The Guardian April 21, 1999


Some thoughts on joining NATO

by Jiri Horak*

Today all the ideals of peace and independence, neutrality and non-
alignment so frequently displayed as a pretext in the recent past have been 
formally betrayed. Our country [the Czech Republic] is officially delivered 
to the political and military control of the US superpower through 
NATO.

The new Czech bourgeoisie has thought it a good idea to couple its unstable 
power to the wagon of the most powerful.

There must have been no shortage in "ideal" reasons: didn't Mr. Clinton 
give a quite recent proof of the humanistic spirit breathing in the "big 
western democracies" when he expressed sincere "regret" for the murder of 
200,000 Guatemalans with the decisive contribution of the CIA and the US 
military?

Unfortunately we will have to wait for a while to be able to listen to a 
similar "regret" about the present shameless interventions in the Balkans 
or about the bombing of Yugoslavia.

Even for the genocidal starvation of the Iraqi people during the last ten 
years and for the daily air and missile strikes against that country, we 
will have to be patient and wait for a while.

Strong stomach

To enjoy one's place on the wagon of the most powerful, one has to be 
equipped with a strong stomach. One has to adjust oneself to the ideas on 
"democracy" of today's Turkish generals or the former, but not forgotten, 
US sponsored Greek Colonels.

Regarding Greece and Turkey, two countries on the brink of war although 
both are members of NATO, some never-satisfied fault-finders might observe 
that being a member of NATO involves no security guarantee from one's 
mighty neighbours, even when they are partners in the same alliance. But 
this is only a minimal part of the picture ...

One has to be equipped with a strong stomach because there are people 
around, like the former Italian communist D'Alema, now the Prime Minister 
of Italy, who would have you believe that by being a member of NATO one can 
influence its decisions.

D'Alema must have rapidly forgotten his being "upset" over the acquittal of 
the Rambo-top-guns of Cavalese  the US warplane crew who sent the 
innocent occupants of a cable car hurtling to their deaths. Perhaps D'Alema 
was also absent-minded about the US threatening to bomb Libya with nuclear 
weapons from the Italian base of Aviano. And maybe he had no time when he 
was a leader of the communist youth to be thoroughly informed about the 
clandestine fascist army [Claddio] organised by the US secret services in 
Italy and its operations. (Now the US secret services will be in a position 
to watch over Czech security in the same paternal way they have shown when 
they used terrorist bombs to make Italy follow the right course). 

But this is old history:

Let us look then at more recent events: three months ago in December, Mr 
Clinton and Mr Blair unchained a huge war operation against Iraq completely 
relegating the UN (now openly undermined by the US as the League of Nations 
was by the fascist regimes). No other European government was even 
forewarned. 

Shameless liars

Those who try to portray NATO as a kind of democratic forum where 
respectable governments and institutions take majority decisions are 
shameless liars. These things have been well-known for a long time by all 
honest persons. Now, they are becoming even clearer. 

The annexing of the Czech Republic to NATO, together with Poland and 
Hungary, occurs at a time when a dramatic turning-point has been reached 
and war is being prepared on a much larger scale than in the past.

In the midst of the celebrations for its fiftieth anniversary, NATO will 
officially adopt its new military doctrine of intervention EVERYWHERE in 
the world. The net of US military bases has been widened and strengthened 
in Europe as well as in Asia. 

Many countries have prepared special rapid deployment forces with 
professional personnel (the Czech Republic too will now be in a position to 
send some cannon fodder to win the high esteem of its masters). 

There are clear signs of the plans to deploy large military units in the 
Balkans and break the slightest resistance to the achievement of strategic 
military goals unthinkable some years ago. 

In the space of months the military units deployed in Macedonia (FYROM) 
under the pretext of defending the OSCE observers [in Yugoslavia] have 
become a threatening and heavily armed bridgehead for the invasion of 
Yugoslavia. 

The whole area from the Balkans to Central Asia is the object of special 
attention by the US military. It is the area where the present and future 
big oil pipe-lines run. It is not by chance that the establishment of US-
Turkish military bases in Azerbaijan is now on the agenda and NATO 
secretary Solana expands the horizon of NATO operations as far as 
Kazakhstan. 

US-NATO military doctrine still involves the possibility of the first 
nuclear strike (just to underline how hypocritical the pretensions of 
nuclear non-proliferation are) and military expenditure becomes sky-high 
both in quality and quantity, well beyond the already astronomical levels 
of the cold war years. Against the background of these facts, the 
admonitions coming from high Western personalities not to let Russia feel 
isolated sound rather pathetic. What they really mean is, let us be sure 
that the Russian Government delays as long as possible any meaningful 
reaction to the impending threat and confines its protest to a harmless and 
pathetic mumbling.

The fact is that ten years after the crisis of the Soviet Union and the 
Eastern European socialist regimes, the days of reckoning are approaching. 

In Russia particularly, there has been no such thing as a conversion of the 
economy from socialism to capitalism. What has taken place is rather the 
large scale destruction of productive forces and the embezzlement of social 
wealth like in a robbery committed by the few new rich who transfer the 
spoils abroad. 

The tragic consequences resemble the effects of a foreign invasion, like 
the nazi invasion of 1941.

The western powers know only too well that they have nothing to offer to 
the peoples of the world, neither eastward nor southward, but misery and 
oppression.

Tremendous economic crises with catastrophic consequences for the lives of 
the masses have swept over, not only the republics of the Soviet Union, but 
also the capitalist "paradises" of South East Asia and the dependent 
economies of almost all countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the 
Middle East. 

Winds of recession

The winds of a recession crisis of catastrophic proportions can be 
perceived with threatening frequency not only in Japan, where they have 
been blowing already for some time, but also in the remaining major centers 
of world capitalism.

The speeding up of large scale war preparations can be easily understood 
against this background. They find in it a very strong impetus.

* * *
* Jiri Hovak is a member of the Prague Committee of the International Nino Pasti Foundation for Peace and the Independence of the Peoples.

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