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Problems of US Military Presence in Middle East and Reasons Behind

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Authors: Yang Yizhong and Luo Yusen*

The United States has hundreds of military bases across the globe. It set bases in several countries such as Italy, Japan, Honduras, Burkina Faso, Iraq, Thailand, and Philippines. The  military presence secures US interest and regional stability. Yet the US faces obstacles to maintain the status quo. In Iraq, internal unrest and violent confrontation against protesters continue. Officials are debating the legal statues of US forces in the country. Popular pressure mounts against US military presence in Iraq. This represents problems and challenges for the United States. What are the problems regarding military presence in the region? What are the reasons for maintaining military presence? 

The situation of US encounters in Iraq and The Middle East Region

There are plenty of situations and problems that the United States encounters. First, anti-base protests occur frequently. Also, anti-US sentiments have become normal in Iraq politics. Additionally, terrorism is still a concern in the region. Besides, balance of power and regional conflicts require more resources to be projected to the Middle East, but the inconsistent American Foreign Policy complicates the situation.

The US military presence has touched the feeling of local residents from Asia-Pacific to the Middle East. In the case of Iraq, anti-government protests happened in October 2019 and anti-US protests that happened in January 2020 are the problems. The October anti-government protests were against foreign interference and aimed to overhaul the post-2003 political system established by the US military intervention. The January anti-US protests demand all foreign troops out of the country.

Even inside the Iraqi government, as officials raise more concern on sovereignty rather than security, anti-US opinion would not fade away. Iraq has declared that it would not allow its territory to be used as a launching pad against its neighbors. The Iraqi President Salih stated that “It’s our sovereign responsibility to abide by our constitution, not — Iraq not to be used as a base for any threat against our neighbors. Another example is Karim Alawi, a member of the Iraqi parliament security and defense committee made the statements that the US was going to bring “more than a thousand terrorists from Syria to Iraq through gaps in our borders and airspace” . President Salih and Karim Alawi’s speech indicate that the Iraqi government contains some reinforced internal opponents against the United States military presence.

Third, the inconsistency of the US foreign policy has worsened the situation. US alliances which used to rely on U.S. promise and generousness, start to question the validity of their tie with the US. Security is the main reason for countries to allow US military bases in their countries. However, it is unclear whether the US military presence secures the countries or increases hostility to neighbors. Iraq is extremely cautious about the US missile launched inside the country. Iraq was disappointed to witness the killing of Soleimani in Bagdad.

Fourth, radical extremism and terrorism are also problematic. Despite the defeat of ISIS, the elimination of terrorism has a long way to go. Radical extremists mobilize fighters under the name of jihad. The psychology of radicalism can trace back the Gulf War, in which most Middle East countries were furious about the successful involvement of the United States. The sense of Jihadism reemerged to defend the Muslim world from Western Invaders. On the one hand, the insecurity of a person, a family, and a state make the terrorism and extremism a choice. On the other hand, the unstable political environment enables the soil for terrorism to grow. Radical extremists and terrorists are then able to utilize religion as a political tool to achieve goals. They cause hundreds of civilians and US soldiers dead and wounded.

Fifth, from a grand strategy perspective, the balance of power in the Middle East is the problem for the US to maintain a military presence. As Russia and China seek more influence in the region, it would affect the US strategy. When considering regional affairs, countries do not rely on the United States anymore as they were. Rather, they prefer to gain benefits from both sides. The involvement of other powers undermines the effectiveness of US strategy. For instance, the US wants to sanction Iran and prohibit other countries from purchasing oil products. Iran now would have a choice to trade with China or other buyers. Since August 2019, China and Iran have discussed trade oil in Chinese yuan. It is said that China will invest $280 billion into Iran’s oil economy; an extra $120 billion will go toward improving transport infrastructure.

Reasons of United States Military presence in Iraq and the Middle East Region

Since 2011, the “Arab spring” historic changes have taken place in the Middle East: the Islamic extremist forces represented by ISIS emerged in the Middle East; the de facto fragmentation and failure of Iraq and Syria; losing its bellwether of the Arab world, Egypt was replaced by Saudi Arabia and Turkey; marginalization of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict; Iran’s rapid rise. Within America’s existence in the Middle East, Russia and China jumped in the region for their own stakes. The chaos in the Middle East remains the same, but the pattern has changed dramatically. Because of its great concerns, the United States persists in its military presence in the Middle East and North African Region, especially in Iraq. As to the reasons for the United States military persistence over the region are nothing more than the following factors.

First of all, The emerging issue of terrorism makes United States keep its military, United States is committed to fighting against terrorism in Iraq and Syria. The most obvious example is its limited low-intensity war with ISIS and Al-Qaeda. ISIS has been taking up the north part of Iraq and the east of Syria until last year that the United States and Syria government defeated all of them. Therefore, keeping a military presence is useful for United States to combat terrorism in Iraq and the region. Further, considering the sunk cost in the international political economy, the United States has invested trillions of dollars in building a regional order and hierarchy. If the order and hierarchy of the region were destroyed due to terrorism, the investment would become sunk cost, then United States national interest will be violated.

Second, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey see themselves as the heirs of the Persian, Arab and Ottoman empires, Israel as a symbol of the strong restoration of Zionism, and the region’s struggle for dominance has never ceased. The complex ethnic, religious and geographical conflicts in the Middle East determine that the balance of power in the region will always be a dynamic balance. In order to deter Iran, Palestine, Syria, the United States needs to stay in the region to support its alliances, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraqi government. America’s interest is in overthrowing Syria’s secular Government and replacing it with one that would be acceptable to the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family who own Saudi Arabia. In order to do this, America will therefore need to keep its forces in Iraq.

Third, to prevent other great powers from intervening in the region power vacuum after the US’s withdrawal, the United States needs to present its military force in the region. Other great powers such as Russia and China, from their own economic or security perspective, aims to build their networks and relationships. The game between China and US, US and Russia threaten the United States grand strategy to maintain its dominance in the region. At the same time, military force presence can deter Iran and Syria.

Fourth, military presence can secure United States economic interests and contain emerging countries. As is known to us all that United States dollars is the global currency since the 1970s. The economic hegemony is tightly connected and maintained by United States dollars, which greatly influenced by Iraq and the Middle East OPEC members. The demands of oil is soaring with the industrialization and globalization, the world demand per day in 2000 is 75.8 million barrels, while in 2018, according to data published by OPEC, the demand mb/d (Million barrels/day) is 98.82, in total 30.3% increasement tells the story of the surge of oil demand. Therefore, OPEC member states have the power to set discourse on the oil price and a certain capacity to affect America’s currency security. Given the fact that the United States used to be the No.1 country to import the oil from the region, to assure its oil security, it was reasonable for the United States to present their military force in the region. However, Shale gas revolution has endowed the United States independence of energy. China replaced the United States and became the No.1 oil-importing country around the world. Considering East Asia is the region that imports the most oil, to contain China and ensure Japan and South Korea to comply with the United States, U.S. should keep its military force to grasp the lifeblood of oil imports of East Asia. 

 *Luo Yusen, M.A in United Nations and Global Policy Studies, Political Science, Rutgers University, United States.

Yang Yizhong, Ph.D. candidate at Political Science, Institute of National Development and Security Studies, Jilin University, China. He graduated from Rutgers, the States University of New Jersey in the US where he received a master degree, he also interned and worked at the United Nations Headquarters for one year.

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Defense

Rostec State Corporation Promoting Development, Manufacturing and Exporting Military High-Tech Products

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During the gala event dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Rostec State Corporation. Russian President Vladimir Putin With Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.

The Rostec State Corporation was established 15 years ago. Workers and foremen, researchers, engineers, designers and test operators, and all personnel of Rostec enterprises, on this important occasion.

There are thousands of people – highly qualified, unique specialists, some of them are one of a kind, of very different profiles who give their efforts, energy and talent to contribute to the industrial progress of our country and are directly engaged in resolving crucial state tasks in a number of priority high-tech areas.

These include aircraft building, automobile industry, radio electronics, engineering, chemistry, medicine, new materials and, of course, strengthening Russia’s defence capabilities since a significant share of the state defence order goes to Rostec enterprises, the largest corporation in the military-industrial sector.

