Sunday, September 07, 2014

Let's Ditch NATO While We Still Can. Seriously, It's Turning Ugly.

New Rule:  Don't get into mutual defence treaties with countries you're not prepared to die to defend.

How many NATO member nations can you name?  This isn't a game.  It's important, deadly serious, because Canada is obliged to go to war to defend them if and when they're eventually attacked.

Who wouldn't be proud to see Canadian soldiers lay down their lives in the defence of Slovenia?  In fact there are 27-countries we're obliged to go to war to defend.  On the outside, for now, but looking to get in are Cyprus, Macedonia, Georgia and, naturally, the Ukraine.  Under debate are Finland, Kosovo, Serbia, Moldava (yeah, Go Moldava, Go!) and maybe the Swedes.

There's talk of expanding the franchise to even more places that have bugger all to do with the "North Atlantic" or even the northern hemisphere for that matter including Mexico, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Brazil and maybe even South Africa.

Here's the thing.   The more countries you add from ever more distant corners of the world, the greater your chance of being dragged into a war to defend one or more of them.  Cover enough territory and, before long, you'll be in a permanent state of war.

Here's another thing.  These newcomers have a nasty habit of taking your treaty obligations to them far more seriously than their own treaty obligations to the Alliance.  They want under NATO's umbrella, they just don't want to hold it.

Here's one more thing.  Some of these countries just happen to be in places where they wind up getting attacked - a lot - often by armies that just need to get through to fight another country.  Now we may like to tell ourselves that sort of thing is long gone.  Really?

Just one more thing.  NATO is no longer just about "state versus state" warfare. No.  Today's NATO is willing to go after non-state actors - terrorists, insurgents, crime cartels, the lot.

And maybe, if we can squeeze it in, one more thing to ponder.  NATO was supposed to be a defensive alliance.  Mutual defence.  I defend you, you defend me.  Neo-NATO has morphed into a war waging alliance.  We do floors and windows now.  We don't have to be attacked to go into action.  We see something we don't like, we go for our guns.  Think Kosovo, think Libya, think of the Alliance's response to the Ukraine fiasco.

When you transition from being a defensive alliance into a constantly expanding, war waging alliance you become an offensive military alliance.  We used to see the Soviet dominated, Warsaw Pact as an offensive military alliance - the very threat for which we needed NATO.  Now we're becoming the Warsaw Pact of the 21st century. Which means we're going to be perceived as a dangerous and hostile threat by countries not in the club.  Wait till they see us flying those F-35 nuclear strike bombers.

So, you see, Neo-NATO has become a monster that we no longer control.  It now controls us.  We are now part of an offensive military alliance that threatens some very powerful nations.  We may be on the verge of becoming a permanent warfare state just like our cousins to the south.  The F-35, a purely offensive weapon with no viable defensive capability, should cinch the deal.


Edstock said...

You are convinced that NATO is a tool of the American imperialists. That has its points, but, "Cover enough territory and, before long, you'll be in a permanent state of war." — seems to forget that you have to have somebody to be in a permanent state of war with. Right now, Vlad seems to be willing to be that somebody; he's doing what he wants, causing severe concern in the nations around the Russian borders.
And maybe you didn't like Kosovo. That's your opinion. There are a lot of Muslims there who were really glad to see those Warthogs take on those kinder, gentler Serbs.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Ed. I recently completed a great, online course put on by the war studies department of Kings College, London, that delved into causes of war in the 21st century. The lectures and assigned readings confirmed my suspicions that we're facing a century of revolutions and war.

Offensive military alliances, like NATO, can spark arms races and insecurity that can lead to war. When NATO shows up on your border, it's not there to offer you ice cream.

You seem to have a very truncated grasp of what actually happened in Ukraine and the West's role in creating the crisis. That's unfortunate.

Today, alliances like NATO can actually cause wars to break out. There's been a lot of talk about NATO covering Japan and South Korea. How do you think that will sit with Beijing?

As for Kosovo, I had real sympathy for that criminal enterprise and none at all for Milosevic. I wasn't expressing support for either side, merely making the point that NATO has morphed from a defensive alliance into an offensive alliance. And that, Ed, is my opinion.

We contrived an Article 5 case for our war in Afghanistan but it was a factual stretch and it ended predictably.

