NATO Riga Summit

Get Canada Out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!



(7 December 2006) - FIVE YEARS following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Canada's participation in it, U.S. foreign policy is in tatters and Canada's along with it. One of the chief instruments of this foreign policy has been the use of the NATO aggressive military alliance to by-pass the UN while NATO itself is mired in crisis. This is what was revealed when NATO heads of state and government held their annual summit meeting from November 28-29 in Riga, Latvia. The agenda focused on the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, now called a NATO mission, and NATO's role in the 21st century.

Due to the disastrous security situation on the ground in Afghanistan, the credibility of NATO is at an all time low, making the pleas of the U.S., Canada and Britain to other NATO members to contribute more troops to the war zones fall on deaf ears. According to the warmongering logic of the U.S., Canada and Britain, the mission would succeed if only these countries agree to end "the lack of flexibility on the side of NATO troops."

"The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is facing unprecedented challenges in the country after it took over the control of the whole country in October," People's Daily Online writes.

"In addition to new responsibilities, the increase of suicide attacks on ISAF since the end of last year has forced NATO countries to bring in an increasingly larger number of body bags.

"The worsening security situation, especially in the south of the country, is deterring NATO member nations from contributing more troops needed to get the job done."

"NATO took over control of the ISAF in 2003. After four stages of expansion the force, which was initially deployed only in the capital of Kabul, now covers the whole country, including the volatile south and the even more perilous east," Xinhua news agency explains. "The force's new responsibilities, coupled with an increase in suicide attacks since the end of last year have posed a continuous threat to NATO's presence."

NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said it was unacceptable that the ISAF remained 20 per cent under full strength because of a failure by allies to contribute troops and equipment.

According to the prescription advanced by de Hoop Scheffer "2,500 extra troops plus equipment are needed to suppress the resurgency of the Taliban." "For NATO to succeed, its commanders on the ground must have the resources and flexibility they need to do their jobs," U.S. President George W. Bush said prior to the summit.

NATO's 26 member states and 11 non-alliance partners have already deployed some 32,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 12,000 American soldiers who were put under NATO command in October 2006 and Canada's 2,500-strong contingent who are bearing the brunt of the U.S.-led NATO occupation in the south. The very idea that more troops, weapons and aggression will defeat the Afghan resistance shows the extent of the crisis in which NATO is mired. No foreign invader has ever succeeded in taking over Afghanistan, something the British learned back in the 19th century and the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th.

The long and the short of it was that at the summit the U.S., Britain and Canada failed to cajole other NATO members to commit more troops to the war zones of Afghanistan. They did not get the desired confirmation from leaders that restrictions "on the deployment area, operation and engagement with enemy," would be removed.

Future strategy

Discussions over NATO's future strategy also dominated the summit agenda.

A central issue raised by the U.S. was its proposal to launch a "global partnership" with countries that are out of the Euroatlantic area. This further exposes that NATO's alleged mission to provide collective defense for Europe and North America is to cover up the U.S. aim to dominate Europe and take over Asia. It further weakens western Europe's influence in NATO as the U.S. seeks to include Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

"The initiative ... proposed by the U.S. is, in fact, to use military links under a bilateral framework with countries such as Japan and the ROK, to help serve its global military operations by allowing them to join the NATO partnership," Zheng Yu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily. Zheng said the future of NATO is definitely enlargement, but it was unrealistic to expect the organization to expand its influence globally.

Behind NATO's efforts to expand its worldwide operations is pressure from the U.S. who, as the "real leader" of the alliance, has a powerful influence on the organization's strategy, Tang Yongsheng, a professor at the University of National Defence in China, was quoted in PLA Daily.

Already, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are recognized as formal "aspirant countries." They are participating in NATO's membership action plan, the last stage before formal invitations to join.

Georgia also has intentions to join, but is in an earlier stage of the process, news agencies report.

