maandag, februari 10, 2003

NATO's Irrelevence Affirmed

After France, Belgium and Germany refused once again to give NATO the go-ahead to start military planning to boost Turkey's defences in case of war with Iraq, Turkey invoked article IV of NATO's founding treaty, which the North Atlantic Council - NATO's highest decision-making body will debate this afternoon in Brussels. Article IV states "The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened".

Is this an example of more political gamesmanship? Turkey, it seems clear, has been pushed by the US to invoke this article even though neither their "territorial integrity, political independence or security" is being threatened.

Or is this just another indication that the levels of paranoics supporting the war on Iraq have increased as the Bush Administration gets increasingly desperate to counter the war-busting efforts of Germany, France and now Belgium?

This latest move by Belgium followed the original US request on January 15 that the Alliance play a peace-keeping role in a post-conflict Iraq. This request was narrowed down to the protection of Turkey after France, Germany and Belgium last week showed strong reluctance towards the idea.

The original article of NATO puts forth that those members are united "to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."

As the UN has not yet authorized any use of force toward a war with Iraq, it would seem that sending weapons to Turkey through NATO members for a threat that wouldn't arise until AFTER a war against Iraq began, would be "inconsistent with the purposes of the UN". In fact, the infamous Article V, which calls for an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America to be considered an attack against them all, doesn't even apply. An "armed attack" is defined as:

1) on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France
(2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer; on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Not even the most vivid, irrational minds of the Bush War Collective can construe evidence of the violation of Iraq's noncompliance with Resolution 1441 as an actual "attack". Not unless the Bush War Collective, a lá Minority Report are being aided by PreCogs, those perceptive individuals with psychic powers, who can "see" a killing in advance. In Minority Report, those PreCogs, having deciphered the exact location from clues within their "dream", allow the cops to rush to the scene and arrest the perpetrator in the act of thinking about doing the deed.

According to Stanley R. Sloan, director of the Atlantic Community Initiative For NATO, not doing enough risks losing US interest in the Alliance. US attempts to push the Alliance beyond the political consensus concerning NATO's mission could create splits among the Allies and even domestic unrest in some Allied countries.

In the interests of continuing to try and resolve the Iraq issue without war, France and Germany, according to the German weekly Der Spiegel, offered proposals which would include sending United Nations peacekeepers into Iraq, tripling the number of UN weapons inspectors there and turning the whole of the Gulf state into a no-fly zone.

In what has become the typically dismissive reaction to anything which does not support the Bush Administration insistence of war with Iraq, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that such a plan dealt with the "wrong issues" and would serve only as a "diversion."

NATO, along with UN, in the face of an increasingly unilateral Bush Administration, are indeed becoming irrelevent. They are not necessarily irrelevent because the times or the political landscape or the threats have changed but because the United States itself, under the Bush Administration, has changed.

America, who once represented democratic debate, democratic ideals and above all, freedom, continues to spin deeper and deeper into a form of distasteful imperialism bred by the sort of colossal power and colossal arrogance the Bush Administration thrives on.

The Bush Administration now claims the right to intervene militarily anywhere it chooses, to interfere in the internal affairs of any state and to overthrow any government that is not to its liking. In such a world, there isn't a use for the UN or NATO other than for use as a propaganda tool and when such a propaganda tool can no longer be used because of internal dissent or because one large, distasteful idea cannot be forced down the collective throats of its members, such an organization or alliance becomes irrelevent.

So is the path of the UN and NATO, who are useful to the US only so long as they clap and nod and cheer every idea of the Bush Administration like Fox News Channel sycophants, regardless of how illogical the argument or irrational the sentiment.

Solon of Athens, once said: "The law is like a spider's web: the small are caught and the great tear it up." That web is beginning to tear and ironically, it is the Bush Administration's aversion to the freedom of other nations to disagree with it that is tearing it fastest.

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