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Will NATO’s expansion bubble burst?

Published Sep 24, 2008 8:32 PM

Part II: U.S. more dependent on military solutions

Washington increasingly looks to threats of sanctions and/or military attack to resolve its every problem and challenge. But the Bush administration finds it more difficult to line up its imperialist allies for each new aggression. Even some U.S. puppet and client states now try to distance themselves from U.S. initiatives.

Every major capitalist country competing with the U.S. looks first to its own economic interests. Their calculations are that the U.S. has lost its competitive economic edge; its financial institutions are in crisis, weakening the entire capitalist system. The overcommitted U.S. military machine is bogged down in disastrous occupations, facing long-term resistance movements.

As Dick Cheney visited Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine in early September, President George W. Bush announced $1 billion in new aid to Georgia, describing it as a multi-year commitment. The U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund will open access to another $750 million in immediate aid to Georgia. Billions more in military aid are projected.

Simultaneous with NATO’s aggressive stance in the Black Sea is expansion of U.S./NATO military raids and bombings in U.S.-ally Pakistan. This affront to Pakistan’s sovereignty has already enflamed anti-U.S. and anti-NATO sentiment. In a Sept. 16 statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for an immediate halt to U.S. incursions, adding that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country would be safeguarded at all cost.”

NATO’s bombing of a village in Afghanistan killing more than 90—primarily Afghan children and civilians—has forced even the puppet Afghan regime to denounce the attack.

U.S. occupation forces in Iraq are still unable, after more than five years, to secure their bases or provide even the most basic services of potable water and electricity to a population that has overwhelmingly refused occupation.

In the midst of all this, the U.S. threats and leaks about a possible military attack on Iran continue almost unabated. Half the U.S. Navy is in striking distance of Iran.

At the same time, the U.S. has pushed ahead with a wild escalation: the plan to base anti-ballistic missiles in Poland and radar sites in the Czech Republic in the face of overwhelming popular opposition there.

Collapse of a U.S. puppet

The dangerous escalation of NATO ships in the Black Sea, the further expansion of NATO membership, the attempt to line up the other Western imperialist members of NATO to impose sanctions on Russia, Cheney’s heavy-handed visit and the dramatic increase in aid to Georgia are all desperate U.S. imperialist efforts to reinforce its position. But these measures can’t reverse the U.S.’s big setback in its Georgian client state.

The Georgian army had received five years of U.S. and Israeli military training and millions of dollars of high-tech equipment, along with U.S. political support and encouragement to join NATO. Thousands of U.S. corporate-funded nongovernmental organizations ran most of the state apparatus, keeping Georgia firmly in the U.S. orbit.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili then initiated a devastating attack on the tiny autonomous region of South Ossetia on Aug. 7, bombing its capital, Tskhinvali, and the surrounding area and killing many South Ossetians.

Within a day of a Russian counterattack, the Georgian military collapsed in utter chaos. Officers abandoned their posts, hijacked ambulances and fled back to the capital of Tbilisi. Units could not communicate. Rank-and-file soldiers then dumped tons of new U.S. weapons on the roadways and also fled.

A Sept. 3 New York Times article put it all on technology: “Georgia’s military shortfalls were serious and too difficult to change merely by upgrading equipment.” The article, however, went on to say that “training and equipping new brigades, re-equipping existing forces and installing a modern air-defense network could cost $8 billion to $9 billion,” and that this was under discussion.

Only U.S. solution is more war

The U.S. corporate ruling class is relying more and more on war to salvage its position. This is reflected in both Republican and Democratic support for U.S. aid to Georgia, along with continuing support for a further expansion of NATO, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. bases around the world.

Even though the U.S. is suffering political, economic and military setbacks, the contradiction that leads invariably to an increased threat of war is that militarism is an endless subsidy for the dominant U.S. corporations—the military corporations of Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, McDonnell Douglas and GE—along with thousands of contractors and subcontractors. The war in the Caucasus was “a bell-ringer for defense stocks.” (Wall Street Journal, Aug.16)

The excuses for new wars and new arms shipments are mother’s milk to these merchants of death.

The U.S. military budget is already larger than that of the rest of the world combined, and it is growing. U.S. imperialism today has no solutions to the crises emerging around the globe except militarism, war and the threat of war. This makes the entire capitalist system more dangerous and more desperate.

It is essential that the working-class movement and progressive and anti-war activists oppose not just the individual wars of U.S. imperialism. Opposing all U.S. wars and calling for the abolition of NATO is now on the agenda.

< a href="http://www.workers.org/2008/world/nato_0925/">Will NATO’s expansion bubble burst? Part 2