The Flawed Leaders of NATO
Brian CLOUGHLEY | 09.06.2016 | OPINION

The Flawed Leaders of NATO

On 3 June the Secretary General of the US-NATO military alliance against Russia, Jens Stoltenberg, reviewed the Alliance’s agenda for the Warsaw Summit, including plans to enhance NATO’s forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.” He declared that NATO’s aggressive operations around Russia’s borders were “a defensive and proportionate response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.”

It is now accepted throughout the western world that the entirely peaceful accession of Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured Crimea region to Russia, on the vote of the majority of its citizens, was “annexation” by Russia. The fact, as noted by Human Rights Watch in its 2016 World Report, that 600,000 people have been forced to flee Ukraine to the safety of Russia is wilfully ignored. And if Russia had wanted to take over Ukraine militarily at the time of the putsch it could have done so within twenty-two days. (That was the conclusion of a highly classified US military analysis.)

The West has been energetic in its propaganda war against Russia for many years – and has now geared up for actual conflict.

This month US-NATO is conducting massive war games in Poland, all the Baltic States, and Finland, that are specifically designed to threaten Russia. The US-inspired coup in Ukraine, with its consequence of chaos, has proved a blessing and a bonus for the NATO alliance, which failed so disastrously in its forays into Libya and Afghanistan.

But Ukraine has proved a blessing in other ways, and it is interesting to examine the stance and character of NATO’s successive Secretaries General, who in some cases have over the years made intriguing statements and decisions about that corruption-ridden country.

Former (2009-2014) NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced on 28 May that he is becoming Special Adviser to Ukraine’s billionaire President Petro Poroshenko and that “I look very much forward to working with the Ukrainian authorities.”

There are two intriguing points about this story (apart from its unintentionally side-splitting hilarity), and these are that Rasmussen’s advice about even how to tie your shoelaces should be regarded with suspicion; and second, that he’s already been working for many years to assist some carefully-selected Ukrainians.

His appointment can be attributed to close involvement with the US while he was prime minister of Denmark, when he supported the Bush invasion of Iraq, even to the point of sending 500 Danish troops to war, against the wish of the majority of the Danish public. Danish soldiers were killed in that catastrophic conflict, but his support of the US paid off, and Washington backed him to take over the European branch of US-NATO.

The process involved in appointing a NATO Secretary General is not exactly democratic, as there is no open vote or indeed any transparency. He is selected by supposed “consensus” of all NATO nations, and of all the self-important unprincipled politicians who have been so chosen, Rasmussen is high on a depressing list.

In 1994 there was Willy Claes who had to resign after he was convicted of gross corruption. Next came the Spanish socialist politician Javier Solana who was not corrupt but was a jumbo-sized hypocrite who embraced NATO’s doctrine of nuclear warfare in spite of having written a pamphlet titled “50 reasons To Say No To NATO” and having campaigned against Spain’s membership. While he was in the job, NATO conducted an 11-week campaign“of air strikes against Yugoslavia over Kosovo without UN approval.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote to this former anti-NATO pacifist pointing out that his bombing of TV and radio stations in Kosovo caused civilian deaths and unwarranted destruction, and were not “a legitimate military target”.

HRW observed that his “decision to target an airfield in Nis with cluster bombs that resulted in an attack on a hospital and marketplace” might have been expected to result in some questions being asked about his suitability for involvement in international affairs, but after his NATO blitz against the Serbs he was appointed to the meaningless but extremely well-paid job as the EU’s “High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy”.

The next consensus appointment was that of Britain’s George Robertson, who not only became a Lord but set an example for those Secretaries General who join the game with an eye to profitable post-NATO benefits. George the Lord was hired by the multinational company Cable and Wireless which paid him a juicy “£421,601, including a £200,000 bonus... for working two days a week” in the year after he left his NATO job. He also raked in “£40,000 from the military aerospace company Smiths Group, and £32,000 from Weir Group, which sells weapons systems to the Royal Navy.” Nice post-NATO work if you can get it.

Georgy Boy got the job just before the disastrous US invasion of Afghanistan which he supported to the hilt, and then he visited Ukraine to extend “a warm word of thanks to my friend Borys Tarasyuk, whom we have long known at NATO, and to whom we owe much of the success of the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership over the last several years ... It is an honour and a privilege to be here.” Indeed, it was a privilege – and NATO’s links with carefully chosen people in Ukraine were to advance and multiply over the coming years.

In 2004 George the Lord was followed by Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who also has a declared partiality for Ukraine. Indeed, at NATO’s Bucharest summit in 2009 he declared that “I have mentioned NATO’s open door in connection with the Balkans, but I want to emphasise it again. Because there are other countries, too, that wish to join NATO – like Ukraine and Georgia. As long as there is a gap between where countries are and where they want to be, the unification of Europe will not be complete.” It escaped the attention of Mr Scheffer that the unification of Europe has got nothing to do with the US-NATO military alliance whose existence is based entirely on confronting Russia.  

It is intriguing that so many Secretaries General of US-NATO – who cannot, of course, give a single order without approval of the Washington-appointed military commander, the US-appointed Supreme Allied Commander Europe – have been so supportive of Ukraine.

When he was Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared on 2 March 2014 that “Ukraine is our neighbour, and Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO.” Then on 4 September 2014 that “We will take steps to enhance our cooperation with Ukraine.”

He has certainly enhanced his personal cooperation with Ukraine in the time since he finished his term as Secretary General on 1 October 2014. Enrichment beckoned, just as for many of his predecessors. So what might the future hold for the present incumbent, Mr Jens Stoltenberg?

When he was appointed Secretary General the BBC described him as “an unlikely choice ... an economist with no defence background, a social democrat who built up good relations with Russia...” and it seemed that moderation might at last apply in the billion dollar NATO palace in Brussels. But now he rejoices that his organisation is conducting “the largest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.” What made him change so violently? And why does he want a hot war?

Tags: NATO 

RELATED ARTICLES