2003 June 19 Thursday
Willy Claes: Decision Already Made To Move NATO HQ

Former NATO Secretary General and former deputy Belgian prime minister Willy Claes says the United States government has already decided to move NATO headquarters out of Belgium.

BRUSSELS The US has made up its mind to move Nato headquarters from Brussels to another member state, according to the defence organisation's former Secretary General Willy Claes.

Where to? Poland? Romania perhaps in order to put the headquarters closer to trouble spots?

Members of Belgium's government are split over whether to abolish the law that has so angered the Bush Administration.

BRUSSELS Belgium's Liberal party appeared split at the weekend over the controversial war crimes law which has infuriated the US and threatened the loss of Nato HQ for Brussels.

John O'Sullivan argues that Rumsfeld's warning needs to be repeated again because there is too much at stake over this issue for the US government.

U.S. generals would know that an unsympathetic Belgian court might conceivably be looking over their shoulder when they were making the most difficult decisions about bombing targets and collateral damage. It would be little comfort that the court would hand over their cases for final determination to a U.S. court--even if we could be sure that Belgium might not suddenly decree that because of racism and the death penalty, American courts no longer qualified as impartial--because their reputations would be sullied by the mere accusation. The European political climate in which the accusations would originally be raised would very likely be one hostile to U.S. foreign policy in general.

For more details on the background of this dispute see my previous post on the subject.

Of course, moving the NATO headquarters from Brussels to a friendlier European state is not the only conceivable solution to this problem. Perhaps we should follow the advice one British politician offers to his own nation: Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP (Member, European Parliament) for South East England, is opposed to both the European Army and wants to see the UK pull out of NATO and resume Britain's blue water military policy.

What is harder to understand is the position of my fellow Euro-sceptics, who oppose a common European defence without seeming to realise that this is precisely what we now have. Michael Portillo famously declared that he did not want British soldiers to die for Brussels. Absolutely. Let's pull them out of Nato command.

Back to the high seas!

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 19 02:23 AM  Europe and America


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