Russia and NATO

By Russia Profile
Friday, 17 Sep 2010

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The 1999 air war against the Serbs marked a decisive shift in NATO's mutation into a supranational force based on the doctrine of "humanitarian intervention." Its area of operations became unlimited, its "mandate" self-generated, and – as Dr. Trifkovic points out in a recent Russia Profile Experts Panel – its rationale remains as inherently Russophobic as ever.

Russia will never join NATO as a full member. Institutional integration is possible either if Russia ceases to exist as an autonomous actor capable of articulating its national interests, which mercifully will not happen (although the threat was real under former President Boris Yeltsin), or if NATO ceases to be an inherently anti-Russian institution, in which case it would lose its key underlying raison d’etre.  

Russia should not sign any security treaty with NATO, because what is contained in the UN Charter and in Russia’s various bilateral treaties with the U.S. and other NATO members is sufficient. The treaty would be either superfluous, or frivolous, or most likely both. It would unnecessarily grant the alliance a lease of life by enabling NATO-for-ever enthusiasts to pretend that it is more than it is or should be.

No additional coordinating or steering committees, working groups, expanded missions, or joint projects are necessary or useful. If there is to be a “paradigm shift” in Russia’s relations with NATO, it should be initiated from Washington and Brussels, with the announcement that the membership for Ukraine and Georgia is permanently “ad acta.”

A necessary and successful alliance during the Cold War, NATO is obsolete and harmful today. It no longer provides collective security of limited geographic scope (Europe) against a potentially predatory power (the Soviet Union). It has morphed into a vehicle for the attainment of misguided American objectives on a global scale. Russia’s pandering would merely cement and perpetuate its new, U.S.-invented "mission" as a self-appointed promoter of democracy, protector of human rights, guardian against instability, etc. The result was Bill Clinton's air war against the Serbs, which marked a decisive shift in NATO's mutation into a supranational security force based on the doctrine of "humanitarian intervention." The trusty keeper of the gate of 1949 had morphed into a roaming vigilante five decades later. 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been trying to articulate its goals and define its policies in terms of "traditional" national interests. The old Soviet dual-track policy of having "normal" relations with America, on the one hand, while seeking to subvert it, on the other, gave way to naïve attempts by Yeltsin and his Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to forge a "partnership" with the United States. 

By contrast, the early 1990s witnessed the beginning of America's attempt to assert its status as the only "hyperpower." The justification for the project was as ideological, and the implications were as revolutionary, as anything concocted by Grigory Zinoviev or Lev Trotsky in their heyday. America adopted its own dual-track approach. When Gorbachev's agreement was needed for German reunification, President George Bush Senior gave a firm promise that NATO wound not move eastward. Within years, however, instead of declaring victory and disbanding the alliance, the Clinton administration redesigned it as a mechanism for open-ended out-of-area interventions, at a time when every rationale for its existence had disappeared. Following the war against Serbia, NATO's area of operations became unlimited, its "mandate" entirely self-generated. Washington accepted that NATO faced "no imminent threat of attack," yet asserted that a larger NATO would be "better able to prevent conflict from arising in the first place," which is dangerous nonsense. 

The threat to Europe's security does not come from Russia or from a fresh bout of instability in the Balkans. The real threat to Europe's security and to its survival comes from Islam, from the deluge of inassimilable Third World immigrants, and from collapsing birth rates. All three are due to moral decrepitude and cultural degeneracy, not to any shortage of soldiers and weaponry. NATO’s structures can do nothing to alleviate these problems, because they are cultural, moral and spiritual. 

At the same time, NATO forces America to assume at least nominal responsibility for open-ended maintenance of a host of disputed frontiers that were drawn, often arbitrarily, by communist dictators, long-dead Versailles diplomats, and assorted local tyrants, and which bear little relation to ethnicity, geography, or history. NATO makes eventual adjustments – which are inevitable – more hazardous by pretending to underwrite an indefinite status quo in the region. 

Today’s NATO represents the global extension of the Leonid Brezhnev Doctrine – which, to its credit, applied only to the "socialist community," as opposed to the unlimited, potentially world-wide scope of the Clinton-Bush Doctrine. The "socialist community" stopped on the Elbe, but this “new NATO” stops nowhere. It is the agent of revolutionary dynamism with global ambitions, in the name of ideological norms of “democracy, human rights and open markets.”

That neurotic dynamism can and should be resisted by the emerging coalition of weaker powers – including Russia and China – acting on behalf of the essentially "conservative" principles of state sovereignty, national interest, and reaffirmation of the right to their own spheres of geopolitical dominance. The doctrine of global interventionism is bound to produce an effective counter-coalition.

The neoliberal-neoconservative duopoly still refuses to grasp this fact. Russia should do absolutely nothing to postpone its coming to terms with reality.