April 13, 2010
Until the end of the Cold War, NATO insured the security of a recovering Europe. The protection afforded by the NATO umbrella has allowed Western European nations to rebuild their war-torn economies, to unite and our continent to become one of the most prosperous and peaceful places on earth.
Following the dismantling of its arch-enemy’s military bloc, the Warsaw Pact, NATO has also lost its ways. The Central and Eastern European nations that have become its members over the past few years are being asked to fork out precious cash in order to buy (largely unnecessary) F-16’s and other military hardware, in line with the profit projections of firms belonging to the US military-industrial complex. Take Romania, for example. For years, the country is hemorrhaging medical personnel towards the richer countries of the Union. Its education system, once quite competitive and functional, is manned by chronically underpaid and disinterested teaching staff. The billions of dollars recently approved by the Supreme Council for the defence of the country to purchase second-hand F-16’s should have been earmarked, as a matter of priority, on hospitals and schools. One can only hope that when the decision comes for ratification before the Romanian parliament, its members will use the opportunity to reject it and thus improve their tarnished image as a democratic institution.
Bluntly put, NATO has become the Sales & Marketing arm of the US military industrial complex, protecting no-one but dragging its members’ armies into military adventures in countries like Irak and soon very possibly, in a war against Iran. Central and Eastern European nations especially, are not given the same opportunities as those extended to Western Europeans in the past, to invest their meager budgets into improving their infrastructures, education and medical facilities. At best, these nations’ soldiers are merely used as cannon fodder in bloody conflicts on other continents.
Recent calls by a German-led chorus of diplomats (from Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Norway) to remove the 200 remaining B61 American bombs from European soil have gone unheeded so far. The group of experts chaired by Madeleine Albright, which is supposed to guide the alliance’s strategic options in future, is about to advise against their removal. The case proved that the EU has a tough battle on its hands to do away with the obsolete security structure that is these days doing more harm than good. (source: The Guardian weekly)
To make matters worse, the leaders of Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic are serving US interests first – national and European interests last. This is the main reason why the new European security architecture should replace an alliance built with different enemies in mind, which has indeed accomplished its original mission, but has clearly outlived its usefulness.Florian Pantazi