In 1995, at the end of the Bosnian war, NATO secretary general Solana made a very crucial declaration that went almost unnoticed: "Our experience in Bosnia will be a model for future NATO operations."(1)
What countries does NATO want to attack? What interests are at stake? Here are the four real objectives.
1. To control the Balkan and the oil routes
The major issue here has to do with the oil of the Middle East and also of the former USSR (Caucasus, Caspian Sea, Kazakstan,Ö). Three pipelines are bringing oil from the former USSR to Europe. Ironically, wars are breaking out near these pipelines: Chenchnia, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabach, Kurdistan, etc.(2,3)
The control over these pipelines entails toll rights amounting to twenty million dollars per day! But in the first place, the US wants to control this black gold and shield it from its European competitors. That is why they are "offering the government of Azerbeidjan to establish an American military base.
2. To dominate the East and put down revolts
Eastern Europe is rich in raw materials, skilled workers and export markets but the collapse of socialism has impoverished the workers significantly.
A study of the Wall Street Journal acknowledges this: "About 65% of Poland's population can be seen as the loosing party in the post-communist reforms, especially the workers and peasants. The percentage that profited of the new economic order can be estimated at 20% of the population." To quell the social revolts that are inevitable because of this impoverishment, is what Solana has in mind.
3. To weaken Russia
The main issue here is to impede the control of Russia over the oil and natural gas. But also to avoid that Moscow would question the domination of the Western powers in that matter.
Guido Van Hecke, chief of staff of the Belgian Air Force and commander of our "glorious bombers," declared in 1996: "If the situation in Russia gets out of hand, then we will have Yugoslavia ten times over again. Imagine there is a problem with Boris Yeltsin, or we have a return of the military nomenclature, or eventually ethnic wars. It is possible that we in Western Europe have to intervene in the near future to defend our own interests through political, but also military means."(4,5)
Implicitly, Van Hecke wants to avoid the "biggest danger": the return of socialism. Therefore, Western capitalism has to prepare for a war against Russia.
As a result of the war in Bosnia, the US has been able to acquire a number of new military bases in Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, and Hungary. Together with the long established bases in Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey; these new bases will allow the US to control the southern belly of Europe and the ex-USSR. Washington can tell its European allies: "If you oppose us, then you will not get any access to the Middle East or the ex-USSR countries."
The only thing lacking in this chain (of enclosure): Iraq, Iran, and Yugoslavia. Isnít it obvious?
Why such a ferociousness against the Yugoslav people? My gosh, not for humanitarian reasons. A major power never intervenes for such reasons. But why then? Because Yugoslavia committed three "crimes."
The Yugoslav workers refuse to get rid of their social acquisitions solely for the beautiful eyes of the most wild roaming capitalism. Recall how the World Bank and the IMF, under the patronage of the West, wanted to impose in 1989 the laying-off of two workers out of three in Yugoslavia.(6) In all Yugoslav republics, massive strikes erupted. The local bourgeoisie, generally in the service of the West, had already stoked the fires of nationalism. The West was in two instances responsible for the wars that ensued.
Since then, Yugoslavia has opened the door for some multinational corporations and as such a bourgeois class could somehow develop. But the country has done little in terms of privatization and continues to operate a vast public sector. Yugoslavia hopes that it can keep Western multinationals in check.
As added evidence: in Albania, a neighboring country, the Yugoslavs can "admire" the benefits brought about by the multinationals in their entire splendor. The riches of the country have been plundered. The politically corrupt Mafia put into power by Washington in 1991 has robbed the Albanian population as a whole through the famous pyramid scam. The factories and basic infrastructure have been destroyed. As a consequence one out of ten Albanians had to flee the misery brought about by the capitalists.
Yugoslavia doesnít want the most important riches of Kosovo to be plundered: the mines of Trepca (zinc, lead, and gold). The estimated value is five billion dollars. Moreover, Trepca has remained public property, an unpalatable fact for the hungry Western ñ especially German ñ multinationals.
This is the first crime. No country has the right to resist the influx of multinationals.
Belgrade has consistently refused NATO the access to Yugoslavia as a launching pad to encircle Russia. Practically, the entire bourgeois ruling class in Eastern Europe has gone down on its knees for NATO, because they know that in case of social unrest they can call on the NATO "to put an end to the chaos."
NATOís drive towards the East will require billion dollar budgets for armament as well in the East as in the West at the expense of social programs and budgets. But for multinational arms dealers a war means automatically profit!