Anonymous said...

What they are doing is, creating a massive global army. Such as? If the people of BC try to block the Enbridge pipeline? The global army will visit BC.

Harper also had, a secret meeting with Communist China. The Chinese Military Brass has also been over, to visit Harper.

At the meetings of Nations, Harper is the trouble maker every time. If his mouth was a little larger? He could get both of his feet in it. Seems Harper was banned, from a meeting in Wales.

Anyong said...

"Today, alliances like NATO can actually cause wars to break out. There's been a lot of talk about NATO covering Japan and South Korea. How do you think that will sit with Beijing?" No kidding! On the other hand, Japan and S. Korea have been in talks with China for some time. Earnest talks began while I was a resident of S. Korea way back in 2001. When Kim,Jung-un began to carry on like his father, he was summoned to China immediately as was his father before him. 70% of China's farm land is so polluted it is a very worrying fact for them since it is unusable. Japan is sinking and as always, S. Korea is smack in the middle. These three know they need an alliance of some kind among themselves and also with much bigger countries. In their minds, Australia isn't it so these three want some kind of alliance that helps them maintain themselves but is China in need of protection? Definitely not. Our biggest problem here at the moment happens to be Harper's ridiculous comments. Where is a Lester Pearson when we need him? And second, why aren't critical thinkers being heard?

The Mound of Sound said...

You still don't get it, Anyong. There's no need, indeed no place, for critical thinking in the era of neo-liberalism. All will be guided by free market capitalism and the magical, invisible hand of the marketplace. That's how we've blundered from pillar to post for the past thirty years.

Meanwhile Washington is doing everything in its power to isolate China from its neighbours. With their commitments to purchase the F-35, Australia, Japan and North Korea confirmed their membership in America's aerial Foreign Legion.

I don't know that 70% of China's farmland is too contaminated to be usable. The government claims 20% is ruined and I read well before that a figure of 40%. Compound that with the drought now prevailing in China's northern agricultural belt and it's easy to see Beijing's plight. Some suggest China may declare a segment of its population basically surplus if it can negotiate a deal with Russia to allow them to populate Siberia.

Anonymous said...

China has polluted much of their farmland and 40% of their water. Dead pigs come floating down China's rivers.

There are 413,000 Chinese in Vancouver alone. 45,000 more want in. There are wealthy Chinese that are going to sue Harper, to get into Canada, likely into BC.

We don't want dead pigs, to float down our rivers. Nor, do we want China taking our resources nor resource jobs. We don't want Communist China on our Canadian soil, what-so-ever.

China fouled their own country and now they want to foul ours. They can all go back, to their own polluted wasteland and stay out of our country.

BC miners and others, want the Chinese removed.

Anonymous said...

I read about the 70% in the Korea Herald a week or so ago. Anyong

Anonymous said...

"China wakes up to its water crisis

More than 70 per cent of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted and almost half may contain water that is unfit for human consumption or contact." This was part of the report. Anyong

Unknown said...

Let's see now, the U.S. engineers a coup in the Ukraine unseating a democratically elected President and puts in their own man. Why? Their now with NATO's help giving the finger to Russia and planning to install military bases on Russia's doorstep. Why? Russia, a country with nuclear weapons. Why would NATO risk Russia using nuclear weapons in response to NATO's agressive presence in the east. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then....I have a question for you mound. Would Russia sit back and let NATO/U.S. do this? What are Russia's options? And is NATO/U.S. prepared to start world war3. After all its not a stretch to see where this can lead. A great article on a really important subject.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Pamela. I don't know what either side is "prepared to do" but what really worries me is that I don't believe the leaders really know either. The history books are replete with wars that neither side truly wanted. Miscalculation plays a role in the outbreak of plenty of wars. That's why war is often described as an extension of politics by other means. Brinksmanship and sabre-rattling coupled with carelessness can lead to places no one really wants to go.

Anonymous said...


The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, I coined the term with a slightly sick feeling in my stomach.

Purple library guy said...

Funny someone upset with the Russian stance in Ukraine should mention Kosovo. The Russians say their position on Ukraine is precisely based on the US doctrine vis-a-vis Kosovo.

