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                  Andre Gunder Frank     
                   [March 26, 1999]

NATO bombing of Serbia is in abject violation of
international law by taking it into your own hands to
destroy it. That makes this NATO action first 
dangerously criminal and then criminally dangerous. The
American NATO Military Commander's claim that he is
speaking and acting for the 'International Community'
is a deliberate hoax, since the membership of NATO is
only about 15 percent of the states and even less than
that of the population of the United Nations, whose two
largest countries with 2 billion people and many others 
oppose this action. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan put
it mildly the day bombing started on March 24 that NATO
member states should 'consult' the UN Security Council
before attacking. They did no such thing in the
knowledge that two permanent members would have
exercised their veto. Therefore NATO action is criminal
and dangerously so because it is yet another important
step in the systematic violation of the UN Charter and
the total abrogation of international law. NATO action
and its expansion is also criminally dangerous for a
whole series of political, legal, social, economic, and
of course moral reasons to be detailed below.


NATO action is not only criminal, but dangerously so;
because it extends not only the violation but the very
elimination of the UN Charter, structure, and process
and its replacement by NATO and its dominant power in
the United States. It is difficult to decide where to
start a quick review of this process. In 1950 the 
United States was able to fight Korean War under the UN
flag, because in the Security Council China was
represented by the regime in Taiwan, and the USSR was
absent the day of the vote. Never mind that the UN
Charter requires the affirmative vote of all permanent
members. In 1961, the UN was used as a cover for United
States foreign policy in the Congo, which resulted in
the installation by the CIA of Mobuto after the
expulsion and killing of Lumumba and the death there of
UN Secretary General Hammerskjold.  In the 1980s, the
United States alleged that it is not subject to the
rulings of UN International Court in the Hague after
the latter found that US mining of the Nicaragua
harbour violated the  UN CHarter. 

But in 1990/91 the United States and its allies availed
themselves of the UN and its Security Council to
'legitimate' the war against Iraq by pulling legalistic
wool over the eyes of the world community to pretend
that their action was carried out for the UN.
Nonetheless, the then UN Secretary General Perez de
Cuellar clearly said 'This is a US war, not a UN war."
His resignation for that reason would have made it much
more loud and clear. In fact, the US led war against
Iraq clearly violated at least seven different clauses
of the UN Charter. The first one is that Article 27,
Clause 3 of the UN Charter requires the affirmative
vote of all permanent members. That was not the case,
since China abstained [ and the USSR only voted yes
after being bribed to do so in its economic crisis. If
it had at least abstained, China might have voted No,
and probably France also]. This requirement is again
relevant today: The United States and its NATO allies
did not 'consult' the Security Council as the UN
Secretary General reminded us simply because it is
obvious that this time Russia would have vetoed this
operation, and maybe China too.

The American pretence that no new Security Council
resolution was required to legalize this NATO action is
a sheer lie in yet another attempt to pull wool over
world eyes. Indeed, that was so already in the war
against Iraq. For Article 42 of the UN Charter bars the
resort to war until the Security Council determines
that all peaceful means to resolve the dispute have
been exhausted pursuant to Article 41. [We return to
peaceful means below]. Of course, there was never any
compliance with any none of these and other 
requirements of the UN Charter, and least of all the
provision that the military action be under UN military
command [which has never been really established], and
not under that of the USA or NATO. On the contrary, the
Iraq war initiated another dangerous precedent in this
regard: although it was not a NATO operation, NATO
offered its infrastructural facilities and some
military equipment, which were used by its member
allies in their illegal war against Iraq.

So the United States converted the United Nations into
a de facto arm of its own foreign policy and its
spokespersons and the media availed themselves the
tried and true methods of Joseph Goebbles to lie so
much as to persuade as also in Big Brother's 1984 
WAR IS PEACE double speak about international law and 

Bosnia offered the opportunity to take another major
dangerous step down this criminal road. In the
beginning, The Helsinki Security Organization OSCE and
the United Nations were active in trying to defuse and
then resolve the conflict. Both failed because its
principal members, principally the United States,
Britain, France, and also Germany and Russia were
unable to agree and unwilling to act. That scuttled not
only the Owens plan, which provided for essentially the
same things as the Dayton agreement but would have
avoided three years of war and saved countless lives.
But this impasse and paralysis, especially of and by
the United States which prior to an election demanded
the use of European but no American troops, also paved
the way to today in another way: The United Nations
declared itself unable, and whats worse incompetent,  
to resolve the conflict in Bosnia -- and handed it over
for 'resolution' lock, stock and barrel to NATO! 

