Rick Rozoff: NATO's Worldwide Expansion in the Post World Era!
One of the most significant developments of the post Cold War era, and certainly the most ominous, is the transformation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military bloc created by the United States during the genesis of the Cold War in 1949, into one that has grown to encompass the entirety of Europe, has expanded military partnerships throughout the world, and has waged war on three continents. In 2006 Kurt Volker, at the time with the State Department, and two years afterwards US ambassador to NATO, boasted that the year before NATO had been engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents. Two years later, the State Departments Daniel Fried, told the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe: When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, NATO was an Alliance of 16 members, and no partners. Today, NATO has 26 members, with 2 new invitees, prospective membership for others, and over 20 partners in Europe and Eurasia, seven in the Mediterranian, four in the Persian Gulf, and others from around the world. Although then Secretary of State, James Baker had assured Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the time of German reunification in 1990, that NATO would not be moved one inch eastward, the very act of merger occurring as it did, led to the German Democratic Republic being absorbed not only into the Federal Republic, but NATO, and hence the latter immediately moving east to the borders of Poland and Czechoslovakia, and closer to that of the Soviet Union. The two invited nations Fried mentioned above are Albania and Croatia, which became full members of the military bloc in 2009, completing a decade of expansion that saw NATO membership grow by 75 percent from 16 to 28. NATO expansion to the east, has provided the Pentagon and its Western allies with bases and other military facilities in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania for wars to the east and south. Macedonia, which would also have been absorbed in 2009, except for the name dispute with NATO member Greece, is now in a new category of nations being groomed for full NATO membership, the alliance refers to as aspirant countries. The others currently are Bosnia, Georgia and Montenegro. With the Partnership for Peace program, that was used to promote twelve new Eastern European into NATO between 1999 and 2009, every non Soviet member of the Warsaw Pact and three former Soviet republics, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and, as of last year, the newly formed Partners Across the Globe, whose initial members are Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Korea, NATO members and partners number at least 70 nations, well over a third of those in the world.