Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yesterday's Men

What is the status of the "Manifesto for a New NATO" which five military has-beens have recently produced? It proposes that the West should be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear strike in various circumstances. (Podcast here for details).

To start with, it would help if the public could have ready access to the Manifesto, rather than having to depend upon media reports. In over 650 references to the Manifesto on Google, I can't find a copy of the full document nor the means to obtain it. I would be grateful to anyone who could provide me with this missing link.

Yesterday's report in The Guardian included the following claim - "The manifesto has been written following discussions with active commanders and policymakers, many of whom are unable or unwilling to publicly air their views. It has been presented to the Pentagon in Washington and to Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, over the past 10 days. The proposals are likely to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest in April."

Does this mean that the Manifesto was in some way commissioned by NATO (or the Pentagon), or do they investigate anything from old military relics? If it is the latter, then as I am pensioned off from parliament perhaps the Commons would like to set up a Select Committee to examine the pearls of wisdom coming from my blog.

With a bit of luck, NATO will bin the old fogies Manifesto just as the Commons would if I sent them a link to my blog. I grant, however, that (in theory) once I get to read the full Manifesto I might be swept off my feet by its erudition - just as others could who stumble upon "Threescoreyearsandten".

The Guardian gives these details about the authors of the Manifesto. I add the links. -

John Shalikashvili
The US's top soldier under Bill Clinton and former Nato commander in Europe, Shalikashvili was born in Warsaw of Georgian parents and emigrated to the US at the height of Stalinism in 1952. He became the first immigrant to the US to rise to become a four-star general. He commanded Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq at the end of the first Gulf war, then became Saceur, Nato's supreme allied commander in Europe, before Clinton appointed him chairman of the joint chiefs in 1993, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.

Klaus Naumann

Viewed as one of Germany's and Nato's top military strategists in the 90s, Naumann served as his country's armed forces commander from 1991 to 1996 when he became chairman of Nato's military committee. On his watch, Germany overcame its post-WWII taboo about combat operations, with the Luftwaffe taking to the skies for the first time since 1945 in the Nato air campaign against Serbia.

Lord Inge

Field Marshal Peter Inge is one of Britain's top officers, serving as chief of the general staff in 1992-94, then chief of the defence staff in 1994-97. He also served on the Butler inquiry into Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and British intelligence.

Henk van den Breemen

An accomplished organist who has played at Westminster Abbey, Van den Breemen is the former Dutch chief of staff.

Jacques Lanxade

A French admiral and former navy chief who was also chief of the French defence staff.


rwendland said...

The full text can be found at:

and some interesting views on this born-again-neocon nonsense at:

I particularly liked the comment that preemptively nuking another country that you thought might preemptively nuke another country was a pretty wild idea.

Harry Barnes said...

rwendland; thank you for the links. I had the wrong title for the report, so no wonder I could not find it. I have now printed it off and I will study it fully. Hopefully I will then return to the issue. At the moment I am mugging up on Iran for a talk next Friday - the nuclear issue is obviously of importance to this.

rwendland said...

An interesting aside about the document is that it was at least part authored by Benjamin Bilski (Dutch) and Douglas Murray (UK). Douglas Murray is of course author of "Neoconservatism: Why We Need It", and I think Bilski is of the same ilk.

speculates that these two drafted this report, as 12 committee meetings of 5 former NATO Generals are unlikely to create a 150 page report.

The entire think was funded by the Dutch Noaber Foundation, funded and run by Christian fundamentalist Paul Baan.

The whole think stinks of a neocon agenda-setting publicity stunt. Though I admit I've not read the 150 pages yet!

Harry Barnes said...

rwendland: Thanks for the link to "Moon of Albama". In addition to the item on the Neocon Nato Report, the post about Iran on 25 January is helpful to me for the talk I am preparing for next Friday for the Fabian Society in Derby. And there is much more of value. I also still need to read the 150 page report.