The United States , NATO and the European army

The United States , NATO and the European army
Pol De Vos 18/04/2004
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Peace NATO The United States , NATO and the European army Dr. Pol De
Vos (Belgium) Anti-war Coordination Stop United States of Aggression
( ) 18 th of April of 2004

1. Globalisation of the economic crisis

Over the last twenty years, we have witnessed gigantic waves of
capital concentration on a world scale. Currently, a dozen of
multinationals control the various sectors of the world economy. The
world’s two hundred major multinationals represent 25% of the world’s
manufacturing value. A few thousands of multinationals (on a total of
65,000) own the major part of the means of production and set them in
motion for the single purpose of realising a maximum of profits for
the shareholders.

Everywhere exploitation is intensifying. The number of workers is
being reduced, while productivity is drastically increased. The
workers are overexploited and underpaid. The vast majority of the
world population is kept outside of modern industrial
production. Developing countries are groaning under the burden of
2,500 billion dollar in debts, while privatisation has allowed
American and European multinationals to take over most of their wealth
and enterprises.

Overproduction and crisis have become a generalised phenomenon. In
twenty years of neoliberal globalisation, short-term cures to the
crisis have run out.

In spite of all `gains’ achieved, the United States has been
confronted with the most serious crisis of its entire history. The US
superpower now placesits bets mainly on the `military globalisation’,
on its overwhelming military superiority, in order to save its
multinationals, at the expense of the rest of the world. They try to
boost the economy through massive arms production, while ensuring a
worldwide hegemonic position and grabbing sources of raw materials and
markets. Also the European Union (EU) has become an imperialist
bloc that is able to compete with the United States in the economic
and financial fields. The Euro is challenging the position of the US
dollar as the only international reserve currency. A transfer to the
Euro of a significant part of the current world reserves held in
dollars would provoke an economic earthquake. The same holds true if a
major part of the oil trade, now in US currency, would shift to the
Euro.

2. Concentration of arms production in the USA and Europe The
worldwide concentration of capital also took place in the military
industry. From 1990 to 1998, a series of mergers and acquisitions in
the USA led to the establishment of four large producers in the
aerospace sector: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and
Boeing. From 1998 to 2002, the rate of concentration among large
companies slowed down, but the process continued at the level of
subcontractors. Concentration reduced the number of ‘prime
contractors’ – the end producers of major weapons systems –
dramatically throughout the 1990s. In the USA for instance, in 1990 13
suppliers of tactical missiles were operating. By 2000 they had merged
into 3 major companies.

While the process of concentration and consolidation in the US arms
industry has been predominantly national, the arms industries in the
Western European countries have continued the process of concentration
beyond the national level, as a consequence of their domestic
`markets’ and their national procurement budgets being smaller. Since
the late 1990s there have been a number of major mergers and
acquisitions, and the formation of joint ventures in Europe . One
result of this is the evolution of three major Western European arms
producing companies: BAe Systems, EADS and Thales. While they were
integrating most major arms producing capacities in the market
segments of their respective home countries under one roof, they were
also acquiring arms production assets abroad.

Governments supported the concentration through the establishment of a
wide array of joint armaments programmes, the signing of letters of
intent and framework agreement s, and support for the creation of
joint ventures.

The transatlantic dimension of this internationalisation is more
limited because of a range of issues related to technology transfer
and – mainly – preferences for domestic procurement in the context of
Euro-American competition.

The concentration in military production in Europe is – like in theUS
– part of a more global militarisation of the economy, as an essential
element of the construction of military Europe . Different organs have
been put in place.

In 1993, the COARM was founded, which is the group of
`conventionalarms exports’, depending directly on the European
Council. Its objectiveis to coordinate the exports to third
countries. In 1995 follows the POLARM, the`European arms policy’
group, also linked to the European Council. Its experts are tasked to
develop a common strategy. On November 12, 1996 , the Common
Organisation for Cooperation in the field of Armament (OCCAR) is
created, on the initiative of the four largest countries of the Union
: France , Germany , United Kingdom and Italy . It has the objective
to coordinate their military industrial policies. After Boeing bought
McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the European leaders feared to see their
military industry overwhelmed by their American competitors.

