Washington, DC (Sputnik) – As the US prepares to quadruple its military spending in Eastern Europe, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern joins Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker to discuss the legacy of NATO and the increasing isolation of Turkey.
“Once the US launched, successfully, the coup in Ukraine…then you had a kind of ‘threat’ from Russia that you could [justify] building, for example, the main European battle tank,” McGovern tells Loud & Clear. “What’s happening now is there’s a ‘real’ – it’s really an imagined threat from Russia – [and] lots of reasons to spend more money.
“Seventy-one years after the end of World War II, NATO members…are still acting like…adolescents. They can’t seem to act like adults.”
While the organization may be outdated, NATO still serves a vital role for the US, in keeping European allies from gravitating toward Russia. In this effort, Washington will use almost any means to justify the expansion of NATO.
“When [the Europeans] saw that the Russians didn’t really ‘invade’ the eastern part of Ukraine as General [Phil] Breedlove charged and made believe, then they needed something else,” McGovern says.
“And the something else came on the 20th of July, 2014, in the form of the shootdown of Malaysian airline MH17, immediately blamed on the Russians…” he says. “It was just a week or two later that finally the Europeans were browbeat into saying ‘Putin bad, Putin bad, Putin very very bad…'”
After the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO officials pledged not to expand beyond the east of Germany. This promise has been repeatedly broken, and the alliance has been used to conduct military campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
As US officials invent a growing Russian threat to funnel billions of dollars into an eastern European military buildup, McGovern points out that the numbers don’t add up.
“With all this talk about increasing expenses in NATO by four times, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said, ‘Well, be that as it may, we in Russia are reducing our defense expenses by 5% this year.”
While there are signs of progress, including the Obama Administration’s decision to cooperate with the Russian air campaign in Syria, there are still problematic players among the United States’ allies.
“…Why do American politicians and statesmen get so nervous and have to go to the bathroom when Saudi Arabia is mentioned? Well the reason is that our arms manufacturers have offered $100 billion…worth of arms to Saudi Arabia,” McGovern says.
“With respect to Turkey, it’s a little bit different. The Turks have hated [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad for many, many years. They’d like to get rid of him.”
President Obama will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday, but has refused to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite Turkey’s importance as the eastern flank of the alliance.
“Turkey, under Erdogan,” says McGovern, “shows every evidence of being very blasé about getting a war started between NATO and Russia.”
As evidence of Turkey’s duplicity, McGovern cites sarin gas attacks in Syria. While these were publicly blamed on Assad, McGovern claims they were actually carried out by Turkish intelligence to incite a war, making it appear that the Syrian government had crossed Obama’s “red line.”
“Five to eight people were caught smuggling these chemicals into Syria from Turkey. They were wrapped up, they were indicted, and were just about to go to trial when a higher authority from Ankara said, ‘No, no, judge, dismiss those guys, let them go back to Syria,” McGovern says.
“That sarin was homemade; it was not the same that Bashar al-Assad’s army has in their stock.”
None of this was covered by the Western press.
This report prepared by Sputnik.