Tuesday, February 11, 2003

What Else Is NATO For?

Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when, 53 years ago, the devastated countries of Europe and their American ally formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The entire point of the exercise was to have been that, when a single member state came under threat from another nation, the entire organization, which fields its own army, would respond to prevent war, or at least prevent the more devastating sequalae of defeat in war. A threat on one member state is considered a threat against all. It was hoped at the time of formation that the existence of such a treaty would prevent war. It was designed, as these things always are, to prevent the previous war, WWII. Had NATO existed in 1939, the theory went, WWII would never have happened.

Fast forward to the present day. A member state, Turkey, has invoked the emergency clause of the treaty. It forsees trouble on its border with Iraq, and wants the deployment of forces to protect that border. France and Belgium, both of which were overrun and devasted in the opening act of the raison d'etre for NATO, have vetoed this request. Germany, the aggressor in 1939, vetoed the emergency action plan as well.

As if it weren't bad enough that France and Germany are doing their best to make the U.N. irrelevant, now they are trying to do the same for NATO, by acting the role of renegade nations. While most of the Punditocracy have been downplaying the significance of these actions, I beg to disagree. In their lust for a return to relevance and power on the world stage, France and Germany are gambling with the lives of untold numbers of innocents. This is blackmail of the largest scale I have seen in my lifetime. Their bet is that America will see the threat to the U.N. and NATO as too great, and will therefore bend to the will of the renegades. There are those who believe that Bush will cave in to this blackmail. Others are thrilled that these two grand incompetent organizations shall be destroyed. The rest of us can only watch and wait. Remember the Hindu proverb: When the Elephants fight, the ants get crushed.