Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil

19 September 2010

By Rick Rozoff

The current century’s only and history’s largest military bloc will hold the latest of what have become annual summits in Lisbon, Portugal this November 19 and 20. Heads of state, defense chiefs and chiefs of general staff from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 full members will be in attendance, as will be leaders from an unannounced number of the military alliance’s forty some odd partner states.

Starting last year a 12-member Group of Experts headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ex-president and chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Jeroen van der Veer toured Europe and North America to promote NATO’s new Strategic Concept, its first in the 21st century as the current version was adopted in 1999, the year of the bloc’s first expansion into Eastern Europe and its 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, the first military assault against a sovereign nation in Europe since World War II.

On May 17 of this year Albright and her cohorts submitted their recommendations – a set of already determined priorities for the expanding military alliance – to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top governing body, to be formally endorsed at the Lisbon summit. [1]

The new Strategic Concept will elaborate upon and extend the policies of its predecessor and will reflect the past decade’s transformation of an erstwhile Cold War-era alliance into an increasingly global warfighting machine. One which has grown in the interim from 16 to 28 full members, the 12 new inductees all in Eastern Europe, 10 of them former members of the Warsaw Pact and three of those ex-Soviet republics.

When the 1999 Strategic Concept was approved NATO was conducting its first full-blown war, Operation Allied Force, a nearly three-month-long relentless bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, followed by the deployment of 50,000 troops under NATO command to the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Two years afterward the North Atlantic bloc intervened in an armed conflict in Macedonia, itself the offshoot of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, with the deployment of troops under the banner of Operation Amber Fox.

Since 2001 all Balkan nations, including ones that did not exist as the time, have become NATO members or partners. [2]

In the same month, September, NATO activated its Article 5 collective military assistance provision for the first time in its then 52-year history the day after the September 11 attacks in the United States, although no state actor had been accused of perpetrating them. In so doing it committed itself to the following month’s invasion of Afghanistan and all that has ensued.

The war in Afghanistan will enter its tenth year almost two months before this year’s NATO summit and there are currently 150,000-strong foreign troops in the war zone, 120,000 from 50 nations serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The Alliance also has bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and has conducted shelling and helicopter and special forces raids inside Pakistan.

After invoking its war clause on September 12, 2001, NATO launched the ongoing Operation Active Endeavor naval surveillance and interdiction mission throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea, which will last as long as NATO itself does.

NATO has also run troop airlift operations in Africa, first in the Darfur region of western Sudan and later in Somalia. Since 2008 it has conducted naval surveillance, interdiction and boarding operations off the Horn of Africa.

The NATO Training Mission – Iraq continues to instruct Iraqi officers and soldiers inside the country and at NATO facilities in Europe. [3]

What has occurred since and as a result of the adoption of the last Strategic Concept at the 50th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. while the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were welcomed as member states and bombs and cruise missiles descended on Yugoslavia, is a qualitative transformation of the U.S.-dominated, European-based military alliance into an international intervention and occupation force.

In 2003 the bloc launched its first rapid reaction force, the NATO Response Force, described by NATO as to consist of 25,000 troops “capable of performing missions worldwide across the whole spectrum of operations.” [4] Its initial test was in the Steadfast Jaguar exercise in the African nation of Cape Verde in 2006 with 7,800 troops, U.S. F-16s, German armored vehicles and Spanish helicopters. NATO’s first major deployment on African soil.

What has transpired in the interim is what Ivo Daalder, now U.S. permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO, advocated in a 2006 article in Foreign Affairs appropriately titled “Global NATO”: The Alliance has expanded into not only a combat-capable and expeditionary organization but one with members and partners far from its original area of responsibility and one conducting operations around the world.

In the same year as Daalder’s article appeared Kurt Volker, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and two years later U.S. ambassador to NATO, said in February and May, respectively, that “NATO currently has partnership relationships with 30 countries in Eurasia and another 22 countries in the broader Middle East, and it is looking at other relationships” [5] and in 2005 had been “engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents with the help of 20 partners in Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranean, four in the Persian Gulf, and a handful of capable contributors on our periphery.” [6]

To bring matters up to date, this September 14 the Pentagon’s website paraphrased Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, as maintaining that “NATO’s roadmap for a new world and its mission in Afghanistan will be the main topics of discussion when the alliance’s leaders gather in Lisbon….” Describing NATO’s global objectives within the context of the upcoming summit, she said in her own words: “The first will be revitalizing the alliance for the 21st century and the second will be succeeding as an alliance in Afghanistan….NATO has now had more than a decade of experience in the requirements to do expeditionary operations – to actually have your command structure actually be able to deploy and employ forces in real-world contingencies.”

