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All in all, I don't quite get Europeans who are simultaneously pro EU integration, pro international stability, pro better EU-Russia relations, and anti-NATO. The last of these policy choices implies giving up on at least one of the first three.

This is a claim that requires elaboration. There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations, so it would seem to be that the claim hinges strongly on the notion that NATO is pro-international stability.

This is, of course, the military-industrial complex line ... that a base network of 700+ overseas bases accumulated in part as a result of fighting and winning WWII and then pursuing an encirclement strategy against the USSR, and accumulated in part just because it was possible to get a base in the country ... is somehow pro-international stability.

I think "international stability" here is a euphemism for Pax Americana, and if so it is one of those Orwellian terms that means its opposite, as Pax Americana seems to be one of the primary instigators of international conflict in the world at the moment.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BruceMcF:
There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations
Pro-European integration is easy: the Central-Eastern European nations have strongly anti-Russian and consequently Atlanticist currents. Poland and the Baltics are the prime examples because they share a border with Russia.

The issue of Ukraine's possible EU or NATO accession would be a good test bed for elucidating this question.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:16:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Central-Eastern European nations have strongly anti-Russian and consequently Atlanticist currents. Poland and the Baltics are the prime examples because they share a border with Russia.

My understanding is that this isn't representative of the reality on the ground. The self proclaimed 'elites' of the political circles are anti-Russian (I wonder what the financial arrangements are) while Eastern European society at large is hardly anti Russian.

Statistics on this are welcome.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I read into Marek's
Or perhaps over time the EU will be able to take the place of NATO in the minds of the Poles and Baltics, along with the military structures that implies, though without the Russian shift taking place, that wouldn't really change anything from an EU-RUssia perspective, except perhaps for the worse.
(my emphasis)

Are you saying the Poles and Baltics whose minds we're talking about are the "self-proclaimed 'elites'"?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's indeed what I'm saying : political elites and local media -  often owned by the same foreign (Anglo-Saxon, German) mainstream media which propagates pro-NATO values on the Western end of Europe.

The key to mind control is information control.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's be clear, just like Frank describes how NATO membership is a non-starter in Irenland and Sven relates how there was a short-lived attempt in the last coupld of years to bring NATO membership into the mainstream in Finland, no "serious" political party in Western Europe advocates leaving NATO. For instance, in Spain that debate ended in 1986 and there's a "consensus" since. NATO membership is not an issue. I suppose the same is true in other countries.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:03:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, Nicolas SARKOZY - a known pro NATO advocate (and whose presidential campaign was - I suspect - financed in part by some US military-industrial organisation) wants to take the country back into the alliance without as much as a public debate.

The Socialists are opposed as is the center MODEM led by François BAYROU. Are these 'serious' political parties? BAYROU is calling on the government to organise a referendum on the issue. I would certainly support that. But if it's not on the agenda, it's because the French would vote NO. Vive la démocracie.

by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France has been in NATO but "out of its military structure", whatever that meant.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 08:24:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It means the US doesn't own French nukes and boots - as it owns the UK's nukes and boots - but France and the rest of NATO still talk to each other.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a reassuring concept for the UK.
by vladimir on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's called an "'independent' nuclear deterrent".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 01:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A small but interesting fact is that there are now about 50,000 Russian-speakers living in Finland and the number could double in just five years, according to a recent report. It is the third most used language.

Many of these Russian 'immigrants' are highly educated - something that Finnish companies and institutions have been slow to react to.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helsingin Sanomat: Report: Russian-speakers often suffer abuse at school and at work

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 07:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are also a lot of ethnic Russians in Latvia - I'm not sure of the figures for other Baltic states, but overall there must be quite a significant Russian population already within the EU.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those people are stateless or at best second-hand citizens and they have been let down by all three of Russia, the Baltic countries and the EU. We have discussed them here on ET before. See


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:18:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks - I knew there was  problem, but had not read up on it.  I suspect this is an issue I could raise on the Thinkaboutit site and annoy some of the east Europeans there.  There appears to be quite a strong nationalist and Eurosceptic streak in that collective - I hesitate to use the word community.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means that NATO offers to them an alternative to commitment to the EU and European Integration as such ... one in which they can play off goal conflicts between the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 06:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By my count wikipedia lists 27 foreign Airforce bases in 15 countries; 89 Army bases in 8 countries;  27 Marine Corp bases in 7 countries; and 15 Naval installations in 9 countries.

A total, by my count, of 158 bases - a figure Wikipedia acknowledges to be incomplete.  Obviously this does not nominally local bases where some US troops may be based from time to time, temporary bases, black sites, and bases manned by close allies or Corporate contractors.

Do you know what the 700 figure is based on?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 09:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the top of my head I can think of several that aren't included in the list they are generally listed as  bases for local military services, but staffed by US forces. Locals only providing security and Liason.

