martes, 28 de enero de 2014

Quo vadis?

Presumimos que el siguiente artículo, aparecido en estos días en el semanario suizo Current Concerns, va a ser estrictamente censurado por la prensa corporativa occidental. Su autor es Hans Christoph von Sponeck. No se lo pierdan.

TítuloQuo vadis NATO?

Texto: "Human rights, military operations, geopolitical interests are three NATO slogans raising three important  questions: 1. Human rights for whom? 2. Military operations by whom and on whose behalf? 3. Is it a matter of geopolitical interests or global political decisions?

NATO 1949

The Washington Agreement of 1949 (NATO treaty) had required the “peaceful” resolution of conflicts  and declared that the geopolitical interests of the transatlantic alliance would not reach beyond the borders of NATO member states!

The NATO treaty pointed to the fact that NATO states accepted United Nations law (the Charter of the United Nations) as binding and that they accepted subsidiarity. This means that human rights apply to everyone, that the NATO countries’ geopolitical interests are limited to their territory, and that military operations are only allowed when it is about the defense of the NATO area. Nevertheless, there was already then a caveat for NATO: The NATO states were to decide whether the UN Security Council had taken the “right” steps. If, in their opinion, this was not the case, they would act within the meaning of Article 5 of the NATO treaty – without reference to Article 51 of the UN Charter.

This shows that from the very beginning NATO leadership thought in the same way as they act today! This means that today as well as in the past they have always questioned the monopoly right of the UN Security Council, since the Council is the only body that has the right to decide whether to intervene either with military or else with other means.

NATO 2013

In the 64 years since NATO’s founding international relations have considerably changed. The NATO of 12 states in 1949 has turned into the NATO of 28 states in 2013. NATO has installed itself increasingly as a global security policy establishment in these years of hyper-linking. “We are prepared to develop political dialogue and practical cooperation with any nations and relevant organisations across the globe that share our interest in peaceful international relations,” reads the NATO strategy of 2010.

Furthermore, NATO insists that it is their job to deal with all the major national issues of military and human (!) security. Energy security is a first priority in this sense. US Senator Lugar went a step further when he emphasized that NATO could intervene militarily according to Article5 of its Statute, if some NATO states’ access to energy sources was threatened somewhere in the world. However, it would mean a serious violation of international law, if this actually happened.

There is not much left of a NATO subsidiarity within the United Nations in the year 2013! The result is a network of 28 nations that are linked by “Partnerships for Peace” (PfP) worldwide. A variety of former USSR states is involved. There is a dialogue agreement with Mediterranean states. By means of the so-called “Istanbul Initiative” the countries of North Africa and the Middle East are included in the NATO agenda. Particular connections exist between NATO and the Gulf States plus Yemen. Furthermore there is a lose cooperation between the Israeli navy and the naval forces of NATO. Special agreements were settled between NATO and Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia. The world’s two largest drug producers, Colombia and Afghanistan, cooperate with NATO. Britain, which still owns the San-Diego islands in the Indian Ocean, has leased them to the United States. The local military bases are used by NATO for deployments.

On behalf of NATO the US is currently trying to intensify its military relations with Vietnam, Myanmar and East Timor. Similar attempts are made in the area of the five Central Asian states. In Liberia the “US Africom” was recently deployed in Monrovia after having been withdrawn from Stuttgart. In most  regions where there are no land bases, NATO is represented by ships of the US Navy. Strategic presence and a visible embrace of China and Russia continue to be perfected. It should not come as a surprise that this brings along serious consequences for international relations!

The NATO enlargement is associated with the non-declared goal of weakening others, especially of alliances such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “Gladio”, the mysterious underground organization of western states, which already existed in the times of the Cold War, is an indication for the means that are used, even if they are not legal. Developments in recent years have shown an ever more expanding, but also increasingly weaker NATO. Defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, a war against Yugoslavia in violation of international law and an invasion of Iraq that had not been approved by the UN Security Council have become milestones of NATO’s weakening. 

The serious violation of the four GenevaConventions and the Hague Conventions by the mistreatment of prisoners at Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo as well as US flights transporting prisoners to secret prisons in order to torture them in other countries, are additional causes of this weakening. The abuse of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) – handed over to NATO in 2011 by the UN Security Council for the welfare of the civilian population in Libya – and the actions of individual NATO states in the Syria crisis have significantly added to resistance against NATO.

New provocations such as the establishment of a network of missile defense systems in Spain, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Germany met with Russia’s legitimate resistance and withdrew the NATO-Russia Council’s confidence base.

What is the explanation for NATO’s development between 1949 and 2013?

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the resulting independence of the 12 Soviet republics and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact – along with the signing of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe following in November 1990 – bore the great opportunity of replacing the Cold War by a warm peace. In many places, there was talk of the expected “peace dividend”. It turned out differently. 

NATO did not dismiss itself to history; it was rather looking for a new raison d’être. The administration of George W. Bush and the other neoconservative circles in the US, inspired by the belief in an  “American Century” (Project for a new American Century – PNAC) lying before them, wanted to maintain NATO under US leadership. The 11th September 2001 encouraged the political circles in Washington to justify the American claim to hegemony. This “PNAC psyche”, i.e. the belief in the leadership of the United States, existed across all parties before and after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. The European NATO member states and Canada were prepared to act as
willing stooges.

