MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

It’s Time for NATO to Go the Way of the Warsaw Pact – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. Fox on July 31, 2018

When the NATO document chastises Russia for “provocative” military activities near the NATO border, it is referring to maneuvers within Russia’s own borders, or one of its few allies, Belarus.

https://original.antiwar.com/hallinan/2018/07/30/its-time-for-nato-to-go-the-way-of-the-warsaw-pact/

by 

…One such detail is NATO’s “Readiness Initiative” that will beef up naval, air, and ground forces in “the eastern portion of the Alliance.” NATO is moving to base troops in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Since Georgia and Ukraine have been invited to join the Alliance, some of those forces could end up deployed on Moscow’s western and southern borders.

And that should give us pause.

A recent European Leadership’s Network’s (ELN) study titled “Envisioning a Russia-NATO Conflict” concludes, “The current Russia-NATO deterrence relationship is unstable and dangerously so.” The ELN is an independent think tank of military, diplomatic, and political leaders that fosters “collaborative” solutions to defense and security issues.

High on the study’s list of dangers is “inadvertent conflict,” which ELN concludes “may be the most likely scenario for a breakout” of hostilities. “The close proximity of Russian and NATO forces” is a major concern, argues the study, “but also the fact that Russia and NATO have been adapting their military postures towards early reaction, thus making rapid escalation more likely to happen.”…

The story goes back more than three decades to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual reunification of Germany. At the time, the Soviet Union had some 380,000 troops in what was then the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. Those forces were there as part of the treaty ending World War II, and the Soviets were concerned that removing them could end up threatening the USSR’s borders. The Russians have been invaded – at terrible cost – three times in a little more than a century.

So in the early 1990s, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev cut a deal. The Soviets agreed to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe as long as NATO didn’t fill the vacuum, or recruit members of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. Baker promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch east.”

The agreement was never written down, but it was followed in practice. NATO stayed west of the Oder and Neisse rivers separating Germany and Poland, and Soviet troops returned to Russia. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991.

But President Bill Clinton blew that all up in 1999, when the US and NATO intervened in the civil war between Serbs and Albanians over the Serbian province of Kosovo. Behind the new American doctrine of “responsibility to protect,” NATO opened a massive 11-week bombing campaign against Serbia.

From Moscow’s point of view, the war was unnecessary. The Serbs were willing to withdraw their troops and restore Kosovo’s autonomous status. But NATO demanded a large occupation force that would be immune from Serbian law, something the nationalist-minded Serbs would never agree to. It was virtually the same provocative language the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had presented to the Serbs in 1914, language that set off World War I.

In the end, NATO lopped off part of Serbia to create Kosovo and redrew the post World War II map of Europe, exactly what the Alliance charges today that Russia has done with its seizure of the Crimea…

The Americans are still in – one should take Trump’s threat of withdrawal with a boulder-sized piece of salt – there is no serious evidence the Russians ever planned to come in, and the Germans have been up since they joined NATO in 1955. Indeed, it was the addition of Germany that sparked the formation of the Warsaw Pact.

While Moscow is depicted as an aggressive adversary, NATO surrounds Russia on three sides, has deployed antimissile systems in Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the Black Sea, and has a 12 to 1 advantage in military spending. With opposing forces now toe-to-toe, it would not take much to set off a chain reaction that could end in a nuclear exchange.

Yet instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.”…

The old ways of thinking are not only outdated, but also dangerous. It’s time NATO went the way of the Warsaw Pact.

Be seeing you

russia wants war

 

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