A former air force base near Brussels, dedicated to the His Majesty the Belgian King, is gradually being converted at an estimated billion dollars (for now – but just watch those numbers fly) to house the nerve center of the biggest war machine the world has ever known.
For the best part of 50 years the legions of peace keepers have been roughing it in a so called temporary structure, having received the unceremonious order of the boot from the late French president Charles De Gaulle, who grew tired with NATO’s various attempts to bump him off. De Gaulle’s sin was the independent French nuclear arsenal. So he slung NATO out, lock, stock and barrel with a single contemptuous wave of the hand.
The chief command post of the Cold War lost its logical reason d’etre in the instant that the Berlin Wall collapsed, along with the entire Soviet Empire. Yet NATO, like Topsy, just went on growing. Thanks to membership multiplying among converts to capitalism in Eastern Europe, NATO’s borders now lap Russia’s, with 28 members all told and more in the queue. This is a rather strange state of affairs given that the former Public Enemy Number One, the old bogey of communism, gave up the ghost back in 1989.
In normal circumstances, this spanking new structure would need to mount a telescope the size of the one topping Mount Palomar to scour the world for potential enemies. What happened of course is that NATO went looking for enemies under the banner of its new self-appointed role as global humanitarian Protector in Chief.