Backing up Globalization with Military Might
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The following article is from Covert Action Quarterly whose web site just recently went off line. This article about globalization and the use of the military to help globalization efforts is therefore backed up here and reposted as it has been referred to a few times on this web site.
Backing up Globalization with Military Might
New World Order Onslaught
by Karen Talbot
Covert Action Quarterly, Issue 68, Fall 1999
The U.S. and its NATO underlings undoubtedly will be vastly emboldened by their "success" in ensconcing themselves in Kosovo, Bosnia and the other remnants of Yugoslavia—Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia. We can expect rapid steps to further fragment the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). We can also expect the new mission of nuclear-armed NATO — intervening over so-called "humanitarian concerns" against sovereign nations—to be implemented elsewhere, with great speed, especially in the Caspian Sea/Caucuses areas of the former Soviet Union.
Burgeoning military alliances, with the U.S. at the helm, are likely to try intervening in a similar way against North Korea, China — any country refusing to be a "New World Order" colony by allowing its wealth and labor power to be plundered by the TNCs. The assault against Yugoslavia threw open the floodgates for new wars including wars of competition among the industrial powers, with nuclear weapons part of the equation.
President Bill Clinton recently praised NATO for its campaign in Kosovo saying the alliance could intervene elsewhere in Europe or in Africa to fight repression."We can do it now. We can do it tomorrow, if it is necessary, somewhere else," he told U.S. troops gathered at the Skopje, Macedonia airport. (1)
Given these scenarios, it is hardly surprising that Clinton and the leaders of the other NATO countries continue to glorify the aggression against Yugoslavia as "preventing a humanitarian catastrophe," "promoting democracy" and "keeping the peace "against a Hitler-like dictator who would not adhere to "peace" agreements. The public is being repeatedly assured that the means -the bombing of the people of Yugoslavia-were justified by the ends.
The ongoing media hype, including the unprecedented demonization of the Serbs, is designed to continue molding public opinion to accept the "justice" of the war. The unmistakable message is that the "Serbs got what they deserve." It also masterfully conceals, and therefore allows unimpeded momentum toward, the true goals behind the stepped-up saber-rattling of the world's super-power and its allies. This skillful disinformation campaign has been spectacularly successful in derailing sections of the traditional peace and progressive movement.
But, today, as never before, we need to tear away the mask of lies and disclose the real goals of this "new world order" imperialism and see clearly how it hurts workers and the poor within our own borders and globally. We need to see the ways in which military dominance increasingly works in close tandem with economic globalization, privatization and the drive for corporate super profits. This basic understanding is essential for paving the road to a powerful united worldwide resistence movement. Already, the U.S./NATO war against Yugoslavia has awakened millions of people to the ferocious nature of the U.S. corporate drive for world dominance. That process needs to be accelerated by exposing the palliatives designed to mislead the public and getting down to a true diagnosis which can help lead the peace and justice movement to an effective response. So let's examine some of the rationales for the war and then look at some of the real motives.
On this page:
- The Real Terrorists
- "Humanitarian Crisis" Crusade
- KLA Steps up Terrorist Attacks
- KLA's Fascist Roots
- The U.S. and NATO Prevented a Peace Agreement
- McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas to Flourish
- Corporations will stop at nothing
- Profits for the Military-Industrial Complex
- War Profiteering
- The New NATO
- Intensifying Antagonisms Between the U.S. and Europe
- Girdling the Globe with U.S.-led Military Alliances
- "Control of Space Means Control of Earth"
- Becoming 'Irrational," "Vindictive" and Threatening Nuclear Attack
- Why the Balkans?
- The Allure of Rich Resources and Cheap Labor
- Is Montenegro Next?
- Sanctions: War Against the People
- The Lucrative Business of Destroying and Rebuilding
- Above All its About Oil!
- Pipelines Across the Balkans
- Stoking Conflict in the Caucuses /Caspian Sea Region
- Stirring Things Up in East Asia
- A Military NAFTA
- Globalization onslaught of TNCs
- Corporations Seek to Rule the World
- The Fightback
The Real Terrorists
Adding to the barrage or propaganda, the U.S. Senate recently labeled Serbia a "terrorist state." (2) What obscene hypocrisy! Yet another case of blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator. What could be more "terrorist" than the relentless blitzkrieg with 23,000 "dumb" bombs and "smart" missiles rained upon Yugoslavia for 79 days by U.S.- led NATO forces? Is it not terrorism to casually drop upon civilians, from the sanctuary of thousands of feet in the air, or with terrain-hugging computer-guided missiles, radioactive depleted uranium weapons and outlawed cluster bombs designed to rip human flesh to shreds? Is it not terrorism to deliberately target the entire infrastructure of this small nation including the electrical and water filtration systems critical to the survival of civilians? Is it not terrorism to ferociously obliterate 200 factories destroy the jobs of millions of workers? What of the constant air assault-"fire from the sky"-against cities, villages, schools, hospitals, senior residences, TV towers and studios, oil refineries, chemical plants, electrical power plants, transmission towers, gas stations, homes, farms, marketplaces, buses, trains, railroad lines, bridges, roads, medieval monasteries, churches, historic monuments- destruction amounting to more than $100 billion dollars? What of the eco-terrorism, biological and chemical warfare, resulting from the incalculable destruction of the environment including the deliberate bombardment of chemical plants. Above all, is it not terrorism to kill, maim, traumatize, impoverish, or render homeless tens of thousands of men, women and children?
Not only was NATO's war a reprehensible act of inhumanity, it was in contravention of all norms of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.
It was an unprecedented war by the most powerful military force in history involving the 19 wealthiest nations with 95% of the world's armaments against a small sovereign nation that ultimately had little chance of countering such an attack. Given that reality, it was awe-inspiring to see the heroism of the peoples of Yugoslavia-a population of 10 million— standing up to such a mighty juggernaut.
"Humanitarian Crisis" Crusade
We were told this inhuman blitzkrieg was necessary to protect the human rights of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. People everywhere wanted to believe this noble purpose. Yet the most obvious and glaring contradiction was the absence of any similar concerns about hundreds of thousands of Serbs expelled from the Krajina region of Croatia by the Croatian military, in 1995-described in the press as "the largest ethnic cleansing" of the Yugoslav civil war. (3)
Thousands died in that "Operation Storm." Not only did the United States not express compassion or offer to defend those refugees, the massive assault was carried out with the aid of "retired" U.S. military officers belonging to a "private" organization, Military, Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI) with the help of U.S./NATO planes and weaponry. (4)
In fact, Agim Ceku, a brigadier general from the Croatian Army who presided over that colossal bombing and expulsion of Serbs from Krajina, beginning in 1993, took over command of the KLA in recent months, according to Jane Defense Weekly. Licensed by the U.S. State Department and Pentagon, the MPRI also had been operating in Kosovo training the KLA, beginning several weeks before the air strikes began. (5)
Rick Rowden, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, said "Americans should question the administration's stated objective to 'stop the killing' in Kosovo. [It] should give us reason to ask "Why can the U.S. support Croatian ethnic cleansing in Croatia but oppose Serbian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo? The answer likely has little to do with 'stopping the killing' and much to do with the expansion of NATO and its post-Cold War global role." (6)
There were a million Serb refugees even before the bombing began. This terrible flood of human suffering was greatly augmented by refugees who fled Kosovo after the NATO attack was launched-Albanians, but also, Turks, Romas, Goranies, and Serbs (many of whom were refugees from Bosnia and Krajina, once again uprooted.) Now there is a vast exodus particularly of Serbs as the KLA's drive for an ethnically pure Kosovo is being played out swiftly while NATO troops stand by and take no steps to prevent it.
