Excellent historical perspective on present day problems.
By Sean Gervasi
Global Research, June 22, 2015
This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterrenean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research when the Global Research website was launched on September 9, 2001.
The late Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force. He had also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into Yugoslavia, ostensibly to enforce a settlement of the Bosnian war arrived at in Dayton, Ohio at the end of 1995. This task force is said to consist of some 60,000 men, equipped with tanks, armor and artillery. It is backed by formidable air and naval forces. In fact, if one takes account of all the support forces involved, including forces deployed in nearby countries, it is clear that at least two hundred thousand troops are involved. This figure has been confirmed by U. S. defense sources. [ 1 ]
By any standards, the sending of a large Western military force into Central and Eastern Europe is a remarkable enterprise, even in the fluid situation created by the supposed end of the Cold War. The Balkan task force represents not only the first major NATO military operation, but a major operation staged “out of area”, that is, outside the boundaries originally established for NATO military action.
However, the sending of NATO troops into the Balkans is the result of enormous pressure for the general extension of NATO eastwards.
If the Yugoslav enterprise is the first concrete step in the expansion of NATO, others are planned for the near future. Some Western powers want to bring the Visegrad countries into NATO as full members by the end of the century. There was resistance to the pressures for such extension among certain Western countries for some time. However, the recalcitrants have now been bludgeoned into accepting the alleged necessity of extending NATO.
The question is: why are the Western powers pressing for the expansion of NATO? Why is NATO being renewed and extended when the “Soviet threat” has disappeared? There is clearly much more to it than we have so far been told. The enforcement of a precarious peace in Bosnia is only the immediate reason for sending NATO forces into the Balkans.
There are deeper reasons for the dispatch of NATO forces to the Balkans, and especially for the extension of NATO to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in the relatively near future. These have to do with an emerging strategy for securing the resources of the Caspian Sea region and for “stabilizing” the countries of Eastern Europe — ultimately for “stabilizing” Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is, to put it mildly, an extremely ambitious and potentially selfcontradictory policy. And it is important to pose some basic questions about the reasons being given for pursuing it.
For the idea of “stabilizing” the countries which formerly constituted the Socialist bloc in Europe does not simply mean ensuring political stability there, ensuring that the regimes which replaced Socialism remain in place. It also means ensuring that economic and social conditions remain unchanged. And, since the so-called transition to democracy in the countries affected has in fact led to an incipient deindustrialization and a collapse of living standards for the majority, the question arises whether it is really desirable.
The question is all the more pertinent since “stabilization”, in the sense in which it is used in the West, means reproducing in the former Socialist bloc countries economic and social conditions which are similar to the economic and social conditions currently prevailing in the West. The economies of the Western industrial nations are, in fact, in a state of semi-collapse, although the governments of those countries would never really acknowledge the fact. Nonetheless, any reasonably objective assessment of the economic situation in the West leads to this conclusion. And that conclusion is supported by official statistics and most analyses coming from mainstream economists.
It is also clear, as well, that the attempt to “stabilize” the former Socialist bloc countries is creating considerable tension with Russia, and potentially with other countries. Not a few commentators have made the point that Western actions in extending NATO even raise the risks of nuclear conflict. 
It is enough to raise these questions briefly to see that the extension of NATO which has, de facto, begun in Yugoslavia and is being proposed for other countries is to a large extent based on confused and even irrational reasoning. One is tempted to say that it results from the fear and willfulness of certain ruling groups. To put it most bluntly, why should the world see any benefit in the enforced extension to other countries of the economic and social chaos which prevails in the West, and why should it see any benefit in that when the very process itself increases the risks of nuclear war?
The purposes of this paper are to describe what lies behind the current efforts to extend NATO and to raise some basic questions about whether this makes any sense, in both the narrow and deeper meanings of the term.
NATO in Yugoslavia
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 with the stated purpose of protecting Western Europe from possible military aggression by the Soviet Union and its allies.
With the dissolution of the Communist regimes in the former Socialist bloc in 1990 and 1991, there was no longer any possibility of such aggression, if there ever really had been. The changes in the former Communist countries made NATO redundant. Its raison d’etre had vanished. Yet certain groups within the NATO countries began almost immediately to press for a “renovation” of NATO and even for its extension into Central and Eastern Europe. They began to elaborate new rationales which would permit the continuation of business as usual.