THE ROVING EYE Welcome to NATOstan
By Pepe Escobar
Be afraid. Be very afraid. At the Lisbon summit this Friday and Saturday, a
gargantuan, innocuously sounding, self-described "military alliance of
democratic states in Europe and North America" that happens to be a Cold War
relic sits in its own nuclear-adorned couch to speculate what it is actually
In this otherwise Freudian scenario, the guest of honor is United States
President Barack Obama, who imperially presides over the other 27 North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, all duly acknowledging their
tributary vows and commitments on everything from European-wide missile defense
(subjected to the US global missile shield) and permanent stationing of
hundreds of US nuclear bombs in Europe to the turbo-charging of cyber
warfare (subjected to the Pentagon's new Cyber Command), a blitzkrieg of navy
patrol stunts on the globe's strategic sea lanes, and the spread of military
bases guarding strategic nodes of Pipelineistan.
In short: the menu in Lisbon is a Pentagon steak with bearnaise sauce.
Indigestion guaranteed - and no money (as in overvalued euros) back.
Less is more is not our thing
In Lisbon, NATO is endorsing a new "Strategic Concept" - a sort of letter of
intentions reviewed every decade. This is the first one since 1999 - and
consequently the blueprint for the early 21st century. NATO secretary-general
Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been spinning it as "more effective" (as in improved
missile defense and cyber defense); "more engaged" (as in swarming with global
"partners'); and "more efficient (as in firing 4,000 people from their command
Here - complete with made in China piped bird singing -  one may see how
NATO loves to bathe itself in a "hills are alive with the sound of music"
atmosphere. And here, one sees what "Strategic Concept" seems to be about. 
Add the Rasmussen rant, and one finally finds what's been lost in translation:
NATO is now effectively being christened as the ultimate Transformer global
Robocop, consigning the helpless UN to a New York sand box.
NATO has left Western Europe a long time ago; too small, too provincial. It's
already in Central and South Asia as well as Northeast Africa, interlinked with
the Pentagon's AFRICOM (only five countries - Eritrea, Libya, Sahrawi Arab
Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe - are not Pentagon-related). Way beyond
the Afghan killing fields, NATO is fast becoming a huge "forward operating
base" for policing the Middle East, Africa, Asia and even the South Atlantic,
where the Pentagon reactivated the Fourth Fleet; as much as the 2009 military
coup in Honduras worked and the 2010 in Ecuador didn't, Brazilians are very
much aware of the Pentagon and NATO's designs in Central and South America, and
will definitely put up a fight.
Spoiler alert: Americans not anesthetized enough by the current
porno-scanner/federal pat-down theater of the absurd taking place at their
airports, and impoverished, crisis-hit Europeans won't fail to notice that
"more effective, more engaged and more efficient" NATO is spectacularly losing
a war in Central Asia as we speak.
Gucci in da house
Anyway, soon Europe may be wildly celebrating a continent-wide missile dome
able to protect everyone from Ibiza to Innsbruck and Munich to Monte Carlo from
those evil (non-existent) Iranian missiles, as well as from those existent,
zany but effective Taepodong-2 from Pyongyang. Call it the Gucci Star Wars.
The Gucci shield will be duly joined by the Dior bombshells - as in the
US-owned 200 to 350 nuclear weapons sleeping in NATO bases in Belgium, Holland,
Germany, Italy and Turkey (plus the 300 nuclear bombs owned by France and the
225 by Britain). Crucially it is these five "bomb resident" countries that
would launch the US babies in any eventuality, something that makes a mockery
of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which, by the way, Iran has
subscribed. The bottom line: NATO may hold a portfolio of as many as 900
nuclear weapons in Europe. It's like comparing Real Madrid or Bayern Munich
with a North Korea third division team.
