So if you’re concerned about the rise of China, the military and economic strength of China, that makes it even more important that we stand together, Europe and North America in NATO.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence on March 15 and demanded a U.S.-European Union – Euro-Atlantic – crusade against the world’s two “authoritarian” challengers to the West’s proclaimed rules-based international order.
It truly pays to read the transcript of his remarks and similar material emanating from the real power centers of the Western world on occasion. Although dry as dust to the layman, to the global elect such documents reveal the future agenda for world governance. The initiated will understand, as Goethe said to Eckermann regarding Mozart’s The Magic Flute. And Stoltenberg has informed the neoliberal elites what the new priorities will be. The currently dominant code phrase used is rules-based international order, which was used more than once by Stoltenberg two days ago; as in enemies of the rules-based international order will be confronted and defeated.
He spoke of his military bloc’s NATO 2030 initiative and of its summit later this year, one which will elaborate the first Strategic Concept in eleven years. As he indicated, a new version has become necessary because of two critical factors: Russia has supposedly because intractable and bellicose, particularly in Ukraine and Syria, thereby thwarting the West’s plans to eliminate the last remaining vestiges of independence and national sovereignty in Europe and the Middle East and by extension the world – Und Morgen die ganze Welt – and China has emerged as a major global economic power, the first time a nation has done so outside the Western world. Neither can be tolerated. The political annals of the past twenty years are replete with the undesirable fates of heads of state who wouldn’t play by the rules of the rules-based international order, in part or in full, such as Adjara’s Aslan Abashidze, Lithuania’s Valdas Adamkus, Kyrgyzstan’s Askar Akayev, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Armenia’s Robert Kocharian, Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki, Slovakia’s Valdimir Meciar, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, Moldova’s Vladimir Voronin, Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych and Hondura’s Manuel Zelaya inter alia.
To accomplished this two-pronged offensive, it is imperative to “reinforce the unity between Europe and North America,” which unity “derives from the promise of 30 [NATO] Allies to defend each other.” As NATO is a military bloc, the longest-existing and largest in history, defending each other must be interpreted in the way it’s intended: a alliance with a combined military budget of over $1 trillion a year will collectively employ its armed might to crush whoever challenges it.
But as the NATO chief outlined, the civilian reverse of the European supranational coin, the European Union, also must play its part; must be the third leg of the Western global dominance stool. The U.S.-NATO-EU triumvirate is a consortium of most all the major colonial, imperial and imperialist powers of the past 500 years. Relinquishing half a millennium of world dominance is proving hard to do.
Stoltenberg applauded the integration of NATO and EU in foreign policy operations such as “helping to stabilise our neighbourhood from the Western Balkans to Ukraine.”
He also paid his appreciation to his EU colleagues for their efforts on the defense front such as the European Defence Fund, part of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.
“A European Union that spends more on defence,” he said, “is not only good for European security, it is also good for transatlantic security.” If he is suggesting that Europeans must spend more on military procurements and send their sons and daughters to war zones in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East in part at least to defend the U.S. and Canada as he appears to be doing, that is certainly a reversal of the role first initiated by Woodrow Wilson over a century ago.
He told the representatives of EU member states to “push for more ambitious and practical cooperation between NATO and the European Union” and to “step up our cooperation in key areas; on military mobility, championing new technologies, bolstering our resilience, fighting climate change and protecting the rules-based order.”
He celebrated joint endeavors “in providing support for partners in Bosnia Herzegovina, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan,” then blamed problems with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on Russia, which “has violated the treaty and deployed, many missiles, nuclear capable, in Europe.” This while NATO and the U.S. continue moving interceptor missiles, missile radar facilities, warplanes, warships, cyber warfare centers and NATO battlegroups to Russia’s western and southern borders.
And whereas he said he didn’t “see any imminent threat of a military attack against any NATO ally” by Russia or China, that was, he insisted, solely because “we have NATO, based on the idea that if one Ally is attacked, it will trigger the response from the whole Alliance”; that is, the Article 5 mutual military assistance provision.
Nevertheless Russia, which spends about one-fifteenth of what NATO’s members combined do on defense, is a reckless aggressor, as Stoltenberg paints the picture, “using force and military force against neighbors,” which they have ruthlessly employed against “Ukraine, illegally annexing Crimea, continue to destabilizing in eastern Ukraine, against Georgia, and Russia has troops in Moldova, without the consent of the Moldovan government and we see more Russian military presence in many places of the world.” The reference to Moldova is a reflection of NATO’s intent to assist member state Romania and the new Moldovan government to do to Transdniester what NATO stalwart Turkey and NATO partner Azerbaijan did to Nagorno-Karabakh last year.
China received no better treatment from him. There’s no hint of diplomacy in his statement on the subject: “We’ve also seen a more aggressive China and China also threatening Taiwan and other countries, bullying countries all over the world. And this behavior is undermining the rule of law, the international rules based order, and that’s also an argument for NATO Allies standing together and working with partners, including in the Asia Pacific region.” NATO has one member, Turkey, and nineteen partners in the Asia-Pacific Region if the Middle East is included; twenty-two if the South Caucasus is also.
Although not yet openly identifying China as a geopolitical and military rival, he also said: “China is authoritarian countries [sic] that doesn’t share our values. They will soon have the biggest economy in the world. They already have the second largest defense budget. They’re investing heavily in new modern military capabilities….”
And though not formally recognizing NATO as a global military bloc, he said: “I also believe that the threats, and the challenges we face in this region, they are more and more global. And the rise of China, the shifting global balance of power, caused by the rise of China, is part of that.”
Lastly, in a deft blending of warning and threat, he added: “And if anything, that just makes it even more important that Europe and North America stand together in NATO. Because Europe is not big enough, United States is not big enough. But together we represent 50% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s military market. So if you’re concerned about the rise of China, the military and economic strength of China, that makes it even more important that we stand together, Europe and North America in NATO.”