In a recent opinion poll, 85 out of every 100 Russians surveyed said they opposed the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into the countries of Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary and other former allies of the ex-USSR. These pro-capitalist regimes eagerly seek an alliance with Washington.
Why are the Russian people so vehemently opposed to NATO expansion? And why are the Pentagon and the Clinton administration so adamant about antagonizing Russian President Boris Yeltsin, their Wall-Street-loving servant?
Since its inception in 1949, the U.S.-led NATO military alliance has been an instrument of unbridled aggression. It planned, threatened and nearly executed far-ranging plans for the Soviet Union's nuclear annihilation.
It was not a defensive shield blocking Soviet expansion into Western Europe. Such Soviet plans never existed.
The U.S. government formed NATO only 10 years after Hitler threw 80 percent of Germany's divisions into the blitzkrieg invasion of the Soviet Union. Twenty million Soviet people gave their lives as they heroically repulsed and then crushed the Nazi invasion.
Restoring capitalism in the USSR and returning it to a state of semi-colonialism was a goal shared by leaders of all the capitalist countries--fascist and "democratic." British Prime Minister Lloyd George told the British Parliament in 1934: "In a very short time conservative elements ... will be looking to Germany as a bulwark against Communism in Europe. ... Do not let us be in a hurry to condemn Germany. We shall be welcoming Germany as our friend."
Lloyd George's speech was delivered 18 months after Hitler consolidated his fascist dictatorship.
When the Soviet people finally defeated the Nazi invasion, the Red Army launched a broad counter-offensive against the retreating German armies. Sweeping west, the Red Army liberated Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria and finally eastern Germany from the fascist yoke.
It was they who liberated the prisoners of Dachau, Buchenwald and the other notorious Nazi concentration camps
After the war, with the Soviet Union victorious but smoldering in ruins, the Pentagon resuscitated the Nazi military and political establishment--minus a few leaders who were convicted of war crimes in the Nuremberg trials. The bulk of the Nazi military elite was incorporated into NATO--which had the same goal of "overthrowing communism."
Having liberated most Eastern European countries--the same countries Nazi Germany used as staging grounds for invading the Soviet Union--the Soviet leaders were determined not to allow imperialism to use these territories to the same way again. But war and encirclement was precisely what the Pentagon was planning.
In 1950, Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson issued a Top Secret National Security Directive known as NSC-68. This document, which shaped U.S. policy for three decades and was declassified years later, outlines U.S. and NATO goals and strategies.
Like Hitler's surprise attack in 1939, NSC-68 proclaimed a readiness to carry out a pre-emptive war against the Soviet Union. It read: "The military advantages of landing the first blow ... require us to be on the alert in order to strike with our full weight as soon as we are attacked, and, if possible, before the Soviet blow is actually delivered ... [since] in the initial phases of an atomic war, the advantages of initiative and surprise would be very great."
This policy required a massive U.S. rearmament and the expansion of NATO. The goal was to build a 6,000-mile belt of nuclear bases encircling the socialist camp from Europe, through the Middle East and all the way to Japan and south Korea.
Top priority was building and stockpiling atomic weapons, and building the long-range bombers that could carry them.
The biggest obstacle to U.S. war plans, according to NSC- 68, was that the U.S. nuclear arsenal wasn't big enough in 1950 to destroy the USSR with a suprise nuclear attack that could prevent it from launching a counter-attack into Western Europe
Thus began the all-out U.S. arms race to gain total nuclear supremacy. For their part, all the Soviet leaders were committed to trying to equalize this dangerous game by achieving nuclear parity with U.S. imperialism.
NSC-68 was the heir to various war scenarios developed by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Declassified documents show furious preparations by the generals.
Operation BROILER called for attacking 20 Russian cities with 50 nuclear bombs during the 1948 Berlin crisis. Operation FROLIC came next, followed by Operation SIZZLE. That one called for dropping eight plutonium bombs on Moscow, seven on Leningrad and 133 other atomic bombs on 70 cities.
If launched, these bombs would kill tens, maybe hundreds of millions of Soviet people. They would undoubtedly have led to millions of U.S. deaths, too.
These plans were not simply contingency plans spun by so- called military intellectuals. It was the main debate in the top levels of the U.S. government.
Around the time NATO was forming, the National Security Council issued a Top Secret document, NSC-30, which explicitly said "[the Soviets] should in fact never be given the slightest reason to believe that the U.S. would not consider using atomic weapons against them."
Responding to a request from President Harry Truman to comment on NSC-30, W. Walton Butterworth, the director of the NSC's Office of Far Eastern Affairs, W. Walton Butterworth, wrote, "The question to be decided is not whether we should or should not use atomic weapons. ... The question is rather when and how such weapons should be used."
By 1980, the USSR was ringed by NATO and U.S. bases armed with nuclear missiles that targeted 40,000 sites.
The Reagan administration then began its infamous "decapitation" strategy. The United States placed Pershing II missiles in Germany.
These super-accurate weapons had a flying time of only six minutes from their launch sites to some 2,000 intended targets--including the offices of the Politburo, and local and regional offices of the Soviet government and the Soviet Communist Party.
Over $2 trillion was spent targeting the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The arms race forced on the USSR was undoubtedly a major debilitating factor in its socialist development.
Although the Soviet government has been overthrown by a gang of pro-U.S. counter-revolutionaries, U.S. policy is to keep up the pressure through expanding NATO.
To Win a Nuclear War, by Michio Kaku/Daniel Axelrod, South End Press 1987; American Foreign Policy and the Cold War by Herbert Aptheker, New Century 1962.
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