At the time, hardly anybody [except me on WSN?] noticed
or noted this further qualitatively significant step in
the de facto dismemberment of the United Nations and
its alleged de jure replacement by NATO, and de facto
by the United States, which then dictated its terms of
'settlement' at Dayton, Ohio, USA. Among them were the 
capture and trial of war criminals in the former
Yugoslavia, which the same United States has resolutely
opposed and prevented ever since then. Thus, not only
international law, but even its own dictates are
conveniently violated by the United States whenever they
are inconvenient. That happened again when the US and
UK governments unilaterally bombed Iraq again in
January 1999 again in violation of the United Nations
Charter and even resolutions and international law but
even of their own dictates. 

Ironically if not tragically, this attack on Serbia
is also in direct violation of the NATO Charter itself, 
which allows defensive action only in response to an 
attack on a member state, which Serbia/Yugoslavia 
certainly has not done. Moreover NATO is itself 
subordinated to the United Nations also by its own
NATO Charter, which reads:

"The North Atlantic Treaty
Washington D.C., April 4, 1949
The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the 
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United 
Nations and their desire to live in peace with all 
peoples and all governments....

Article 1
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of 
the United Nations, to settle any international dispute
in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such
a manner that international peace and security and justice
are not endangered, and to refrain in their international
relations from the threat or use of force in any manner
inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."

So, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this agreement 
in Washington next week, the United States and [its?] 
NATO have step by step set themselves up as accuser,
prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner of international
'law' however it suits them in total violation of the 
charters of both the United Nation and of NATO itself.
And if it does not suit some member/s, like Greece which
naturally objects to fanning flames on its borders, 
never mind, except that for celebratory purposes such 
internal NATO disagreement can be embarassing or even
inconvenient, as is the denial of fly-over rights along 
the way to Serbia by neutral Austria. And if NATO action
does not suit anybody else in the  world, so much the 
better; since that will only demonstrate in practice to 
one and all who is really 'in charge' in this one world.
Alas, that position and  practice is criminally dangerous,
particularly in a world in which economic power is shifting,
and military - nuclear!- power is diversifying.


This war is also criminally dangerous for more reasons
than it is possible even to summarize here. So I will
concentrate only on two kinds of reasons, political and
moral. Far from safeguarding international security,
the expansion of NATO membership, coverage and  
military action itself poses a very serious danger.
There was absolutely no European security interest, and
not even much political support, for the eastward
expansion of NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the
Czech Republic. Indeed, the principal motor force for
this move was domestic politics in the United States.
In Russia however, NATO's eastward expansion was
rightly perceived as aggressive and threatening. So is,
of course, the recent proposal again to increase
'defense' spending and to revive the Star Wars program
with anti-ballistic missiles in direct violation of the
ABM treaty. All Russian political parties have been 
united in opposition to this American and NATO threat
and now to its bombs, whatever their differences on
other issues. These political and domestic policy
differences themselves have been sharpened by the
growing Russian economic crisis, which much of the
Russian public sees rightly as the result of what it
is, less a form of American Way modernization and ever
more a modernized form of American carpetbagging. But
the Russian public and its politics are likely to be
even further aggravated by this American and NATO
foreign policy, which threatens a country still armed
to the teeth with nuclear weapons and whose army
desperately needs renewed economic and popular support
to rally around the flag.

Yet NATO not only threatens further eastward expansion
of membership, but it helps move the boundaries and
center of gravity of NATO's attention into the Balkans
and Southeastern Europe, where they clash with Russia's
interests. This threat and danger is confirmed by NATO
military intervention in Bosnia, and now by its attack
on Serbia. All these moves and NATO's use of Macedonia
as a staging area also pose additional threats and
dangers of NATO military penetration even further
south-east perhaps including Southwest Asia [mis-
called the Near or Mid East], the Caucasus, and the 
Caspian Sea where long term strategic disputes rage 
about oil and pipe-line routes. The US has already 
held joint military 'excercises' with and in Kazakstan
in whose major oil deposits Russia and China also have
vital interests.

