Tuesday August 2, 2022
Every leader and top official now in power in the so-called Western World seems to have forgotten that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 as an alliance that was ostensibly defensive in nature, intended to counter the expansion of Soviet style communism in Europe. That role continued to be the raison d’etre of the organization until communist governments themselves collapsed in both Russia and in the Eastern European states that collectively made up the Warsaw Pact during the 1990s. After that point, NATO no longer had any reason to exist at all as the alleged military threat posed by the Kremlin and its allies vanished virtually overnight.
But clever politicians were quick to put the alliance on life support instead of simply dismantling it. Lacking the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact, NATO was forced to come up with other reasons to maintain military forces at levels that could quickly be enhanced and placed on a wartime footing. Washington and London took the lead in this, citing the now shopworn defense of a “rules based international order” as well as of “democracy” and “freedom.” And fortunately for the national defense industries and the generals, it soon proved possible to find new enemies that provided justification for additional military spending. The first major engagement outside the obligations defined by the original treaty took place in Europe to be sure, but it was in the Balkans where of NATO during the 1995 Operation Deliberate Force. The war ended after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on December 14th 1995. Peace negotiations were finalized a week later but fighting resumed between Kosovo and Serbia in the following year, which led to another NATO intervention that eventually ended with the restoration of Kosovo’s autonomy and the deployment of NATO forces, which bombed the Serbs to compel their compliance with a draft cease fire agreement.
NATO also played a role improbably enough in the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which was justified by claiming that an Afghanistan free to set its own course would become a hotbed of terrorism which would inevitably impact on the United States and Europe. It was a paper-thin argument, but it was the best they could come up with at the time and it also eventually involved soldiers from additional friendly countries like Australia. As we have subsequently seen, however, it was all an argument without merit as Afghanistan became a money pit and a graveyard for thousands of locals and foreign soldiers. It is now again in the hands of the Taliban after a bungled withdrawal of US forces and the collapse of the puppet government in Kabul that Washington had installed.