The Partnership for "Peace" (P.F.P.) grouping was established by N.A.T.O. (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in 1994. In the words of it's own documents it's role is to: "develop co-operative military relations with N.A.T.O. and to increase members ability to undertake peacekeeping, humanitarian and other missions" and "active participation in P.F.P. will play an important role in the evolutionary process of the expansion of N.A.T.O.". (1)
According to Bill Clinton the P.F.P. is: "A path to full N.A.T.O. membership for some and a strong lasting link to the Alliance for all." (2)
The British Ministry of Defence document 'Stable Forces in a Strong Britain' describes it thus "The P.F.P. programme offers close so-operation in fields such as the preparation of forces for use in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. Participation in the programme will also assist those partners who aspire to N.A.T.O. membership in the evolutionary process leading to their integration". (3)
In 1997 the P.F.P was upgraded to deliver a capacity for 'Peace Enforcement' "making the difference between being a partner and being an ally razor thin" (4) - according to the U.S. ambassador to N.A.T.O. The P.F.P. is essentially a puppet of and a front organisation for N.A.T.O. . It operates under the North Atlantic Council, N.A.T.O. 's governing body headed by N.A.T.O.'s Secretary General.
From it's inception the Progressive Democrat and Fine Gael parties have advocated Irish membership. The 1996 Government White Paper on Foreign Policy produced by the 'Rainbow Coalition' of Fine Gael, Labour and the Democratic Left also advocated that the Irish state join the P.F.P., although Democratic Left denounce it when in opposition.
The 1997 Fianna Fail election manifesto states their stance plain: "We will oppose any moves to edge Ireland closer to membership of an alliance still committed to the deployment and use of nuclear weapons. We oppose Irish participation in N.A.T.O. itself, [and] in N.A.T.O.-led organisations such as the Partnership for Peace . . ." . (5)
The previous year again while in opposition Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern nailed his colours to the mast and described the proposals of the 'Rainbow Coalition' regarding the P.F.P. in the following trenchant terms: "it will be seen by other countries as a gratuitous signal that Ireland is moving away from neutrality and towards gradual co-operation in N.A.T.O. and the Western European Union [the military arm of the E.U.] in due course. It is the thin edge of the wedge which will be justified for all sorts of practical reasons and to increase our alleged influence, whereas we will have no influence on Alliance thinking as junior or second class partners." (6)
"We would regard any attempt to push Partnership for Peace or participation in Western European Union tasks by resolution in this House without reference to the people who under our Constitution have the right 'in final appeal to decide all questions of national policy' [i.e. without a referendum] as a serious breach of faith and fundamentally undemocratic." (7)
More recently Fianna Fail T.D. Michael O'Kennedy asked "If some of the partners for peace are suppliers of armaments for destruction and suffering and murder, is it not the case that Ireland has a unique role outside such partnerships?." (8)
Perhaps in reflection of the fact that the Irish Government and Irish based companies are involved in the supply of armaments for destruction, suffering and murder the Fianna Fail leadership have decided that the answer to that question is no.
In January 1999 Mr Ahern seems to have regarded the new year as the occasion to turn over a new leaf: "I would envisage, all going well that Ireland will join the Partnership for Peace on a mutually agreed basis in the second half of this year, and the Government will be working towards that timetable." (9)
It would be tempting to compare this about-face to Paul on the road to Damascus but for the fact that this u-turn was unsurprising as we had been given several presentiments of it's imminence. Both Fianna Fail Minister for Foreign Affairs David Andrews and his chief civil servant Secretary General of the Department for Foreign Affairs Padraic MacKernan spoke out in favour of the P.F.P. in the months preceding Ahern's announcement and it was a Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrats coalition government which in 1990 allowed U.S. planes on their way to the Gulf conflict to re-fuel in Shannon.
In fact this announcement by Ahern could be seen as the formal
overt political approval for what was already the policy for at least
some sectors of the state: "The decision to join the P.F.P. and
integrate the Defence Forces in a European defence structure has been
a directing factor in Army planning for almost a decade."
(Irish Times 30/1/99)
The concrete arguments advanced by the political establishment in favour of membership of P.F.P. have been that other "neutrals" in Europe are doing it and that without it the Irish state will be unable to participate in further U.N. peacekeeping missions.