Airbus was in danger. In December 1997, the heads of state of Germany
, France and the UK signed a joint declaration. They confirmed that `
France, Germany and the UK have a same essential political and
economic interest in ensuring that Europe has an efficient and
competitive industry in the field of aerospace and defence
electronics. This will make possible for Europe to improve its
commercial position in the world, to reinforce its security and to
ensure that it plays its full role in its own defence. We agreed on
the urgent necessity to reorganise the industry in the field of
aerospace and defence electronics.

This process should include, in the aerospace sector, civil and
military activities, and lead to a European integration based on an
equilibrated partnership.’ 1 On March 27, 1998 , the presidents of
the societies participating in the Airbus project (DASA, British
Aerospace and Aérospatiale) proposed to develop an integrated
company, the European Aerospace and Defence Company (EADC). The
agreement was signed in December 1999. EADC controls 80% of Airbus,
which represents 50% of its sales turnover, 100% of Eurocopter, 62.5%
of Eurofighter, 25.9% of Arianespace, 75% of Astrium, 46% of Dassault,
etc. The (French) group Lagardère and the (German) group Daimler
(this means the Deutsche Bank) dominate EADC.

The European concentration leads to the constitution of some very
powerful groups. Besides EADC there is BAe Systems, the new name for
British Aerospace, which became the first defence industry in the
world, after taking over the activities of systems control of Lockheed
Martin. Its president defined his society as ` the first American
society in Europe and the first European society in the US ‘ 2. Its
weight is more important in the US than in Europe .Which is – together
with coinciding oil interests – an important element to explain the
British eagerness to participate in the US war against Iraq . EADS
became the `real’ European pole, but it is strongly linked to BAe
Systems.

These industrial developments – in the US and in Europe – induce a
worldwide arms race. According to the Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute, about 80% of the world’s total military equipment
is produced by NATO members (figures of 1996). The following NATO
members are among the world’s top ten military producers: the US , the
UK , France , Germany , Italy and Canada .The US , the UK and France
alone accounted for about 70% of the world’s total arms production for
that year.

3. NATO’s changing strategy Yugoslavia 1999: `the new strategic
concept’ After the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw
Pact, NATO became increasingly irrelevant as a defensive
alliance. With the purpose of using the Alliance for its worldwide
ambitions, the United States pushed towards a redefinition of the NATO
doctrine. NATO should not only serve for the defence of the
territorial integrity of its members but also for `humanitarian
interventions’ outside its territory.

This new strategy was put into practice in the war against Yugoslavia.

There, for the first time, NATO intervened outside the territory of
the Treaty.

This `new strategic concept’ was ratified afterwards at a summit in
Washington at the end of April 1999. NATO’s so-called “humanitarian
war” in Yugoslaviawas sold to the public as a means of settling
conflicts between ethnic groups, while its real purpose was to expand
the spheres of influence of its member states and their corporate
allies.

Recent escalation of ethnic contradictions in Kosovo (March 2004)
shows the complete failure of NATO’s `humanitarian’ occupation.
Kosovo’s remaining minorities have no freedom of movement, live in
ghettos and face continuous terrorist attacks and the destruction of
their property.

`NATO Response Force’ and NATO’s involvement in the `war on
terrorism’ The Prague summit of November 2002 reinserted NATO in the
United States ‘ evolving strategy of world domination, now called
`war on terrorism’ . NATO is now being transformed from a
`defence’ organisation (1949) over a `defence and security’
organisation (1999) towards an `anti-terrorism’ organisation.

