Friday 28 February 2014

NATO insists on ‘Doctrine of Immunity’ (Pakistan Observer)

M D Nalapat. Friday, February 28, 2014 - Those that bend will be asked to crawl.The Sonia-Manmohan team has been the most NATO-obedient administration ever to take office in India, but with each concession, more get demanded. Especially since the 2003 invasion of Afghanistan by an alliance formed to protect west from east Europe, NATO has expanded its mission into the retention of past dominance by colonial powers through military means.

The UN has become an instrument of the alliance, with current Secretary-Ban ki Moon serving in effect as a front for alliance objectives. If there has ever been an occasion when Ban has deviated in his actions from fealty to the new core objectives, the same has been kept secret. In each theatre, the UN Secretary-General has made a mockery of objectivity by - often ostentatiously - taking the same position on major geopolitical matters as NATO. It is only in the rare instances when Russia and China intervene to prevent or slow down acceptance of NATO demands that Secretary-General Ban tones down his public parroting of the NATO line.

Unlike at any other period in the past, sensitive posts in the UN are practically controlled by nationals from states which are either members of NATO or close to it, Norway and Australia being examples of the latter. These diplomats openly consult with their home governments on all important matters and thereafter, few deviate from the line approved by authorities “back home”. That the diplomats from the NATO bloc as well as their “cousins” ( Norway, Australia, New Zealand) function in concert is no secret to any observer of the UN, which has become a copy of the League of Nations by its adhesion to the principle of trusteeship, with former colonial powers assuming responsibility for countries that once were openly controlled by them, and these days are sought to be via the UN Security Council.

It is a matter of speculation as to how long countries such as France and the UK will be permanent members of the UN Security Council while India and Brazil are excluded. Because of the skewed distribution of power and responsibility in an organisation which claims to be representative of the global community rather than a relatively small segment of it, the time may not be far off when countries such as Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia decide that there is no longer any purpose in taking seriously an organisation that even in its inception nearly seven decades ago was skewed in that France, a country that had been defeated in World War II by Germany, was a permanent member of the UNSC but India (a country which voluntarily contributed nearly three million of its people in the front line of the war ) went unrepresented.

If Winston Churchill had his watt, even China would not have been made a permanent UNSC member It was only the prior insistence of President Franklin D Roosevelt of the US that ended with China becoming part of that exclusive club. Roosevelt would almost certainly have preferred India to France in the UNSC, but passed away before he could ensure that. The US has been unfortunate in that those very few Chief Executives who shed the Eurocentrism that suffuses US policy usually passed away before their terms ended. Thus it was with Churchill, as well as with another transformational President, John F Kennedy, who would almost certainly have taken his country out of Viet Nam and formed a close alliance with Nehru once Lal Bahadur Shastri replaced this favourite of Mahatma Gandhi in 1964.

Unfortunately for the US, the country has not been able to shake off the dominance in policy of the Europeanists, with Barack Obama and his Clinton Lite administration being no exception. The cardinal principle of NATO in Third World countries is the Doctrine of Immunity. This holds that a soldier from NATO must never be held accountable by a non-NATO country for any action of his or her in that country. Whether it be murder or assault on a lady, the offending soldier should be left to NATO to “punish”. Of course, in all such matters, the Nixonian My Lai precedent applies. It will be remembered that President Nixon pardoned Lt William Calley for the minor crime of having killed nearly a hundred Vietnamese women and children in cold blood, in a frenzy of bloodlust. Without the protection of this doctrine, NATO would not be able to continue its trigger-happy ways, hence the importance of the Indian case, where two Italian marines have been accused of killing two innocent and unnamed fishermen off the coast of Kerala in India. The marines claim that they mistook the small fishing boat for a pirate vessel (even though such vessels have never ventured that close to that particular coast ).That all except one of the fishermen on board were asleep on deck did not stop them from shooting first and finding out the facts later. Being from NATO, this would probably not have been the first time that they shot and killed citizens from Third World countries. Italy, as well as the rest of NATO, expects that India will respect the Doctrine of Immunity and release the two marines, who are “imprisoned” in the comfortable surroundings of the Italian embassy in New Delhi, with frequent visits by family and friends The European Union as well as the US has joined hands to warn India in private that it will not be forgiven if the two marines are not released immediately from their very comfortable embassy “jail”.

After all, thousands of Third World natives have been killed by NATO troops despite being unarmed and innocent, so why should the two Italians be an exception? Human rights is all very well, but these do not apply in any relations between those from the privileged group of NATO and citizens of Third World countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya or Iraq.

Should India jail the two, then the way gets opened for other countries to do the same in cases where NATO personnel have killed innocents. The Doctrine of Immunity has to be enforced, and this is what the EU (led by France and Germany) has warned India should be done, in order to avoid “an irreparable break in relations”. Murder is murder only when not committed by NATO personnel. All such cases come under self-defence, even when those killed were unarmed fisherfolk sleeping peacefully on deck before being shot and killed by trigger-happy marines.

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