NATO was set up as an alliance of Western nations to defend themselves against Warsaw Pact countries and in particular the USSR and what now remains of this country, Russia. It was a defensive alliance operating under international law and in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
However, in 1999, without drawing attention to a revolution in policy NATO changed to a willingness to wage wars of aggression, in necessary in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations. The first of these wars was the attack on Kosovo/Yugoslavia in 1999.
Below is my account of how NATO changed its policy (without making changes to its treaty) and quietly presented the changes to the world so as to be noticed by few observers and certainly not by the general public.
The "New NATO Treaty" and the Manipulation of the UK Parliament
The transformation of Britain’s defence and foreign policies
By David Roberts
In June German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping appeared before the German Federal Constitutional Court. They were charged with infringing the German constitution by signing a new NATO agreement without consulting parliament on a matter of foreign policy. A ruling is expected autumn 2001.
Here in the UK Tony Blair experienced no problems in bringing about a totally undemocratic transformation of Britain’s defence and foreign policy. By means of a deceptive use of language he introduced to parliament what was, in effect, a new NATO treaty, yet parliament asked not a single question about the changes.
On 24 April 1999 Tony Blair was in Washington where he signed a formal agreement with other NATO leaders which spells out how NATO would cease to fight only in the defence of NATO countries and would be willing to initiate war for a whole range of other purposes, and not merely in Europe and North America, but throughout the world. In other words NATO would change from a defensive alliance to an aggressive alliance fighting to further its interests.
The document Tony Blair signed bears the title, The Alliance’s Strategic Concept. By not announcing the document as a treaty its authors and signatories intended to hide from MPs and the public its huge significance and escape the need for ratification.
However, The Alliance’s Strategic Concept document clearly wipes out and replaces the 1949 NATO Treaty. It states, "The Strategic Concept will govern the Alliance’s security and defence policy, its operational concepts, its conventional and nuclear force posture and its collective defence arrangements."
All Tony Blair told Parliament on 26 April 1999 was that with Robin Cook and George Robertson he had attended the NATO summit in Washington and, "Copies of the Washington Declaration, the alliance’s new strategic concept, the summit communique, and other summit documents are being placed in the library of the House." End of discussion. No-one knew what he was talking about, so no-one raised any questions.
The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the Alliance’s Strategic Concept is breathtaking and tells us a great deal about the characters of its signatories. As the document was being signed the bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO countries was at its height. We were bombing civilian targets, and were in contravention of several international treaties and the Charter of the United Nations. The UK Government had taken no vote to go to war. Yet the document reaffirmed that the Alliance was "based on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law." It stated, "the Alliance will continue to respect the legitimate security interests of others, and seek the peaceful resolution of disputes as set out in the Charter of the United Nations."
As the bombs fell on Yugoslavia the new NATO document also confirmed its commitment to "the peaceful resolution of disputes, in which no country would be able to intimidate or coerce any other through the threat or use of force."
But the document does spell out new eventualities which NATO sees as possible reasons or excuses for taking military action. NATO’s new Strategic Concept talks of "non-Article 5 crisis response operations." This is the kind of language that attempts to draw a veil over the brutal truth.
"Article 5" refers to the core sentence of the 1949 NATO Treaty. "The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe and North America shall be considered an attack against them all." It affirmed that NATO was a purely defensive alliance and that its area of action was limited to the stated territory. Also, as defensive war is the only kind sanctioned by the United Nations. (Article 51) it established NATO within the scope of United Nations Charter.
The vague and anodyne language of this new document spells out NATO’S self-given permission to carry out "non-Article 5 crisis response operations." Plainly expressed, NATO will wage war, (bomb, destroy, dominate, take control) anywhere in the world, for an array of reasons or pretences that could occur - and which, in fact, already are occurring around the world.
Nothing in the United Nations Charter could possibly sanction military action for NATO’s "non-Article 5" stated purposes. NATO, therefore, clearly intend to override the United Nations’ Charter and dismiss the authority of the United Nations.
NATO’s new Strategic Concept sees the world as its area of operation and asserts the right to take military action in support of trade. "Alliance security must take account of the global context. . . . the disruption of the flow of vital resources. . . the uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people, humanitarian emergencies. . . Essential tasks will include controlling, protecting, and defending territory."
NATO control of territory is the opposite of democracy, and is currently being demonstrated in Kosovo and Bosnia where the appointed High Representatives (dictators) rule by decree. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the carrot of desperately needed aid, following NATO’s destruction of Yugoslavia’s industry, ensures economic subjugation and with the deportation of Mr Milosevic to the Hague shows how NATO can even overrule a nation’s constitution.
The bombing of Yugoslavia demonstrated the new NATO treaty or strategic concept, in action. It showed that NATO sees taking military, economic and political control of other countries as a legitimate activity. It shows NATO, no longer in awe of Russia, taking on new roles to ensure the continued expansion of the arms trade. It shows NATO as the amoral military enforcer for the new NATO imperialism. It is indifferent to the principles of the United Nations Charter, truth, justice, openness and accountability.
David Roberts, 2000
See also, Kosovo War.