The Washington Times
Sunday, May 17, 1998


By Bob Djurdjevic

Highlighted text shown in a box inside the half-page column:

The reason that the NATO vote was such a hot potato on the Hill is that it revealed where the majority of senators' real loyalties lie: with the arms contractors - not with the people who sent the lawmakers to Washington.

The NATO expansion debate is now over. The U.S. Senators have dropped the NATO hot potato almost as quickly as they picked it up. And the final score is: U.S. Death Merchants - 81; U.S. Taxpayers - 19.

In other words, it was a blow-out, to borrow a sports term! Until the next round that is. In November, we - the U.S. taxpayers - will get a chance to show our ire and hold the feet to the fire of some of the 81 Senators who sold us down the river to America's death merchants. The latter pumped some $33 million dollars since 1990 into our legislators' campaigns in the hope this may help "sharpen their (the Senators) thinking" when the time to vote comes, according to Col. David Hackworth, America's most decorated living soldier and a syndicated columnist.

The reason that the NATO vote was such a hot potato on the Hill is that it revealed where the majority of Senators' real loyalties lie - with the arms contractors, not with the people who sent the lawmakers to Washington. The final vote will not only help stoke the embers of Cold War II, but it will also mean more taxpayers' money in the U.S. death merchants' pockets.

Even the time the final votes were cast - on Thursday, Apr. 30 at 10:25 p.m. - well past most East Coast morning media deadlines, suggests that it may have been orchestrated to receive MINIMAL ATTENTION by the U.S. electorate. By the time the local papers got to report it (if at all - the Arizona Republic, for example, did not even run a story), it was "old news" fit to be tucked inside some back pages.

The latest twists in the Clinton-Lewinsky-Jones-Starr-Hubbell (not a telescope! :-) trash hit the headlines by Saturday morning, overshadowing one of the most egregious examples of betrayal of the American people by our elected representatives.

The 80 U.S. senators who voted for the death merchants (81 if you also count Jon Kyl of Arizona, whose staff told us that he was "absent" at the time of the vote, but that he "was in favor" of the NATO expansion) might have been hoping that their little "dirty deed" may slip by undetected. Well it didn't.

Interestingly, Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota and Vermont were the states whose BOTH senators voted against the NATO expansion. So it appears that the U.S. patriotism, common sense, or lack or moral corruption - take your pick - runs in clusters. Also, at least one Senator from nine other states (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia), chose to side with the U.S. taxpayers.

Just how well senatorial thinking has been sharpened, and how thoroughly their wheels have been greased, became apparent in an earlier vote on Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) amendment to limit the cost of the NATO expansion to the American taxpayers. His amendment was soundly defeated in a 76-24 vote.

What's at stake, of course, is tens of billions of dollars which the three new NATO countries (Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland) will have to spend on American-made arms and equipment so as to become compatible with the NATO standards. "Poland alone may buy up to 150 fighters at around $40 million a pop," Col. Hackworth estimates. "And somewhere down the muddy track, 14 other former Soviet bloc countries could become NATO-ized with tanks, radios and aircraft, all, if the contractors have their way, made in the good ol' United States of America."

This is the reason some Eastern European military experts are also balking at the expansion. Josef Pawelec, for example, a retired Polish colonel and a former member of that country's Parliament, wrote in a June 1997 issue of the Executive Intelligence Review: "For those who (can) think (for themselves), the process of NATO expansion is either an idea coming from the devil himself, or from an intelligent spy or a traitor. That is because it is difficult to find a rational explanation for it under present peacetime conditions in the region."

The reason? "The Rand Corp. estimated that including the Visegrad group (Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic) in NATO will require over $100 billion in additional costs. This is unquestionable. We have experience in this matter from the Warsaw Pact. We will have to standardize, that is, exchange, practically all the equipment in all the armies of the new member (calibers, codes, and other systems of the Warsaw Pact countries are totally different from those of NATO). The chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee announced on Polish television that our defense budget will be determined by NATO according to the needs of the NATO alliance. We know these needs. For example, France's (military) budget is 250 billion francs (about $50 billion). Taking only one-tenth of this amount, we need 15 billion zloty, which means two times more than we are spending now."

And then, there is just as ticklish a question... Even if the "Poles et. al." collectively decide that doubling their defense budget was a good idea, do they have the money? "Can they afford to bear the burden or not?" Harkin asked on the Senate floor on Apr. 28. "We've been told they can. Now I'm hearing, well, maybe they can't, we'll have to give them subsidies for weapons. If that's the case, do they have the economic strength to join NATO?"

Of course, not. But as Col. Hackworth notes: "No sweat. The arms gang has set up a US-backed loan program with their porker pals in Congress. Of course, American taxpayers will guarantee it."

And, of course, Wall Street will fund it. Once that happens, the formerly free and sovereign Eastern European nations will become the financial slaves of the New World Order, just as surely as the Southeast Asian countries did, when they took the Wall Street money. So the former Soviet-East Side Gang's dominions will have become the Wall Street-West Side Gang's minions. New masters, new chains, same old slavery...


As for the U.S. taxpayers, should any of the loans turn bad, we will be asked to bail out Wall Street bankers, just as we did in Mexico and Southeast Asia. After all, our government will have guaranteed those loans, as Col. Hackworth predicted. As if this country's $6 trillion debt and the $300 billion-plus interest payments weren't burdensome enough already even without the NATO expansion!

Get the idea? More money spent by taxpayers; more money made by Big Business and Wall Street. The NATO expansion is, therefore, simply the latest tactic in the New World Order elite's continuous PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL COMMERCE strategy. And the proof of is the Senate's 81-19 score.

Besides the economic issues, there are, of course, serious geopolitical ramifications of the NATO expansion. The Russians don't like NATO's encroachment on their borders, and have let it be known in no uncertain terms.