Firstly, the argument that the other "neutrals" of Europe are doing it is akin to saying 'well everybody takes drugs nowadays' , peer pressure eh? I do not recommend using this line of defence in a court of law. Secondly, even if we regard U.N. peacekeeping missions to be the selfless worthy cause they are made out to be, which I do not, the assertion that without membership of P.F.P. the Irish state could not participate in U.N. peacekeeping flies in the face of reality, there are seventeen ongoing U.N. missions at the moment and only one of those is under N.A.T.O. control.
These arguments have been accompanied by vague musings about how 'we're all Europeans now' , one could as easily say we're all Europeans now therefore the European peace movement has it dead right.
With the Partnership for "Peace" within their grasp the sights of some are placed upon N.A.T.O. itself, Fine Gael spokesman on foreign affairs Gay Mitchell T.D. addressed his party's 1999 Ard Feis stating that: "Our signature on the Good Friday Agreement may, in time, bring with it security, defence, policy/and or defence commitments. Lifford is in neutral Ireland, across the bridge Strabane has been in N.A.T.O. since 1949. . . If unionists call our bluff and ask for an All-Ireland institution to deal with these issues are we to say no?" (10)
So Peace (which is how the Good Friday Agreement was sold) means War and I await the Fine Gael proposal to establish an All-Ireland institution to administer anti-Catholic discrimination and investigate the possibility of a reinstatement of the Penal Laws.
Mr Mitchell went on to compare the opponents of the ending of neutrality to the D.U.P.
"We have no principled reason to behave on security issues like irredentionist D.U.P. hard-liners do on other issues. We must be capable of discussion, openly and without fear." (11)
That's right folks, opposition to for example, nuclear weapons is unprincipled we should be able to face the prospect of their use without fear.
Annual world expenditure on education is 4 billion.
Annual world expenditure on water and sanitation is 6 billion.
Annual world military expenditure is 538 billion.
- figures from the United Nations Human Development Report
"Ruthless and Monolithic conspiracy", "Evil Empire" these were the terms which Kennedy and Reagan respectively used to describe the "Communist" bloc though of late they easily could have been employed by their successor against the Iraqi regime which has, in recent years, replaced the Kremlin as the worlds No.1 bogeyman. During the Cold War, the bomber gap of the 50's, the missile gap of the 60's and the military spending gap of the late 70's and the 80's all of which claimed a vast "Soviet" superiority in the means to wage war and all of which were completely false and unfounded were used to mobilise public support behind the Western war machine, today the same role is played by Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction".
In the distorted reality of mass media propaganda both states are portrayed as hell-bent on territorial expansion via military aggression, yet the number of actual instances in which they went to war are dwarfed by the invasions and interventions of the United States and it's allies. In the Gulf oil is not the whole story as with the Cold War the vested interest of Big Business in arms manufacture - the "Military Industrial Complex" lurks behind the hollow rhetoric of fighting for freedom. Military spending often on projects of very little actual military value gives companies a guaranteed market for their products, and funds research and development which can then be used for non-military commercial products, the Computer or Aeroplane industries are perfect examples both developed under the protective wing of the U.S. military budget.
This massive system of state subsidy would make the wealthiest Irish farmer blush and even extends to plants being owned by the Government and operated by Corporations. One company managed to charge the U.S. air force $1,000 dollars for an ordinary pair of pliers. Not to be outdone the U.S. Navy purchased plastic ashtrays at the price of $659 dollars apiece for it's aircraft.
In April 1949 N.A.T.O. the parent body of the Partnership for "Peace" was formed.
