NATO, the main overseas arm of the U.S. military-industrial complex, just keeps expanding. Its original raison d’être, the supposedly menacing Soviet bloc, has been dead for twenty years. But like the military-industrial complex itself, NATO is kept alive and growing by entrenched economic interests, institutional inertia and an official mindset resembling paranoia, with think tanks looking around desperately for “threats”.
This behemoth is getting ready to celebrate its 60th birthday in the twin cities of Strasbourg (France) and Kehl (Germany) on the Rhine early in April. A special gift is being offered by France’s increasingly unpopular president, Nicolas Sarkozy: the return of France to NATO’s “integrated command”. This bureaucratic event, whose practical significance remains unclear, provides the chorus of NATOlatrous officials and editorialists something to crow about. See, the silly French have seen the error of their ways and returned to the fold.