The tangible results it achieves must continue to be among the corporation’s unquestionable priorities. It was established for this reason and generally to ensure, consolidate, preserve and thus guarantee the development of our technological, industrial and innovative potential.

The days when the corporation was being established and the way it proceeded underscore today that the decision of forming such an industrial powerhouse, a flagship of the Russian economy, and concentration of financial and managerial resources have fully justified themselves.

Yet we must keep moving forward, set new tasks and give proper responses to the most complicated challenges in defence and security, and global technological competition.

The key priority today, the number one task is to do everything possible to meet the needs of our Armed Forces, and crucially, the units and detachments engaged in the special military operation.

Production must be stepped up as well as deliveries of all required products; the state target tasks must be executed precisely, with high quality, and strictly on schedule. We spoke about this repeatedly, including yesterday at a meeting of the Russian Government Coordination Council.

Let me reiterate, we will promptly take any decisions to support our enterprises. Meanwhile, there are not doubtful about the people working there. Plants in Moscow, St Petersburg, the Urals, Siberia, the Far East and in dozens of the country’s regions are operating at maximum capacity working in several shifts. 

Incidentally, under the current conditions, this definitely gives an unparalleled boost to the development of high-tech production, not just in the defence industry but also in related civilian sectors. Indeed, the people are working at full tilt following the example of our ancestors and great traditions of our gun-makers who proved with their work that Russian weapons are the weapons of victory.

The labour teams for this work, for such dedication, for their patriotic commitment to do everything for the defence of Russia, for enhancing its sovereignty so that our heroes, who are now fighting on the frontlines or are being trained in training camps, get all they need.

The heads of the enterprises must take additional measures of social support for the personnel and their families. This concerns, among other things, special incentives and bonus payments to the best specialists and workers.

The experience we have been getting during the special operation and countering modern Western weapons is very valuable and should be used to raise the quality, reliability and military characteristics of some of our weapons and Russian military goods.

In this context, close interaction of Rostec and all respective enterprises, design bureaus, corporations and scientific centres with Defence Ministry specialists is also important.

In addition, internal competition should be organised and encouraged – the domestic Russian competition between enterprises. Serial production must be launched of the best kinds of military equipment based on those which are now being used in the hostilities, which work and confirm their specifications.

Since its inception, Rostec was responsible for the design, production and export of high-tech products, both military and non-military. The work in major promising areas which ensure Russia’s technological sovereignty, must not only be continued but also intensified.

We obviously expect notable breakthrough results from Rostec in such areas as microelectronics and electronic components, aircraft building, equipment for 5G communication networks, and overall, in selecting, implementing and promoting Russian high-tech solutions in all areas which matter to our economy, determine modern living standards and remove dependency on imports.

We have everything in our hands for that: excellent, unique world-class scientific schools, innovative and ambitious groups of researchers and inventors, a powerful industrial base, qualified workers and a talented, strong and well-motivated youth.

A hefty part of this huge intellectual and manufacturing potential of the country is concentrated within the Rostec State Corporation management system. I firmly believe your results and new achievement will match the colossal scale of the strategic tasks for the country’s development.

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America Produces Biological Weapons; Does Russia? Does China?

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Terrorism

On November 26th, Russia’s RT News bannered “US ‘military biological activities’ a threat to the world – Russia”, and reported that the U.S. Threat Reduction Agency (an Orwellian name for an American threat-increasing agency) has issued its “DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY STRATEGY FISCAL YEAR 2022 – 2027”, and says that the DTRA document 

openly identifies expanding the US’ ability to “identify, characterize and exploit adversary WMD vulnerabilities” as one of its goals. Another of its aims is to recognize “potential WMD warfighting obstacles” and find “solutions” to help the US and its allies “win during the conflict.”

Washington’s stated intention of strengthening the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) has been met with doubt from Moscow. Russia has repeatedly raised the issue of the real goal of the Pentagon’s research programs at various international sites, [but] … these questions remain unanswered to date. 

In late October, Russia filed an official complaint claiming that US-backed biological activities are taking place in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.