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson described the Prague decisions
as ` a new capacity plan with strong national commitments to
ensure the most urgent needs; concrete proposals to improve NATO’s
defence capabilities against biological and chemical weapons; a
package of anti-terror measures that obliges the Alliance to intervene
where and when needed; internal reforms which ensure that the enlarged
NATO will remain an effective and flexible organisation. ‘ In
this context the ` NATO Response Force’ (NRF) is created, with the
objective of ensuring mobile and flexible interventions outside NATO
territory. This army for rapid worldwide combat interventions will
dispose of 21,000 soldiers by 2006. 3 The concrete content of this new
strategy was officially accepted during a NATO meeting in Brussels ,
in June 2003. Through this fundamental reform of NATO, the alliance is
clearly preparing itself to wage wars all over the world to ensure the
neo-colonial order. Secretary General Robertson explained: ` This
is a new NATO. A NATO able to meet its commitments when times get
tough, from the Straits of Gibraltar through the Balkans to southern
Turkey . A NATO now preparing to take on a demanding stabilisation
mission in the Afghan capital. In short, a NATO transforming its
membership, its relationships, its capabilities and its missions. ‘ 4
He was very clear on NATO’s objectives: it wants to play a central
role in the strategy to counter all attempts of resistance and
opposition against worldwide dominance and hegemony under US
leadership.

Robertson gave some examples for 2003: `We have recently ended the
deployment of surveillance aircraft, missile defence systems and
nuclear, biological and chemical protection units to Turkey . We
continue to conduct extensive anti-terrorism maritime operations in
the Mediterranean . We remain decisively engaged in the Balkans. From
August, NATO will take the leading role in the International Security
Assistance Force in Kabul , Afghanistan . And last week, NATO agreed
to Poland ‘s request for Alliance support in the role that it is
taking on this summer in the stabilisation of Iraq .’ More money for
weapons, less money for social security and health’ The `peace and
stability’ that NATO pretends to defend is nothing but ensuring world
hegemony by all means necessary. The reform of 2003 containsfour
central points, as Robertson explained. First of all, a more flexible
command structure will take the lead of the alliance: ` All
operational commands will be under the control of the new Allied
Command Operations, based at SHAPE in Mons , Belgium ‘. Second, all
member countries made a series of concrete commitments to enhance
their military capacities, mainly their air and marine forces.

This will necessarily lead to an important increase of the defence
budgets of all NATO member states. Third, there is an agreement on `
the creation of a key new tool, the NATO Response Force. This will be
a robust rapid reaction fighting force that can be quickly deployed
anywhere in the world. It couldhave an early operational capability by
autumn this year’ . And finally, asRobertson explained, there is an `
important progress on missile defence, andour terrorism and nuclear,
biological and chemical defence packages ‘.

These reforms will be implemented rapidly, and Robertson is
optimistic: ` The world has changed fundamentally, to become more
complex and even more dangerous than before. But NATO has kept
pace. It has proved its resilience, strength and determination. It is
a decisive factor in our security and in wider stability. A force for
the future, already working for peace today .’ As part of the
`NATO Defence Capabilities Initiative’, NATOmember states have
committed themselves to increase their military abilities for
`power projection, mobility and increased interoperability’. This
will require significant additional military expenditures. European
NATO countries have already increased their expenditures for military
equipment by 11% in real terms since 1995.

Through NATO, the US is pushing Europe towards higher military
expenditure, while ensuring their dependence on the US . The US
military budget reached almost 400 billion dollar in 2003, while the
military expenses of its NATO allies totalled 165 billion dollar.

During the NATO summit of December 2001, Secretary General Robertson
insisted on an increase of these budgets. Italy announced an increase
from 1.5% to 2% of its GDP and France would increase its budget for
the acquisition of new equipment (+1.7%). In January 2003, the French
Parliament decided on an investment of 14.6 billion Euro over 5 years.

Belgium and Germany were criticised by NATO for using only 1.5% of
their GDP for military expenses. Germany decided to spend 7.8 billion
Euro per year for its defence by 2010, compared to 4.4 billion
today. (+ 78%).

Meanwhile, military budgets in the US and Canada have also increased
continuously over the past years. The military budgets of NATO
countries amounted to about 60% of the world’s total military spending
(US$798 billion) for the year 2000.