Ukraine's pro-West leaders, who seized power in the so-called Orange Revolution instigated and financed by the U.S., were eager to join the alliance. "Momentum was lost, however, after pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych became prime minister this year," Xinhua writes.

Beyond Riga Summit

Following the Riga Summit, de Hoop Scheffer told a parallel security conference, "One might argue that all that we need to do in this short time span is to implement the Riga decisions ... To my mind, however, this won't be enough."

"I would hope that by 2008 our presence in Kosovo has been reduced and restructured, and the Western Balkans moved closer to NATO. In other words, by 2008 we will have less NATO in the Balkans, but more of the Balkans in NATO," he said.

He also hoped for "considerable progress" in Afghanistan although he would not predict a similar downsizing of troops there, news agencies report.

Speaking before going into the summit, de Hoop Scheffer is said to have given a "glimpse of NATO's exit strategy from its most dangerous combat mission." He noted the 32,000-strong ISAF could only consider pulling out troops when Afghan security forces were able to take over.

"I would hope that by 2008, we will have made considerable progress... with effective and trusted Afghan security forces gradually taking control," he told a conference before the summit.

Following the summit, de Hoop Scheffer also "urged enhanced political dialogue both among NATO member states and with its partners."

"In recent years, we have made great strides in broadening our dialogue. But there is still a palpable tendency to regard certain subjects as off-limits to our discussions. We must overcome such hesitations," he said.

He also stressed the importance of the NATO-EU relations, saying "Given the well-known difficulties in this relationship, I may appear like a hopeless optimist. I am not. I am simply a realist." The difficulties in the relationship concern EU opposition to the current moves of the U.S. to dominate the alliance in a manner that does not favour European interests.

De Hoop Scheffer predicted that the pressure of operational challenges -- in post-settlement Kosovo as well as in Afghanistan -- "will force NATO and the European Union to coordinate more and also in a better manner."

To give a better idea of what NATO is up to and the differences in NATO, TML is posting below two items -- one by Michel Chossudovsky is entitled "Debating 'War and Peace' Behind Closed Doors." It provides information about the Riga Security Conference, organized by the George Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Center, which took place alongside the NATO Summit. Chossudovsky points out that the conference "is intent upon building a consensus within Europe regarding America's military agenda in the broader Middle East." The second item, entitled "NATO Summit Throws Up a Surprise" by M.K. Bhadrakumar, discusses NATO's difficulties and future prospects.

NATO was founded by the Anglo-American imperialists following World War II so the U.S. could consolidate its political and economic stranglehold over western Europe against any move by its people to take up the banner of socialism as was happening in the Soviet Union and people's democracies of eastern Europe. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989/1990, instead of dismantling NATO, the U.S. took its crusade to be the world's sole superpower into Asia, first using NATO to consolidate its position over Europe by occupying the Balkans.

To cover up the use of NATO to commit aggression and bypass the UN, at the Riga Summit Bush reiterated the false notion that NATO's mission is against aggression.

"This alliance was founded on a clear principle, an attack on one is an attack on all. That principle holds true whether the attack is on our home soil or on our forces deployed on our NATO mission abroad," he said.

The "attack against one is an attack against all" logic is a perverted one when used by the most aggressive alliance the world has ever seen. In fact, nothing better confirms that a NATO attack against one is an attack against all than the criminal bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 in which Canadian pilots carried out 20 per cent of the bombing raids, or the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the NATO war against Yugoslavia, the U.S. sought to establish itself in the Balkans at the expense of the Germans, in particular, as well as the French, based on the belief that whosoever dominates Europe will manage to control Asia. No amount of extra troops and armed might will solve NATO's crisis of credibility and legitimacy. On the contrary, extra troops will deepen the aggression and deepen the crisis.

TML calls on the Canadian working class and people to reiterate their demand: No to the Use of Force to Deal with Problems Between Nations. Get Canada out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!

Source: TML Daily, www.cpcml.ca, 7 December 2006 - No. 192


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