The expansion brings the nuclear weaponry at the gates of Moscow and could eventually lead to a Third World War. But the capitalist system has already conducted two world wars and they were not restrained by moral or humanitarian principles to launch those wars.
In order to market such dangerous expansionist policies, NATO had to package the operation so that public opinion could be swayed to their side. Yugoslavia and the so-called humanitarian brouhaha fit into the packaging as to a tee: "Look how these savage people are tearing one another apart. We, NATO, are sent to restore peace and order." But subservient media, tasked to indoctrinate public opinion, keep silent about the fact that Washington and Berlin have instigated the conflict. In the case of the two world wars, a same scenario has been used.
In the whole of Europe, it is only Belgrade that refuses to bow for NATO. It maintains its alliance with Moscow, against which NATO has aggressive intentions. To destabilize Yugoslavia, does serve three objectives: (1) Take away an ally from Moscow, (2) to close off the Mediterranean Sea, (3) to humiliate Yugoslavia and put it in its place.
The so-called negotiations of Rambouillet were only a farce. The major powers have never really brought Albanians and Serbs together. The Serbs had nevertheless offered the Kosovars a maximum autonomy since several months. That was, however, not in the script of NATO. The real objective of NATO was to force upon Yugoslavia NATO troops and bases. NATO didnít intend to have an immediate solution. They wanted the "problem" to fester. Such a situation would justify a programmed destruction of the Yugoslav army that had the courage to remain sovereign.
This is the second crime on the sleeve of Yugoslavia. No country should refuse the "honor" to accommodate NATO.
If you study carefully a map with the waterways in Europe, the strategic importance of the Danube will be obvious. It is the most important river of Europe beyond the borders of Russia, in terms of length (2,850 km.), its basin (800,000 sq. km.), and its volume. It connects the Southeastern part of Europe with the North and East, particularly Hamburg and Amsterdam, and will continue to be of strategic importance in the next century. More so because of problems of pollution and saturation of land roads.(7)
Germany wants to control in whatever way this cheap and direct access to the oil and natural gas fields of the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. But Washington has the same aspirations. For sure, both agree that Yugoslavia shouldnít have the control. The crime of Belgrade consists in the fact that it is situated on a strategic point of the Danube.
That is the third crime of Yugoslavia. Damned if you are located at a strategic point that is being coveted by major powers.
Do you remember what was the promise in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and socialism collapsed? Capitalism would bring peace and progress all over the place. All bourgeois parties in Europe, without exception, from the extreme right to the greens and social democrats, applaudedÖ
Where do we stand today? The production in the former Soviet Union has decreased with sixty percent. Poverty, Mafia, and wars have increased. Hundreds of thousands of women and children in Eastern Europe have resorted to prostitution. Small children in Bucharest dwell in the sewerages of the city because there it is dry and warm. In countries around the Caucasus, we witnessed terrible wars and conflicts.
And what did we get in the West? One factory after the other is closed down. Workers are terrified with the prospect to loose their jobs and to sink into poverty. Among the youth, there are more unemployed than ever. The best business in this part of the world is the business of drug trafficking.
The Third World experiences more and more war of aggression: Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo. Your lordship, Capitalism, what a list of honor!
Is there any relationship between all these developments? Surely, since the beginning of the crisis in 1973, capitalism has sunk further into that morass. This economic system demonstrates more clearly day after day that it is not able to feed humanity or to offer lasting peace.
What is basic in capitalism? Economic war. Behind the great sounding word "competition," we find a reality of capitalists waging war against the "enemy." In this type of war, it is not the commander with the most soldiers who wins, but the one who can optimize his troops: more productivity with less people. Productivity and flexibility have to be increased and to reach such goal "fear and terror" have become integral part of managerial methods in corporations. And those who resist, who refuse to succumb to fatalism, as the Clabecq workers demonstrated, experience local police, judges, and media distortion swarming around them. The omnipotence of the capitalists shouldnít be touched.
More and more layoffs are being the case. Mr. Schweitzer, the boss of Renault, has recently been chosen as the manager of the year. The capitalists do not make a mistake here: for them, Mr. Schweitzer is a role model. The fifty biggest enterprises in the world have laid off four million employees in the last ten years while their profits grew enormously.
