Long Live NATO

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The cold war
is long over, but with the support of U.S. supremacists in both
parties NATO lives on as America’s global cop.

Seven more
nations are joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),
and three more Central European nations have their applications
pending. Although the Bush administration has set an overall course
in foreign and military policy of treaty-breaking and unilateralism,
it remains a strong proponent of NATO expansion.

Founded in
1949 as a security buffer against the Soviet Union, NATO has not
only survived the end of the cold war. It is flourishing. Despite
criticism that a post-cold war NATO would unnecessarily propagate
the West-East security divide that shaped international relations
for the four decades of the cold war, the U.S. government has led
the drive to energize and expand NATO. In 1999, after contentious
debate in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. approved the accession of Poland,
Czech Republic, and Hungary to NATO. Leading the NATO enlargement
lobby was the neoconservative Committee to Expand NATO, which brought
together several prominent neocons now serving in the Bush administration,
along with conservative Democrats such as Will Marshall of the Progressive
Policy Institute and the Democratic Leadership Council.

After succeeding
in advancing the first post-cold war round of enlargement, the Committee
to Expand NATO (renamed U.S. Committee on NATO) launched its u201CBig
Bangu201D strategy to bring ten more nations into the NATO fold. After
an initial meeting of the ten new prospects in Vilnius, Lithuania,
with the aid of the U.S. Committee on NATO the so-called Vilnius
Group began pressuring Washington and NATO headquarters for membership.

Among the
first board members of the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO were Paul
Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Peter Rodman, and Stephen Hadley, all
of whom later joined the Bush administration.1
All of these neocons were associates of the Project
for the New American Century
(PNAC). Bruce
Jackson
sits on the five-member board of PNAC. Randy
Scheunemann
, who was an officer of the NATO expansion committee,
is also a PNAC board member. Both Jackson and Scheunemann were cofounders
of the Project on Transitional Democracies, which continues to work
with the countries of New Europe to foster economic and military
ties with the United States.

The U.S. Committee
on NATO was not, however, purely a neocon venture. It reached out
to and included Democrats such as Will Marshall, founder and president
of the Progressive Policy Institute. Marshall was also a founder
of the Democratic Leadership Council, another organization of u201CNew
Democrats.u201D In 2002 Marshall also joined the advisory committee
to the Committee
for the Liberation of Iraq
, a bipartisan pro-war group founded
by Jackson at the urging of the Bush administration.

The U.S. Senate
in May 2003 unanimously approved the accession to NATO of three
Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and four other countries
of Central and Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and
Slovakia). In a White House ceremony on March 29, 2004, President
Bush hailed the accession of seven additional nations to NATO, which
will formally admit the new members at a ceremony at NATO headquarters
in Brussels on April 2. Bush noted that all the new NATO members
are u201Chelping to bring lasting freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq.u201D

Three other
nations of the New Europe bloc – Croatia, Macedonia, and Albania
– are next in line to receive an accession invitation from
NATO. Although it was Donald Rumsfeld who is credited with first
using the term u201CNew Europe,u201D the term has long been circulating
among neoconservatives who view with deep disgust Western Europe's
tendency to support diplomacy over war and its deep commitment to
multilateralism and the international rule of law. As the White
House began laying the groundwork for the u201Ccoalition of the willingu201D
against Iraq, President Bush himself repeatedly used the term u201CNew
Europeu201D in statements about NATO enlargement. In a July 5, 2002
speech hailing the leaders of the Vilnius group, the president declared,
u201COur nations share a common vision of a new Europe, where free European
states are united with each other, and with the United States through
cooperation, partnership, and alliance.u201D

President Bush
told the newest NATO members that u201Call member nations must be willing,
and able, to contribute to the common defense of our alliance.u201D
Many of the new members have joined NATO in the belief that it will
lead to economic prosperity and shield them against any future extraterritorial
ambitions of the Russian Federation. But President Bush regards
the new members as enlistees in Washington's own global ambitions
in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. During the White
House welcoming ceremony, President Bush noted that NATO's mission
extended far beyond the perimeter of the alliance. u201CNATO members
are reaching out to the nations of the Middle East, to strengthen
our ability to fight terror, and to provide for our common security,u201D
he said. But NATO's mission extends beyond global security. u201CWe're
discussing,u201D said Bush, u201Chow we can support and increase the momentum
of freedom in the greater Middle East.u201D

At a time when
it appears that the U.S. is becoming increasingly isolated, the
Bush administration is exercising strong leadership over what the
president describes as the u201Cmost successful military alliance in
history.u201D The Bush administration has lashed out at European critics
of its neo-imperial policies and dismissed the dissident Western
European nations as representatives of the u201Cold Europe,u201D but it
rests secure in the knowledge that U.S. military leadership and
America's military dominance are central to NATO and that NATO is
the centerpiece of transatlantic relations. Given that most European
nations lack strong militaries of their own and that EU still lacks
a unified security infrastructure, the ever-expanding NATO operating
under U.S. direction will likely remain an effective instrument
of U.S. hegemony, not only in North Atlantic but also from the Gulf
of Finland to the Black Sea, and from the Balkans to the Persian
Gulf.

