The U.S. Drive for NATO Expansion
By Senator Doug Roche

Nothing like an impeachment blitzkrieg to persuade President Clinton to capitulate even further to the right-wing agenda. With hardly a moment to breathe after the bombing of Iraq and the missile attacks on the Sudan and Afghanistan, the Administration is renewing threats for NATO to bomb Yugoslavia over the internal conflict in the province of Kosovo and Metohija. Meanwhile, plans for the vast expansion of NATO continue. All of this costs billions of tax dollars, of course, so while social programs that fed children and served society's most vulnerable are eliminated, education deteriorates, and Social Security is up for grabs, President Clinton asks for more billions in corporate welfare to be doled out to the military-industrial complex. The American people are demanding attention be paid to the issues and these are some basic issues which are not being addressed in Congress, by the media nor the public.  The enlargement of NATO is the critical backdrop behind all of the bombing mania. Such extension, with the Alliance taking on a decidedly aggressive posture, should concern every American not only because of the trillions of tax dollars involved. It will also lead to the renewed danger of world war with nuclear weapons part of the equation. Russia, still a nuclear power, is understandably very uneasy about an enlarging NATO.
 NATO expansion pertains to what Washington calls a "new strategic concept", an ambitious, expensive and and potentially perilous new program to have NATO, under U.S. leadership, become the key player globally. This new blueprint for NATO not only sees it extending throughout Eastern and Baltic Europe, possibly taking in Russia itself, it goes considerably beyond this, as indicated by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his new book (" The Brand Chessboard"). He defines the alliance as part of an "integrated, comprehensive and long-term geostrategy for all of Eurasia," in which NATO would eventually reach Asia, where another U.S. led military alliance would connect Pacific and Southeast Asian states.  This is confirmed by recently announced plans for new relations with Southeast Asia in which the U.S. would acquire access to military bases in Asian countries in exchange for financial help to buy U.S. arms. The Pentagon's recently published East Asian Strategy Report defines this program as offering the United States "a credible power projection capability in the region and beyond."  Another component of this strategy is to counter any prospect of a purely European defense and security entity. Britain's former Conservative defense minister, Michael Portillo, recently criticized those European allies who want such a separate European defense and "whose wider project is to establish a European power bloc that offers the world alternative economic and foreign policy to America's. "  The U.S. is determined to remain dominant militarily especially with the advent of the Euro-dollar, a strengthened European Union and the growing potential for intense economic rivalry with Europe.  This was clearly spelled out in "The Defense Planning Guide, excerpted in a New York Times article, March 8, 1992 which said, among other things: "We must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. ... we must [deter] potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role... We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO."  The projected expansion and transformation of NATO is globalization of U.S. military strategy paralleling economic globalization. The surface justifications for such a worldwide military presence include the need for the U.S. to be peacekeeper and policeman. Yet, this military muscle clearly will be used to protect and bolster U.S. corporate investments around the world in the face of growing resistence of people everywhere who are suffering intensifying poverty from the burgeoning global economic crisis.  NATO's scenario in Kosovo is similar to what happened in Bosnia. First there was heavy bombing of the Serb areas, August 31 to September 13, 1995, including the cities of Banja Luka and Doboj, something most Americans are unaware of. Those attacks unleashed 8,000 tons of high explosive bombs and other sophisticated air borne weapons. Scientists have documented that depleted uranium (DU) shells were used. These DU shells hit hospitals, schools and factories. Subsequently there has been a continuing formidable and virtual colonial occupation of the Serb Republic of Bosnia.  The success of this Bosnia venture, the first outside-of-area action, is seen as critical to the plans for a new NATO. The giant McGovern NATO base, located near Brcko is the hub of this occupation activity. Such actions as the take-over of the main factory in Mrkonjic Grad and the bulldozing of the  equipment, trucks and buses into a field by the occupation force, depriving 450 workers of a livelihood, and the similar takeover of the second largest enterprise, a shoe factory, would indicate little interest in real stabilization in the Serb Republic.  As pointed out by William Pfaff, writing in the International Herald Tribune, (December 5, 1998) Richard Holbrooke saw the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement on Kosovo as an unprecedented event. NATO had intervened in an internal conflict inside a sovereign non-NATO  state, not to defend its own members but to force that other state to halt is actions against a rebellious ethnic minority. NATO did this on its own authority, in other words on U.S. initiative. It did so even though two members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China, said they would veto a resolution authorizing a NATO attack. So NATO did not ask for UN authorization. Never mind that the UN Charter and international law does not permit such conduct  to begin with.

 In order to justify military intervention, there have often been Gulf of Tonkin-type incidents and atrocities such as the alleged unplugging of Kuwaiti baby incubators by the Iraqis, the bread-Line massacre of civilians and the Markale Market Massacre in Sarajevo, all subsequently proven to be deliberate provocations or totally untrue. But they accomplished the desired goal of whipping up hysterical support for war. Meanwhile, massacres of whole villages such as in Guatemala or Chiapas, never evoked calls for military intervention by the U.S. Nor did the biggest ethnic cleansing of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the forced expulsion of 250,000 Serbs >from the Krajina region of Croatia which was accompanied by thousands of deaths.
 Once again, NATO is threatening Yugoslavia-- this time because of atrocities in Racak, Kosovo allegedly committed by the Serbs. We need to remain alert to the possibility that this is yet another provocation. Who gains by such an atrocity? How would the Yugoslavia government benefit by carrying out this outrage when they know it could provoke NATO bombing and result in strengthening the position of the Albanian Kosovo Liberation Front (KLA)?  What is at stake in Bosnia and Kosovo and in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, is not only the expansion of NATO in the abstract. The basic underlying reason is the need to open up access for the transshipment of oil >from the rich oil fields of the Caspian sea to Europe via the Danube and through the corridor in which Kosovo liesāa passageway to the Middle East for centuries, including for the Crusaders. Above all, the expansion of NATO involves guaranteeing continuing access to and control of the Caspian sea oil.  Ethnic conflict, now exploding in Kosovo, and the further Balkanization of the Balkans, also continues to be fed by the supply of outside funds and armaments which nurtures and plays upon ethnic and religious differences. But, the major contributing factors to the strife in the region are the expansion interests of NATO, the drive to privatize at cheap sale prices all the public enterprises of the former Yugoslavia, the need for an "oil highway," and the drive to weaken at will, the sovereignty of nations.

Source: International Center for Peace and Justice News Service
( Jan. 20, 1999.