Rossiyskaya Gazeta
 26 May 1999

 NATO Is Playing, Everyone Is Losing
 Two Months of the Balkan War. Interim Results.
 by Rossiyskaya Gazeta Political Observer Vladimir Lapskiy

 In NATO's 50 years of existence the bloc's politicians and generals
 should in theory have accumulated a great wealth of experience; they have
 been very well aware of each other's potential and the potential of their
 partners and their enemies. First-class players, it would seem that they
 would know how to calculate their reactions many moves ahead. But, as an
 ancient philosopher said, knowing a great deal does not make you
 intelligent. NATO has deluded itself.

 There is no end in sight to the Balkan war, which they had intended to
 resolve in a few days. And the alliance does not want to or cannot now
 "retreat," and is displaying the same obstinacy and pushiness as its main
 opponent, Slobodan Milosevic. With the help of topographical maps, one of
 the most picturesque countries in Europe is being systematically
 destroyed, hundreds and thousands of civilians are dying, and
 enterprises, hospitals, and historical and cultural monuments are being
 demolished. Europe has not experienced such arbarity since the times of
 World War II.

 I will not try to guess how the Balkan war will end, when this will
 happen, and who will consider himself the victor. Something else is clear
 today: In real terms everyone who has participated or not participated in
 it has lost. Europe and the United States may be paying for it for
 decades. Already this war is costing the West 300 billion euros, and how
 much more is yet to be smashed and destroyed, burned down or ruined?! But
 this is not just a question of material damage.

 The old world order formed after 1945 has been consumed by the flames of
 the Balkan war, along with the achievements of the past 10 years, when
 people believed that we could live in cooperation and mutual
 understanding. In the past two months an essentially new political
 psychology has emerged, and mistrust and fear lie at its heart.

 Why did the United States and NATO need the Balkan war? To my mind, there
 are several reasons.

 The United States and its allies needed to change the political situation
 and the geopolitical situation as a whole in the Balkans to their own
 advantage. Averting a humanitarian disaster in the province was the
 pretext for NATO interference. This, however, has led to a far more
 terrible disaster. And it is symptomatic that there is no clear sign that
 in the prevailing dramatic events NATO is prepared to end the war. That
 is, it has turned out that people's lives do not particularly worry NATO,
 and that the pretext was a forced one.

 NATO is dragging the Yugoslavs' neighbors -- Albanians, Bulgarians,
 Macedonians, and others -- into the war against them and is creating a
 kind of collective security system. Why? The answer is plain: The bloc
 needs an extensive Balkan springboard. I would like to note in passing
 that it is appalling how easily Yugoslavia's neighbors are allowing
 themselves to be drawn into the conflict, making their territory and air
 space available to the bloc's forces. Sometimes it looks as if NATO's
 feeling of impunity has been passed on to them.

 Another reason is to prove "in practice" the continuing need for NATO,
 which logically should have disappeared 10 years ago. "This organization
 has been deprived of its traditional role of an anti-Soviet gendarme,"
 the Canadian Le Devoir newspaper writes. "And it has not acquired a
 specific new role in the present international situation." Strong-arm
 intervention in Yugoslavia was in theory supposed to show that NATO is
 needed by the democratic world as the guardian of civil rights and

 Admittedly, what has happened in the Balkans is the exact opposite.

 Finally, the U.S. desire to establish a world order in which it will be
 the unquestionable leader in everything is clearly visible in the bloc's
 open aggression. The Americans have already proved their economic might
 and political influence, and now it is time for them to flex their
 military muscles too. "Only the United States has the military capability
 to launch Tomahawk missiles, cruise missiles, and other weapons," the
 Voice of America broadcast a few days ago. "We have the world's greatest
 capability in terms of rear services support. We have the best satellite
 communications, which provide intelligence information about the
 situation throughout the world." So, first in everything.

 Two months of war have brought a new dimension to international life.
 "The new model of alliance behavior has given the signal for a revision
 of Western countries' attitude to the world order," Britain's The Times
 writes. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has defined the international
 relations of the future as "new internationalism." The newly coined term
 means that after the Yugoslav precedent NATO will interfere in the
 affairs of sovereign states as it sees fit. The Times also noted in this
 connection that "The West now has a powerful and dangerous mechanism for
 standardizing social, ethnic, and legal principles throughout the world
 according to its own model." Note: throughout the world.

