Europe’s New Policeman

A shifting alliance: Searching for a new identity since the end of the Cold War, NATO hopes to have found one.
From the May 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

A global discussion is underway about the identity and role of nato. This is something the Trumpet has long anticipated. Written in 1999, this article contemplates what Europe would do without nato. It is as relevant today as it was 18 years ago.

For 40 years, nato stood firm as the bulwark against the Soviet Union and its Communist allies, helping secure the longest period of peace in European history. Its first secretary-general, Lord Ismay, famously defined its role as, “To keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.”

Today, after winning the Cold War without ever firing a shot, nato is entangled in a messy conflict where tiny Kosovo, not global communism, threatens the pact’s future existence.

Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, nato has been searching for a new identity. Nothing illustrates this better than the unprecedented bombing raids on Serbia. Unprecedented because of why the North Atlantic Treaty was signed. To understand, let us review some important history.

Nato was created in April 1949, quite simply, as a one-for-all, all-for-one defensive alliance between ten European nations, the United States and Canada. During the Cold War, four other nations joined the pact (Greece and Turkey in 1952, Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982).

Article 5 of the Treaty says, “The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an attack occurs, each of them … will assist the party or parties so attacked…including the use of armed force.”

The fact that it was established as a sort of “neighborhood watch” program makes today’s action dubious. All of the former Yugoslav states are outside nato’s neighborhood. None of them have attacked a nato member. That means nato has no business meddling in the affairs of a non-member nation—at least, not if it is to abide by the original charter’s intent.

Led by the U.S. and Germany, however, nato is shifting from a purely defensive alliance to one that’s more interventionist.

What does the future have in store for the nato alliance as it embarks upon its new, self-appointed role as regional policeman? Believe it or not, the Bible provides us with a prophetic blueprint around which we can draw certain conclusions about nato’s future.

In the book of Ezekiel, God compares the end-time descendants of Israel (U.S. and Britain mainly) to a harlot chasing her “lover,” or Assyria. We have proven in our booklet The History and Prophecy of Germany that Assyria today is Germany.

This illicit affair is prophesied to end in treacherous deceit (Ezekiel 23:9). Germany is prophesied to turn on its English-speaking nato partners, as it has historically.

Readers of the Trumpet have been repeatedly warned that Bible prophecy foretells one final restoration of the Roman Empire in Europe. The Bible calls this the beast power. Revelation 17:12 says it will be comprised of “ten horns”—meaning ten nations or ruling entities. Obviously, several nato members will be included in this number.

Others, however, will not. The U.S., Britain and Canada, though currently doting on their “lover,” will not be among this ten-nation combine.

With the Bible as our guide, we can look for the wedge between the English-speaking peoples and the rest of Europe to widen. Look for Europe, which has been without a credible foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, to assume a role independent of American direction.

Examine the actual events of the last ten years. World events, especially in Europe, are changing as fast as technology! (see sidebar). Be assured that as the European beast gathers steam, it will no longer rely on America. Right now, Europe is following America’s lead because it has to.

Europe needs America, not because it likes U.S. policy (it often despises it) or its inept leadership, but because it needs U.S. weapons. What would nato nations have been for the first 40 years of the pact without advanced U.S. weaponry? Soviet satellites, no doubt.

Once Europe no longer needs America’s forces, it will no longer need, or want, America. Until that happens, however, a German-led Europe will continue using nato to camouflage its imperialistic ambitions.

That is what makes Kosovo so significant. It is nato’s first mission outside the neighborhood. Clearly, Germany has pushed hardest for the attack. In fact, Germany is most responsible for Yugoslavia’s unravelling. Yet, 75 percent of nato’s firepower is American!

Right now, Germany and its European allies need America. But that is changing fast.

Kosovo may have crashed nato’s 50th anniversary bash in Washington last month, but it did not deter leaders from proposing significant changes in the alliance’s agenda for the 21st century.