This NATO intervention in Serbia, far from containing
trouble, is likely to spread it further southeast through
domino like knock on effects in Albania, Macedonia, 
Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. All also harbour intra- and 
inter- state ethnic conflicts that can be fanned as they
were in Yugoslavia -- and then invite more NATO 'peace' 
keeping. Indeed, that is why there already is Greek 
opposition within NATO to its attack on Serbia and 
its pledge to be a non-nuclear zone was just withdrawn by
Ukraine, which along with other CIA states also feels 
threatened. These developments represent a weak underbelly 
for NATO, particularly given other regional Greco-Turkish
conflicts within the NATO alliance.

The pretence by NATO, US President Clinton, UK Prime
Minister Blair and their myriad official and other
fellow travellers in the media and elsewhere is that
they are engaged in a humanitarian mission to protect
innocent civilians. Moreover they allege that they have
no alternative but to do use military means to pursue 
their humanitarian mission, because the bad guy
on the other side will not listen to reason. But none
of these pretences reflect the reality whose most 
important factors are hidden by so much of a smoke screen 
that the public can no longer even distinguish smoke from
mirror. The Western NATO powers have so far acted exclusively 
in their - not always common -political interests and have 
never ever lifted a humanitarian finger to safeguard or help
anybody in Yugoslavia itself, or elsewhere for that matter.
Nor are the humanitarian NATO bombs designed or able to do so. 

The United  Nations Charter stipulates in its Article
41 that all peaceful means to resolve - indeed to
forestall escalation - of conflict be exhausted
before the United Nations, not NATO or any member
state, resort to military force. Far from exhausting
the use of such peaceful means in the former
Yugoslavia, the principal NATO partners exhausted  all
the means of the Yugoslavs and their successor to
forestall and de-escalate conflict among them. Any
objective examination of recent history will
demonstrate that not 400 years of ethnic conflict in
Yugoslavia but 20, 10, and 2 years of criminally
dangerous action and inaction by the Western powers is
responsible for the past, present, and future disaster.

To begin with, it has been primarily US monetary/
economic and political/military policy that aggravated
the world economic crisis and shifted  its burden to
those least able to bear it, including especially the
Soviet Union/Russia and Yugoslavia. The latter was
already so burdened by foreign debt that it was already
clear [at least to me] in 1984 that without relief the
result had to be military rule, civil war, or both.
Then to add insult to injury and do even more injury,
the IMF pushed the Yugoslav Federal state to de facto
suicide by obliging it to eliminate from its budget the
transfer payments to its constituent republics, which
were the de facto cement that held the federation
together. Therewith, the Federation of Yugoslavia lost
its political economic raison d'etre at the same time
that a renewed economic recession, IMF structural
adjustment, and growing poverty and polarization hit
the country and its people.

When Slovenia and Croatia sought to abandon the
Yugoslav ship, the German foreign minister Genscher
supported them [along with his Austrian colleague
who also sought economic benefits there] and presented
its European Union allies with the following ultimatum:
EU recognition of secession or Germany will go it
alone. The EU caved in with the full knowledge that
the independence of Slovenia and Croatia had to lead to
the same in Bosnia, which had to lead to civil war and
further partition. And President Milosevic in Belgrade
naturally used these opportunities handed to him to
escalate and fortify Serbian nationalism, not the least
by using the Serbian officered 'Yugoslav' army against
all three new countries and to support the Bosnian
Serbs, as well as to divest Albanians in Kosovo of more
and more of their constitutional rights. The danger posed 
by Milosevic and his chauvinist politics was so obvious 
that even I was able to warn against them in publications
in 1990/91, including one published by the United Nations. 
Yet it took a long time for anyone in the West, let alone 
the United Nations, to lift a finger to dissuade Milosevic.
And then it was primarily to impose an ineffective embargo 
on Serbia, which has publicly sustained Milosevic 
politically and economically, it is said, for his and 
his inner circle's private purses. 