That is, the Americans declared Kosovo its own state (although hardly an independent state, being as how various foreign troops are still mostly in charge) and that there need be no negotiations with Serbia because the desires of the local people were sovereign. This despite that Kosovo didn't actually hold a referendum on independence.

So it seems peculiar for supporters of the US approach to Kosovo to complain about Russia's approach to Crimea, where the people's position was much clearer, or to back Kiev's position on the voters and protesters of Eastern Ukraine (that is, they're all terrorists and their desires are in no way sovereign but rather to be crushed). Russia regularly refers precisely to this strenuously US-backed precedent for regions seceding from parent countries. It seems clear in fact that if the US approached these matters based consistently on their merits (hahaha, I slay me!), the US would have been bombing Kiev in order to stop its authoritarian government from slaughtering civilians, in the same way they bombed Belgrade a couple decades ago. (It would have been the wrong thing to do just as it was back then, but it would have been consistent)

The Mound of Sound said...

PLG, shame on you for pointing out the obvious! Surely you understand that has no currency with us today.

BTW - have you heard what the Brits garnered from the MH-17 black boxes? Oddly enough, no one has.

Unknown said...

Hi Mound
What do you think Nato/U.S. really wants to achieve politically by installing military bases on Russia's doorstep? NATO seems to be just another tool for U.S. military expansion, But why is the U.S.militarily expanding at all?Are we looking at a new world order or am I being paranoid.

The Mound of Sound said...

A new world order? Definitely. That's inevitable with the rise of today's emerging economic superpowers, the shifting energy paradigm and our rapidly changing global environment. In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, America had the run of the place for a couple of decades and some thought the world would remain that way for the rest of this century.

There's always a realignment when new powers move up and overtake others. That can lead to tensions that might lead to conflict. Sometimes the ascendancy is forged in war. For example, WWII allowed the US to emerge as the dominant global superpower, taking over from Britain and her pre-war rivals.

America still sees itself as policeman to the world. Even today, America and its posse are gearing up to fight ISIS, a job that should justly fall to the Sunni Arab states - Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

"NeoNato! Yeah, I coined the term with a slightly sick feeling in my stomach." No doubt it is easy to feel sick since "Neonatology is a subspecialty of pediatrics that consists of the medical care of newborn infants, especially the ill or premature newborn infant." It is so smart of you to apply the short form "Neo-Nato" to "NATO" which makes you sick. LOL!

Steve said...

Interesting Idea. I certainly object into being blackmailed for 2% of GDP as a permanent subsidy to the Industrial Military Complex. This is a big part of why Scotland may leave.

The Mound of Sound said...

I wonder when we'll realize that NATO left us behind during the expansionary period?

The Alliance lost its coherence as it expanded. A limited group of allies in a mutual-defence pact can more readily find commonality of interest and purpose than a far larger alliance.

And, as you expand you leave the alliance vulnerable to exploitation by its new members. This is particularly true of the ex-Soviet republics. Georgia wanted nothing as much as a NATO backstop for its conflict with Russia. Ukraine is now after the very same thing. In what possible way does that benefit the alliance?

I think NATO has lost its way and has been corrupted by the Bush/Cheney years of rampant and ill-considered expansion accompanied by its transformation from a mutual-defence pact to a war-waging global cop.

Edstock said...

Mound, you've got solid points. I just don't see the expansion of NATO as an infernal effort of the New Order Fascists.

Rather, I believe that this originated as a legacy of the politics played out at the UN Security Council, where the dreaded veto paralyzes any action in a crisis if one of 'em is unhappy.

The UN was only able to intervene in Korea because the USSR had a tantrum and boycotted the vote on the resolution.

But things can gat distorted with time.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ed, I understand how NATO morphed into something of a shadow security council to circumvent the roadblock of Russian or Chinese vetoes. Yet the veto power of the US lives on in NATO. Do you think NATO would ever force Israel back to its pre-67 borders and maintain a buffer between Israel and a Palestinian state? No. Do you think NATO was interested in intervening to prevent the loss of millions of lives in the DRC? No. NATO seems willing to take on Slavic states, even some Muslim/oil states but the hypocrisy of that selectivity is plain to the rest of the world. And that makes NATO despotic, the spirit of the Warsaw Pact.