What of the human rights of the population of Yugoslavia which is confronted by appalling conditions following the U.S./NATO attack? People have no jobs, often no water and electricity, and face desperate circumstances in the coming winter, according to Jim Carlton, Secretary-General of the Australian Red Cross, who inspected the devastation in June. He said that NATO's air war had destroyed the basic industry resulting in massive unemployment and caused a serious refugee situation. "The humanitarian assistance that the Red Cross can get into Serbia is minuscule compared to the need," he said. (7)
In fact, there was no "humanitarian crisis" until NATO started bombing Yugoslavia, (including Kosovo) over an alleged "humanitarian crisis."
If protecting human rights was the purpose behind the bombardment why were there no similar actions, for example, over the genocide in Rwanda, or the tens of thousands killed in Angola, Mozambique, Guatemala, El Salvador or among the Kurds of Turkey? There were no threats to bomb on their behalf. What of millions of victims of the bombings and continuing sanctions-using the withholding of food and medicines as a weapon of war-against the people of Iraq? What of the embargo against the people of Cuba?
KLA Steps up Terrorist Attacks
The U.S. and NATO's hypocrisy over human rights is exposed especially since the occupation of Kosovo began on June 8. There has been intense persecution and expulsion of tens of thousands of Serbs, Romas, pro-Yugoslav ethnic Albanians and anyone targeted by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). This has included attacks on Serbian monasteries and churches, and assaults carried out while NATO troops watch and do nothing, which amounts to helping the KLA. The separatist KLA whose goal is an ethnically pure "Greater Albania." has been further entrenched-not "demilitarized" as required in UN Security Council resolution 1244 ending the bombing.
Yet, out of a total of $150 million appropriated for assistance for Kosovo, the Senate earmarked $20 million for training and equipping a security force "that its authors say could include the KLA," (8)
By the first of September, NATO and UN officials had agreed to the civilian force made up of "the remnants of the KLA." It will have 3,000 members with a military structure formed from the core KLA commanders. Gen. Agim Ceku, who makes no secret about this force as essential to achieving independence from Yugoslavia, said "We will build a new army in the future and the Kosovo Corps will be one part of it."
According to the UN Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly one third of the Serbs in Kosovo had fled by early July. No longer are there any Serbo-Croat language television or radio programs. Broadcasting studios have been taken over by the KLA. Albanian and German currencies have replaced the Yugoslav dinar, postal links have been cut and a legal system is being set up without Belgrade's involvement. (9)
Human Rights Watch reported, "well over 164,000 Serbs have now fled Kosovo with a significant number of Romas. The intent behind many of the killings and abductions..appears to be the expulsion of Kosovo's Serb and Roma population." It said NATO and the UN "seem ill-equipped to stop the violence." (10) That number has escalated greatly in the interim, reaching proportions approaching the ejection of the entire Serb population.
A media release by UNCHR said "If emergency aid is not immediately provided to these people, 40-50 percent of whom are children under 16 years of age, UNCHR believes their situation could turn desperate when winter comes." (11)
There are myriad examples of the ongoing KLA rampage such as the plundering of Belo Polje which had been an entirely Serb village. Today it is in ruins. Soldiers wearing KLA uniforms murdered Serb civilians, then looted and torched the entire village, according t a reporter at the scene. NATO soldiers did nothing to stop the mayhem. (12)
Three hundred and fifty armed KLA troops seized the Belavic coal mine in Dobro Selo near Pristina-a mine that provides for much of Serbia-and KFOR took no action (13)
"Violence has been rising steadily, against the remaining pockets of Serb civilians. The looting and burning of Serb homes, as well as dozens of assassinations and kidnapings of Serbs-including the massacre of 14 Serb farmers...are reminiscent of the gun-slinging and anarchy that have characterized Albania in the last few years." (14)
Congress member Dennis J. Kucinich, said: "I read the latest reports concerning a recent Executive Order that hands the CIA a black bag in the Balkans for engineering a military coup in Serbia, for interrupting communications, for tampering with bank accounts, freezing assets abroad and training the Kosovo Liberation Army in terrorist tactics, such as how to blow up buildings.
"How this is intended to help establish a democracy in Serbia or Kosovo hasn't been explained. Nor has the failure to substantially demilitarize the KLA been explained. Nor has the reverse ethnic cleansing taking place in Kosovo by the KLA while NATO rules the province been explained." (15)
KLA's Fascist Roots
The fascist roots of the KLA were detailed even in a New York Times story by Chris Hedges. (16) He speaks of the leadership faction as having "hints of fascism" and being comprised of the "sons and grandsons of those who fought in the World War II fascist militias and the Nazi Skanderberg SS Division" or descendants of the rightist Albanian Kacak rebels who fought against Serbs 80 years ago. They wear black fatigues and had ordered their fighters to salute with a clenched fist to the forehead, as did their fascist antecedents. (17)
The 1941, German and Italian fascist invaders of Kosovo called for turning multi-ethnic Kosovo into a "pure" Albanian State. A "greater Albania" only existed during the administration by the Nazis who linked Albania and Kosovo as a single unit.
The CIA and BND of Germany had been covertly training and supplying the KLA since the mid 1990s. (18)
German NATO troops-the first German forces in Yugoslavia in 54 years- were enthusiastically welcomed by KLA supporters. Western journalists seemed to be startled by this. "This is a second liberation," Ali Majo, 68, a native of Prizren told Los Angeles Times staff writer Marjorie Miller on June 17. "I can't describe how it felt when we saw German soldiers come here again." Majo told the reporter how he had first seen the Nazi forces bomb Partisan guerrilla positions. "After that...we all shouted 'Hitler.' We were proud of the German soldiers because they liberated us from the Serbs." (19)
The U.S. and NATO Prevented a Peace Agreement
The key reason used to justify the NATO attack was that Milosevic refused to sign the Rambouillet "peace agreement." Actually, the chance to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the crisis during the talks in Rambouillet and Paris, last February and March, was thwarted. Even the short time initially allotted to "negotiate" this complex question showed a lack of seriousness. It becomes clear by perusing the text of the Rambouillet "agreement" (20) that the Contact Group, especially the U.S., did not want a peace agreement because no nation would have signed away its sovereignty as required in that document. It was accompanied by an ultimatum to sign or be bombed. This was deja vu for the Yugoslavs. In 1941, Hitler had ordered them to capitulate to his pact or be bombed. Then as now, they refused and were bombed. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, in its thrust toward World War I, inflicted a similar edict on Serbia, in 1914.
In Rambouillet, the delegation from the FRY, made up of representatives of every nationality of Serbia including ethnic Albanians, had agreed to the ten original political points decreed by the U.S. and the Contact Group, including autonomy for Kosovo. However they rejected the added demand for the deployment of NATO troops in the province, maintaining that if the parties agreed to the ten points, there would be no need for a heavily armed force in Kosovo. (21)
The acquiescence of the Yugoslavs to the political points provided an opening for a successful peaceful settlement of the crisis. It contrasted sharply with rejection of this document by the KLA, causing considerable consternation among U.S. officials. Press accounts were full of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's open apprehension that NATO would not be able to bomb if the KLA refused to sign. After a flurry of activity over several days, a signature was obtained on the greatly altered Rambouillet accords with 56 added pages. It was then presented to the FRY delegation when the talks resumed in Paris. This virtually new document, totally contravening the 10 Contact Group principles, had never been negotiated. In fact, there never were real negotiations.
Aside from the other blatant violations of the sovereignty of Yugoslavia contained in the Rambouillet "accords, there was a provision that after a three year period, a new international meeting would be held to "take into account the will of the people" in Kosovo. This was clearly meant to open the way to independence even though the U.S. and the other Contact Group members had repeatedly assured the world they only favored autonomy, not independence, for Kosovo-Metojia. (22)
The refusal of the FRY to sign the fraudulent Rambouillet document provided the desired go-ahead for NATO to begin bombing with all its terrible consequences for civilians, refugees— Serbs, Albanians and all the people of Yugoslavia. NATO's ultimate goal of establishing itself in Kosovo was also accomplished.
These few simple and obvious facts cut through the lies used to justify the war against Yugoslavia. What then are the real objectives of the U.S. and NATO?
McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas to Flourish
An article by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times entitled "What the World Needs Now" tells it all. Illustrated by an American Flag on a fist it said, among other things: "For globalism to work, America can't be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is....The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist-McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps." (23)
There could not be a better description of how the U.S. armed forces are seen as the military arm of the globalizing transnational corporations (TNCs).
President Clinton said in a speech delivered the day before his televised address to Americans about Kosovo: "If we're going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world, Europe has got to be a key....That's what this Kosovo thing is all about." (24)
Defense Secretary William Cohen, in remarks to reporters prior to his speech at Microsoft Corporation in Seattle, put it this way, "[T]he prosperity that companies like Microsoft now enjoy could not occur without having the strong military that we have."
"The defense secretary is making the case that conflicts in faraway lands such as Bosnia, Korea and Iraq have a direct effect on the U.S. economy. The billions it costs to keep 100,000 American troops in South Korea and Japan, for example, makes Asia more stable—and thus better markets for U.S. goods. The military's success in holding Iraq in check ensures a continued flow of oil from the Persian Gulf," concluded the Associated Press dispatch reporting on Cohen's Seattle appearance.(25)
In today's world, TNCs, and governments running interference for them, are pushing relentlessly for an end to national sovereignty and democratic rights in order to achieve total unimpeded access to acquire investments, cheap labor and consumers in every nook and cranny of the globe. This is being accomplished particularly through mechanisms such as multilateral agreements on investment, NAFTA-type free trade agreements, and the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO).
The globalization fever is running rampant. It is epitomized in the feeding frenzy taking place across the Asia-Pacific region where U.S.-based transnationals and banks are gobbling up assets at bargain basement prices in nations stricken by the Asian economic crisis. In the early weeks of that economic tsunami, the New York Times , described U.S. banks and corporations as poised to "snap up some corporate bargains...Chase Manhattan, General Electric, General Motors and J.P. Morgan are all said to be looking at ailing companies in the region."(26)
Corporations will stop at nothing
To achieve maximum profits these transnationals will stop at nothing. After all, they are non-human institutions that must expand through ever-greater profits, or go out of business. In so doing they have shown willingness to violate human rights-particularly workers' rights—to throw millions out of work, eliminate unions, use sweat-shops and slave labor, destroy the environment, destabilize governments, install or bolster tyrants who oppress, repress, torture and kill with impunity.
Is it surprising, then, that wars and military intervention, including attacks on civilians, are waged on behalf of corporations? It has been an integral part of the history of imperialist powers. Why should we believe it is any different today? Yugoslavia is but the most recent victim of this process.
But the targeting of Yugoslavia did not begin with the bombing. Economic destabilization of that nation began in the 1980's with IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programs (SAPs). As happens throughout the world where such SAPs are imposed as conditions for debt relief, they devastated the economy, laying the groundwork for the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Political destabilization through the years against Yugoslavia was equally intense. Today, there are amazingly open pronouncements about deposing Milosevic. The funding and organizing of opposition groups is openly espoused and carried out.
Those endeavors by the U.S. have included a meeting held the end of June organized by President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, attended by Prince Alexander, self-declared heir to the Yugoslav "throne," and Serbian Democratic Party President Zoran Djindjic. Djindjic has taken the lead in organizing U.S.-orchestrated efforts to get rid of Milosevic. To this end he formed the Alliance for Change.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded by the U.S. government in what Republican Congressman Chris Smith defined as "the most cost-effective item in the budget" (NED Press Release, March 5, 1999) has been pouring millions of dollars into Yugoslavia for years.* (27)
*(Statement by Paul B. McCarthy, National Endowment for Democracy (NED Press Release, March 5, 1999) : Hearing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe "The Milosevic Regime Versus Serbian Democracy and Balkan Stability, December Paul B. McCarthy, said "past grantees have included the newspapers Nasa Borba, Vreme, and Danas, an independent TV station in eastern Serbia, TV Negotin, the prominent news agency BETA, and...Radio B-92....the Association for Independent Electronic Media (ANEM)....and Dnevni Telegraf." ( 10,1998, 2172 Rayburn House Office Building)
Among other things, McCarthy praised the "Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations held in Belgrade in June (1998) and encouraged U.S. organizations "to provide opposition political parties with expertise.." He said western funders should support organizations like the Alternative Academic Network, the Anti-War Campaign which "protested the war in Kosovo." NED funding also is going to the Humanitarian Law Center, the Center for Democracy Foundation, the Belgrade Center for Human Rights, the Center for International Private Enterprise the European Movement of Serbia and the G-17 group of economists as well as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity which continues to assist UGS Nezavisnost, a trade union confederation which opposes Milosevic., among others, according to McCarthy. )
Profits for the Military-Industrial Complex
Clearly, a related major objective behind the NATO action was to add more billions to the already bloated U.S. military budget and to fill the coffers of the military-industrial corporations with super profits acquired from the hard-earned tax dollars of American workers. After all, the stocks of Tomahawk Cruise missiles must be replenished. Congress, with great bi-partisan fervor, is approving an increase for the Pentagon of $20 billion adding up to $288.8 billion for FY 2000. By contrast, all other domestic discretionary spending, including for education, job-training, housing, environment and health programs, totals $245 billion— "the biggest disparity in modern times," according to the Center for Defense Information. More food and education being taken from children to feed the war machine.
If that were not enough, President Clinton signed a bill appropriating $15 billion above the current Pentagon budget to wage the war against Yugoslavia. Most of that will be siphoned out of the Social Security surplus fund.
The Pentagon is not satisfied with all this largess but apparently finds it necessary to divert hundreds of millions of dollars into projects never authorized by Congress including a "super-secret" Air Force "black program," and "illegally spent hundreds of millions to update its C-5 transport planes; and millions on a previously canceled 'Star Wars' missile defense program."(28)
Tapping into this lucrative bottomless well of funds, the "Big Three" weapons makers-Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon— now receive among themselves over $30 billion per year in Pentagon contracts. Companies like Lockheed Martin are actively engaged in shaping U.S. foreign and military policies. Their efforts have yielded among other things: the "payoffs for layoffs" subsidies for defense industry mergers such as the Lockheed/Martin Marietta merger; the elimination of royalty fees that foreign arms customers had been paying to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the cost of weapons developed at taxpayer expense (this adds up to a loss for taxpayers of roughly $500 million per year); and the creation of billions of dollars of new grants and government-guaranteed loans to support the export of U.S. weaponry. These Pentagon contractors, conservative think tanks and advocacy groups lobbied heavily and successfully for the "Star Wars" missile defense program.(29)
The bombing and missile strikes are, more than ever, giant bazaars for selling the wares of the armaments manufacturers. An article in USA Today said: "The USA's defense equipment, such as the satellite-guided smart bombs, has stolen the international spotlight as NATO air forces pound Serbian forces. That could mean increased foreign interest in U.S. military equipment..." (30) Raytheon spokesperson, David Shea, said: "We are expecting the Kosovo conflict to result in new orders downstream." Officials at Raytheon announced that replacing munitions used in the Balkans could lead to about $1 billion in new contracts. (31)
Jaynatha Dhanapala, UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, said recently that "television coverage of modern warfare has effectively created an 'advertising dividend' for the manufacturers of high-tech weaponry and the countries and alliances that use such weapons..." He observed that during the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf and the recent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, tiny video cameras enabled hundreds of millions of viewers to "experience vicariously" the flight paths of attacking missiles to their intended targets. (32)
No wonder stock prices of the large military manufacturers shot up. Since the beginning of the war against Yugoslavia, March 24, 1999, the stocks of Rockwell International (maker of the Lancer, B-1 bomber, etc.) was up +48 percent; Boeing Aircraft (maker of the B-52 Stratofortress, etc.) up +30 percent; Raytheon Systems (maker of the Tomahawk cruise missile, HARM missile, etc) up +37 percent; Lockheed Martin (maker of the F-117 Nighthawk, F-16 Falcon, etc.), up +18 percent; and Northrop Grumman (maker of the B-2 bomber, etc.) up +16 percent. (33)
Defense and aerospace companies have either announced or completed mergers and acquisitions amounting to nearly $60 billion just in the first half of 1999. That amount is already well above the total for all of 1998. (34)
The New NATO
The giant corporations-especially the military-industrial corporations—have been pushing vigorously for expanding and extending the role of NATO. Their blatant salivating over potential profits was indisputable during NATO's 50th Anniversary celebrations which became "the ultimate marketing opportunity," as described in the Washington Post. The host committee included the chief executives of Ameritech, DamilerChrysler, Boeing, Ford Motor, General Motors, Honeywell, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nextel, SBC Communications, TRW and United Technologies. (35) These companies sell weapons but also other products. They have been busy lobbying for the expansion of NATO to avail themselves of the lucrative markets in Eastern European nations which have been pressed to join NATO. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have already been admitted. In order to be a part of the Alliance these nations must spend billions to upgrade their military forces.
Even the Ukraine, part of the NATO-sponsored Partnership for Peace, held joint naval exercises with the United States in July. Perceiving this as a threat, Russian Prime Minster Sergei Stepashin was quoted by Interfax Ukraine news agency as telling the officers and men of Russia's Black Sea fleet to prepare for a naval exercise to imitate the military action in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis. (36)
The Ukraine along with Georgia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldava are members of GUUAM, a bloc of "Western-oriented" Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members, according to a dispatch from "Global Intelligence Updates." (37) Moldava and Uzbekistan joined during the NATO anniversary Summit in April, and a charter was established encompassing military cooperation within the group and with NATO. GUUAM members have opted out of the CIS Collective Security Treaty. (38)
"The pendulum of Ukrainian foreign policy swung closest to the West on June 12, when Kiev briefly closed Ukrainian airspace to Russian aircraft trying to reinforce Russian troops at Slatina airbase in Kosovo... Russia's military commanders were furious. It was bad enough that NATO convinced ostensibly neutral Romania and Bulgaria to deny their airspace to Russian aircraft, but Ukraine was a step too far. Ukraine had to clarify its relationship with NATO and with Russia," said the dispatch. (39)
Moreover, NATO has repeatedly deflected protest over its possession of nuclear armaments and its refusal to renounce first use of these weapons.
At all costs then, NATO is projecting its new role as acting "out of area" and intervening anywhere on the basis of "humanitarian concerns" regardless of national sovereignty and international law. The purpose is to send a message to nations of the entire world that if they do not do the U.S. bidding, they too could be a victim of the kind of devastation unleashed upon Yugoslavia and Iraq. They too could be divided up, balkanized, turned into banana republics or emirates. Especially vulnerable are those countries involved over the oil riches of the Caspian Sea basin—Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazahkstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia-and where there are already related conflicts including over Dagestan, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Abhkazia.
Intensifying Antagonisms Between the U.S. and Europe
Another factor driving U.S. policies is economic competition with the European Union which is surfacing increasingly in spite of cooperation and commonality of interests on other levels. This is epitomized by: the recent banana trade wars in which the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of U.S. TNCs; the rivalry over such prizes as the oil riches of the Caspian sea basin and access to the labor, market and resources of Eastern Europe.
The U.S. has warned openly that it will not tolerate a purely European military alliance to take the place of NATO. The military might of the U.S. must prevail.
This was clearly spelled out in "The Defense Planning Guide," excerpted in the New York Times , which said, among other things: "We must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. ... we must [deter] potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role... We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO."(40)
Nevertheless, on the very day that Yugoslavia adhered to the G-8 agreement, the leaders of 15 European countries announced the European Union will establish an independent military force.
Commerce up the Danube was disrupted by the bombing of bridges in Novi Sad which infuriated Europeans whose economies continue to be adversely affected. It was perceived as a manifestation of the intensifying economic rivalry between the U.S. and Europe.
Alarm bells should remind us that two world wars were ignited by such competition
At the same time, rivalry is tempered increasingly by the the corporate imperative to survive at all costs and to make maximum profits including through mergers and partnerships. Lockheed Martin, maker of missiles and high tech weaponry, has created Lockheed Martin UK Limited, based in London. Its largest UK operation is the Royal Navy Merlin helicopter program among many other military programs. In fact, Lockheed Martin has more than 200 international partnerships around the world. (41)
U.S. aerospace companies are determined not to be locked out of the lucrative profits to be had from the establishment of a separate European military alliance. This pressure has led to a shift in policy by the Pentagon. Mergers between U.S. and European defense contractors are being given the go-ahead. "U.S. Undersecretary for Defense Jacques Gansler has admitted being in talks not only with European Governments such as the UK, Germany, France and Italy but also with leading defense companies including British Aerospace (Bae), France's Aerospatiale Matra SA and Germany's Dasa," (42)
Girdling the Globe with U.S.-led Military Alliances
NATO expansion pertains to what Washington calls a "new strategic concept," an expensive new program to have NATO, under U.S. leadership, become the key player globally. This new blueprint for NATO not only sees it extending throughout Eastern and Baltic Europe, possibly taking in Russia itself, it goes considerably beyond this, as indicated by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his new book ("The Grand Chessboard"). He defines the alliance as part of an "integrated, comprehensive and long-term geostrategy for all of Eurasia," in which NATO would eventually reach Asia, where another U.S. led military alliance would connect Pacific and Southeast Asian states.
The unfolding events in Indonesia and East Timor appear to be closely related to plans for establishing a U.S.-controlled NATO-type military alliance in that region and to counter a purely Asian military association.
"Control of Space Means Control of Earth"
The Pentagon is convinced that control of space means control of Earth. It is working non-stop to deploy anti-satellite weapons (ASAT's) to enable the U.S. to knock out competitors' "eyes in the sky," according to Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. (43)
The Persian Gulf war convinced the U.S. military that "space dominance and space control" are essential. The war in Kosovo was used "to show the world that they have achieved their goal," says Gagnon. In a news release, June 17, 1999, the U.S. Space Command proclaimed: "Any questions about the role or effectiveness of the use of space for military operations have been answered by NATO's operation Allied Force." (44)
The recent go-ahead given by Congress for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is integral to this strategy. Though BMD is touted as being "defensive," Col. Tom Clark, speaking at the 36th Space Congress at Cape Canaveral, Florida, said it is "obvious that dual use is clear", referring to the ability of lasers in space to fire either defensively or offensively. (45)
Russia and China are deeply concerned over this drive for space dominance and the flouting by the U.S. of the ABM and Outer Space Treaties. They have both called for the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a treaty for the "prevention of an arms race in outer space." The U.S. has consistently blocked this in the CD for two decades. Furthermore, the U.S. has been virtually the only member state of the UN to vote "no" time and again opposing UN General Assembly resolutions calling for preventing an arms race in outer space. (46)
Becoming 'Irrational," "Vindictive" and Threatening Nuclear Attack
Nothing could describe U.S. military goals better than the British American Security Information Council's recently published, partially declassified, text of the U.S. Strategic Command's 1995 "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence:
"[T]he United States should have available the full range of responses, conventional weapons, special operations, and nuclear weapons. Unlike chemical or biological weapons, the extreme destruction from a nuclear explosion is immediate, with few if any palliatives to reduce its effect. Although we are not likely to use nuclear weapons in less than matters of the greatest national importance.. Nuclear weapons always cast a shadow over any crisis or conflict in which the U.S. is engaged. Thus, deterrence through the threat of use of nuclear weapons will continue to be our top military strategy...
"That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries..." [emphasis added] (47)
Why the Balkans?
How do the Balkans figure in all this? The peoples of this strategically situated region have had the great misfortune of living on real estate coveted by empire after empire, all of which employed classic divide and conquer tactics by pitting one people against another. Not much has changed!
