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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself.

The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Thinking of example of this I thought of NATO.

Look at NATO's behaviour in picking fights with Russia & Yugoslavia, which is a sort of surrogate Russia, being Slavic, Orthodox & ex-communist (though during the cold war they were our semi-allies). None of this makes any sense in terms of the national interests of any of the aggressor countries except Germany & even there only in relation to Yugoslavia. As a country we gain nothing from Georgia controlling Ossetia.

But NATO as an organisation gains.

The "actual goal" of NATO is to prevent Russian communism, or officially Russian communist armies which is not quite the same, overrunning western Europe. This was achieved 20 years ago.

Since then NATO has been fairly desperately searching for a role. The "war on terror" helped a bit but it is clearly not very good at running wars in Afghanistan. Expansion is certainly is certainly serving the goals of the organisation itself since the goal of any organisation, like any living creature, is survival & growth.

This is how NATO comes to be led by scum like the perjurer Wesley Clark. He works to expand NATO's power.

If this law is right, & it has impressive antecedents, then so long as NATO exists & is not cut down to its useful role then then it is going to stir up trouble to justify expanding its budget.

Like the "reforming from within" people have been doing with the EU since we joined 34 years ago reforming NATO is unlikely to work. NATO should be wound up - anything else is storing up new troubles.

I do think Europe does need an organisation for security but that should be a legal organisation not a military one. Its job being to negotiate disagreements between nations & occasionally come down on one side, because there are always going to be disagreements. Both the USA & Russia should be members because the lack of either would be seriously destabilising. More along the lines of ASEAN, which has a very good record of defusing tensions between nations which were, at least initially, very varying in their political ideas.
I may lose some readers on this bit because despite being relatively libertarian I have always approved of the economically progressive ethics of the communist ideology.

The entire existence of NATO & the cold war owes quite a lot to the same inherent organisational empire building. The original organisation being the "military industrial complex" that won WW2. I do not think Stalin ever really wished to conquer western Europe, at least militarily. He merely wanted to have something to play to match the American Bomb. But Russian armies in East Germany did make a very good bogeyman for a social & economic network who had done well out of the war. After a decade of the Depression the US GDP doubled during the war & kept up a decent growth rate during the 50s so obviously a lot of people did well out of both wars.

Thus after the overthrow of Kruschev the Russians own military industrial complex kicked in & under Brezhnev Russia missed out on the computer revolution & generally destroyed their economic base by maintaining a massive & increasingly outdated military when they had already built up a nuclear capacity to match the west's & thus no longer needed an overwhelming army, or indeed to occupy eastern Europe - it just got to the stage where it was easier not to back down.

A good communist would believe that their social system was bound to outproduce the alternative system & that the example of prosperity, not military conquest would ensure their victory. This is what Kruschev's "we will bury you" remark was actually about. I think this is the reason why communism collapsed so completely when other religions limp on without producing anything tangible. Communism was a religion whose whole raison d'etre was economic success & when it failed it collapsed all the way. The remaining "leftist" flotsam being actually Luddites whom the creators of communism wouldn't have had on a bet.

So, was the Western interference in Yugoslavia, in your view, predominantly a matter of NATO make-work, or was it Bavarian-motivated on sectarian grounds? The latter might explain support for Croatia, but hardly action over Bosnia and Kosovo. And what was the role of the narcissism of the likes of Blair and Clinton?
There were many players in this & at least 1 motivation for each. The initial pressure for supporting Croatia et al came from Germany & it was they (plus the Vatican) which twisted arms to get the EU to support independence for Slovenia, Croatia & Bosnia. Initially the US was rather in favour of keeping Yugoslavia together because it has been the historical interest, since the civil war, to deny an inherent right of seccession.

Once the EU was on board the US, as leader of the international community, had to get in front in the direction they seemed to be going. & with typical overenthusiasm started helping Izetbegovic to sabotage any peace agreement. It is only really at this stage that NATO got involved (in the "peacekeeping" in Bosnia).

From then on NATO's role continuiusly increased & indeed some tension developed between the US & EU over America's blatant flying in of weapons to the Bosnian Moslems using US NATO aircraft that were supposed to be enforcing the weapons quarantine.

During the first wars Kosovo was barely mentioned & grabbing it was never on the agenda. It was only after Dayton, about 1997, that the NATO powers started recruiting & arming the KLA. Kosovo was not a historic interest except in a sort of generalised anti-Serb way but after Dayton NATO had idle hands. Again we see some tension between Europe & the USA with one of the reasons given for grabbing Kosovo by opponents of the war being that it would give the US an outlet for a pipeline which would not have to go through the northern Balkans & end up in Italy or Austria. I don't personally think anybody ever had such a comparatively constructive primary motivation.

I have no doubt that Clinton was personally sufficiently scummy that he would commit genocide to distract the American people from the fact that he was an adulterer. However this only works when a climate of media opinion has been created where genocide of Serbs is seen as an acceptable action.

Blair was merely a "me too" to anything the Americans said. "Me too"'s are dangerous because they are the positive feedback that makes mobs & governments so dangerous.
Might I suggest that you put a link to that reply? I'd like to be able to visit it and give it some thought from time to time.
Have put it on the main page. Thank you.
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