Friday, 19 November 2010

The Not so Hidden Purpose of NATO.

Martin Kettle in The Guardian offers thoughts on NATO's purpose today,
Over these years, Nato has attempted to reinvent itself in many ways: first as the guarantor of the newly independent former Soviet satellites and republics; then as the enforcer – eventually – of new nation states in the Balkans; and finally, since 2001, as a go-anywhere military alliance, classically in Afghanistan. Yet Nato's deployment in each of these roles took place at least as much for political as for military reasons. The truth is that Nato is now more obviously something that to some extent it has always been – an international auxiliary military force of the United States.
Not one mention of the obvious reason for the continued use value of NATO which is explicitly discussed by it and its supporters , though seldom emphasised in "public diplomacy" as being the main reason for the potential expansion East into Georgia or Ukraine or the continued occupation of Afghanistan-energy.

The NATO website makes this clear or "transparent".
NATO leaders recognize that the disruption of the flow of vital resources could affect Alliance security interests. At the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, the Allies noted a report on “NATO’s Role in Energy Security,” which identifies guiding principles and outlines options and recommendations for further activities. These were reiterated at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit in April 2009.

The report identified the five following key areas where NATO can provide added value:

* information and intelligence fusion and sharing;
* projecting stability;
* advancing international and regional cooperation;
* supporting consequence management; and
* supporting the protection of critical infrastructure.

Consultations started after the Bucharest Summit regarding the depth and range of NATO’s involvement in this issue. Meanwhile, a number of practical programmes both within the Alliance and with NATO’s Partner countries are ongoing, alongside workshops and research projects.NATO news focuses on this,

# New NATO division to deal with Emerging Security Challenges 04 Aug. 2010
# Energy security focus of NATO seminar in Georgia 25 May. 2010
# Workshop in Lithuania examines energy security issues 13 Oct. 2009
# Seminar in Baku discusses energy security 17 Jun. 2009
# Armenia hosts seminar on energy security

Kettle omits any mention of this and such glaring omissions from almost all mainstream journalists prevents a sensible discussion over the dangers of the West being overdependent upon oil and gas in far off lands and the geopolitical gambles.

Afghanistan is crucially concerned with the construction of the TAPI pipeline. This is a fact and not a conjecture. The TAPI is supported as it blocks off Iran's IPI alternative, gives NATO powers a stake in controlling developments in central Asia and diverts control of Turkmenistan's gas away from Russia.

These are obvious geopolitical facts. The Guardian never mentions this, thus impoverishing public debate, keeping people in ignorance and simply repeating and paraphrasing the official pronouncements of those in power who do not want people to think about the realities of energy security.

A debate on NATO or foreign policy without mentioning oil or gas is like trying to answer the question "Where do babies come from ? " without ever trying to use the word "sex". and talking about how people flirt, successful chat up lines, how plants reproduce or just ignoring the question and pretending it does not exist.

As for those pinheads discussing NATO as an imperialist block or in dated terms about the Soviet Union's threat ( usually rekindled via banal "New Cold War" tripe they should simply get into the 21st century. The Cold War has little relevance. It finished 20 years ago. It's time to understand what's at stake.

Just to help Mr Kettle a little, here's some recent news,

04 Aug. 2010
New NATO division to deal with Emerging Security Challenges

A new Division within the NATO International Staff has been created in order to deal with a growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges. The new Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) started its work beginning of August and will be focusing notably on terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, cyber defence, and energy security.

The new division will also provide NATO with a Strategic Analysis Capability to monitor and anticipate international developments that could affect Allied security.

The Emerging Security Challenges Division brings together various strands of expertise already existant in different parts of NATO Headquarters. Merging this work into one Division will give it greater focus and visibility.

The creation of the ESCD underlines the determination to move new, non-traditional security challenges to the centre of Allied attention.

Any thoughts Mr Kettle ?

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