The head man at NATO has chimed in about the Ukraine. To place his statement in context, here is a brief analysis of NATO. Call it “revisionist”, if you will, because I focus on NATO’s negatives.
NATO is a supra-national or multi-national mutual defense organization of states. Because NATO is organized by its member states, its governing council is not directly accountable to Americans by voting, assembly or petition. Like the U.N., its layered political organization makes any accountability to Americans so remote as to be practically non-existent. Yet NATO actions and membership in NATO can impact Americans to their detriment.
Another drawback of NATO is that with the U.S. being a mutual defense treaty member, Americans can be drawn into European wars.
Yet another negative is that, conversely, the U.S. government can influence NATO to make war or take military actions that U.S. leaders would otherwise find difficult to sell to the American public. NATO becomes a tool for its most influential member states.
U.S. leaders can use NATO’s statements to reinforce its own propaganda, also a negative.
NATO is semi-autonomous politically and militarily, yet it is very much the creature of its member states and especially the more influential of those. It is not independent, but yet it is made to seem like an independent voice. One of its roles is to add stature and weight to the designs of its major supporters. Its major role is to provide a military force to execute those designs. NATO makes those designs seem more legitimate. The imprimatur of NATO obscures the self-interested designs of a few states and buries them under a veil of seeming legitimacy of a multi-state organization.
On paper, a mutual defense pact to assure peace in Europe sounds like a good idea — for European participating states. But why is it good for Americans? Commitments to defend the borders of other states is not something that is obviously beneficial to Americans or their security. If they get into conflicts, the U.S. almost automatically gets involved. Why should the U.S. government be attempting to govern countless foreign problems when it cannot even properly govern America, even in the most minimal sense that a minarchist would approve of?
Although on paper, NATO is supposed to be aiming for peace, it is actually most characterized by its military capabilities and forces. Its forces provide a temptation for those in power to use them. They amount to a standing army and military, something that actually goes against American traditions. Such a force acquires a political influence of its own and provides those who control NATO with a military option to extend their power. In this way, NATO is a standing danger.
Actions speak louder than words. In the case of NATO, ever since it expanded and became a more potent military force, it has begun, made or entered wars that had nothing whatever to do with its member states. They were not fought on territory of member states. These wars are the surest evidence that NATO is in fact an aggressive institution that is not keeping the peace. It is either looking for trouble or is being used to further the interests of the most influential of its member states.
NATO wars since 1991 include the following:
War in Afghanistan
NATO also has been involved in military operations that go beyond mutual defense. They include naval operations in the Indian Ocean (Operation Ocean Shield) and 360 sorties flown over America as part of Operation Eagle Assist after 9/11/2001 and lasting until May of 2002.
All of the above serves to place in context a statement made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen before the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission, on March 2, 2014.
Rasmussen’s opening lines could have been written in Washington:
“I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia’s military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin’s threats against this sovereign nation.
“What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. It threatens peace and security in Europe. Russia must stop its military activities and its threats.”
Russia has some formal relations with NATO. NATO is not a state, so there are no diplomatic relations. Why would Rasmussen speak publicly in this way? Why would he not speak quietly through other channels? Why would he judge Russia and call it a threat so quickly and openly? Why would he automatically reject Russia’s case and not consider the nature of the revolution in Ukraine?
One answer is that Ukraine already is a “partner” in NATO through earlier steps. But although NATO gives lip service to democracy, where are its protests over the manner in which a democratic government in Ukraine was overthrown?
In fact, what NATO and Washington are unduly fixated upon is the borders of existing states. These proxy for that state’s sovereignty and are being invoked as some sort of semi-holy measures of a state’s legitimacy. The actual nature of the government is of less concern to these powers than the stability (borders) of the states within their empires and contiguous to them. Maintaining states, not governments, has top priority for Washington. Existing powerful states want a stable set of borders and a stable system of states so as to maintain their own state powers intact.
The basic answer to the puppetry of Rasmussen is that he is mimicking Washington closely. He and Washington are on the same page. NATO is a sword pointed at Russia, and it’s a useful sword for Washington at times to hide behind and at other times to wield. Washington is aggressively seeking to contain Russia and neuter it. It has been doing this ever since Clinton and Bush expanded NATO in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.11:03 am on March 5, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff