In 1096 Pope Urban sanctioned, and sanctified, the First Crusade with the words Deo vult: God wills it.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s address at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels on March 24, entitled Reaffirming and Reimagining America’s Alliances, is a landmark, a watershed articulation of the most far-ranging and perhaps the final initiative of the West to preserve and extend world domination; a crusade inaugurated by the U.S. and the thirty-member global military bloc it leads to bifurcate the world into the West and, to use the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, its partners, vassals and tributaries on one hand and a small handful of incorrigible holdouts against the order Blinken represents on the other. The second group of countries being, if you will, the foreign policy equivalent of Neanderthals and deplorables as those terms have been employed in the American body politic over the past five years.
Despite more than the usual quotient of vapid, saccharine and unctuous words – shared values of democracy and human rights, the right of all people everywhere to be treated with dignity and have their fundamental freedoms respected, the global commons, a world with greater health, stronger democracies, and more opportunity for more people, opportunities for their families and communities, a free and open rules-based order, our ability and willingness to openly confront our own shortcomings, stand up for the free and open system that we know provides the best conditions for human ingenuity, dignity, and connection, we need to have a positive vision that can bring people together in common cause (all direct quotes) – when the dross is removed his words are chilling to an alarming degree.
And not only in reference to issuing a blanket diktat to the world to submit to the US and NATO rules-based international order (their collective catchphrase) but a domestic equivalent of it for nationals as well as nations. Neanderthals can be nations and individuals alike.
On the international plane, Blinken yet further escalated the broadsides he and his American and NATO colleagues have been launching against Russia and China to a steadily intensifying degree of late.
Not long into his speech he almost gratuitously introduced lines like “an increasingly assertive China,” then proceeded to promote the nation from a pesky competitor to a military threat. As Blinken also obligatorily made reference to NATO’s Article 5 collective military assistance clause, for him to accuse a nation of posing a threat to the US and its allies is a grave accusation indeed. But he hardly limited the number of alleged threats posed by China to its assertive behavior. Nor was he sparing of Russia.
In one paragraph he laid out the alliance’s writ of indictment against both China and Russia for posing a threat to the “international system” no less. Of a multitude of threats the modern equivalent of the Cold War’s free world faces –
“The first is military threats from other countries. We see this in China’s efforts to threaten freedom of navigation, to militarize the South China Sea, to target countries throughout the Indo-Pacific with increasingly sophisticated military capabilities. Beijing’s military ambitions are growing by the year. Coupled with the realities of modern technology, the challenges that once seemed half a world away are no longer remote. We also see this in the new military capabilities and strategies Russia has developed to challenge our alliances and undermine the rules-based order that ensures our collective security. These include Moscow’s aggression in eastern Ukraine; its buildup of forces, large-scale exercises, and acts of intimidation in the Baltic and Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the High North; its modernization of nuclear capabilities; and its use of chemical weapons against critics on NATO soil.“
The two global malefactors were then lumped into the same category as Iran and North Korea, with the last two “pursuing nuclear and missile capabilities that threaten US allies and partners,” as a quadripartite Eurasian Axis of Evil.
The sweep of subject matter – all more or less consisting of existential threats (to leave no cliché unused) to the unoffending, congenitally trusting West – and unsparing denunciations directed at the targeted offenders in the speech put Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain address at Fulton, Missouri in 1946 in the shade as they say.
Not relenting, hardly pausing for breath, Blinken took further jabs at China and Russia for issues as far away from military threats as imaginable; for example: “From China’s blatant economic coercion of Australia, to Russia’s use of disinformation to erode confidence in elections and in safe, effective vaccines – these aggressive actions threaten not only our individual countries, but also our shared values.”
The two “authoritarian” (NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s standard adjective for them) nations are also lambasted for the “use of disinformation campaigns and weaponized corruption to fuel distrust in our democracies, and cyberattacks that target our critical infrastructure and steal intellectual property.”
To respond to the virtually all-encompassing threats he detailed, he first recommended what would be the absolute ultima ratio regum of options – nuclear weapons – in stating “we must ensure that our strategic nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective, particularly in light of Russia’s modernization.”
As for China, in addition to mentioning working with US and NATO partners Japan and South Korea, he touted employing “the group of countries we call ‘the Quad’ – Australia, India, Japan, and the United States,” adding that President Biden recently hosted the first-ever “leader-level summit” of that anti-Chinese alliance. Incidentally, Blinken referred to the current administration as the Biden-Harris administration, the first time an American government has been identified in that manner.
He also celebrated “deepening NATO-EU cooperation,” emphasizing that the European Union joined the US, Britain and Canada in leveling sanctions against China over “the atrocities being committed against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”
As nations not willing to toe the line of the rules-based international order must be confronted and defeated, so must the citizens within countries not prepared to sacrifice their sovereignty and dignity to a neoliberal supranational order; even those in NATO nations who display their disloyalty to the new order by voting the wrong way. Because, Blinken stated, “Our shared values of democracy and human rights are being challenged – not only from outside our countries, but from within.” He trumpeted the need to “confront the democratic recession around the world.”
Readers will supply their own parallels for political regimes that exclusively focus on portraying themselves being mercilessly threatened by and needing to relentlessly counterattack underhanded, insidious adversaries both at home and abroad; regimes for which that dual accusation serves both as raison d’être and preferred method of deflecting attention from their own ineptitude, their own crimes. An individual exhibiting such traits would be diagnosed a violent paranoid schizophrenic.
As seen above, China and Russia are not only “undermin[ing] the rules-based order,” but China in particular is “now actively working to undercut the rules of the international system,” China and Russia both are in various devious ways ” erod[ing] confidence in elections,” sowing “distrust in our democracies” and threatening the monopoly of American and other Western vaccine manufacturers.
It’s no secret that in the past twenty years Euro-Atlantic elites have been displeased with the results of federal elections around the world (as in the monarchical We are not amused); in NATO countries themselves such results have occurred at various times in Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and even the US once. Any nation, any official, any voter who questions the transcendent sublimity of Atlanticism will be eliminated.
The reason that Slovakia was not included in NATO’s first round of post-Cold War expansion with its Visegrad Four partners in 1999 and had to wait five more years to enter the alliance is because Slovaks had the temerity to vote the wrong way. NATO, the US and the EU bore the People’s Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (LS-HZDS) of Vladimír Meciar an abiding animus. Only after he and his party had been swept aside could Slovakia join the NATO “alliance of democracies.” Meciar threw in the towel in 2000 when he saw that his nation had been punished sufficiently for his putative sins. His HZDS colleague Augustín Marián Húska said at the time: “The NATO-War against Yugoslavia in 1999 was also a signal to us, to not pursue any vision of political independence anymore. We have seen what will happen to forces that want to be independent.”
This month marks the twenty-second anniversary of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia. The message to the world about the new post-Cold War order was delivered with bombs and Tomahawk cruise missiles. By NATO.
Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.