Why Does NATO Still Exist?

For Immediate Release


Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Why Does NATO Still Exist?

Currently in Sweden, Oberg will be in Istanbul from Sunday evening to Tuesday, overlapping with Obama's time there. He is director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. He said today: "Whatever reasonable purpose NATO might have served has long ended. For NATO, 60 is a good age to retire. It is not defensive, it is aggressive."
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Currently in Strausberg, Germany, where the NATO meeting will be, Braun is with the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. The group is a leading organization in a broad anti-NATO coalition, which recently put out a statement: "NATO is an increasing obstacle to achieving world peace. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has reinvented itself as a tool for military action by the 'international community,' including the promotion of the so-called 'war on terror.' In reality it is a vehicle for U.S.-led use of force with military bases on all continents, bypassing the United Nations and the system of international law, accelerating militarization and escalating arms expenditure -- NATO countries account for 75 percent of global military expenditure. ..."

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Author of the soon-to-be-released book First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Gibbs is an associate professor of history and political science at the University of Arizona. He said today: "NATO was given a new, post-Cold War purpose by the wars in the Balkans, notably in 1995 interventions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in 1999 in Kosovo. During the course of these Balkan interventions, NATO was transformed from being a purely defensive alliance, dedicated to defending Western Europe against Soviet attack, to being an alliance with truly global responsibilities, ready for interventions -- under U.S. direction -- anywhere in the world."
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Background: "In February 1990, after talks with West Germany's foreign minister, Secretary of State James Baker had assured Mikhail Gorbachev and [then Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard] Shevardnadze that 'NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position.' The [first] Bush administration began backing away from that pledge almost immediately. The Clinton administration reneged on that commitment altogether when it decided to expand NATO to Eastern Europe. ...

"'The issue is not just whether Czechs, Hungarians and Poles join NATO. The problem is more serious: the rejection of the strategy for a new, common European system agreed to by myself and all the Western leaders when we ended the Cold War,' Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in March 1999. 'I feel betrayed by the West. The opportunity we seized on behalf of peace has been lost. The whole idea of a new world order has been completely abandoned.'"

-- From the book Hang Separately: Cooperative Security Between the United States and Russia, 1985-1994 by Leon V. Sigal, The Century Foundation Press, 2000


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