The DTRA’s document itself opens:

In his Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, published in March of 2021, President Biden focused the Nation’s instruments of power on China and Russia as “pacing threats,” in a frankly acknowledged shift to strategic competition. Secretary of Defense Austin’s published priorities for the DoD have done the same. These developing strategies have revectored the Nation’s national security interest in partnerships and international leadership; on securing the homeland; and in mounting an effective, integrated deterrent to adversary use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and emerging threats.

The document goes on to say:

The United States faces a complex and volatile security landscape. As identified by Secretary Austin’s 2021 Defense Planning Guidance, China remains the pacing threat and seeks to replace the current international rules-based order [America’s proposed replacements of U.N.-based international laws] with one centered on [against] Beijing. While Russia does not pose the same long-term military, economic, or diplomatic challenges as China, it too is highly capable, and seeks near- to medium-term hegemony within its region. [America demands continued and increased U.S. “hegemony” throughout the world.]

In other words: under President Biden, the production of epidemic-producing pathogens will be increased, as part of “a frankly acknowledged shift to strategic competition” against China and Russia.

Page 10 of the document says:

AGENCY GOALS:

3. ENABLE THE JOINT FORCE AND ALLIES/PARTNERS TO COMPETE AND WIN AGAINST ADVERSARIES

The Agency enhances the Joint Force, allied, and partner ability to compete and, when necessary, win against potential WMD-armed adversaries. Today, potential adversaries believe that WMD are critical to shape the battlespace, exert coercive influence, and achieve military aims. The impact of conflicts with WMD-armed adversaries are mitigated by developing counter-WMD technical solutions, highlighting WMD warfighting challenges and adversary vulnerabilities through strategic and operational analysis, and supporting DoD plans and exercises focused on CWMD threats. The Agency provides the Joint Force, allies, and partners with unique insight into adversary WMD force posture, doctrine, and systems. In particular, DTRA examines how potential adversaries plan to employ and integrate WMD during conflict. This better prepares U.S. and allied forces for overmatch within a WMD battlespace. To this end, the Agency will:

Expand our ability to identify, characterize, and exploit adversary WMD vulnerabilities; Strengthen target characterization and servicing requirements for WMD hard targets;

Develop non-traditional planning solutions to emerging WMD problems, to include preventing further WMD employment following adversary first use; and

Recognize potential WMD warfighting obstacles as well as potential solutions to enable the Joint Warfighter to win during conflict.

But is China, and is Russia, actually developing and producing biological weapons — or is America itself instead actually leading the way toward a pandemic-plagued global future?

On 28 May 2020, I headlined “The Stupid Insanity of Biological-Warfare R&D” and argued:

——

There is much speculation that the coronavirus-19 or Covid-19 was invented in a research-and-development (R&D) biological-warfare (B-W) lab, which might have been one in China, the U.S., or perhaps some other country; but, if that is the case, then that country’s entire military top brass and Commander-in-Chief (C-i-C) are not merely stupid but insane, for the following very simple reason: NO weapon is usable in war if it cannot be effectively and controllably targeted, and B-W weapons cannot be effectively and controllably targeted — they are contagious and respect no national boundaries and therefore endanger instead of protect the people who live in the country that has such a stupid and insane government, a government that is doing B-W R&D. Any such government (any country that is doing B-W R&D) is so bad that it needs to be immediately overthrown by its own population, because its own population is being mortally and severely threatened by that government’s stupidity and its insanity: its entire military top brass including its C-i-C must therefore be placed on trial for possible treason, at least in order to more-accurately define the very meaning of “treason,” a term whose meaning is not yet sufficiently clearly defined. (Is there no due-diligence requirement for public servants? Is there no accountability at all for any public servant who harms the public, no matter how badly? Public office entails enormous power, which is why it is so sought; but, along with that power needs to come full accountability. Does that exist? If not, is the nation effectively, then, a dictatorship?)

