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<nettime> USA Green Party Statement on NATO Bombing
Stefan J Wray on Mon, 5 Apr 1999 17:17:10 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> USA Green Party Statement on NATO Bombing


This statement makes good sense. - Stefan


Stop the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia

Statement by the Coordinating Committee 
of The Greens/Green Party USA


The Greens/Green Party USA calls for a halt to the US-led NATO bombing of
Yugoslavia and demands a return to negotiations and peace monitors under
the auspices of the UN, the European Union, and the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 

NATO bombing only makes it harder for the pro-democracy movements of both
Serbs and Albanian Kosovars in Yugoslavia. NATO bombing has already
worsened the ethnic violence on the ground by providing cover for stepped
up action by both the Serbian army and the Kosovo Liberation Army. NATO
bombing is helping to defeat the internal democratic opposition inside
Serbia by rallying the besieged Serbs to the militaristic forces of
Greater Serbian nationalism. It is also heightening the danger of new
conflict, possibly nuclear conflict, with an economically desperate Russia
by lending credence to the apocalyptic visions of Russias militaristic
ultra-nationalists. 

NATOs war in Yugoslavia is illegal. Its intervention in a sovereign state
has received no sanction from the United Nations. No Declaration of War by
Congress has authorized US military operations in Yugoslavia, as our
Constitution requires. NATO's charter expressly defines it as a defensive
force only. 
NATOs intervention, the biggest military operation in Europe since World
War II, is setting dangerous precedents. NATO is arrogating to itself the
right to conduct aggressive out-of-area military interventions. Germany is
re-establishing itself as a world military power again by conducting its
first air strikes since World War II. These actions undermine the UN and
strengthen the NATO military alliance as the worlds military enforcer.
They shift the balance of power in the world toward US and German
imperialism. 
NATOs intervention is an environmental disaster for the peoples of
Yugoslavia. The depleted uranium shells used by US forces will jeopardize
the health of the people and the land for generations to come. 
  
NATO's Humanitarian Pretext Is Hypocrisy

We do not for one minute believe the humanitarian pretext for the US-led
NATO military intervention. If humanitarian motives guided US and NATO
military actions, then they would have intervened long ago to stop the
atrocities committed by NATO member Turkey against the Kurds. Why are the
US and its NATO junior partners suddenly so concerned about civilian
casualties while their sanctions, according to UN estimates, kill 5000
Iraqis a month? Why should we trust a US government whose Orwellian
rationale says this war is for peace, that this bombing is to stop the
killing of civilians? Why should we trust a US government that sponsored
state-terror against Guatemalan civilians for 35 years? Where is US and
NATO intervention on behalf of the Chechnyans in Russia, the Palestinians
in the Middle East, or the civilians now being slaughtered in the civil
wars of Algeria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and many other
countries? 

The man they now demonize, Slobadon Milosevic, is the man they built up as
the guarantor of the Dayton peace accords, from which they excluded the
Albanian Kosovars. The Rambouillet peace treaty, which NATO says it wants
to impose on Serbia, will also have to be imposed on Kosovo as well,
because it calls for complete dismantling of the Kosovo Liberation Army
and denies Kosovo the independence the majority of its people seek.
Several Kosavars who participated in the negotiations refused to sign the
treaty. The logic of NATO intervention leads to a NATO protectorate in
Kosovo, with NATO troops on the ground for years to come facing hostility
from both Serbs and Kosovars. If the US was truly concerned for the
Albanian Kosovars, it would have supported their demand for independence
for Kosovo at Rambouillet. 

No US humanitarian concern was shown for ten years of massive nonviolent
resistance by Albanian Kosovars through strikes, boycotts, demonstrations,
and alternative institutions after Milosevic revoked Kosovo's autonomy in
1989. Instead, they were excluded from the Dayton accords. Two years ago
the KLA suddenly appeared, with weapons and mercenaries supplied by
western intelligence agencies, and, as the London Times reported recently,
financing from the heroin trade. The KLA's terrorist tactics have derailed
the nonviolent mass movement in Kosovo and have given Melosevic the
pretext he needed for increased repression. The violent turn in Kosovo
follows a pattern that US geopolitical strategies have instigated in the
Balkans in the 1990s. It was not humanitarian concerns that motivated the
provisions the 1991 US Foreign Operations Appropriations Law concerning
Yugoslavia, which cut off aid, credits, and loans to Yugoslavia when it
did not hold separate elections in each of its six republics within six
months. At the same time, the US was channeling money and arms to
fascistic right-wing parties promoting ethnic chauvinism and separatism,
parties that had not been seen in the forty-five years since the Nazis
were driven out. This US law was adopted in November 1990. By May 1991,
the right-wing nationalists had instigated secessionist civil wars in the
richer republics, Slovenia and Croatia. In June they declared independence
and were promptly recognized by Germany. In 1992 in Bosnia, the most
multi-ethnic of the Yugoslav republics, the US sabotaged the agreement
reached by Bosnia Muslim, Croatian, and Serb forces by encouraging Alija
Izetbegovic, head of a right-wing Muslim party, to unilaterally declare
independence under his presidency. In the ensuing deadly civil war,
retired US generals planned Izetbegovics offensives against rival Muslim
governments in Bosnia that broke with Izetbegovic and promoted
multi-ethnic cooperation. In August 1995, the US generals planned
Operation Storm, the bloodiest offensive in four years of civil war, where
the Croation army drove over 100,000 Serbs from their ancestral homes in
Krajina. Time and time again, the US undermined European-brokered peace
agreements and encouraged right-wing separatist forces. These US actions
were not humanitarian actions. They were about re-balkanizing the Balkans
in order to dominate them. 

