By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The ultra reactionary American writer, columnist, politician, and radio commentator Patrick (Pat) Joseph Buchanan recalled, on January 18th in his column widely circulated in several countries, that on this date, seventy years ago, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. He did so with a memorable quotation from the undisputed French leader General Charles De Gaulle who said in 1966, when he was ordered to leave his headquarters in Paris: “Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”
“NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.
“And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations, from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania, as an attack on the United States.
The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.”
“Apparently,” Buchanan writes, “President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.
Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans and suggested that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, should study the matter in the light of current events and ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down, Germany joined NATO, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, the USSR was divided into several nations and Leninism expired in its place of origin.
As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that alleged Soviet threat should be allowed to fade away, and Europe should now provide for its own defense.
It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, US Ambassador to Moscow, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”
Soon afterwards, the doctrine of “containment” became official U.S. policy, and even Kennan himself, whose policies he had helped launch, started criticizing them.
Before the end of the year 1948, Ambassador Kennan was convinced that negotiations could be initiated with the Soviet government, but his proposals were rejected by the Truman administration.
“But Kennan was right,” says Buchanan. “America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.”
“And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.”
“Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory,” says Buchanan
“Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions,” says Buchanan.
Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories.
The capitalist version is that in 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city. The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb equal in power to the ones that the United States – inhumanly and unnecessarily—had exploded in two densely populated Japanese cities causing a still uncalculated number of victims.
As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, Washington formed a new alliance to supposedly protect the crucial European powers and make sure that all of them remained at its service.
What remains of NATO today is twelve nations that, with more or less consistency, serve the interests of the greatest superpower which has not yet stopped aspiring to be the only one.”
January 21, 2019.