of the world. In fact the lack of a credible challenger allows for accelerating the pace of the expansion. Never more so than now.

Categories: Uncategorized

Global Grandiosity: America’s 21st Century World Architecture

September 13, 2010 2 comments

September 13, 2010

Global Grandiosity: America’s 21st Century World Architecture
Rick Rozoff

Megalomania: Unreasonable conviction of one’s own extreme greatness, goodness, or power. An obsession with doing extravagant or grand things. A delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur. An extreme form of egotism. Adolf Hitler is generally considered to have been a megalomaniac.

Delusion of grandeur: Individuals with grandiose delusional disorder have an inflated sense of self-worth. Their delusions center on their own importance, such as believing that they have done or created something of extreme value or have a “special mission.” A conviction of one’s own importance, power, or knowledge. [A] delusion (common in paranoia) that you are much greater and more powerful and influential than you really are.

The above are composite dictionary definitions of the afflictions in question, ones which are symptomatic of the two most severe forms of mental illness: Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

When an individual exhibits these traits he or she is correspondingly diagnosed, treated with psychotropic medications and often with court-ordered hospitalization, and monitored for being a potential threat to himself and to others.

However, when a nation, or a leader representing one, manifests the same symptoms there is to date no effective mechanism for mandating therapy or for ensuring the protection of others from one so affected.

To understand individual psychopathology magnified to the level of world affairs, imagine that in any other context a person described his own role and the qualities of his employer as unique in the world as well as history and as alone beneficial to humanity; that others are good or bad, benign or malignant, useful or dangerous in proportion as they share the person in question’s estimate of himself; that the use of force, including deadly force, is the sole prerogative of that person and his friends and allies, that “If I have to use force, it is because I am me; I am the indispensable person. I stand tall and I see further than other people into the future, and I see the danger here to all of us.”

The quote is an adaptation of one by then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1998. The first person singular has been substituted for the plural and personal references for those of the nation she represented as its chief voice in international relations.

A person not endowed with the trappings of government office who loudly, persistently and intolerantly proclaimed himself the world’s sole superperson and the only individual capable of intervening with and resolving differences and disputes between all other people in the world, and who accused those who thought otherwise of being engaged in a furtive conspiracy against him because of his elevated, indeed messianic, status would be sent post-haste to his company’s human resource department and shortly thereafter placed on a combination of mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic medications. For his own protection and that of others.

Delusions of grandeur are associated with the manic phase of bipolar disorder and frequently with other delusional content typical of schizophrenics, especially delusions of persecution – paranoia. Grandiosity can be comparatively harmless, although disruptive to family and professional relations and an impediment to healthy and productive functioning in general.

But when combined with delusions of persecution it is dangerous. The reason the two are frequently linked and mutually reinforcing is that only a person who is convinced that he is uniquely and innately imbued with superior abilities and moral qualities and is assigned a role in and even above history can believe that he is an object worthy of an elaborate, relentless and unparalleled campaign of harassment and hostility. A normal person – or nation – doesn’t entertain that degree of self-importance in either respect.

A recent example of the coupling of grandiosity on one hand and criticizing and belittling anyone who questions or resents the self-appointed status of superiority on the other was offered by President Barack Obama last December on the occasion of his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, when he denounced “a deep ambivalence about military action today…joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.”

Doubts, even the mildest of misgivings, about the actions of history’s first – and decidedly unelected – global military juggernaut, which launched three unprovoked wars between 1999 and 2003 – Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq – and is currently conducting and participating in deadly attacks in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America, could to the grandiose/paranoid mindset only be motivated by primitive instinctual reactions, irrational bias and inherently and ineradicably evil motives.

Being good, being preeminently good, being good in a manner and to a degree unmatched in the annals of time, means being incapable of anything but good motives and good actions. Ipso facto. Axiomatically.

The distinction between us and them is that of good and bad. Good persons and nations have nothing to regret, nothing to apologize for, nothing to correct, nothing to change. Good comes from good and bad from others, in direct proportion as they differ from us and refuse to concede our unmatched sense of goodness. Acts that perpetrated by others would evoke unequivocal condemnation and harsh – even deadly – responses are when performed by us and ours excusable if not praiseworthy.

On September 8 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered her latest confirmation and defense of that doctrinaire conviction.

While addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., she touted her country’s achievements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – three war-stricken disaster areas – without of course admitting any responsibility for the plights of their respective populaces. The U.S. was doing nothing blameworthy in any of those three countries and never had; it is not responsible in any manner for violence, dislocation and eventual fragmentation in the nations now or at any point over the past half century.

In fact just the opposite. Washington’s faultless, noble, beneficent, healing role needs to be universalized: “Solving foreign-policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections linking nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only America can. I think the world is counting on us today, as it has in the past. When old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, people turn to us.”

And, at least implicit in her contentions, having witnessed the effects of recent U.S. armed interventions in the Middle East and South Asia, the world is even more insistent that Washington extend its presence and enforce its mandatory model elsewhere. Everywhere.

Clinton continued: “I see it on the faces of the people I meet as I travel – not just the young people who still dream about America’s promise of opportunity and equality, but also seasoned diplomats and political leaders who, whether or not they admit it, see the principled commitment and can-do spirit that comes with American engagement.

“And they do look to America – not just to engage, but to lead. And nothing makes me prouder than to represent this great nation in the far corners of the world.

“Americans have always risen to the challenges we have faced. That is who we are. It is in our DNA. We do believe there are no limits on what is possible or what can be achieved.”

Again, an individual who proclaimed that everyone else dreamed of being like him, that he possessed unlimited talents and abilities, and that his superiority was moreover a matter of genetic inheritance would likely soon end up on a locked psychiatric ward. Even if he didn’t account for the preponderance of the deadly weapons in the world and didn’t have a sixty-year history of almost unbroken violence against others, often against defenseless victims.

One of the privileges of egomania writ large – megalomania – is the right to lecture others on one’s unique, suprahuman, ineffably lofty qualities and to dress them down for not possessing them.

In introducing Clinton on September 8, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, reminded the audience that in slightly over a year and a half she has visited some 64 countries, a third of United Nations members, and “has racked up 350,000 miles in the process.”

The following comments indicate to what extent her worldview and views of the world alike have been expanded by those travels:

“The world looks to us because America has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems on a global scale, in defense of our own interests but also as a force for progress. In this we have no rival. For the United States, global leadership is both a responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity.”

Though she displayed either uncharacteristic modesty – an unlikely enough prospect – or the obligatory deference to her predecessors that she expects her successors, and history, to confer on her in stating:

“We know this can be done because President Obama’s predecessors in the White House and mine in the State Department did it before….Those were the benefits of a global architecture forged over many years by American leaders from both political parties.

“That is why we are building a global architecture that reflects and harnesses the realities of the 21st century.”

She was referring most immediately to George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice as alleged visionary leaders that with her and Obama have accomplished nothing less than building a planetary political-economic-social-military structure for an entire century. And, not to be unduly humble, a new millennium into the bargain.