According to 'Business Week' (American) of June 1949: "The aircraft manufacturing industry is on it's way out of the red ink for the first time since the end of the war. Reason: big military orders placed last week by the Navy and AirForce" (12)
And so it has continued. This situation although not to the same extent is also prevalent in Britain where half of the country's scientists are engaged in military research, where the so-called defence budget increased by 20% during the 1980's despite the ending of the Cold War, in any case it was a much larger percentage of the G.N.P. than West Germany's despite the fact that West Germany was the projected conventional battleground of World War 3 and where in the fall of '97 Labour (and sorry Mr Benn that is the party you're in and sorry S.W.P. et al that is the party you told us to vote for) spent 40 million on test-firing two Trident missiles and then bought another seven for 170 million. Trident missiles are used to carry nuclear warheads each one is capable of delivering 224 warheads each with the destructive power equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb twenty times over. The Hiroshima bomb killed 80,000 people and injured 70,000 in the space of a few minutes. 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' would be an apt description. Another military project the British state is involved in is the 'Eurofighter', a fighter plane being developed in conjunction with a number of West European states. In 1997 the cost of the Eurofighter more than doubled to 42 billion which is about the same as the G.D.P. of the Irish Republic. The British Government also plan to invest 200 million in the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter and have announced a scheme to re-quip each branch of their armed forces.
Likewise in the United States the end of the Cold War has seen no let up in so-called "defence" spending, in actual fact the U.S. Government is now spending more on war per capita for each person employed by it's military than it was in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam war. Side by side with this is the international arms trade which is dominated by the United States (with 52% of the market) Britain, France, Russia and China, yes it's the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council those people ever eager to defend us from those nasty tin pot dictators with those dangerous weapons and the first four, are of course, our "partners" for "peace".
Partnership for "Peace" and the enlargement of N.A.T.O. is the pot at the end of the rainbow for the merchants of death with at least $22 billion in arms contracts due to the expansion into Eastern Europe alone and some estimate it to be an even greater market according to U.S. think tank RAND - the entry of Hungary, Poland and the Czech and Slovak republics into N.A.T.O. will cost them $35billion over a ten year period. This is because members of P.F.P./N.A.T.O. have to use N.A.T.O. standard weaponry.
In the words of Joel Johnson of the Aerospace Industries Association : "The market [in Eastern Europe] for fighter jets alone is worth $10 billion. Then there's transport aircraft, utility helicopters, communications and avionics. Add them together and we're talking real money." (13)
This war waste process is already underway in Ireland, last April forty Armoured Personnel Carriers (A.P.C.'s)were ordered to the tune of 40 million pounds. Previously the Irish state's defence forces only had two of these vehicles. This is just the beginning: "Exercises conducted under the PFP auspices would require a much larger troop commitment than with the UN in Lebanon. The Army will also require a major investment in military hardware." (Irish Times 30/1/99). Arms manufactures have spent $51 million lobbying the U.S. Congress to allow P.F.P. members Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to join N.A.T.O.
As we go to press the Irish Governement has just announced plans to spend 200 million pounds on developing their Navy.
In the first half of the 19th Century Africa was to Europeans 'the Dark Continent', unknown, a large blank space on the map which geographers filled in with pictures of fantastic beasts with the exception of a few outposts along the coast none of the continent was under European control. By 1914 all this had changed and all of Africa was included within European empires with the exceptions of Liberia (set up by the U.S. as a home for freed slaves and within the U.S. 'sphere of influence') and Ethiopia or Abyssinia as it was then known (which had suffered an Italian invasion and was to become an Italian colony from 1936 to 1941). This was not just a case of direct control, often the tactic employed was to have local rulers act as collaborators with the real power resting in the Imperial metropolis. This conquest, the carving up of the spoils as well as the mass murder, enslavement, systematic looting and pillage that was integral to it was all justified in paternalistic, humanitarian terms.
The troops were in Africa to bring the benefits of the 3 c's - Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation to the poor, simple, primitives that made up the native population who had to be rescued from paganism, the slave trade and ignorance; imperialism was envisaged in the press of the day as some sort of gigantic charitable enterprise.
Here's a good example of this from the mouth of a Portuguese:
"Our whole policy has been, and continues to be, to improve the cultural, economic and social level of the Negro . . . to drag him from his ignorance and backwardness, to try and make him a rational and honourable individual.." (14)
But perhaps the best example of humanitarian expression cloaking exploitative intent is the establishment of what was then known as the Congo Free State and which later went through innumerable name changes from Belgian Congo to Congo to Zaire and now back to Congo again, at least for the moment.
