In the context of the NATO’s summit of heads of state and government, its decisions – firstly to deploy four NATO battalions in the Baltic States and in Poland, secondly the “offer” to dialog with Russia and thirdly the public debates in Germany (and other countries) about the dealing with Russia – have dominated the reporting news.
A more accurate reading of the final documents of the summit reveals a few more but also important aspects, including
The first and second aspect can be seen in the “Joint statement of the NATO-Georgia-Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers” of 8 July 2016 and even more in the “Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine-Commission at the level of Heads of States and Government” of 9 July.
The third aspect can be found in the “Commitment to enhance resilience” of 8 July and the “The Warsaw declaration on Transatlantic Security” of 8-9 July.
The fourth aspect can be found in the “Joint declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization” of 8 July. These (and other important) documents can be found e.g. on the official NATO website www.nato.int.
As a politically and historically interested citizen, you are highly disconcerted in view of the triteness and falsehood of the NATO argumentation. There is never a statement regarding the real politics of the NATO states in the past 25 years, no hint at own errors or omissions – except in re-armament –, nowhere a word of understanding for the Russian position.
For instance, if we read that the Russian actions in Ukraine “undermine the rules-based order in Europe”, the question is what has really happened in Ukraine and which “rules” were followed in the NATO eastward expansion, the new NATO strategies after 1990 (from a defense alliance in the Northern Atlantic region towards a globally acting aggressive alliance), the NATO wars violating international law in Yugoslavia 1999, in Libya 2011, the aggressive war of a large number of NATO states violating international law in 2003 and so on – and which “order in Europe” was aimed at.
NATO claims: “Despite repeated calls by the Alliance and the international community on Russia to abide by international law, Russia has continued its aggressive actions undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, in violation of international law.” Not a single mention is made of the NATO states’ real politics on Ukraine: neither of the participation of NATO states in the Ukraine coup d’état in February 2014, nor of the participation of NATO states in the new Ukrainian government’s violent repression of the originally peaceful protests in Eastern Ukraine, nor of the endeavors of NATO states to take away the naval base on the Crimean from Russia with the help of Ukrainian command units.
How dares NATO formulating that “further steps” were taken “in order to strengthen our deterrence and defense against threats from all sides” if NATO states are already spending ten times as much as Russia or China for the military and armament, to say nothing of the other members of the global community? Logically, this grossly unbalanced armament can only make sense in one way: to form the world according to one’s own taste and to dominate others.
What should we think of a formulation like “We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make it possible“, if at the same time Russia is confronted with numerous accusations – which implies that NATO will not deem a “constructive relationship with Russia” possible until the NATO states succeed in bringing Russia to its knees or managing a regime change?
What does it really mean if we read that “an independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security”? Is this the official version for the US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski’s open word who wanted to cut off the historic ties between Ukraine and Russia in order to permanently weaken Russia?
NATO writes: “We believe in an undivided, free and peaceful Europe.” At the same time, the next sentence stresses its will to increase its influence in Ukraine, in Georgia and in Moldova, that is, on Russia’s borders and in countries with traditionally strong ties with Russia, while pushing back Russia’s influence. How can this go together?
In his new book “Feindbild Russland. Geschichte einer Dämonisierung” (Enemy stereotype Russia. History of a demonisation, cf. Current Concerns No 15 from 12 July 2016), Hannes Hofbauer has shown that this century old enemy stereotype has been reactivated after 2000 when the Russian government under its president Vladimir Putin refused to give US-American energy corporations permission to access Russian energy reserves. NATO is an instrument of these interests, but also of other interests and ideologies. There will likely never be a NATO which can stick to the truth in these contexts - otherwise it would reveal itself. Who could expect this?
But it is the task of the citizen to ask critical questions and to get to the bottom of things. This is indispensable if NATO is pursuing a policy which highly endangers life in Europe – as it does with the current policy.
There can only be a real dialog with Russia if NATO also accepts Russia’s legitimate concerns and interests. Everything else is a highly dangerous path towards the abyss.
P.S.: On 8 July, under the headline “Rolle in der Nato. vom verlässlichen Partner zum Impulsgeber” (Role in NATO. From reliable partner to initiator), the German daily “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” wrote: “At the Warsaw NATO summit, Germany is presenting itself with a new self-image. Gone are the decades of political and military restraint. Berlin is now seeking an active contribution to the global order.” On 12 July, the same newspaper reviewed a book of the US-American Esther-Julia Howell which had appeared in German translation: “Von den Besiegten lernen? Die kriegsgeschichtliche Kooperation der US-Armee und der ehemaligen
“Wehrmachtselite” 1945–1961” (Learning from the Vanquished? Military historical cooperation between the former “Wehrmacht” Elite and the United States Army Historical Division, 1945–1961). Among others, the book is telling the story of Franz Halder who had been head of the German general staff and received the highest honour of the United States of America for civilians. He received the honour for his merits in the Cold War. The newspaper wrote that Halder and his equals “in a time of an intensifying Cold War when also old enemy stereotypes were unashamed cultivated, had become estimated consultants of the US Army. Halder was moved to tears when the US Army asked him not only to draft studies regarding his own experiences in the east but also to contribute to the new Field Manual for a potential land war against the Soviet Union.”
Shouldn’t this make the blood run cold in our veins? •
“Now our tanks are again on the outskirts of Leningrad or St. Petersburg. NATO has now again brought about the whole deployment, which then brought terror, misery, and hardship over Europe. [...] We are back at the borders of a country, which lost 27 million of his countrymen 75 years ago. This cannot be stressed often enough. [...] At that time, 75 years ago it was about the lebensraum in the East. Today, NATO wants to pinch the Russian resources. [...]
What we see today, the situation in Ukraine and the development of the Crimea, we have to say matter-of-factly: the West, NATO and the European Union have gambled away, and Ukraine pays the price for it. Russia cannot be blamed for that! [...]
Poland and the Baltic countries are trying to bring Germany and the German people in position against Russia, which is not desired by both peoples. [...] This is an attempt to build a new wall across Europe, in coordination with the American policy, this time from the Baltics to the Black Sea, in order to islate Russia.”
from: Willy Wimmer: “Der Westen hat sich verzockt” (The West has gambled away), Interview with Sputnik News from 8 July 2016 (http://de.sputniknews.com/politik/20160708/311246497/wimmer-westen-verzockt.html)
(Translation Current Concerns)
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