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EDITORIAL

Bush & NATO

The Bush gang has been so arrogant in wielding unilateral U.S. military power in Iraq that Bush's request for help from NATO might falsely look like a step toward peace. That would be a gross misunderstanding of NATO's role. NATO is no international organization of "peacekeepers." It's a military alliance led by the U.S. and the older colonial powers in Europe, aimed at the workers and oppressed nations.

The U.S. founded NATO in 1949 to keep socialist revolution away from Western Europe and to threaten the Soviet Union. It also guaranteed a leading role for U.S. foreign policy with regard to its European allies. The NATO structure had U.S. officers at the top, and the weaker imperialist powers in Western Europe subordinated their individual interests to the confrontation with the socialist camp.

As long as the USSR and the Warsaw Pact existed, NATO made no military attacks. It couldn't. But NATO plans formed the basis for the pro-fascist coup of Greek colonels in 1967. NATO agents worked with the militarists and fascists in Italy to sow terror in the 1970s. NATO armies threatened to intervene against the Portuguese revolution in 1974-1975 should the workers there attempt to seize power.

The collapse of the USSR in 1989-1991 left the U.S. with a problem regarding NATO. U.S. strategists wanted to take this anti-Soviet pact and turn it into a weapon for intervention in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This would leave the U.S. in the driver's seat regarding military intervention, but would enlist the British, French, German and other imperialist rivals in the ground armies taking casualties.

The first major area of intervention was the Balkans. With reliance on U.S. air power, NATO made its first military intervention in the post-Soviet period against the people of Yugoslavia, bombing civilian targets mercilessly for 78 days in 1999 on NATO50th anniversary. It proved once more that NATO was a pact of predatory powers, aimed at oppressing and exploiting the vast majority of the world's people. At the end of that war, it was fitting and symbolic that the major powers carved up Serbia's Kosovo province, sharing the spoils just as the 19th-century colonial powers did when they carved up Africa.

The Bush gang's adventure in Iraq went a step beyond NATO. It was an attempt to plunder a country without sharing the spoils with U.S. rivals. Bush's failure in Iraq has forced the U.S. ruling class to look back toward NATO, whether Bush or Kerry is in the White House next year.

The Milosevic case

With NATO likely to continue as a major focus of U.S. foreign
policy, it would be a good time for the progressive movement here
to pay attention to the case against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague. After three years in an old Nazi prison and a parade of 300 prosecution witnesses who proved nothing against him, Milosevic is opening his defense case in July. Even during the last two years of cross-examinations of prosecution witnesses, Milosevic managed to expose NATO's aggression. His defense will likely expose to the world NATO's own war crimes
in the Balkans.

Reprinted from the July 8, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper
This article is copyrighted under a Creative Commons License.
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