U.S. Recruits Worldwide for Afghan War

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The first of
33,000 more U.S. troops have arrived in Afghanistan for a Christmas
surge and they will soon be joined by as many as 10,000 additional
non-American troops serving under NATO in the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF). Washington will have over 100,000 uniformed
personnel and tens of thousands of new military contractors in the
South Asian war zone, and with more than 50,000 other NATO and NATO
partner forces present total troop strength will exceed 150,000.

Except for
a modest amount of troops assigned to the NATO Training Mission – Iraq in Baghdad, the U.S. with its 120,000 troops is now largely
alone in that country. NATO, especially new NATO, member and candidate
states were ordered to transfer their forces from Iraq to Afghanistan
starting approximately a year ago and are now redeploying soldiers
from missions in Kosovo, Lebanon and Chad to the same destination.
The Afghan battlefront, then, currently has the largest amount of
military forces stationed in any war zone in the world. [1]

Troops from
NATO countries stationed in Bosnia, the Central African Republic,
Chad, Lebanon and off the coast of Somalia are currently assigned
to European Union missions (European warships also participate in
NATO’s Ocean Shield naval interdiction in Somali waters and the
Gulf of Aden) and their transfer to the South Asian war front indicates
the virtual interchangeability of armed units assigned to NATO and
the European Union. [2]

Since the beginning
of this year’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan and into neighboring
Pakistan, Western public figures and media have dwelt frequently
and at length on the war being a – or the – test for the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization, ostensibly the major watershed and crucible
in its 60-year history.

When the bloc,
the world’s only military alliance, invoked its Article 5 mutual
assistance clause in September of 2001 to support its leading member,
the U.S., in its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the Alliance
was fresh on the heels of its first-ever war: The 78-day bombing
campaign against Yugoslavia in early 1999, the first all-out military
assault targeting a European nation since Hitler’s and Mussolini’s
attacks and invasions of 1939-1941.

By activating
Article 5 – "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] will assist the Party or Parties
so attacked by taking forthwith" – NATO enlisted for its first
land war and its first war in Asia.

It also exploited
its effective war provision to launch Operation Active Endeavor
in early October of 2001, a comprehensive, airtight naval surveillance
and interdiction program throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea
that monitors all activity in NATO’s new mare nostrum (our sea)
and dominates all access points into the world’s most important
sea: The Strait of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles Strait and the Suez
Canal, connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean, the
Black Sea, the Red Sea and thence to the Indian Ocean, respectively.

The U.S.-led
military alliance gained control over that vast stretch of strategic
waterways by adopting the American post-September 11, 2001 pretexts
of combating terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The first
was the rationale for invading Afghanistan, the second for invading
Iraq.

Three years
after the inauguration of Active Endeavor, which continues with
full force to this day, the NATO summit in Turkey developed the
Istanbul Cooperation Initiative which upgraded military partnerships
with the members of the bloc’s Mediterranean Dialogue – Algeria,
Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – and targeted
the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – for a similar
relationship, one modeled on the Partnership for Peace program that
prepared twelve Eastern European nations for accession to full NATO
membership over the last decade. [3]

In ten years
the military bloc has expanded from its Cold War confines, North
America and Western and Southern Europe, into almost all of Eastern
Europe including former Warsaw Pact states and Soviet and Yugoslav
republics. The bipolar military division of Europe symbolized by
the Berlin Wall [4] that ended twenty years ago has been replaced
by a unilateral expansion of the world’s sole military bloc toward
Russia’s western borders, from the Baltic to the Black to the Adriatic
Seas. From there it has extended its reach through deployments and
partnerships into the South Caucasus, Northeastern and Central Africa,
and Central and South Asia.

If Afghanistan
is a trial or the test of NATO in its sixtieth year, it is not so
for the NATO of 1949 but of what leading Alliance officials and
other proponents in recent years have referred to as 21st century
NATO, expeditionary NATO, global NATO: The first attempt in history
to forge an international military alliance. An international armed
network with the world’s self-proclaimed exclusive superpower and
its nuclear arsenal as its foundation and at its core.

