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War, Occupation and Collision Course with Russia

by Jurgen Wagner Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Through civil-military cooperation, civil-actors are degraded to integral components of western military deployments and thus enemies for large parts of the local population.. "Global NATO," a competitive organization to the UN, is being created to counter Russia's and China's veto.


“Highlights” of the NATO Summit

by Jurgen Wagner

[This article published in: Stadtzeitung fur Sudbaden 74 (2009) is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

…The French and German police strategy manifestly works toward conscious escalation to crush the protests against the NATO summit in Strassburg. A first provisional analysis of the core elements will be presented here.


The attempt to bring about a new transatlantic division of power and labor played an important role at the summit. The United States weakened in power politics urged stronger EU involvement in the costs for militarily maintaining the existing world order. The US asks EU states to consider its interests more in the future.

This request was made at the Munich security conference at the beginning of February and is now repeated again by President Barack Obama on the eve of the NATO summit. “We do not look condescendingly at Europe,” Obama said. “We do not want to be Europe’s patron saint; we want to be Europe’s partner.” At the same time the militarization of the European Union rejected for a long time by Washington as a de-stabilizing rival project was welcomed from Washington’s perspective in the sense of new burden sharing. “The more military capabilities we see, the happier we will be and the more effectively we will be able to coordinate our powers” (Spiegel Online 4/3/2009). Correspondingly the final document of the Strassburg summit urges a further militarization of the European Union. “NATO recognizes the importance of stronger and more effective EU defense capabilities.”


One of the most important decisions of the summit was the official commissioning of a new strategic concept. “The long term role of NATO in the security environment of the 21st century should be worked out,” we read in the final declaration. The goal is to approve the concept at the next NATO summit.

The core element of the strategy should be the Comprehensive Approach. The Comprehensive Approach aims at carrying out “stabilization actions” or occupations as in Kosovo and Afghanistan “more successfully” in the future. Civil actors should be recruited there and cooperate locally with the military to ensure a frictionless occupation.

Through this civil-military cooperation, civil actors are systematically degraded to integral components of western military deployments and thus enemies for the majority of the local population. Civil actors are instrumentalized for acceptance of strategic economic and political goals. Guaranteed humanitarian assistance is made much harder and sometimes even impossible. For this reason, development organizations reject this civil-military cooperation, as non-governmental development organizations recently did (VENRO) (1). Nevertheless this civil-military cooperation as resolved at the NATO summit with the implementation of a – largely secret – action plan for the realization of the Comprehensive Approach.

The Comprehensive Approach was tested prototypically on a large scale in the NATO deployment in Afghanistan. VENRO now fears the civil- military cooperation will be transferred in the future from Afghanistan to other conflicts or post-conflict scenarios. (2) This actually seems to be the plan. NATO needs a fundamentally new strategy as Angela Merkel said in her recent government declaration before the NATO summit. “That is simple but sounds comparatively6 revolutionary,” Merkel said and urged “NATO with its military means must be part of a coherent comprehensive approach that includes a variety of civil actions. This basic understanding that we are now developing in Afghanistan must become the strategic common heritage of NATO in the future, not an isolated case.” (, 3/27/2009).

A second important aspect that will probably play a vital role in working out the NATO strategy is the desire to make NATO more “pro-active” in the future, that can be deployed faster and more flexibly, as Obama’s security advisor James Jones described. A bundle of measures were resolved and the consensus principle abolished (at least on all planes within the NATO council). No rights to join the conversation in NATO wars for member states that are not participating; acceptance of development costs by all NATO states, not only those involved in a war. (3) If this reorganization of decision-making structures were actually realized, the relative strengths would be drastically shifted in favor of the big states. The war-making capacity of the alliance would be substantially increased. The structures and decision-making processes are mentioned in a document passed at the summit: “We must reform the NATO structures to create a more sleek and cost-efficient organization. We will expand the powers of NATO where our interests are affected in crisis management and conflict resolution.” (4)


The allies welcomed Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy unreservedly. It includes more assistance, increase in the number of troops and escalation of combat actions – perhaps including Pakistan. “The alliance is resolutely behind Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy.” ( 4/4/2009) 62,000 troops are presently at Hindukusch. The US will be sending an additional 21,000 and NATO will add another 5,000.

