Saturday, April 30, 2011

What in the Hell is NATO? (It Will Even Take On Climate Change)

The US State Department's website explains the background and role of NATO(North Atlantic Treaty Organization). It states:
Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 28 countries from North America and Europe. NATO's fundamental goal is to safeguard the Allies' freedom and security by political and military means...Article 5 of the Washington Treaty -- that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all -- is at the core of the Alliance, a promise of collective defense. Article 4 of the treaty ensures consultations among Allies on security matters of common interest, which after 60 years have expanded from a narrowly defined Soviet threat to the critical mission in Afghanistan, as well as peacekeeping in Kosovo and new threats to security such as cyber attacks, and global threats such as terrorism and piracy that affect the Alliance and its global network of partners.
It is interesting how NATO has conveniently expanded its role over the last several decades. The raison d'etre of NATO is as stated in Article 5 "that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all -- is at the core of the Alliance." Currently,with the wave of a magic wand, NATO views Article 4's "security matters of common interest" to mean, literally,whatever it wants to make it mean. It echoes the essence of the statement by Former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes that "the Constitution is what the judges say it is." In other words, NATO is what NATO says it is.

In 1999 NATO bombed Serbia due to the way it was dealing with it's internal conflict with Kosovo. A NATO member was not attacked. NATO decided it needed to intervene in the crisis regardless. Now, led by President Obama, NATO is involved in Libya's civil war (a significant distance away from the North Atlantic). What is the role of NATO?

I'm posting three short youtubes. One comes from a group promoting the "new" role of NATO. The two others are the opinions on the same topic by President Clinton's former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and President Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. What is noticeable is the blatant ambiguity of everything they are saying. There are no real concrete answers given.Madeleine Albright is even asked what role NATO has in dealing with climate change. NATO is now fighting wars dealing with environmental issues? The official NATO website has a most peculiar way of defining itself on the link "What is NATO?" It invites you to "Discover NATO." The viewer hears the sound of birds and forest water for a brief moment.There is a picture of teenagers jumping excitingly in the air. Juxtaposed to that picture is a couple laying down in the grass romantically. A computer animated flower is next to the guy. He stares at the girl while she is lazily reading. The definition reads:
We want to be sure that we can walk around freely in a safe and secure environment. Security in all areas of everyday life is key to our wellbeing, but it cannot be taken for granted.

Perhaps NATO will further expand by intervening in the global economic crisis? Would members be willing to bomb banks and send drones to assassinate corrupt CEOs? Even if such a surreal occurrence were to take place, in all likeliness, NATO would be on the other side of that war: "securing" markets. Or is that part of it's role already?

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