In September 1876 King Leopold the Second of Belgium addressing a conference of explorers and geographers he had organised, spoke of his plans for Africa:
"To open to civilisation the only part of our globe where it has yet to penetrate, to pierce the darkness which envelops whole populations, it is, I dare say, a crusade worthy of this age of progress" (15)
He went on to form the 'International African Association' to further his imperial plans which were preceding independently of the Belgian state. By 1884 this had been renamed the 'International Association of the Congo' it's purpose was, according to the 22nd of October 1884 issue of the 'Daily Telegraph' : "to carry into the interior of Africa new ideas of law, order, humanity, and protection of the natives" (16)
King Leopold described his association as akin to the "Society of the Red Cross" and the 'Leeds Mercury' described him as a "noble minded Sovereign who had the wisdom and courage to begin the enterprise of the Congo which would be the bright centre to the new Federation of Freedom and Peace". (17)
By the turn of the century after a conflict with Arab slave traders the Congo Free Sate was established with King Leopold as it's sole ruler and main proprietor. In 1904 Roger Casement of 1916 fame was employed in Africa by the British Foreign Office and investigated the rubber trade in Leopold's empire, in the extracts from his report re-printed below he interviews some of it's victims.
"How does the government impose the 'tax'?
From our country each village had to take 20 loads of rubber. These loads were big. .
We had to take these loads in 4 times a month.
How much pay did you get for this?
[the entire audience] We got no pay. We got nothing . . . It used to take 10 days to get the 20 baskets of rubber - we were always in the forest to find the rubber vines, to go with out food and our women had to give up cultivating the fields and gardens. Then we starved. Wild Beasts - the leopards - killed some of us while we were working away in the forest and others got lost or died from exposure or starvation and we begged the white men to leave us alone, saying we could get no more rubber, but the white men and their soldiers said: Go you are only beasts yourselves. You are only Nyama [meat]. We tried, always going further into the forest, and when we failed and our rubber was short, the soldiers came to our towns and killed us. Many were shot, some had their ears cut off; others were tied up with ropes around their necks and bodies and taken away."
"How do you know it was the white men who sent the soldiers? It might only be the savage soldiers themselves? No, no, sometimes we brought rubber into the white men's stations . . . when it was not enough the white men would put some of us in lines, one behind the other, and would shoot through all our bodies. Sometimes he would shoot us like that with his own hand; sometimes his soldiers would do it." (18)
The particular area where Casement conducted these interviews had been completely de-populated going from 40,000 persons to a mere one thousand, elsewhere it was the same and Casement reported stories of hundreds of people being butchered, some hacked to death, some burnt alive, some shot and their hands cut off ,whether they were dead or alive, to serve as proof that the soldiers were not wasting ammunition.
The driving force of this empire building was economic - the need to acquire new sources of raw materials, new markets within which to sell the manufactured goods of Europe (to the collaborators) and sources of cheap (and as we can see from the above often forced) labour and the need to deny these to competitors.
From 1960 onwards, from the time of the 'wind of change', formal political control was ceded to African states, but how much has changed?
Cash "Crops": Basically this somewhat inaccurate term refers to a relic of direct colonialism whereby a country's economy is centred around the export of one agricultural or mineral commodity to one other country, for example Venezuela produces oil for the United States market, Ghana cocoa for the British market etc..... . This allows the Imperialist state to determine the price of the commodity as it has alternative sources of supply whereas the neo-colony does not have an alternate market.
Debt: Many "Third World" states are heavily indebted to Northern banking institutions principally the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Latin America paid out almost $200 billion to these banks from 1980 to 1990, Africa, a far poorer region paid out $3 billion in debt repayments between 1983 to 1990. Most of these payments actually cover the interest on debts rather than the debts themselves.
Multi-Nationals: Natural resources in many former colonies are under the control of Northern corporations, for example oil, with British Petroleum mining it in Colombia and Algeria, Shell mining it in Nigeria and Texaco and Total mining it in Burma.
Cheap Labour: The fact that what was once the colonial world remains a source of cheap labour to Northern corporations is testified to by the recent decision of the 'Fruit of the Loom' to relocate some of their production from Donegal (wage rate - 200 pounds per week) to Morocco (wage rate - 40 pounds per week).
