War Strategies (II)


BERLIN/WASHINGTON/CANBERRA (Own report) - NATO is incessantly continuing its expansion and is extending its worldwide alliance system in preparation for future wars. This is gleaned from the military pact's new "Strategic Concept", according to which, NATO will intensify and broaden its various "partnerships"; show a stronger presence on the Arabian Peninsular and consolidate cooperation with countries of Eastern Asia and the Pacific Basin. Initiated already in the 1990s, this project aims at the long-term assurance of Western global predominance. According to an analysis by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), NATO's activities, particularly in Eastern Asia and the Pacific realm are colliding with the interests of the People's Republic of China. An escalation of long-standing tensions between the West and Beijing are expected. In this context, cooperation between NATO and Moscow is aimed at preventing an eventual alliance between Russia and China.

Alliance Systems

NATO's long-term expansion from its transatlantic origins began back in the 1990s - at a time when, following the end of the confrontation of systems, the military alliance was preparing to rise to the status of global hegemonic power. The first major steps were the wars against Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. They were accompanied by the establishment of a scaled down system of alliances, launched in 1994 with the "Partnership for Peace" (PfP) program. Several of the countries that were soon accepted into this cooperation program are today full members of NATO. PfP is currently comprised of 22 countries, including formerly neutral European countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Ireland, but also CIS member nations, which provides NATO with a foothold in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Seven North African and Middle East countries are members of the "Mediterranean Dialogue," initiated by the military alliance in 1994. Four countries of the Arabian Peninsular are cooperating with the Western powers alliance within the framework of the "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative", founded by NATO in 2004. This is how the war pact has been able to solidly establish a foothold in the world's most important raw materials regions.

As Far as Eastern Asia

The new "Strategic Concept" [1] adopted last weekend by NATO, provides for the systematic expansion of its various "partnerships." The practical military cooperation with the countries in the "Partnership for Peace" is to be broadened. NATO also wants to intensify the "Mediterranean Dialogue", which could also include the acceptance of new members. This holds true for the "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative," which also is to be enlarged. Having already surpassed the Middle East and Central Asia to extend as far as Eastern Asia and the Pacific realm, the war alliance announces its global aspirations: it is "prepared to develop political dialogue and practical cooperation with any nations and relevant organizations." Since 2004, the United States, in particular, has been insisting that NATO build up strong footholds both in the People's Republic of China's mediate and immediate backyard and establish loose "partnerships" with those countries. The war in Afghanistan, with numerous countries around the world - including from Eastern Asia and the Pacific - participating alongside NATO, has proven helpful for the extension of relations. Today NATO considers Japan and South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand, to be "contact countries".

War Cooperation

As an exemplary case, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) has studied NATO's cooperation with Australia, which had been intensified over the past few years. The author based his study on decades of close military policy cooperation between Australia and the USA, established by the 1952 ANZUS Treaty ("Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty"). In 2005, the Australian government decided to send a military attaché to NATO headquarters. In 2006, the foreign minister of Australia and the General Secretary of NATO broadened the expansion of these relations, which was confirmed the same year at NATO's summit in Riga. Soon thereafter, Canberra sent reinforcements to the Australian troop contingent in Afghanistan, which, with approx. 1,500 soldiers, is today one of the larger contingents. Of course Australian troops have taken part in NATO military exercises to train for joint operations.

Springboard Australia

Australia could serve as "the ideal springboard for NATO to gain a foothold in the South Pacific" writes the SWP author in reference to the cooperation's geostrategic background. The alliance is seeking to establish a stronger presence in a region, where the rising People's Republic of China is gaining influence. Accordingly, the SWP notes that Beijing - which is already "concerned" with the strong US involvement in the South Pacific Region - will hardly be joyous about NATO's intrusion into its southern flank. But, Berlin's government advisor simultaneously warns, it is still to be seen whether cooperation with Australia will be crowned with success, because various NATO members lack the strength to stretch their means of influence all the way to the Pacific and Canberra is vacillating between differing strategic points of departure. Whereas one sector - particularly found in the conservative political milieu - seeks to have a display of power in relations with China and strong cooperation with the West, a second tendency - particularly represented by members of social democracy - are for integrating the People's Republic by means of regional cooperation. Therefore cooperation will have to be sought.[2]

Isolate China

The strategic rivalry with China is also playing a role in the context of the NATO-"partnership" that has recently received extensive media attention - NATO's cooperation with Moscow. "NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance," the Heads of States and Governments of the NATO nations affirm in the "Strategic Concept": They are determined to "enhance the political consultations" as well as "practical cooperation."[3] Observers note that NATO and Russia have already expanded their cooperation in the war on Afghanistan: Russia is participating in the destruction of poppy fields and allowing rail transport across its territory for the Western war alliance's arms supply. NATO has even been allowed to transit armored vehicles to the Hindu Kush via Russia. This is affecting Beijing indirectly, because of its cooperation with Russia in military policy, based on the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" (SCO), established in 2001. If the West would succeed in drawing Russia closer to NATO, China would become isolated among the major powers.[4]

Partner, Not Member

The network of scaled down "partnerships" is not only useful to the West because it can, to various degrees, bind numerous countries around the globe to NATO, but also because these countries are simply "partners" and not members of this war alliance. They have no voice in strategic decisions and ultimately remain at the mercy of Western planning. At best, according to the "Strategic Concept," they have the right to participate in decisions concerning operative questions in the NATO-led missions, in which they are participating. The geo-strategic project behind this system of "partnerships" serves to systematically stabilize western hegemony.

[1] Active Engagement, Modern Defence. Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty. Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon
[2] Henning Häder: Chances and Limits of NATO's Global Partnership with Australia; SWP Working Paper FG6-WP No 7, November 2010
[3] Active Engagement, Modern Defence. Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty. Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon
[4] Der SCO gehören China, Kasachstan, Kirgisistan, Russland, Tadschikistan und Usbekistan an. Beobachterstatus haben Indien, Iran, die Mongolei und Pakistan, locker verbunden sind ihr Belarus, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan und Sri Lanka sowie die Staatenbündnisse ASEAN und GUS.