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NATO's Global Open Door Policy

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NATO's Global Open Door Policy
Rick Rozoff

On July 4 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address entitled "NATO -- delivering security in the 21st century" at the Chatham House in London that should lay to rest forever any doubts about Western plans, already well underway, to create an international military network dominated by the United States and its major alliance partners.

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Citing new challenges to Western preeminence in the world - with "many commentators predict[ing] the decline of the West as we know it" - especially to the virtually uncontested sway the U.S. and Western Europe have held in the quarter-century post-Cold War era, the military bloc's chief cited "turmoil and uncertainty across the Middle East and North Africa" and "emergence of new powers - economically, politically, and militarily" as areas of concern the alliance must address.

Although the world is "increasingly unpredictable, complex and interlinked," he intoned, nevertheless "Europe and North America still have tremendous resources, resolve, and ideas" and "there is no greater force for positive change" than NATO states on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean working in tandem.

With the emergence of trends toward multipolarity and the potential for a second-generation anti-colonial (or anti-neo-colonial) struggle in the non-"Euro-Atlantic" world - that is, the world of almost eight-ninths of humanity not residing in NATO member states - the "fundamental questions" have to be answered: "How can the Trans-Atlantic community keep its global power of attraction and influence? And as the world shifts, how do we embrace that shift and help shape it?" For which read divert and control contemporary dynamics emanating from beyond the "Trans-Atlantic community."

The solution, of course, is "a strong NATO," one moreover operating throughout the world. In Rasmussen's words: "It is an essential contributor to wider international security and stability. It means we can face today's challenges from a position of strength."

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With recent wars in three continents to back up his contention, he added: "We can launch and sustain complex joint operations in a way that no one else can. We can work effectively with partners in a way that no one else can."

NATO's purview, and theaters of war, having already expanded beyond its member states' territory to the Balkans, South Asia, the Arabian Sea and North Africa, the bloc must extend its reach to crisscross the planet and "must continue to strengthen its connection with other countries and organisations around the globe."

The armed forces of nations on all six inhabited continents (see below) must continue to be integrated for NATO interoperability and to provide troops and hardware for future missions. For, Rasmussen reminded his audience: "Militaries around the world aspire to our standards and the ability of our forces to work together. Importantly, we can integrate other nations' contributions into complex multinational operations like no other organisation."

The international partnerships NATO has cultivated over the past twenty years, often while conducting air and ground wars and post-conflict "peacekeeping" operations "From Afghanistan to the Balkans, and last year over Libya," must expand beyond the forty or more nations enmeshed in them - which with NATO's 28 members account for comfortably over a third of the nations in the world - and be added to in all parts of the world.

"Partnership is not a choice between staying at home or going global. It is not peripheral to our business -- it is part of NATO's core business..."

"We cannot deal with today's security challenges from a purely European perspective. What matters is being engaged wherever our security matters. That means here in Europe. Across the Euro-Atlantic area. And around the globe."

To do so the home front must be further secured, further integrated militarily.

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"Alongside the European Union's enlargement, NATO's Open Door policy has already transformed this continent fundamentally, and permanently."

European Partnership for Peace members and those with Individual Partnership Action Programs and Membership Action Plans in addition - Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Malta, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine - "have restructured their armed forces" as a prerequisite for NATO integration. That is, they have been "professionalized" by abolishing conscription and shifting their mandate from territorial defense to expeditionary deployments abroad and transitioning from domestic and often Russian armaments to Western ones.

In a statement more truly revealing than perhaps he intended it to be, Rasmussen added:

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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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