4. NATO’s future involvement in Iraq has already been decided Step by
step, NATO is taking up a position as an occupying force in countries
colonised by a US aggression. In Afghanistan , NATO has taken over the
final responsibility of the occupation. This was a new qualitative
step in NATO development. In December 2003, US Secretary of State
Colin Powell confirmedthat all NATO allies had unanimously agreed on a
higher degree of involvement in Iraq . ` Not one NATO-member was
against it or gave reasons not to participate’ , Powell said, ` not
even France and Germany ‘ . 5 Today, 18 of the 26 NATO members have
some kind of military presence in Iraq .

In February 2004, US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns spoke about
` a strong political will in the Alliance to do more in Iraq
‘. Washington suggested that NATO should take over the command of the
divisions in South-Central Iraq that are currently under the command
of Poland . But Burns added that the increase of NATO’s military
presence in Afghanistan would be central in the discussions in the
coming months. ` I think it is too early to discuss formally within
NATO on a formal role in Iraq . That discussion will come later, maybe
in spring or early summer’. 6 Following the pledge of Germany ,
France and Belgium , NATO will only be involved after the formal take
over of political power by the Iraqi’s at the end of June this
year. Even if the new Iraqi government will be a puppet regime
completely dependent on the United States, such a façade government
would open the way for a UN resolution giving a mandate to NATO for a
so-called `peace mission’. By the end of 2004 or early 2005, NATO
could be on the ground. Europe really wants to participate in a
(peaceful) occupation. Not because of its desire to restore peace and
sovereignty for the Iraqi people, but to ensureits part of the profits
for `our’ multinationals Of course, the actual developments
in Iraq will surely and decisively influence when and how NATO is to
participate in the occupation. But the decision has been taken. Only a
growing strength of the Iraqi resistance, and (also) the mobilisation
capacity of the peace movement all over the world and especially in
Europe , could still prevent this from happening.

5. United States versus Europe : growing contradictions Beyond any
doubt, the US is today’s only superpower with the strategy, the means
and the policy for ensuring and maintaining world hegemony. For the
United States , NATO remains an instrument to ensure this global
hegemonic order.

The US uses NATO to ensure its control over Europe and to prevent all
attempts of insubordination to its plans. In 1995 the Pentagon stated
that `NATO is the most important instrument for long lasting American
leadership over the European security situation’ 7. Steven Metz, an
expert of the US Army, alerted that ` (t)he US objective has to be
that the European defence capacity develops as a complement, while the
leading role of the NATO remains intact’. 8 Through NATO, the United
States continues to involve its allies in wars of aggression, like in
Yugoslavia , Afghanistan and Iraq . Even if the Secretary General of
NATO is always a European, the US only accepts to work with people who
ensure that this policy be put into practice. Former NATO Secretary
General Lord Robertson, for example, confirmed at the Defence Industry
Conference in London , on October 14, 2002 , that ` even in 2015, and
despite` indeed, in part because of – a more powerful Europe , the
US will provide the indispensable core around which most military
coalitions will be built ‘. 9 Current NATO Secretary General, the
Dutch former Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, will need all his
persuasion power to rebuild transatlantic relations damaged by a row
between the United States and France and Germanyover the US-led war in
Iraq . But the US is confident: de Hoop Scheffer has always been a
very strong transatlantic. `If anyone from the transatlanticcamp would
be good at building bridges with France , he would ‘, a diplomatic
source told Reuters. 10 De Hoop Scheffer was welcomed with open arms
in the White House early 2003 for having lend Dutch political support
to the US-led war in Iraq . He is avery suitable candidate for the
Americans, but he is still acceptable to the Germans, the French and
the Belgians, as the Netherlands did not support the decision to go to
war in a military sense but only politically (even if afterwards they
sent troops to support the occupation). He is mainly an expression of
the existing power balance in NATO: Europe has no option but accepting
US rule.

