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imperialism & war

Four Euro nations pledge allegience to militarism

This march to militarism among Euro elite should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It will lead only to genocide.
European Leaders Form Pact To Boost Defense Cooperation
Foes of Iraq War Seek to Operate Independently of U.S.

By Robert J. McCartney
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 30, 2003; Page A17


BRUSSELS, April 29 -- Leaders of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, four countries that opposed the Iraq war, agreed today to increase defense cooperation within Europe to reduce dependence on the United States.

The leaders announced after a brief summit here that the four countries would set up a multinational headquarters by the end of next year that could be deployed with forces abroad for joint military operations. They provided few details, but said it would aid missions by both the European Union and NATO.

The four also proposed the separate creation of a military center in Belgium by the summer of 2004 for command and planning of EU military operations in which NATO is not involved. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who have been trying to mend fences with the Bush administration, watered down a Belgian proposal to set up a full-fledged European military headquarters separate from NATO.

The agreement drew a caustic rebuke in Washington from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the four countries had created "some sort of a plan to develop some sort of a headquarters."

"What we need is not more headquarters. What we need is more capability and fleshing out the structure and the forces that are there with the equipment that they need," he said. Powell has criticized the summit participants for failing to pledge to increase their defense spending, as U.S. officials have long advocated.

The summit underscored divisions over the war in Iraq that persist between the Bush administration and antiwar European governments and within the European Union, as well as a desire among some countries to loosen defense ties with the United States. It was organized by Belgium's prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, whose strong antiwar stance has boosted his popularity in advance of national elections next month.

The summit had drawn criticism from Britain, Italy and Spain, which supported the war and expressed concern that plans taken up at the Brussels conference threatened to duplicate NATO missions and undermine relations with the United States.

The four leaders sought today to answer these criticisms. In a four-page declaration and in statements at a news conference, they emphasized that they wanted to strengthen NATO. But they also said that would be achieved by giving a bigger defense role to the 15-nation European Union.

"We are not questioning the transatlantic alliance. We want to reinforce it," Chirac said. But, he said, "in order to have a balance, we have to have a strong Europe, as well as a strong U.S."

Schroeder said, "obviously this is not directed against NATO." But he also said that "within NATO, we have very little of Europe."

Many of the steps proposed at the summit to increase European defense cooperation were already in the works as part of the crafting of a new convention, or constitution, for the EU. These included calls for a European agency for military development and acquisition, and for a European security and defense college.

The most important new initiatives were the decision to create the vaguely defined multinational force headquarters and the proposal for the EU military center. Those risk creating European rivals to existing NATO structures, U.S. and British officials say.

The proposed center, to be based at Tervuren, near Brussels, will be responsible "for operational planning and command of EU-led operations without recourse to NATO assets and capabilities," the summit declaration said. The four participants invited other EU countries to participate, although it was not clear whether they would.

The center could handle tasks such as the 350-person peacekeeping operation in Macedonia, which is the first such mission under EU control. Next year, the EU is expected to take over the larger peacekeeping mission in Bosnia from NATO.

A NATO spokesman welcomed the summit's pledge to strengthen the European pillar of the 19-nation alliance, but expressed wariness about other decisions.

"We are concerned about how extra capabilities will be delivered without extra resources, and we are also concerned about the risk of unnecessary duplication," the NATO spokesman, Yves Brodeur, said.

Staff writer Glenn Kessler in Washington contributed to this report.

homepage: homepage: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56787-2003Apr29.html

militarism? 29.Apr.2003 22:41

heimdallr

I think probably the most important part of that headline is "to reduce dependence on the United States."

