Will it Be NATO or the UN
In 1945, the UN was established to help bring the world community to peace.. NATO was invented four years later to defend against a supposed Soviet threat to conquer Western Europe. NATO has outlived the Soviet Union, but its leaders didn't dissolve their outmoded structure after it lacked a raison d'etre. Instead, they redesigned and expanded it. They soon found a new purpose: humanitarian bombing -- against Yugoslavia. But NATO commanders didn't arrange to protect the Kosovar Albanians before they began bombing. Indeed, as bombs dropped outraged Serb forces retaliated by accelerating their assault against ethnic Albanians. Although wrapped in altruism, the bombs still caused death and destruction. NATO said it didn't want an independent Kosovo. But with the Serb military gone, NATO facilitated the Kosovo Liberation Army's virtual take over of police power. NATO then permitted their thugs to cleanse the Serb minority from the area. NATO forces still stand as their line of defense against Yugoslavia.
NATO nations also supported the UN mandated independence referendum in East Timor. But Indonesia army thugs responded to that vote with violence. They had not learned the lesson that NATO would punish gross human rights violations? Or did humanitarian impulses over Serb brutality in Kosovo turn to hand wringing in East Timor? East Timor and Kosovo: two cases of secession where government forces persecuted a majority population. NATO under humanitarian guise handed Kosovo to the KLA. But when its Indonesian military pals brutalized East Timorese after their independence vote, NATO leaders wrung their hands.
The US and allies ignored Indonesian atrocities in East Timor since the mid 1970s, or actually approved of Indonesia annexing East Timor in 1975. Now they implicitly blame UN weakness for the failure of Indonesia to abide by the UN supervised vote. Meanwhile NATO ministers meeting in Toronto argue they need ever greater military budgets to carry out Kosovo-style operations.
Kofi Annan criticized humanitarian interventions by regional military organizations against UN wishes, because it undermines world law and thus order. Formerly colonized people have scant trust for "humanitarian-minded" imperial states whose leaders have not shown zeal in relaxing their aggressive pursuit of corporate profits and access to resources. In the next Century will the world's publics trust a defense alliance without enemies and therefore without mission -- outside of its own reproduction -- or the UN, the legitimate global organization , which the United States has purposefully weakened. US policy will ignore the UN -- except when it becomes convenient to cover for US intervention. Yes. Dissolve NATO! Strengthen the UN and democratize its Security Council! Anyone listening?
Saul Landau is the Hugh O. LaBounty Chair of Interdisciplinary Applied Knowledge at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Ave. Pomona, CA 91768 tel - 909-869-3115 fax - 909-869-4751