Although American global dominance rests squarely on a World War Two-level $708 billion defense budget for next year, six international military commands, six navy fleets, eleven aircraft carrier strike groups, the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and in general the ability to dispatch overwhelming and crushing military force anywhere in the world at short notice, another of the prerogatives of international hubris is, as noted earlier, to attribute that supremacy to genetically determined entrepreneurial and ethical advantages. According to America’s top diplomat, the globe’s sole superpower is entering yet a higher and more refined avatar, “national renewal aimed at strengthening the sources of American power, especially our economic might and moral authority.”

At the same time, “Of course this administration is also committed to maintaining the greatest military in the history of the world and, if needed, to vigorously defend ourselves and our friends.”

A hallmark trait of mania and grandiosity is the tendency of one suffering from them to speak of himself, his accomplishments and by extension those of his friends in superlatives. Hence boasts of being the world’s sole military superpower and possessing the greatest military in the history of the world.

Every detail of such a person’s life, even the most minute, mundane and tedious, becomes a matter of world, even historical, importance and of inestimable value, overshadowing all other events, even those affecting millions of other people: Wars, natural disasters, economic crises. Grandiloquent rhetoric is enlisted in the service of petty personal matters.

In responding to Richard Haass’s introductory comments, Clinton said, “I thank you for referencing what has been the most difficult balancing act of my time as secretary of State, pulling off my daughter’s wedding, which I kept telling people, as I traveled around the world to all of the hot spots, was much more stressful than anything else on my plate.”

The multi-million dollar nuptials of the daughter of a former president and the son of two former congresspersons, one a convicted felon, and himself a multi-millionaire investment banker for a hedge fund, was a source of more concern – “stress” – for the head of the foreign office of the world’s superpower than the nearly nine-year war in Afghanistan, the ongoing military occupation of Iraq, the devastating floods in Pakistan, the taunting of China by U.S.-led naval exercises in the East Sea/Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea, the economic catastrophe confronting tens of millions of Americans themselves and other matters only of interest to the victims and other billions of unimportant, disposable bit players in the grand drama of erecting a 21st century global architecture.

As with her biological, so with her politico-military family: “NATO remains the world’s most successful alliance. Together with our allies, including new NATO members in Central and Eastern Europe, we are crafting a new strategic concept that will help us meet not only traditional threats but also emerging ones, like cybersecurity and nuclear proliferation. Just yesterday President Obama and I discussed these issues with NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen.”

The North Atlantic military bloc’s role in completing the violent dismemberment of Yugoslavia and in waging a war in Afghanistan that will begin its tenth year in three weeks does warrant the use of the superlative, though questionably so when linked with the word successful.

The U.S. is the unchallenged pioneer in and master of overseas outsourcing, from most of its once unrivaled industry to tens of millions of its jobs, and the same practice is employed in regard to its international military ambitions. If other countries are better positioned geographically and can do it less expensively, then Washington can get more war for the dollar, more bang for the buck. Thus in Clinton’s words, “From Europe and North America to East Asia and the Pacific, we are renewing and deepening the alliances that are the cornerstone of global security and prosperity.” It takes an entire village to further the geostrategic plans of its chief.

Regarding what is one of the projects the Obama-Clinton team inherited from its Bush-Rice forerunner – recruiting the most important nation ever as an American military ally – Clinton added, “India, the world’s largest democracy, has a very large convergence of fundamental values and a broad range of both national and regional interests, and we are laying the foundation for an indispensable partnership. President Obama will use his visit in November to take our relationship to the next level.” By clinching a reported $5 billion arms deal.

With Europe and much of the rest of Eurasia secured through NATO, the U.S. has expanded its military and geopolitical scope and currently “our strategy has been to reinvigorate America’s commitment to be an active trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and hemispheric leader.”

Referring to the state in the first person as is the wont of grandiose political personalities, Clinton affirmed: “We are a nation that has always believed we have the power to shape our own destiny and to cut a new and better path, and frankly to bring along people who were like-minded from around the world.”

Language like power, destiny, better path, around the world is reminiscent of claims made in Central Europe seventy-five years ago.

Humanity is not only bifurcated into good and bad, but is divided between leaders – rather one leader – and followers.

As to those who refuse to be led, “we are approaching the Iranian challenge as an example of American leadership in action.” China and Russia, though nominal friends, also came in for their share of criticism, in Russia’s case for the Caucasus war of two years ago and ensuing developments.

Friends are used as sounding boards to echo boasts and bravado, as mirrors for one’s vanity, as flashy accoutrements and social adornment, but are never accorded the status of persons in their own right. Narcissism is a one-sided, zero-sum proposition: Acknowledging others’ qualities is to distract and detract from one’s own. Having more than any other is insufficient. Having the most, more than all others combined, is not enough. Anything less than all is unacceptable.

Therefore, “time and time again I hear, as I do interviews from Indonesia to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Brazil, how novel it seems to people that an official would come and take questions from the public. So we’re not only engaging the public and expanding and explaining America’s values and views, we’re also sending a message to those leaders.”

Friends and allies can be good people – they can assuredly be useful ones, which is why they are friends – but can only aspire with varying degrees of success to emulate the great ones. For at bottom they are genetically disadvantaged and hence at best poor facsimiles of the original. Claims that others are equal partners and even that one is merely first among equals are insincere. Others exist solely to acknowledge, confirm, praise, applaud and serve one’s superior virtues.

It is only in Clinton’s detached world with its inflated sense of self-importance that she and fellow American federal officials can be seen as engaging the public both at home and abroad.

Mechanical glad-handing and other sterile mummeries of biennial and quadrennial elections campaigns – run by mammoth advertising and public relations firms paid with billions of dollars from special interests – and state-engineered photo opportunities in the capitals of other countries are what in fact is meant.

On September 8 Clinton demonstrated what she understands as public engagement. On a Wednesday, a workday for other Americans who pay her salary through their taxes, Clinton addressed those who truly pay attention to U.S. foreign policy and whose expectations must be met if one hopes to remain in office: The Council on Foreign Relations and other planning bodies of the permanent rather than the transient and fleeting elite of temporary officeholders. Groups whose members reflect and deepen each other’s sense of omnipotence and grandiosity by using the map of the world as their private chessboard.

The psychiatric ailments that give rise to delusions of grandeur are chronic. They cannot be cured, only controlled. Left untreated the prognosis is poor, even terminal. When grandiosity seizes a player on the global stage, and its major one at that, the risk exists of the world being endangered by and consumed along with the megalomaniac should the scaffolding of his pharaonic architecture collapse around his head.

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Categories: Uncategorized

India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure

September 10, 2010 7 comments

September 10, 2010

India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure
Rick Rozoff

A September 8 report by a leading Canadian newspaper cited the Indian branch of the Deloitte consulting firm estimating the world’s second most populous nation plans to spend as much as $80 billion for its defense sector in the next five years.

It quoted an Indian journalist, Rahul Bedi, a contributor to Jane’s Defence Weekly, as stating “No one else is buying like India.” [1]

Earlier this year the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) disclosed that India had become the world’s second-largest importer of weapons from 2005-2009, “importing 7% of the world’s arms exports.” Only China imported more weaponry, though that nation is slated to purchase less foreign arms, both aggregate and percentile, in the coming years and the largest foreign supplier of its weapons is a non-Western country, Russia.

During the five-year period mentioned above, Indian arms imports more than doubled from $1.04 billion in 2005 to $2.2 billion in 2009. Over the past 20 years Russia has been far and away the main provider of arms to India, as the Soviet Union had been in previous decades, though “The United States, currently India’s sixth-biggest arms supplier, seems likely to leapfrog to second position once New Delhi starts paying for a series of recent and ongoing acquisitions.” [2]

Those contracts include $1.1 billion for C-130J Super Hercules transport planes, $2.4 billion for Globemaster airlifters and $2 billion for P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. (A version of Boeing’s Poseidon reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare Multimission Maritime Aircraft modified for Indian use.)

Interior of C-17 Globemaster III

Reports in both the Russian and Chinese press speculate that when U.S. President Barack Obama visits India in November he “may secure $5 billion worth of arms sales,” a deal that “would make the US replace Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier” and “help India curb China’s rise.” [3]

The unprecedented weapons transactions could include “Patriot air defence batteries and Boeing mid-air refueling tankers.

“Observers point out that the role of India’s biggest arms supplier is shifting from Russia to the United States.” [4]

A Chinese news source added that Washington will also supply New Delhi with howitzers and that “the total cost of the deal may exceed $10 billion….”

The Economic Times of India disclosed in July that “talks are underway between Indian and US officials over a deal to sell 10 Boeing C-17 [Globemaster III] military transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).”

Wang Mingzhi, a military strategist at the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Command College, warned “once India gets the C-17 transport aircraft, the mobility of its forces stationed along the border with China will be improved.” [5]

The C-17 carries a payload of 164,900 pounds for 2,400 miles and 100,300 pounds for 4,000 miles without refueling.

In late August the U.S. signed a $170 million deal to supply India with 24 Harpoon Block II advanced air-to-surface anti-ship missiles.

Harpoon Block II launch

This February the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Obama administration, with a renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region, intends to massively increase arms sales to both India and its nuclear rival Pakistan. U.S. military sales to Pakistan have risen to $3 billion a year and are expected to nearly double in 2011.

As for its neighbor, “India is one of the largest buyers of foreign-made munitions, with a long shopping list which includes warships, fighter jets, tanks and other weapons. Its defense budget is $30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, a 70% increase from five years ago.” [6]

In January U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited India and later in the month Washington secured a deal to sell India 145 U.S. howitzers for $647 million.

“The Obama administration is trying to persuade New Delhi to buy American jet fighters instead [of Russian ones], a shift White House officials say would lead to closer military and political relations between India and the U.S. It would also be a bonanza for U.S. defense contractors, and [the White House] has dispatched senior officials such as Mr. Gates to New Delhi to deliver the message that Washington hopes India will choose American defense firms for major purchases in the years ahead.”

The Wall Street Journal quoted Tom Captain, vice chairman and Global and U.S. Aerospace & Defense director at Deloitte headquarters in New York, as claiming “For 2010 and 2011, India could well be the most important market in the world for defense contractors looking to make foreign military sales,” where Russian equipment accounts for about 70 percent of that currently in use.

Army Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon, commander of U.S. Army Forces in Pacific Command, talks with the director of general military operations for India before a demonstration put on by the two nations’ militaries at Camp Bundela, India, Oct. 26, 2009

Referring to India’s plans to spend $10 billion for 126 multirole combat aircraft, Captain added: “That’s the biggest deal in the world right now. If it goes to an American firm, that would be the final nail in the coffin in terms of India shifting its allegiance from Russia to the U.S.” [7]

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen was in the Indian capital on July 22-23 and met with Defence Minister AK Antony, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik and other military leaders. As a local news agency divulged, “Mullen’s visit comes at a time when both sides are looking at expanding defence cooperation across a swathe of areas.

“The visit also coincides with intensified lobbying for the $10 billion contract for 126 fighters for the Indian Air Force (IAF).” [8]

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen in New Delhi

The White House is negotiating new export control agreements with India to assist American arms firms to sell more high-technology weapons to the Asian nation.

At the top of the list of U.S. objectives in expanding military ties with India are replacing Russia as the country’s main arms supplier and the concomitant supplanting of Russian political influence, further tightening an Asian NATO around China [9] and weakening the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [10], all to ensure unimpeded American presence and domination in Eurasia.

After the end of the Cold War and the fragmentation of the Soviet Union, the Pentagon was given free rein to operate worldwide, including in parts of the planet hitherto inaccessible to U.S. troops and bases.

U.S. European Command, through the expansion of NATO membership and graduated partnership programs, has secured the Defense Department a prevalent role in almost all of Europe and the South Caucasus.

Central Command has extended its role from the Middle East to Central Asia and further into South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

On October 1, 2002 U.S. Northern Command was established to oversee North America from Mexico’s southern border to the Arctic Ocean. Six years later U.S. Africa Command was launched to subordinate 53 nations on and off the coasts of the continent to American military and geopolitical strategy.

In the past decade the Pentagon has deployed troops, military equipment and ordnance – in some instances missiles – to new locations in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, the Middle East including the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, Central and South Asia, Northeast Africa and South America.

The final frontier is Asia from China to Iran, with those parts of it not covered by Central Command assigned to U.S. Pacific Command, the largest overseas military structure in the world. Its area of responsibility takes in India, China and 60 percent of the population of the Earth.

In the 1990s so-called neoconservatives and realists alike from Paul Wolfowitz to Zbigniew Brzezinski triumphed in the emergence of the U.S. as the first, uncontested and only international superpower – what its current head of state Barack Obama called the world’s sole military superpower in Oslo last December – and crafted plans to continue that unparalleled role into the indefinite future. What they agreed on was the need to guarantee that no other nation or group of nations rose to challenge American global supremacy, either on an international or a regional basis.

By regional was understood any part of the world. The most likely rivals would arise in Eurasia, the American geopoliticians warned. The ultimate nightmare for the imperial strategists was some version of what former Russian prime and foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov promoted as a strategic triangle of Russia, China and India.

An Indian commentary of approximately ten years ago described the U.S. counter-strategy as a policy of cultivating closer state-to-state relations with every nation in the world than any of those countries have with any other state, even their neighbors.

Thus the U.S. is arming India and Pakistan, regional military rivals possessing nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, as it is deepening defense ties with other nations on both sides of local conflicts and disputes: Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Greece and Turkey over Cyprus and the skies over the Aegean Sea, Croatia and Slovenia over the Adriatic coast, Serbia and Kosovo over the latter, recognized by almost two-thirds of United Nation member states as a province of the former, and so on.

As the American corporate consultant quoted earlier pointed out, the best way of transforming the foreign policy orientation of other countries and subordinating them to Washington’s global political agenda is by penetrating and gaining control over their armed forces.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Africa Command alone have provided the Pentagon mechanisms for initiating and consolidating bilateral military ties with over 100 of the world’s 192 nations (in the UN). NATO and AFRICOM have given the Pentagon a continent apiece. That is in addition to other, frequently older, military client states in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

By supplying arms to those nations and eliminating traditional rivals for that role, Washington is laying the groundwork for integrating most every country in the world into its military network. Weapons sales are followed by instruction, maintenance, upgrade and field training agreements, with U.S. military personnel assigned to the purchasing nations.

