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Current Concerns  >  2012  >  No 25, 18 June 2012  >  Nato goes to war – expecting everyone to march along [printversion]

Nato goes to war – expecting everyone to march along

by Karl Müller

During their Chicago summit on 20th and 21st May 2012 NATO celebrated the way they want to further extend their war alliance in the years to come: not only by large scale incorporation of new member states and internationally unlawful instrumentalizations of organizations such as UN and OSCE, but also by means of joint military operations with non-member states including neutral states. The US as the leading NATO power is mainly interested in maintaining their ability to simultaneously wage wars in every corner of the earth but – being short of cash – without spending money. Quite possibly there will be not only more, but also more devastating wars as compared with the last 20 years.

In order to figure out what lies ahead one only has to read through the summit final documents a bit more carefully and between the lines. The wars in Afghanistan and Libya will serve as models for future NATO war alliances; in both wars there have been new “coalitions of the willing”, a kind of NATO plus. This will be enormously expanded.

Concerning Libya the “Chicago summit declaration” states that with Operation “Unified Protector” NATO had “...set new standards of consultation and practical cooperation with partner countries who contributed to our operation, as well as with other international and regional organizations.” [emphasis added by the author]

With the European Union, NATO is paying special attention to an entity comprising several NATO member states but also neutral states such as Austria. The summit declaration states: “The EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. Fully strengthening this strategic partnership, as agreed by our two organizations and enshrined in the Strategic Concept, is particularly important in the current environment of austerity; NATO and the EU should continue to work to enhance practical cooperation in operations, broaden political consultations, and cooperate more fully in capability development. NATO and the EU are working side by side in crisis management operations […].” This may be the only reason why “NATO recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable European defense.”

Instrumentalization of international organizations

Both the USA as the leading NATO power and the other NATO states know very well that they are a shrinking minority in the world. Their utilization of the world for their own purposes is no longer accepted by the big “remainder” of this world.

Consequently, NATO plans to exploit international organizations, above all the United Nations and the Organzation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In the summit declaration this sounds like the following: 1. We will continue to enhance our political dialogue and practical cooperation with the UN in line with the UN-NATO Declaration of September 2008. We welcome the strengthened cooperation and enhanced liaison between NATO and the UN that has been achieved since our last Summit meeting in Lisbon in November 2010, and which also contributed to the success of OUP (Operation ‘Unified Protector’).”

What one needs to recall at this point is: It wasn’t the UN as a world community who signed the September 2008 declaration, but just the serving general secretary, bypassing all other UN institutions and by far trespassing his own competencies.

As for the OSCE, NATO states: 1. We continue to work closely with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in particular in areas such as conflict prevention and resolution, post-conflict rehabilitation, and in addressing new security threats. We are committed to further enhancing our cooperation, both at the political and operational level, in all areas of common interest.”

Incorporating non-NATO member states into the corset of NATO war plans

Moreover the attempt to incorporate non-NATO member states into the corset of their war plans gains significance for NATO. In NATO-speak it sounds like this: “NATO has a wide network of partnership relations. We highly value all of NATO’s partners and the contributions they make to the work of the Alliance as illustrated through several partnership meetings we are holding here in Chicago. […] NATO’s partnerships are a key element of Cooperative Security which is one of the core tasks of the Alliance, and the Alliance has developed effective policies in order to enhance its partnerships. Our partnerships […] make a significant contribution to the success of many of our operations and missions. NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin in April 2011 approved a More Efficient and Flexible Partnership Policy to enhance the effectiveness of NATO’s partnerships. We will continue to actively pursue its further implementation with a view to strengthening NATO’s partnerships, including by: reinforcing the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and our relationships with partners across the globe, while making full use of flexible formats; further developing our political and practical cooperation with partners, including in an operational context; and through increasing partner involvement in training, education, and exercises, including with the NATO Response Force. We will intensify our efforts to better engage with partners across the globe who can contribute significantly to security, and to reach out to partners concerned, including our newest partner Mongolia, to build trust, increase transparency, and develop political dialogue and practical cooperation.”

NATO particularly welcomed their “... meeting in Chicago with thirteen partners who have recently made particular political, operational, and financial contributions to NATO-led operations. This is an example of the enhanced flexibility with which we are addressing partnership issues in a demand and substance-driven way. Our meeting in Chicago with partners provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss the lessons learned from our cooperation, and to exchange views on the common security challenges we face. Joint training and exercises will be essential in maintaining our interoperability and interconnectedness with partner forces, including when we are not engaged together in active operations. We will share ideas generated at this Chicago meeting with all our partners, within the appropriate frameworks, for additional discussion.”

In a footnote these “partners” are listed: Australia, Finland, Georgia, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, the republic of Korea, Marokko, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates … and Switzerland.

More wars in various places

What is the aim? In a cryptic way, the summit declaration answers that question as well: “The Alliance’s recent operational experiences also show that the ability of NATO forces to act together seamlessly and rapidly is critical to success.” That doesn’t mean though that all “partners” were to be deployed in the same area in future. No, those “partners” would wage wars simultaneously in more than just one place. The USA, this can be read anywhere by now, are shifting their military and armament activities to the pacific area, aiming at China. But in the Middle East, in Africa and the Western part of the Eurasian continent there are “enemies” to be fought, too. Doesn’t it come handy then that a country like France revives some neocolonial Mediterranean dreams and has geniuses like Bernard-Henri Lévy who wouldn’t be satisfied with promoting just one terrible war within two years. Or a country like Germany with their desire for continental dominance and war propaganda of the Green party, playing on emotions. Or the Green EU crew of Cohn-Bendit, Fischer, Kouchner, Koenigs, who seem to be so fond of wars in general. All of them can be satisfied and still play their part just as vasalls of the power which sets the tone in NATO.

No wonder then that another NATO summit declaration states (“Toward Nato forces 2020”): “Developing greater European military capabilities will strengthen the transatlantic link, enhance the security of all Allies and foster an equitable sharing of the burdens, benefits and responsibilities of Alliance membership.”

Of course this applies to other “partners”, too, including Switzerland: “We are also taking steps to enhance the linkages between our forces, and with partner countries as well. Our operation over Libya showed once again the importance of such connections; as soon as the political decision was taken to initiate the NATO mission, Alliance pilots were flying wing to wing with each other, and with pilots from non-NATO European and Arab partner countries. That was essential to the military and political success of the mission.

We will build on that success through the Connected Forces Initiative. […] We will link our networks together even more. […] As much as possible, we will also step up our connections with Partners, so that when we wish to act together, we can.”     •