NATO Chief Recruits European Union For Global Interventions
April 25, 2012
NATO Chief Recruits European Union For Global Interventions
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addressed the European Parliament on April 23 and, as published on the website of the military bloc he heads, “called for closer NATO-European Union coordination on security issues and urged the EU to adopt the needed capabilities to take action abroad.”
For abroad, read anywhere NATO’s bombs, missiles, fighter jets and warships have paved the way: The Balkans, Central and South Asia, North Africa, the Arabian Sea and the Broader Middle East.
His speech, entitled “A global perspective for Europe,” was delivered to the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, the elected body of the European Union, as – again according to the Alliance’s website – “part of a debate on preparations for next month’s NATO Summit in Chicago,” which will be attended by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso by way of quid pro quo.
Addressing the EU as what in fact it is and is even more markedly becoming, the semi-civilian European wing of global NATO, Rasmussen made little distinction between the organization he leads and that he was addressing:
“When it comes to security, Europe has reason to be proud. Over the past decade, NATO’s European Allies have stayed the course in Afghanistan. They flew most of the sorties in Libya. And they helped stabilise the Balkans. Over the same period, the European Union has taken on key roles in Georgia, the Balkans and Africa.”
The European Union, which is in many ways no less under the influence of its “Euro-Atlantic” big brother on the other side of the ocean than is NATO, is in the viewpoint of Brussels a collective of NATO members and partners (all 27 EU member states are in NATO or its Partnership for Peace program except for small and divided Cyprus) that anticipates, supports, complements and cleans up after NATO in several parts of the world outside EU territory and mainly outside Europe itself.
The EU sanctions, freezes the assets of, bans visits from leaders of and in general softens up targeted nations. NATO bombs and occupies them. When the latter accomplishes its mission the EU steps in to supply security, policing, financial and other assistance and to relieve NATO forces (which are often interchangeable with their EU counterparts) for their next deployment. The EU has fulfilled that function, entirely or partially, in Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo and will do so next in Afghanistan and Libya.
Rasmussen further spelled out the global nature of the NATO-EU-U.S. triad and its alleged unique role in “preserv[ing] freedom and democracy,” presumably in the bloc’s member states as anyone familiar with the aftermath of NATO interventions in Bosnia, Yugoslavia-Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Libya would hardly hail the situations prevailing in those states as triumphs of freedom and democracy. Surely not as hallmarks of peace and stability.
His comments included this attempted justification for the consolidation of NATO as an international expeditionary and assault force, history’s first:
“Today, our security cannot be separated from global security. This sometimes means we have to deploy our forces beyond our borders to keep our people secure at home. As we have done in Afghanistan. Off the coast of Somalia. And in the skies over Libya.”
“European nations must look outwards, and stay ready and able to act for their own sake. And be capable of joining our North American Allies in operations outside the Euro-Atlantic area.”
NATO, which is a consortium of Europe’s past colonial masters (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey), post-World War II world neocolonial powerhouse the U.S and assorted underlings and appendages, is bluntly asserting as its prerogative – as its new foundational mission – the exclusive right and obligation alike of intervening anywhere it chooses to outside the “civilized world”: The Balkans, Central and South Asia, Africa, the Gulf of Aden, the South Caucasus and the Middle East.
When NATO’s 28 heads of state gather in Chicago in May they will, with the exception of the American president, look very much alike. The military organization that presumes to direct the course of world affairs has no members in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Oceania. The combined population of NATO’s member states is only slightly over one-eighth of the human race.
The fiftieth anniversary summit of the military alliance in Washington, D.C. in 1999 revived and emboldened it with a 21st century global version of the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884 in which a majority of NATO’s non-North American founding members divided the African continent into spheres of influence.
The Washington summit, of NATO’s 24 summits to date the sole one in the U.S. (the second will occur in Chicago on May 20 and 21), introduced among several other initiatives for the current century the basis for the Berlin Plus agreements between NATO and the EU adopted three years later. Ever since, NATO and the EU have shared information and intelligence, planning capabilities and personnel and military assets and missions as well as conducting joint exercises.
The EU’s first naval mission, Operation Atalanta (European Union Naval Force Somalia), is conducted in conjunction with NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa and the U.S.-led Combined Task Force 150, Combined Task Force 151, Combined Task Force 152 and Combined Task Force 158 in and off the Arabian Sea.
On April 23 Rasmussen wove together the strands of NATO-EU integration, the 21st century rebirth of 19th century European military interventions abroad and the ultimate subordination of both to the U.S. in stating:
“Today we have a more capable and more willing Europe than 20 years ago. More European troops are deployed in more places than ever in recent history. Even smaller nations, like my own [Denmark], have shown their capacity to punch above their weight.
“In Libya last year, European nations clearly demonstrated that they are willing and able to lead a NATO operation.”
“NATO and the European Union can, and should, play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security.
“To carry out this role, Europe must invest sufficiently in our common security. And Europe must continue to invest in the vital transatlantic bond – in political, economic, and military terms.”
The declaration issued by NATO at its last summit in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2010 at which the alliance unveiled its first Strategic Concept for the new millennium contains this section on EU-NATO relations:
“NATO and the European Union (EU) share common values and strategic interests, and are working side by side in crisis management operations. We are therefore determined to improve the NATO-EU strategic partnership, as agreed by our two organisations. We welcome the recent initiatives from several Allies and the ideas proposed by the Secretary General. Building on these initiatives and on the guidance provided by the new Strategic Concept, we encourage the Secretary General to continue to work with the EU High Representative…”
The summit declaration issued in Chicago next month will reaffirm and strengthen that commitment. Heaven help their next joint targets.