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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 July 2016
OPINION 22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 JULY 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. PHOTO: ERIC VIDAL, AAP POOL PHOTO VIA AP. European Council President Donald Tusk (L) talks with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. PHOTO: AAP VIA AP/PETROS KARADJIAS. NATO tactics and warmongering ANDREAS C. CHRYSAFIS The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 is expected to be yet another planned provocation against Russia. Its main purpose is to work out a strategic military plan that could probably raise the barometer of the war threat to near-danger levels. Why such madness? The answer is simple. Washington has broken its iron-clad guarantees that it would not expand NATO’s jurisdiction or allow its forces to move eastward. The Ukraine/Crimea situation provided the right pretext for NATO to act recklessly. US navy ships as well as military vessels of NATO member-states enter the Baltic and Black Sea in a show of strength, if not intimidation. The decision to break that pledge has been at the heart of the arms build-up in the region and all sorts of excuses are being drummed up to justify the unjustifiable. One of those excuses has been the latest fabled threat of a ‘cyber attack syndrome’ in a virtual world. In reality, wars are none other than a lucra- tive business for some and misery for others. The government-sponsored arms procurement and weapons industries worth billions would not exist without armed conflicts, hostilities and tension. In consequence, human lives have simply become ‘collateral damage’, to be discarded at will. The ravages of war in Syria, Iraq and ongoing IS brutalities are a prime example of a human virus gone berserk. What is worse, it seems unstoppable. In spite of that, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently announced that “a cyber attack against NATO by persons in a non-NATO country” is an act of war and “requires each NATO member country under a ‘collective defence provision’ to strike back if required to do so”. Have they all gone mad? For the past few years NATO – a war organisation with 3.5 million well-equipped active personnel at its disposal - has surreptitiously been trying to expand eastwards against a perceived Russia threat. Deploying thousands of troops with tanks and missiles alongside the eastern European borders is none other than a strategy based on paranoia. In response, Moscow has taken precautionary measures in case NATO army chiefs decide to act on their war games and churn the wheels of their own phobia into an act of insanity. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, did not mince his words and warned that if “the boundless expansion of the alliance to the east does not stop, the bloc’s leaders have to understand that if NATO’s military infrastructure approaches Russian borders, Russia will have to respond reciprocally with adequate military and technical measures”. That response is precisely what any self-respecting nation would undertake; protect its territorial integrity. After the Brexit results were decided, EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini immediately announced: “Our Union is under threat. Our European project, which has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and democracy, is being questioned. To the east, the European security order has been violated.” The EU has now picked up NATO’s scaremongering tactics officially. Ms Mogherini’s statement on suggesting setting up an EU-army is nothing new but has been on the table for years. If so, it would commit EU member-states to contribute financially but also with troops to build this new EU pet project. One of those prized countries in NATO’s ever-expanding sights is the island of Cyprus. With the election of president Nicos Anastasiades, the timing was perfect to move in and try to influence the new pro-American government to reduce its links with Russia; links that have been getting stronger by the day. The US immediately began sending a horde of top-Pentagon officials to visit Cyprus as a show of solidarity. Washington is now subtly coercing the Anastasiades government to support the island’s membership into the Atlantic Alliance and the US Ambassador Victoria Nuland has conveyed the Pentagon’s message to President Anastasiades in Nicosia. Apparently, Nuland’s plan would maintain the presence of Turkish occupational troops on the island but this time, under a ‘NATO flag’, a very convenient ploy indeed. The secretive Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF) negotiations would probably entrench NATO’s footing on the island and legalise the presence of Turkish troops. The recruitment of 3000 troops of a new Cyprus ‘private army’ and reduction of its armed forces raises serious questions of Cyprus’ BBF role in the future. A demilitarised island would be an ideal solution but it does not appear to be so; not with NATO, the British military bases, the Turkish army and now the EU-army. As it happens, the Anastasiades government has already annoyed Moscow by voting in favour of the US/EU sanctions against Russia and to repeat the same mistake twice would be unpalatable to say the least. “Moscow is not prepared to be double-crossed again by anyone,” stated Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as a caution to the EU. To abandon an ally and a longstanding friend like Russia could leave the country vulnerable to all sorts of trickery by Turkey - NATO’s pet ally. As a result of an unclear strategic foreign policy, Cyprus is facing a minefield of traps set by others. To overcome those it requires a strong leadership with a clear vision to resist the temptation to join the NATO military alliance, but to also reconsider its long-term relationship with the EU; both have so far failed the island miserably. Without a doubt, Cyprus seems to be entering deeper and deeper into a dark maze, and the sooner it gets out of it so much the better. The BBF would not bring about the perceived reunification of the island but generate another dark maze to overcome like all the rest. * Andreas C. Chrysafis is a freelance writer, author and artist.
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