Using this interpretation, invoking one or more of the newly identified “threats” under the authority of Article 5 of the treaty, provides a mandate for the U.S. and its NATO allies to attack energy-producing countries with a view to commandeering their energy and natural resources.
The intent of NATO to expand its mandate to Asia and beyond was first aired publicly in 1996 at the annual seminar held by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which claims to be “the world’s leading authority on political-military conflict.” At its annual seminar held at Dresden, it propagated NATO enlargement. U.S. and UK experts advocated projecting NATO’s military mantle east to Asia and south to Northern and Eastern Africa, with a view to widen the security envelope to bring these regions under their influence to ensure that they conformed with strategies that would guarantee the national interests of member states of the alliance. On being questioned whether the interests and sovereignty of regional players would be taken into account, these so-called experts glossed over these issues as subservient to the needs of global (Western) stability and security. The roughshod approach suggested that logic was trumped by the belief in U.S. and British infallibility. The very concept of projecting the NATO military umbrella so soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union was challenged by Russia and found unpalatable by delegates from European countries. Delegates from Russia boycotted the seminar, and the Europeans loudly voiced their dissatisfaction with the proposal. Questions on why it was necessary to project Western military power in a region where countries had a meaningful military potential of their own to ensure the security and stability of their region went unanswered.
Thereafter, my second exposure came in 1999–2000, at a time the U.S., the leading light of the transatlantic alliance, had finalised formulating its strategy to shift the centre of gravity of its strategic security policy from Europe to Asia. I had some enlightening engagements with significant luminaries at the State Department, Pentagon, the Department of Energy, the National Security Council and numerous think tanks. All my interlocutors evinced exceptional interest in India’s military potential, its strategic forces, nuclear doctrine and strategy and national interests in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Rim. I was made aware of U.S. intent to shift its strategic focus to Asia and its aspiration to create a “NATO type” alliance of like-minded democratic states in the region that they hoped would include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and hopefully India. Most unambiguously stated was Washington’s newly acquired belief that India had emerged as a global player that could be a meaningful ally in the larger U.S. strategic matrix.
NATO in the Twenty-First Century: An Appraisal
The first decade of the twenty-first century has been witness to a spate of wars invoked by the U.S.-led Atlantic alliance in the name of all recently incorporated threats it has brought under the authority of Article 5 of the treaty. Because of this, the established global security environment has gone into a state of flux.
Consequently, we are witness to:
NATO’s U.S.-initiated invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which provides a stepping stone to the oil-rich central Asian region, long coveted by the Western powers, in response to the infamous 9/11 Saudi-funded15 al-Qaeda terrorist attack against the U.S.
Russia and her allies perceive the U.S. and NATOs global missile shield project as a means of commandeering Russian and global energy supplies and natural resources through the threat of force.
The invasion and occupation of oil-rich Iraq under the pretext that Saddam Hussein was in violation of the nuclear proliferation regime, to invoke democracy and protection of human rights in the then singularly secular Arab state. Subsequent evidence has belied claims of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, and the construction of permanent military bases suggests ulterior motives.
Even while the first two conflicts remain unresolved, NATO-backed Libyan rebels, many of whom are recognised anti-West terrorists, initiate a military operation to effect a regime change in Libya. The cause of NATO “to shift abruptly from a policy of embracing Gaddafi to launching a brutal scorched-earth invasion of Libya in a matter of months” lies in the popular uprisings that threatened Euro-U.S. domination and their massive investment in Libya’s oil resources. This led to the near total destruction of Libya, yet another secular regime with the highest standard of living in Africa.16
All these military adventures have proven disastrous for the inhabitants of these countries and their surrounding regions; millions have been killed, maimed or rendered homeless; with “rendition,” torture and indiscriminate aerial bombings, human rights have been thrown out of the window; regional security and stability have been emasculated to abnormal proportions and have undermined the economies of the Western powers dangerously, generating a far greater threat to global stability.
Other twenty-first-century conflicts out of the traditional NATO bailiwick in which the U.S. and NATO are covertly or overtly involved are the confrontation with Iran, the Arab-Israel standoff, Somalia, the confrontation with Russia in the Black Sea, and covert initiatives to draw the former Soviet states in the Caucasus into NATO. Yet another looming confrontation that is a prominent blip on the radar is coping with the evolving military potential of a hostile China, which is fast emerging as a major global power.
NATOs U.S.-initiated invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which provides a stepping stone to the oil-rich central Asian region, long coveted by the Western powers, in response to the infamous 9/11″¦
Russia and her allies perceive the U.S. and NATO’s global missile shield project as a means of commandeering Russian and global energy supplies and natural resources through the threat of force. Russia, like China and Iran, is also being encircled by a military frontier, which it sees as part of the efforts of NATO to surround it and its allies, 17 threatening to destabilise the global security environment dangerously.
All the issues mentioned above have little, if anything, to do with the security of Europe or North America but are a product of NATO’s expansionist aspirations to secure access to global resources in keeping with the interests of member states of the alliance. These initiatives have, however, demonstrated limits of political, economic and military power of the U.S. and its NATO allies. To meet these challenges, NATO needs to expand its mantle to include like-minded power centres in Asia to fulfil the imperatives of a worldwide military alliance.