The US and NATO are using the pretext of concern for the rights of
Albanian Kosovars as a cover for advancing their economic and geopolitical
interests. NATOs intervention is the way US-led NATO imperialism intends
to complete the dismemberment of the former multinational confederation
that was Yugoslavia and transform it into a collection of easily dominated
ethnic mini-states that are nothing more than NATO protectorates. Whatever
its flaws, during the Cold War years Yugoslavia had remarkably carved out
for itself a position of neutrality between the super-powers. It
challenged both the Western capitalist and Soviet bureaucratic economic
models with its experiments in workers self-management and market
socialism. It federated the long balkanized Balkans. It industrialized
more successfully than any other undeveloped East European country. But in
1990, as the Warsaw Pact countries disintegrated, Yugoslavia was one of
the last European holdouts against the neoliberal global order that the US
and NATO sought to impose. Thus rebalkanization of the Balkans became the
strategic objective of the US, Germany, and their NATO allies. 

NATOs bombing in Yugoslavia is an escalation of this policy. US-led NATO
imperialism wants to secure pipeline routes and access to Caspian oil and
gas in former Soviet republics. It wants to expand profitable exploitation
of cheap labor by global corporations. It wants to legitimize NATOs post
cold war mission of being the worlds police force, intervening anywhere
unilaterally. It wants to extend US-led hegemony over the entire Eurasian
land mass. It wants to justify the enormous expenditures made on new
weapons like the Stealth B2 bomber now seeing its first military action in
Yugoslavia. 

 

No Easy Answers

There are no easy quick answers to the conflict in Kosovo. Just like
Milosevic and the other nationalist regimes in the Balkan states, the
US-led NATO forces are trying to resolve a political problem with violent
force. Bombing will not resolve ethnic conflict in the Balkans. It will
only harden the militarists on all sides and lead to occupation by NATO
forces to enforce an unjust peace, which will meet with resistance and the
loss of more lives, including American troops. Let us be clear that we
oppose Milosevics reactionary nationalist project of a Greater Serbia and,
in particular, condemn the repressive violence of the Yugoslav army in
Kosovo. We also condemn the violence of the Kosovo Liberation Army against
Serb civilians. We support the right of Albanian Kosavars to resist
Milosevics repression and their right to self-determination and
independence. We oppose the demonization of the entire Serb population,
which of all the Balkan peoples most wanted to maintain a multicultural
Yugoslavia. We must distinguish between Milosevics chauvinistic
nationalism and the democratic movements among the people. We support
pro-democracy movements in all the Balkan states. 

In particular, we support those democratic movements in the Balkans
working for a voluntary confederation of free and equal states on a basis
political and economic democracy and respect for ethnic diversity. Only a
confederation of democratic republics can have the scale and strength to
establish a democratic alternative to the NATO-sponsored neoliberal
economic model that is exacerbating regional and ethnic inequalities in
the Balkans. It will take many years to develop such an alternative given
the legacy of the civil wars of the 1990s. NATOs intervention now is only
strengthening the reactionary ultra-nationalist forces in all ethnic
groups. The first victim of NATOs military intervention are the
pro-democracy movements that could begin the process of creating a
multicultural democracy in the Balkans.. The destruction of any such
movements is precisely what the US-led NATO intervention intends, all the
talk about humanitarian concerns to the contrary notwithstanding. 

 

Rebuild the Peace Movement

We call for an immediate halt to NATO bombing in Yugoslavia. 

We call on the US to re-activate the UN (through the General Assembly, not
the Security Council) and the OSCE (Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe) to pursue non-coercive diplomacy and peace building
steps, including: 

Re-negotiating an immediate cease fire 
Working closely with Russia and other European countries to facilitate
negotiations 
Building a multilaterally-supported political process for new negotiations
between the parties to the conflict within a  framework of international
law 
Returning civilian observer-peace monitors to Kosovo 
Reasserting efforts to hold all actors accountable under international law
for crimes, war crimes, and crimes against  humanity. 
We have no illusions that the US and NATO will pursue peace in the Balkans
at the expense of their geopolitical ambitions without massive pressure
and fundamental social change spearheaded by a pro-democracy peace
movement in the US and Europe. 