The recent (and ongoing) war on Iraq shows serious contradictions
between the United States and the European Union. They are a clear
expression of the growing rivalry between the two Western economic
powers. This rivalry has been growing since 1989, when the fall of the
Soviet Union ended the sacred union against the communist
enemy. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt explained in February of
2003: ` As long as the divisions of the Red Army could reach the Rhine
in 48 hours, it was evident to maintain a blood band with our American
cousins. But today the Cold War is over, and the contradicting
viewpoints can be expressed more openly. From an economic point of
view, Europe became a world power. At the international level, Europe
takes an own profile, develops its own projects and shows its own
ambitions. That’s also what explains the tensions that appeared within
in Atlantic Alliance .’ 11 The differences of strategy between both
economic blocs arise from the necessity for Europe to win a more
important place in the domination of theworld, which can only be
achieved at the expense of the United States . The United States is a
declining economic power, caught up and even overtaken by the global
economic power of the European Union. But US military power remains
incomparably superior. In the end it is on this unequalled destructive
force that US imperialism is betting in order to maintain and
reinforce its domination and exploitation to the utmost. Europe ,
which is progressing only very timidlyin the construction of its Euro
Army, is trying to prevent the United States from playing its military
cards. Not because of Europe ‘s dislike of weapons, but because of its
lack of weapons.

The militarist objectives of the European oligarchy was already made
clear in September 1991, three months before the Maastricht summit,
when the European Round Table made its evaluation of the 1991 Gulf
War: `The Middle East crisis of 1990 has shown the difficulty to
transpose our technical and economic developments on the political
scene: there you have the European paradox, an economic giant but a
political dwarf. Europe had interests to defend in the Gulf, and ideas
on what was to be done. But when force was to be used, Europe had no
decision mechanisms nor the means that would have made it possible to
intervene. It is today an anachronism to pretend that the Union can
manage its economic questions in a satisfactory way while leaving the
questions of foreign policy to others’ . 12 Pro-free market New York
Times journalist Thomas Friedman showed clearly how the global economy
is linked to the war, when in March 1999, during the war against
Yugoslavia , he wrote: ` The hidden hand of the market willnever work
without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell
Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the
world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United
States Army, Air Force and Marine Corps .’ 13 It is not superfluous to
recall that the European Union has seen itself as an institution at
the service of its own multinationals, andthat ` if McDonald’s needs
McDonnell, Danone also needs Dassault ‘. 14 Being a military dwarf,
Europe has to bet on the economic card to enter the Middle East . For
instance, Germany ‘s exports to Iran went up from 1.6 billion in 1999
to 2.33 billions in 2001. During the first five months of 2002, they
increased by 17% over the previous year. Germany has become the
biggest importer in the world of Iranian products, oil excluded.
Europe would also like to get rid of regimes that are too independent,
too attached to their sovereignty, too jealous of their own
development. It would like to set up pro-European regimes in Iraq ,
Iran , Syria and elsewhere by political means, in other words by
strengthening the pro-European opposition groups, the so-called `civil
society’. At the same time, however, the majority of European
countries are aware they cannot yet do without US military
power. Through the experience of Yugoslavia and – more sharply – the
actual contradictions in Iraq , the European Union is more and more
convinced of the necessity of having its own army.

Nevertheless, NATO remains the only framework in which Europe can
intervene militarily on a large scale in the world today.

Therefore most European states, even if they oppose the aggression
against Iraq , gave support to the US war efforts in Iraq in various
ways. The US army was allowed to use all the ports, airports and other
infrastructures of the NATO countries.

6. NATO’s expansion to the East After NATO’s annexation of the Czech
Republic , Hungary and Poland some years ago, the membership of
Bulgaria , Estonia , Latvia , Lithuania , Romania , Slovakia and
Slovenia recently accelerated NATO’s expansion to the East.

NATO’s expansion into Central and Eastern Europe is a means of
integrating the military forces of those countries under NATO (and
largely US) control.As military units within NATO, the armed forces of
the new NATO member states must submit to the demands for
standardisation of military training, weapons and other military
equipment. Requirements that new members standardise their military
equipment to NATO’s exacting specifications is a tremendous boon to US
and European military industries, that will benefit greatly from these
expanded export markets.

New NATO member states also loose sovereignty over other important
aspects of their armed forces, such as the command, control,
communications and intelligence functions, which also risk being
subsumed under the auspices of NATO standardisation.