She also mentioned a third, critically important, aspect of 21st century global NATO: Participating in the belated realization of the Ronald Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative, so-called Star Wars. The same Defense Department article quoted from above stated, “Missile defense is another priority for NATO in Lisbon, Flournoy said, and the United States hopes the alliance will embrace missile defense as a mission.” [7]

A day after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described to Britain’s Daily Telegraph plans in which “an anti-ballistic missile ‘shield’ would be extended across Nato’s territory, coordinated by a new command and control system that would ‘knit together’ existing radar and other sensor systems, with new SM-3 missiles based on land.”

Rasmussen also asserted that he has “full American backing for a proposed $200 million (£165 million) defensive ‘shield’, which he hopes will be agreed in November at a summit of members in Lisbon.” [8]

Three days earlier he was cited claiming that “an alliance-wide territorial missile defense system would cost about €200 million ($245 million) over the next 10 years.

“This is above the €800 million ($1.2 billion) investment already required to field theater missile defenses designed to protect deployed troops.” [9]

That is, almost a billion and a half American dollars for a layered, integrated interceptor missile system expanding from theater to regional to continental range and ultimately linking up with Pentagon plans for a worldwide network even reaching into space.

The founding of NATO in the last century allowed the U.S. to station nuclear weapons in Europe, where hundreds of them remain, and in the new century NATO will assist Washington in placing all of Europe under an American missile shield, one that is being extended into the South Caucasus and the Middle East. [10]

NATO has also provided the Pentagon with the mechanism for penetrating almost all of Europe, gaining new bases and other military facilities in the east of the continent – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Kosovo and Poland – and integrating the armed forces of all but three countries – Russia, Belarus and Cyprus – for interoperability for missions in Europe and around the world.

Perhaps not a day passes that U.S. military personnel are not leading exercises in Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia in some manner linked with NATO, especially with its Partnership for Peace program.

This month alone U.S. European Command ran Combined Endeavor 2010 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany from September 2-16, “the world’s largest military communications and information systems exercise,” a purpose of which was to build “interoperability between NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations.” [11] Other nations participating included Austria, Afghanistan, Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Britain, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Iraq, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

On September 13 the latest Northern Coasts military exercise was begun in Finland, the first time in that NATO partner state, with “50 warships and 4,000 naval personnel from 13 countries including Finland, Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, Sweden, Denmark and Norway” in what is “the largest military exercise ever staged in Finland’s territorial waters.” [12]

Five days before over 300 U.S. and local troops “kicked off a military exercise…dubbed Medical Central and Eastern Europe Exercise 2010 (MEDCEUR 2010),” in Montenegro – the world’s newest nation – a NATO Partnership for Peace initiative and “the biggest military exercise held in Montenegro so far.” [13]

Last month Canada conducted the largest of regular military exercises in the Arctic started in 2007 after Russia renewed its territorial claims in the region. Operation Nanook 2010 was not only the biggest such exercise, but for the first time included military forces from other nations: NATO allies the United States and Denmark. [14]

In early 2009 NATO held a two-day conference in Iceland called Security Prospects in the High North which was attended by its secretary general, its two top military commanders and the chairman of its Military Committee. [15]

This week Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon [16] disclosed that Ottawa will contest ownership of the main basis for Russia’s Arctic claims, the Lomonosov Ridge. On September 15 President Dmitry Medvedev warned “The Russian Federation is keeping a close eye on this activity (NATO in the Arctic) because it (Arctic) is a zone of peaceful and economic cooperation.” [17]

The following day Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Canadian counterpart Cannon in Moscow and said, “We do not see what benefit NATO can bring to the Arctic…I do not think NATO would be acting properly if it took upon itself the right to decide who should solve problems in the Arctic.” [18]

A Chinese analysis of a week before indicated why the U.S. and NATO – with Canada the proxy and if need be the sacrificial offering – are moving into the Arctic Ocean. Author Wang Wei identified two of the strategic purposes motivating NATO states’ drive into the Arctic, the third being massive reserves of oil and natural gas: “[T]he Arctic is important in the military field. Currently, all global powers are located in the northern hemisphere just a short distance to the North Pole. This makes the region the most strategic place to launch a ballistic missile. The special landscape of the polar region makes it easy to hide nuclear submarines. These factors combine to pose a great challenge to the defense of countries neighboring the Arctic.”

Russian intercontinental ballistic missile-equipped submarines operating under the Arctic polar ice cap are that component of the country’s nuclear triad least susceptible to a U.S. first strike, but in recent years the U.S. and Britain have conducted joint anti-submarine warfare maneuvers under the ice cap.