Regional and other multinational air, naval, interceptor missile, armored and ground combat exercises and war games are held to test weapons in live-fire and other maneuvers and to provide the U.S. opportunities for simulated warfare against potential rivals’ equipment, tactics and warfighting doctrine.

Pilots, soldiers, marines and sailors, including special forces, from military client nations are provided training in their own countries, in the U.S. and in third countries to ensure weapons, deployment, command, communication and combat interoperability with the Pentagon for global missions.

This July the Reuters news agency reported that U.S. arms sales abroad could surge from $37.8 billion to $50 billion next year, an increase of almost one-third.

Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency – in charge of international financial and technical assistance, training and services and other military-to-military contacts – estimated a year ago “that weapons sales could reach a record $50 billion this year.” [11]

He added that U.S. arms sales have expanded from $8 billion ten years ago to $37.8 for the fiscal year ending this September 30 “and they are likely to continue growing in coming years….”

“Among the biggest potential arms deals on the table now are huge fighter jet competitions in India and Brazil, various modernization programs for Saudi Arabia, and continuing support for arms sales to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon.”

Wieringa was also cited applauding “a drive by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other departments to reform cumbersome U.S. export laws,” thus opening the floodgates for U.S. weapons sales throughout the world. [12]

Four years ago the New York Times documented that “A total of $21 billion in arms sales agreements were signed from September 2005 to September 2006, compared with $10.6 billion in the previous year,” according to Pentagon data. [13]

Nations that had never purchased American weaponry before and that only had negligible armed forces now offer lucrative prospects for American arms manufacturers. India is preeminent in the first category.

The weapons manufacturers’ wares are produced for – deadly – use and not for simple display, deterrence and (dubious) prestige.

Weapons sales are promoted through international arms shows and exhibitions, but more so through actual demonstrations. War games suit that purpose, but war itself does it to a greater degree.

The U.S. offered the world large-scale military hardware expositions in the three wars it launched in less than four years: Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

The recent announcement that the U.S. will supply Saudi Arabia with a staggering $80 billion worth of arms in the next few years is paralleled by its plans to become India’s main arms provider.

Weapons transactions are inextricably connected with overall military integration, and since 2002 – immediately following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the Pentagon and its NATO allies moving into new military bases in that country, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – Washington began regular (annual) air, sea and land maneuvers with India of ever-increasing scope and intensity.

Last October 12-29 the U.S. Army participated in the latest and largest of Yudh Abhyas (“training for war”) war games held since 2004 with its Indian counterpart. Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2009 featured 1,000 troops, the U.S.’s Javelin anti-tank missile system and the first deployment of American Stryker armored combat vehicles outside the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of war. The Strykers were tested against Indian T-90 tanks, “currently the most modern tank[s] in service with the Russian Ground Forces and Naval Infantry.” [14]

The U.S. ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, said of the military maneuvers: “The broadened and unprecedented scope of Yudh Abhyas stands as a testament to the growing people-to-people and military-to-military ties of the United States and India, one of the key pillars of the expanded U.S.-India strategic partnership.” [15]

The Pentagon showcased both the Strykers and the Javelin third generation anti-tank guided missiles during the biggest-ever joint U.S.-Indian ground combat exercises and not without the desired effect.

An American press agency disclosed on September 3 that “Russia has traditionally been India’s largest arms supplier but following evidence of the capabilities of U.S. military equipment during joint exercises with the Indian army, navy and air force, the Indian army decided to purchase several hundred Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, demonstrated during the war games….The Javelins were deployed for Indian forces for the first time in the Yudh Abhyas 09 joint military exercise in Babina, the largest war game that the two armies have had.” [16]

Last month the Times of India reported that “India will order a ‘large’ number of the quite-expensive Javelin ATGM systems from the US.

“The deal for the man-portable, fire-and-forget Javelin ATGM systems will once again be a direct government-to-government one under the American foreign military sales (FMS) programme, without any global multi-vendor competition.

“While the exact number of Javelin systems India will induct is yet to be
decided, it could well run into thousands. The Army, after all, has a shortfall of around 44,000 ATGMs of different types….” [17]

In July the Raytheon Company announced that India is evaluating the Patriot ground-based anti-ballistic missile system for purchase and deployment and that the U.S. had provided New Delhi with “classified” material on it recently. Sales of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles to India are reported to be on Barack Obama’s agenda during his November visit.

By acquiring them, India would join fellow Asia-Pacific nations Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as well as NATO members Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece and U.S. Middle East military clients Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Joseph Garrett, Raytheon vice president and deputy for Patriot programs, disclosed that “A number of exchanges have taken place between the government of India and the US and information has been given to India at the classified level.”

Patriots were “successfully used during both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriot’s manufacturer Raytheon has said.” [18]

Seven consecutive years of Yudh Abhyas war games aren’t the only joint U.S.-Indian military exercises held each year of late. In fact they are full spectrum in their range.

Starting shortly after the end of the Cold War, Washington initiated joint Malabar naval exercises with India. Suspended after the latter’s nuclear tests in 1998, they resumed in 2002 and have grown in scale over the years.

Malabar 2002 included standard maritime maneuvers but also anti-submarine warfare exercises. The 2003 drills featured an American guided missile destroyer, a guided missile cruiser and a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine and two Indian guided missile frigates, a submarine and several aircraft which concentrated on anti-submarine warfare tactics.

2004 saw a continuation of anti-submarine drills and included a U.S. nuclear-powered fast attack submarine and anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. The next year’s war games featured a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier for the first time and included a 24-hour simulated “war at sea” with the two nations’ navies engaging in mock combat.

In 2006 an American expeditionary strike group (the USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group) consisting of over 6,500 U.S. Navy personnel, amphibious ships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines participated in the exercise for the first time. Also, with the inclusion of the Canadian navy the 2006 Malabar exercises expanded for the first time beyond the bilateral format of the preceding two years.

The next year was a watershed one in many respects. Malabar 2007 included 25 warships from five nations: In addition to the U.S. and India, participating countries were Australia, Japan and Singapore, at the time leading to suspicions of American plans to forge an Asian NATO.

The drills were held for the first time in the Bay of Bengal off India’s eastern coast, which further raised Chinese concerns, and extended into the Andaman Sea near the strategic Strait of Malacca.

The U.S. supplied 13 warships including the USS Nimitz nuclear supercarrier, the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, the USS Chicago nuclear submarine, two guided missile cruisers and six guided missile destroyers. Japan provided two destroyers, Singapore a frigate and Australia a frigate and a tanker.

Malabar 2008 returned to a bilateral context with the involvement of the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group, a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine and a P-3 Orion anti-submarine plane.

4,000 personnel from three nations – the U.S., India and Japan – participated in last year’s exercise which included anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, air defense and live-fire gunnery training drills.

Malabar 2010 was conducted in April with ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, among which were a nuclear fast attack submarine, two guided missile destroyers, a guided missile cruiser, a guided missile frigate, Sea Hawk helicopters, anti-submarine aircraft and Navy SEALS.

The Pentagon hasn’t been content to exercise its troops and weapons on India’s soil and off its coasts. Starting in 2004 the U.S. has also led annual air combat maneuvers called Cope India.