So for years none of the Western powers did anything to
stop or even discourage him, except that for its own 
purposes the United States first opposed partition, 
then changed its mind and accepted it, and then started 
to push for intervention so long as it would not cost 
American troops. Britain and France, who would have had 
to supply the troops, and of course Germany dragged their
feet as well. Russia also for its own reasons opposed
intervention. Ethnic cleansing and every kind of horror
and human tragedy was the result. But all of it could
have been avoided by the implementation by the United
Nations and/or the Western powers of economic,
political and social policies with the least bit of
humanitarian concern for the welfare of the people such
as that ever professed as a cover for the naked
political policy that the Western powers implement in
their own interests.  
This self interest, now especially by the Clinton
administration in the United States, also guided and
permeated the Dayton 'Peace' Accords that belatedly
ended the war in Bosnia -- with essentially the same
provisions favorable to the Serbs proposed by the Owen
Plan and rejected by the United States three years
earlier. An Dayton provided much more for policing
Bosnia than for democratizing, let alone developing or
even reconstructing it economically. For that, only
very few dollars were budgeted; and hardly a cent was
ever made available. But the Dayton accords are
themselves violated daily even regarding the policing,
for again American domestic political interests have
prevailed to prevent arresting the principal and most
other war criminals and bringing them to justice at the
UN Court in The Hague. The establishment by the UN of a
permanent International Criminal Court to try violations 
of human rights was also opposed and is still hamstrung 
by the small minority vote of United States and its 
Chinese, Israeli, Iraqi and Lybian 'traditional' allies. 
So much for humanitarian concern for the welfare and
human rights of the people by the United States and
its NATO allies. 

Moreover, just as the Bosnian disaster was pre-
programmed into the German and European support for
independence in Slovenia and Croatia, so did Dayton set
the stage or at least fail to prevent the escalation of
Serbian oppression and the aggravation of the conflict
in Kosovo. Nor was anything done or even attempted to
prevent, let alone to reverse, this process until it
was indeed too late. Again the claim that peaceful
conflict resolution failed and now made military bombing
necessary is more smoke and mirrors. Or is it a
smokescreen for even more dangerously criminal and
criminally dangerous measures? And why now?

There are no doubt many reasons and possible explanations
why these military measures are being taken now. Whatever 
they are, a bit of global historical perspective can help 
clarify them.. Examination of the record since World War II 
will show that the United Sates has rattled or used its 
military sabre and then increased 'defense' spending in 
every economic recession: 1949-50 Korea, 1953-54: Iran 
and Guatemala, 1958: Lebanon, 1967, 1969-70 and 1973-75:
Vietnam, 1979: first the second cold war including a 3
percent yearly increase in all NATO spending and 
then arming the Afghans against Soviet occupation, and
1989-92: Iraq. In each case also, spending was increased by
and for the military-industrial complex against which 
President Eisenhower warned in his 1958 fare well speech.
Now the time has come for another recession, foreshadowed
by the economic crisis in Asia, Russia, and Latin America
and by a dip in the index of [future] economic indicators 
in the United States. Moreover, the end of the [second] cold
war with the Evil Empire led to significant cuts in US
military budgets, although three new customers were created
ipso facto by NATO expansion to Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest. 
So the same Pentagon, which was well still nourished in 1990 
and opposed going to war in Iraq as Chief of Staff Colin 
Powell also did, now demanded and received the go-ahead 
for military action again in Iraq and now in Serbia. Moreover,
military commanders want to try out the new military hardware and
software that was supposed to be upgraded since its abject
failure in Iraq in 1991. And the same Bill Clinton who once
evaded the draft in the war against Vietnam now comes out in
favour of new weapons for unconventional warfare, anti-ballistic
missiles to be employed in - that is against - the Third World 
and argues that it is high time again to increase military
spending 'only' to pay for it all. So this is an overall 
context in which to examine the various real and imagined 
reasons for beginning 1999 by bombing Iraq and Serbia.
One thing is certain. Bombing Serbs in Serbia and even
in Kosovo is not designed to and cannot promote the
welfare of the Albanian population in Kosovo and also
not in neighbouring states. If it were, then with the 
same argument NATO could also bomb its NATO member 
Turkey to protect its even more abused Kurds, or the so 
far non-member Israel that has so institutionalized its 
ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as to make it all but
'invisible' though to help it do so is the only country 
in the world to have legalized  torture and itself just 
wantonly bombed Lebanon again without the slighest
reprimand, let alone reprisal.