Ever since at least 1952 (and that 764-page document takes about ten to 30 minutes to load, but here are some excerpts), the U.S. Government has actually been doing R&D (research and development) into the use of bacteria and viruses as weapons to conquer countries that it wants to add to its empire (“allies,” or vassal-nations — not merely friendly nations but instead governments, including some barbaric dictatorships, that would prejudicially favor the products of U.S.-based international corporations; this is the U.S. international-corporate empire that became the U.S. Government’s supreme international-relations policy-objective to expand globally starting on 26 July 1945 . That biological-warfare (B-W) R&D tactic was part of America’s ‘anti-communist’ campaign, and it started in this American imperial invasion mainly against North Korea but also against China. The U.S. Government lied and denied that it was true, but subsequently an international scientific team investigated exhaustively into the matter and published the evidence which showed that it had, in fact, happened. Mainly the North Korean population had been bombed with contagious bacteria, but (as is common with R&D) the hoped-for results from this experiment (in this case an uncontainable spread of a deadly infection only in the bombed area) failed. Unfortunately, that failure (of an insanely stupid program) did not terminate the U.S. Government’s B-W R&D, and the same U.S. regime remains in place and continues to this day.

For example, the great investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva headlined on 20 September 2018, “‘Diplomatic Immunity’ Used to Traffick Human Blood and Pathogens for Secret Military Program” and opened:

The US Embassy to Tbilisi transports frozen human blood and pathogens as diplomatic cargo for a secret US military program. Internal documents, implicating US diplomats in the transportation of and experimenting on pathogens under diplomatic cover were leaked to me by Georgian insiders. According to these documents, Pentagon scientists have been deployed to the Republic of Georgia and have been given diplomatic immunity to research deadly diseases and biting insects at the Lugar Center – the Pentagon biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

This military facility is just one of the many Pentagon biolaboratories in 25 countries across the world. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program – Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Instead of investing in the health of its own citizens the US government has spent $161 million of US taxpayer money on the Lugar Center in Tbilisi for research on deadly diseases and biting insects abroad. (©Al Mayadeen TV)

The secret facility is located just 17 km from the US Vaziani military airbase in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

The Pentagon biolaboratory is heavily guarded. All passers-by within a radius of 100 m are filmed although the military biolaboratory is located within a residential area.

I am being filmed while talking to local residents on the street near the Pentagon biolaboratory and I want to know why the security guards are filming me. (©Al Mayadeen TV)

The security guards warn me that if I do not comply, show my passport and leave this place, I will be arrested. My official request to the Lugar Center for access to the facility and for interviews has also been rejected.

Secret experiments at night

However, I go back at night when the laboratory is seemingly still working. No matter how far the distance the air is laden with the smell of chemicals. This smell coming from the Lugar Center at night is blown by the wind to the residential area. Local residents from the Alexeevka neighbourhood, where the laboratory is located, complain that dangerous chemicals are being secretly burnt at night and that hazardous waste is being emptied into the nearby river through the laboratory’s pipes.

Gaytandzhieva there was reporting on what is clearly a U.S. B-W R&D facility, and so there can be little reasonable doubt that the U.S. Government is so insatiably voracious as to be placing the entire world’s safety at risk in order to advance its imperialistic objective.

What use can there actually be for this R&D? Whom does it actually benefit? Has any U.S. President, or any member of the U.S. Congress, pressed to defund all such taxpayer-financed operations and to prosecute the persons who created them? Is there no accountability? The United States has a higher percentage of its population in prison than does any other country on this planet, and so why are not perhaps half of them released and maybe just a thousand of the key individuals who did this immense harm placed there instead? Why is this not being investigated by the same U.S. Government that created the problem? Is there no accountability except against the poorest (such as in America)?

There are allegations that the Government of China likewise engages in this stupid and insane R&D. Consequently, the Editor-in-Chief of China’s Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijn, headlined on May 18th, “If coronavirus did not originate in China, Trump team’s campaign strategy will collapse” and he said via a youtube:

“The European Union is proposing an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. As long as the investigation is scientific and fair, Beijing has no cause for concern. I think that Washington is the one that should be worried. Beijing has maintained that the coronavirus is an enemy of humankind no matter where in our global society it came from. Beijing has always taken this stance, which is shared by the majority of the world’s countries. Only Washington has politicized the coronavirus’s origins as a way to divert responsibility toward China for the US federal government’s ineffective handling of the pandemic. Now that early COVID-19 cases in the US are still being discovered, I believe the Trump administration has become very nervous. If the investigation finds that the coronavirus did not originate in China, or even finds that it originated in the US, the Trump team’s campaign strategy will collapse. As long as the WHO leads the investigation, and investigates China, the US and the whole world, it will be a good thing. If it finds that the virus originated in China, the US political offensive has already spent most of its energy. If it finds the opposite, which might be the case, it will be a heavy blow to the Trump administration.”