Today, there is determination that the free market and privatization must prevail. Yugoslavia committed the unpardonable sin of putting the brakes on market reforms imposed by the IMF and World Bank including the drive to privatize all public enterprises. Huge strikes by the workers had protested the reforms. President Borisav Jovic who headed the government in 1990-1991 opposed those austerity measures because of the economic havoc they were causing the people. Among others, Slobodan Milosevic, who was president of the Republic of Serbia at the time, backed him in that stance.
Numerous articles in the mainstream press have unveiled this real complaint against Milosevic. The New York Times, for example, says, "there has been little improvement in the Serbian economy, largely because of the determination of Mr. Milosevic, a former Communist, to keep state controls and his refusal to allow privatization."(48) The Christian Science Monitor put it this way: "Milosevic is harking back to the political control promised by that old Communist star on this presidency building...[he] is revoking some privatization and free market measures." (49)
In response to this "stubbornness" by Yugoslavia, the U.S. Congress, on November 5, 1990, passed the 1991 Foreign Operations Appropriations Law 101-513. That law abruptly cut off all aid, credits and loans from the U.S. to Yugoslavia, further demolishing the economy. It also demanded separate elections in each of the six republics making up Yugoslavia and said only those forces defined as "democratic" would receive funding from the U.S. At the time this law was passed theCIA issued an unusual public report described in the New York Times in which it "predicted that the federated Yugoslavia will break apart most probably in the next 18 months and that civil war is highly likely." The article spoke of the expected impact of cutting all funds to the government as the basis of impending civil war. (50) This was one year before it actually happened and before there were any indications in the press of the impending trouble. Coupled with the increasing economic suffering of the people, this law fueled ethnic strife by providing backing for right-wing and nationalist elements. In this way, the full onslaught for the dismantling of Yugoslavia was launched.
The Allure of Rich Resources and Cheap Labor
The determination by the U.S and NATO, at all costs, to occupy Kosovo and virtually all of Yugoslavia, is spurred on by the enticement of abundant natural resources. Kosovo alone has the richest mineral resources in all of Europe west of Russia. The New York Times observed that "the sprawling state-owned Trepca mining complex, the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, is worth at least $5 billion." producing gold, silver, pure lead, zinc, cadmium, as well as tens of millions of dollars in profits annually. (51)"Kosovo also possesses 17 billion tons of coal reserves and Kosovo ( like Serbia and Albania) also has oil reserves. (52)
"A number of unofficial partition plans have been drawn up for Kosovo all raising the question of who would control an important northern mining region," the New York Times revealed. (53) Trepca was also a "glittering prize" taken over by Hitler to fuel the Nazi war machine during WWII.
Serbia as a whole is rich in minerals and oil including in Vojvodina, the northern part of the FRY. That coveted area of Vojvodina is also extremely fertile land-a major "breadbasket" for Europe. Then there is the allure of enterprises to be privatized at bargain prices, and the anticipation of exploiting very cheap and highly skilled labor potentially available to work in sweatshop conditions.
Chapter 4 of the outrageous 85-page Rambouillet "agreement" deals with plans for the economic assets of Kosovo. Article 1 calls for the privatization of the whole economy. (54) This meant that private Western corporations would have been allowed to easily plunder the large industries in this Serbian province which are almost entirely state-owned.
Similarly, a major aspect of the implementation of the Dayton Accords on Bosnia is overseeing the publicly owned enterprises and their privatization. (55)
Perhaps most significantly, Yugoslavia has strong elements of a socialist economy -the last in Europe— however tattered it may have become by years of economic destabilization by the West and international financial institutions. Sixty-five percent of all firms are either state-owned or self-managed cooperatives. Most heavy industry is state-owned. Factories bombed during the 79 days of NATO attacks were exclusively state-owned. The banking and financial system is also state-controlled. Only 20 percent of the workforce is in the private sector. (56) Yet like scores of nations around the globe, Yugoslavia fell prey to the international financial institutions.
The U.S. had joined Belgrade's other international creditors in imposing a first round of macroeconomic reforms in 1980, shortly before the death of Marshal Tito. "Successive IMF-sponsored programs since then continued the disintegration of the industrial sector and the piecemeal dismantling of the Yugoslav welfare state. Debt restructuring agreements increased foreign debt and mandated currency devaluation also hit hard at Yugoslavia's standard of living...[the] IMF prescribed further doses of its bitter economic medicine periodically...Industrial production declined to a negative 10 percent growth rate in 1990- with all its predictable social consequences,." (57)
In autumn of 1989, Yugoslavia agreed to even more sweeping economic reforms, including a new devalued currency, another wage freeze, sharp cuts in government spending and the elimination of socially-owned worker-managed companies. (58)
Workers from all national communities protested and the government began to reject these structural adjustment requirements. In later years, as President of the FRY, Slobodan Milosevic again moved away from privatization. This, of course, outraged the U.S. and its partners.
On top of all of this, harsh economic sanctions were then imposed against Yugoslavia.
The targeting of the Yugoslav economy can be traced back to a 'Secret Sensitive" 1984 National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 133), United States Policy toward Yugoslavia."). A censored version declassified in 1990 largely elaborated on NSDD 54 on East Europe issued in 1982. The latter advocated "expanded efforts to promote a 'quiet revolution' to overthrow Communist governments and parties" while reintegrating the countries of Eastern Europe into a market-oriented economy.(59)
Is Montenegro Next?
Even though a referendum in Montenegro had rejected seceding from Yugoslavia, there continue to be very strong efforts to tear Montenegro away from the FRY. Montenegro, under U.S.-supported leadership has privatized 95% percent of its economy, unlike Serbia. In 1992, Montenegro received a pledge from Secretary of State Madeline Albright to "shield" it from the sanctions (imposed seven years ago on Yugoslavia). Montenegro was receiving $5.9 million in aid from the U.S. and $4.4 million from the European Union. (60)
Montenegro is a coveted prize also because of its extremely valuable port of Bar -a deep water port which provides the cheapest route for commerce in and out of Eastern Europe and beyond. (Lituchy) Its beautiful seacoast is a haven for tourists.
In the coming months, there are sure to be further efforts to dismantle Yugoslavia by peeling away Montenegro and Sandjak, (a region connecting Kosovo to Bosnia-Herzegovina ) as well as the Northern province of Vojvodina.
Those machinations are already well underway. Talks began in mid- July between delegations from the two republics-Montenegro and Serbia. "Montenegro's pro-Western government hopes the talks might lead to Yugoslavia becoming a looser federation," says an Associated Press dispatch, "The threat of a split puts pressure on Serb officials to consider ousting Milosevic. .. Serb-born American millionaire, Milan Panic, who served [briefly] as federal premier...told Belgrade daily Blic that, if Milosevic remains in power, 'everything has been prepared for Montenegro to secede.'" (61)
Sanctions: War Against the People
Yugoslavia has been suffering under severe sanctions for seven years and now, as it tries to recover from the vast destruction of the country, there promises to be no let up in those sanctions.
Senate Bill 1234,(and its counterpart in the House HR 2606) not only declared Yugoslavia a "terrorist state" along with Cuba, Iraq, Libya ,North Korea, Iran, Sudan an Syria. In Section 578 it called for keeping in place sanctions against Yugoslavia. (62) As has happened in Iraq, this will likely result in the deaths of additional thousands of people in a nation where, 90 percent are unemployed due to the U.S/NATO bombing and where the infrastructure has been demolished.
