Monday, August 18, 2008


Everyone's favorite ex-blogger Billmon still occasionally cranks out a post on a diary at dkos. Today he gives a retrospective to the current goings on in Georgia:
Anatomy of A(nother) Fiasco
where he reminds us of what we didn't hear, how NATO came to be, under the mute but potent activities of the bipartisan Congress, the unwieldy monster it is today. Moving the eastern boundaries of NATO from the Oder to 135 miles of St. Petersburg was undertaken without any meaningful debate, in fact, hardly any debate at all. The latest resolutions have yet to be fully consummated, but are now directly linked to a hot war:

Once again, the US enlargement lobby sprang into action. In February of last year, with the newly born Democratic Congress still waiving its little arms and spitting up mucus, Dick Lugar (the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Joe Biden (the committee’s nominally Democratic chairman) introduced the "NATO Freedom Consolidation Act". Like its predecessors, the bill authorized the President to immediately begin treating the Ukraine and Georgia as full-fledged NATO allies in all but name – with weapons sales, military advisors, etc. Senate cosponsors included Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gordon Smith of Oregon, and, naturally, John McCain (R-POW).

Also like its predecessors, the bill was whisked through both houses of Congress with about as much deliberation as a resolution praising the Future Farmers of Benton County for their fine showing at the Iowa State Fair – with no hearings, no debate, no roll call votes. President Bush signed it into law on April 9, 2007. The White House put out an official statement marking the occasion. It was one sentence long.

Since then, there have been two more resolutions to pull the foot dragging Europeans:
This led to another flurry of activity by the congressional expansion lobby. In January of this year, another resolution was introduced, again demanding that NATO open its doors to the Ukraine and Georgia. This time the list of cosponsors included Biden, McCain and Joe Lieberman – as well as both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was passed by unanimous consent. And when the NATO summit nonetheless elected to pass on the Ukrainian and Georgian applications (promising, vaguely, to revisit the issue at a later date) the Demopublicans quickly came back with yet another resolution blasting the Russians for a long list of alleged violations of Georgian sovereignty and praising the NATO summit for "stat[ing] that the Republic of Georgia will become a member of NATO" – when, in fact, the summit had made no such promise. Up is down. Black is white.
So, you got your war, bipartisan chums. A little hot war, and the prospect of a big cold war. Who knows, with McCain maybe even a big hot war.

But NATO now is no longer a self-defense pact, it's a tool for projecting US power globally. When NATO gets in the way, perhaps by being a bit too concerned over civilian casualties, the US just elbows it aside:
The United States is planning to take control of all military operations in Afghanistan next year with an Iraq-style troop surge after becoming frustrated at Nato’s failure to defeat the Taliban.
Europe is to blame for much of this. Their kowtowing to Bush has become more blatant and emptyheaded even as his policies have come to grief. It's no use waiting for another administration, Europe, the next one could be even worse, more probably it will be more of the same, in a bipartisan way, you understand.
(h/t Moon of Alabama)


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