One could say then that a neo-colonial or neo-imperialist relationship exists between the countries of the "Third World" and the North American, West European and Japanese states.
What is the significance of this?
It is simply that when those states, or more often than not the U.S.A. on it's own, military intervenes in a "Third World" area they are doing so in defence of the state of affairs described above, sometimes to meet the direct interests of a particular corporation, sometimes to contain a wider threat to the interests of the entire economic "elite". An apt example of this took place in Guatemala in 1954.
At the time one and a half million acres of agricultural land in the country was controlled by the United Fruit Company of Boston as was the railways, the port and the telecommunications system. In 'democratic' elections in 1951 the government of Colonel Arbenz came to power, one of the policies they enacted was land reform- the compulsory purchase by the government of fallow land held by major landlords who were to be compensated to the full value of their properties they had declared for tax purposes and the distribution of that land to the small holders and the landless. One of these major landowners was the United
Fruit Company. The United Fruit Company had a direct line to the U.S. Government in the form of State Department head John Foster Dulles whose legal firm had major contracts with United Fruit and whose brother Allen was head of the C.I.A. and held shares in United Fruit. Nor was that the only link, Robert Cutler head of the staff of the National Security Council had been a director of United Fruit and Spruille Braden Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American
Affairs later became a director of United Fruit. The C.I.A. armed, trained, funded and provided spy reports to a Honduuras based rebel force of the indigenous Landlord opposition. This "guerrilla" army was equipped with a radio station and an air force by the C.I.A. whose support cost $20 million in the first six months of 1954 alone.
Air support was crucial in the winning of victory by the rebel forces of Colonel Armas which helped by the key political support of the Catholic Church took Guatemala City in June 1954.
A land reform free dictatorship was then established.
All this is now admitted by the Establishment press according to a C.I.A. chronology published in 'USA Today' on the C.I.A.'s 50th anniversary : "CIA and State Department jointly stage a coup in Guatemala , overthrowing President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, a leftist reformer who tried to expropriate the U.S.-based United Fruit Company."
The entry for the previous year read : "CIA backed coup overthrows Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who had threatened to nationalise Western oil interests in Iran." (19)
The head of the U.S. Armed Forces General Shalikashvili wants the Partnership for Peace to operate in Africa and the Middle East and it is expected that N.A.T.O. will under go a strategic policy review this year and become oriented towards missions in Africa and the Middle East away from it's traditional 'Theatre of Operations' which has been Europe. The purpose of the Partnership for Peace is of course humanitarian.
N.A.T.O. was formed in April 1949 and originally consisted of the United States, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Canada, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Italy and Norway with Greece and Turkey joining in 1952 and West Germany in 1955.
It was sold to us as necessary to 'defend democracy' and to 'deter Soviet aggression'.
Apart from the question that is their so-called 'democracy' worth defending in the first place, it is a strange 'defence of democracy' that has involved in it the dictatorships of Turkey, Portugal (until 1974) and Greece ('67 to '73) and it is a strange 'defence of democracy' that is established by a State (the U.S.) which has overthrown 'democracy' when it suited it (e.g. Guatemala in '54 , Chile in '73).
Deterring 'Soviet' aggression? Was there a military threat to Western Europe from the 'Soviet' Union in 1949? The 'Soviet' Union was devastated in the Second World War with 25 million dead and 15 large cities, 1,710 towns and 70,000 villages destroyed, economically vital areas had been left as moonscape.
Russia then was hardly in a position to wage war even if it's rulers so desired. Furthermore their victory over the Third Reich had in part been fuelled by American logistical support.
The creation of N.A.T.O. was a key point in the development of the Cold War and the division of Europe into American and 'Soviet' spheres of influence. Much of the events normally classed as being part of the Cold War were more a case of the superpowers enforcing their control over their dominions rather than hostility between them, for example the Russian invasions of Hungary in '56 and of Czechoslovakia in '68 or the American invasions and interventions in Central America in the '80's or in South East Asia in the '60's, in all these cases the enemy of the superpower concerned was indigenous to the area concerned. The Cold War provided a pretext military involvement in the puppet states and neo-colonies and served to discipline the home populations and client governments of the superpowers by the invoking of the American or Russian threat - mirror images of each other.
