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Current Affairs




During the world war II (WWII) European allies and Russia were fighting the Nazi forces. In WWII The US and UK lost total 869,000 thousand soldiers and civilians and Russia lost total 23.4 million soldiers and civilians (Death tolls of 20th century Hemoclysm; Michael Ellman & S Maksudov Europe- Asia studies July 1994). It is a historical fact that Russia would have defeated Nazi Germany, but would have taken longer. Russia under Stalin was a formidable force. The Red Army was poorly armed, and had the revolutionary zeal in defeating fascism. The Western allies and Russia were supposed to be partners in the war, their plan was to defeat Hitler. But a very interesting political manoeuvres were being played by Churchill, to outwit Russia. Stalin wanted the US and European allies to open up the western front in 1942. Both Churchill and Roosevelt failed to respond and allowed two years to pass. It was in 1944, that the western front was activated as a war theatre. The cause of the delay carries a lot of speculations. I am not going to add to further speculations.

From the British 29 pages of WWII archives, a portion of one of the document stands out by its revealing contents. The title of the document is “UNTHINKABLE”. It was written by Churchill, Prime Minister United Kingdom, to Franklin Roosevelt, President USA, during WWII. Churchill was concerned about which army will take the German capital, Berlin, and wanted to start an assault on Berlin. He stated: “If Russian also take Berlin, will not their impression that they have been the overwhelming contributor to our common victory be unduly imprinted on their mind, and may this not lead them into mood which will raise grave and formidable difficulty in the future”. The assault on Berlin was a phenomenal battle where three and half million forces from both sides, 10,000 tanks, 11,00 aircraft’s were involved in the fight, scores of thousands of artillery were involved. After the fall of Berlin, it was the Red Army that raised the Red flag on top of the Reichstag in May1945 – a symbol of victory over fascism. In the battle of Berlin, which lasted two weeks, Russia played a vital role in the fall of Nazi power. But Britain wanted Germany destroyed and Soviet Union weakened, thus barring the appearance of another force on the European continent.

World War II was won by the sacrifices of both Soviet Union, the US and its Allied forces. Roosevelt death on 12 April 1945, was a great setback for the Soviet Union, because Stalin and Roosevelt got on well with each other. In some way Roosevelt was guarantor to Soviet interest after the end of the war and improved relationship between the US and Soviet Union. After the death of President Roosevelt, the mistrust resurfaced between the Britain and Soviet Union. There was even talk in the British army circle of an operation to attack Soviet Union. Plan of operation was to eliminate Soviet Union, but the British army generals soon realised that Soviet Union had twice the size of army in Germany. So they withdrew their plan. To contain the influence of the Soviet Union in Europe another plan was hatched, it was to bring all the Allied countries under one banner of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, an inter-governmental, military alliance treaty was signed. Thus NATO was born on 4 April 1949, with it’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Lord Ismay was the first NATO secretary general. He wanted to keep Soviet Union out – America in and Germany down. NATO gradually expanded by acquiring the membership of 28 countries. In 1954, Soviet Union applied for the membership of NATO and was turned down. It was German integration into NATO, that prompted the Soviet union to set up an organisation of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance called Warsaw Pact, in May 1955. It was to deter the recurrence of invasion of Russia, as was seen in Napoleon invasion in 1812 and Hitler in 1941-44. Both invasions caused extreme devastation and human loses to Russia.

In world war II, Soviet Union suffered greatest total losses than any of the participant country in the war. After world war II not only Soviet Union was side lined by the NATO countries, their political and ideological differences widened with great vigour. In 1955, the actual face of cold war surfaced. The British were instrumental in promoting cold war. Cold war existed from 1947-1991. It was: political conflicts, military tension, proxy wars, espionage (propaganda, arms race, etcetera). Korean war galvanised NATO in developing military structure. NATO had 28 members and Warsaw Pact had 12 members. After the fall of Berlin wall in 1989 and Soviet Union, in 1991, Warsaw Pact was dissolved. The agreement and accords were signed to dissolve NATO too – because there was no need for it, as the cold war was over. But NATO carried on its expansionist policy and facing new challenges. Since the fall of Soviet Union, NATO has included Eastern European countries in its treaty. Today NATO has military alliances with 50 countries.

Bombing of Yugoslavia was a corner stone of NATO military activities. It was second major global operation in the history of NATO. It was Russian decision on June 30 1999, to back the west, which led to the surrender of Milosevic (British Lieutenant General Mike Jackson). NATO no doubt had a role during cold war, but after the fall of Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries NATO should have been devolved. Its expansion is causing concern, as it has no new charter to the new challenges that the world is facing. It has basically became a tool of American military hegemony. It’s unilateral use of force constitutes a flagrant violation of UN charter. The key basis governing the legality of any act of war is International law. NATO seem to be above the international law. In 1999, the Council of State, the supreme court of Greece, found NATO guilty of war crimes and 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. According to United Nations (UN) charter the main purpose and principles of UN is international peace and security. NATO use of inappropriate force is violation of the principles of the UN. NATO operational commitment have changed beyond recognition in the past 20 years and is much busier fighting wars around the globe. As the US is the only remaining superpower, NATO is instrumental in propagating war and changing governments that have their differences with the US. Libya is a good example, where a civil war was brewing and NATO on the initiation of France and England started air strikes against Qaddafi forces. Though the issue was brought to the Security Council for approval of air strikes, with the pretext of saving civilian casualties and protecting civilians from Gaddafi’s army. In reality it was a civil war. US, UK and France essentially started taking sides and their plan is regime change. Though Germany (NATO member) Russia, China, Brazil and India abstained. The resolution 1973 was carried on pretext of protecting the civilians – but the reality is that Gaddafi’s and his family are being targeted and many civilians killed by NATO strikes. It is becoming apparent that the imperialist designs of the US, Britain and France are at play in the theatre of Libyan war. In Afghanistan the situation is not looking optimistic, so NATO is trying to move target into Pakistan, to hide its failures in Afghanistan. Pakistan will soon face the wrath of the US, if it deflects the American military hegemony in the region. After Libya who is next? Iran or Syria or both? Where is it going to stop? If the safety of civilians is so important then action is necessary in Yemen and Bahrain – but the West is conveniently quite on the issue civilian murdered by the brutal regimes propped up by the US. This selective action and double standards of the West and its military machine NATO need to be checked. NATO should be made accountable to the UN Security Council, in accordance with the UN charter for the purpose and principles of Peace and Security of all countries of the world.

Dr Abdul Ghafoor Kasi

Sources: History of NATO; Fall of Soviet Union; History of WWII, etc.



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