Last month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not allow any ruffles in
her Hermes scarf, forcefully stating, "NATO must remain a nuclear alliance as
long as nuclear weapons exist." And Rasmussen hit the home run, adding, "the
anti-missile defense system is a complement to nuclear deterrence, and not a
Is anybody complaining about all this nuclear paranoia? Not really. Rasmussen
is right when he spins about NATO's "partners"; it's virtually everyone and his
neighbor (75 nations, almost 40% of the UN), from the Central Asian "stans" in
the Partnership for Peace to the Middle Easterners in the Istanbul Cooperation
Initiative; from the "contact countries" in East Asia/South Pacific to the
Troop Contributing Nations for International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan (that includes Mongolia and Tonga). Not to mention the
all-important NATO-Russia Council (Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is the
first Russian leader to actually go to a NATO summit). Needless to say, all
these "partners" have also gone to Lisbon.
Turkey shoot, anyone?
Even though its raison d'etre was to defend Western Europe from the Soviet
Union, it's useless to expect NATO at the Lisbon summit to clarify what the
hell it is actually accomplishing in Central Asia/ Afghanistan (see
Have (infinite) war, will travel, Asia Times Online, November 18,
2010). It's safer to attribute to the realm of a Tom & Jerry cartoon the
fact that NATO is more terrified of some ragtag Taliban than it was of the Red
Anyway, what matters is the infinity of it all. Not only US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, the coalition military commander in
Afghanistan, are lobbying for Infinite War. British Defense Chief General Sir
David Richards has just told the Daily Mail, "NATO now needs to plan for a 30-
or 40-year role to help the Afghan armed forces hold their country against the
militants." Talk about Enduring Freedom.
Yet Afghanistan, that infinite quagmire, is just an appetizer. NATO is being
cannily sold to world public opinion as being entitled to raise hell anywhere
it pleases - leaving the UN Security Council, expanded or not, in the dust.
Precedents exist - as in the illegal, failed narco-mafia state Kosovo, not by
accident extensively dubbed NATOstan.
A convincing argument can be made that everywhere the Pentagon/NATO
"intervened" - from the Balkans to Afghanistan to Iraq - the mess has reached
Gotterdammerung proportions. Who cares? The Pentagon has planted Camp Bondsteel
- its largest base in Europe - in Kosovo; and it has also planted precious
mega-nuggets in the Empire of Bases in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The "spoilers" in the Pentagon/NATO's Brave New World blockbuster are
undoubtedly Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. None of them will be
easily intimidated. Russian leadership is too wily to be easily co-opted -
although Pentagon/NATO encroachment in the form of missile defense bases along
the entire length of Russia's borders is relentless.
NATO claims that it welcomes its "partnership" with Russia. But now there's a
new element in the game to force - or not - Russia to play the missile defense
ball (after all the decision to go all out has already been made.) Let's call
it the Turkey shoot.
The Pentagon/NATO ploy of building a multi-layered missile defense system to
"protect Europe" from those non-existent Iranian nuclear-armed missiles would
be a dim-witted prank if it had not already attracted the attention of the
usual Eastern Europe suspects - Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and
Romania. Turkey is a much more complicated case.
According to Turkish press reports, Ankara will only accept a missile defense
system if the system is NATO's, not American; if the system is deployed in all
27 NATO countries; and if NATO does not place Turkey in the unenviable position
of frontline state just as it was during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
But part three of this equation is exactly what the Pentagon has in mind -
especially now that the axis Ankara-Tehran-Damascus is a reality, not to
mention the developing entente cordiale between Ankara and Moscow. Turkish
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu anyway has made it clear, "We do not want a
Cold War zone or psychology around us."
But Cold War remix it is, and Turkey runs the risk of being just a paw in their
game. Profiting from NATO's new Strategic Concept, the ultimate goal of the US
global missile dome - complete with cyber warfare and Prompt Global Strike - is
to encircle the heart of Eurasia and isolate, who else, Russia, Iran and China.
War is peace. Welcome to the pleasure dome. Welcome to NATOstan.