Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told'

While the Canadian focus on NATO today has been the release of Manley's report on the future of Canada's role in Afghanistan, a startling news story about the coalition was overshadowed by that long-awaited development and the state of the unstable global financial markets.

This is alarming:

The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.

'Radical' is right.

Just look at those code words: "pre-emptive", "imminent", "weapons of mass destruction".

Ring any bells?

And who came up with this dangerous extension of the Bush Doctrine and the Pentagon's 2005 Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (which it later decided to 'cancel' after being outed)?

Calling for root-and-branch reform of Nato and a new pact drawing the US, Nato and the European Union together in a "grand strategy" to tackle the challenges of an increasingly brutal world, the former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".

I guess we should be thankful that Canadians weren't part of that decision (that we know of), although I'm sure the minority Conservative government wouldn't have a problem supporting this call.

The manifesto has been written following discussions with active commanders and policymakers, many of whom are unable or unwilling to publicly air their views. It has been presented to the Pentagon in Washington and to Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, over the past 10 days. The proposals are likely to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest in April.

That's when we'll find out whether or not Canada's government supports this stance.

Considering how the Bush cabal managed to manipulate the intelligence on Saddam Hussein's Iraq to justify to the world that pre-emptive war was necessary and looking at the nightmarish fallout from that ideological decision to attack regardless of doubts in the intelligence community, one would think that the world would wisely step back from the notion of pre-emption and that the idea of striking with the most fierce weapons of all - nuclear - would cause more rational heads to prevail. Obviously not.

These are the identified threats:

The five commanders argue that the west's values and way of life are under threat, but the west is struggling to summon the will to defend them. The key threats are:

· Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.

· The "dark side" of globalisation, meaning international terrorism, organised crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

· Climate change and energy security, entailing a contest for resources and potential "environmental" migration on a mass scale.

· The weakening of the nation state as well as of organisations such as the UN, Nato and the EU.

Environmental migration on a mass scale? The only mass migration I've seen lately is in war-torn areas like Afghanistan and Iraq where people are fleeing for their lives thanks to the west's 'interventions'. Are they expecting hordes of Africans to suddenly realize that their devastating climate problems which have plagued them for centuries, will result in boatloads of people suddenly leaving for the United States? If NATO is concerned about immigration/emigration issues, I can't for the life of me see how that has something to do with choosing pre-emptive nuclear strikes as a solution or why it has obviously been so over-inflated as presenting some sort of imminent threat.

And how would this new, nuclear pre-emption program work within NATO?

To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new "directorate" of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU "obstruction" of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:

· A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

· The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.

· No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.

· The use of force without UN security council authorisation when "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings".

So, this is really a power-play to diminish the power of the EU, providing punishment for NATO countries who refuse to go along with what the big dogs want. Whatever happened to sovereignty and democracy? And, it smacks of exactly the same approach Bush took with the UN - snub the organization and move unilaterally, no matter what legitimate concerns there are or what international law may allow.

Reserving the right to initiate nuclear attack was a central element of the west's cold war strategy in defeating the Soviet Union. Critics argue that what was a productive instrument to face down a nuclear superpower is no longer appropriate.

Meet the new Cold War, as orchestrated by George W Bush.

We've been told for months on end that if NATO didn't succeed in Afghanistan, its credibility was on the line - a perspective I certainly don't agree with since success in Afghanistan by any military force, as we've seen throughout Afghanistan's history, is practically impossible. NATO and military leaders have repeatedly said there must be a political solution while continuing to outspend on the military aspect over redevelopment at obscene levels, allowing the Taliban and warlords to retain control in key areas of the country while corruption and opium production runs rampant. How does NATO expect to 'win' anything in Afghanistan under those conditions? And why is is willing to destroy itself over such unrealistic expectations?

Now, these experts have ratcheted up the ante with the focus being on the ultimate military solution: the use of first-strike nuclear weapons. NATO may need reforms, but such an extreme doctrine that only seeks to encourage widespread fear, destruction and division is not the answer. Perhaps these men have fond memories of the effects of Fat Man and Little Boy. Millions of others do not.

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, science for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
-- Albert Einstein

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