Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The day after 9/11. Remember? The day NATO invoked article 5 aka the Three Musketeers article, one for all and all for one.

Article 5 The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

This was the first time that Article 5 was ever used. Originally intended to assure European members that if they were attacked by Russia traditionally isolationist America would come to their aid immediately (unlike WWI and WWII).

The world was aghast after 9/11 where even the French cried "We Are All Americans Now" misquoting JFK. Three years later America would repay that statement of soldiarity by renaming french fries as Freedom Fries, as France refused to support the Americans arbitrary invasion of Iraq.

Not all Americans now - World - Times Online

Sympathy for a grieving America translated quickly into general support for the US war against the Taleban. But within a few weeks that support began to drain, as civilian casualties mounted and some questioned whether the US was doing enough to address the “root causes” of terrorism, in particular the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Then, in the view of most of the world, the US took a terrible detour: from the high road of regime change against the perpetrators and enablers of 9/11, the US descended into the thickets of Guantanamo, the “axis of evil”, pre-emptive war without UN authorisation, the invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib and the quagmire of Baghdad today

NATO's generosity and solidarity on 9/12 was ignored by the Bush White House which went its own way and declared war on the Taliban, much like it preempted the UN resolution on Iraq, and went to war against Saddam. Ironically the Bush Doctrine while declaring itself a global strategy is really just another form of America First isolationism. Yer with us or agin us. But we call the shots.

What happened to the new world order
In other words, the appearance of American foreign policy after 9/11 conveyed the notion that the US was (and to a degree remains) aloof from its former allies - If not geographically, then at least mentally and strategically. With its description as a hyperpower came the epithet of unilateralism. Yet from a European perspective, American unilateralism looked like the secretly raised child of American isolationism.

Only in hindsight did the Bush White house involve NATO, three years later as they planned to move out of Afghanistan, Mission Accomplished, and on to Iraq.

Then, now and beyond

By Tod Lindberg
September 12, 2006

That said, I think the Bush administration, in addition to getting a great deal right following the attacks of five years ago, made three specific mistakes in the early going that unnecessarily damaged the position of the United States.
The first was to sideline NATO for the Afghanistan operation. Following the September 11 attacks, the Atlantic alliance quickly decided for the first time ever to invoke Article 5 of the Washington treaty, which declares an attack on any member of the alliance to be an attack on all members. The administration, wanting to act quickly against the Taliban, thought working through or with NATO would be an unacceptable and unnecessary hindrance. So Article 5 went by the boards.
Now, as it happens, there is solidarity of the sentimental sort, which is touching, and there is solidarity of the hard security sort, which is when allies are willing to fight your war with you. The latter is a big deal. It would have been worth the trouble to figure out how to involve NATO from the early going, especially since the administration was, quite rightly, making broad claims about September 11 as an attack not just on the United States but also on the modern world itself.

At no time has the US or NATO or any of its member states officially declared WAR on Afghanistan or Iraq. Instead all these hot wars started by the U.S. are considered police actions. Not unlike the 'war' which was not a 'war' in Vietnam.

The New NATO that exists today is an organization in transition from a Cold War common front in Europe to the new Global Policeman. In becoming that policeman its role and membership will change. Thus what is occuring now in the crisis of failure of the old membership to step up to the plate in Afghanistan is that NATO is being challenged to change. To become a broader member organization that can be America's ally in new American policing actions.

The reshaping of NATO is occuring now. The failure of European nations to step up to the plate in Afghanistan will allow America and now Canada to call for expansion of membership to other American allies like Australia and Israel. To globalize NATO has been the American agenda all along.

A Global Alliance
Globalization of the alliance does not require any changes to its basic structure. But amendments will have to be made to the North Atlantic Treaty, especially article 10, which only allows NATO to expand in European countries. At present, the treaty allows for the accession of a number of countries with questionable democracy, Belarus, for instance, but does not allow for the admission of such democratic powers as Australia and Japan. Adherence to general values should be the better recommendation than geography.

The principle of article 5, that an attack on one member of the alliance is seen as an attack on all the members, should remain the main principle. That is a relatively simple affair for the U.S. In the end, whether officially or not, the U.S. is the guarantor of the security of such states as Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , , , , ,

No comments: