Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
NGO, United Nations (ECOSOC) UNDPI, UNICEF, UNCED & UNESCO
Professor of History and Philosophy
Alabama A&M University
Of all the continents in the world, Europe has always proved itself to be the most important and the most influential. The entire continent of North and South America and the entire continent of Africa as well as the entire continent of Australia were, at one time or another, ruled by Europeans especially by the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Most of the countries in central and southeast Asia were also ruled by Europeans for an extended period of time. The Europeans have always been viewed in history as people who are conspicuously intelligent and who are very advanced in civilization.
Europe in Historical Perspective
Needless to say, because the various nations of Europe tended always to work in competition of each other rather than in cooperation with each other, they had many conflicts which led to wars. As a result, countless millions of people lost their lives unnecessarily and countless millions of others were maimed and spent the rest of their life as disabled persons. Anything which initiated in Europe for the better or the worse, has usually exerted an effect on the whole world. This means we cannot take the continent of Europe lightly. We need to find ways to keep this continent united as much as possible because this would be in the best interest not only of Europeans themselves but of the entire world.
When World War II ended, the whole world was in a very bad shape, and the economy of all the nations which were engaged in this global war, both winners and losers, was in a state of total collapse. Some 50 million people were left dead and some 10 million people were maimed and left disabled for life. Besides, most of the rich cultural heritage was destroyed, as well as huge buildings, colossal monuments, large libraries, good hospitals, and numerous beneficial factories. This was all brought about by one single element: the military whose purpose, by its very nature, is not to retain peace but to promote war. It is not to preserve our life and our environment but, on the contrary, to destroy these two precious elements of ours.
When World War II came to en end in 1945, the Europeans in particular were hoping that there would be no other war waged in their entire lifetime. Shortly afterwards, the United Nations came into existence, which brought a genuine hope for a permanent peace. Unfortunately, within a few years the allies split into two political camps: western democracies headed by the United States and eastern communism headed by the Soviet Union. As a result, a political iron curtain was built which segregated the people of the west from those of the east.
Initiation of the Cold War
In view of the tension that kept on building between the two factions, the whole world soon found itself plunged into a Cold War with preparations being made for an eventual World War III. To this end, the east created a military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact while the west created a military alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The arms race was on and people on both sides of the iron curtain were deprived from various necessities of life because all of their resources were put on military build-up.
As a result, the rich human resources, which could have been used to cure cancer, heart disease, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy among other maladies, were used to device the structure of newer weapons of destruction that proved to be more deadly and devastating than those which were already in existence. This meant that the millions of dollars which would have gone to alleviate the suffering of millions of people in the developing nations of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America were transferred to the weapons industry.
Very soon, the weapons industry became a lucrative business. Through manipulation and tactics of fear, the weapons industry began to control numerous governments draining them mercilessly from their financial resources. As a result, we began to notice widespread of epidemics, drug abuse, increase in the number of poor and homeless people, not to mention organized crime which became rampant. The weapons industry which claims it exists to save the lives of people, became soon an instrument of deprivation of people's necessities of life, a financial burden on entire nations, an instrument to numerous regional conflicts, and the greatest threat to our environment and our very own survival.
Both scientists and physicians from around the world tell us that the toxic wastes which are being produced, particularly by the weapons industry, are destroying our ecological system. Countless thousands of species have been exterminated same way as the dinosaurs, while millions of people were exposed to cancer and the vast majority of them have already died as a consequence.
Moreover, most land has become contaminated and it cannot grow food anymore. What is ironic is the fact that our government officials, who became the chief spokespersons of the weapons industry, tell us that all this is done in an effort to protect our life from possible future enemies! The weapons industry cannot quench our thirst by making us drink poison. It cannot satisfy our hunger by giving us toxic wastes as food. Whenever the weapons industry steps in there is always devastation and death with people uprooted from their homes and forced to undergo crucial pain both physically and psychologically.
Collapse of the Soviet Union
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1987 and the Warsaw pact was dissolved, the whole world took a sigh of relief. The cold war was over. The military was going to become either history or simply have its scope changed and be used instead for constructive purposes. But the weapons industry vouched not to let itself going out of business. So, it proceeded to create an elegant lobby in Washington, DC and began to get after every US Senator and Congressman and after every official at the Pentagon to convince them of the importance to create new weaponry system.
The question raised was simply this: Who was the enemy? The answer came quick: North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Vietnam! This was very embarrassing to say the least when you consider that these nations are banana republics for all practical purposes and that most of their weapons have been manufactured in the USA itself and bought via third countries. Besides, such countries have so many overwhelming problems of their own that it would be utterly incomprehensible to believe that they have time to figure out how to get after the USA. Most of their people are dying of starvation and of other diseases and they have been deprived from the basic necessities of life.
Finally, the weapons industry set its eyes on NATO as its scapegoat. It tried to convince US government officials and its NATO allies that NATO should be expanded to create a safer and more united Europe. Their rational was that Europe is safe only if it were to have a great united military force, the strongest military force in history! So, with President Bill Clinton as their primary tool, the weapons industry succeeded to have NATO expanded indefinitely. The weapons industry finally got its way in order to continue to manufacture newer systems of weaponry, thus making more and more profit. As the Center for Defense Information in Washington, DC well expressed: The purpose of the weapons industry is not the defense of the nation but to make profit. By the way, this Center is composed of US retired top military leaders and Pentagon officials.
The European nations, especially the former Eastern European countries, which were still undergoing financial difficulties, felt flattered when they were asked to join NATO. They figured out they would be more secure in the event Russia would try to annex them back and revive the former Soviet Union! Besides, the European nations which are not, as yet, members of NATO, are beginning to view NATO more as a prestigious club and they are trying to become members as well!
Kosovo as NATO's Guinea Pig
In the meantime, the weapons industry which succeeded to turn NATO into its greatest business tool, wants to find ways how to try its new weapons. The only way to this end is to create regional wars. The Kosovo tragedy was, in essence, devised by NATO even though the NATO countries, headed by the United States, tried to put the blame on Milosevic of Yugoslavia. In approximately three months, the NATO forces bombarded Kosovo and portions of Yugoslavia killing more people and destroying more buildings and monuments than Tito and Milosevic have done over the past 50 years!
Let us keep in mind that NATO is a military organization whose product is not food or candy but weapons of destruction. Kosovo was not the end but the beginning of a contemplated devastated Europe. We have had wars waged in Europe throughout history more than in any other continent on earth. When are the Europeans going to learn that problems cannot be solved by the waging of wars?..... that problems cannot be solved by forming expensive military alliances at the expense of people's life?
Problems can be solved best through healthy dialogues, a sound education, a good health care system and by means of a spiritual revival where people become aware that they are interdependent and to be successful they have to care for each other. NATO's war in Kosovo did not stem out of concern for the Kosovo people but more out of an eagerness to use and test new weaponry systems. The weapons industry wanted to find a way to justify the effectiveness of its weapons and to develop new and more expensive ones. We all know that such weapons are not donated to the USA and to the NATO countries. They are sold to them at very lucrative prices.
If for some reason there is no money enough for the purchase of such weapons, then the governments of such countries will simply proceed to borrow, thus putting a financial burden on the people of their respective countries. It is a no win situation for all practical purposes.
What is tragic and sad about Kosovo is not the countless thousands of innocent people who where massacred by NATO forces, but that Kosovo is one of a never ending series of tragedies NATO has initiated. The purpose is to justify the necessity to manufacture and purchase newer weapons. Europe was moving in the right direction with the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC). The members of the EEC became so friendly and mutually trusting that they eliminated the passports and the boundaries which kept their respective people apart. By way of contrast, NATO is destroying everything positive and constructive the EEC has built over the past years. A line will have to be drawn now and not the next time we will sit down and look at the stars.
Europeans for a Better Europe
With the EEC we had no countries of Europe which harbored suspicion, which felt threatened, and which convinced them they had drastic measures to take against possible dangers ahead. By way of contrast, with NATO we have quite a few countries in Europe, above all Russia, which harbor suspicion, which make them feel threatened, and which convince them they have to take drastic measures against possible NATO miscalculations.
Whereas the EEC planted seeds of peace, progress, and prosperity, NATO has germinated seeds of war, deterioration, and misery. NATO did not free the Kosovo people from Milosevic. It merely turned this little nation into a nightmare through continued bombardment which annihilated most of the country's inhabited areas.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the Europeans seem to have been indoctrinated to view NATO as an element of hope, prosperity, stability and peace. Well, the people in Russia and in Communist countries were also once indoctrinated to view communism that way and people believed it for a while. At the same time, the people of the United States and in western nations were also indoctrinated to view capitalism same way and several are still believing it.
This is so in spite of the fact that in the USA, for instance, more people are being shot and killed every year than in all of the countries of the world combined, more people sleep in the street and suffer from malnutrition than most of the developing nations in the world. The time for Europeans to wake up and see things clearly into perspective has arrived. They need to start viewing NATO not as their faithful friend but as their brutal enemy who is using them as a piece of furniture, under the pretext of national security and peace, to boost the financial interest of the weapons industry.
In view of what has been stated, Europeans should recognize, the sooner the better, that the continued existence of NATO at this stage of history is not a blessing but a curse. They should try to have NATO abolished from the surface of Europe by taking the first Socratic step: Put into the open all the evil which NATO caused in Kosovo which brought untold suffering and misery. Let all people realize that today the welfare of the people of Kosovo has been destroyed by NATO and tomorrow may be your turn -- hodie mihi, cras tibi -- today it was my turn, tomorrow it will be yours.
Exposition of NATO's Liability
Everyday, concerned Europeans ought to bring news in the media -- press, radio and television -- critical of NATO and advocating its abolition. Numerous letters need to be sent to the government officials, at all levels, of the NATO countries, demanding that they quit NATO. Dialogues should be established with government officials to have NATO either abolished or to have its scope entirely changed, from a military institution to a humanitarian agency.
This way NATO could see to it that there are prefabricated homes for every single person who is homeless, trees planted along the highways of the each respective country, food for everybody without exception, free transportation for the elderly and the disabled, schools and hospitals equipped with all means of modern technology, and tendering constantly after the needy and the sick, apart from doing several other type of humanitarian work.
What is surprising, as explained earlier, is to see so many Europeans believing that NATO is there to protect them! The question they need to answer is this: To protect them from what?.... from Russia? .... from Iraq? .... from Libya? .... from the North Pole bears? Europeans should find their strength not in military weapons but in spirituality. They need to follow the footsteps not of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis who believed their security lied in a strong military, but in the philosophy of Mother Teresa of Calcutta who proved that we can conquer the world through our love, dedication, and service to the poor.
At this stage of history, an agency or establishment which makes the security of people based on military weapons has become misleading and deceitful. The presence of NATO in Europe has become more a liability than an asset. NATO has proven to be merely an effective tool in the hands of the weapons industry, headed by the United States, to safeguard the lucrative business of the weapons industry. The time for NATO to follow the footsteps of the Warsaw Pact is within reach. We can make it happen sooner than later.
Many Europeans are beginning to become aware of how NATO is increasingly becoming a malignant tumor growing on their continent. They should take drastic steps and do their very best to truncate this malignant tumor before it is too late. If they feel they should hesitate, then it would be very appropriate and wise to read the following brief and true story uttered in Dachau, Germany in 1941 by one of the Nazis' victims:
I Didn't speak Up
In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time
there was no one left to speak for me.
The tens of thousands of Kosovo's people who were devastated by NATO firmly warn their fellow Europeans with each one of them stressing loudly:
Hodie mihi, cras tibi! --
Today it was my turn, tomorrow it will be yours!