Uncovering the Hidden

Hidden Agenda of NATO's Expansion to the East

by Anatoly Verbin
Russian Communist Workers 'Party

When on April 4, 1949, in Washington, D.C., representatives of 12 Western countries signed the North Atlantic treaty it was considered that the alliance rested upon the premise, among others, that the nations fronting on the North Atlantic and adjacent seas form a natural community of countries with common economic interests based on the necessity to maintain essential transatlantic traffic which needed to be defended in the event of another war. And this was advanced as the official explanation for the sophisticated political and military structure created shortly after the WW II. A few years later, the membership of the Treaty increased when Greece and Turkey, the countries only remotely connected with the North Atlantic area, entered the Alliance.

Today's Nato strategists see their sphere of responsibility still further from the Atlantic area. In his book The Grand Chessboard Z. Brzezinski sees Nato as the instrument of an integrated, comprehensive and long-term strategy for all of Eurasia. And the implementation of this project is under way despite the Western leaders assurances made to M.Gorbachev not to incorporate the former Warsaw Treaty countries into Nato. Ostensibly, Nato was designed and is still portrayed primarily as an instrument of military defence in the post-WW II era. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the defence requirements were characterised by what the western propaganda called, a perceived Soviet military threat to Western Europe.

That is why, under the Charter of the Treaty the member countries committed themselves to support each other against any attack in the area of their mutual interests. According to article 5, they agreed that "an armed attack against one or more of them shall be considered as an attack against them all". Now they advance a new propagandistic contraption, the threats allegedly emanating from the so-called rogue states. But both during the cold war era and today, apart from the ‘purely defensive' preoccupations Nato is supposedly busy with still more commendable tasks. The alliance undertook to "contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these principles are founded".

These were their words which, as it is too often confirmed, have nothing to do with their real intentions. If the real Nato strategy had corresponded to this peace-loving rhetoric this military block, or at least its war machine, would have been dismantled as far back as the early 1990s when the USSR and the European socialist countries as well as the Warsaw Treaty organisation ceased to exist. Still, nothing of the kind happened. Quite to the contrary. Now that today's Russia is economically and militarily greatly weakened the military spendings of the USA tend to increase and Nato is expanding its self-imposed ‘sphere of responsibility' to far away from the North Atlantic area.

During the 1980s and early 1990s B.Clinton, as all of us remember, was criticising R. Reagan's Star Wars project as "a futuristic plan to put X-ray lasers and ‘brilliant pebbles' in space" and after his accession to the White House abandoned this plan as counterproductive and not conducive to strategic stability.

Now the idea is somehow back. B. Clinton, as some people say, never one to shy from a policy turnaround, proposes spending $10 billion to develop a national defence system by 2005 providing protection from the so-called rogue states, i.e. countries whose military capabilities taken together are infinitesimal compared with that of the former Soviet Union. The same tendency of increasing military spending or readiness to ‘modernise' supposedly obsolete military arsenals can be seen in practically every so-called European democracies defence budgets.

Quite naturally, the same lofty rhetoric about keeping peace and defending democratic values are constantly uttered these days by the Nato leaders. Secretary General of Nato J.Solana, in his recent article in The Economist, is prolific on these kind of statements. He repeatedly assures Russia that Nato's "forthcoming enlargement will not jeopardise the strategic situation in Europe". But he does not seem to be bothered by the contradicting statements made in the adjacent lines. Although he admits that "major aggression against an ally is very unlikely in the current and foreseeable strategic environment", he stresses that "the future of Nato lies in having rapidly deployable capabilities to fulfil an increasing range of missions."

All being told, it remains crystal clear that behind this smoke screen of allegedly defensive and peace promoting policy pursued by the Nato custodians of democracy and peace in Europe and the rest of the world one can only see a massive military build-up in progress. And this military build-up in the U.S. and in Europe, in the absence of a real threat from outside, and the Nato's determination to expand to the East needs an explanation. It cannot be assumed that the expansion is undertaken for the expansion's sake.

There should be some real grounds which, for the US and Nato, can be considered as sufficient reasons for proceeding in this way. That is to say, we have to seek a plausible explanation. To our understanding, there are two considerations accounting for the Western leaders to undertake this kind of policy. One is political and the other is economic. The political component of this trend is as follows. Although the Soviet Union, once a strong counterbalance to the Western military block, dissolved itself into a number of weak and often rivalling independent countries (Azerbaijan versus Armenia, Moldavia versus Russia,), the Russian Federation still represents an economic and military potential of considerable importance. But with all its present day economic and political turmoil, the Russian Federation still represents a political uncertainty for the West, uncertainty of the outcome of the political struggle. There is no certainty that the regressionist trend taking place in Russia will persist ad infinitum. We can even be more explicit in stating that its final stage is approaching. The standard of living of the population in Russia has dramatically worsened, with all social indicators (life expectancy, infant mortality, morbidity, suicide rates, alcohol and drug addiction) having deteriorated. This trend is generating social unrest, the strike wave has been widening and the number of the federal regions having left-wing governors has increased, while the pro-Western political forces epitomising the Yelzin's reforms have suffered serious defeat. Certainly, they are still politically and financially powerful enough to be able to regain the lost ground, but are not all-mighty, with none of their leaders enjoying any substantial popularity. And a possible further weakening of the pro-Western forces and possible closing of the Russia's economy and protecting it from plundering by the so-called foreign investors is becoming a more and more recurrent topic of political and economic discourse in Russia.

