By Mike Whitney
The Vilnius Summit Communique is a crude attempt to NATO-ize Washington’s list of enemies in order to enlist broader support for the impending global conflict. The intended targets of this campaign are Russia and China, the main opponents of the so-called “rules-based order”.
Neither of these countries pose a direct security threat to NATO or the United States, but their sudden re-emergence on the Asian continent makes them Washington’s de facto enemy. The United States is determined to dominate Central Asia, which means that all potential rivals must be contained or crushed. The purpose of the Vilnius Communiqué is to identify these rivals, divulge their alleged offenses, and denounce them in the harshest terms possible. This is how NATO makes its case for war and lays the groundwork for future hostilities.
This is an excerpt from the Communique:
“The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area… Russia bears full responsibility for its illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, which has gravely undermined Euro-Atlantic and global security and for which it must be held fully accountable. We continue to condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s blatant violations of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, and OSCE commitments and principles. We do not and will never recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexations, including Crimea. There can be no impunity for Russian war crimes and other atrocities, such as attacks against civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure that deprives millions of Ukrainians of basic human services. All those responsible must be held accountable for violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, particularly against Ukraine’s civilian population…. ” — Vilnius Summit Communiqué, NATO
The strident tone of the announcement is intended to quash any counter-argument or opinion. The author’s approach is rigid and inflexible. Russia is portrayed as a serial offender with whom negotiations are impossible. Thus, diplomacy is reflexively precluded with a wave of the hand. The only way to deal with a war criminal is though military force. That is the underlying message of the Communiqué. Peace talks must be avoided at all cost so that Russia can be dealt a strategic defeat in Ukraine. That remains the primary objective. Here’s more from the Communiqué:
“Russia must immediately stop this illegal war of aggression, cease its use of force against Ukraine, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its forces and equipment from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.” — Vilnius Summit Communiqué, NATO
There is a delusional quality to the Communiqué that has drawn a fair amount of criticism from all quarters. Why would the authors embarrass themselves by making demands that they can’t back-up on the battlefield? After 17 months of fighting, reasonable people can agree that Russia is winning the war, and winning it handily. There will be no “unconditional withdraw of Russian forces and equipment” nor will Ukraine recapture the territory it has lost. Zelensky was given the opportunity to accept those concessions early-on, but chose to follow Washington’s diktat instead. Now Ukraine is hopelessly divided and no longer exists as a viable, contiguous state. That was Zelensky’s choice not Putin’s. Here’s more from the Communique:
We will continue to ensure our collective defense from all threats, no matter where they stem from, based on a 360-degree approach, to fulfill NATO’s three core tasks of deterrence and defense, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security.” Vilnius Summit Communiqué, NATO
This is how NATO’s mandarins have decided to announce the organization’s transformation from a regional security alliance to a global gendarmerie free to conduct military operations wherever Washington’s dominance is challenged. There is considerable disagreement on this issue among the members, many of who think that NATO should limit its activities to the European theater. So, it is instructive that the above excerpt was put in the Communique at all. What it shows is that NATO policy is not decided by the individual members or their respective parliaments, but by the billionaire elites who have a stranglehold on Washington and who have decided that NATO is the preferred vehicle for prosecuting their war on China.
This is a clip from Time Magazine:
NATO is continuing to gradually move toward the Asia-Pacific region to counter China’s increasing power…..
For the second consecutive year, Japan and South Korea, which are not NATO members, were invited to attend the annual summit. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walked away with a so-called “partnership program” with NATO, a five-page agreement that aims to strengthen defense cooperation between Japan and the alliance, up to the fielding of joint exercises. The NATO joint communique stated in no uncertain terms that China is a potential threat that needs to be taken seriously…. NATO, it seems, is making a concerted decision to add Asia to its docket at a time when the alliance has its hands full managing Europe’s largest war since 1945….
NATO’s rationale for venturing into Asian security affairs is clear enough. The U.S. categorizes China as its “pacing challenge,” a country that seeks to displace Washington as the world’s leading center of gravity. Why NATO’s Growing Interest in Asia Is a Mistake,Time Magazine
The benefits of deploying NATO to the Asia-Pacific cannot be overstated. First, NATO involvement creates the impression that a broad coalition of nations support US warmongering in Asia. Second, the expense of any Asian military intervention will be shared among the 31 members.
And, third, a stronger NATO-US alliance divides the world into warring blocs (similar to the Cold War) which is what Washington now seeks since it finally realizes that control of China will remain in the hands of the Communist Party and will not be transferred to Western oligarchs.(as planned) A bifurcated world, preserves Washington’s dominance of the West which is critical to prosecuting its long-term war on Russia and China.
Here’s more from an article at the World Socialist Web Site:
The declaration adopted this week by the heads of state and government of the 31 NATO members in Vilnius, Lithuania is a blueprint for global war. Only a fraction of the 24-page document deals with the central issue of the summit, the war in Ukraine. In the rest, NATO declares its intention to impose its will on the entire world. Hardly any continent and region are left out in what the document calls NATO’s “360-degree approach.”….
