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"Encircling Russia, Targeting China, NATO'S True Role in US Grand Strategy"
by Diana Johnstone
Global Research, November 18, 2010
The encirclement of Russia continues in the Black Sea, the Baltic and the Arctic circle.
United States officials continue to claim that Ukraine must join NATO.
Just this week, in a New York Times column, Zbigniew’s son Ian J. Brzezinski advised Obama against abandoning the “vision” of a “whole, free and secure” Europe including “eventual Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO and the European Union.”
The fact that the vast majority of the people of Ukraine are against NATO membership is of no account.
For the current scion of the noble Brzezinski dynasty it is the minority that counts. Abandoning the vision “undercuts those in Georgia and Ukraine who see their future in Europe. It reinforces Kremlin aspirations for a sphere of influence…”
The notion that “the Kremlin” aspires to a “sphere of influence” in Ukraine is absurd considering the extremely close historic links between Russia and Ukraine, whose capital Kiev was the cradle of the Russian state. But the Brzezinski family hailed from Galicia, the part of Western Ukraine which once belonged to Poland, and which is the center of the anti-Russian minority. U.S. foreign policy is all too frequently influenced by such foreign rivalries of which the vast majority of Americans are totally ignorant.
Relentless U.S. insistence on absorbing Ukraine continues despite the fact that it would imply expelling the Russian Black Sea fleet from its base in the Crimean peninsula, where the local population is overwhelmingly Russian-speaking and pro-Russian. This is a recipe for war with Russia if ever there was one.
And meanwhile, U.S. officials continue to declare their support for Georgia, whose American-trained president openly hopes to bring NATO support into his next war against Russia.
Aside from provocative naval maneuvers in the Black Sea, the United States, NATO and (as yet) non-NATO members Sweden and Finland regularly carry out major military exercises in the Baltic Sea, virtually in sight of the Russia cities of Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad. These exercises involve thousands of ground troops, hundreds of aircraft including F-15 jet fighters, AWACS, as well as naval forces including the U.S. Carrier Strike Group 12, landing craft and warships from a dozen countries.
Perhaps most ominous of all, in the Arctic region, the United States has been persistently engaging Canada and the Scandinavian states (including Denmark via Greenland) in a military deployment openly directed against Russia. The point of these Arctic deployment was stated by Fogh Rasmussen when he mentioned, among “threats” to be met by NATO, the fact that “Arctic ice is retreating, for resources that had, until now, been covered under ice.”
Now, one might consider that this uncovering of resources would be an opportunity for cooperation in exploiting them. But that is not the official U.S. mindset.
Last October, US Admiral James G Stavridis, supreme Nato commander for Europe, said global warming and a race for resources could lead to a conflict in the Arctic. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Christopher C. Colvin, in charge of Alaska’s coastline, said Russian shipping activity in the Arctic Ocean was “of particular concern” for the US and called for more military facilities in the region.
The US Geological Service believes that the Arctic contains up to a quarter of the world’s unexplored deposits of oil and gas. Under the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, a coastal state is entitled to a 200-nautical mile EEZ and can claim a further 150 miles if it proves that the seabed is a continuation of its continental shelf.
Russia is applying to make this claim.
After pushing for the rest of the world to adopt the Convention, the United States Senate has still not ratified the Treaty.
In January 2009, NATO declared the “High North” to be “of strategic interest to the Alliance,” and since then, NATO has held several major war games clearly preparing for eventual conflict with Russia over Arctic resources.
Russia largely dismantled its defenses in the Arctic after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and has called for negotiating compromises over resource control.
Last September, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for joint efforts to protect the fragile ecosystem, attract foreign investment, promote environmentally friendly technologies and work to resolve disputes through international law.
But the United States, as usual, prefers to settle the issue by throwing its weight around. This could lead to a new arms race in the Arctic, and even to armed clashes.
Despite all these provocative moves, it is most unlikely that the United States actually seeks
war with Russia, although skirmishes and incidents here and there cannot be ruled out. The
U.S. policy appears to be to encircle and intimidate Russia to such an extent that it accepts a
semi-satellite status that neutralizes it in the anticipated future conflict with China.
The only reason to target China is like the proverbial reason to climb the mountain:
it is there. It is big. And the US must be on top of everything.
The strategy for dominating China is the same as for Russia. It is classic warfare: encirclement, siege, more or less clandestine support for internal disorder. As examples of this strategy:
The United States is provocatively strengthening its military presence along the Pacific shores of China, offering “protection against China” to East Asian countries.
During the Cold War, when India got its armaments from the Soviet Union and struck a non-aligned posture, the United States armed Pakistan as its main regional ally. Now the U.S. is shifting its favors to India, in order to keep India out of the orbit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and to build it as a counterweight to China.
The United States and its allies support any internal dissidence that might weaken China, whether it is
the Dalai Lama, the Uighurs, or Liu Xiaobo, the jailed dissident. The Nobel Peace Prize was bestowed
on Liu Xiaobo by a committee of Norwegian legislators headed by Thorbjorn Jagland, Norway’s echo of
Tony Blair, who has served as Norway’s prime minister and foreign minister, and has been one of his
country’s main cheerleaders for NATO.
At a NATO-sponsored conference of European parliamentarians last year, Jagland declared: “When we are not able to stop tyranny, war starts. This is why NATO is indispensable. NATO is the only multilateral military organization rooted in international law. It is an organization that the U.N. can use when necessary — to stop tyranny, like we did in the Balkans.” This is an astoundingly bold misstatement of fact, considering that NATO openly defied international law and the United Nations to make war in the Balkans – where in reality there was ethnic conflict, but no “tyranny”.
In announcing the choice of Liu, the Norwegian Nobel committee, headed by Jagland,
declared that it “has long believed that there is a close connection between human
rights and peace." The “close connection”, to follow the logic of Jagland’s own
statements, is that if a foreign state fails to respect human rights according to
Western interpretations, it may be bombed, as NATO bombed Yugoslavia.
Indeed, the very powers that make the most noise about “human rights”,
notably the United States and Britain, are the ones making the most
wars all over the world.
The Norwegian’s statements make it clear that granting the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu
(who in his youth spent time in Norway) amounted in reality to an endorsement of NATO.