The first series of bilateral aerial warfare exercises tested U.S. state-of-the-art F-15 Eagle fighters against Russian-made MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-30 opposite numbers along with French-made Mirage 200 fighters. The U.S. warplanes were consistently bested by their MiG-21 and Su-30 rivals.

The Cope India maneuvers, like comparable ones in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and the Red Flag air combat exercises in the U.S., provide the Pentagon an opportunity to engage and compete against advanced Russian military aircraft for use in real war scenarios in the future.

Cope India 2005 pitted American F-16 Fighting Falcons against India’s most advanced, largely Russian-produced, fighters in – for the first time in joint U.S.-Indian air exercises – a combat environment controlled by airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.

The next year over 250 U.S. airmen stationed throughout the Pacific region accompanied F-16 Fighting Falcons to India for Cope India 2006. The F-16s were deployed against the most advanced fighter in the Indian Air Force’s arsenal, the Su-30 MKI (adapted from the Russian Su-30) as well as MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Mirage 2000 fighters.

In 2008 an Indian Air Force contingent of eight Su-30 MKI fighters, two Russian-made in-flight refuellers, a Russian heavy lift transport aircraft and almost 250 airmen “winged their way halfway across the globe to the deserts of Nevada,” to participate in an Exercise Red Flag, held three or four times a year in Nevada and Alaska and “acknowledged to be the most advanced and professionally challenging fighter exercise conducted anywhere in the world.” [19]

The exercise marked several precedents: It included the largest single deployment of the Indian Air Force outside India. It was the first time that the air forces of nations not in NATO or those of major non-NATO allies – India and South Korea – participated in Red Flag air combat maneuvers. “It was also the first time that the SU30 MKI, a frontline combat aircraft of Russian design, made its appearance in the American skies and that too in a multi-national congregation.” [20]

India was elevated to the status of an American strategic military ally, on the level of a NATO partner, on June 28, 2005 when U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee signed the New Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, in effect a ten-year defense pact.

India has become the convergence point for the U.S.-led NATO bloc moving from the west into Central and South Asia and the expansion of an Asia-Pacific NATO growing from its Japan-Australia-South Korea-Taiwan nucleus to absorb the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia, New Zealand and the five former Soviet Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are to varying degrees being integrated into the structure as well.

India is also intended as a central locus for the U.S. global interceptor missile grid based on land and sea and in the air and space, linking deployments in Eastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the South Caucasus and the Middle East to those in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Alaska, including the latter’s Aleutian Islands.

Moving the Asian giant into the Pentagon’s column will not only affect the balance of forces in Asia but throughout the world.

1) Toronto Star, September 8, 2010
2) Business Standard, March 18, 2010
3) Global Times, July 13, 2010
4) Voice of Russia, July 11, 2010
5) Global Times, July 13, 2010
6) Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2010
7) Ibid
8) Indo-Asian News Service, July 20, 2010
9) U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
Stop NATO, August 7, 2010
U.S. Expands Asian NATO Against China, Russia
Stop NATO, October 16, 2009
Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009
10) The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World
Stop NATO, May 21, 2009
11) Reuters, July 19, 2010
12) Ibid
13) New York Times, November 11, 2006
14) Wikipedia,
15) Embassy of the United States, New Delhi, India, October 19, 2009
16) United Press International, September 3, 2010
17) Times of India, August 17, 2010
18) Raytheon Company
Asia Pulse Data Source
July 23, 2010
19) Indian Defence Review, Vol 25.3 July-September 10 2008
20) Ibid

Categories: Uncategorized

Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals

September 3, 2010 1 comment

September 2, 2010

Middle East Loses Trillions As U.S. Strikes Record Arms Deals
Rick Rozoff

The Internet has provided the world with, if nothing else, instantaneous access to news and in-depth information previously available only to governments and think tanks. It has also allowed for the exchange of data and analyses between groups and individuals around the globe, in part by making one tongue, English, the language of the World Wide Web. It remains to be seen whether the keystroke is mightier than the sword.

An illustrative case in point is an August 29 report from China’s Xinhua News Agency on a news article by Egypt’s Middle East News Agency regarding a study conducted by the Strategic Foresight Group in India. The latter, a report published in a book entitled The Cost of Conflict in the Middle East, calculates that conflict in the area over the last 20 years has cost the nations and people of the region 12 trillion U.S. dollars.

The Indian report adds that the Middle East has recorded “a high record of military expenses in the past 20 years and is considered the most armed region in the world.” [1]

The study was originally released in January of 2009 and was recently translated into Arabic by the Institute for Peace Studies of Egypt. It estimates that in a peaceful environment the nations of the Middle East could have achieved an average annual growth in gross domestic product of 8 percent.

Sundeep Waslekar, president of the Strategic Foresight Group and one of the report’s authors, was quoted in January of last year saying of the region’s nations, “The choice they have to make is the choice between the danger of devastation and the promise of peace.” [2]

An account of the presentation of the report last year added that the cost of conflict in the region is estimated at 2 percent of growth in gross domestic product.

In regards to specific cases, it stated:

“One conclusion is that individuals in most countries are half as rich as they would have been if peace had taken off in 1991.

“Incomes per head in Israel next year would be $44,241 with peace against a likely $23,304. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip they would be $2,427 instead of $1,220.

“For Iraq, income per head next year is projected at $2,375, one quarter of the $9,681 that would have been possible without the conflicts of the past two decades.” [3]

Other sources estimate the overall rate of unemployment in the Middle East at 20-25 percent, with joblessness in nations like Lebanon and Yemen at 30 percent or more. This despite the fact that the region has achieved one of the more impressive successes in improving educational opportunities, measured by the amount of years students spend in school, in the world.

The Middle East requires comprehensive regional development, but instead is receiving billions of dollars worth of arms. The area’s nations could be spending that sum on rural and urban infrastructure, dams and reservoirs, desalination and irrigation, forestation and fisheries, industry and agriculture, medicine and public health, housing and information technology, equitable integration of cities and villages, and repairing the ravages of past wars rather than on U.S. warplanes, attack helicopters and interceptor missiles.

An American news report of a year ago revealed that, according to a U.S.-based consultancy firm, several Middle Eastern nations are slated to spend over $100 billion on weapons in the upcoming five years. Most of those arms purchases – “unprecedented packages” – will be by Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and the “core of this arms-buying spree will undoubtedly be the $20 billion U.S. package of weapons systems over 10 years for the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.” The expansion of American arms sales and military presence in the Persian Gulf targets Iran in the first place.

The same feature documented plans for the U.S. to supply Egypt with a $13 billion arms package and Israel with $30 billion in weaponry over ten years, the latter “a 25 percent increase over previous levels.” [4]

A year later it was disclosed that Washington will sell $13 billion worth of arms and military equipment to Iraq, “a huge order of tanks, ships and hardware that U.S. officials say shows Iraqi-U.S. military ties will be tight for years to come.” A $3 billion deal for 18 F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole jet fighters is also in the works. Iraq will become one of the largest purchasers of U.S. weapons in the world.