If the virus did originate in a Chinese B-W R&D lab, then the next question is: Who actually benefits from that R&D? All such individuals should be tried at the International Criminal Court (like America’s never were) for violating the existing international laws against such ‘weapons’; but, also, the question would be essential to pursue, of why such stupid and insane ‘weapons’ are being pursued — who benefits from ANY such R&D. Is it not blatantly clear “that the coronavirus is an enemy of humankind no matter where in our global society it came from”? That’s the point here. The United States Government is this stupid and insane, but is China’s also?

As regards the penalties that ought to be imposed against any such perpetrators, there is something else that is clear, and it is that a distinction must always be made between institutional criminality that is unintentional but the result only of failure to carry out due diligence — in other words, purely a result of incompetence —  versus institutional criminality that entails the CEO’s actual intention to achieve some criminal goal.

——

Russia says: “In late October, Russia filed an official complaint claiming that US-backed biological activities are taking place in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.” In other words: the U.N. Security Council voted politically on this — voted only on a partisan basis. RT’s article (as is unfortunately normal there and in all ’news’-media) provided no link to the alleged sources, the U.N.S.C. debate, and to the vote there on it; but, if Russia’s proposal was phrased in a partisan, instead of neutral, way, then that vote-outcome was inevitable and Russia itself was largely to blame for its failure. However: if it was not, then why is Russia hiding from the public what their precise proposal was? That wouldn’t be very bright of them. But was it the case? (‘News’-reporting that hides its sources is no better than gossip.)

Are OTHER Governments, and not ONLY America’s, producing biological-warfare ‘weapons’ — such UNTARGETABLE mass-murdering ‘weapons’ as these pathogens? Why are Russia and China doing nothing to force that issue to the public’s attention? Any U.N.S.C. proposal on the matter needs to be clearly nonpartisan. Otherwise, failure on it will be inevitable, and the entire matter will continue to be ONLY an international political football — as it is

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Contemporary Atlantic Alliance: An “Existential” Expansion that Obviates the Evil of Fighting

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Image source: NATO

The behavior that characterized the reactions of US President Joe Biden and Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg, about the identity of the missile that fell on Polish territory, is not critical. The two men were keen to deny Moscow’s responsibility for its launch, and content themselves with a simple and simplistic narrative saying that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile that deviated from its course in the face of Russian attacks. The origin is the sufficiency of the evil of the clash with Moscow, on the part of the Atlantic involvement in particular, because whether the narrative that is is correct or fabricated, no one on both sides of the ocean, the Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea is ignorant of the dangers of a spark like this, which represents an escalation capable of igniting a confrontation like that. The funniest thing in the context is that the White House and NATO contacts with the Polish government did not aim at consolation or tightening the bonds and solidarity, as much as they exercised a series of pressures so that Polish President Andrzej Duda would not request the activation of Article 4 of the NATO Charter, which obliges allies to consult if a member state feels that its territorial integrity or its political independence or security is under threat.

     The principle of the clash, or the sufficiency of its evil either, brings one back to the fact that NATO is not the only military alliance in our contemporary world; And it is not the only reminder, almost, that mankind lived the Cold War throughout an entire and integrated era, just as well; Rather, it is also an alliance of intersecting, converging or opposing interests, often subject to give and take according to the principles of bargaining, settlement, and quota. This does not mean that NATO is not a geographical-civilian-cultural quota, according to what humanity understood from the words of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, two decades ago when his country hosted a NATO summit unlike any other, simply because it was considered a “transformation summit”. At that time, Havel said, in an unmistakable tone of warning, that “the alliance should not expand outside a very specific arena of civilizations that are generally known as Euro-Atlantic or Euro-American civilizations, or simply the West.” Was it Turkey that was meant by that implicit definition that does not completely succeed in purifying all the racist odors? Or were the countries in which Muslim communities still live? What is the motive for issuing this warning when the summit is discussing the expansion of the alliance in eastern and southern Europe, and the inclusion of seven new countries in the club? And which of these countries (which received their membership documents in the alliance at that time: Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, and Lithuania) did not meet the criteria of the Euro-Atlantic civilization track?

