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September 26, 2013 / Congau

NATO’s Existential Lie

In the not so distant past, the military existed to defend the country. At least that’s what the brave citizens of Western democracies were told by their rulers. Pacifistically inclined objectors were appeased by seemingly irrefutable allegories like: “If someone attacked you and your family with an ax, wouldn’t you defend yourself?” Having thus been forced to accede, the interrogator triumphantly eliminated any further attempts at dissent by assuring that defense was the whole purpose of our national armed forces and its extended organization; the NATO.

Oh yes, NATO used to be a glorious institution. It was the peak of mankind’s attempt to tame itself. Until its birth in 1949 human history had been an endless narrative of brutal wars serving no other purpose than the crude quest for power. Kings had incessantly attacked one another solely driven by the thirst for glory or simply for fun. No great ruler could refrain from starting a war to prove his worth, and no one had ever come up with the idea that it was only permissible to take up arms in clear-cut cases of self-defense. Not until the victory of reason in 1949.

“We will never use our mighty army unless a foreign power of evil intent first steps on our borders,” the citizens of the free world were told, and the concept was so simple and convincing and the elected leaders looked so honest, that it was all accepted.

Then came 1989 and it was not so simple anymore. The evil empire of the east ceased to exist, and it was no longer conceivable that anyone could march across our borders. Well, now would have been the moment to prove the honesty of NATO’s rational doctrine “No attack, only defense.” If there is no one to attack, the obvious thing to do is to lean back, enjoy the sunshine and eat the fruit from your garden. But no. The doctrine that had been presented as something belonging to eternal reason had suddenly become irrelevant. That is, it must have been a lie all the time, because eternal truths don’t lose their relevance. The citizens had been lied to all along.

The reason for NATO’s existence was not self-defense. NATO attacked, first in Yugoslavia and in recent memory in several other places. They had lied. They had lied to our face.., but there was no outcry. The entire political spectrum, even the dovish left wing, accepted the turnaround, accepted the lie.

How can you?

These days the West is once again contemplating attack, this time in Syria. Do you really think it is about reason and noble ideas?

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