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Commentary Last Updated: Apr 15th, 2008 - 00:30:42

What can America�s friends do for America?
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 15, 2008, 00:16

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Where are your friends when you really need them? Isn�t that time of need when true friends really surface, sharing their buoyancy as they try to help keep you afloat? Well, we really haven�t seen many of those friends around, not for America, although we have seen the traditional parasites -- those who instigate our misguided foreign policy for their own ends, as well as those who either go along with America�s criminal government, or simply look the other way.

In some regions, such as Latin America, one would hardly expect to find any friends of the United States -- of the non-servile kind, that is -- given the long history of bullying and the oppressive hand this nation has had in that region . . . but what about Europe? All NATO nations should be America�s true and tried friends, right? But they aren�t . . . not when they are unwilling to strongly influence our government�s behavior.

For several years some of us have been asking just what this NATO outfit is all about! And no, we don�t seem to find the answer by looking at the baptismal records and its purported reinstatement as �a military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America for a concerted mutual defense.� Its purpose might have appeared clear back in 1949: a mutual defense pact against the feared advances of communism. But that was then, and now is now. And the now is becoming rather obvious: NATO is just a military toy-tool for the policies drummed up at the White House and the Pentagon.

The United States was simply supposed to be another NATO member, just like Canada and the European members, regardless of size and economic-military strength. But if you believe that, you believe in fairy tales, particularly when Bush makes that reality clear time and again. His latest proclamation last week in Croatia made it clear once again when he delivered a mixture of mini-harangue and cheerleading chant to a crowd from that state, formerly part of communist Yugoslavia. Joining the organization, they were told by Bush, would mean their nation would be defended by �America and the NATO alliance.�

America and NATO, you say? Was it yet another of Bush�s ignorant misspeaks? No, not really. America, or rather its present government, thinks of itself as a distinct and separate entity, all powerful and meritorious . . . the rest is the lesser NATO, a janissary pool of troops commanded not from Brussels but from the Pentagon.

Truth be said, NATO is an illusory relic that has served past its needs and now should be given a burial; or better still, it should be broken up to reflect a true world�s desire to achieve and maintain peace. If Europe, or more apropos, the European Union, feels a need to retain defensive military teeth, so be it; but its defense force must be its own without providing hegemony to, or be dictated by, anyone else. Can anyone just picture the proximity of the waters in the North Atlantic and the poppy fields of Afghanistan?

Shouldn�t Europe be more assertive in its dealing with the peoples of the Middle East, instead of sheepishly following the lead, or be under the leash, of the United States? A greater harmony would likely develop between the Muslim population throughout Europe and native European people who are hosting and/or assimilating them. If such were the case, one could foresee a greater probability of success for a quicker and long-lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which the United States has continuously served as a gully instead of a bridge.

Shouldn�t Europeans try to find more common ground with next-door Russia, and try to secure stronger economic ties, instead of providing a source of friction and unnecessary confrontation by submitting to the forced military requirements of the US? Much of the existing divisive tribulations affecting the Ukraine and Georgia have been caused in no small part by US sub-rosa involvement. The Europeans should ask themselves, to what end is this conflict-seeding by the US beneficial to them?

One needs to ask, just what are the Europeans afraid of? Being, perhaps, cut off from energy sources unless the US remains on top? A less beneficial world trade situation for them as a result? Nonsense, the opposite would likely happen as a result. And one would think that tensions would lessen uninviting more cold wars, and offering greater prospects for peace throughout the Middle East.

And for America, the return of the prodigal European friends, as brothers tendering advice and help of the right kind -- not just troops for a struggle in Afghanistan that will only be resolved via mediation with the Taliban -- not just vassals and prostitutes for an empire that, if unchecked, will ultimately claim both peace and the economic well-being of the American people. That�s what our European friends could do for America.

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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