We must work in direct solidarity with the anti-war, pro-democracy
movements in all the Balkan states and support their nonviolent social
struggles to lift oppression and resolve conflicts (for example, by
building the campaign to support Radio B92, the independent Serbian
anti-war, pro-democracy station recently banned by Milosevic). 

We must rebuild a peace movement in the US and Europe committed to
eradicating US and NATO militarism and imperialism and to converting the
vast resources of this now globalized Military-Industrial Complex to
meeting the real human needs of people all around the world. 

We must put the dismantling of NATO high on the peace movements agenda.
NATO was always been about keeping Europe safe for corporate capital by
suppressing radical democratic movements internally as well as by
repelling external threats -- real or imagined -- during the Cold War. Now
NATO is transforming itself into imperialisms global police force. It is
not in the interests of the majority of Americans, nor is it morally
justifiable, for US imperialism, through NATO, to dictate to countries in
the Eurasian land mass that they shall remain open to exploitation by
US-based corporations. We must also put economic democracy on the peace
movements agenda. Peace is not a single issue. It is a goal that requires
fundamental social transformation. The peace movement must link to all
popular movements resisting neoliberal project of deregulated trade and
finance as the basis for the globalization corporate power and market
forces. These forces certainly contributed to the deterioration of
circumstances in the former Yugoslavia by exacerbating inequality between
Yugoslavias republics, by burdening Yugoslavia with enormous foreign debts
in the 1980s, and then by imposing IMF structural adjustment austerity
instead of the debt relief and aid it gave to Poland and Russia in the
1990s. These forces encouraged the bureaucratic and militaristic elites to
enrich themselves from the privatization of Yugoslavias enterprises at the
expense of the vast majority of Yugoslavs. 

Americans are victims of the NATO bombing, too. Resources devoted to US
imperial ambitions and the Military/Industrial Complex are resources
siphoned away from education, health care, economic security, our decaying
cities, and our environment in the US. Rebuilding a peace movement to
challenge these priorities is not only needed to enable people in the
Balkans to determine their future, it is needed so Americans are free to
determine their future as well. 

 

Solidarity with European Greens

We intend to work in solidarity with Greens in Europe to bring an end to
NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia and to support a European-based
negotiation and peace process seeking resolution of European conflicts by
European peoples without coercive interference by the US.. We are
disappointed that the German Greens have not come out with an official and
forthright statement calling for an end to NATO's military intervention in
Yugoslavia, although we know many German Green Party members oppose the
bombing. 

"The European Greens note: 

that there is widespread popular concern about the gross mistreatment of
ethnic Albanian citizens in the Yugoslav region of Kosova by Yugolav state
troops and police, the torching of villages and the creation of refugees, 
that the NATO governments' rationale for commencing bombing is that the
Yugoslav government refused to sign the Rambouillet accords, 
that the Rambouillet talks were based on the assumptions of the Dayton
agreement, when those assumptions do not apply to Kosova, and hence were
fundamentally flawed, 
that the UN has not been asked and has not given its approval for the NATO
military action, indeed that action is an infringement of the Vienna
Convention (Art 52) which states "A treaty, the signature to which has
been obtained through the threat of force...is illegal and void..." 
that the action is outside of NATO's mandate which is to protect its
member states in the case of attack, and is thus a dangerous precendent
for military interference in the internal affairs of any state offending a
NATO member in the future, 
that much expert opinion, including several senior military officers and
ex-EU Special Representative Karl Bildt, have declared that air strikes
are useless without follow-up ground troops to reinforce their effect, yet
the NATO governments have repeatedly declared that they will not commit
their ground troops, 
"The European Greens therefore draw the conclusion that

as NATO has no strategy for following up this action, that its purpose is
to 
      (a) challenge internal questioning of the current purpose (and
cost) of NATO itself,

      (b) reinforce the impotence of the UN,

      (c) remind the world community of the global military superiority
of NATO member states, in particular the USA,

"The European Greens demand that,

a ceasefire be implemented immediately, by NATO, the KLA and Yugoslav
forces, 
the UN agree to oversee it for a determined amount of time, during which 
the UN Assembly (not the Security Council) be convened to agree conditions
for a new set of negotiations, using the OSCE mechanisms, 
following which Round Table talks commence chaired by the EU and including
both regionally involved and neutral authorities." 
Submitted by: Marc Loveless, Starlene Rankin, and Lionel P. Trepanier,
Coordinating Committee of the Greens/Green Party USA

G/GPUSA Clearinghouse Contact information: P.O. Box 1134 Lawrence, MA
01842 978-682-4353 gpusa {AT} igc.org

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