Over the weekend the NATO website posted a speech delivered by its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 3rd German Ecumenical Church Days which reveals more about the military bloc he heads up than he probably realized it did.
He began his pontifications by saying in his line of work he meets people from all walks of life: from students to soldiers and from parliamentarians to the Pope. No doubt he meets far more soldiers than popes. One is reminded of the bumper sticker one could see during the Vietnam War years: Join the Army; travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them.
Stoltenberg, the people person, the all kinds of people person, was introduced by former German defense minister Thomas de Maizière, who has also not likely met many popes.
The North Atlantic prelate alluded to the story of Jesus’ multiplication of the fish and loaves in the four Gospels that is referred to as the Feeding of the 5,000, stating, with a quote from it, “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘schaut hin‘ – go and see….”
NATO didn’t record whether anyone in the audience invited him to go and see select bomb and missile craters in Serbia, Afghanistan and Libya.
He seemed quite pleased with himself in saying, “As the Latin saying goes, if you want peace, prepare for war.” He didn’t cite it in Latin, though, in which case it’s a Roman saying.
While pounding his chest in triumphalist exultation – figuratively of course – he felt compelled to add: “Our Alliance started with 12 members. And today we stand 30 nations strong.” And forty partners. To preserve peace.
Of course no self-celebratory orgy of the sort would be complete without reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall. And his wasn’t. The Fall of the Wall, which he mercifully refrained from comparing to the collapse of the Tower of Babel and the sonic attack on the walls of Jericho, brought about a new dispensation, a new and everlasting Covenant if you will, which “allow[ed] a divided Germany – and a divided continent – to reunite.” Unite under the boot of history’s only global military bloc. Maybe walls aren’t so bad.
Then he switched gears from “and then they lived happily ever after” to a Pandora’s box of threats and horrors. In his sequence they are:
A more assertive Russia.
Brutal terrorism. [As opposed to gentle terrorism?]
The rise of China.
With the first, it appears that the reunification Germany and reunification of Europe (?) didn’t accomplish anything but bring NATO right up against Russia’s border. Or according to NATO logic, brought Russia to NATO’s Eastern Flank. How dare the devious, demonic, dastardly villains. Get thee behind me, Satan.
Now the Euroatlantic pontiff pulled out bell, book and candle to exorcise the malign influence and recited this anathema:
“Russia continues its aggressive and destabilising behaviour at home and abroad.
“With cyber-attacks against NATO Allies, including the German Bundestag.
“Its violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine.
“And its violent oppression of political dissent in Russia, with the attacks on Alexei Navalny and his supporters.”
During the question and answer phase of the program, and whether or not fully recalling he was addressing religious figures, Stoltenberg stumbled through this:
“I don’t know how to say this, but I think that I understand that there is a difficult ethical dilemma to…to decide when is it necessary to use violence or right to use violence, when can you excuse the use of violence. But I think that if, again, look at the history of most of our nations, there are moments where we all feel at least the vast majority of people feel – that we don’t have any other alternative than to also use military tools to protect our core values.”
Wouldn’t it be convenient to dispense altogether with troublesome ethical dilemmas and continue bombing nations out of existence in furtherance of NATO’s core values? The question only needs to be posed.
Later the Devil quoted Scripture thusly:
“I think, religion has, you know, very often a message about peace, tolerance, love, which we really need to mobilize in the work for peace, conflict resolution – and maybe NATO should be more aware of that.”
However, lest his audience think he was taking too seriously the teachings of the Jesus of the Feeding of the 5,000 (Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. They that take the sword shall perish with the sword), he hastened to add: “But at the same time, we all know that religion is often misused as different political ideologies are misused….” The High Priest of Euroatlantica alone can make the distinction between good religion and bad medicine.
Then to condescend to the level of mortals, to demonstrate that even he, Pontifex Maximus of global militarism, is capable of episodes of humility, he shared this:
“[W]hen we use military power, we also see that there are big problems and dilemmas connected that [sic]. We see how difficult it has been to be in Afghanistan for now 20 years. We see the use of military power in Iraq. We see Libya. So these are three examples, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, where we see that, well, we used military powers…and we achieved something, but it’s not…it’s not a clean-cut success.”
Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. That is a Latin expression: Kill them. For the Lord knows those that are His own.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He 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.