According to the U.S. Army’s Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, ranking American officer in charge of training and advising Iraqi troops, such military agreements help “build their capabilities, first and foremost; and second, it builds our strategic relationship for the future.” [5]

With 4.7 million Iraqis displaced since 2003, 2.2 million as refugees in Jordan, Syria and other nations, and a near collapse of the nation’s civilian infrastructure since the U.S. invasion, surely there are better ways of spending $16 billion that on American arms.

To Iraq’s south, last month the U.S. announced one of the largest weapons sales in its history: A $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon notified Congress of the colossal transaction which the U.S. legislative body will approve later this month.

Over the next decade Washington will supply Saudi Arabia with F-15SA Strike Eagle jet fighters (SA is for Saudi Advanced), 72 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 60 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, helicopter-carrying offshore patrol vessels and upgrades for the 96 Patriot Advanced Capability-2 interceptor missiles already stationed in the kingdom.

Last month Kuwait announced that it planned to purchase more than 200 U.S. Patriot anti-ballistic missiles in a $900 million deal. The U.S. Defense Department also advised Congress of that transaction, stating “Kuwait needs these missiles to meet current and future threats of enemy air-to-ground weapons.”

The news agency which reported the above, Agence France-Presse, also provided the following information:

“The U.S. has several military bases in Kuwait, including Camp Arifjan, one of the biggest U.S. military facilities in the region. There are between 15,000 and 20,000 U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait.” [6] The American Fifth Fleet is headquartered in neighboring Bahrain.

The U.S. is also providing Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile interception batteries.

Last year Washington approved the transfer of a Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) missile shield system to the United Arab Emirates. The deal, estimated to cost $7 billion, is the first transfer of the advanced interceptor missiles outside the U.S.

In May the Barack Obama administration requested $205 million from Congress for the Israeli Iron Dome layered interceptor missile shield, in the words of a Pentagon spokesman “the first direct U.S. investment in the Iron Dome system.” [7]

In the autumn of 2008 the U.S. opened an interceptor missile radar base in Israel’s Negev Desert centered on a Forward-Based X-Band Radar with a range of 2,900 miles.

This August 15 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his country is to receive – one can’t say buy – 20 U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters worth $96 million apiece along with spare parts, maintenance and simulators. “The $2.7 billion deal will be paid for using U. S. military assistance.” [8] The fifth generation stealth warplanes are the world’s most advanced. According to Israeli government sources in reference to the prospect of eventual deployment of Russian air defenses to Iran and Syria, “the purchase of F-35 fighters would effectively eliminate the threat from Russian-made S-300 air defense systems because a series of computer simulations had clearly demonstrated that new U.S. stealth fighters outperform the Russian missiles.”

This year the State Department confirmed that $2.55 billion in U.S. military assistance was given to Israel in 2009 and that the figure will “increase to $3 billion in 2012, and will total $3.15 billion a year from 2013 to 2018.” [9] That is, will grow by almost 25 percent.

Since the administration of Jimmy Carter and his National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski bought off Anwar Sadat and through him Egypt in 1978 at the expense of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and other Arab states, Washington has provided Cairo with $1.3 billion a year in military aid, adding up to $50 billion by 2008.

In January of this year General David Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command and now in charge of 150,000 American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, visited Yemen and called for more than doubling military aid to the strife-torn nation from $70 to $150 million annually. He was later forced to retract his comments, but the Wall Street Journal reported on September 2 that “The U.S. military’s Central Command has proposed pumping as much as $1.2 billion over five years into building up Yemen’s security forces.” The United Nations Statistics Division estimated Yemeni gross national income per capita for 2008 at $1,260.

The U.S. has launched several missile strikes inside Yemen over the past nine months and “U.S. Special Operations teams…play an expansive role in the country.” [10] Funding for what the Pentagon describes as a counterterrorism program in the country has grown from $5 million a year in fiscal year 2006 to over $155 million four years later.

Washington is planning to add unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) equipped with lethal missiles operated by the Central Intelligence Agency to its operations in Yemen, replicating the same arrangement in Pakistan.

After the so-called Cedar Revolution in Lebanon in 2005 – modeled after comparable “color revolutions” in the former Soviet states of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively – led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country and the installation of pro-Western Fouad Siniora as prime minister, the U.S. reestablished military contacts with Lebanon, which had been broken off after 1983. A dozen U.S. military officials travelled to Beirut at the end of the year, inspecting bases as part of a “comprehensive assessment of the condition of U.S.-made equipment in the Lebanon armed forces.” [11]

After the Israeli invasion of the country the following summer, Washington started military aid to the nation of four million people which two years later had exceeded $410 million. According to an Associated Press account in 2008, “The [George W. Bush] administration has spent about $1.3 billion in the past two years trying to prop up Siniora’s Western-allied government, including about $400 million in military aid.” [12]

On October 6, 2008 the U.S. established a joint military commission with Lebanon “to bolster military cooperation.”

The, by Lebanese standards, unprecedented donations of arms and military equipment by the Pentagon were explicitly for internal use – against Hezbollah – and for deployment at the Syrian border. Not for defending the nation against the country that had invaded it in 1978, 1982 and 2006 – Israel.

On August 2 of this year, a day before two Lebanese soldiers were killed in a firefight with Israeli troops on Lebanese territory, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blocked a $100 million security assistance package to the Lebanese military. There should be no misunderstanding: The Pentagon has not built up the armed forces of post-“Cedar” Lebanon to defend the nation, its people or even the army itself.

The sum blocked by Berman, added to that already provided by the Pentagon, well exceeds half a billion dollars. That amount of money would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of 900,000 Lebanese displaced and in rebuilding some of the 30,000 housing units destroyed by the Israeli military in 2006.

Weapons are the most expensive of manufactured goods and the least productive, generating no value and designed only to destroy and kill. They are not produced solely or primarily to be displayed in parades or at air shows.

The Middle East is that part of the world that has known the least peace in the past 60 years and that is in most need of it. Regional disputes – over land and borders, over water and other resources – need to be resolved in a non-antagonistic manner.

The foreign and national security policies of the region’s states need to be demilitarized. Conventional and nuclear disarmament is imperative.

Washington pouring over $100 billion in news arms into the Middle East will not contribute to the safety and security of its inhabitants. It will not benefit the nations of the region. In truth not a single one of them.

1) Xinhua News Agency, August 29, 2010
2) Reuters, January 23, 2009
3) Ibid
4) United Press International, August 25, 2009
5) USA TODAY, August 31, 2010
6) Agence France-Press, September 1, 2010
7) Reuters, May 13, 2010
8) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 15, 2010
9) Reuters, May 13, 2010
10) Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2010
11) Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2006
12) Associated Press, May 14, 2008

Categories: Uncategorized

Book Review: The Politics Of Genocide

September 1, 2010 1 comment

September 1, 2010

The Politics of Genocide
Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
Monthly Review Press, 2010
U.S. $12.95*

Rick Rozoff

In 1895 novelist Anatole France – who in the same decade took up cudgels in defense of persecuted Armenians in the Ottoman Empire while also entering the lists on behalf of Alfred Dreyfus – wrote an essay in which he maintained that words are like coins. When freshly minted the images and inscriptions on them are clear. But by dint of constant circulation they become effaced until the outlines are blurred and the words unintelligible.

