Building Europe’s Military
T wenty world leaders convened in Italy for the nato-Russia summit on May 28. A protection force of 15,000 security and logistical personnel, a navy frigate and a dozen aircraft was deployed to guard the summit site at the Pratica di Mare air base, about 20 miles south of Rome.
It was at this summit that Russia became a limited partner to nato. This new arrangement gives Russia a voice on a variety of defense and peacekeeping issues, including counterterrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, missile defense and arms control—but does not give it the power of veto.
“Two former foes are now joined as partners, overcoming 50 years of division and a decade of uncertainty,” U.S. President George Bush said, referring to the new nato-Russia Council that was formed (Scotsman, May 29).
Nato was founded in 1949 to contain the Soviet Union. The question is, with Russia now ostensibly an ally of the alliance, what is the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s continuing existence?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has held the balance of peace in Western Europe since its inception after the Second World War.
During the war, the United States and the Soviet Union were allied against Nazism. Once Nazism was no longer a threat, the polarizing ideas of East and West—the U.S. and the Soviet Union—created new tensions: the Cold War. Thus nato was created in 1949 to counterbalance Russia’s power.
The organization’s core mission was to share defenses of all its members in Western Europe, most especially the eastern border of war-ravaged Germany, shielding them from the empire-expanding eyes of the Soviet Union. This was the birth of U.S. support for a united Europe. Two factors held the alliance together: the shared threat of the Soviet Union and the submission of other nations to U.S. leadership.
Germany’s rearmament process after World War ii began with the implementation of nato. The U.S. rearmed its former German enemy. The main intent of the rearmament process was to protect Germany, the nation that started the war in the first place!
America’s judgment was clouded by good intentions. Looking to Germany as a partner in peace so soon after its defeat was a deadly mistake, as will be revealed before long. It seems America saw no alternative if it was to keep Germany out of Russian hands, believing that Germany could be controlled indefinitely through involvement in nato and the emerging European Economic Community.
In response to nato’s formation, the Soviet Union and its reluctant Eastern European partners formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. It was the Eastern counterpart of nato, drawing Soviet countries into a huge defensive bloc.
The Warsaw Pact disbanded in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. In contrast, nato is still thriving after 50 years, and has been hailed as the greatest and most successful military alliance in history.
Nato began with an alliance of 12 independent nations. Now nato membership stands at 19 nations, plus one with the addition of Russia in its special status. Has the alliance been rendered unnecessary by the evaporation of the Soviet threat and the rise of Europe’s own defense force?
As Russian President Vladimir Putin said last year when he called on nato to allow his country into the alliance, “There is no more Warsaw Pact, no more Soviet Union, but nato continues to exist and develop” (Associated Press, July 18, 2001). If the U.S. refused Russian membership, Putin demanded that nato should disband and be replaced by a new coalition to include all of Europe and Russia.
Russia has sought alliances with the West since the days of Peter the Great. After September 11, what once would have been considered an implausible alliance between the nationalistic Kremlin and nato seems to now have become reality.
But appearances can be deceptive. A close reading of Russia’s motive for joining with nato reveals that it is but a means of ensuring that nato does not move against Russian interests. It is a relationship of convenience. In the long term, Russia will use its nato association to frustrate the eastward expansion of the western defensive alliance.
How to Defend Europe?
As far back as spring 2000, European leaders were actively planning their own military future with an EU defense force.
“I’ve been working on initiatives to build European unity for many years now, and I’ve never seen so much will and determination as over the defense project,” declared Javier Solana, EU commissioner in charge of common foreign and security policy and former secretary general of nato (Washington Post, March 13, 2000; emphasis mine throughout).
Nato has been called the “godfather to the European Union’s embryonic military ambitions” by Charles Grant, director of the London-based Center for European Reform. In reality, the EU has simply been happy for nato to shoulder most of the burden of European security while it went about planning to relieve nato of this role in the future.
At first, America was encouraged by Europe’s wanting to take more responsibility for its own defense. But then the U.S. practically cringed at the idea when its own preeminent role in Europe (via nato) was questioned in the process.
As George Robertson, the former British defense minister and current nato secretary general, saw it, America was saying, “[A]re you trying to tell us to go home?” (ibid.).
EU Seeks Top Spot
Many of the nations in the European Union have existed in some form for well over 1,000 years and have ruled vast portions of the world for the last 500 years. With this in mind, is it surprising that European nations resent their submissive role under America’s leadership in nato?
