more bad news from brussels, what other kind is there?

Biden Administers a Vaccine Shot to NATO
Brian Cloughley, Strategic Culture, Mar 2 2021

Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

On Feb 19, Uncle Joe Biden gave a life-prolonging injection to the long-declining NATO military cluster by declaring the US to be “fully committed to our NATO alliance.” He began his vaccination speech by announcing that “America is Back” and brought in Article 5 of the NATO Charter by saying his country has made an “unshakeable vow” to recognise that “an attack on one is an attack on all,” which is reasonable enough, even if such an attack is never going to be made by Russia or China, the two nations he declared to be the greatest enemies of the US and Europe. So Biden’s old-style New Cold War is upon us, and although he said the big priority was “modernizing our military capabilities while leading with diplomacy,” it is obvious that while he’s certainly giving the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex their very own expensive booster jab, there isn’t anything remotely diplomatic about insulting and threatening other countries in a major speech to a military grouping whose leader and supporters are desperate for reasons, indeed any pretext to justify its existence.

NATO was formed 72 years ago as a military alliance that undertook, consistent with the UN Charter, “to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN.” But Uncle Joe has just assured the world that he has “ordered the halting of withdrawal of American troops from Germany” and “also lifting a cap imposed by the previous administration on the number of US forces able to be based in Germany.” Then three days after his war-drumming speech came deployment of four B-1 Lancer strategic heavy bombers to Norway, a provocation described by CNN as “a move that sends a clear message to Moscow that the US military will operate in the strategically important Arctic region and demonstrate that it will defend allies in the area against any Russian aggression close to the country’s border.”

Contrary to the hopes of so many people around this stricken globe, Biden is not prepared to rein in the Pentagon’s frantic military gallop and engage in dialogue with China and Russia. And contrary to the NATO Charter, he is not refraining from “the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN,” because his approach to relations with Russia and China rests on the threat of force. On Feb 22 China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi continued Beijing’s efforts to advance towards rapprochement by saying:

We stand ready to have candid communication with the US side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.

This was a constructive proposal that deserved positive consideration, but his offer was rudely dismissed by US State Dept spokesman Ned Price who said, in accordance with the new Biden foreign policy:

His comments reflect the continued pattern of Beijing’s tendency to avert blame for its predatory economic practices, its lack of transparency, its failure to honour its international agreements, and its repression of universal human rights.

Mr Price was straightforward about Biden’s China policy, declaring:

You’ve heard us speak before about the way in which we will approach China, through the prism of competition from a position of strength.

Given that attitude, there is no hope that the Biden administration will even go through the motions of attempting to reduce tension between Washington and Beijing, or Moscow. But this is welcome news in the halls of NATO’s billion-dollar palace in Brussels, from where Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that following Biden’s vaccine shot:

We now have an historic opportunity to build a stronger Alliance, to regain trust and reinforce our unity, Europe and North America working together in NATO in strategic solidarity.

Disturbingly, the recently-published document “NATO 2030,” outlining desirable future policy, concentrates on opportunities to expand NATO’s international dabbling, and while it focuses on Russia as an imagined and immediate enemy it warns against a similarly non-existent threat from further east. In commenting on the paper at a news conference Stoltenberg declared:

China poses important challenges to our security. China is investing massively in new weapons. It is coming closer to us, from the Arctic to Africa. China does not share our values, and tries to intimidate other countries.

Indeed, China is coming closer to Europe. It is rapidly extending its trade links through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) because this makes economic sense for both Europe and China. Eighteen member countries of the European Union have signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the BRI, and as noted by Silk Road Briefing (a private commercial organisation), “an examination of the Export data released by the World Bank, available on their TCData360 website, has revealed that EU member states who have signed up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative are seeing their export volumes growing at a significantly faster rate than those who have not,” while “Chinese and Russian efforts to link East and West Europe are spurring faster export rates.” This gigantic initiative, costing trillions of dollars, is intended to benefit all involved. It would be economic suicide for China to destroy it by “intimidating” or in any fashion discriminating against its partners. But NATO is happy to brandish its newly-acquired anti-dragon pennants to try to justify its existence, and Uncle Joe Biden is determined to help it limp its way towards the East.

Another helpful Biden jab in one of NATO’s withered arms was his announcement on Feb 26:

Seven years ago today, Russia violated international law, the norms by which modern countries engage one another, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbour Ukraine when it invaded Crimea.

His White House statement was implacable and signalled uncompromisingly that there would be no diplomacy concerning Russia. The Biden proclamation that “the US does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula” is open assertion of his resolve that there will never be cooperation of any sort with Russia. So much for diplomacy. Biden either does not know or (more likely) does not care that for centuries Crimea’s citizens have been Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and in general pro-Russia. In 2014 the majority of these citizens wanted to rejoin Russia (see the BBC’s objective analysis) rather than stay with crippled post-revolution Ukraine which would have victimized them because of their Russian heritage. In Mar 2014, Crimea’s parliament voted to ask to join Russia. A referendum was held, and the vast majority of voters were in favour. There was not a drop of blood spilled. But you wouldn’t know this from western media or politicians, who continue to refer to Russia’s supposed “annexation” of Crimea. Washington wants to continue confrontation with Moscow and Beijing, and has made sure it is keeping NATO firmly in its schemes to maintain world dominance. Stoltenberg and his minions have received an enormous booster from Uncle Joe, and the way ahead is gloomy and potentially stormy.

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