As Edward S. Herman and David Peterson write in The Politics of Genocide, “During the past several decades, the word ‘genocide’ has increased in frequency of use and recklessness of application, so much so that the crime of the twentieth century for which the word was originally coined often appears debased. Unchanged, however, is the huge political bias in its usage….” With their painstaking efforts to compile information and analyze the self-serving misuse of this term by the government, media and establishment academic figures of the United States and its allies, the authors have performed a valuable service to the cause of truth and of peace.

The fact that combating “genocide” has replaced confronting communism in some notably left and liberal circles as a major intellectual and moral legitimation for an enduringly aggressive and interventionist U.S. foreign policy is not fortuitous. It has been adopted to further American and allied interests in Europe and Africa in particular but with international application.

Nowhere is this more explicit than in the U.S.-based Genocide Prevention Task Force’s 2008 report Preventing Genocide, where the “Save Darfur” activism of the last decade is singled out as a model for how to “build a permanent constituency for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.”

But this shows that “Darfur has been…successfully framed as ‘genocide’,” the authors counter, even as “the signature Nefarious bloodbath of the early twenty-first century,” and we should take the Task Force’s praise of “Save Darfur” activism to mean rather that the “U.S. establishment’s handling of the western Sudan (ca. 2003-2010) should serve as a model for how best to propagandize a conflict as ‘genocide’, and thus to mobilize elite and public opinion for action against its alleged perpetrator.”

During the past two decades, the post-Cold War era, Washington has employed and exploited the word genocide in furtherance of geopolitical objectives in several strategic parts of the world. As the foreword to the volume by Noam Chomsky warns, the one-sided, nakedly partisan and frequently fact-distorting genocide stratagem not only diverts attention from genuine acts of mass killing and targeting of ethnic and other demographic groups perpetrated by the U.S., its allies and client states, but runs the risk of producing a boy who cried wolf effect, one moreover with a retroactive component.

Chomsky characterizes the authors’ work as indicting a practice that since “the end of the Cold War opened the way to an era of virtual Holocaust denial.” That is, as facts such as those marshaled by Herman and Peterson demonstrate, the exaggeration, distortion and even outright fabrication of genocide accusations may produce as an unintended consequence a universal scepticism on the matter, even – most alarmingly – toward the genuine article. That leveling charges of genocide against nations and governments the White House and State Department are opposed to and in parts of the world where the Pentagon is bent on deploying troops and bases occurs as World War II revisionism, neo-Nazism, and the formal rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators and even SS troops plague much of Europe is the most alarming manifestation of that disturbing phenomenon.

The U.S. has rightly been accused of practicing double standards in relation to genocide charges, condemning mass killings (alleged as well as real) in nations whose governments are not viewed favorably by Washington and its allies while ignoring, minimizing and justifying it when perpetrated by an approved government.

But it is not, as defenders of American foreign policy often state, a question of not being able to respond to every crisis or of responding to the most egregious situation first. Nor as the rapidly deteriorating Christopher Hitchens wrote in 1993 in one of his many efforts to mobilize opinion in favor of the “Bosnian cause” (by which he never meant anything beyond the Sarajevo Muslims around Alija Izetbegovic, and Hitchens’ own mythic land of multiculturalism overrun by “racist” Serbs) is it a case of “making the best the enemy of the good.”

Instead, as Herman and Peterson meticulously detail, it is a fixed policy of assigning cases and charges of genocide to four distinct categories, the first two applicable to the U.S. and its allies and clients, the second two to adversaries or other governments whose nations occupy space or possess resources coveted by Washington’s empire-builders and U.S.-based transnational corporations.

Drawing on years of observation and analysis of international events – in Herman’s case efforts extending over five decades – the authors present a four-point model for examining how the issue of genocide is viewed by the American government, the mainstream news media and a veritable battalion of “engaged” academics and handsomely funded non-governmental organizations (the latter sometimes not so non-governmental).

As they explain:

“When we ourselves commit mass-atrocity crimes, the atrocities are Constructive, our victims are unworthy of our attention and indignation, and never suffer ‘genocide’ at our hands – like the Iraqi Untermenschen who have died in such grotesque numbers over the past two decades. But when the perpetrator of mass-atrocity crimes is our enemy or a state targeted by us for destabilization and attack, the converse is true. Then the atrocities are Nefarious and their victims worthy of our focus, sympathy, public displays of solidarity, and calls for inquiry and punishment. Nefarious atrocities even have their own proper names reserved for them, typically associated with the places where the events occur. We can all rattle off the most notorious: Cambodia (but only under the Khmer Rouge, not in the prior years of mass killing by the United States and its allies), Iraq (but only when attributable to Saddam Hussein, not the United States), and so on – Halabja, Bosnia, Srebrenica, Rwanda, Kosovo, Račak, Darfur. Indeed, receiving such a baptism is perhaps the hallmark of the Nefarious bloodbath.”

To reiterate their point: When the killing, maiming, poisoning and displacement of millions of civilians are perpetrated by the U.S. directly and in collusion with a client regime it assists, arms and advises – Indochina in the 1960s and early 1970s, Central America in the 1980s, the deaths of as many as a million Iraqis resulting from sanctions and the deliberate and systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure in the 1990s – that form of indisputable genocide is never referred to as such and instead presented by the government-media-obedient academia triad as not abhorrent and criminal but as legitimate actions in pursuit of praiseworthy policies. Constructive genocide.

Similar systematic and large-scale atrocities carried out by U.S. clients armed by Washington – Indonesia against its own people from 1965-1966 and in East Timor from 1975-1999, Israel in the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank from 1967 to the present day, Rwanda and Uganda in Congo (where over five and a half million people have perished over the last twelve years), Croatia and its Operation Storm onslaught in 1995 which caused the worst permanent ethnic cleansing in Europe since World War II and its immediate aftermath – are not condemned and not even deemed regrettable, but in fact are viewed by the U.S. political establishment as Benign.

Contrariwise, though, security and military actions taken by governments not aligned with the U.S., even against armed and cross-border separatist formations, are inevitably branded as gratuitous acts of what Samuel Coleridge called motiveless malignancy: Nefarious genocide.

Related to the last category, the U.S. government and its news and NGO camp followers are not averse to inflating numbers, misattributing the cause of death and outright inventing incidents to justify the charge of genocide and what are frequently pre-planned interventions, including sanctions, embargoes, travel bans on government officials, freezing governments’ financial assets abroad, funding and advising assorted “color revolutions” and ultimately bombing from 25,000 feet, beyond the range of a targeted country’s air defenses. What the authors call Mythic genocide, though with quite genuine – deadly – consequences. Aesop: The boys throw rocks in jest but the frogs die in earnest.

To illustrate these basic categories, Herman and Peterson conducted exhaustive database searches for usage of the word ‘genocide’ by some of the major English-language print media in reference to what they call “theaters of atrocities.”

The three tables they have compiled for the book are something to behold.

Table 1 is titled “Differential attributions of ‘genocide’ to different theaters of atrocities,” and Table “Differential Use of ‘Massacre’ and ‘Genocide’ for Benign and Nefarious Atrocities;” Table 2 focuses on different aspects of Iraq specifically.

