NATO Buildup in Poland, Baltic States ‘Illegitimate’: Ex-US Senate Candidate
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A former US Senate candidate described recent Washington-backed moves by NATO to beef up presence in Poland and the Baltics as “illegitimate” and “provocative”.
“The American and NATO buildup in Poland and the Baltics is illegitimate and provocative. NATO had but one sanctioned mission when formed during the Cold War, to prevent and deter an attack on Western Europe by the old Soviet Union. It should have disbanded at the end of the Cold War,” Mark Dankof, who is also a broadcaster and pastor in San Antonio, Texas, told the Tasnim news agency.
Mark Dankof is a broadcaster for The Ugly Truth Podcast. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, the son of a United States Air Force Colonel, he graduated from Valparaiso University in 1977 and from Chicago's Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1983. In recent years, he has pursued post-graduate work in systematic theology and theological German at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Formerly the 36th District Chairman of the Republican Party in King County/Seattle and later an elected delegate to Texas State Republican Conventions in 1994 and 1996, he entered the United States Senate race in Delaware in 2000 as the nominated candidate of the Constitution Party against Democratic candidate Thomas Carper and Republican incumbent William Roth.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: On April 7, US warships deployed to the eastern Mediterranean launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat Airfield, near the western Syrian city of Homs, in retaliation for a deadly chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun which American authorities blamed on the Syrian air force without providing any evidence. What is your take on Trump's missile attack on Syria?
Dankof: Trump's use of 59 guided missiles at $1.5 million apiece is an unmitigated disaster. It contradicts all of his campaign rhetoric on both Syria and the Middle East. It risks, in tandem with an unjustifiable NATO buildup in Eastern Europe, a confrontation with Russia. His action along with everything else being undertaken by the American military in Syria, is blatantly illegal. It violates international law. It violates the American Constitution (Article 1, Section 8), with neither a Congressional declaration of war, an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). There is no authorization from the UN Security Council. And the United States, unlike Russia, has no invitation from the legitimate sovereign government of that country to be there in any capacity. All of this suggests the continuation of the Bush-Clinton-Obama foreign policy with the Neo-Conservative and pro-Zionist advisors continuing in a series of expanded, illegal military interventions in the region, with the risks of blowback constantly escalating, along with the death toll and the expenditures guaranteed to increase.
Lastly, the United States finds itself in an alliance with Wahhabi extremists and terrorists in Syria, a Machiavellian alliance in tandem with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the [P]GCC states.
Tasnim: Recently, Poland welcomed the first US troops in a multinational force being posted across the Baltic region to counter potential threats from Russia. More than 1,100 soldiers - 900 US troops as well as 150 British and 120 Romanians - are to be deployed in Orzysz, about 57km south of Russia's Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad, where Moscow has stationed nuclear-capable missiles and an S-400 air missile defense system. Do you believe that the US and Russia are on road to a final collision? Do you think that the US is beating the drum for World War III?
Dankof: The American and NATO buildup in Poland and the Baltics is illegitimate and provocative. NATO had but one sanctioned mission when formed during the Cold War, to prevent and deter an attack on Western Europe by the old Soviet Union. It should have disbanded at the end of the Cold War. It is noteworthy that a Republican President promised Gorbachev that the U.S. would never recruit former Eastern Bloc countries to join NATO, or make military deployments in Eastern Europe after the end of the Soviet Union. Those promises have been broken. NATO has evolved into a Global 9-11 force for interventions wherever the multinational corporations, the oil consortiums, the central banks, and the Zionists want to usurp land and resources, or engage in forcible regime changes. Ukraine, Libya, and Syria are the most obvious examples. Syria, Ukraine, and the buildup in Eastern Europe and the Balkans bring the United States closer to a dangerous confrontation with Russia, a nuclear power with a strong and proud history and a strong President. It amazes me that with the lack of success in American military interventions in the Middle East since 9-11, these Neo-Conservative interventionists actually want to tangle with a first-rate military and nuclear power. It reminds me of the old dictum: "Arrogance and wisdom seldom go hand in hand."
I would agree with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts that we are inching ever closer to World War III, with these incessant miscalculations.
Tasnim: The situation across the world, ME in particular, is very confusing. What are your predictions regarding the future of the Middle East and the world?
Dankof: As long as the United States continues to give Israel a blank check for usurping Palestinian land by providing political and economic support for the policies of the radical Right in Israel, there will be ongoing war in the Middle East. The Greater Israel ideology of the Oded Yinon plan lies behind the constant American military expeditions in the Middle East, the black operational intelligence operations to destabilize regimes, and the economic sanctions blackmail that goes along with it. If Assad is overthrown in Syria, the stage will be set for an American-NATO-Israeli military operation against Iran. I cannot envision that Russia would simply watch this happen, or China. An attack on Iran would likely be the flash point for a global conflict, which could begin overt American-Russian hostilities in Eastern Europe, and American-Chinese hostilities in the South China Sea. This is the logical outcome of a Neo-Conservative dream of global conquest that is as insane as it is immoral.
Tasnim: The tensions between the US and North Korea skyrocketed after President Trump assumed office in January. The new administration has repeatedly said that it is seriously worried about North Korea’s efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could hit the US mainland. Pyongyang, however, argues that it needs to be prepared in case of an attack from Washington and its ally Seoul. Will Trump Attack North Korea?
Dankof: Rex Tillerson's statements on China in his confirmation hearings virtually guaranteed a military confrontation with China over the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Our relationship with Putin has deteriorated because of the irresponsible American actions in Syria and Eastern Europe. This may well have preempted opportunities for the United States to engage in back channel diplomacy with both countries in resolving the North Korean crisis short of war. Trump's rhetoric on North Korea, and the "all options are on the table" rhetoric of Mr. Pence in Korea yesterday, a phrase constantly used by the Neo-Conservative interventionists, give me decreased confidence in the avoidance of war, a war which Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com notes has a 100% chance of becoming a nuclear one. I agree with that assessment. A horrific death toll in both Koreas, the death of thousands of Americans in South Korea, and a North Korean nuclear attack on Japan, would seem likely in that scenario. The recent actions of the Trump-Tillerson-McMaster-Haley team in Syria are unsettling in the context of North Korea and the South China Sea. Anything close to the reckless and incompetent use of a missile attack in Syria without proof or legal authorization in the context of Southeast Asia would inevitably produce catastrophe.