Backfire Bombing ...
By William Westmiller
When the first bomb dropped on Serbian forces in Kosovo, the North Atlantic Treaty died. Established fifty years ago as a purely defensive organization, NATO has violated its own founding principles by initiating an offensive war against another sovereign nation. The assault will fail and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will cease to exist.
The bombing will fail because the exalted military power of the great western nations cannot stop the despicable assault on Albanian Kosovars. The victims are not being killed by A-6 missiles, or tank assaults, or by battalions of Serbian soldiers; they are being killed with a single bullet to the head. No cruise missile can knock that pistol out of the hands of each assailant. Kosovo homes aren't being strafed with napalm by fighter aircraft, they're being torched with a single match. We'll be treated to video clips of the pinpoint destruction of vacant buildings and superfluous facilities across Serbia, but the bombing will be totally ineffective against the design and intents of Slobodan Milosevic. This is hand-to-hand combat that NATO can't survive.
The nineteen nations of the alliance may have been willing to participate in a peace-keeping mission, but the consensus will slowly unravel as the members are confronted with the prospect of sending their citizens to war against Yugoslavia. As they did many times during the peace negotiations, one by one they will withdraw from the military contest. The burden will slowly devolve to another undeclared war that will leave the United States forces standing as the bully of international aggression. It will take the most extreme measures to simply maintain the illusion that the Kosovo war is a NATO engagement.
The attack on Serbia is just one of the fatal anachronisms that will destroy the alliance that stood against Soviet military expansion throughout the cold war. Military leaders have been searching for new challenges to justify the continuation of NATO. They have wandered into the Kosovo intervention without clear motives, objectives or principles. Their sole purpose is to prop up an organization that lost its only reason for existence when the Soviet Union disappeared.
It is good and proper that we honor and praise the history of a coalition that unified western allies against the expansionist threats of the Evil Empire. But that was history. There is no Soviet Union. There is no Cold War. No one imagines that any western nation is at risk of attack or invasion. All the motives that made NATO great and powerful have vanished. The flimsy justifications for its maintenance are little more than the last gasps of an entrenched military and diplomatic bureaucracy.
The name of the organization itself is an anachronism. Only one of the nations who have joined since its founding in 1949 even border on the North Atlantic ocean. The most recent incongruity is the admission of three former members of the Warsaw Pact, the fundamental enemy of the NATO camp. It's certainly sweet to have "their guys" joining "our club", but incongruous to oblige them to endorse hundreds of faded policy resolutions adopted by their former enemies.
The primary fault of NATO is that it is constitutionally hollow. Next month's summit should be focused on drafting a new convention for international conduct and defense. The resolution for a principled "new world order" can start with the NATO premise of never using military force against other members. The new constitution for an "Earth Alliance" should set the terms for coming to the aid of any member who is the victim of military assault. Most important, It should establish a formal procedure for the recognition of new states that declare their independence from an oppressive, authoritarian state. That's what should have happened with Kosovo.
Had the United States granted recognition to an independent Kosovo nation and provided for the immediate ascension into an "Earth Alliance", then we would have had solid ethical grounds for contributing to the defense of Kosovo against any aggression by the Serbs. In the absence of a such a principled defense, we are leading with our hearts against any atrocity anywhere in the world. If the sole justification for initiating a military assault is our horror at the evils in the world, we will certainly be the victims of our own good intentions.
An "Earth Alliance" treaty must be scrutinized and debated at length by every member nation. The joint resolution just adopted by Congress in support of the bombing is constitutionally invalid. The United States Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to participate in any such alliance. It also requires a Declaration of War to join any offensive operation against another country. A majority vote cannot supersede the two-thirds vote required for the adoption of the North Atlantic Treaty, which made no provision for offensive military assaults against anyone. The vote this week and the bombing of Serbia are a ringing blow to an "Ignoble Anvil", sounding the death knell of NATO.
©1999, William Westmiller
California Coordinator of the Republican Liberty Caucus
Past Candidate for the Republican Nomination for (24 CA) Congress
Former National Secretary, California Chairman, Libertarian Party
backfire.c41 ~850 Words
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