Besides, all informed opinion insists that NATO bombing 
will politically strengthen Milosevic and Serbian 
nationalism rather than weakening either, as NATO 
pretends. Surely, if the Western powers really sought 
to achieve or even to serve any of their professed 
objectives, any Western aided economic and social 
development program for the entire population
would have done so better. But then, instead of
economic structural adjustment and then  military
intervention, so would it have been in Somalia, Rwanda
and elsewhere. Moreover the NATO military attack on
Serbia now again undermines the peace settlement in
neighbouring Bosnia and risks putting its own military
'peace' keeping personnel there [including it is said a 
whole British armoured division] in Serbian harm's way.
The offensive use of German military power for the first
time since World War II and again against Serbs will also 
be politically used by Milosevic to strengthen his hand
and his followers' resolve. 

And what about the quiet NATO military build up in also
neighbouring Macedonia? First the now 10,000 [or more?] 
troops - including another armoured division of 5,000 men
and equipment already brought by the British months ago] 
were said to be there to permit the evacuation of
the 2,000 unarmed OSCE observers in Kosovo, so they
would and could not become Serbian hostages. Then the
bombing started without any notice that all observers
have been evacuated to Macedonia, and we are told
that the NATO troops are there ready to cross over into
Serbian Kosovo just in case of Serbian reprisals
against Albanians there. But according to official
doublespeak of the United States, we are informed that
its troops in Macedonia will never be used to make
peace but only to keep it.  Either way, we are not told
how these NATO troops could possibly protect either the
two thousand  observers or the two million Albanians in 
Kosovo. Moreover, NATO bombing and the removal of OSCE 
observers will expose the remaining Albanian population 
to greater hatred, oppression and ethnic cleansing by the
Serbians and increase the fear and flight of the already 
three hundred thousand refugees from Kosovo - that is de
facto the very ethnic cleansing the Serbians want. That also
again fuels earlier proposals for a Greater Albania to 
bring Albanians from Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Kosovo
under one flag and center that could as well be in the
last as in the first of these.

So what are NATO troops and their ground force military 
equipment in Macedonia - and Bosnia - for? For what is
euphomistically called more 'mission creep', however
pre-programmed it may be. For the whole NATO operation is 
based or at least sold on the false official premise that 
it will protect Albanian interests by bringing President
Milosevic to his knees and/or forcing him out of office by
dividing his domestic support. For the foreseeable future, 
NATO can only achieve the opposite.

Less consideration has been given to how this NATO 
operation may become divisive among and within its
member states, and with what consequences. At this writing,
the Prime Minister and then the Parliament of Italy, which is 
just across the Adriatic so that the United States uses its
air bases to bomb Yugoslavia from which Italy therefore also
attracts new refugees, has already demanded renewed political
negotiations. En Germany, the Green Party foreign minister
[still?] supports this adventure but the Social Democratic
finance minister was forced to resign in a conflict with the
defense minister over additional finance for this contribution
to NATO by Germany. Moreover, that is the country that already
received the largest number of war refugees from Bosnia [like
Italy from Albania] and is most sensitive to any such new 
refugee stream from Kosovo and neighboring regions. 

Refugees are the least concern for the the most protected 
and hawkish members of NATO, Thatcher/Blairite Britain, maybe
Canada and the United States. In the latter the use 
of American ground troops in the Balkans and thereabouts will not
go down as well as Desert Storm did in Iraq -- unless the
operation can be sold at home as a second [really
third] cold war against the Russians. They for their part
are talking [and planning?] to arm the Serbs and perhaps
also to send military personell, albeigh be it as  
mercenary 'volunteers' from an army that today goes unpaid.
But rekindling and firing up another cold war and heating 
it up to boot entails obvious criminal dangers of its own.
Besides that, it may entail some less obvious global
geo-political and military consequences, including the
fortification of a Sino-Russian alliance, this time
perhaps also including India -- each with nuclear weapons. 

Thus, far from preserving the peace, NATO is threatening 
- indeed already undoing - it. Far from promoting and 
enforcing international law, NATO is violating and destroying
it. Far from serving any humanitarian ends, NATO and its
principal powers are negating them all. One of these ends 
should be to speak the truth instead of spreading lies about
all of the above. So lets at least some of us, as the 
pacifist Society of Friends [Quakers] saying has it, 

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