A central focus of the communique is on China, which is accused of employing “a broad range of political, economic, and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power.” It is damaging the alliance’s security with “malicious hybrid and cyber operations” and “confrontational rhetoric and disinformation,” and is attempting “to control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, and strategic materials and supply chains.”…
the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization has been transformed into a Frankenstein monster that asserts its interests and “values” in every part of the globe.… Vilnius NATO summit unveils plans for global domination, World Socialist Web Site
There is a striking similarity between the NATO Communique and the Biden administration’s National Security Strategy. In fact, we suspect that the authors may have collaborated on the text. In any event, the laser-like focus on China as an emerging threat is a recurrent theme in both documents as is the inference that the United States –which has grown increasingly uncompetitive over the last three decades– must use military force to preserve its position in the global order.
Here’s a brief clip from the NSS:
The PRC is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. Beijing has ambitions to create an enhanced sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the
world’s leading power. It is using its technological capacity and increasing influence over
international institutions to create more permissive conditions for its own authoritarian model…
Our strategy toward the PRC is threefold: 1) to invest in the foundations of our strength at home – our competitiveness, our innovation, our resilience, our democracy…
In the competition with the PRC, as in other arenas, it is clear that the next ten years will be the decisive decade. We stand now at the inflection point, where the choices we make and the priorities we pursue today will set us on a course that determines our competitive position long into the future.
US National Security Strategy, White House
The NSS refers to “competition” four times in this short excerpt and yet nowhere do we see any indication that Washington is taking steps to improve competitiveness. There is no federal program for improving critical infrastructure. There is no federal program for improving education. There is no federal program for expanding worker training or for supporting the industries and technologies of the future. The United States has basically given up on competition altogether, realizing that the Robber Barons who control the system are determined to extract as much wealth as they can rather than recycle their profits into productive outlets that would make the country more competitive. This is why “the world’s largest economy” can no longer compete with China. China’s state-led model is vastly superior to America’s extractive model.
How do the Chinese feel about all of this? How do they like the idea of being blamed for the voracious greed of US elites who threw the American worker under the bus 3 decades ago so they could make bigger profits on China’s low-paid workforce? How do they like being lambasted for their success or criticized for putting their capital to work on more productive ventures? How do they like the prospect of a hostile military alliance taking root in their neighborhood so they can stir up trouble and provide aid to China’s enemies?
Check out this blurb from the Global Times:
NATO’s strategic impulse to meddle in the Asia-Pacific region is also imminent at this summit. Expanding cooperation with the four “Asia-Pacific partners” – Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – is another major topic of the summit. In this regard, the US media boldly stated that NATO is trying to “deter China’s strategic ambitions.”
This is the second year that Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have been invited to the NATO summit. In order to firmly rope in these four countries, NATO imitated the “Quad” mechanism of the US, Japan, India and Australia at last year’s summit, and specially created a new name for these four countries called “Asia-Pacific Four (AP4).” This aims to institutionalize the cooperation between these four countries and NATO, and make them de facto new allies of “NATO+” in the Asia-Pacific region….
There are 31 NATO members, but they have … been kidnapped by the panic and tension instigated by the US, becoming “Washington’s axe, spears and shovels.” Wherever NATO goes, wars are likely to break out. These are not only the subjective impressions left by NATO, but also objective facts to a large extent….
NATO must promptly withdraw the black hand it has extended toward the Asia-Pacific region, and it should not even think about squeezing half of its body in the future. Apart from certain… the majority of countries in Asia not only do not welcome NATO but also see it as a terrible monster that should be avoided at all costs. This is because NATO only brings security risks, war threats, and development predicament to Asia….
The transatlantic military alliance… is now extending its reach into the Asia-Pacific region. Its ulterior motives are well-known in the international community. Inciting division and hatred, creating group confrontations, and causing chaos in Europe, they now seek to disrupt the peace in the Asia-Pacific region. We firmly resist this, together with the majority of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Two Stern Warnings Must be Given to NATO,Global Times
Clearly, China is not happy with these developments, and why should they be? After all, the US never stops preaching about the wonderous symmetry of the “free market” until, of course, some upstart country in Asia uses that free market to its own advantage and becomes the unrivaled engine of global growth. That’s when Uncle Sam does a quick about-face claiming that China’s success is the result of “coercive policies that challenge our interests, security and values.”
But don’t be deceived; it’s just jealousy.
Washington’s grandiose plan to confront Russia and China at the same time illustrates the shortcomings of a policy-making body that has eliminated anyone whose views veer even slightly from the warmongering consensus. (“Groupthink” writ large) It’s interesting to note that the main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world, Zbigniew Brzezinski, eventually abandoned the idea altogether and called for forging ties with Russia and China.
In an article that was written shortly before his death, Brzezinski said the following:
As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture…
the United States is still the world’s politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power….
the United States must take the lead in realigning the global power architecture in such a way that the violence …can be contained without destroying the global order.…
a long and painful road toward an initially limited regional accommodation is the only viable option for the United States, Russia, China, and the pertinent Middle Eastern entities. For the United States, that will require patient persistence in forging cooperative relationships with some new partners (particularly Russia and China)…
The fact is that there has never been a truly “dominant” global power until the emergence of America on the world scene…. During the latter part of the 20th century no other power even came close. That era is now ending. Toward a Global Realignment, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The American Interest)
Brzezinski is right. Instead of creating more enemies who seek to destroy us, the US should be looking for ways to ease the transition to a world in which one center of power no longer dictates policy. That doesn’t mean America should not defend its vital interests. It simply means that policymakers must realize that the world has fundamentally changed and we must change with it.