The Continent has been recovering from the devastation of two world wars followed by over 50 years of Eastern European submission to Russia, and Western European acquiescence to United States security and leadership. Europe needed America’s protection throughout the Cold War years in order to rebuild what it had lost through war. But now, it intends to pick up where it left off: building a world-ruling empire, ultimately replacing nato and its American benefactor in the process. The truth is, Europe still seeks world power.
“Europe is called upon to take on more responsibility for global peace,” said Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber at an international defense conference in Munich, Germany (cnn, Feb. 2). Since the first Balkan wars of the 1990s, the U.S. government has called on Europe to take care of itself militarily. Defending a continent can be costly. But now the leaders of Europe hear the old voices of greatness calling from the past—a past where such attitudes gave birth to empires.
Stoiber, the front runner in Germany’s September 22 elections for chancellor, boldly acknowledged that Germany must increase its defense budget in order to fulfill its emerging international commitments. He sees the need for modernized equipment and transport vehicles. He hears the voices that call upon Germany to act.
“We Europeans must not just rely on America,” said Mr. Stoiber. “We must do more for our own security and for global peace” (ibid.). The Bavarian premier looks to a future when Germany and the EU will have a military destiny firmly located in the seats of European authority, not in the U.S. president’s chair.
But the U.S. does not want to give up its leadership role in Europe altogether. This is why it is doing all it can to impress Europe with the latest transformation of nato under the banner of fighting terrorism. Europe’s leaders are wise to this tactic.
Europe’s foreign ministers recognize the need to modernize the Continent’s armed forces, but Europe will not spend the money needed to be militarily equal with the U.S. Why? Because it knows that the United States will eventually fulfill Europe’s requests to use American nato military equipment and bases to fulfill its role as a partner in the war on terrorism!
No secretary general of nato had ever visited the European Parliament in Brussels until Lord George Robertson did so in February of this year. There, he expressed his disapproval of American unwillingness to turn over its high-tech equipment to its allies, and petitioned that nato assets be made accessible to the EU as soon as it was feasible to do so.
EU Expansion East via NATO
Recently, in order to hold on to its leadership role, America has been left with the job of overhauling the alliance’s structure by infusing billions of American dollars into member and potential-member states.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill in May that endorsed the future extension of nato’s zone of stability eastward and southward on the European continent. Which nations will be admitted as new members will be decided in November, at the first nato summit held east of the old Iron Curtain—in Prague. Some Eastern European countries—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—have already joined nato.
“[S]ome time in the next decade we’ll be able to say, for the first time I think in modern history, that we have a Europe whole and free,” said U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (Guardian, May 17). The question is, free to do what?
The U.S. Senate’s goal to expand nato, connecting additional European nations to its integrated military structure, is a godsend to EU planners. Military assistance amounting to $55.5 million will be reserved for the countries of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Though this does not guarantee future admission into nato, these are among the countries hoping to be admitted at the November Prague summit.
So nato grows, and the U.S. continues to spend billions of dollars to support that growth. Through nato, the U.S. is increasing the military capacity of European nations that will probably become members in the expanding European Union!
America is blind to the Frankenstein monster it is foolishly building!
Further, a $64 million military training program for the nation of Georgia started in May this year. This two-year U.S. program “has more to do with stabilizing the still-weak former Soviet republic and furthering a nato foothold in the Caucasus than in directly enlisting Georgian forces in the U.S.-led anti-terrorism campaign” (Christian Science Monitor, May 17).
Russia has balked at the continuing prospect of nato’s expansion eastward. “We unequivocally see it as a mistake,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko. “From our point of view, enlargement provides nobody—not nato itself and not its new members—with additional security. From whom is nato preparing to defend its new members? And why is such a defense needed if we are no longer enemies and the period of confrontation is over?” (Reuters, May 27).
Russia understands something that the U.S. does not. It knows that the EU is using nato to build up its own military superpower status! Nato is being used as a pawn by the EU to help build its own military empire.
The attempt to suck old Soviet satellite countries into nato is what has drawn Russia to the nato table. President Putin wants a say when the eastern border of the expanding EU is finally drawn.
EU Must Pull Its Weight
The official website of nato proclaims that “North America and Europe are playing more equal roles” and calls nato an “alliance of shared responsibilities, linked by an ocean.” This statement is mere public relations—not reality. The difference in military capability between the U.S. and Europe is overwhelming.
