NATO 2030; United for a New Era, the recent policy paper produced by the U.S.-NATO military alliance, selects two main enemies, which of course it protests aren’t enemies at all, merely countries that threaten the world and will have to be dealt with. It is not mentioned that Russia and China are both embarked on economic campaigns to improve the living standards of their citizens and are equally resolved to secure their territories and borders against provocation by countless intrusive military operations conducted by the U.S. and some other countries’ armed forces.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Politico he considers that growing challenges are being posed by China and that in consequence “To protect Europe, we need the transatlantic bond, we need North America, the U.S. and Canada… we all realize that the global balance of power is changing in a fundamental way. The rise of China is really changing the security environment we face.” He warned that the Chinese government was “investing heavily in new capabilities, including nuclear weapons, missiles, new technologies.”
The absurdity of his warning about nuclear weapons, alone, is enough to destroy his entire argument, which is based solely on finding reasons to try to justify the posture and even expansion of the U.S.-NATO military grouping which, although for the past years has focused on trying to intimidate Russia, is now seeking fresh fields to justify its continuing existence. Stoltenberg obviously doesn’t know that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 1920 Yearbook records the U.S. as having 1750 deployed nuclear warheads, and in 2019 “ended the practice of publicly disclosing the size of the U.S. stockpile” which is estimated at some 4,050. In contrast, as SIPRI recently noted, “China maintains an estimated total stockpile of about 260 nuclear warheads, a number which has remained relatively stable but is slowly increasing.”
But Stoltenberg refuses to acknowledge that in the somewhat unlikely event of major conflict the U.S. could reduce China to a sizzling radioactive desert, and rhapsodised that “If anything, the size of China — the military size, the economic size, their achievements in technology — all of that makes NATO even more important. No single ally, not even the United States, can address this alone.” He ignores the stark fact, as pointed out by Jeffrey St Clair in Counterpunch on December 11, that the United States spends more on its military forces than China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil combined.
He wants to expand NATO’s influence around the globe by “reaching out” to other countries to challenge China and specifically mentions Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. He proposes creation of “a community of like-minded democracies” opposed to the Chinese Communist government. He’s not quite a latter day Senator McCarthy, he of the fanatical anti-Communist campaign in the 1950s, but has joined with such as U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo who declared in August, while on a tour of countries around Russia, that “What’s happening now isn’t Cold War 2.0. The challenge of resisting the Chinese Communist Party threat is in some ways worse.”
On December 4 the BBC noted the assertion of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, that China is “the greatest threat to democracy and freedom” since World War Two, and his use of that time frame is intriguing because, as reported by the China Global Television Network on 4 September 2020, “The Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression that lasted from 1931 to 1945 forever changed China and China-Japan relations.”
The stage is being set for further confrontation with China, and Stoltenberg wants NATO to gear up to join the anti-China band whose membership, inevitably, includes Japan.
Western countries ignore the fact that the Second World War had enormously wide and long-lasting effects on China and that for the Chinese people it began when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. Full-scale war broke out in 1937 and lasted until the Allied victory in 1945, during which time China suffered an estimated 14-20 million dead. It is not surprising that China remains wary of Japanese intentions, and the alliance of Tokyo with what Stoltenberg calls “a community of like-minded democracies” to confront China, is far from reassuring to Beijing.
The U.S.-sponsored Japanese Constitution of 1947 states flatly that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” Although most laudable, this state of affairs could not last, and as noted by the BBC “after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the United States, fearing Communist expansion in Asia, pushed Tokyo to rearm. To fight off “Red China”, the U.S. established the Japan Self-Defence Forces, [in 1954] a military that to this day has not fired a single shot in anger.” But now it is evident that the U.S.-NATO alliance wants Japan, along with other Asia-Pacific nations, to band together against China and be prepared to fire shots in anger as part of a sort of super-NATO which is eager to use the threat of force as means of settling international disputes.
Once the ludicrous and regrettably pathetic post election pantomime in Washington has played out, the incoming Biden Administration will be able to get down to serious planning for the future, in which policy concerning Russia and China will be the most important international factor. Biden has chosen Antony Blinken as the new secretary of state, and while it is unlikely he’ll be as arrogantly war-drum-beating as his predecessor, Pompeo, who has devoted much time and money to jetting round the world on a total of 47 trips involving countless countries but of course omitting Russia and China, it appears that Blinken may continue a tough line, albeit short of full-frontal confrontation. In July he declared that “we need to rally our allies and partners, instead of alienating them, to deal with some of the challenges that China poses,” but it is possible that he and Biden will seek opportunities for cooperation rather than promoting the Stoltenberg project to create a mammoth anti-China military alliance.
It may be too much to hope that NATO may wither and die if it can’t expand eastwards, but at least the dangerous aspirations of Secretary General Stoltenberg are likely to be discouraged by the Biden administration. In spite of that, however, the Pentagon will probably continue its provocative electronic warfare flights and ludicrous “freedom of navigation” fandangos in the South China Sea, and we can expect gathering against China to continue.