     Some argue, as these lines do, that such questions remain superfluous, whoever asked them, as long as the alliance’s military-political structure is, and as long as the United States is at the forefront of its leadership and direction on various levels, from which considerations of America’s geo-political interests are not absent in the first place. Indeed, the French and Germans do not stop harassing the Pentagon, and the right in Spain lost the battle of the sacred alliance with Washington, and the legacy of the alliance in Libya, Iraq, and Syria is not at all a significant harvest … On the other hand, all members of the alliance know that the shock of 9/11 granted the United States more than a military license; Washington also spared the embarrassment of consulting with Atlantic allies whenever the bell rang in a church. And if the Prague meeting deserved to be called the “Transformation Summit,” this was not primarily for military reasons, but rather because NATO penetrated all the former Warsaw Pact sites, and reached Russia’s back, belly, and flank, north, south, east, and west!

     It is also true that the balance within the alliance is not only imbalanced in favor of the United States but rather lacks a set of elements that allow the use of the term “balance” in any tangible sense. The correspondent of the British newspaper “The Independent” chose a funny way to express this imbalance, so he recorded the fact that the American delegation to that summit of transformation occupied seven floors of the Hilton Hotel that hosted the delegations, compared to one floor for the Dutch delegation, for example! In other, more indicative terms, the United States alone spends one billion US dollars daily on defense affairs, while the total of the 15 European members of the alliance spends nearly 500 million dollars. The world needed the tactlessness of former US President Donald Trump to read tweets like this one: “Without success, for years Presidents have tried to get Germany and other rich Atlantic nations to pay more for protection from Russia. They pay a small portion of their alimony. The United States pays tens of billions of dollars more than it should subsidize Europe and loses a lot in trade. Or this: “Above all, Germany has begun to pay Russia, the country from which it seeks protection, billions of dollars for its energy needs through a pipeline from Russia. this is unacceptable! All NATO nations must implement the 2% commitment, and this must rise to 4%.

     And the situation is that the Atlantic began as an American military arm in practice, where the European units affiliated with it are nothing more than a completion of the external decoration; And so the alliance remains today, even after it has grown in number, in equipment, and the area of deployment. It has expanded from 12 founding countries to 15 in the fifties of the last century, until it has reached 32 countries today, including Sweden and Finland; Among them are three former Soviet republics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), and seven former members of the now-extinct Warsaw Pact (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Poland), and there is a discordant mix in the record of those aspiring to the membership that includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and …Ukraine!

     As for the level of ideological preaching, military doctrine, and tactical cover, the justifications for the existence of the alliance can begin with the assertion that it is “the largest and most successful alliance in history,” according to former US Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell; It will not end with the certainty of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who apostatized from the Gaullist philosophy and restored France to the military leadership of the alliance) that NATO is the only guarantor of European security, which has come and has not come for decades; In addition to the certainty of a country like the Czech Republic, that the difference between its reliance on European defense, versus the American defense, is like the difference between earth and sky!

     Whatever these “existential” questions, or others, the matter is the same in terms of the immortality of the alliance’s essence, militarily and politically. As long as the United States is the most important country in ensuring its survival, and in strengthening its technological fork in particular, both in defense and attack. The French and Germans indeed tried to harass Washington before the invasion of Iraq in 2003; And Afghanistan, under Obama, turned from a secondary front to a central one… But it is also true that Western Europe (capitalism, free, relatively healthy because of the grace of the United States in protecting the free world and capitalism…), is not allowed to flourish more than the prosperity of the United States itself, and to unify its ranks by detracting from the principle of American hegemony over the international system. That is why the United States pours whatever oils it wants on wars here and there, and it does not find embarrassment when it avoids the evil of fighting, and there are no big differences here between Trump and Biden in terms of the lack of diplomacy or the excessive use of it.

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