The reasons for NATO’s eastward expansion are largely economic. For
instance, NATO’s military access and control over Eastern Europe helps
Western European corporations to secure strategic energy resources,
such as oil from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia . The US and Western
European corporations will greatly benefit from NATO’s control of the
oil corridor through the Caucasus Mountains . NATO wants its troops to
patrol this pipeline and to dominate the Armenian/Russian route to the
Caspian Sea . The Caucasus also links the Adriatic-Ceyhan-Baku
pipeline with oil-rich countries even farther east, in the former
Soviet Central Asia republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan . Billions
of dollars in oil may someday flow through these corridors to Western
Europe for the benefit of Western-based oil companies.

This NATO enlargement has an important influence on the internal
contradictions within NATO. From Estonia to Bulgaria , the United
States now has 10 new — or newish — states within NATO that
Washington can count on for support when contradictions US-European
contradictions intensify in the future. These countries’ membership in
NATO strengthens the US relative to Germany and France, US
imperialism’s `Old Europe’ rivals. It puts US forces near Russia ‘s
border, with air bases only five minutes away from St. Petersburg
. And young workers in these countries are an additional source of
cannon fodder for US military occupations. They are already stationed
in Iraq , Afghanistan and Yugoslavia .

15 But Washington had other reasons for this enlargement. Before 1989,
the people living in seven new member states were part of the
socialist camp. Bulgaria and Romania were independent
countries. Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania were republics in the Soviet
Union . Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia . Slovenia was the richest
republic of Yugoslavia . The people in all those countries had access
to free education, medical care and nearly full employment. Pay
differences were relatively small. Now education, medical care and
everything else is subject to the `free’ market, dominated by the
Western monopolies. The few very rich people are rich because of their
connections with those monopolies.

There are many unemployed and otherwise very poor workers. Living
conditions, especially for women workers, have deteriorated
sharply. The governments, who accepted all the requirements for
entering NATO, want the alliance membership for future protection
should the working class in their countries revolt.

7. A growing pressure for a European Army The European army is at the
order of the day, because the European superpower wants to play a role
in the struggle for the redivision of the world that was started when
the USSR disappeared.

The `war on terrorism’ is the pretext of a common struggle where
`Americans and Europeans are partners in common values that are beyond
discussion’ 16. No European government doubts the necessity of
NATO. Even those who are most` European’ know that, for the defence of
their common interests, they still need – for many years – NATO and
its infrastructure. Verhofstadt explains his concept of the European
army as a `European pillar within NATO’. He adds: ` The
solidarity within the Alliance risks to disappear because of its lack
of equilibrium: one superpower and 18 states, mainly European, without
a common line on defence matters, and of which some still think of
being a superpower, while compared to the US, they do not weigh much.’
But for France and Germany (and Belgium ), the European pillar of NATO
is only a phase towards the construction of an independent European
army comparable to that of the United States . Thus, in certain
regions, those who are considered `terrorists’ for some, are not
necessarily the`terrorists’ for others.

The states that ensure the oil and gas for the European continent are,
in many occasions, in conflict with Washington . These `rogue
states’, in the definition of the White House, ensure 27% of
European oil. And this is without counting the 14% of Russia , the 3%
of Algeria and the 2% of Venezuela , all of them countries that do not
have very good relations with US imperialism.

This is an essential point on which European and US interests risk to
increasingly diverge in the future. The Middle East and Central Asia
are more important for the oil provision of Europe than for the US
. In this way, this part of the world is strategic for Europe (and for
Japan , and for China , the rest of Asia and Russia ). Therefore, the
fact that the US is interested to control this region is an
affirmation of its desire of hegemony. While at the same time, it is
`the’ place where this supremacy could be challenged.

The confrontation on Iraq during 2002-2003 shows the growing
contradictions between US and European imperialism. Clearly, this has
less to do with `weapons of mass destruction’ than with the
organisation of a new order in the Arab world.