President Clinton
supported the first phase of NATO enlargement, as did the internationalists
of both political parties. The driving ideological force behind
NATO expansion, however, has been the neocon polemicists and operatives
who see an expanded NATO as one in which the power of mainland Western
European nations is diminished and U.S. hegemonic power is consolidated.
But it's unlikely that NATO expansion would have proceeded so quickly
without the concerted backing of the U.S. military-industrial complex.
For its part, the U.S. military was eager to establish U.S. military
bases and forward-deployment sites in the u201Ctransitional statesu201D
of the former Soviet bloc. And U.S. military contractors had an
eye on the new markets for their latest weaponry when the new NATO
partners militarized to meet the compatibility requirements of the
alliance. Integration into NATO requires integrating weapons systems
– creating a multibillion-dollar market for jet fighters, electronics,
attack helicopters, military communication networks, and all the
gadgets needed by a modern fighting force.

Until 2002
Bruce Jackson was planning and strategy vice president at Lockheed
Martin, where he served as the advance man for global corporate
development projects. One prominent neocon described Bruce Jackson
as u201Cthe nexus between the defense industry and the neoconservatives.
He translates us to them, and them to us.u201D Two other members of
the U.S. Committee on NATO who had ties to Lockheed Martin were
Stephen Hadley and Randy Scheunemann. Stephen Hadley, who serves
in the Bush administration as deputy national security adviser to
Condoleezza Rice, was a partner in the Shea & Gardner law firm,
whose clients included Boeing and Lockheed Martin.2
Another link to Lockheed Martin at the U.S. Committee on NATO was
Randy Scheunemann, the president of Orion Strategies, whose clients
include the largest defense contractor in the United States.

NATO expansion
cannot be written off as a neocon conspiracy. But neither should
one assume that the neoconservatives are so dismissive of the u201Cappeasersu201D
in Europe and so preoccupied with the Middle East (and especially
the security of Israel) that they don't have a grand strategy for
a restructured Europe. u201CStrengthen America, Secure Europe. Defend
Values. Expand NATOu201D was the motto of the U.S. Committee on NATO.
The committee’s slogan concisely summarizes the main arguments of
the NATO expansion lobby in the United States.

In the estimation
of John Laughland, a trustee of the British Helsinki Human Rights
Group and a close observer of Jackson’s proconsul operations in
Eastern Europe: u201CFar from promoting democracy in eastern Europe,
Washington is promoting a system of political and military control
not unlike that once practiced by the Soviet Union. Unlike that
empire, which collapsed because the center was weaker than the periphery,
the new NATO is both a mechanism for extracting Danegeld [tribute
levied to support Danish invaders in medieval England] from new
member states for the benefit of the U.S. arms industry and an instrument
for getting others to protect U.S. interests around the world, including
the supply of primary resources such as oil.u201D3

The U.S. Committee
on NATO and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, both of which
were organized by PNAC's Bruce Jackson, were disbanded in late 2003,
apparently because its members believed that they had accomplished
their mission. But the neocon camp continues working to shape the
transatlantic political and military agenda. Jackson and Scheunemann
continue their work in Eurasia through their Project on Transitional
Democracies. Another ideological partner in the neoconservative
effort to restructure the transatlantic alliance is the New Atlantic
Initiative of the American Enterprise Institute, whose goal is u201Cthe
admission of Europe’s fledgling democracies into institutions of
Atlantic defense.u201D Like the AEI
itself, the New Atlantic Initiative is dominated by neocons such
as William Kristol, Samuel Huntington, Norman Podhoretz, Joshua
Muravchick, Richard Perle, and Daniel Pipes. AEI’s New Atlantic
Initiative also includes on its advisory board military hard-liners
such as Donald Rumsfeld, right-wing political figures like Newt
Gingrich, and realpolitikers such as Henry Kissinger and George
Shultz, as well a few Democrats such as Thomas Foley – all
of whom share the neocon vision of a u201CNew Europe.u201D4

The cold war
is long over, but with the support of U.S. supremacists in both
parties NATO lives on as America's global cop.

Endnotes


  1. Judis, u201CMinister Without Portfolio, American Prospect.

  2. u201CStephen Hadley,u201D Right Web Profile (Interhemispheric Resource
    Center, November 2003). Hadley was one of the original members
    of the self-identified u201CVulcansu201D who advised then-candidate George
    W. Bush.

  3. John Laughland, u201CThe Prague Racket,u201D The Guardian ( London),
    November 22, 2002. Other journalistic accounts of Jackson’s activities
    include: Stephen Gowans, u201CWar,
    NATO expansion, and the other rackets of Bruce P. Jackson
    ,u201D
    What’s Left, November 25, 2002; Brian McGrory, u201CBattle
    Lines Forming over NATO Expansion,u201D Boston Globe, July
    5, 1997.

  4. See American Enterprise Institute, New
    Atlantic Initiative
    .

April
2, 2004

Tom
Barry is policy director of the Interhemispheric
Resource Center
(IRC). Posted with permission from Foreign Policy
in Focus
.


        
        

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