The real winners of our participation in NATO's war
By SINCLAIR STEVENS
THE TORONTO STAR, Thursday, July 15, 1999
History will remember 1999 as the year when Canada shifted from being a
world-renowned peacekeeper to an aggressor nation. How will they judge
us, knowing that Canada undertook this tremendous paradigm shift
without parliamentary consent and certainly without the approval of the
The new role was dramatized on July 1 during the Canada Day
Celebrations, when Prime Minister Jean Chretien, before the Peace Tower
on Parliament Hill, called on Canadians to honour our brave heroes who
had joined in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
Later, some of those airmen expressed the sentiment that they were not,
in fact, heroes, but that they had simply carried out their orders.
Theirs was the more accurate account.
Do you call NATO airmen heroes, when their bombing raids resulted in
*April 14, 64 Albanian refugees were killed in the NATO bombing of
Kosovo road convoys;
*April 23, another 10 were killed when NATO missiles hit a Serbian state
television station in Belgrade;
*May 7, three were killed in NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in
*May 13, more than 80 Albanian civilians were killed in the NATO bombing
of the Kosovo village of Korisa;
*May 30, nine were killed when NATO bombed a bridge in Varvarin, central
Is it appropriate to commend NATO actions that resulted in serious
environmental disasters when fuel refineries, storage tanks and chemical
factories were blown up, or to commend NATO when more genocide was
carried out and more refugees fled Kosovo after NATO's actions began,
than had occurred before NATO intervened?
NATO's spin artists call the campaign a victory. A victory over what? It
is a strange victory when we remember that the two demands in the
schedule to the Rambouillet agreement that helped trigger the war, have
now been abandoned by NATO.
In any event, it was no contest. The NATO alliance, with more than 70
per cent of the world's military strike force and a combined gross
national product a thousand times the size of Serbia, could not lose. In
relative economic terms, it is like crushing Nova Scotia. For NATO to
use such might, and cause such devastation in the name of peace, reminds
us of Calgacus, the Caledonian leader, who in 84 A.D. rallied his troops
against Roman invaders by declaring "They create a wasteland and call it
peace." While Rome won the ensuing battle of the Grampians, they never
did conquer Scotland, but instead Emperor Hadrian subsequently built his
Kosovo was used as a conventional justification for action by the NATO
alliance to give them a new mission now that there is no longer a cold
war. Since the cold war ended, the sales of arms manufacturers has
fallen in real terms by 25 per cent.
At a conference celebrating NATO's 50th anniversary, held last February
in Toronto at the Canadian Forces College, several speakers stressed
that without a new mission NATO would be out of business.
Kosovo was subsequently welcomed as a rallying point to help NATO
re-shape its mandate.
Politicians, the press, and the public have all been orchestrated to
accept this new aggressive role.
It is a dangerous precedent.
It is particularly dangerous when we realize it is inspired by the
armament manufacturers who have witnesses slumping sales since the cold
war ended. They are one of the most powerful lobbies in the democratic
world and it is they who have triumphed in identifying a new NATO role.
Their cash registers are ringing again.
Just how powerful are these armament companies and consortiums? Take
Lockheed Martin Corporation for example. If you are shopping for a jet
fighter, check them out. Lockheed's high-profile weapons systems include
jet fighters such as the F16, the F22 and the joint strike fighter.
Other high-tech offerings include missiles.
Lockheed is conveniently based in Maryland, just outside Washington,
D.C., and it employs 165,000 employees, which helps in lobbying. In
1998, it sold $18 billion of product to the U.S. government and $5
billion to other governments. In total, 89 per cent of their sales were
to governments. In the same year, Serbia's GDP was $15 billion (all
figures in U.S. dollars).
Raytheon Company is another happy supplier of weapons. Their name stands
for "light of the Gods." A fistful of Tomahawk missiles in one hand and
Patriots in the other, Raytheon hurls tonnes of firepower into the
arsenals of the U.S. military. Raytheon has a U.S. government contract
to produce smart bombs that can be dropped up to 40 nautical miles from
targets. It employs 108,000 people and is situated in Massachusetts,
with sales of more than $20 billion.
Then there is the Northrop Grumman Corporation in California, which
builds the F14 Tomcat fighter. Seventy five per cent of its sales ($7
billion) are to the U.S. government.
Lockheed and Northrop Grunnman are so pleased with their relationship
with NATO they bought three full-page advertisements in a survey of NATO
entitled "Knights in shining armour," published in The Economist on
April 24. Lockheed's double spread advertisement screamed out "For a
strong alliance ? build more bridges." It didn't mention that its
weapons helped blow up bridges in Serbia. Northrop Grumman's one-page
highlighted its stealth technology.
Great Britain has British Aerospace, which is Europe's largest defence
contractor and No. 3 in the world. It employs 48,000 people with sales
to 72 countries, including 23 friendly air forces. France has Thompson
CSF which operated with a military bearing, employing 46,000 people with
64 per cent of its sales in aerospace and other defence electronic
There is a European consortium producing the Eurofighter Typhoon, which
also bought a full-page ad in the Economist survey. The consortium sees
a global market of some 800 combat aircraft over the period 2005 to
2025, worth more than $70 billion, and it hopes to capture 50 per cent
of that market.
When the Berlin wall came down, it was evident the cold war was over.
Now NATo, with its new unilateral aggressive stance, is creating new hot
points. This is the most dangerous world development since the end of
the cold war. NATO is undermining the United Nations. It has already
created friction with Russia, antagonized China, and encouraged other
minor despots to seek nuclear weapons, as a deterrent should NATO target
Canada's reason for joining in this aggression is difficult to
understand. We are not a
significant armament manufacturer such as the United States, Great
Britain, or France. So we are not pressured by the arms lobby, and
employment is not an issue.
Since 1947, we have participated in nearly 50 United Nations-led
peacekeeping missions, yet now we have joined in an undeclared war
against a sovereign nation. We engaged in the Gulf War and in the Korean
war to resist aggression. Now we have become an aggressor.
The arguments used to justify bombing Serbia could be used to support
similar aggression in many other countries, where there is horrible
genocide and millions of refugees who live without hope.
No one questions that greater efforts should be made to solve these
Perhaps a new United Nations mandated commission could be constituted
that would bring financial assistance to any government that agrees to
co-operate and clean up these tragic situations.
Rather than spend more than $20 billion in devastating Serbia, which has
lowered its GDP by 40 per cent, a $2 billion a year Marshall Plan-type
aid program for six years, would at least double its GDP.
Defensive military alliances such as NATO should not be allowed to
become aggressors in the name of peace. That was not NATO's mandate when
it was founded 50 years ago, after significant urging by Canada's Lester
Pearson, and Louis St. Laurent.
If NATO is allowed to follow this path, it will lead us to a major world
conflict, in which only the arms makers will win.
Speaking of "knights in shining armour," the present millenium began
with the crusades that justified human slaughter in the of "just
It would be a great tragedy if history were to repeat itself at the dawn
of the next millenium. THE END.
SINCLAIR STEVENS is chairman of Georgian Bancorp Inc., and a former
federal Conservative cabinet minister.
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