Global Hegemony: Mission NATO and the Military Industrial Complex

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By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 25 April 2015

On 26 July 1949, Robert Taft, a US Republican Party Senator and the eldest son of the former US president William Taft, made a speech detailing his reasons for not supporting the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Taft junior's reluctance to condone NATO's creation was not so much political dogma, having opposed most of the policies of the US Democratic Party for the previous two decades, but visionary:

...the treaty is a part of a much larger program by which we arm all these nations against Russia ... a joint military program has already been made ... it thus becomes an offensive and defensive military alliance against Russia.
I believe our foreign policy should be aimed primarily at security and peace, and I believe such an alliance is more likely to produce war than peace.

Taft's understanding of the nature of the beast that had been created and its inherent inability to be either a rational or, at least, a reasonable force for good was summed up as follows:

If we undertake to arm all the nations around Russia from Norway on the north to Turkey on the south, and Russia sees itself ringed about gradually by so-called defensive arms from Norway and Denmark to Turkey and Greece, it may form a different opinion. It may decide that the arming of western Europe, regardless of its present purpose, looks to an attack upon Russia. Its view may be unreasonable, and I think it is. But from the Russian standpoint it may not seem unreasonable.

Taft's opposition to NATO largely fell on deaf ears and by his death in July 1953 the organisation had gained a further two members, namely Greece and Turkey, who were harbingers of its future growth.

By 17 January 1960, in a farewell diatribe by Dwight Eisenhower, the outgoing president of the US, the beast had taken on a combined persona: NATO had become a partner of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) who had long since stopped manufacturing ploughshares for swords. Eisenhower's parting words often thought to be cautionary were in fact revelatory of the actual situation at that time:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence ... economic, political, even spiritual ... is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

In essence the beast, in which Taft had spoken of earlier, had, in just 12 years, become a mutually cooperative and self-sustaining relationship for the aggrandisement of both of the key parties involved, NATO and the MIC.

Thus, NATO continued to expand: Spain joined in 1982 followed by the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999, then Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004 and finally Albania and Croatia in 2009. The organisation now boasts of 28 member nation states whose combined military expenditure accounts for more than 70% of the global total. A further four other 'aspirant countries', Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro are also planning to join in the future.

Similarly, the MIC have also expanded: the growth of NATO with its mandated requirements of interoperability and the standardisation of training, equipment and weapons systems have created an ever increasing revenue stream for the major armaments manufacturers in the West, namely Babcock International, BAE Systems, Cobham, Boeing Defense, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to name just a few. UK and US weapons systems and services companies accounted for more than 34% of global conventional weapons exports from 2004-2008 and 32% during the period 2009-2013.

While the founding members of NATO, and those who subsequently joined before the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991, could proffer a perceived threat as the core principal upon which its existence depended, that rationale had all but evaporated by the end of the same year. Naturally NATO and the MIC pondered their own demise as the peace dividend began to unfold in 1992 but by the end of the year a plan had started to emerge.

In the wake of the turmoil created in eastern Europe by the dissolution of the USSR the West stepped into the void and for the next decade or so they exploited the region not only for its resources but also for geo-political and military strategic purposes. The footprints of military voyeurism by both NATO and the MIC can be found all over Abkhazia, Albania, Bosnia, Chechnya, Croatia, Dagestan, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, South Ossetia and Transnistria.

In other words, NATO, an organisation founded on the principals of collective defence, and the MIC, an industry created to uphold that doctrine, have eschewed national and regional defence for the much more lucrative offensive posture. That Georgia and Ukraine are the current focus of Mission NATO and the MIC in their quest for global hegemony is common knowledge and proof, if any were needed, that this behemoth has in fact become an offensive weapon.

The beast is still very much alive and dangerous.

What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.
Aristotle