Once the Soviet Union dissolved, NATO had to branch out if it was to survive, and it has, into things like the Global War on Terror. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance commits all members to participate in the defense of any single member that is attacked. An attack on one is an attack on all. Forged in the early stages of the cold war, the alliance originally included most of the leading non-communist states in Western Europe, as well as Turkey. It was intended to deter any attacks orchestrated by the Soviet Union and was defensive in nature.
Currently NATO is an anachronism as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but the desire to continue to play soldier on an international stage has granted it a measure of life support. Indeed, the alliance is regularly auditioning for new members. Its latest addition is Montenegro, which has a military consisting of 2,000 men and women, roughly one brigade. If Montenegro should be attacked, the United States is obligated to come to its assistance.
The assassination of Qassem Soleimani was apiece with US policy in the Middle East—based on lies and unlikely to produce either its stated or sub rosa aims. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:
UPDATED: Trump will not escalate the crisis with Iran but talked tough, while inviting NATO to take over at least part of U.S. role in the region.
Following Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes on two US military bases in Iraq on Wednesday, President Donald Trump imposed unspecified new sanctions on Iran but told Tehran that the US is “ready to embrace peace for all who seek it.”
In a televised address from the White House on Wednesday, Trump did not say the U.S. would further escalate military action against Iran following Iran’s ballistic missile strikes, which the Iranian foreign minister said concluded Iran’s response to the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Trump reported that there were no deaths or injuries and minimal property damage from the Iranian missile strikes over night. “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said.
Iran’s accurate missile attack demonstrated its capabilities, without causing damage that would have tempted Trump to further respond. Cooler heads prevailed on both sides of the conflict, with the prospect of a disastrous major war that would put millions of lives and the world economy at risk staring them both in the face.
While the Iranian response may not have satisfied an Iranian population enraged over the murder of a revered military leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the ultimate revenge would be the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Middle East.
Tensions continue to mount between Turkey, on the one hand, and the US and NATO on the other (Turkey is part of NATO). From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Despite mounting political and diplomatic pressure by the US and its NATO allies, Turkey has again balked at US attempts of intimidation and dug into its refusal to abandon a new Russian missile defense, saying it won’t bow to the threat of crippling US sanctions or trade the S-400s for an American system.
“They said they would not sell Patriots unless we get rid of the S-400s. It is out of question for us to accept such a precondition,” said Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, late on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting, quoted by Bloomberg.
“An irrational anti-Turkish sentiment has prevailed in the Congress and it is not good for Turkish-American relations,” Kalin added, noting that Congress “should know that such language of threat would push Turkey exactly toward places that they don’t want it turn to.” Namely, right into the hands of Vladimir Putin, who is on even better terms with Erdogan than Trump, despite Turkey taking down a Russian fighter jet over its territory several years back.
There’s no end to the foreign policy stupidity coming out of Washington, especially policies designed to antagonize Russia. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Congress and the White House compete in year-end stupidity sweepstakes
At the end of the nineteenth century, Lord Palmerston stated what he thought was obvious, that “England has no eternal friends, England has no perpetual enemies, England has only eternal and perpetual interests.” Palmerston was saying that national interests should drive the relationships with foreigners. A nation will have amicable relations most of the time with some countries and difficult relations with some others, but the bottom line should always be what is beneficial for one’s own country and people.
If Palmerston were alive today and observing the relationship of the United States of America with the rest of the world, he might well find Washington to be an exception to his rule. The U.S., to be sure, has been adept at turning adversaries into enemies and disappointing friends, and it is all done with a glib assurance that doing so will somehow bring democracy and freedom to all. Indeed, either neoliberal democracy promotion or the neoconservative version of the same have been seen as an overriding and compelling interest during the past twenty years even though the policies themselves have been disastrous and have only damaged the real interests of the American people.
The US orchestrated global order is being questioned on many fronts. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Kevin Baron, editor of Defense One (a leading US defence publication, funded by the defence industry) explains his anxieties about NATO’s future:
“NATO’s external threats, and internal leaders’ divisions are not what worries me the most … I expected panelists I spoke with over the past month to raise familiar issues … but I was surprised by their serious concern about the very fabric of the alliance: ‘This time it’s different’, many insist: “The philosophy on which this whole institution is built is profoundly challenged,” opined journalist Bobby Ghosh of Bloomberg Opinion (“in our pre-summit conversation at IISS”). [Emphasis added].
“His point was – that if leaders such as Trump and Erdogan continue to cosy-up to Russia – then what’s the purpose of this Cold War-era alliance? That’s a fair point. But I believe NATO’s biggest threat [comes from] its own inward-turning electorates. To global security leaders, from think tanks to the secure ‘tank’ inside the Pentagon, NATO is an essential organization and tool for the West’s ‘way of life’. It’s not even a question … Those leaders believe: How could anyone want to harm that?”.
If Turkey leaves NATO then it will want the US to abandon its important airbase at Incerlik. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
After what can only be termed a terrible NATO Not Summit two weeks ago it was clear the alliance has serious fissures forming in its facade.
It opened with French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to back down on how ‘brain dead’ NATO’s current mission is. And it ended with an embarrassing hot mic moment with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which led to President Trump leaving early.
It was Macron’s statements about Turkey reinvigorating ISIS with its invasion of Northern Syria which revealed the depths of European brain death in foreign affairs.
This is a talking point straight out of neocon central to appease the U.S. MIC and Israelis while he asserts the need to decouple European foreign policy from the U.S. and reorient NATO to combat terrorism, which it isn’t designed to do.
But what truly borders on farce today is the U.S. Congress threatening to sanction Turkey over buying Russian S-400 missile defense systems while its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is actually threatening NATO member Greece, ignoring the idea that Crete even exists and making territorial claims to the eastern Mediterranean that would make Ataturk himself blush.
Elizabeth Warren is a walking, talking establishment and neocon foreign policy bromide. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met in Geneva in 1985, in a summit specifically designed to allow them to discuss diplomatic relations and the -nuclear- arms race. At the time, the Soviet Union had started to crumble, but it was still very much the Soviet Union. They met again in 1986 in Reykjavik, in a summit set up to continue these talks. There, they came close to an agreement to dismantle both countries’ nuclear arsenals.
They met once again in Washington in 1987. That was the year Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech about the Berlin wall. Then they held a next summit in 1988 in Moscow, where they finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the US Senate’s ratification of the treaty in May 1988.
Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev first in December 1989 in Malta, and then the two met three times in 1990, among others in Washington where the Chemical Weapons Accord was signed, and in Paris where they signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. They met three more times in 1991, with one of their meetings, in Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).
One of the most interesting things agreed on during the Bush-Gorbachev meetings was that Russia would allow Germany to re-unite after the wall came down, in exchange for the promise that NATO would not try to expand eastward.
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