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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/22/10

Relentless Global Drive: NATO On Six Continents In Seven Days

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"If you think about 1994, NATO had never conducted a military operation, had done a lot of exercises. It was an alliance of 16 countries at that time. If you look at the NATO of 2005, just ending last year, it was an organization that was running eight military operations simultaneously, that had 26 members, had partnership relationships with another 30 countries in Eurasia and another 22 countries in the broader Middle East, and looking at other relationships." [7]

As though moving a pointer over a map of most of the non-Euro-Atlantic world, he continued: "Now NATO is operating...in Afghanistan, in Pakistan we just closed that operation - in Iraq, in Darfur. Operating a much greater geographic distance. I think this is a trend that's only going to continue....[A]s NATO is active in places like Afghanistan or Iraq or Darfur, we are working together with countries that share NATO's values and that are capable of contributing to security, such as Australia or New Zealand or South Korea or Japan, and we would like to find ways to cooperate with these countries, as well, because our expectation is if over the last ten years alliance leaders have given NATO four, five, six, seven, eight operational tasks to take on, this is going to continue." [8]

For the past decade American (and not a few European) political commentators have bemoaned the imminent demise of NATO. An article to that effect is always handy on a slow news day when an empty column space is staring back at a bemused editor.

That NATO's Defense Planning Committee invoked the bloc's Article 4 ("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") to deploy Patriot interceptor missiles and AWACS radar aircraft to Turkey a month before the invasion of Iraq was not a sufficient commitment by the Alliance. That two months after the invasion NATO's North Atlantic Council unanimously agreed to assist new member Poland's occupation zone in the country, situated between the American and British ones, wasn't an adequate response either.

That in 2004 the NATO Training Mission - Iraq was established in Baghdad and is likely to outlast U.S. military presence in the country wasn't enough for the advocates of the "NATO is dead" school of thought either.

The military bloc's involvement in the almost nine-year Operation Active Endeavor naval mission throughout the Mediterranean Sea, in Central Africa, in the Horn of Africa, in establishing the Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission and in creating Contact Country military partnerships with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea is not counted as a significant development as well. [9]

That NATO has now recruited and deployed troops from nations as diverse as Singapore and Colombia, the United Arab Republics and Mongolia, Montenegro and Sweden for the war in Afghanistan is given scant attention. [10]

165 Western troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year, including at least seven soldiers from Germany, which had not suffered combat deaths since the Second World War before now.

In less than four months there will be 150,000 troops serving under the joint commander of the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force operations, Stanley McChrystal, almost all of them under NATO command.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has indeed "gone global," and as Ivo Daalder pointed out six years, several military operations and tens of thousands of troops deployed earlier, with little fanfare and hardly more notice.

A survey of the Alliance's activities last week - on all six populated continents - will provide an updated view of how truly global the "military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America" has grown to become.

Europe

The Pentagon's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Bradley Roberts announced on April 15 that "U.S. anti-ballistic missile systems will cover all of Europe by 2018." Specifically, "Full coverage of NATO territory in Europe would be achieved around 2018" when "a second land-based site is to be established in northern Europe for updated Raytheon Co (RTN.N) Standard Missile-3 missile interceptors."

"The Pentagon dubs this Phase 3 of its new 'adaptive' missile-defense plans, a continued bone of contention with Russia." [11]

On April 12 NATO launched four large-scale war games in northern Europe.

The eleven-day Brilliant Ardent 2010 NATO Response Force live air force exercises started in Germany with the participation of military aircraft from the U.S., the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Turkey. "Participation by U.S. Air Forces in Europe units directly aligns with the command key mission areas of providing forces for global operations and building partnership." [12]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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