In parallel, under American leadership NATO has developed continuously from a defensive alliance, protecting those who lived within the community, into an alliance with a global order. The NATO strategies from 1991, 1999 and 2010 prove this in clear language, according to the motto: new threats justify new approaches. “NATO is the most capable and effective political-military alliance in the world” was said in November 2010, when the latest NATO strategy was presented in Lisbon. It was no secret that it was aboutthe “security” and the “freedom” of NATO now amounting to 28 member states; it was hardly about the welfare of the other 165 UN member states. How else are we to explain NATO’s anti-satellite systems in Europe and Asia or the NATO inspections of merchant vessels in international waters?  

Further examples are NATO military exercises at crisis points of intersection such as on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. It is all about selfishness and hubris. It is for these reasons that a large part of the remaining world repeatedly draws the existence of this transatlantic community into question.

Closest and excessive connections (“hyper-connectivity”) and networks at many levels have led to a significantly stronger polarization in international relations, which has its origin in the aggressive appearance of NATO. NATO, continually thinking in a unipolar way, is facing a growing multi-polar opposition. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are two examples of security alliances that respond to NATO’s development. “We are experiencing an almost unrestricted use of military force, which plunges the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts!” These are the words of the Russian president Vladimir Putin spoken in 2007. Since then, the level of confrontation between NATO and an increasing number of countries in Asia, Latin America and also in Africa and the Middle East has continued to rise. The conflicts with Libya (2011) and Syria (since 2011), the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan (since 2001) as well as the US-led invasion violating international law and the eight years’ occupation of Iraq (2003–2011) have significantly contributed to the polarization of international relations.

The obvious double standards of NATO, the egotism of the Alliance, the political corruption of individual NATO states and the repeated offense against international law have played an important role in this case. The deliberate spread of misinformation by government institutions aiming at influencing the national and international public adds up to all that. Just to mention only one of the many political examples: the performance of US Secretary of Defense Colin Powell on 5 February 2003 in the UN Security Council. In the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Director General of theIAEA Mohamed ElBaradei and the Commissioner for Iraq’s disarmament and head of UNMOVIC Hans Blix, Powell obeyed his government’s order to forward the evidence that Iraq under President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. This was a serious misdirection, because not only professionals knew that Iraq was highly disarmed in 2003 and could no longer pose a threat. There was no protest from NATO circles! The present High Representative of the UN indirectly supported the subsequent US-led invasion of Iraq by their silence and thus were complicit.

Basic theses on the question: Quo vadis NATO?

NATO “defense” 
The approach of NATO under the pretext that the community must defend itself against an enemy often has to do with provocations generated by NATO itself. That is, it is not uncommon to look at NATO itself as the cause of a crisis. An important example is the anti-satellite initiative of the United States connected with NATO’s eastern expansion. The response, the symptom, is made the cause here. Once the NATO finished with such a provocation, the “defense” would become unnecessary!

Global Change
Signs are increasing that the world is rapidly turning away from unipolar politics and considers a much more nuanced paradigm for international relations. This process brings new obstacles to international cooperation, but also new opportunities. In the interest of international security, a peaceful development, human rights for all, and especially developing international trust would mean that alliances such as NATO and the SCO give up their narrow security approaches and agree to a world-wide cooperation. Such a development does not need to remain a utopia when it is recognized that the common features of the 193 member states of the UN are the better alternative. 

Chapter VIII: “Regional arrangements”of the UN Charter
The integration of the alliances’ tasks in the responsibility of the United Nations is accepted by all UN Member States. It is, therefore, an international legal obligation and should not be dismissed as utopian, but be supported as an objective by persistent negotiations and UN reform discussions. The existing – and recognized– NATO capacity could supply valuable contributions to crisis management and peace as a result of integration (subsidiarity). Wars in space, terrorism, piracy, drug and human trafficking could be overcome by means of cooperation in the spirit of Chapter VIII. 

UN reform
The security-political responsibilities for the global, regional and local development lie with the Security Council of the United Nations, not with NATO. Structural weaknesses of the UN have increasingly meant that the Security Council has become unable to perform this function. The crisis in Syria is another serious example of incompetence and thus a dangerous reality threatening world peace. Proposals for fundamental reforms have not been lacking. For over twenty years report on report has been published on this subject.

The international community has so far lacked the political will to reconsider these proposals, adopt them  according to plan and implement them. This includes primarily the reform of the UN Security Council. Valuable considerations for the customized composition of the Security Council, for the status of  membership, for the right to veto or the majority voting rights, subsidiarity issues of alliances such as NATO, etc. have already been made.

Accountability
The framework for international cooperation is largely defined by the UN Charter and the two International Covenants on political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. Compliance with this recorded international law is mandatory for all states that are members of the United Nations, and thus also for NATO states. In reality, however, there is a culture of impunity. Decisions in the UN Security Council or in other forums, which have led to serious violations of human rights, remain without consequences for the decision-makers. The consequences of an inhumane sanctions policy, enforced by NATO member states in the UN Security Council in the case of Iraq, the NATO war against Yugoslavia, the illegal invasion of Iraq or the NATO mission in Libya are all empirically verifiable. Accountability is a prerequisite for a new beginning of international relations. The road to peace, which NATO should take, is known. Once the NATO recognizes this path itself, a healing process will begin."

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