Saturday, November 20, 2010

NATO’S True Role in US Grand Strategy

Encircling Russia, Targeting China 

By Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch,  Nov  18, 2010

On November 19 and 20, NATO leaders meet in Lisbon for what is billed as a summit on “NATO’s Strategic Concept”.  Among topics of discussion will be an array of scary “threats”, from cyberwar to climate change, as well as nice protective things like nuclear weapons and a high tech Maginot Line boondoggle supposed to stop enemy missiles in mid-air. The NATO leaders will be unable to avoid talking about the war in Afghanistan, that endless crusade that unites the civilized world against the elusive Old Man of the Mountain, Hassan i Sabah, eleventh century chief of the Assassins in his latest reincarnation as Osama bin Laden.  There will no doubt be much talk of “our shared values”.

Most of what they will discuss is fiction with a price tag.

The one thing missing from the Strategic Concept summit agenda is a serious discussion of strategy.

This is partly because NATO as such has no strategy, and cannot have its own strategy.  NATO is in reality an instrument of United States strategy.  Its only operative Strategic Concept is the one put into practice by the United States. But even that is an elusive phantom.  American leaders seem to prefer striking postures, “showing resolve”, to defining strategies.

One who does presume to define strategy is Zbigniew Brzezinski, godfather of the Afghan Mujahidin back when they could be used to destroy the Soviet Union.  Brzezinski was not shy about bluntly stating the strategic objective of U.S. policy in his 1993 book The Grand Chessboard: “American primacy”.  As for NATO, he described it as one of the institutions serving to perpetuate American hegemony, “making the United States a key participant even in intra-European affairs.” In its “global web of specialized institutions”, which of course includes NATO, the United States exercises power through “continuous bargaining, dialogue, diffusion, and quest for formal consensus, even though that power originates ultimately from a single source, namely, Washington, D.C.”

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