They face the problem, for sure, that they will not be able to sell a house, a car, even a computer, to those they have laid off or those who have to work for a subsistence wage. That is the reason why the capitalists, in unison, are crying about decreasing demand. Their policies of layoffs and lower wages are instrumental in sawing off the branch on which they are seated. There is only one way out for them: to get the control on other countries. With the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe, they aimed at three goals: (1) conquer new markets for their enterprises, (2) cheaper workforce, and (3) access to strategic raw materials, particularly in Russia, at the expense of the competition. For that reason, economic war, sooner or later, becomes war for real.(1)
The new colonization of the world requires an interventionist army and military bases. From 1991 onwards, NATO has adjusted its strategy. And to gain acceptance for the new strategy in public opinion, NATO is hard pressed for war. And that is what we experience.
All these contradictions have continuously sharpened in the last year.
First of all, we live in an economic crisis. One third of the world experiences recession. The economic "tigers" as South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, once presented as the new miracle medicine of capitalism, experience today a reduction in production. Japan undergoes the same. Russia is collapsing. Specialists expect a stock market crash in South America. The economic apologists of capitalism wonder: "Do we get a new brutal recession as what happened in 1929?"
The US has done everything in its might to sabotage the Euro. This indicates a sharpening economic struggle between the US and Europe. Mergers and takeovers, as we have seen in the car industry, banking sector, armaments industry, and the air transportation, are part, in fact, of the life and death struggle for the control of the world economy.
Washington wages a war without letup against the Iraqi people in order to impose its say on the Middle East. This fact and the suppression of the Palestinian people have opened the eyes of the Arabic people on the inhuman character of capitalist forces. The revolt is growing. Notwithstanding all barbarian attacks, Washington does not get Iraq on its knees.
On the contrary, this failure brings about heavier conflicts among major powers. Europe intends also to make Iraq toe the line but with more subtle methods. Europe, guided by its own interest, contests the position of the US in the market and American chances for fat contracts in the Middle East. Similar tensions and conflicts appear when it comes to Cuba, China and the Balkan countries.
Berlin tries informally to wrest the control of Washington in the Balkan countries. It supports the former Albanian president Berisha who, with his militia, controls the north of the country, incidentally also the supply route for weapons to the KLA.
A typical example: The German press initially applauded the KLA offensive, while the US ambassador all the time labeled them "terrorists." The American press demanded that Berlin should stop arming terrorists. All these demands fell on deaf ears. Washington itself changed its tactics and started now supplying the KLA with arms in order to gain control on the KLA and dislodge Berlin.
In the beginning of 1999 we observed that tensions between Europe and the US exponentially grew as to the way Yugoslavia could be defeated. Even within the ruling class in the US protest arose against Clintonís tactics. Many feared a new Vietnam, and that fear has not subsided. In order to subdue Yugoslavia, many strategists opine, bombing will not be sufficient. You need to send ground forces. This entails the risk that Americans will be killed and the US bourgeoisie has quarrels about such move.
Why did Clinton decide to attack? Precisely to quell all criticism, in Europe as well as in America, and to assert for everyone that the US is the leader. When you corner a cat, she makes the strangest moves. The cruelty of Clinton signals weakness. The attack on Yugoslavia was a way out of growing internal contradictions.
Since the first attacks, criticism has somehow subsided, but hasnít disappeared. The quarrel within the Western camp will increase further as long as Yugoslavia continues its resistance.
Western leaders over and over again swear solemnly that they have no intention to send in ground forces. But the man in the street knows that war is in the air when he sees leaders frantically meeting to talk about peace.
Turkey has already offered its services. A Turkish friend forwarded me with the following quotation from "Hurriyet," March 27: "One of the aces of NATO in a war fought on the ground is the Turkish army and its experience in mountainous areas." And the Prime Minister Ecevit declared: "If NATO needs us, here we are." In another way it means: "We are well trained in exterminating Kurds and we apply to occupy a part of Yugoslavia." This would be a return for the Turks. The Turkish (Ottoman) empire has for centuries occupied the biggest part of the Balkan countries and Yugoslavia in particular.
Maybe that is the cynical solution that Washington might opt for: Some other body will do the genocide in their stead. US followed this strategy already in Africa: African armies or militia, trained, armed and guided by Washington, fought one another.
But the Europeans (Germany as well as France) would rather prefer to profit from American indecision to send ground troops or not, by occupying the terrain themselves. Last Friday, "Die Zeit" newspaper bannered; "Bombs, and what next?"