NATO’s Number 2 says Russia exploits “occupied” Crimea to spread its military influence in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa
Speaking to the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria yesterday, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana said that Russia is using occupied (his word) Crimea to spread its military influence in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa.
Himself a native of the Black Sea nation of Romania, he also denounced Russia for presenting the greatest danger to NATO in the Black Sea. For those not aware of the fact, Russia has bordered the Black Sea for several centuries; NATO only arrived there with the induction of Bulgaria and Romania in 2004. Surely Geoana is aware of the fact.
In preparation for next month’s NATO summit in Brussels, his talk was entitled “Ahead of the Future: Preparing for NATO 2030.”
He was introduced by Solomon Passy, the founder and first and still current president of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, which is one of dozens of similar organizations modeled after the Atlantic Council in the U.S., set up no doubt with funds from the National Endowment for Democracy and other “democracy enhancement” operations.
Passy founded, and conferred upon himself the titles of president and chief executive officer of, the Atlantic Club in 1990. (He had co-founded the Green Party of Bulgaria the year before, then jumped ship shortly thereafter.) In the same year, as a member of parliament, he drafted a bill to withdraw Bulgaria from the Warsaw Pact and join NATO. Also in 1990 Passy led a delegation of members of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria to NATO headquarters in Brussels, the first time any delegation from Eastern Europe had paid such a visit. His organization was the prototype for Atlantic clubs set up by the U.S. and Germany in the socialist bloc and further afield.
As foreign minister in the government of King Simeon II Saxe-Coburg-Gotha from 2001-2005, he herded Bulgaria into NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2005. After his fourteen-year crusade to bring his nation into the first bloc ended, he personally raised the Bulgarian flag at NATO headquarters in Belgium. The same year he became Chairman-in-Office of the the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and assisted in “liberating” the “occupied territory” of Adjara and handing it over to Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia. Russian peacekeepers were evicted in the process and were relocated to Armenia.
Passy is arguably the person most responsible for the past twenty-two years’ expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, in the process of which the military bloc grew from sixteen to thirty members.
This is the man who welcomed NATO’s deputy secretary general in Sofia yesterday, and welcomed him to the organization he launched and in turn launched him into national and international politics. And he hailed his guest by stating, “I remember him fighting for Romania to join NATO, for Romania to join the European Union.”
Geoana responded with, “We always have connection, Solomon.” Indeed they do. He engaged in cautious triumphalism in celebrating the collapse of the former Eastern bloc and the subsequent “huge transformation of Europe that follow that historical epical moment.” And added: “And I think that for [thank for that?] my dear friend Solomon and for all of us who have been in the first line of bringing our region into the European and Euro-Atlantic families. It’s a sense of déjà vu. But it’s also a sense of warning and sticking together.”
He also praised the Bucharest Nine Summit earlier in the week, one which has perhaps consolidated for good the century-old Intermariam project to build a military barrier along NATO’s Eastern Flank, which is Russia’s western border, from the Arctic to the Caucasus.
Then addressing the Black Sea that both his nation and Passy’s border, he lost no time in delivering a harsh and far-ranging indictment of Russia: “We have long seen a pattern of aggressive behaviour from Russia, including its forces in Georgia, the illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is now using Crimea to project power into the Black Sea, and way beyond the Black Sea, towards the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. We must stay vigilant, especially in light of its recent and considerable military build-up in the region.”
Though he didn’t use precisely the terms, he echoed what has emerged as the West’s characterization of Russia as having attacked and seized territories from fellow Black Sea nations Georgia and Ukraine. Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the first case; Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea in the second. Occupied territories almost by definition invite liberation. By the Mediterranean he may mean Syria and for Northern Africa, Libya.
He also raised the specter of Russia’s malign (the current byword) influence in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
In words that are exactly those of his boss, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, of three months ago he said, “We must safeguard the international rules-based order against the authoritarian push-back by countries like Russia and China that do not share our values.” That is NATO’s new crusade: war to the knife against Russia and China (and Iran and North Korea).
To complete the isolation of Rusia and China, he also called for strengthening military ties with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – all members of NATO’s Partners Across the Globe since 2012 – and forming partnerships with other Indo-Pacific (his word) nations, especially India. About which he said, “I know that the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria made some very interesting propositions not so far ago.”
And for anyone who doubts that the mission of military expansion entertained for decades by the Passys and the Geoanas of the world is limited to the Euroatlantic area, he added this:
“This is the way in which NATO can also have a more global role. Not forgetting about our common sacred mission to defend the 1 billion citizens living in NATO countries in Europe and in North America. But for this shift of balance in global power is important for us to reach out to like-minded nations all over the world.”
The Warsaw Pact has now become NATO. Today Europe and tomorrow the world.