When the first bomb dropped on Serbian forces in Kosovo, the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization died. Established fifty years ago as a
purely defensive organization, NATO has violated its own founding
principles by initiating an offensive war against another sovereign
nation. The assault will fail and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
will cease to exist.
The bombing will fail because the exalted military power of the great
western nations cannot stop the despicable assault on Albanian Kosovars.
The victims are not being killed by A-6 missiles, or tank assaults, or
by battalions of Serbian soldiers; they are being killed with a single
bullet to the head. No cruise missile can knock that pistol out of the
hands of each assailant.
Kosovo homes aren’t being strafed with napalm by fighter aircraft;
they’re being torched with a single match. We’ll be treated to video
clips of the pinpoint destruction of vacant buildings and superfluous
facilities across Serbia, but the bombing will be totally ineffective
against the design and intents of Slobodan Milosevic. This is
hand-to-hand combat that NATO can’t survive.
The nineteen nations of the alliance may have been willing to
participate in a peacekeeping mission, but the consensus will slowly
unravel as the members are confronted with the prospect of sending their
citizens to war against Yugoslavia. As they did many times during the
peace negotiations, one by one they will withdraw from the military
contest. The burden will slowly devolve to another undeclared war that
will leave the United States forces standing as the bully of
international aggression. It will take the most extreme measures to
simply maintain the illusion that the Kosovo war is a NATO engagement.
The attack on Serbia is just one of the fatal anachronisms that will
destroy the alliance that stood against Soviet military expansion
throughout the Cold War. Military leaders have been searching for new
challenges to justify the continuation of NATO. They have wandered into
the Kosovo intervention without clear motives, objectives or principles.
Their sole purpose is to prop up an organization that lost its only
reason for existence when the Soviet Union disappeared.
It is good and proper that we honor and praise the history of a
coalition that unified western allies against the expansionist threats
of the Evil Empire. But that was history. There is no Soviet Union.
There is no Cold War. No one imagines that any western nation is at risk
of attack or invasion. All the motives that made NATO great and powerful
have vanished. The flimsy justifications for its maintenance are little
more than the last gasps of an entrenched military and diplomatic
The name of the organization itself is an anachronism. Only one of
the nations who have joined since its founding in 1949 even border on
the North Atlantic ocean. The most recent incongruity is the admission
of three former members of the Warsaw Pact, the fundamental enemy of the
NATO camp. It’s certainly sweet to have “their guys” joining “our club,”
but incongruous to oblige them to endorse hundreds of faded policy
resolutions adopted by their former enemies.
The primary fault of NATO is that it is constitutionally hollow. Next
month’s summit should be focused on drafting a new convention for
international conduct and defense. The resolution for a principled “New
World Order” can start with the NATO premise of never using military
force against other members. The new constitution for an “Earth
Alliance” should set the terms for coming to the aid of any member who
is the victim of military assault. Most important, it should establish a
formal procedure for the recognition of new states that declare their
independence from an oppressive, authoritarian state. That’s what should
have happened with Kosovo.
Had the United States granted recognition to an independent Kosovo
nation and provided for the immediate ascension into an “Earth
Alliance,” then we would have had solid ethical grounds for contributing
to the defense of Kosovo against any aggression by the Serbs. In the
absence of such a principled defense, we are leading with our hearts
against any atrocity anywhere in the world. If the sole justification
for initiating a military assault is our horror at the evils in the
world, we will certainly be the victims of our own good intentions.
An “Earth Alliance” treaty must be scrutinized and debated at length
by every member nation. The joint resolution just adopted by Congress in
support of the bombing is constitutionally invalid. The United States
Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to participate in
such any alliance. It also requires a Declaration of War to join any
offensive operation against another country. A majority vote cannot
supersede the two-thirds vote required for the adoption of the North
Atlantic Treaty, which made no provision for offensive military assaults
against anyone. The vote this week and the bombing of Serbia are a
ringing blow to an “Ignoble Anvil,” sounding the death knell of NATO.
William Westmiller is California coordinator of the Republican
Liberty Caucus, past candidate for the Republican nomination for the
24th congressional district and former national secretary, California
chairman of the Libertarian Party.