By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
No victory in sight, NATO held its birthday party in April anyway, with the diplomats all feigning the gravitas appropriate to people simultaneously engaged in acts of random airborne vandalism abroad. But there were no long faces among some of the partygoers, no indeed. U.S. weapons manufacturers’ stocks were booming, thanks to the "excitement in Kosovo," as one American market analyst put it, and the arms dealers not only showed up at NATO’s party, they actually sponsored it. Well, to be fair, some communications firms like Ameritech pitched in for the hors d’oeuvres too, but the bulk of the sponsors were defense companies like Boeing, which contributed $250,000, and Raytheon, which has seen its stocks soar by 17 percent since NATO’s war began. As a reward for their generosity, the executives of sponsoring companies were allowed to mingle with the assembled diplomats, no doubt using the occasion to whisper little pleasantries like, "Boy, do I have a cluster bomb for you!"
But you can’t have a meaningful Cold War solely against poor old basket-case Russia, whose soldiers can usually be found roaming the streets, panhandling for vodka and turnip money. Even in their proudest moment, as occupiers of the Pristina airport, they had to beg NATO for basic supplies like bottled water. Hence the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade; and this "hence" does not derive from any privileged insider information. It would just be too painful to admit that NATO’s great moral undertaking included bombing a crowded city without an up-to-date map. Never mind that China today is no more communist than Connecticut: At least its military is in good enough shape to have funded an American presidential campaign.
Welcome to Cold War II. True, for the moment Russia has been appeased by giving it a piece of Kosovo to patrol. But the really scary collateral damage remains: China’s suspension of all top-level military and arms-control contacts with the U.S., and the pissed-off Russian parliament’s refusal to ratify the START II treaty. Buried among the rubble left by NATO’s bombs may be our species’ slender hope of averting a planetwide nuclear blowout.
If Cold War II ever gets hot, it could be the first conflict that even Boeing can’t win. So stop chortling, NATO, the next mass grave you look into — should the dignity of graves of any kind remain an option — may be our own.
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