On September 14, in an address to the far right American organisation called The Heritage Foundation, referring, one supposes, to their fascist roots, the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, described NATO in effect to be a world government prepared for eternal war. He declared NATO to be the “guarantor of peace and stability in Europe since 1949,” when in fact it has only succeeded in bringing war and catastrophe, for the only real guarantor of peace and stability in Europe until 1991 was the Red Army, the withdrawal of which allowed the NATO war machine to move right up to Russia’s borders.
For Stoltenberg the Warsaw pact didn’t exist. Yet it was the necessary counter to the continuous NATO threats against Eastern Europe and the USSR. Without the Warsaw Pact, without the Red Army, the Americans and their lieutenants would have swept across Europe long ago, on behalf of the captains of free enterprise, with the same resulting misery for the masses as they have caused since. The United Nations does not even figure in Mr. Stoltenberg’s universe. It might as well not exist, nor the Non-Aligned Movement, which also played a significant role in trying to establish the principles of non-interference, of national sovereignty, respect for different social and economic systems, and adherence to international legal principles.
The support of national liberation movements by the USSR that succeeded in liberating the peoples of the third world from colonialism was one of the most important advances of democracy in world history. Yet according to Mr. Stoltenberg this liberation of the colonial peoples was “aggression from the Soviet Union” while NATO is “an alliance seeking a stable rules-based international climate where all nations can prosper,” when in fact he meant that the NATO nations can prosper.
He confessed this when he stated that NATO has helped to “spread democratic values, free enterprise and stability” to millions of people in the eastern part of Europe when in fact NATO has only replaced socialist democracy with capitalist democracy, the democracy of the working people, with the democracy of capital, by capital and for capital and in nations such as Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and numerous countries in Africa has acted to crush local democracies that oppose NATO’s interests.
To advance “free enterprise” that is to ensure the complete freedom of movement of capital of the NATO nations against the wishes of the peoples of the world, he proudly boasted of their nuclear arms and readiness to use them and admitted that the twenty-eight American bases in Europe are “not only for Europe, they enable the US to project military power across the wider Middle East and Africa.” He happily pointed out that the US Africa Command, one is tempted to use the Nazi Wehrmacht term Afrika Korps, is based, not in Africa, but in Stuttgart, Germany and that the US 6th Fleet that patrols from the Barents Sea to Antarctica is based in Naples while its jackboot troopers wounded while wreaking havoc in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan are treated in Ramstein, Germany.
He then repeated the US-NATO claim that the invasion of Afghanistan was a collective defence action under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty when Afghanistan had nothing whatsoever to do with the incident in New York and when invocation of that section of the NATO Treaty was in violation of Article 1 that requires the NATO powers to adhere to the UN Charter which forbids military action against a nation unless approved by the Security Council.
He claimed that NATO’s agreed increase in military spending is “real progress” and that “we are moving in the right direction” and congratulated Donald Trump for his leadership. In response to a question he stated that the US and its allies intend to occupy Afghanistan forever. He stated,
“We have to remember that the reason we are in Afghanistan is to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.”
This is a double lie of course since Afghanistan was never a base for terrorists attacks on any NATO country and instead was used by the US to launch terrorist attacks on Soviet forces and the Afghan government in the 1980’s leading to the rise of the Taliban, and that it is the NATO powers that have themselves terrorised the Afghan people for 17 years. But this will continue to serve as their pretext for the continued occupation of central Asia, a dagger thrust at the bodies of Russia, Iran and China.
Since that speech the nations of the world addressed the General Assembly with the NATO boss, President Trump, reprising George Bush’s “you are either with us or against us” threat to the world. We can imagine him going back to his office afterwards, pleased with himself and there, in homage to Charlie Chaplin’s portrayal of Hitler, tossing the world globe around as if it were his personal toy.
In support of the American claim to rule the world the 2019 US Defence Budget increases spending to new heights with an emphasis on nuclear weapons at the same time as it commits crimes against humanity by squeezing the economy of North Korea to force that small but proud nation to render itself defenceless against a US attack by abandoning its nuclear weapons, while saying nothing about Israeli nuclear weapons or Israel’s occupation of Palestine or its constant attacks on Syria on behalf of its US patrons.
The US Defence Budget of 1.3 trillion dollars not only staggers the mind with the amount of money to be wasted that could be spent on better things for the citizens of the US, it reads as if the group that wrote it were high on mind altering drugs. On the second page of the Overview it is stated,
“Today, the United States is emerging from a period of strategic atrophy in which the Department’s competitive military advantage has been eroding. The United States is facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any the United States has experienced in recent memory. Major power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.
“The costs of not implementing this strategy are clear. Failure to meet the DoD’s objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, and reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in U.S. prosperity and standard of living.”
The first lie in this statement is that the US military advantage is eroding. Perhaps one can say that in terms of technical advances they lag Russia and perhaps China but in terms of men and material, bases, ships, aircraft, submarines and nuclear weapons it has never been more of a threat to world peace.
The second lie is that the US faces increased global disorder, as if it had nothing to do with it, for the global disorder we now face is entirely due to their invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, their overthrow of the government of Ukraine and support of Nazis there, their attempts to overthrow the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Yemen, the US backed Georgian invasion of Ossetia, the support of Chechens attacking Russia security forces, their support of the so-called colour “revolutions” in North Africa, their destruction of Libya, of Yugoslavia, their constant aggression against Russia, North Korean and China using military, economic, and propaganda warfare, their backing of a coup against the government of Turkey and even disturbing otherwise compliant relations with its loyal vassal, Canada.
The US and its NATO allies treat international law with contempt, use intense propaganda on their own peoples to brainwash them to support this criminality, and try to intimidate them with their “war on terror” as they savaged civil liberties. Law means nothing to the psychopaths who rule these nations and whose slogan is “peace through strength” or, to penetrate the euphemism, “peace through war.”
But they reveal their real purpose with the line that they fear “reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in U.S. prosperity and standard of living.” In other words, American capitalists fears loss of profit and their standard of living. They could not care less about the constant decline in living standards of the masses caused by their military spending to support the living standards of the rich.
But just as the US provoked war with Japan in 1941 with its oil blockade preventing Japan from access to energy supplies, the US has now signaled that it is contemplating a naval blockade of Russia but in this case to prevent it from marketing its energy supplies. The American Interior Minister, Ryan Zinke, stated on September 28, in relation to Russia that,
“The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade … to make sure that their energy does not go to market.”
The statement makes little sense on the face of it since most of Russia’s energy exports are through pipelines to Europe and China not by sea and so a naval blockade would seem to be an empty threat, even an absurd one. However, Russia is sending increasing amounts of liquefied natural gas by ship to China, India and Venezuela and even the northeast USA from its recently completed Yamal LNG plant on the Arctic Ocean in Siberia which has a huge capacity to refine and export gas drilled in northern Russia. The US is intent on cornering the rapidly growing Chinese and Indian markets and wants to prevent exports of gas to Venezuela and of course it is unhappy that Russian gas appeared in the US market to meet demand that US producers could not satisfy. So the threat of a blockade is real one and if attempted would be an act of war, just as their threats to try to shut in Iranian energy exports constitute an act of war.
So, once again the world is on the brink of war over the division of resources and markets, a war that has been going on for centuries while we the people suffer the consequences. And what is it all about but profit, profit for them, but misery for us as they prepare for the next act in what seems their eternal war.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”