April 26, 1999: NATO resolves war operations as a worldwide strategy

8th press release against the NATO war in Yugoslavia

The NATO anniversary in Washington, where the western military alliance wanted to celebrate itself as the "biggest international peace movement", failed thoroughly. The summit meeting on the occasion of NATO's 50th anniversary took on characteristics of an aggressive imperialist war council instead. Even if the terminology in the various resolutions passed was consciously toned down in order to deceive the world's public, the results were very clear. They are intensifying the war in the Balkans and threatening world peace.

1. The agreements made in the talks between President Milosevic and the Russian representative to the Balkans Tschernomyrdin were rejected in all points at the NATO meeting, although Milosevic had made a number of concessions. Instead, NATO insisted upon its "five conditions" for ending the air attacks. Their essence is the demand for Belgrade's unconditional approval for stationing international troops in Kosovo under NATO leadership. That is the same as the demand for the complete capitulation by the Yugoslavian government and is an imperialist "peace dictate".

2. At the same time, an intensification of the imperialist war by means of beginning an oil embargo on Friday and a planned sea blockade against Yugoslavia were resolved. That means that any ship headed for a Yugoslavian port can be seized by the NATO. That equals an act of war against the countries from which the ships originate. The main oil deliveries in the past weeks came from Russia, Ukraine, Panama and Greece. Although no formal resolution was passed, military preparations for a ground war are still continuing. These consist mainly of the deployment of US-Apache helicopters in Albania with their respective ground troops, as well as of the constant increase in the number of NATO troops in the region.

3. The main essence of the summit was the change in NATO strategy, according to which NATO war operations like the one against Yugoslavia are to become the general strategic guideline. The NATO resolution passed states the following:

- NATO is prepared "to contribute to effective conflict prevention and to conduct active crisis management, also by means of crisis reaction operations." Such operations are supposed to adhere to the principles of the UN Charter, but shall not be dependant upon a UN mandate. "To fulfill its goal and its fundamental security tasks, the alliance strives to conform with the charter of the United Nations." In other words, NATO gives itself the order to start a war, with or without a UN mandate.

-NATO decides itself when to lead a war and in which regions: "This includes the risks of uncertainty and instability in and around the European-Atlantic area as well as the possible rapid development of regional crises in the periphery of the alliance." How far-reaching this "European-Atlantic area" is - as far as Asia or Africa - is consciously left open. "The security of the alliance must also take the global context into consideration."

-Specifically formulated are goals intended to legitimize NATO operations against liberation movements and revolutionary forces. "Security interests of the alliance can be affected by other extensive risks including acts of terror (...) as well as the interruption in the supply of vital resources. The uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people, especially in the form of armed conflicts can also pose problems for the security and stability of the alliance."

-Furthermore, the threat as well as the implementation of an atomic first strike is a firm part of the NATO strategy: "Nuclear military forces will continue to play an essential role by leaving an aggressor in a state of uncertainty on how partners in the alliance (...) will react."

1. The change in strategy is linked to a gigantic program for increased armament. To supply the "crisis reaction forces" all NATO armies must, for example, acquire espionage and telephone satellites, long-range transportation planes and new missile systems. The necessary restructuring of the German federal army has already begun and the further building up of the crisis reaction forces shall be forced ahead. SPD-minister Scharping justified the necessary huge amounts of money which must be pressed out of the working people with the necessity of bringing weapon standards into line within the NATO at the highest level. "Classes of varying capabilities should not come up within the alliance." (Spiegel magazine, No. 17/99)

In Germany and in the entire world, the results of the NATO meeting were met with justified protest. In Ludwigshafen/Rhine the HBV (trade union for the sectors commerce, banks and insurance) called upon their members to stay away from this year's DGB May 1st rally because of the appearance of "defense minister" Rudolf Scharping as the main speaker. The HBV rejects this appearance, referring to the traditional "anti-war character" of the May 1st rallies. This criticism is an example of a growing tendency within the trade unions opposing the approval of the NATO war operation by the DGB leadership.

Alongside the nationwide Tuesday actions in many German cities, May 1st will take place under the influence of active resistance against the NATO war in Yugoslavia. "This day is especially suited to demonstrate international workers' unity against nationalist division, chauvinism and imperialist war. For peace, friendship among peoples and genuine socialism!

The change of strategy at the NATO summit makes undoubtedly clear that NATO is not concerned about "humanitarian interests". It basically wants to be able to use any pretext in order to push through its political, economic and military-strategic interests by means of worldwide war operations.

The MLPD's demand for the dissolution of the NATO and of all "crisis intervention forces" of the federal army are of great relevance in this situation!

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