The economic and political reforms being implemented in Russia with massive advice and financial support from the so-called Western democracies, ostensibly intended to make Russia a democratic and economically modern country, were designed to open Russia's economy and to subject it to the economic and political interests of the West. Although these plans have made substantial ‘progress' they are far from completion and there is no absolute certainty that a reverse is impossible. The results of the privatisation in Russia are actively contested not only by the communists, but they also come under criticism of some anticommunist forces (for example, Otechestvo grouping headed by the Moscow mayor Luzhkof). Certainly, these anti-privatisation statements may be considered as made for electoral purposes, but they are significant ones.

Uncertainty over the future developments in Russia are voiced in different quarters outside Russia. Reflecting, probably, a general unease of the West in this respect, the Secretary General of Nato J. Solana, in his recent publication, admits that "Russia will probably remains a country of contradictions". The Economist, London based conservative weekly, follows suit alerting the policy makers in the West that "sooner or later some strong and honest man will pull post-Yelzin Russia

together and another contender for global influence will have appeared on the scene." That is why, these developments constitute a problem for the West and may prove a sufficient reason for the Nato leaders' attempt to try to find, under auspicious circumstances, a pretext for a military solution of their Russian problem similar to the way they proceed in Yugoslavia. And for their readiness to take advantage of such a pretext they are preparing the potential military ground for the future.

Indications of these intentions are numerous. With the military activities of the Russian Army at its lowest level, due to economic and financial problems, Russian military sources speak that military and reconnaissance activities by the Nato countries along Russia's borders in the Murmansk, Northern Caucasus and Far East regions substantially increased. There are numerous so-called religious missionaries from the Western countries streaming into Russia and settling predominantly in the geographically remote areas, formerly closed for foreigners because of their sensitive character from the point of view of their role in the strategic defence capabilities of the country. And according to Russia's military officials, these religious missionaries are thinly veiled agents engaged in collecting intelligence information about the military potential of the country. There have been several cases of the former Soviet Army officers have been caught in allegedly spying activities in favour of the Nato countries. Curiously enough, some NGO's of extra-Russian origin actively defend these people as activist of ecologist organisations.

The economic considerations also provide sufficient grounds for the Western countries' preoccupation which can be cured, as they probably see it, only by military means.

There is no single economist in the Western countries who does not express worries about the state of the Western economy. The longest boom period of the so-called ‘glorious thirty' ended as far back as mid-1970s and ushered in an already two-decade long stretch of uncertainty and stagnation. Growth in Europe is faltering, with unemployment at politically menacing levels. Japan is in the state of stagnation, with unprecedented levels of unemployment. The countries that have for half a century been called developing world are prostrate. Despite America's posing as the strongest ever economy all serious economists recognise that behind all of the optimistic interpretations of the Dow Jones indicators there lurks a parasitic casino type activities which cannot continue for ever. The U.S. economy, according to Clinton, is booming, but the real wages in the 1990s are down compared with 1980s. American market is flooded with cut-price goods from crisis-strucken areas, while less and less of what U.S. workers produce is sold beyond the U.S. borders.

As a consequence, the U.S. trade deficit is at a record $248 billion last year, heading to over $300 billion this year : a level, according to Treasury Secretary R.Rubin, ‘politically unsustainable'. A feature article in a recent issue of Fortune reads the following: The world economy is in a scary state these days. Politician don't know what to do about it. The hedge fund managers who a couple of years ago seemed to be running the show don't have a clue. Five years ago, in his inaugural speech at the opening of Sheffield University's Political Research Centre, economics Nobelist and a veteran American economist John K. Galbraith characterised the current economic situation in the world as "a gentler face than the grim experience of the 1930s", but, he added, "the question remains: is the basic tendency of the modern market system to high employment and steadily increasing product? Or are relative stagnation and unemployment? This is a question we cannot ignore."

All these are hard facts abundantly delivered and discussed by general and specialised press. But having an innate aversion to the Marxist designation of them as indicative of the crisis of capitalism the apologists of the market system prefer to speak of recession, deflationary spectre, manufacturing overcapacity and the like. It is only natural that they are not inclined to apply the Marxist medication for their system's condition. That is why they probably envisage applying the considerations of John M. Keynes, economist considered to have been the saviour of Capitalism at the time of the Great Depression. He considered impossible for a capitalist system to organise expenditure on the necessary scale - except in war conditions. As for the contemporary economists, although they cannot agree about the causes that brought about the Great Depression, all of them concur that it was the WW II that put an end to it. So, why not try once more?

The task of the Communist and Labour Parties and working class militants is to expose the imperialist agenda of the US and Nato, to sensibilise the public opinion and to try to make the citizens more conscious and ready to combat the use of military force in international relations.

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