BOGGED down in quicksand and surrounded by propaganda clichés the world’s most powerful military alliance, created 61 years ago to defend Western values, again demonstrates its wretched lack of cohesion. Nothing matches the firepower of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) but it has not emerged from a single skirmish with honours.
The 28 members of the alliance are as divided as the Afghan hill tribes facing them down. They are not only losing that fight but are held to a draw in an ill thought out North African war they cannot win.
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The United States provides 73 percent of NATO’s budget and most of its firepower. Republican Senator John McCain told the U.S–Islamic World Forum in Washington; “We appreciate contributions made by our allies, especially the British and the French, but the reality is the United States is NATO.”
Why did the U.S. put blue water between itself and the Libyan fiasco? Do they know something we either don’t know or refuse to accept?
French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé called the Afghan conflict ‘a trap.’ He wants an exit strategy. So does U.S. President Obama but he is up against the unassailable military lobby. America’s ‘death industry’ accounts for 50 percent of global military spending.
Like the pharmaceutical and oil conglomerates it buys opinion makers as most of us purchase wine. When did you ever see a government minister robustly questioned by the palace media? One turns to the independent media and the internet to get a balanced picture.
Britain’s Defence Chief, Sir David Richards, warns that NATO has a 30 or 40 year role in Afghanistan. The defeat of the Red Army in Afghanistan undermined the Warsaw Pact and hastened the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Those few tribes could reduce to rubble the American Imperial and NATO. Failure in Afghanistan or Libya will question the need for the alliance.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague following the NATO summit in Berlin claimed unity of purpose but his words lacked conviction. It is surprising the media allows to him to get away with his bombastic rhetoric unchallenged. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was forced to concede that ‘no firm pledges had been made by those attending.’
Of NATO’s 28 members only six are operationally active against the Libyan state: Britain, France, Canada, Belgium, Norway and Denmark. These six are in disagreement with each other. When asked to increase its involvement Belgium refused. Other members are firing blanks.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez rejected direct participation; Norway was truculent. The Germans say they see no military solution to the Libyan conflict; its role will be strictly humanitarian.
The 20 Foreign Ministers attending the Qatar meeting talked a good fight but agreed on little of substance. Spanish daily El País asks: “How do we end once and for all this war that is bleeding Libya and destabilising the entire Mediterranean area?”
Ironically it may be NATO’s failure rather than Colonel Gaddafi’s victory that restores peace and stability to the region.