Secret Bases Part 1 - WWW.SECRET-BASES.CO.UK - © 2009

RAF Croughton near Brackley in Northamptonshire is an old USAF airbase, but no runways have been apparent for many years. The base appears as a significant cluster of aerial symbols. That's because RAF Croughton is the focal point for the US military's communications within Europe.....

Croughton has a transmitter annexe at RAF Barford St. John near Banbury in Oxfordshire. This "disused airfield" is said to provide secure communications facilities for CIA agents and US Diplomatic personnel. The 1:25000 OS map reveals another good old "Wireless Station" label.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 10:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It includes things like military attaches in embassies and consulates IIRC.
by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:19:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is from Chalmers Johnson, taken from the Department of Defense annual "Base Structure Report".

"+" because the Base Structure Report is clearly incomplete, in terms of not listing any bases for countries where we know that US forces are based, and also in terms of only listing a central base in locations with multiple bases ... for example, in the 2003 report, Okinawa has one Marine Corps base listed, where there are as many as 10 Marine Corps bases on the island.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the report state how many of the 700+ are outside the USA, and in how many different countries?  I read a report (a while ago - can't find) which stated that the US had a presence in 100 countries - a figure which seemed remarkably high to me.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are the foreign bases listed in the report ... the bases in the US and US territory number in the thousands.

100 countries sounds reasonable to me ... there has never been a foreign base closure commission like the US base closure commission a while back, and the MIC is a pack-rat when it comes to overseas bases ... for one thing, remember that Kitchen Patrol and Toilet Duty are now largely relegated to contractors, which means that most bases are a supply of ongoing contracts for base support operations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 11:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a claim that requires elaboration. There is no clear way that support for NATO is pro-European integration or pro better EU-Russian relations,

Pro-European integration - being viewed as acting against countries' most important strategic interests would do bad things for European integration. On the latter point, I'm not saying it helps, but rather that trying to eliminate it would hurt.

by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what's Declan Ganley with his US defence establishment colleagues up to?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As it happens his Polish allies have traditionally been deeply anti-NATO and anti-US.
by MarekNYC on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be interesting to see whether they undergo a miraculous conversion to pro Nato views...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... it ... whether it is, say, France and Germany trying to eliminate it, or whether it is the US trying to eliminate it ...

... but even more importantly, actively working to eliminate it and actively working to reinforce it is a false dichotomy. There are actions short of actively working to eliminate it that would accelerate the decline resulting from its obsolescence ... for instance, removing participation in actions outside of NATO borders from the NATO structure would be a big step in the right direction.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 02:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For all the triumphalist BS you'll hear out of American mouths, nobody here is claiming that any "Pax Americana" ever existed. Cross-border conflict is way down to be sure, but the number of casualties in the various civil wars that have and are still going on around the world meets or exceeds those of both world wars put together.

Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties. Likely it's military technologies and the assymetric tactical doctrine account for much of this, other reasons might be deliberate civilian targeting (genocide, ethnic cleasning) and what I'll call disorganized military formations that forage off, recruit from, and pass disease among the noncombattants they live among.

Conflict is one of the reasons foreign affiars in general has gotten its hooks into me.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
Here's a factoid I've borne in mind a lot these last few years: when the 20th century opened, civilian casualties accounted for about 10% of all casualties in conflict. By the century's close that ratio had reversed - about 90% of all casualties of conflict are civilian casualties.

I doubt this factoid is true if you do not (as they did at the time) constrain the definition of war to the conflicts between european powers. When dealing with people without machineguns (Congo, Tasmania and the list goes on) attempted genocide was common. WW2 saw these practices spread to europe, hence the horror.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good point. I hop around books and white papers so much I forget where I've read things...so I cannot speak to the authority of that assertion, but I can say this: when I read it, I immediately absorbed it as if it were true, so I was in general agreement with the author's premise.

Damn, I thought I had that one down, and now I'll have to go back and check it.

Grrrrrrrrrr!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"as they did at the time"

This is a current author. He'd have to be to be speaking to what happened at the end of the 20th century, wouldn't he?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but I assume he uses the start of the 20th century definition of conflict and casualties for those. However, I doubt that the sum of military casualties in 19th century wars matched the sum of killed civilians in the Congo alone.

It is a fairly common mistake, similar to using start of 20th century definitions of democracy. My guess would be that the author is primarily concerned with the atrocities of the 20th century and uses the earlier episode as backdrop for contrast. Am I right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 09:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... when its a trademark, its doesn't have to be true, like Fox News, or Fair and Balanced, or Free Trade Agreement, or Conservative Movement.

Pointing out that Pax Americana means no wars America did not start except in trivial countries which are mostly important as sources of raw materials ... does not contradict the absence of Great Power Armed Conflict, it just underlines the limitations of Great Power Armed Conflict as a framing for violence against people around the world.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to always use the term in an ironic sense but am aware - when writing for a more general audience - that many don't get the irony.  However those are just the people I don't want to get into an argument with about whether the USA is the fount of freedom throughout the world - and thus I am happy to let the irony deficit stand.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 01:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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