Another contour of the Cold War was the vested interest in the Arms Race held by powerful elements of the U.S. corporate "elite" i.e. the arms industry. However as well as these factors for which the Cold War as it appears in the history books is little more than a cover story there was also a genuine anti-'Soviet' drive in the West. Russia pre-1917 was integrated into the global imperialist system with most of it's industrial production the product of French or British investment it was also heavily indebted to French banks and served as a breadbasket for Western Europe - as with the "Third World" much of it's agricultural produce exported.
The developments after 1917 changed this and in part the Cold War was an effort to place Eastern Europe under Western Imperialist control again. This has now been achieved with the I.M.F. in the place of the French bankers and the investments in and buy ups of the newly privatised industries coming from American capitalists.
However this situation may not persist forever and it is quite possible than a nationalist faction of the Ruling Class may take power in Russia from the current Western client faction. With that in mind the encirclement of Russia can be seen in a different light than as a partnership for peace. Three former members of the Eastern Bloc are about to join N.A.T.O. - Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Almost all of the former Eastern Bloc States aim at inclusion in N.A.T.O. as do states which were formerly part of the 'Soviet' Union. N.A.T.O. has also been conducting naval exercises with the armed forces of the Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting at the 1998 Labour Conference in Blackpool Michael Clarke Professor of Defence Studies at Kings College, London, claimed that: "The Central European states did not believe that the objectives of N.A.T.O. had been transformed. They said frankly that they were simply switching sides in the old East-west divide." (20)
Speaking at the same meeting was Micheal McGwire former N.A.T.O. war planner who said that: "In America there were two trends supporting enlargement [of N.A.T.O.]. One was Wilsonian liberalism; the other was right-wing and moderate Republicans, motivated by rivalry towards and enmity to Russia. The trust of N.A.T.O. activity leaned towards the latter." (21)
This is in part recognised by some of the chorus singers for N.A.T.O. in Ireland, Alan Dukes former leader of Fine Gael wrote in the 'Sunday Tribune' some time ago that the motivation behind Eastern European states desire to join military pacts with the West was " .....a concern to protect themselves against the risk they perceive: that reactionary anti-democratic forces in the C.I.S. [i.e. Russia] . . . .might attempt to re-establish their influence and control in the recently freed states." Read 'nationalist' rather than pro-western for 'reactionary anti-democratic' (they are, as are their opponents) and one gets the picture.
Partnership for Peace?
The vested interest of the dominant state within N.A.T.O. i.e. the U.S. in the continuation of the Cold War was surely a factor in the spurning of peace offer after peace offer from their adversary over forty years of cold conflict. A few examples:
In 1952 Moscow offered to withdraw from Germany in favour of a unified and neutral parliamentary 'democracy'. The U.S.A. objected on the basis that they did not recognise the Oder-Neisse line East Germany's border with Poland ( after W.W. 2 the Polish state got large slices of previously German territory this is what the Oder-Neisse border refers to) and because the unified Germany would not be allowed to join N.A.T.O. - this ten years after Germany virtually alone almost destroyed Russia. News of this proposal was not disclosed by Washington until after the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee met to consider the Mutual Security Act 1952 under which a grant of $7.5 billion was given to West European states to buy U.S. arms.
In the early 1960's 'Soviet' dictator Nikita Kruschchev reduced the Russian armed forces manpower strength by one third and withdrew 15,000 soldiers from East Germany as well as other military cuts all verified by the C.I.A. .
The 'Soviet' government then offered to make further cuts if the West did likewise. The offer was refused.
In 1985/86 Gorbachez proposed a unilateral ban on nuclear testing, abolition of both the Warsaw Pact and N.A.T.O. and removal of both U.S. and Russian fleets from the Mediterrian. This olive branch was brushed away.
In 1987 the United Nations General Assembly voted a series of disarmament resolutions, voting 154 to 1 against weapons in outer space (Reagan's Star Wars), 135 to 1 against developing new weapons of mass destruction, 142 to 2 for a comprehensive nuclear test ban and 137 to 3 for a halt to all nuclear tests.