“[T]he famous Northwest Passage, a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, will be fully navigable. There will be no need for European vessels to detour to the Panama Canal to reach Asia.” [19]

It is not only at the top of the world that NATO’s global ambitions are touching a raw nerve.

On the same day that the Russian foreign minister issued his statement, it was revealed that senior Brazilian government aides were cited warning that “Brazil is opposed to any NATO presence in the South Atlantic or any attempt to forge links between the north and the south of the oceanic region.”

Defense Minister Nelson Jobim “made clear his country would oppose any inroads by NATO or its members,” and said that NATO’s intrusion into the South Atlantic region would be “inappropriate.” [20]

He was responding in part to comments by his Portuguese counterpart, Defense Minister Augusto Santos Silva, who demanded the new NATO Strategic Concept address the South Atlantic region, stating it “does not pay as much attention to the South Atlantic as NATO should” and that he would raise the matter with Secretary General Rasmussen.

Santos Silva added that the South Atlantic is “strategic” and that it should be included in NATO’s “lines of fundamental action.” [21] He made specific reference to his nation’s historical role in the area, where it had possessed major colonies on both sides of the South Atlantic: Brazil in the west and Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Principe and Sao Tome to the east. Over the past decade NATO founding member Portugal has led joint military exercises with all the above-mentioned nations as well as fellow former colonies Mozambique and Timor-Leste.

NATO’s drive to the east has taken it to China’s borders and its plans for the south are just as far-reaching. Moving into the South Atlantic permits the military alliance to penetrate alike Latin America and Africa, especially its oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, and positions it for the impending battle for Antarctica and its resources which will parallel that over the Arctic. [22]

The expansion of a Northern Hemispheric military bloc to all compass points, from the South Atlantic [23] to the North Pole, is a threat that should concern the people of the world.

On September 16 Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, retired major-general and professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, wrote that NATO’s new Strategic Concept “will give it undivided global responsibility.” Driven by the “desire by the US to use the military alliance as an instrument of its foreign policy in the security sphere, and American plans to replace the UN with NATO,” [24] he continued, “NATO’s desire to operate in the whole world first surfaced in the 90s of the 20th century” when the “US-led aggression against Yugoslavia showed that the global plan of NATO is to dominate the world,” adding that the “invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are other concrete examples of the plan.” [25]

Zolotarev’s comments are truly the last word on the subject.

1) 21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
Stop NATO, February 26, 2010

NATO: Global Military Bloc Finalizes 21st Century Strategic Doctrine
Stop NATO, May 8, 2010

Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude
On New Global Doctrine
Stop NATO, October 2, 2009

2) Full Circle: NATO Completes Takeover Of Former Yugoslavia
Stop NATO, March 23, 2010

Balkans Revisited: U.S., NATO Expand Military Role In Southeastern Europe
Stop NATO, September 14, 2009

Adriatic Charter And The Balkans: Smaller Nations, Larger NATO
Stop NATO, May 13, 2009

3) Iraq: NATO Assists In Building New Middle East Proxy Army
Stop NATO, August 13, 2010

4) North Atlantic Treaty Organization

5) U.S. State Department, February 24, 2006
6) U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
7) United States Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service
September 14, 2010
West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
Stop NATO, May 27, 2009

8) Daily Telegraph, September 11, 2010
9) Aviation Week, September 8, 2010
10) Nuclear Weapons And Interceptor Missiles: Twin Pillars Of U.S.-NATO
Military Strategy In Europe
Stop NATO, April 23, 2010

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
Stop NATO, March 14, 2010

NATO’s Sixty-Year Legacy: Threat Of Nuclear War In Europe
Stop NATO, March 31, 2009

11) United States European Command, September 8, 2010
12) Xinhua News Agency, September 11, 2010
13) Southeast European Times, September 10, 2010
14) Canada Opens Arctic To NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup
Stop NATO, August 29, 2010

15) NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic
Stop NATO, February 2, 2009

16) Loose Cannon And Nuclear Submarines: West Prepares For Arctic Warfare
Stop NATO, December 1, 2009

17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 15, 2010
18) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 16, 2010
19), September 8, 2010
20) United Press International, September 16, 2010
21) Lusa News Agency, September 18, 2010
22) Scramble For World Resources: Battle For Antarctica
Stop NATO, May 16, 2009

23) NATO Of The South: Chile, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica
Stop NATO, May 30, 2009

24) West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO
Stop NATO, May 27, 2009

25) Voice of Russia, September 16, 2010




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