Belgazeta: What is your opinion about the new round of enlargements that occurred on March 29th, when Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia got into NATO?
Paolo Cirio: I got my opinion in the 2002, on 28 May, when in the air base of Pratica di Mare, close to Rome (Italy), Russia apparently entered NATO. I smiled to this paradoxical “Historian Event”, so called by the leaders of NATO states. But this was not a joke, and it was not a first step towards a world in peace as the rhetoric of occidental mass media would suggest.
What was the origin of NATO in first instance? The role of NATO was to contain the communist block in the Cold War context. Afterward the end of this so called Cold War (that has been a Hottest War with thousands of deaths in the whole world for more than forty years) why do they celebrate a new era of military investments, with the same name that has been cause of many deaths and suffering? Simple, it was the celebration of NATO’s victory in the Warsaw Pact, and the victory of Capitalism; where the enemy became the friend and this means a new era of economic investments.
This is not a reductive vision: the war is not an ideological, political or religious struggle between two blocks of the globe, as during the Cold War either as the contemporary war against the terrorism. There are always justifications in order to engage people. The cause of war is always the enlargement of power, and now power is in the hands of industries, financial speculators and lobbyists for multinational corporations.
Integration into NATO requires integrating weapon systems--creating a multibillion-dollar market for jet fighters, electronics, attack helicopters, military communication networks, and all the gadgets needed by a modern fighting force. This is the point: NATO looks for new partners in weak nations, where politics and the economy are not strong, in order to take advantage of the low cost of labours and where the military equipment is old and must be replaced.
Often the military equipment industry is constructed and sold by multinational corporations that don't allow a national industry and don't increase national capital. NATO doesn't look for partners like Finland or Sweden, (they are both informally allied), but where the investment is more favorable, because the wages of troops are cheaper and the military structure must be renewed.
The arms trade is the point of enlargement of NATO. I think numbers and facts demonstrate it: during the second step in November of 2002 in the summit of Prague, Bush and NATO authorized $55.5 million in military assistance in order to aid the "Partnership for Peace" program. It means to build new NATO bases and to install Western industries of weapons that increments the employ average of Eastern countries. However which are the conditions of that deal? They are low salaries, deregulation and no national capitals.
A very important figure is the "U.S. Committee on NATO." It's very strongly connected to the economic speculation in enlargement of NATO. Among USCN’s first board members were Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Stephen Hadley. All of these people are members of several neoconservative think-tanks, such as Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and they have billions collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department. Yet the key figure behind the USCN is Bruce Jackson, founder of this policy group in 1996 and until 2002 he was the planning and strategy vice-president at Lockheed Martin (the main American corporation supplying military equipment), where he served as the advance-man for global corporate development projects.
In the estimation of John Laughland, a trustee of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group and a close observer of Jackson's proconsul operations in Eastern Europe: “Far from promoting democracy in Eastern Europe, Washington is promoting a system of political and military control not unlike that once practiced by the Soviet Union".
Belgazeta: What bad can you see in that?
PC: The bad thing is the proliferation of weapons and the consequent proliferation of wars.
A consequence of NATO is the capitalistic lifestyle, it takes away the culture, rights and soul of the nations that have a millenary history and deeply rooted traditions. Consumerism society means commodification of all social relations until suffocating existence of any citizen.
Belgazeta: These countries are economically very poor, especially Bulgaria and Romania. Joining NATO will reduce their military expenses and let them spend more money on health and education. Probably, this is not bad?
PC: No, the health care system, education, and welfare are the first victims of any warfare, in all nations of NATO. In the last years of Enduring Freedom, social aid has been cut in many Western countries, and worse - if the economy is weaker, to cut social care is a “Dirty Bomb”. The prospective outlook is poor for Bulgaria and Romania, and worse still for Albania, Montenegro and others, all of which will enter NATO at the Istanbul Conference in July of this year.
You shouldn't believe that entering in the Western Block is a promise of a rich future! The privatization of public services via external corporations, allow the rich to stay rich. The rights of labourers will be stolen, then the inflation will fly to the stars, so power of the same Western nations have assured ever.