This section stipulates that sanctions will remain in place, until the President certifies that "... successor states to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [the former Yugoslavia] have successfully negotiated the division of assets and liabilities and all other succession issues... Serbia-Montenegro is fully complying with its obligations as a signatory to the... [Dayton Accords];...fully cooperating with and providing unrestricted access to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, including surrendering persons indicted for war crimes who are within the jurisdiction of the territory of Serbia-Montenegro, and with the investigations...of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosova [sic]:...instituting democratic reforms; and Serbian-Montenegrin federal governmental officials, and representatives of the ethnic Albanian community in Kosova [sic] have agreed on, signed and begun implementation of a negotiated settlement on the future of Kosova [sic]." (63)
The Lucrative Business of Destroying and Rebuilding
Another goal is to create a "Marshall Plan" for the Balkans. Though this sounds benevolent—and certainly reconstruction is desperately needed—it means using public funds to underwrite the profits of corporations to rebuild the infrastructure and entrench themselves in Yugoslavia. This amounts to corporate welfare paid for by the workers. It also provides easy access into the region for Western corporations and gives impetus to the establishment of a "free" market economy and massive privatization. Destroying and rebuilding is enormously lucrative!
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Congress in mid-April that the Clinton administration envisioned a plan to reconstruct Kosovo, create a common Balkan currency and forge new trade relationships. She assured Congress that Europeans were prepared to pay for most of it. Subsequently, NATO finance ministers met with the World Bank and IMF to "explore aggressive ways for us to help," in Clinton's words. Later a conference was held in Bonn to plan for ways to come up with the billions needed for reconstruction of the Balkans. (64)
Other countries have been hard hit by the NATO war against Yugoslavia. They too will need "rebuilding." The bulk of commerce for Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania went either to or through Yugoslavia. This was substantially destroyed by the NATO attack. The World Bank and IMF issued a report in April which said that over five percent of the gross domestic product will be wiped out for the Balkans this year plunging their economies into recession and unemployment.(65)
Debt-ridden and impoverished Albania and Macedonia both of which gave NATO free-rein to use their territories, and to a lesser extent, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Croatia and Slovenia will need to be "rejuvenated," as well.
The U.S. dominated South East European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), in which Milosevic refuses to participate, has been very active in this picture.
Though U.S. officials insist there will be no aid to Serbia so long as Milosevic is in power, Montenegro will receive such "assistance." There have also been promises of aid made to Mayors and city councils of some cities if they oppose the Milosevic government.
Basically, Serbia is now susceptible to the whetted appetites of the TNCs who are eager to invest and rebuild on their own terms.
Special task forces have been set up in Britain, Germany and France made up of companies who want to go after reconstruction contracts. There is considerable hustle and bustle by these companies as they seek to avoid being outdone by competitors in the U.S. and other countries. The U.S. Undersecretary for Trade, David Aaron announced on June 15 that the U.S. is demanding a share of the Kosovo contracts, saying 100 companies want to participate. (66)
Above All its About Oil!
Perhaps above all, this U.S.-led NATO onslaught is about oil. It is related to the drive to extend and protect the investments of the transnational corporations in the Caspian Sea region, especially the oil corporations.
The Balkans are strategic for the transshipment of oil and gas to Europe and beyond. They are critical in the competition between Europe and the U.S. over these riches. Time is of the essence. The first tanker shipment from the port of Supsa in Georgia on the eastern Black sea coast — the terminus of a pipeline from the Caspian sea oil fields—took place recently. Another pipeline passing through Russia and Chechnya, also ending at the eastern shore of the Black Sea at Novorossiisk, will add to the tanker traffic.
The predicament is how to get that oil beyond the Black Sea. The Bosporus straits, at Istanbul, are narrow and pose considerable hazards, especially for the tremendously heavy tanker traffic expected. And so far plans to build a pipeline through Turkey (Kurdistan) are thwarted by the struggles of the Kurds and by competing interests. Hopes for a pipeline through Iran are also on hold. Though preferred for several reasons, those routes would not provide the best access to Europe and the Western Hemisphere. The oil can be shipped by tanker up the Danube River, a waterway crossing Europe from the Black Sea where a short canal connects it to the port of Constanza in Romania. The Danube runs through Belgrade and Novi Sad in Yugoslavia. The recent completion of a grand canal— about the time the turmoil started in the former Yugoslavia— between the Danube and Rhine Rivers now makes it possible to ply those waters through a great inland system of canals and waterways to the industrial Ruhr Valley and clear to the North Sea. Undoubtedly this route is favored by the Europeans in the competition over the Caspian Sea treasure chest.
Pipelines Across the Balkans
There are also plans to build pipelines across the Balkans. One from Romania— which, incidentally, has considerable oil wealth itself-would extend from Constanza to Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. At Trieste the oil would be piped northward or shipped westward out of Europe by tanker.(67)
There are also plans for a pipeline through Bulgaria from the port of Bourgas on the Black Sea, to the Vlore port on the Adriatic in Albania. This is a project of the U.S.-owned Albanian, Macedonian and Bulgarian Oil Corporation (AMBO) (68)
These would be part of a multiple pipeline system in the Balkans some connecting
with existing "Soviet-era" pipelines from Russia that would need upgrading. But these oil and gas pipelines extending through Serbia from Russia to Central Europe are extremely valuable. (69)
In the competition with European- based companies, the U.S. backs the Caspian Pipeline consortium led by Mobil. (70)
Also, Kosovo is in a corridor used for centuries, including during the Crusades, as a route between Europe and the Middle East. The route follows river valleys connecting with the Danube River Valley near Belgrade. The southern arm of the transbalkan railway runs along these valleys. Control of this overland passageway was critical to the German fascist war machine in World War II, and to other conquerors. It remains vital to getting the oil riches into Europe from the Middle East and for other two-way commerce.
Neighboring Albania, whose economy has been completely transformed to the "free-market" and domination by western transnational corporations and banks, has vast untapped mineral resources including oil reserves. These are already being gobbled up by transnationals including the major oil companies. (71)
The application of strong structural adjustment policies imposed by the World Bank and IMF "had contributed to wrecking Albania's banking system and precipitating the collapse of the Albanian economy, says Chossudovsky. The resulting chaos enabled American and European transnationals to carefully position themselves. Several Western oil companies including Occidental, Shell and British Petroleum had their eyes riveted on Albania's abundant and unexplored oil-deposits. Western investors were also gawking Albania's extensive reserves of chrome, copper, gold, nickel and platinum.. The Adenauer Foundation had been lobbying in the background on behalf of German mining interests." (72)
So this entire region is broiling with activities over the profits to be had particularly from oil.
Stoking Conflict in the Caucuses /Caspian Sea Region
There is a growing contention between Russia and the West over the oil wealth of the Caspian Sea basin. This was manifested not only in the NATO war against Yugoslavia, but also increasingly in the Baltics, the Ukraine, the region of the Caucuses Mountains and among all the littoral nations of the Caspian Sea. The main pipelines for the Central Asian oil, the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline and the Baku-Supsa pipeline, pass through the Caucasus. In the mounting disputes, Russia allies itself with Armenia and, it is suspected, with the Abkhaz separatists to "counterbalance NATO influence in Azerbaijan and Georgia". Chechnya and Dagestan are also critical in this struggle as the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline passes through its territory.(73) That pipeline also passes through Dagestan which is located between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea and where conflict has exploded recently between secessionists and Russia.
"For Russia, Dagestan retains an important strategic value. Dagestan commands 70 percent of Russia's shoreline to the oil-producing Caspian Sea and its only all-weather Caspian port at Makhachkala. It provides the crucial pipeline links from Azerbaijan, where Russia maintains important oil interests..." (74)
The recently opened Baku-Supsa route through Georgia, favored by the West, by-passes Russia altogether,"undermining Russian influence on the region's oil and Russian revenue from that oil. This route was opened following military maneuvers for training to defend the line by Ukrainian, Georgian and Azeri troops, as part of the GUUAM alliance.