America voted no to each resolution joined once by Britain and twice by France and they tell us the 'Third World' is the threat to peace!.
Support for N.A.T.O.'s Partnership for "Peace" is support for nuclear weapons. N.A.T.O. remains committed not only to their use but also to their 'first use'. The ending of the Cold War has seen no reduction in the nuclear arsenals of the U.S., Britain, France or Russia. The development of nuclear technology continues, in 1995 the French state tested it's nuclear bombs on the Murora Atoll in the South Pacific, their justification - it was to "preserve world peace" (23). In 1992 it was proposed that the U.S. government establish a 'Nuclear Expeditionary Force' "primarily for use against Third World "targets" (Guardian 2/7/92)(22) , in 1997 they added six Stealth bombers armed with a new type of bomb to their nuclear force. As described above the development of Britain's Trident continues and Paul Rodgers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford maintains that: "There is now considerable evidence that Trident is being seen as a multi-purpose missile which could be used in limited nuclear wars, especially in a North-South conflict . ."(24)
|The involvement of the Irish state in wars for oil?
U.N. mandated peace enforcement or the Gulf War to the rest of us
Although the Gulf War did not take place under N.A.T.O. auspices, many N.A.T.O. states were involved and N.A.T.O. resources such as their air bases in Turkey were employed.
According to President George Bush one of the factors which brought the U.S. to war was : "US commitment to stability in the Gulf". (25)
On Thursday 29th of November 1990 the UN Security Council passed the following resolution:
"Noting that, despite all efforts by the United Nations, Iraq refuses to comply with it's obligation to implement Resolution 660 (1990) [i.e. the one demanding an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait]
. . . .in flagrant contempt of the Council,
Mindful of it's duties and responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance and preservation of international peace and security,
Determined to secure full compliance with it's decisions, Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1) Demands that Iraq comply fully with Resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant Resolutions and decides, while maintaining all it's decisions, to allow Iraq one final opportunity, as a pause of good will, to do so;
2) Authorises member states co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January, 1991 fully implements, as set forth in Paragraph 1 above, the foregoing Resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement Security Council Resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area;
3) Requests all states to provide appropriate support for the actions undertaken in pursuance of Paragraph 2 of this Resolution;" (26)
The January 1991 bombing campaign which had the explosive power of seven Hiroshima bombs left an estimated 50,000 civilians dead
along with 150,000 soldiers many of them conscripts from the very ethnic groups which the Iraqi regimes persecution of was used to justify the war.
Depicted as some miracle of technology which could pick out
some one wearing a combat uniform in a crowd the Western bombing campaign was anything but. In the words of the 'International Herald Tribune': "estimates of the accuracy of US bombs dropped on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait suggest that hundreds of precision-guided munitions as well as thousands of 'dumb bombs' have missed their targets and in some cases struck unintended sites, according to US officials". (27)
In fact only 7 - 8 per cent of the explosives used were the 'smart bombs' and the rest included World War 2 vintage devices delivered by the carpet bombing of B-52's literally destroying everything within a given area and an estimated 70% of the bombs launched on Iraq did not hit their intended targets.
According to the 'New England Journal of Medicine' of September 1992: "The Gulf War and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in morality among Iraqi children. We estimate that an excess of more than 46,900 children under five years of age died between January and August 1991". (28)
According to the 'Irish Times' of the third of October 1998: "Baghdad contends, and UN humanitarian agencies agree, the sanctions have cost 1.4 million Iraqi lives." the article went on to state that Irish U.N. official Mr Denis Halliday had resigned after thirty years of service in protest at "sanctions which he said are responsible for the sufferings of a majority of Iraq's twenty million people" .
The same report continues: "Mr Halliday made the point that sanctions
strengthened the regime of Mr Saddam Hussein....".
Ironically sanctions had been supported and advocated by hippy/fluffy peacenik protesters at the time of the Gulf War whereas the Leninist zombies from planet Moscoid actually supported the murderous Iraqi regime.
The Irish State allowed U.S. aircraft on their way to the Gulf slaughter to refuel in Shannon.
Somalia: Humanitarian Intervention?