The "asymmetric"
war in Afghanistan now in its ninth year is a seminal venture for
NATO in several respects. In addition to it signifying the bloc’s
first ground war and its first colonial excursion outside the Euro-Atlantic
world, the drawn-out and by all indications indefinite campaign
in South Asia is laboratory and training camp, firing range and
convergence point for the U.S.’s consolidation of a global military
strike and occupation force first tested in Kosovo in 1999 with
50,000 troops under NATO command, then in Iraq after 2003 with tens
of thousands of troops from NATO, new NATO and NATO candidate nations.
[5]

Washington
and Brussels have now dragooned armed contingents from fifty nations
on five continents to serve under one commander, General Stanley
McChrystal, head of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. New
contributing states include geographically remote and otherwise
diverse countries that include Colombia, Bosnia, Georgia, Montenegro,
Mongolia, Armenia and South Korea. All except Mongolia either are
or have recently been the scenes of wars or at any moment may be.
As numerous statements by political and military leaders of nations
supplying troops to NATO for the Afghan war have established, that
battleground is an ideal location and opportunity for gaining real-life
combat experience for application at home. The bulk of countries
in this category border Russia on the latter’s northwestern and
southwestern flanks. [6]

The defense
minister of Austria, one of only a small number of European nations
now yet a full NATO member, recently lamented that American officials
were pressuring his country to provide more troops for deployment
to Afghanistan, having to remind readers of one of his country’s
newspapers that his is still a sovereign state. As reported in Deutsche
Welle, "Austria and the United States are quarreling over Austria’s
troop levels in Afghanistan. The Austrian government says it feels
strong pressure from the US to send more of its troops to the NATO
mission."

The South Korean
daily Dong-A Ilbo wrote on December 21 that "NATO has invited
for the first time a Korean military delegation to a meeting next
year of countries sending troops to Afghanistan.

"The dispatch
of Korean troops scheduled for July will likely help expedite far-reaching
military cooperation between Korea and NATO." The source added
that with the advent of the new Lee Myung-bak government in Seoul
"As Korea actively participates in international security cooperation,
including its decision to send troops to Afghanistan and fully join
the Proliferation Security Initiative, NATO’s assessment of Korea
is changing." The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is
a another mechanism, linked with the U.S. thousand-ship navy project
as well as NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, to enmesh more and
more nations around the world into an international military network
run from Washington. [7]

South Korea
is already what is identified by NATO as a Contact Country partner,
the others being Japan, Australia and New Zealand, serving as the
foundation stones for a rapidly emerging "Asian NATO"
that includes Singapore and Mongolia – both of whom have or will
have troops serving under NATO for the first time, in Afghanistan – as well as the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and future prospects
like India, Bangladesh and Cambodia and the five former Soviet republics
in Central Asia as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. [8]

While advancing
eastward, the North Atlantic bloc has also moved south and has begun
to formally penetrate Africa, with an air transport mission to the
Darfur region of Sudan in 2005 and naval deployments off Somalia
in the Horn of Africa beginning in 2007.

Washington’s
mainstay military ally in South and all of Latin America, Colombia,
in addition to turning over seven military bases to the Pentagon
in a move that could ignite a war with its neighbors Venezuela and
Ecuador, is sending a company of battle-hardened U.S.-trained combat
troops to Afghanistan for NATO’s ISAF mission. They will bring their
own wartime experience to bear in the South Asian nation and will
return home, like their Georgian and South Korean military counterparts,
also trained by the U.S., better prepared for armed conflict against
neighboring states.

In addition
to Britain, France and the Netherlands being obligated to lend their
colonial possessions in Latin America and off its coasts to their
U.S. NATO ally for use against Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples
of Our America (ALBA) members Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua
and Venezuela (post-coup Honduras is withdrawing), steps have been
taken over the past fifteen years to expand NATO ties with other
Latin American nations as well as Colombia. [9]

In 1995 Chile
and Argentina (under President Carlos Menem) sent troops to serve
under NATO in Bosnia, the Alliance’s first military deployment outside
a member state’s territory. This week Chile agreed to prolong the
stationing of troops there – the mission since having been transferred
from NATO to the European Union – with a government official stating,
"We have been able to see Chile together with the North Atlantic
Treaty organization in a European country, and the interaction of
our armed forces with first-level armies of the world." [10]

The war and
war zone trajectory for NATO candidates and partner states over
the past fifteen years has been from Bosnia to Kosovo to Macedonia
to Iraq and finally Afghanistan. Chilean armed forces, whoever wins
next month’s presidential run-off election, may eventually be sent
to Afghanistan.