"Wait till Russia growls again and the race -- arms race, that is -- takes off like a Montana grizzly bear after a fat New York City tourist," Col. Hackworth predicted colorfully.

No sooner was the ink dry on his column, when Russia confirmed that it would deliver this summer $200 million-worth of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Cyprus, the U.S. objections to it notwithstanding (see today's, Apr. 29, front page New York Times story, "Greek Cypriots to Get Missiles from Russians"). The missiles have sufficient range to strike at the aircraft over Turkey, not just around Cyprus.

So as the U.S. is rattling its sabers in the northeast, Russia is quietly driving a wedge between the two NATO members in the southeast of Europe. A new war between Greece and Turkey, which some pundits think is inevitable in the next few years, may be the start of NATO's unraveling, as its members line up between either Turkey or Greece (the U.S. behind Turkey; most Europeans behind Greece). In other words, the current U.S. European policy is self-destructive, and may end up being suicidal.

A New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, seems to agree. He argued in his Feb. 17 piece that, "stemming the weapons proliferation should be the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy." But isn't. Which is why he criticized the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, for being inconsistent.

As if trying to confirm this criticism, Albright wrote an OpEd piece which New York Times published on Apr. 29 under the headline, "Stop Worrying About Russia." The Secretary of State basically said "tough luck" to the Russians, arrogantly asserting the U.S./NATO right to move in on the former Soviet minions. "If we want Russia to complete its transformation into a modern European power, the last thing we should do is to act as if Central Europe is still a Russian sphere of influence," Albright argued.

But what if the Russians don't think that being "modern" is such a cool idea? What if they see the moral and political decay in the West and say, "Yukh! Who'd want that?" All the Russians need to do is look around and see the devastation upon their culture and lifestyles which the western "reformers" have wreaked in just a few short years.

Furthermore, if the three Eastern European countries which the U.S. government if pushing for admission to NATO are indeed so "modern," how come the European Union hasn't admitted them as members? Are we trying to be more European than the Europeans? Or (super)impose our will on them? And if the latter is the case, you don't think that even our most loyal western allies will eventually resent it, notwithstanding what they say or don't say in public? After all, they have their own death merchants.

Some, not many, Senators seem to understand all that. Robert Smith (R-NH), for example, argued that, "with or without NATO, the United States can come to the defense of any European nation next week, tomorrow, next year or five years from now. Should Europe ever be threatened by Russia, or by anybody else, we can expand NATO. We can do it quickly." He continued: "But there is a lot to lose and very little to gain by expanding NATO now. We basically say to Russia: 'Don't worry about it. Don't worry about NATO expansion. It is O.K. It is a defensive alliance.' But it does not matter what we say. It matters what the Russians think. They have stated clearly and officially they oppose expansion. It has been said by others on the floor, and I agree that we should not set our foreign policy based on what the Russians say, I will be the first to admit that, but we ought to realize there is a lot going on inside Russia and there is no threat to these nations from Russia.

So tell me what the threat is. Tell me what the urgency is. There is no urgency. There is no threat. It is an emotional feel-good thing to do. They earned it. They are free. Let us put them under the umbrella of NATO and protect them. From what? We are still going to go to their defense if anything threatens them. Every person in the Senate knows it. The most important requirement for the Poles, the Czechs and the Hungarians as far as their security is concerned is that America and Russia remain friends. That is the protection these nations need, that Russia and America become friends and remain friends..."

At which point, Senator John Warner (R-VA), interjected: "Mr. President, will the Senator allow me to observe that the American taxpayers, since 1992, have contributed $2.6 billion in the spirit of that friendship to help Russia dismantle its weapons systems? And here this comes along and takes a red-hot poker and jams it right in their ribs."

Whose? The Russians or the taxpayers? Actually, both. "It sure does," Sen. Smith agreed. "The Senator knows that. He knows the Senator has worked on this issue tirelessly in the Armed Forces Committee and has visited Russia to see this. I don't think anybody could deny that in the very near future Russia is going to be one of the, if not the, strongest nations in that region of the world. The question is whose side is it going to be on? Is it going to be on the Iranians' side? Is it going to be an alliance with the Chinese Communists? Or is it going to be on our side? If it is on our side, why will the Poles care or the Czechs or the Hungarians or anybody else? The point is they wouldn't.

What we ought to be doing again is keeping the window open, using the advantages that we have to draw that out, to draw them this way. Senator Warner has mentioned how they have reached out to do that. We are taking down tremendous numbers of weapons that have been aimed at the United States for decades.

But extending an alliance, which during the cold war the Soviet Union considered hostile, the countries that she doesn't threaten is basically kicking this former giant, like the Senator from Virginia said, poking them in the ribs... That is exactly what we are doing.

God knows. I have stood on this floor many times and in the House Chamber before that and extolled the virtues of the United States against the Cold War, the Soviet Union, and voted trillions to defeat it. But let's not walk away from the victory. Let's not walk away from the victory. History shows that it is unwise to treat nations like that, and it is highly dangerous for countries in the middle, because these are the countries that are going to suffer if there is a confrontation that takes place between the United States and Russia again. It is the nations in the middle in Eastern Europe that are going to get the squeeze. That is where it is going to be fought. Those are the people who are going to suffer."

Hear, hear!

As George Kennan, now age 94, told the New York Times columnist on May 1, Thomas Friedman, "I think it (the Senate vote) is the beginning of a new cold war... I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves."

Kennan was the architect of the successful U.S. "containment" policy of the Soviet Union. He is one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century who joined the State Department in 1926, and served as the U.S. ambassador in Moscow in 1952. His parting comment to Mr. Friedman was, "this has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end."

Phoenix, Ariz.


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