In Brussels in the first week of May NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered his urbi et orbi (to the city and the world) monthly address, the bloc’s Military Committee assembled the defense chiefs of 49 nations supplying troops for the war in Afghanistan and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden visited the Alliance’s headquarters.
As the world faces an almost two-year economic downturn epitomized by the national crisis in Greece and natural disasters like the devastating earthquake in Haiti and the fallout from volcanic eruptions in Iceland, the U.S.-led Western military bloc is preparing for interventions around the world.
For NATO, which however much it pretends to be something else or something more is a military bloc, all problems in the world require some variety of military action.
It exploited an ethnic conflict in Kosovo to launch its first war in Europe in 1999 and attacks on the American cities of New York and Washington two years later to begin its first war in Asia. Having fought a 78-day air war and now waging a nearly nine-year ground war, NATO is hardly a paper, and by no means a defensive, organization.
Its threat to intervene in as many as a score of different areas it has identified as part of its 21st century expeditionary mission is not to be taken lightly.
On May 5 its Secretary General Rasmussen delivered his monthly press briefing in Brussels and announced that he and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will hold a press conference on May 17 after NATO’s Group of Experts presents its report on the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept.
The new military doctrine will be the first in this century, the first since the completion of NATO’s precedent-setting large-scale air war in 1999 and its transition to fighting a ground war and counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.