The various “theaters of atrocities” include but are not limited to Iraq, the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, the Tutsi of Rwanda, the Hutu and other peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the peoples of western Sudan (Darfur).

In one of the more impressive empirical confirmations of a hypothesis readers are likely to find anywhere, the results of Herman and Peterson’s database research are both predictable and appalling: In case after case, major English-language newspapers such as the New York Times and The Guardian (as well as countless others) used the word ‘genocide’ in a manner that would have been approved of by the State Department, linking it consistently to toponyms like Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur, but rarely if ever to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq, whether Iraq during the “sanctions of mass destruction” era (1990-2003) or since the U.S. invasion and military occupation (from 2003 onward).

There are, in the terms introduced by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky years earlier, “worthy” and “unworthy” victims in the system of “atrocities management,” and each and every victim’s worthiness rises or falls depending on who’s doing the killing – official enemies or we ourselves.

Again, to elaborate: The worthiness of a victim to elicit concern and support depends not on the victim himself but on the “worthiness” of the perpetrator. “Good” perpetrators – the U.S. and its allies – are eo ipso incapable of bad actions, therefore anyone on the receiving end of an American bomb or cruise missile is inherently unworthy.

Genocide, murder on a grand scale, is treated not with the urgency and gravity the subject warrants but as the theme of a near-comic book morality play. We and they, good and bad.

An analogous bias exists, the authors detail, in relation to the work of the International Criminal Court and even more so with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The latter two are nothing other than the embodiment and institutionalization of great power victor’s justice and the first is used by the U.S. against recalcitrant states on Washington’s enemies list. (In the Foreword to The Politics of Genocide, Chomsky cites the Greek historian Thucydides, who placed in the mouth of an Athenian the immortal words: “you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”)

International courts doing the bidding of the U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization cohorts do not, Herman and Peterson point out, address the greatest cause of suffering brought about through human agency: Wars of aggression. Although borrowing their lexicon from the Nuremberg Principles – for example, “war crimes” and “crimes of humanity” – while adding “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” (with the last two used all but interchangeably), Western states are highly selective and equally self-serving in their interpretation of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the model for prosecuting international crimes of violence.

Principle VI, the gist of the Nuremberg indictments, states:

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

The U.S. and its Western allies, which launched three wars of aggression in less than four years (Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003) with the forced displacement of millions of civilians, have deliberately chosen to ignore the core proscription of the Nuremberg Trials, that against waging wars of aggression, “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Principle VII says that “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

To relentlessly prosecute lesser crimes while perpetrating and abetting greater ones is the prerogative of the “world’s sole military superpower” (from Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech) and its allies. Governments of small, weak countries not sufficiently toeing Washington’s line are threatened with prosecution for actions occurring within and not outside their borders and the only “war crimes” trials conducted are also exclusively in response to strictly internal events. By design and selective enforcement, the new system of international law is what Balzac said of the law of his time, that it is a spider web through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

Herman and Peterson have studied the above contrasts, what most often are an inversion of justice and not simply its distortion or selective implementation, in several locations: The Balkans, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America, examining the most salient examples in each locale to demonstrate the unconscionable dichotomy of “good” and bad genocides.

In one of the most penetrating sections of the book, the authors study the differential approach of the U.S. in the contexts of both space and time; that is, how the suppression of the Kurdish movement has been treated in relation to Iraq as opposed to Turkey, and in Iraq from one decade to the next depending on whether the same head of state (Saddam Hussein) was a U.S. ally or adversary at the time.

Not a matter of what is right or wrong, not even of who does what to whom, but solely one of what advances America’s narrow and cynical geopolitical agenda.

Their model, however, possesses relevance to developments in other nations beyond those studied in The Politics of Genocide. Colombia, for example, and Western Sahara.

Also to Kosovo after 50,000 U.S. and NATO troops marched in eleven years ago and hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Roma (Gypsies) and other ethnic minorities were forced to flee the Serbian province.

Onslaughts against the people of South Ossetia two years ago this August by preeminent U.S. client Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia and against the Houthi minority community in northern Yemen with military backing from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. would be examples of Benign attempts to exterminate entire peoples, to commit genocide.

During the generation following the end of the Cold War and the triumph of global neoliberalism, enough genuine problems have weighed upon humanity. With the privatization of increasingly broad sectors of former state functions and the concomitant economic dislocation of a large percentage of the population, and with the penetration of rapacious transnational financial and corporate interests, tens of millions – perhaps hundreds of millions – of people in poor countries have fled the countryside to the large cities. Millions more have attempted the desperate and often deadly migration to the global North. The last twenty years have witnessed the largest Völkerwanderung in history.

In that context competition for natural and other resources takes on a drastic intensity, and conflicts based on residual ethnic, religious and regional suspicions and strife can be too easily revived and inflamed. The potential for communal, for inter-ethnic, violence is a power keg that must not be ignited.

The willful exacerbation and exploitation of such conflicts by outside powers to achieve broader geostrategic objectives add a greater degree of peril, one of regional conflicts that could expand into wider wars and even a showdown between the U.S. and nuclear powers like Russia and China.

The 78-day bombing war waged by the U.S. and NATO against Yugoslavia in 1999 in the name of “stopping genocide,” the “worst genocide since Hitler,” coincided with the induction of the first former Warsaw Pact member states into the Alliance (the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) and resulted in the building of a mammoth U.S. military base, Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo and NATO’s absorption and penetration of all of Southeastern Europe. Every country in the region but Serbia (for the time being) now has troops serving under the military bloc in Afghanistan.

The crisis in Darfur in western Sudan gave rise to NATO’s first operation in Africa, the airlifting of African Union troops from 2005-2007. At the end of 2007 the first U.S. military command established outside North America since the Cold War, Africa Command, was launched.

In the same year and in the name of opposing genocide, a self-styled “March for Darfur” was held in Berkeley, California – a birthplace of the anti-Vietnam War protest movement forty years before – in which participants adapted a standard anti-war chant – “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!” – to “What do we want? NATO! When do we want it? Now!”

At the end of the day military actions, including full-fledged wars, conducted by the U.S. and NATO in part or in whole to ostensibly “end genocide” will produce more deaths, more mass-scale displacement, and more expulsion and extermination of endangered minorities as has happened over the past eleven years in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. More genocide. The genuine article.

Questions about the intentional and systematic extermination of a people are not to be taken lightly. Neither are they to be dealt with as yet another weapon in the arsenal of history’s mightiest military power for use against defenseless adversaries. The U.S. government and its highly selective “genocide” echo chambers are adept at seeing the mote in their neighbor’s eye, but are blind to the mountain of corpses produced by Washington and its proxies. Myopia passing into active complicity.

In documenting the diametrically opposite manner in which the subject of genocide is treated by the government of the United States and its apologists (acknowledged and otherwise) based on international political and economic motives, Herman and Peterson have provided a simultaneously concise and comprehensive guidebook to separating fact
from fabrication. Truth is the first casualty of war and war is in turn the offspring of falsehood. Exposing the last contributes to eroding the foundation for U.S. armed aggression and global military expansion.

*The Politics of Genocide is available from:

Categories: Uncategorized