Institutionalising Armed Intervention Will Have Grave Consequences
The summit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 1999 was the latest one to adopt a charter legitimising armed intervention by member states. It gives participating states, led by the US imperialists, more possibilities to intervene not just in conflicts between states, but within states as well. In his September 20 1999 address to the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke of forceful and armed "humanitarian" intervention with Security Council mandate as a "developing international norm". The US President Clinton had gone a step further and asserted the right of "groups of nations" to bypass even the UN when they wished to militarily intervene in "areas of interest", anywhere in the world, ostensibly to prevent wholesale killings and displacement of peoples and "terrorism".
Earlier this year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Washington which was held at the height of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia had drawn up the "New Strategic Concept". This sought to give NATO the right to intervene not only in Europe and the "North Atlantic" region, but anywhere in the world where it felt its interests were affected. Armed intervention under any pretext is thus being legitimised and even institutionalised as an international norm by the US and other imperialists, and this is bound to have grave consequences for all the peoples of the world.
The OSCE summit was held against the backdrop of Russian military action in Chechnya. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the peoples in many of the former Soviet Republics have been fighting for sovereignty. Currently, this is happening in Chechnya and Dagistan, where popular forces refuse to recognise the Russian Federation and have declared independence. The Russian Federation has termed those who are asserting their national rights as "terrorists", and has resorted to bombings and massacres in Chechnya and Dagistan. In this context, the new charter adopted by the OSCE meeting envisions a new role for it in "easing tensions before they explode into war", including the possibility of intervening militarily. The document envisions rapid-response teams that could be deployed quickly to in such cases. Far from easing tensions, this kind of action is bound to further complicate the situation and widen the scope of armed conflict in the region.
In South East Asia, massacres by the Indonesian forces in August this year paved the way for armed intervention. A multinational interventionist force is already in place in East Timor, allegedly to defend "human rights" and the sovereignty of East Timor. It was US imperialism, in the first place, which was the biggest military and economic supporter of the Indonesian regime which carried out wholesale massacres of the people in East Timor and the rest of Indonesia. These massacres were justified in the Cold War period as "defence of the free world". US imperialism sought to make Indonesia its fortress against the spread of communism in South East Asia. US imperialism wanted control of East Timor also since the sea route to its north formed an easy and strategically vital connection for US nuclear submarines between the US military bases of Guam in the Pacific and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The present armed intervention, part of the imperialist plan to retain and increase control in Asia, is being carried out under the slogan of "defence of human rights".
The OSCE conference also sought to adopt new limits on the size of conventional armaments in Europe. It is very clear that this too was done at the behest of the US, which wants to check other powers which might pose a challenge to its supremacy. On its own part, the US has unveiled plans to build a $20 billion "national missile defense system" This has made its European allies join Russia and China in questioning why the United States needs to do so. The utter hypocrisy of the US imperialists is seen from the fact that it is even actively considering withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty if necessary to field the system. Under that treaty, Russia and the United States are restricted to deploying one limited ballistic missile system to defend a small area of their countries. The administration now is negotiating with Russia to alter the treaty to allow for the construction of a missile system to protect the entire country from a limited attack by a state with an "emerging missile threat". This has increased the possibility of a renewed arms race, which in turn will pose a greater threat to peace all over.
Freedom loving people all over the world, as well as states which desire peace, must firmly oppose and condemn the dastardly plans of the imperialists to legitimise and institutionalise armed intervention, as also the US plans to renew the arms race. The utter hypocrisy and total lack of principles shown by the imperialists led by the US in international relations is not only a threat to the peace and sovereignty of the peoples, it is indeed a threat to their very existence.