When the U.S. dominated U.N. force went into Somalia in late 1992 it was billed as a selfless act 'Operation Restore Hope' as it was described, a heroic rescue, a mission of mercy, a liberation from war and hunger and so on and on ad nauseam. Reality, just in case you were wondering, was of course somewhat different.
Not mentioned in the media blitz was the imperialist roots of the Somalian civil war and the economic and strategic interests of the U.S. establishment in the region. For ten years between 1979 and 1989 the U.SS. government transferred 579 million dollars worth of arms to the regime of pro-U.S. dictator Mohammed Siad Barre which fuelled the disastrous war with Ethiopia and the civil war of the early nineties as Barre had used those arms to equip rival clans against each other in a bid to divide and rule and so maintain his power.
A glance at a map will reveal the strategic importance of Somalia, situated at the 'horn of Africa' a hop, skip and a jump away from oil-rich Saudi Arabia it commands the entrance to the Red Sea passage way to the Suez canal . With this in mind the U.S. did an 'arms for bases' deal with Barre in 1990 whereby he got more weapons and they got use of Somali military facilities. This however is not the only Imperialist interest in Somalia, Hunt Oil an oil discovery firm found a
source containing an estimated one billion barrels of oil, and by the overthrow of Barre in 1991 he had granted American based oil companies the right to explore for and exploit potential oil reserves under almost two-thirds of Somali land.
One of the companies involved Conaco gave their corporate H.Q. in the
Somalian capital Mogadishu up for U.S. military forces to use as their H.Q. This profiteering was of course fucked up by the chaos of war into which Somalia descended hence 'humanitarian intervention'. The mass starvation was caused in part by war between Somalia and Ethiopia financed by rival Superpowers during the Cold War and the civil war which was between different factions of the Somalia Ruling Class backed by different factions of the Western Ruling Class,
but how did the ordinary people of the area fare under U.N./U.S. occupation. Rather than saving these folk from the warlords the West backed, the Western forces carried out atrocities against them such as air bombing a peaceful protest against the occupation and torturing youths by holding them over open fires.
Seven to ten thousand people were killed in Somalia by their Aryan saviours.
"I am convinced that public opinion would be critical of any
attempt to obstruct our participation in Unscom [i.e. the U.S./U.N.
task force in Somalia] because of fears concerning our neutrality.
Standing on the sidelines while an entire people starve is not a
(29) - David Andrews then Fianna Fail Defence Minister now Fianna Fail Foreign Affairs Minister.
Postscript: Peace Enforcement
"to ensure peace in the region" - U.S. war aim in Vietnam according to
'History's turning points' a documentary on the 'Discovery channel'. This extremely pro-imperialist documentary went on to describe the Paris peace talks during the war as "a turning point - the sight of North Vietnamese negotiators sitting down as equals challenged America's role as the world peacemakers".
(1) Socialist Worker, March 23rd, 1996.
(2) Irish Times, 4/12/98.
(3) Irish Times, 30/1/99.
(4) The PFP: The Road from neutrality to NATO and the WEU, Peace and Neutrality Alliance and Irish CND.
(5) Fianna Fail 1997 election manifesto.
(6) Irish Times, 12/2/99.
(8) Irish Times, 29/10/98.
(9) Irish Times, 29/1/99.
(10) Irish Times, 13/2/99.
(12) Livingstone's Labour, Ken Livingstone.
(13) Hidden Agendas, p.3, John Pilger.
(14) Exploitation, p. 129 &endash; 130, Robin Jenkins.
(15) The Scramble for Africa, p21, Thomas Pakenham.
(16) Ibid, p. 239.
(17) Ibid, p. 255.
(18) Ibid, p. 598 &endash; 599.
(19) USA Today, 19/9/97.
(20) The Northern Star: Irish Political Review.
(21) Ibid, p11.
(22) Organise!, p.4, Autumn 95.
(23) Hidden Agendas, p.36, John Pilger.
(24) AK Press Catalogue, p.74.
(25) Saddam's War, p.110, John Bulloch and Harvey Morris.
(26) Ibid, p. 184.
(27) Distant Voices, p.158, John Pilger.
(28) Free to be Human, p.29, David Edwards.
(29) Hot Press, 2/6/93.