Intensifying competition between Russia and NATO has escalated after a battle with heavy losses, June 14, between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. (75)
Another pipeline route favored by the U.S. is between Baku and Ceyhan passing through Turkey. However this is more expensive and transverses the area of intense struggles by the Kurdish people. This is leading the U.S. oil companies to revive their interest in other routes. One of these is through western Afghanistan, the other, south through Iran. (76)
Richard Morningstar, special advisor to the U.S. President and Secretary of State for Caspian Issues, said it was essential that the two Caspian states—Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan—
agree as soon as possible about a transcaspian gas pipeline to transport oil from Turkmenistan to Turkey via the Caspian Sea. Washington has urged them to ignore Russian and Iranian hostility and move ahead with this pipeline even if it means violating the existing legal status of the Caspian Sea in which all the littoral states are to be consulted about its future. Russia and Iran " feel increasingly irritated by the U.S. activities in Central Asia, aimed at preventing Moscow and Teheran from reasserting their economic and political grip over the former Soviet republics in the Caspian region," according to a Stratfor article. (77)
Also at stake in this region is the growing competition from China which recently has established significant military and economic ties with Turkmenistan. China's National Petroleum Company has helped rebuild over100 wells in Turkmenistan resulting in an increase in the nation's export production. It is estimated that Turkmenistan soon will be the third largest gas exporter in the world. (78)
China, the second largest energy consumer in the world, is expected to require 40 percent of its oil through imports by 2010 up from less than 20 percent today. (79).
According to a report in the Journal of Commerce, June 25, 1998, by Michael S. Lellyveld, entitled, Trade bill embroils Senate in the Caucasus' problems; Measure would authorize fund to all 8 former Soviet republics:
"A bitter ethnic battle in the Caucasus spilled over into Congress this week as U.S. corporate and oil interests won a key vote on aid to the region in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"The panel approved the Silk Road Strategy Act...[which] would 'target assistance to support the economic and political independence of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.' But behind the measure's bland title is a widening web of international and U.S. business alliances with stakes in the outcome of a 10-year old war..."(80)
So once again oil interests lead to interventions predicated on "national liberation" or "human rights concerns."
Stirring Things Up in East Asia
Steps are well underway for new relations with Southeast Asia in which the U.S. is acquiring access to military bases in Asian countries in exchange for financial help to buy U.S. arms. The Pentagon's East Asian Strategy Report defines this program as offering the United States "a credible power projection capability in the region and beyond."
Dr. Joseph Gerson, Program Director at the New England Region of the American Friends Service Committee, puts it succinctly: "In the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. is enforcing its 21st century "Open Door" policy by means of the IMF, the World Bank, APEC, bases and forward deployments, the Seventh Fleet and its nuclear arsenal; as it seeks to simultaneously contain and engage China, to dominate the sea lanes and straits through which the region's trade and supplies of oil must travel (the 'jugular vein' of Asia Pacific economies), and to 'cap' Japanese militarism and nationalism.
"Since 1951, the hub of this strategic architecture has been the Mutual Security Treaty (MST) with Japan. During the Clinton years, the MST has been 'redefined' to reconsolidate U.S., and to a lesser extent, Japanese power. (81)
A "US -Japan Joint Declaration on Security Alliance for the 21st Century" proclaimed at the Summit between President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto, cited "the alliance's, new enemies and public rationales: tensions and instability on the Korean Peninsula, China's nuclear arsenal, and territorial disputes with China."
The regular gigantic "war games" conducted in the Korean region by the U.S., and South Korea, have been stepped substantially up in the recent period.
Echoing the Gulf of Tonkin provocation used to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam, South Korean warships sank a North Korean boat and badly damaged another allegedly over a dispute about a crab-fishing area of the Yellow Sea. (82)
Plans for U.S. deployment of Theater Missile Defenses (TMDs) around China, sensationalized and unproven allegations of Chinese nuclear spying, claims of Chinese nuclear parity with the U.S., the blocking of China's entry to the WTO; the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and recent independence moves by Taiwan encouraged by U.S. Congress members, place the world on the brink of a U.S.-orchestrated confrontation with that nation. Taiwan is "the most likely trigger for U.S.-Chinese nuclear confrontation and war," according to Gerson.(83)
A backdrop to these developing tensions is the Taiwan Relations Act which closely links the U.S. and Taiwan economically and militarily. (84)
With the bombing of Yugoslavia barely over and with continuing and escalating air strikes against Iraq, the U.S. appears to be moving rapidly toward such a confrontation with China over Taiwan. In mid-July, Taiwan's President, Lee Teng-hui, announced the island wants "special state-to-state relations" with China, meaning a rejection of the "one China" policy that has kept the peace for many years. This led Chinese President Jiang Zemin to tell President Clinton, July 18, that China would not rule out using force regarding Taiwan.(85)
Washington is regaining even greater access to ports and bases throughout the Phillippines under the "Visiting Forces Agreement." Considerable attention is also being focused on Indonesia, to prevent the U.S. loss of access to its natural resources, markets and its control of the strategically important shipping lanes. (86)
A Military NAFTA
The Americas are not to escape this buildup of U.S.-controlled military alliances. The U.S. Army War College has urged a "NAFTA for the military "with joint command between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. (87)
Also, there is every likelihood of an imminent, all-out U.S. military intervention in Columbia on the pretext of drug interdiction. The people of Columbia could well be the next victims of U.S. military attack.
Globalization onslaught of TNCs
This information age of high technology communications and transportation is catapulting globalization forward at warp speed. A borderless world is increasingly attractive to profit-driven corporations seeking to extend their tentacles without impediment into every conceivable niche on Planet Earth. Indeed the pundits of the "new world order" speak openly now about the demise of national sovereignty as necessary and inevitable to permit capital to flow anywhere free of restrictions. The U.S./NATO destruction of Yugoslavia established the desired precedent for military attack, cloaked in a democracy and human rights disguise, against any sovereign country that might have the temerity to stand up to the encroachment of the TNCs.
But in this brave new corporate world all will not be well. The multitudes will suffer increasingly. Already, there are 1.5 billion people living on less than $1 per day and 1 billion are unemployed or under-employed (ILO ). (88) "Thirty percent of the world economy is now in recession, according to the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), made up of 55 European union federations. (89) "Only the United States has a buoyant economy." the TUAC statement said.
In the U.S., too, one must ask: "economic boom for whom?" Child poverty in the U.S. remains the highest for any industrialized country. That figure stands at 22 percent in 1997 or 5.2 million children living below the poverty line including 2.5 million who were "extremely poor," living below half the poverty line. (90)
More than one million children in America are homeless. "Some 40 percent of America's homeless are now women and their children-the fastest growing homeless group." (91)
The structural adjustment policies of the IMF and World Bank and the accelerating brutal economic globalization and privatization drive by the transnational corporations are creating divisive conflicts and assaults upon the living standards of hundreds of millions on our planet. In the process, national sovereignty, democratic and genuine human rights are being trampled on in scores of countries.
This great momentum toward destroying sovereignty and democratic rights is beginning to impact the people of the U.S. Laws protecting workers, consumers and the environment increasingly are being rendered null and void by NAFTA and other international agreements.
At the same time, the megacorps depend on the sovereign muscle of the major industrial powers who increasingly are headed toward direct confrontation with each other. Above all, these megacorps rely on the might, including military might of the United States to act in their behalf around the world. Business Week's listing of the world's 1,000 largest corporations shows that half of them are American. The market value of the U.S. corporations on the list, totaling $ll.3 trillion is more than double the total value of the next four countries' corporations combined: Britain, Germany, Japan and France," according to economist Victor Perlo. "Where U.S. armed forces penetrate and establish bases, American corporations, protected by the military, follow," says Perlo. (92)
"The technological superiority of the U.S. megacorps is also related to the vast resources [largely from the taxpayers] devoted to the development of new U.S. weapons, and the exclusive availability of the relevant discoveries to U.S. corporations.
