After being the playground for 20th century militarism,
after finally uniting with no enemies in sight, you think that Europe would be
the world�s bulwark for peace. But a continent that rejected the US war in
Vietnam is in thrall to US militarism as never before.
None of the European peoples support the current wars and
arms race, yet Euro governments dutifully cough up troops to send to
Afghanistan. Many sent forces to Iraq. All of them are happy members of NATO,
which is unashamedly the forward presence of the US military around the world,
having long ago cast aside any pretense of defending Europe from the dreaded
There have been rare glimmers of protest -- the German and
French refusal to back the invasion of Iraq, and the grassroots Czech campaign
against the Star Wars base. Germany�s Die Linke is the only party to
call for immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and has surged past
the Greens to 14 per cent, but it will be kept out of any future government.
Messy coalition politics (in the worst case, the safe �grand coalition�) allows
the US to bully weak little countries into keeping �defence� policy
bi-tri-partisan. �Kick the bums� out, as happened last in Poland in 2007, did
not mean an end to the unpopular missile base plans there, nor an end to Polish
troops in Afghanistan, though 81 per centwant the troops home now.
Only the nasty Soviets dared stand up to the US, forcing it
at the height of detente -- the nadir of US empire -- to sign the ABM treat in
1972. 9/11 provided an all-too convenient excuse to tear that treaty up. The
remnants of the Soviet Union, the �authoritarian� Russians (read: still the bad
guys) managed to sort-of stand up to the bully, threatening to put nuclear
missiles in Kaliningrad and offering him carte blanche in Afghanistan in
exchange for keep Star Wars out of Russia�s backyard. The desperate need by the
US for Russian cooperation in fueling the slaughter in Afghanistan may have
actually slowed the juggernaut, with rumours that the Poles and the Czechs will
just have to do without.
But not to worry. Already, others are offering to fill the
breach, notably, Turkey, Israel and the latest darlings, Kosovo and Georgia.
And who needs glaringly permanent bases anyway? Mobile missile launchers can do
the trick. Boeing announce it �is eyeing a 47,500-pound interceptor that could
be flown to NATO bases as needed, erected quickly on a 60-foot trailer stand.�
The fixed-site ground-based interceptor deployment planned for Poland was
politically risky and the mobile interceptor could �blunt Russian fears of
possible US fixed missile-defense sites in Europe.� Yes, substituting a mobile
missile launcher �globally deployable within 24 hours� instead of missiles
permanently stationed at a location known to Russia will no doubt reassure
This new fad of mobility is part of the latest US military
strategy for global domination, and an acquiescent Europe is the centrepiece.
The Obama administration has requested $600 million in funding for the Medium
Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a joint US-German-Italian-NATO interceptor
missile �blanket.� Whether or not the Czech and Polish bases go ahead, the
German and Italian people will no doubt be forced to drink their cup of MEADS.
After all it will provide a nifty transportable system allowing the deadly
missiles �to accompany expeditionary ground forces to wherever they are
In any case, the US will soon have its Prompt Global Strike
system to �provide the US with the capability to strike virtually anywhere on
the face of the earth within 60 minutes� and the hypersonic Falcon
missile-launched vehicle that could hit targets anywhere on earth within 35
minutes. This gives America the �forward presence it requires around the world
without the need for bases outside the US� whatsoever. Even if the US alienates
every last country, it can still destroy the world in 35 minutes. That�s a
In case you still think all this has something to do with
North Korea or Iran, Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General
James Cartwright in a moment of rare candor boasted: the US has the �capability
to take on 15 inbound intercontinental ballistic missiles simultaneously using
30 GBIs [ground-based interceptors]. That�s a heck of a lot more than a rogue
nation could fire.�
This dance of death, whether populated by wallflower or
mobile missiles, is not new. It was going on even as the dust was settling
after WWII. . One of the chief purposes of the founding of NATO in 1949 --
before the Soviet Union had the atomic bomb -- was to allow the US to station
its nuclear weapons in Europe. Although Washington�s arsenal of nuclear
warheads in Europe was reduced after the end of the Cold War, hundreds of
American nuclear weapons remain on the continent. Is it any wonder Russia,
having long ago taken all its nuclear toys home, balked at letting the US
station its Star Wars bases, an integral part of its first strike world nuclear
�umbrella,� next door in Poland and the Czech Republic? Now we�re back to
square one. Imagine we are living in 1946, �fresh� from Hiroshima, with the US
Star Wars system deployed not just in Europe but around the world as integral
to a US first-strike nuclear weapons strategy. Where is the Euro voice of
But this complicity is not limited to bombs. The bombs are
now launched by computers and require secure information delivery systems. To
ensure no nation loses its sense of security due to cyber attacks,
incapacitating its now electronically controlled military hardware, China and
Russia have called for a treaty, along the lines of the successful chemical
weapons treaty, to stop the current cyber arms race. Russia�s proposed treaty
would ban a country from secretly embedding malicious codes or circuitry that
could later be activated from afar in the event of war, ban attacks on
noncombatants and the use of deception (anonymous attacks), and require broader
international oversight of the Internet.
The US argues that a treaty is unnecessary. It instead
advocates improved �cooperation� among international law enforcement groups.
The peaceful Europeans to the rescue. US State Department officials hold out as
a model the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, which took effect in
2004 and has been signed by 22 nations, including the US but not Russia or
China. Russia objects that the European convention on cybercrime allows the
police to open an investigation of suspected online crime originating in
another country without first informing local authorities, infringing on
US �logic� is to second guess your �enemy� and outdo him
technologically. Oh, and call for �cooperation,� that is, get everyone you can
to provide information for you. That�s fine for a subservient Europe, but just
doesn�t fly for Russia or China. The US notoriously refuses treaties, or
neglects to have them ratified by the Senate, as with the Law of the Sea,
Conventions for the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Rights
of the Child, Cluster Munitions and Mines, to name just the most relevant.
Other nations are not to be trusted, and it�s best to develop the lethal stuff
yourself first. A treaty merely hampers your efforts to defend yourself. A
psychologist might point out that this obsessive distrust is because the
patient subconsciously realises he is untrustworthy and projects his own
untrustworthiness onto others.
The US could dictate an end to nuclear weapons and bring
peace to the world overnight, but it must reject its imperial NATO strategy in
favour of a truly multilateral UN strategy. Must the world wait for the US
empire to burn itself out, like a star, expanding as its energy runs out,
before imploding? Europe, the only world actor that can get a sympathetic
hearing in the US, has a moral obligation to try to make the bully see reason.
Is there any chance of this? Nikolai Trubetskoi, in Europe
and Man (1920), argues that Euro-centrism is really no different than the
Prussian nationalism that was behind WWI and would reach its apogee in WWII,
the only difference being that European cosmopolitanism cloaks itself in
universality in order to draw in converts from non-European civilisations.
Having rebuilt itself on the ruins of its imperial past, Europe is the main
beneficiary of the current US imperial world order, and would face a fate
similar to the US if the latter collapsed. Whether or not a lot of �wogs� are
killed in colonial outposts in its defence is neither here nor there. Whatever
the US needs to maintain the status quo is agreed to with no worries about
morals or ethics. Hence the deafening silence.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly. You can reach him at ericwalberg.com.