April 13, 2009
Strategic Culture Foundation
On April, 4, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marked its 60th jubilee. In Serbia, my home country, many people are doomed not to celebrate their 60th birthdays- they will die of cancer. In 1999 NATO bombed Serbia with depleted uranium bombs, which caused a cancer outbreak in the region. Serbia's soil, water and air will remain polluted for a few more decades, taking lives of hundreds of Serbs.
There isn't a single word about it in NATO's official reports. One may read there about NATO's contribution to peace in Kosovo. 1
While NATO exists, there will exist such parallel stories: the one about the alliance's humanitarian mission, the other (which is less frequent) about death and destruction NATO is guilty of.
When NATO was established in 1949, its member countries said they were "determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law".2 I wonder what did they think about Portugal in 1949 as the country was too far from democracy then due to its fascist like dictatorship. Three years later the alliance accepted Greece and Turkey-the states where situation with democracy was not much different from that in Portugal. In 1951 Francoist Spain joined NATO.
Aimed to fight against the Soviet Union, NATO agreed to rely even on communists. In 1954 Yugoslavia, then ruled by Tito, and Greece and Turkey signed the Balkan Pact. The treaty was to act as a dam against Soviet expansion in the Balkan area. It provided for the eventual creation of a joint military staff for the three countries.
Already then, in the 1950s, NATO was evidently ruled by the U.S. and some countries of the Western Europe. Why in 1974 NATO tolerated Turkish aggression against Cyprus, though it brought much harm to Greece, another member country of the alliance? This was because for the U.S. Turkey was more important as a geostratgic partner. Although Cyprus has the EU`s membership, it still remains a divided island.
In 1990s NATO accepted the post-Soviet Baltic states(Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), in spite of the fact that these states had violated and continue to violate the rights of the Russian-speaking population (to say nothing about heroization of Nazi accomplices). Just a few days ago NATO welcomed Albania and Croatia into its family. In 1991-1995 Croatia committed the Europe's most large-scale ethnic cleansing after the WW II (probably, NATO leaders decided this fact to be a good reason to accept Croatia).
The territories of Albania are being controlled by criminals, not the government. Albania also provides logistic support to separatists in Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was no longer any need in NATO. However, the alliance did not dissolve itself but solemnly marched into the last decade of the 20th century. Marched through the war in Yugoslavia, otherwise there would be no sense in further existence of the alliance.
There is a tendency: drug business blossoms in the NATO-controlled territories. Since 1980s the Kosovo Albanians have been known as leaders of drug trafficking from the Middle East and Turkey to Western Europe. Now that Kosovo has been proclaimed a United Nations-governed entity with its sovereign territory, nothing can prevent NATO from developing drug business there.
Each henchman in the so-called "state of Kosovo" has his own gang, which among other things deals with drug trade. They receive enormous profit as 65% of all the drugs supplied to Europe go through Kosovo; they also provide 90% of heroine for drug addicts in Europe.3 Criminals are secured by NATO forces.
In Afghanistan we see an absolutely unbelievable (at first sight) situation. The local drug traders also receive strong support from the alliance. According to the UN reports, Afghanistan produces 93% of the world's opium poppy.4 And what is most important is that since the U.S. and NATO invasion in Afghanistan the drug output has increased by 44 times! 5
According to the head of Russiaĺs anti-narcotics service, Victor Ivanov, 2,5 million of Russian drug addicts depend on the Afghan heroine. This is really horrifying statistics for a country with population of 142 million. Serbia's population is 7,5 million (without Kosovo and Metohija). The Serbian Institute for Public Health says currently there are 70-100 thousand drug addicts in Serbia. 7 The local market of drugs develops thanks to the Afghan support. Thus, millions of Russians, dozens of thousands of Serbs and Europeans are on the needle.
It is remarkable that Afghanistan was the first country to recognize the independence of Kosovo. This is how one NATO protectorate recognized the other. A producer welcomed a consumer. Undoubtedly, these two 'states' have already established close and friendly relations.
During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) the Bosnian Serbs established a self-proclaimed state of Republika Srpska. When it became clear that Serbs in Bosnia were not as easily defeated as their countrymen in Croatia, NATO took action. During two weeks (from August, 30- till September, 13, 1995) NATO threw more than 10,000 tons of deadly bombs onto the population of the Republic, which then amounted up to 1 million people plus 70,000-80,000 of the army. Four hundred NATO planes made 3200 flights to attack Republika Srpska.
Then in 1999 NATO bombed Yugoslavia. More than 1,000 NATO planes took part in the attacks. Some 1,000 missiles (in all- 415,000 projectiles, including 30-50,000 with depleted uranium) targeted Yugoslavia.
After they failed to destroy the whole army of Yugoslavia from the air, NATO forces targeted civil objects. They knocked down absolutely everything- houses, schools, hospitals, bridges, oil refiners...
What will happen to Afghanistan? After the 2001 bombings the Taliban government was toppled but peace has not come to the country even eight years later.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says ''NATO is losing the war in Afghanistan because of the differences between the members of the alliance" 7 Other experts say "the Taliban control 72% of the Afghan territories"8
One way or another, NATO lacks control over Afghanistan's major part, and there is no sign of peace coming to the region. Numerous Taliban groups tied dozens of thousands of NATO soldiers to Afghan cities and major communication routes. Maybe it will be Afghanistan, the country which for ages has been 'graveyard of empires', where all illusions about invincible military alliance will be broken. During the jubilee celebrations NATO officials were all smiles and preferred to 'forget' about NATO crimes.
But we should always remember and never forget.
1 NATO Handbook, NATO Office of Information and Press, Brussels, 2001, p. 48.
2 Ibidem, p. 527.
3 Ibidem, стр. 234