“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful.” — President Trump
According to NATO, the cost of its new building was 1.1 billion Euros (1.23 billion dollars)
- Brian Cloughley
2019 is a year of interesting commemorations, among them the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of D-Day, the landing of allied troops in France that, along with Russia’s Operation Bagration (which “inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by completely destroying 28 out of 34 German divisions and completely shattered the German front line”), heralded the end of the Second World War. Then there was the anniversary of the first landing on the moon, which was fifty years ago in July.
Additionally, on March 9 there was the sixtieth birthday of the Barbie Doll, an expensive puppet-like figurine that can adopt any number of postures.
Which brings us to the US-NATO military alliance that celebrates two anniversaries of its own this year in its new headquarters in Brussels that cost 1.23 billion dollars. It commemorates its creation 70 years ago and the occasion when “On March 12, 1999, in the presence of their US counterpart, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the foreign ministers of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic finally signed the protocols of NATO accession.”
Twenty years ago the NATO grouping began its eastwards expansion, purposefully menacing Russia, contrary to assurances given to Mikhail Gorbachev by the Bush administration and other Western leaders in 1990. There were declarations alleging that such a pledge was not given, but researchers have shown these to have been misinformation. Indeed, it has been revealed that “President George HW Bush, West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the CIA Director Robert Gates, French President Francois Mitterrand, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British foreign minister Douglas Hurd, British Prime Minister John Major, and NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner” gave “assurances that NATO would not expand.”
But expansion is the name of the game, and naturally prompted protests from Russia. For example, at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007, as reported in the Washington Post, President Putin said “I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation to modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?”
The answer is that the guarantees were subjected to a cynical campaign of attempted deletion, denial and destruction.
It was a classic set-up, and it is patently obvious, in hindsight, that NATO’s Godfathers had no intention whatever of abiding by the solemn assurance that the alliance would “not expand one inch to the east.” Because eastwards it has advanced, and in 2004 it came smack up against Russia’s borders when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (along with Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) hopped on the bandwagon.
None of these countries had or has any cause whatever to fear a threat from Russia, which continues to encourage mutual trade and has no intention of taking military action against them. …