Paul Kennedy, history professor and author of the widely acclaimed book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, has reversed the America-in-decline theory he vehemently declared in the 1980s. In reference to the differences in American and European military power, he wrote, “Nothing has ever existed like this disparity of power; nothing” (Washington Post, May 24).
The U.S. has been pressing its European allies to increase defense spending and upgrade military capabilities. Though budgets are rigid, U.S. officials believe their allies will be prepared to commit to improving their military strength in the wake of the events of September 11. Officials from Washington are continuing to put pressure on European nations to move in that direction.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell added to the urgency in Reykjavik, Iceland, at a meeting of foreign ministers in May, warning that European allies must share the burden in nato.
Lord Robertson agreed with Mr. Powell and stressed that the “division of labor” is unsustainable, with the United States providing the expensive high-tech military capabilities while leaving the “lower-tech allies [to] provide the soldiers or wring their hands on the sidelines” (www.EUbusiness.com, May 20).
Merge or Separate?
The fundamental reasons for holding the nato alliance together have now all but disappeared. The new reasons that have arisen are different for the U.S. and Europe, the principal players in the alliance.
Jeffrey Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, has explained that for EU leaders—especially the Germans—the idea of multilateralism (participation in international organizations) is what ignites thoughts of an EU superpower. Multilateralism is “the code word for leveraging up the medium-sized EU and chaining down the mighty Americans,” he explained. He concluded, “It’s a European obsession that is unlikely to go away” (Washington Post, May 20).
How can the EU find that leadership role in nato? General Gustav Hägglund, chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union, believes he has found the answer. He has proposed a two-pillar defensive arrangement between the EU and the U.S. via nato, where the U.S. would maintain security over North America, leaving the EU’s military wing over control of Europe and nearby areas.
“The EU ministers of defense want to reach a permanent agreement with nato, which would enable the EU to carry out peacekeeping missions in Macedonia using nato military assets” (www.euobserver.com, March 28). The mission in Macedonia is a single case in a stream of justification for the EU’s insistence that America turn over nato resources to give Europe a free hand in its own affairs. Europe will continue to pound the drum until America gives in to all its requests.
Failure to Understand
Pim Fortuyn, the recently assassinated right-wing Dutch politician, had this to say about America’s foreign policies: “I admire the U.S.: the country, the political system, the economy, the culture, technology, science and the American people. But their diplomatic and military political strategies in foreign affairs are worthless. I wouldn’t give a penny for America’s foreign policies.
“The U.S. doesn’t know a lot about foreign countries and, over and over again, it seems, it fails to understand them. In its view, we are all Americans, or we want to be Americans. It would be a lot easier and less complicated if this were so, but Americans simply won’t believe that it isn’t” (Telegraph, May 15).
Trumpet Editor in Chief Gerald Flurry has warned for years that the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is occurring before our very eyes with the fast-growing power of the German-led European Union!
America and Britain continually fail to understand the true intentions of foreign nations. Mr. Flurry explains, “[T]he mind of Israel [speaking of America and Britain] is ‘alienated’ from the … German-led Holy Roman Empire. Look at the recent history of the two world wars and you can see that our minds are indeed ‘alienated’ from Germany. God condemns Israel for making the Germans our lovers and not trusting Him. Unless we wake up, the Holy Roman Empire is going to betray us and fight against us! Then we shall know very deeply what God thinks about our ‘lovers’!” (The Rising Beast, p. 8).
Nato is helping to build the military might of the European Union. Soon we will see this alliance superseded, along with America’s world leadership role, by the fast-rising EU superpower.
Europe’s economy and population is larger than America’s. So why is the U.S. blindly providing aid to build up European military power?
At present, Europe is choosing generally not to increase its military budget drastically. In contrast, the U.S. spends 40 percent of the world’s military budget. Europe intends to stand on its own soon, but in the meantime it is willing to take everything nato is willing to give. America will give gladly as long as it is allowed to sit in the head seat. As America builds this European beast power, it cannot see that its mind is “alienated” from the German-led Holy Roman Empire!
The problem is, since the end of World War ii, the U.S. has been operating under the old business principle: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. First it was Germany, now Russia, despite God’s warning against such alliances (i.e. Hosea 7:8-13).
America’s present goal is to define what role nato’s member states will play in the war on terrorism. But in reality, the EU is not interested in a long-term alliance with the U.S.
Many journalists and experts who study this issue do not see the threat that exists in Europe. The European Union is only appeasing nato’s overconfident and naive leaders in Washington until it can stand alone as the supreme military world power.