A very illuminating revealing reference is also found regarding Iraq. Given the fact that the new US government will continue occupying the country in the medium term, NATO already resolved in December 2008 that the “NATO Training Mission in Iraq” should operate within the country in the future. Its tasks include assistance in “securing the borders,” “defense reform” and building “defense institutions.” (5)

The US engagement in the occupation should be strengthened. In the final document, it says: “We renew our offer to the Iraqi government for a framework of structured cooperation as a basis for long-range collaboration and welcome the advances already realized.” After the serious conflicts around the Iraq war, these decisions have considerable effect – both toward the US and toward the rest of the world. They set a “clear sign for a new beginning.” (6)


A harsh tone was heard against Russia despite the welcome declaration of intent of the US government to re-start the nuclear disarmament process. “The Russian military presence in the Georgia regions Abchasia and south Ossetia without the approval of the US government is very alarming. In addition, Russia’s actions in Georgia put in question its readiness to observe fundamental OSZE principles on which security and stability in Europe are based.”

In this connection, Moscow may be very worried about Georgia and the Ukraine, the “red line” repeatedly drawn by NATO. In the final document, it says: “At the summit in Bucharest, we reached agreement that the Ukraine and Georgia should be members of NATO. We reconfirm all the elements of this decision.” At the same time the importance of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia commissions in accelerating the admission of the two countries in the alliance was underscored in the final document.

In the question of NATO missile defense built out of US components, the earlier plan was affirmed despite sharp Russian criticism. “Additional work is necessary” referred to the momentous technical problems. Simultaneously the permanent NATO council is charged with planning for the defense shield covering the troops stationed abroad and NATO territory and thus neutralizing Russian missiles.

Beyond this, many advocates of a “Global NATO” are found in the Obama government. “Global NATO” expands the alliance with the “most friendly” democracies outside of the Euro-Atlantic zone. A competitive organization to the UN is created to counter Russia’ and China’s right of veto on military actions. With shock and dismay, Moscow reacts to these plans that make a kind of alternative UN out of NATO with a license for military acts of force. That was the announcement of the Russian NATO ambassador Dmitri Rogosin just before the NATO summit. “Today we have more evidence that NATO seeks to globalize its role. What is really involved is the future possibility of accepting countries in the alliance that have nothing to do with the Euro-Atlantic zone – like Australia, Japan, New Zealand and India. NATO seemingly wants to establish a “league of democracies.” The attempt to replace the UN Security Council with such a group represents a “serious challenge to most countries of the world.” (Ria Novosti 3/13/2009).

Still this was resolved at the summit with the nomination of Anders Foah Rasmussen, a proponent of “Global NATO,” as the next general secretary of the alliance. (7) In the final document, there is a reference to cooperating more intensively in the future with non-NATO democracies, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea to gain their contributions in Afghanistan.


The escalation course of the alliance was consistently emphasized at the summit. All the decisions point to an intensification of the war course. In the future, we will have to critically confront NATO.


[1] Fünf Jahre deutsche PRTs in Afghanistan, VENRO-Positionspapier 1/2009.

[2] Fünf Jahre deutsche PRTs in Afghanistan, VENRO-Positionspapier 1/2009, S. 2.

[3] Vgl. The Washington NATO Project: Alliance Reborn: An Atlantic Compact for the 21st Century, Februar 2009; Naumann, Klaus/Shalikashvili, John/Lord Inge/Lanxade, Jacques/Breemen, Henk van den: Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, URL:; An interview with General James L. Jones, NATO Defense College, Research Paper, Januar 2008.

[4] Declaration on Alliance Security, 3.4.2009, URL:

[5] Final communiqué of The Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers, NATO Presseerklärung, 3.12.2008

[6] Riecke, Henning: Mehr Einsatz in Afghanistan. Deutschland kann Obama konkrete Kooperationsangebote machen, in: Internationale Politik, Januar 2009, S. 39-44.

[7] Rasmussen, Anders Fogh, Address to the US Chamber of Commerce, 28.02.2008.


“Distribute Food in the Morning, Bomb at Midday and Build a School at Night” by Jurgen Wagner

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