The biggest change was proposed by European leaders who, for some time, have complained of American highhandedness. The new Strategic Concept reflects these concerns, specifically Article 30, which states, “The European Allies have taken decisions to enable them to assume greater responsibilities in the security and defense field in order to enhance the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area and thus the security of the Allies.”

Thus, in accordance with what nato outlined in Berlin in 1996, the European Security and Defense Identity will continue to develop within nato. This, according to Article 30, “will assist the European Allies to act by themselves as required through the readiness of the Alliance, on a case-by-case basis and by consensus, to make its assets and capabilities available for operations in which the Alliance is not engaged militarily under the political control and strategic direction either of the Western European Union or as otherwise agreed, taking into account the full participation of all European Allies if they were so to choose.”

In other words, Europe can draw on nato resources to pursue objectives the United States is not interested in. They also discussed a plan to share America’s technological superiority in its military forces.

The stage is set for the gap to widen between Europe and America!

Turkey is the only nation that objected to the wording of Article 30—not surprising, since it has been snubbed by the European Union. What is surprising, however, is that no one else voiced disapproval—specifically, the United States and Britain. As it turns out, Turkey raised a big enough fuss to guarantee that non-European Union members of nato would be consulted before nato’s resources were called upon for emergency action.

Despite nato’s big plans, the crisis in Kosovo hung over the summit in Washington like an ominous cloud. It was a constant reminder that while heads of state were celebrating the alliance’s anniversary, nato planes were bombing Serbian oil refineries, bridges, rail lines, factories, television stations—even one of SlobodanMilosevic’s homes. Yet Milosevic remains defiant, refugees continue to stream out of Kosovo and stories of atrocity fill space in newspapers.

Noting the obvious irony, many commentators questioned whether the alliance would even last. Francois Heisbourg, chairman-designate of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, said, “We are staring defeat in the face. If we are not capable of preventing the worst humanitarian disaster in Europe since 1945 with the full array of nato power against the dictator of a country with 8 million people, we might as well reduce our defense budgets to zero and give up.”

“We are facing defeat in terms of criteria we set for ourselves,” Heisbourg said. “One was to get Milosevic to sign the Rambouillet peace agreement. Forget that. Another was to improve the humanitarian situation. The opposite is happening. A third was establishing the credibility of nato. It’s being undermined.”

Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole put it this way: “If we fail and allow Serbian aggression in Kosovo to stand, [April’s] celebration at the 50th anniversary of the founding of nato conceivably could become nato’s funeral.”

For its first 40 years, the fact that nato was small and had one, common enemy was the glue which held the alliance together. For the past ten years, nato has been expanding and has lost its traditional enemy. That does not bode well for what some have called the world’s most successful military alliance.

“Too many are arguing that the alliance should divide its forces,” says former nato commander Alexander Haig—“the European allies to take care of Europe, the U.S. to take care of interests outside of Europe. But if nato’s vital interests are divisible, then the mainspring of the alliance’s success—shared interests, shared risks and shared responsibilities—will be broken. America and Europe will go their own way.”

That has already begun. It started with the unification of Germany and the Soviet Union’s collapse earlier this decade. Of late, this eventuality has gathered steam because of nato expansion, the crisis in Kosovo and Europe’s dissatisfaction with American hegemony within the alliance. That resulted in Article 30 at last month’s Washington Summit.

A European peace-keeping organization is a clearly defined goal of the European Union. For now, however, Europe will continue to use American firepower—but only as long as it needs it. When that is no longer the case, nato’s forces will be superseded by the European Union’s, leaving a weakened Britain, Canada and America on the outside looking in.

It won’t be long before Europe completely severs its ties with these English-speaking nations. True, America’s military forces are still far superior to any other power in the world.

But things change—fast.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler inherited a run-down, dilapidated military force, fully incapable of carrying out his clear objective for world rule. Five years later, he had transformed that into the awesome Wehrmacht.

Considering that, and how much has happened in the last ten years, it will not take long for the European Union, led by Germany, to accumulate enough force to turn on America and her few remaining allies.