"Equally important, U.S. megacorps realize a much higher rate of exploitation of labor than the domestic British, German, Japanese and French companies. American workers toil longer hours, have shorter vacations, lower pensions, less unemployment insurance and other social benefits of all kinds. The decisive factor here is the much smaller proportion of U.S. workers organized into trade unions, and the relative weakness of U.S. trade unions. ..." says Perlo. (93)
Corporations Seek to Rule the World
It is highly likely that the economic globalization onslaught will be propelled forward exponentially at the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle at the end of November."Europe, the U.S. and the WTO are devising agreements that will remove the final obstacles to the free play of 'market forces' and require countries to submit to the unfettered expansion of the multinationals. Learning from the failure of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), big business and technocrats are trying to force through a decision before the end of 1999," according to Christian de Brie writing in Le Monde Diplomatique. The MAI had been "stopped" in the OECD. Again, as in the case of the MAI, secret talks have been taking place on a MAI clone—this time by the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) and the Millennium Round of the WTO. The first of these meetings, which opened on September 16, 1998, dealt with "the favorite project of the British and Americans-seeing the European Union dissolved in a free trade area with the United States." says de Brie. The article points out that:
"On the pretext of removing 'technical barriers to trade,'which include health, social and environmental protection regulations, the ultimate aim is to 'reach a general commitment to unconditional access to the market in all sectors and for all methods of supply' of products and services, including health, education and public contracts. ...states and local authorities are required to make 'all derogations explicit in the form of 'a negative freedom that the agreements negotiated apply to all the territory of the parties, regardless of their constitutional structures, at all levels of authority. ...
[T]alks proceed behind closed doors, using ..tactics to avoid alerting public opinion, so everything can be sewn up by December 1999. Industrial goods, services, public contracts, intellectual property, etc. - in a dozen fields, slice by slice, 'mutual recognition agreements (MRAs)' ...seek to reduce standards and regulations to the lowest common denominator. The outcome is that the safeguards that Europe has built up, in food, the environment and health in particular are being dismantled.
"Once agreement has been reached, governments will be obliged to abolish any laws that conflict with the MRAs....the TEP follows the same aims as the MAI - to hand over all human activities to capital, without let or hindrance, thereby stripping the EU, member governments and local authorities of their ability to pursue their own policies....
"But the document...has another aim: to establish a US-EU condominium capable of imposing its will on the rest of the world, and in particular the countries of the South in the [WTO] talks....The war being prosecuted, with the support of their governments, by the transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic for the conquest and domination of world markets is becoming increasingly brutal and has no regard for laws. Witness America's ...Helms-Burton and D'AMATO-Gilman acts that are contrary to international law; the banana war lost by the EU....the disputes over hormone-contaminated meat and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that contravene health regulations....
"[T]here seems to be nothing to prevent the transnational corporations taking possession of the planet and subjecting humanity to the dictatorship of capital....
"In order to crush any thought of organized resistance to the supporters of the new world order, tremendous police and military forces are being used to establish a doctrine of repression..." (94)
The provisions of the MAI are finding there way into many agreements, such as the "African Growth and Opportunity Act"-the NAFTA for Africa bill recently passed by Congress. Even NAFTA, though purporting to deal only with trade issues, has a section on investments which is now being evoked in a suit by Canada, (on behalf of a corporation) challenging recently- adopted California environmental legislation banning the gasoline additive MTBE. If the suit prevails, California will have to abolish the law or pay large penalties.
The original draft of the MAI and its clones are written to have a dual effect: threatening social programs, while protecting and enhancing military spending and arms trade. (95) The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), also exempts military spending from its proscriptions against government subsidies. This gives U.S. corporations a great advantage over other countries because of the trillions already being spent on the Pentagon. In fact, the high tech industry got a its start and continues to benefit from the research conducted by the military with taxpayer dollars.
So while the MAI- and now its clones— would threaten nearly every public sector of national economies such as health care, education and culture, government spending for the military, weapons, development and production and direct support for weapons corporations are excluded from the liberalizing demands of such an agreement. (96) This will give free rein for the Pentagon to continue to abscond with the tax dollars of U.S. workers.
The purpose of MAI-type agreements is to remove virtually all barriers to investment by corporations. Foreign investors would be required to be treated the same as domestic investors. Governments would be denied much of their power to intervene in the economy to promote social goals. (97) Thus, not only national sovereignty but also the democratic rights of the people would be usurped.
NAFTA mechanisms, as well as the WTO, IMF and World Bank are totally undemocratic, with no access by the people. They are run by the nations with the greatest wealth, the U.S. in the first place— with the corporations and banks pulling the strings.
The fightback against war and the corporate globalization offensive and its manifestations at home is needed today, more than ever in history, as events move at astounding speed. Such a movement is bound to grow every day. Multitudes of the world's poor and working people are resisting in rapidly growing numbers. In the process they are coming to understand the commonality of interests they share with all those victimized by the corporations and the policies of the U.S. and other powerful governments—the U.S. sword and dollar marching hand in glove— in the brutal, relentless drive for ever-higher profits. Nothing is more important than to quicken the pace and strengthen the unity to resist this imperialist onslaught toward global corporate rule.
1. "Clinton Says NATO is ready to fight repression in Europe, Africa," Agence France Presse, June 22, 1999.
2. "Aid Bill Listing Yugoslavia as Terrorist Passes," Tim Weiner, New York Times, July 1, 1999.
The Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2000 passed on June 30, 1999, with only 2 dissenting votes. This foreign aid bill not only designates Yugoslavia as a terrorist state, a function typically left to the State Department, it also bars U.S. aid to Yugoslavia and permits Kosovars [sic] to sue President Slobodan Milosevic for damages in U.S. Courts. It includes $20 million for training and equipping a Kosovo security force that its authors say would include members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The bill includes $150 million in aid to Kosovo, $85 million for Macedonia, $45 million for Bulgaria and $35 million for Montenegro.
3. San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 1999.
4. The Nation, 7/28-8/4,1997 and San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 1999.
5. "Secret U.S. Training Approved for KLA Troops," By Paul Beaver, The Scotsman, April,5 1999.
6. "Clinton to Bomb Again," By Rick Rowden, San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 1999.
7. "Red-Cross reports economic disaster in Yugoslavia," by Mike Head and Michael Conachy, World Socialist Web Site, July 22, 1999.
8. "Aid Bill Listing Yugoslavia as Terrorist Passes ," by Tim Weiner, New York Times, July 1, 1999.
9. "Kosovo Links with Belgrade 'Severed,' " by Eve-Ann Prentice, Sunday Times, July 5, 1999.
10. AP article by Tom Cohen, August 3, 1999.
11. "Red-Cross reports economic disaster in Yugoslavia," by Mike Head and Michael Conachy, World Socialist Web Site, July 22, 1999.
12. San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 1999.
13. Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1999.
14. "Guerillas Take Charge in Kosovo," by Chris Hedges, New York Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 1999.
15. What I Learned from the War, by Dennis J. Kucinich, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
16. Chris Hedges, New York Times, June 25.
17. Foreign Affairs, May/June, 1999.
18. "NATO's War Against Yugoslavia-An Overview," by Michel Chossudovsky, June 1999.
19. Marjorie Miller, Los Angeles Times, June 17.
20. Website of LeMonde Diplomatique
21. "Continuation on 15 March in France," Serbia in the World, February, 1999.
22. The formulation in the UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo could be interpreted as embracing this wording.
Point 11-e of that resolution reads: "facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo's future status, taking full account of the Rambouillet Accords"— S/1999/648.
23. "What the World Needs Now", by Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 28,1999.
24. "The Case Against Intervention in Kosovo", by Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne, The Nation, April 19, 1999.
25. Associated Press dispatch reporting on Defense Secretary William Cohen's Seattle appearance, February 18, 1999.
26. New York Times , December 27, 1997.
27. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Press Release, March 5, 1999, NED web site.
28. "Pentagon Misused Millions in Funds, House Panel Says," by Tom Weiner, New York Times, July 22, 1999.
29. "Military Industrial Complex Revisited,"by William Hartung, The Progressive Response, July 2, 1999.
30. USA Today, April 15, 1999.
31. "Balkan War to Bolster Defense Firms' Sales," San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 1999.