Solidifying
ties with Chile, which is involved in the current multinational
dispute over claims in the Antarctic, and with South Africa, where
NATO warships and have docked and conducted naval exercises over
the past two years, in addition to Australia which has the largest
non-member troop contingent serving under NATO in Afghanistan, the
Alliance is positioning itself for the scramble at the southern
end of the planet [11] as it is for that at the top of the world.
[12]

Two months
before the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the effective end
of the Cold War, the triennial summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Present were the representatives
of 108 nations that defined themselves as militarily non-aligned.

Twenty years
later, and with over twenty more countries in the world after the
disintegration of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia
itself and the independence of East Timor, the pressure to join
in military agreements, partnerships, deployments, exercises and
base hosting with the U.S. and NATO is more intense than during
the Cold War.

The newly activated
U.S. Africa Command alone targets 53 nations for individual and
collective partnerships with the Pentagon. The war in Afghanistan
is the broadest global touchstone to date in this militarization
of the world. Washington is pressuring all and sundry to contribute
with troops, logistics and funds and is employing the war to build
up bilateral military ties and weapons and warfighting interoperability
with nations throughout the world.

The first decade
of the new millennium has been one of war, starting in earnest in
Afghanistan, and the expansion of American bases and troops into
Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central
and South Asia. Areas that until now had been spared the Pentagon’s
permanent presence.

Notes

  1. U.S., NATO
    Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan's History, Stop NATO,
    September 24, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/u-s-nato-poised-for-most-massive-war-in-afghanistans-history
  2. EU, NATO,
    US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination, Stop NATO, February
    19, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/eu-nato-us-21st-century-alliance-for-global-domination
  3. NATO In
    Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul,  Stop NATO,
    February 6, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/nato-in-persian-gulf-from-third-world-war-to-istanbul
  4. 1989-2009:
    Moving The Berlin Wall To Russia's Borders, Stop NATO, November
    7, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/1989-2009-berlin-wall-moves-to-russian-border
  5. Afghan War:
    NATO Builds History's First Global Army, Stop NATO, August
    9, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/afghan-war-nato-builds-historys-first-global-army
  6. Afghan War:
    NATO Trains Finland, Sweden For Conflict With Russia, Stop NATO,
    July 26, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/afghan-war-nato-trains-finland-sweden-for-conflict-with-russia
  7. Proliferation
    Security Initiative And U.S. 1,000-Ship Navy: Control Of  World's
    Oceans, Prelude To War,  Stop NATO, January 29, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/proliferation-security-initiative-and-us-1000-ship-navy-control-of-worlds-oceans-prelude-to-war
  8. Global Military
    Bloc: NATO's Drive Into Asia, Stop NATO, January 24, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/global-military-bloc-natos-drive-into-asia
      U.S. Expands Asian NATO Against China, Russia, Stop NATO,
    October 16, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/u-s-expands-asian-nato-against-china-russia
  9. Twenty Years
    After End Of The Cold War: Pentagon's Buildup In Latin America,
    Stop NATO, November 4, 2009
      http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/stop-nato
  10. Xinhua News
    Agency, December 22, 2009
  11. NATO Of
    The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica, Stop NATO,
    May 30, 2009
        http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/nato-of-the-south-chile-south-africa-australia-antarctica
  12. NATO's,
    Pentagon's New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic, Stop NATO,
    February 2, 2009
        http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/natos-pentagons-new-strategic-battleground-the-arctic

This article
originally appeared at Global
Research
.

Rick
Rozoff [send him mail] runs
the Stop NATO Yahoo
group
. Visit his
blog
.

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