This week, I attended a talk here in San Francisco by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, sponsored jointly by The World Affairs Council and The Commonwealth Club.
I have never heard remarks before quite like those made by Rasmussen, the former Prime Minister of Denmark.
In nearly perfect English, he called for the expanded role for NATO pretty much across the world. He said there was an "arc of crisis" around the world, from north and central Africa to Iraq and Syria. From the Baltics to the Black Sea and on the peninsula of Korea.
He stated that the answer to this global crisis was that NATO needed more ships, planes and troops on the ground. He called for all NATO countries to expand defense spending to two percent of their GDPs and said that the only NATO countries that currently spend above this level are the US, the UK, Greece and Estonia. He justified NATO, which was, of course, formed as a North Atlantic alliance, expansion into activities into the Pacific by pointing out that the NATO member, the US, has a Pacific coast line and that other NATO members have territories in the Pacific.
He didn't identify by name who NATO would be defending against in the Pacific, but that was easy to determine since Rasmussen identified NATO allies in the Pacific as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. China is obviously a problem in Rasmussen's view.
During a Q & A, which was moderated by Thomas F. Stephenson, a partner at Sequoia Capital, Stephenson asked Rasmussen if he saw any role for NATO in fighting climate change.
Never missing an opportunity to urge expansion of NATO, Rasmussen said that global warming would open up new shipping lanes in the Arctic, where there are vast natural resources, and this might result in tensions and that this area should be protected by NATO, since, you guessed it, NATO members have territories in the area.
He said that the current unrest in Iraq should be a lesson learned about the early pull out of NATO training forces in the country, a lesson that should be applied to the Afghanistan pullout.
He saved his harshest remarks for Russia. He said that Russia had ripped up the rule book. He said that Putin will not back off in Ukraine and that the Ukraine crisis "will last a long time," and that it goes beyond Ukraine. He said that Putin has a desire to re-establish greater influence over areas that were once part of the Soviet Union. He said that Putin is fighting a new type of hybrid war, which is a combination of military means and covert operations.
Not once did Rasmussen address the disclosures that US officials were involved in the plotting of the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine. In Rasmussen's view, it is all evil Russia, all the time. In fact, he said that the West was not threatening Russia. But then called for a more visible presence in eastern Europe by NATO.
He also called for NATO to adopt, at its upcoming summit in Wales, the "Readiness Action Plan," which would include investment in rapid response infrastructure, equipment and supplies, "in light of Russian behavior."
In case anyone missed that he was a complete tool of the US Empire, he stated at one point that, "The world needs strong US leadership." This was backed up by the moderator Stephenson who said that "The free world doesn't do very well without strong US leadership."
Curiously, Stephenson name dropped Henry Kissinger during part of Rasmussen's attack on Russia. He said he had recently met with Kissinger and that Kissinger warned it was dangerous to place sanctions on Russia and weaken the country. On a side note, this is an interesting take from Kissinger. I have heard him on more than one occasion call for moderation in sanctions against Russia. I suspect he is possibly on the payroll of a close partner of Russia, perhaps the Marc Rich created, trading firm, Glencore, which has extensive interests in Russia. While Rich was a fugitive living in Switzerland, people familiar with Rich's activities told me he used to keep Kissinger on the payroll back then.
Stephenson also took the event to name drop former Russian president Dimitry Medvedev, and mentioned that he had met with Medvedev as part of a private group when Medvedev visited Silicon Valley in 2010. In other words, the cronies of the Empire continue to attempt to influence globally.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com, where this article first appeared, and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.