Thus the demand to accelerate the setting up of a European military
force, capable of defending the interests of the European monopolies
whenever these diverge from those of the US or another rival or
enemy. Ten years ago, France and Germany already developed the Euro
corps in which Belgium , Luxemburg and Spain are likewise
participating. It was seen as the start of the future European
army. Since then, the pillar of common foreign and security policy
(CFSP) has been introduced in the Maastricht Treaty (1993). 17 During
the Koln summit of June 1999, one month after the war against
Yugoslavia , it was decided thata European `rapid intervention
force’ of 60,000 soldiers had to be created.

But contradictions remain and are growing since the Iraq war. While
the UK clearly seas the European army as `a pillar of NATO’,
France and Germany (and Belgium) support the constitution op a
`European vanguard’ composedof the countries that want to
accelerate the development of a `European Security and Defence
Policy’.

8. Conclusion The French-German-Belgian axis affirms that the
constitution of a European army is a necessity to develop a
counterweight to the hegemonic policy of the US . They present Europe
as a humane, social, ecological and multilateral alternative to the US
. Verhofstadt: `The European Union has a moremoderate profile in the
world than the United States , without being inferior to it. Europe is
presented as an example of multilateral cooperation. Europe is seen as
a continent sensible to social and ecological problems, as a continent
that understands that its own wealth is vulnerable if most of the
people of the world are suffering from hunger.’ 18 We do not agree
with this statement. The European Army is not a solution for the US
war policy. It is also an imperialist army, in the service of economic
interests of the European monopolies. Its creation increases the
danger of war, leads to the militarisation of the economy, the
explosion of the military budgets and the breakdown of democratic
rights.

If the ` Europe of the monopolies’ speaks about diplomacy,
dialogueand multilateralism, it is mainly because it has not yet the
means to impose its views against US military power. The European past
in Africa , Latin America , Algeria or Asia shows the ferocity of
European imperialism when and where it was dominant. The European army
will only accelerate the rivalry and the dangerfor a major world
war. The more this army will be able to develop its capacity for
foreign interventions, the more it will reinforce the political
capacity of the EU, the more it will make possible an independent
European policy in favour of the European multinationals, the more it
will offer the possibility to the EU to defend its zones of influence
against eventual competitors, e.g. the US. This can lead to important
conflicts, as has been seen in the two previous world wars.

One final comment. Undoubtedly, the crisis over Iraq has severely
divided NATO. But towards the Middle East , the common interests of
Europe and United States are – in the current situation on the ground
in Iraq` overwhelmingly more important than what opposes US and
EU. Both want to ensure a `stable’ Middle East region. The US is
being forced by reality to let its partners get into the business. And
Europe is eager to do so. Notwithstanding all the rancour that might
still exist within the alliance, NATO is undergoing a profound
transformation into an organisation ` whose main missions are
collective security and crisis management and whose main centre of
activity is increasingly located in the Muslim world. NATO now
provides security in Afghanistan . And beyond that, NATO is now
preparing to move into the Middle East .’ 19 If and how NATO will
enter Iraq will depend on the resistance the Iraqi people develop
towards their occupiers. ` Although NATO’s current priority is
Afghanistan and it is reluctant to enter Iraq unless the members
united behind the idea, the principle of engaging the Middle East is
not the subject of an argument. Rather the question is how to do so,
i.e. the modalities of this engagement. In fact, NATO is clearly
moving to create a stronger basis for its relations with the Middle
East . NATO’s new plan, a so called `Greater Middle East
Initiative’, will be unveiled at its forthcoming Istanbul summit in
June .’ 20 To block the US war preparations and to preserve world
peace, the peoples of the world are right to demand the withdrawal of
the US occupation troops from the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq , the
dissolution of NATO and the dismantling of all US military bases
abroad. The worldwide antiwar movementis growing, while enhanced US
aggressivity and NATO’s complicity will help us to reinforce its
anti-imperialist character.

We oppose any increase of military budgets, any development or
production of new weapons. Not one cent, not one man for the
imperialist army. No money for imperialist war, but for education,
health and employment. We support the right of oppressed nations to
defend themselves. We struggle for non-aggression pacts, with the
purpose of preserving the sovereignty and the collective security of
the nations.

http://www.anti-imperialism.net/lai/texte.phtml?section=3DCMBC&amp
www.stopUSA.be

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