 The Balkan war has muddied the relationships that Russia had so
 painstakingly built up with NATO and its individual members. The Founding
 Act has been frozen, and our representatives have been recalled from
 Brussels and Mons. By not taking the Russian stance into consideration,
 the alliance has wrecked European peace, and this means that there can be
 no partnership. Russian politicians and the military commonly believe
 that there is no question of cooperation with the alliance on the
 previous principles in the foreseeable future, that it is more likely to
 be a question of suppressing it. Appeals to build up nuclear forces can
 already be heard. Might NATO not be tempted one day to try to settle an
 interethnic conflict in Russia by the proven method?

 Is this paranoia? "Henceforth operations such as the Yugoslav one will be
 a routine task for NATO," Bill Clinton said at the jubilee assembly in
 Washington. "The alliance's members are stating that, to strengthen their
 own security, they will now have to be prepared to operate not only on
 the territory of member states but also on territories both
 geographically and essentially connected with NATO." It could not be
 stated more plainly.

 For its part the West has started talking about how a "strategic
 triangle" of Russia, China, and India could emerge as a reaction to
 NATO's challenge, on the grounds that the modern world is unthinkable
 without a second focus of power. Speculation on this subject intensified
 when a NATO bomb hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. By the way, those
 who are talking about the "triangle" include the major American political
 analyst Ariel Cohen.

 The Russian government has no intention of suggesting the formation of a
 military alliance to Beijing and Delhi because the consequences of this
 are easy to calculate: The world would go back to a Cold War once and for

 There is another unpleasant consequence of the NATO aggression: It is
 launching an arms race everywhere. India has started talking about
 reinforcing its defense, and the Ukrainian parliament has questioned its
 country's non-nuclear status. There are plenty of examples. The danger
 has emerged that many so-called "threshold states," which have the
 potential to quickly create their own nuclear weapons, will start doing
 so contrary to UN admonitions.

 And what role has this venerable organization played in the new
 circumstances? The question is also being asked about what role it will
 be allotted in the "post-Balkan world." The United Nations has received a
 lot of censure for being practically powerless to do anything effective
 to stop the war. General Secretary Kofi Annan did visit Europe, but his
 trip left practically no trace. The United Nations has found itself
 unable to carry out its own charter. This says, among other things, that
 it is obliged to take effective collective measures to remove threats to
 peace and suppress acts of aggression.

 Has the United Nations now become obsolete? It seems not, and that the
 weakness of will it has displayed in the Balkans is a temporary
 phenomenon. It is clear, however, that its structure must be changed,
 that its Security Council must be effective in any critical situation
 like the Balkan one. How should this be done? There are no stock
 remedies. To my mind it could possibly be done by expanding the Security
 Council, including among its permanent members representatives of major
 and developed countries such as, for instance Japan, India, Brazil,
 Egypt, and neutral states. The successor to the League of Nations must be
 capable of putting any violator of the world order in his place, even
 such a strong and self-confident one as NATO.

 The Balkan war has also influenced NATO itself, in which both centripetal
 and centrifugal phenomena have been strengthened. On the one hand,
 serious differences have taken shape between the NATO countries and
 within them (a few days ago a BBC commentator stated unambiguously: "The
 assumption is being expressed that the NATO operation in the Balkans will
 be the beginning of the end of the North Atlantic alliance."). Positions
 have become utterly polar. Some (for example, Greece, Italy, and the
 Czech Republic), are in favor of the immediate cessation of
 hostilities,others (Britain) are in favor of conducting full-scale, that
 is, ground combat operations.

 The war has raised a major wave of anti-NATO feeling practically
 everywhere: There has not been such a reaction since the aggression in
 Vietnam. In Germany the Green Party, which is in the government
 coalition, has split over the Balkan question. The war has divided Europe
 into camps and has instilled panic in the hearts of Europeans who until
 recently lived in peace and comfort.

 An awareness is growing in Europe that the European members of the
 alliance are following the Americans without a murmur, indulging them in
 everything, not always seeing the danger for themselves in this. An event
 occurred in mid-May which was written and spoken about quite glibly but
 which was, to my mind, very symptomatic. A conference of foreign
 ministers and defense ministers of the Western European Union [WEU]
 countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and
 Luxembourg -- was held in the German city of Bremen. The ministers
 concertedly advocated the revival of this strictly European defense
 structure. No, they did not directly set the WEU against NATO. In an
 evasive way, however, they made it clear that critical situations may
 emerge on the continent in which the interests of the Europeans and the
 Americans will be at variance, and then the Europeans will act
 independently, without U.S. commanders. Europe wants a new style of
 relations with the United States.

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