With their own mutual-defense structure these countries would gain a great deal of independence from the U.S. in their foreign policies. Once they don't need NATO, the U.S. loses a lot of leverage in European affairs. Given France and Germany's somewhat evidently more reasonable and cautious attitude toward international affairs, this really would seem like a good thing. An independent, self-sufficient Europe would be a major check on unilateral U.S. adventurism. (Note that U.S. bigwigs are trying to pretend it's not happening. This generally means they're afraid they've just been outflanked.) All pacifist philosophical contentions notwithstanding, this is more likely to prevent a catastrophe on the order of genocide than to creat it.

lets be consistent 29.Apr.2003 22:53

PeaceGirl

Lets be consistent. We can't embrace militarism wherever it may lie or if we feel it would be a poke in the eye towards the US.

These countries should set an example and lay down their weapons. Only then will there be peace.

War is War is War 29.Apr.2003 23:12

Radical Womyn

I can't believe somebody here tried to defend a military buildup.

War is War is War.

RESISTANCE AGAINS THE AMERICAN WORLD ORDER 29.Apr.2003 23:23

anti-Patriot

This article from the American Establishment mouthpiece Washington Post reveals that American elites are desperately afraid of a rising Europe that will not kowtow to the American World Order.

Its laughable that the person who posted this article attempts to portay the formation of an Indepedent European military organization as a "march to militarism" leading ultimately to genocide--as if the American Empire is not by far the most militaristic Empire on this planet with its gencodial attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Columbia all in the past decade.

This just goes to show you what kind of twisted reality most Americans live in. The most bloodthirsty people on this planet attempt to attack any *challenge* to American domination and militarism ... as "a march to militarism."

As for comments by PeaceGirl, the moral and political onus is on America to disarm FIRST before it even thinks about pointing its finger at any other nation. There is no moral and political equivlance between an American Empire that is waging aggressive wars around the world and those who are banding together *to resist* this aggression.

GOOD GOING!!!! 30.Apr.2003 10:55

I'll join them any day......

This is the best news I have heard since the war started.
Someone needs to stand up to the beast (U.S.) They are gathering thier forces for defense, and as a pacifist, I wholly agree with them. Now if the rest of the European countries would join and unite against the U.S., I will suport this unification whole-heartedly. Go Europe, Go!!!! Someone has to put up a wall against Satan.....
And for the rest of you pacifists who believe this supports war, I feel you are totally wrong in that assumption. Anarchy draws closer every day, wake up and smell the oppression for what it is........The U.S. is pushing me as a pacifist into an anarchist real quick........

whats is going on here 30.Apr.2003 17:50

Peace Demonstrator

I cannot believe the pro-War comments expressed here. War is a tit for tat that can never solve problems. Didn't we march in Portland saying exactly this message?

War is always wrong, whether it's France or whoever.

Thank you peace lovers! 30.Apr.2003 18:40

Peace4ever

Thank you, all of you who expressed your heartfelt pleas for peace. I'm not sure where these warmongers among us come from but the voices of peace are inspiring! Keep the faith!

PACIFISTS ARE USEFUL IDIOTS FOR AMERICANISM 30.Apr.2003 23:30

anti-Patriot

The comments by the various starry eyed pacifists on this thread show their political naivete and wilful stupidity.

First, they equate Europe developing a military capability INDEPENDENT of America as example of militarism.

This is dead wrong. Militarism has to do with the use and application of military might. Simply developing one's military defenses free from Foreign (i.e. American) influences is not.

Secondly, these pacifists attempt to make a Moral and Political Equivalence between American militarism and other countries developing their defenses as a *DETERRENT AND RESPONSE* against this American militarism.

By this logic, these pacifists would condemn Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and pre-war Iraq etc... for developing a defensive military capability even though they are clearly being threatened with American military intimidation.

This is outrageous, and shows the hypocritical politics of American Pacifists. If you supposedly want Peace, you had better focus on American militarism as the preeminent threat to peace on this planet. It seems that your very definition of "peace" is an American dominated and controlled peace.

The bottom line is that Pacifism is not an appropriate basis for the antiwar movement. Indeed, most people outside of the mainstream antiwar movement are NOT PACIFISTS fortunately. They are anti-capitalists and anti-American Imperialists.