President Barack Obama and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met at the White House on May 9 to discuss the military bloc’s summit in Obama’s political home base of Chicago on May 20 and 21.
Earlier Rasmussen had paid visits to Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain for the same purpose. Presumably France wasn’t included because of the uncertainty of who the head of state would be after last month’s presidential election.
The NATO chief visited the capitals of major Alliance players, but summoned the leaders of its Eastern European vassal states – for example the prime ministers of Romania and Slovakia – to his headquarters in Brussels to brief them on summit objectives.
The White House and NATO websites alike offered only thumbnail sketches of the closed-door meeting in Washington and no transcript of the Obama-Rasmussen talk has been posted, but a White House press release confirmed that the two leaders concentrated on the three key topics to be addressed at the summit: The over decade-long campaign in Afghanistan, NATO’s first ground war and America’s longest armed conflict; defense capabilities, including the announcement of interim capacity or initial operational capability for the U.S.-NATO pan-European interceptor missile system and the Global Hawk-like drone-equipped continental Alliance Ground Surveillance system; the expansion of the bloc’s global military partnerships further across the planet and consolidation of a NATO-directed international interventionist force that has already been tested in wars on three continents.
Both NATO and the Obama administration hailed the impending summit as the largest in the alliance’s 63-year history, "gathering representatives from around 60 nations and organisations," according to the NATO website report of the May 9th meeting. The same site states that this year’s summit will mark the third time one has been held in the United States, which is not true: It is the second. Similarly, the NATO promotional video for the Chicago war council identified the host city as the capital of Illinois and the hometown of President Obama, neither of which is the case. Even if there had been any reason to accord the world’s only military bloc a scintilla of credibility in the past, an unwarranted concession, wary Chicagoans now know how much to believe NATO propaganda when it comes to events further from home.
The brief White House release stated:
"NATO is now a hub for a global network of security partners which have served alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan, Libya, and Kosovo. Recognizing the important contributions provided by partner nations, the President and Secretary General welcomed the recent decision by allies to invite a group of thirteen partner nations to Chicago for an unprecedented meeting to discuss ways to further broaden and deepen NATO’s cooperation with partner nations."
Anyone who is sceptical concerning the claim that the U.S. and its allies have methodically exploited crisis situations outside NATO’s area of responsibility to intervene militarily and in the process forge a worldwide expeditionary force should have their doubts dispelled by statements like the above. Wars in Europe, Asia and Africa have served as crucibles for molding a NATO-controlled international legion for yet more military actions outside the territory of the alliance’s member states.
As to which thirteen partner nations are being summoned to Chicago for "an unprecedented meeting," their names may never be divulged, but are likely to include the newest category of military adjuncts, all outside Europe. That is, NATO partners outside the three major regional partnerships the bloc has cultivated since the 1990s and the early years of this century: The Partnership for Peace program, with 22 members in Europe and Asia from the Irish Sea to China’s western border. The Mediterranean Dialogue and its seven members from the Atlantic coast of Africa to Israel and Jordan. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with Gulf Cooperation Council member states in the Persian Gulf. NATO partners which in several instances border Russia, Iran and China.
Recently NATO has announced an expanded version of what had formerly been referred to as Contact Countries – initially Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, all of whom have military personnel assigned to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, from a handful of Japanese medics to 1,550 Australian troops – known as partners across the globe. The NATO website now lists the four above nations and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq (where the NATO Training Mission-Iraq has trained the military at home and in Europe) and Mongolia, which is the first nation to join NATO’s new Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, as additional partners across the globe. Further members may include nations contributing troops for the war in Afghanistan that are not members of other NATO partnership programs such as Malaysia, Singapore, Tonga, El Salvador and, if the bloc’s top military commander – Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis – is to be trusted, Colombia.
Partners across the globe, as its very name suggests, is a mechanism that NATO can employ to foster bilateral and regional partnerships with any of the 126 countries that are not already NATO members or partners. Or groups of nations like the Arab League, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Overtures to El Salvador and Colombia may be followed by partnership proposals to nations like Peru, Chile, Panama, the Honduras and even Mexico, reinforced by U.S., British, French and Dutch presence in the Caribbean.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force recently posted a feature on its website that highlighted as a Chicago summit goal "deal[ing] with the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening NATO’s network of partners across the globe."
James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, recently spoke about the partners across the globe and identified teaching English to the Mongolian armed forces as an example of programs NATO can provide to new military cohorts throughout the world.
In 2006 current U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution now on leave, and James Goldgeier, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, co-authored an article titled "Global NATO," which celebrated simultaneous NATO operations a year earlier in four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and North America (Hurricane Katrina support). It contained this as its opening sentence:
"With little fanfare – and even less notice – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has gone global."
No act of Congress or United Nations resolution authorized the creation of global NATO. Though both organizations have the ability – and the obligation – to dismantle it.