Another Foundation Lie Exposed
At the same time the world’s media are expressing outrage at President Donald Trump’s gangster-style presentation at the NATO annual summit meeting in Brussels last Wednesday, they are also missing the point. As usual, Trump’s headline-grabbing antics smoked screened the most important issue. Everything the American President said at the meeting was grounded in a single great lie, that the principal objective of NATO is to “protect Europe.”
In fact, the principal purpose of NATO is first to control Europe and secondly to embroil the European countries in all of the United States’s nefarious military adventures. This involvement also lends a veneer of international legitimacy to any American aggression, no matter how heinous it may be. A third result for NATO members, one that is seldom mentioned, is the fact that NATO’s mutual defense obligations make them nuclear targets for any enemy of the United States.
European Heads of State as “Naughty Children”
Finian Cunningham, a Northern Irish journalist currently based in East Africa, wrote a cogent op-ed piece on the issue for RT.com yesterday, in which he fills in the background and points up the fallacies of American use of its NATO “partners.” He leads in Mickey-Spillane-style, pointing out the American President’s use of spurious accusations, blackmail and extortion:
President Trump wants the others to cough up more dough for the “protection” provided to them by the United States. The American leader berated European heads of state as if they were naughty children, accusing them of “freeloading” on US military power for their defense over many decades, and of giving nothing back.
Trump singled out Germany in particular for his sharpest dressing down. He accused the top European economic power of being “controlled by Russia” owing to its supposed dependence on Russian oil and gas. Trump used that claim as a form of blackmail, alleging that Germany has been giving billions of dollars to Moscow for energy supplies, while cheating on financial payments to NATO because it relies on US military defenses.
Cunningham quotes the President, who sounds as if he’s been dozing since 1949 when NATO was created:
On top of it all, Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia. Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!
The Europeans might have considered the Russians as a plausible threat in the late 40s and early 50s, but today they are much more concerned about the dangers of being in the same boat with a distrumpian United States. But who can sell them protection against that uncomfortable situation? Certainly not the Americans.
Cunningham cites Christopher Black, a Canadian-based lawyer and analyst, who describes the proceedings as:
…an American shakedown” of the other 28 NATO members. Every American president has complained that the US is fronting the bill while its allies get a free ride. But nothing could be further from the truth… NATO is an aggressive military alliance created to serve mainly US interests.
To underscore that point, this week the NATO summit agreed to expand military training programs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Britain and Canada are to send more forces to those countries to alleviate American troops who have been there for nearly two decades.
So America starts dubious, illegal wars overseas, but it is other countries that end up becoming embroiled, to give a political, quasi-legal cover for American imperialist adventures.
A Revealing Slip of NATO’s Tongue
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, attempting to run interference for the President, inadvertently revealed NATO’s real function. Stoltenberg said it played an important role to “help project US power in the Middle East and Africa”.
While the US military budget does make up about 70 per cent of NATO’s total expenditure, some $700 billion, compared with Germany’s contribution of $43 billion.
But to portray the discrepancy as being due to chivalrous American defense of allies is a self-serving distortion.
For a start, the United States’ gargantuan military spend is not out of an altruistic commitment to “defending allies”. The gross misallocation of resources is a function of American capitalism and how its economy is dominated by a grotesque military-industrial complex. What Trump is seeking is to get other NATO members, the Europeans and Germany in particular, to prop up the American economy by spending ever-increasing amounts of money on the military industry. The anticipated purchase of US missile systems and warplanes – like the overpriced and under-performing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – will feed into the American economy as a de facto subsidy.
Anybody reluctant to doubt the United States’s cynical, self-serving use of NATO forces in Europe–all in the noble cause of rabid anti-Communism–might read my four-part article on NATO’s Secret Armies, published here last April.
“Pay Up or We Won’t Protect You”
In a recent Washington Post opinion piece entitled Mr. Trump, NATO is an alliance, not a protection racket, the author, Michael McFaul, writes:
In his recent interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump warned that the United States would defend only NATO allies who have “fulfilled their obligations to us.” He made clear that he sees allies as business partners, and relationships with them in transactional terms: Pay up or we won’t protect you.
This framing of alliance relationships as protection-racket contracts misses the strategic value of allies to the United States. We want allies to keep the peace, fight alongside us in times of war and defend our common values — long-term strategic objectives that stretch well beyond any debate about national military budgets.
This is a civilized observer’s point of view–one that has nothing to do with President Trump’s own expressed interpretation which is undeniably a protection racket with no credible base in reality beyond the implied threats to his European “partners.”
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