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Mr. Simmons' Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border

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In all three instances, as with the Yugoslav precedent, well-financed and -organized street demonstrations would accompany and follow national elections in which Western and Western-funded poll watchers, exit pollsters and media would cry foul when the incumbent appeared to have won and demands for unconstitutional - that is unprecedented and illegal - special elections were put forward as the price for domestic peace.

And in all cases the opposition was a triumvirate of party leaders, two men and a woman. In Georgia the trio consisted of Mikheil Saakashvili, Nina Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania; with Ukraine Viktor Yuchshenko, Yulia Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Moroz; and in Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Roza Otunbayeva and Felix Kulov. Zhvania would die shortly after the so-called Rose Revolution's first anniversary, with the government attributing his death to accidental causes and his family accusing Saakashvili of ordering his murder. 

Such a well-crafted model could not have been created domestically.

Simmons' former colleagues in the State Department no doubt led the charge, but he himself was no bit player in the new drama, having donned the mantle of NATO's special envoy to the South Caucasus and Central Asia in the interval between the Georgian prototype and its replication in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

His position was one of several initiatives unfolded at NATO's summit in Istanbul, Turkey in June of 2004.

Indeed never in history had a military bloc at one time expanded so broadly both in terms of new members and partners and in the breadth of its geographical sweep.

The Istanbul summit issued in

- The incorporation of all former Warsaw Pact members outside the ex-Soviet Union not already brought into NATO, adding Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, inducted in 1999, and eastern Germany which was brought into the Alliance in 1989 with the nation's reunification

- The accession of the first former Yugoslav federal republic, Slovenia

- The hitherto unimaginable absorption of three former Soviet republics: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

- Under the rubric of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the upgrading of NATO's seven Mediterranean Dialogue members - Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia - to a heightened partnership status and the introduction of a formal military alliance with the six Persian Gulf Cooperation Council states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Growing out of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative were  Individual Cooperation Programmes with Egypt and Israel

With the three Baltic states and the Black Sea nations of Bulgaria and Romania joining NATO, only Georgia and Ukraine remained to complete a full military cordon along Russia's entire Western flank. (As will be seen later, Simmons has had a role to play with those two countries' NATO integration also.)

Simmons' appointment would extend that presence along Russia's complete southern one.

His purview includes eight of fifteen former Soviet federal republics and in 2004 two-thirds of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States members: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

The three Caucasus nations are all members of NATO's Partnership for Peace; Azerbaijan and Georgia have both had troops gaining combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and Armenia deployed troops to the first.

After Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were brought into the NATO fold and the eight nations assigned to Simmons to soften up are added to the column, only Belarus and Moldova remain of the Soviet Union outside of Russia itself.

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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:
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