Greater NATO, Why?

TFF PressInfo 21

"The current rhetoric about NATO expansion -- exemplified by US Foreign Secretary Madeleine Albright's recent article in The Economist -- is pathetic, and the discourse about it lacks intellectual quality as well as creativity. If advocates of this historic step are unable to find better arguments, the idea itself is probably flawed or, perhaps, indicative of less noble motives. In addition, it is clearly divisive within NATO itself," states TFF director Jan Oberg.

"We now have a tame debate about NATO's expansion where we ought first to clarify humankind's post-Cold War needs for conflict-resolution, security, and development and then NATO's contribution, if any, to new thinking and policies.

NATO members failed abysmally as conflict-managers in ex-Yugoslavia 1991-95 and made UN peacekeeping "mission impossible". Then they deployed NATO -- much in need of a raison d'etre and lacking peacekeeping experience -- and equated peace with what NATO/SFOR could deliver.

NATO expansion in terms of tasks, out-of-area operations, membership and power is not only a conflict-creating reminiscence of Cold War thinking. It will prevent us from pursuing much more needed, desirable and possible goals.

If NATO wants security with Russia, why was the decision made irrevocable without prior consultations and now sold with "sweeteners"? If NATO believes Russia is not a threat, why not accept Russia's concerns as legitimate and state that the long-term goal is Russia as full member? If NATO wants an integrated, undivided Europe, why not invest the energy in more relevant organisations than a greater North-Atlantic organisation that keeps the Russians alienated and out?

If NATO sees no threat, why does it confirm former Warsaw Pact members' threat perception by extending security guarantees and membership that, if implemented, will be destabilising for all?

If NATO leaders want Russians to be partners, why do they persistently and almost autistically argue that the Russians are behind and don't understand the new NATO -- and that "as a nation not bound by NATO decisions, Russia would have no veto" but just the right to be heard - and ignored?

If NATO, as repeatedly stated, is no longer primarily a military security organisation, why is there no integrated program for conversion of surplus military production and arms exports to civilian purposes? Why has NATO not devoted the last ten years to develop a new defence and security concept that links defensive military defence with civil resistance, socioeconomic defence, economic cooperation and sustainability, global governance, effective conflict-management and violence-preventive diplomacy in general?

If NATO now truly serves democracy, human rights, and prosperity -- "NATO does not need an enemy, it has enduring purposes," states Madeleine Albright -- why does the new NATO rely on completely undemocratic, if not illegal, nuclear policies characterised by 600 decisionmakers world-wide who have the power to decide the fate of about 6 billion people?

If NATO members have permanent problems finding the funds for the OSCE and the UN, for post-war reconstruction, for development aid and humanitarian emergencies and for assisting reforms in Eastern Europe including Russia, why are they prepared to spend US $ 22 - 35 bn (2-3 times the annual budget of all the UN) over the next decade to make three countries that are neither threatened nor in an emergency situation full NATO members? And why ever more members?

If these new members and NATO pay for their membership and remilitarisation, there will be less funds available for their much needed socioeconomic development, meaning more poverty and less stability -- in addition to souring relations with Russia." Dr. Oberg summarises:

"An genuine debate about such questions and dilemmas might reveal that there are many and better ways to create security and peace for the 21st century. However, even in democracies such a pluralist idea seems unwanted by security political elites."


March 11, 1997











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