Belgazeta: In the Western world it is said that the main threat to civilization is now represented by terrorists and corrupt military officials in small developing countries like Romania or Bulgaria. These military generals can sell weapons to terrorists, so when they are in NATO, governing system of this worldwide organization will reduce corruption and prevent awful things to happen. How can you comment that? Is that true?
PC: No. The information is manipulated from any block, state or government. This question is very strange for my mind! Maybe your media speaks about the occidental system like a perfect structure, where justice is everywhere, and corruption and horrible things don't happen. Probably, you see and you read our media telling that we have the truth and we have justice and liberty. Lies - here, the corruption, the nasty business and the anti social behaviors are legitimized through a vested use of disinformation, that kills any free ideas and transforms everybody in zombies, where the race for money and ephemeral things is all. This is not democracy, this is not liberty, this is the 1984 of G.Orwell. Where peace is war, and freedom is slavery.
Can generals sell weapons to terrorists? I speak from one of first nations of NATO: Italy. Here, during the seventies years, Italian fascist terrorists have been financed and have received support from the generals of NATO. This is history, not a conspiracy theory. You can find examples also in the last war in Yugoslavia where NATO supported groups of Muslim Albanian terrorists against the Serbian people. You can find anywhere examples like these in the history of NATO.
NATO’s military doctrine continues to be offensive, and NATO itself continues to work for establishing its global presence in all parts of the world. NATO has influenced bad everywhere through the use of force and destabilization.
Belgazeta: For small states like Lithuania or Latvia, the only way to defend themselves, or to feel safe is to join any of the two big powers - Russia or NATO. If you have ever been to Russia, you know what the Russian military forces are like - drunk officers and trucks from a scrapheap. Probably it’s better to join NATO? At least its commanders are sober...
PC: Maybe sober of alcohol, but not of drugs like cocaine, in the Western countries the use of cocaine is a common thing as is usual in the rooms of power and in military forces, and for sure the effects are more dangerous. In fact, the side effects under this drug are felling like megalomaniac, egocentrism, supremacy and dominance.
However the point is another: usually the NATO troops are paid for their missions, hence the soldiers are poor people who have a very low education level, which means they are not really reliable in what they do. This is also the problem of ONU troops who are often accused of rapes, killing and criminal acts in the places where they must hold peace. With the large use of private mercenary companies in Iraq this problem has been more evident like in the case of the BlackWater's scandal.
Belgazeta: Even Russia stopped its critic according to NATO war in Iraq. Putin recognized this war as a fight against terror. He has similar problems in Checnya. Was it actually a war against terror?
PC: The problem of Chechnya is very grave, the partnership with NATO allows Putin to be justifiable for any military actions, like the Israel partnership with USA, and Putin could hope for aid by NATO to fight the terrorists. The similarities with Islamic terrorists are so many and I am sure that Putin uses this situation for his own benefit.
Belgazeta: Russian Foreign Ministry said on March 30 it has no problems in enlarging NATO, because there is no threat of war in the continent. Does this make sense?
PC: In the continent there are already too many wars, Chechnya, Geogia, Kosovo,..
Belgazeta: Our president, Alexander Luckashenko is only leader in Europe who is openly against NATO. Thus his anti-nato position is determined by our status as isolationists. Europe and the US recognize our country as a state with no human rights freedoms. What is better - to be democratic state-member of NATO or live in dictatorship which is against NATO?
PC: The words about your president are clear proof of media manipulation. The Media speak about your nation like a place where the journalists are killed, and where the elections aren't democratic, maybe this is true, but no more than in the rest of Europe and America.
However the paradox is obvious in the case of Turkey, a nation where human rights are not respected, the Kurds are prosecuted and Bush administration has been considering providing another $800 million annually over five years in economic assistance. When a nation doesn't collaborate, they become an enemy. You are lucky that you are out from IMF and out from NATO. You must resist the racket of NATO, you must stay alert to bad surprises: the destabilization is the first and the classic arm of services. They going to split people and they will break down the peaceful social glue of your nation: religious, ethnic and ideological hates are what they will sow and what they will push in your ordinary life.
Belgazeta: What is your advice to our leader: join NATO or Russia for military alliance?
PC: Russia and NATO have already been involved with too many wars. I would advise a future of diplomacy, where the culture of peace and dialogue between people can be taught, where hate is not spread and the destabilization by the economy and power interests could be stopped.