World Anger Mounts at Burmese Delays in Cyclone Disaster


Aid stymied off Myanmar shores and borders

Published: May 18, 2008



International Herald Tribune

BANGKOK: International outrage grew over the weekend as the military junta in Myanmar continued to block most humanitarian aid two weeks after a devastating cyclone and aid groups warned of a steep increase in deaths from starvation and disease.

With French and U.S. naval ships waiting off the coast with supplies, helicopters and boats and with relief agencies stymied in Thailand, the French ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, said the junta’s intransigence could lead to a “true crime against humanity.”

The junta has allowed in a modest amount of supplies from a number of nations and relief agencies, but aid workers say it is far short of what is needed to fend off starvation and disease. The United Nations says only 20 percent of the survivors have received even rudimentary aid.

Fearing an influx of foreigners, the generals have tightened their grip on relief organizations, expelling foreigners – including humanitarian aid workers – from the hardest-hit area, the Irrawaddy Delta.

The United Nations estimates that as many as 2.5 million people are in urgent need of aid. The official death toll rose this weekend to 78,000, but UN estimates put it at more than 100,000.

The junta’s leader, Senior General Than Shwe, has refused to take phone calls and failed to answer two letters, prompting the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, to send his chief of humanitarian affairs to try to deliver his message in person.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar, has called an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers on Monday in Singapore to hear a report from the Myanmar government. But the association has had little influence on the junta over the years, and its members have said little in condemnation of the handling of the cyclone.

The junta has accepted assistance from what it considers more friendly neighbors. Thailand has been permitted to send a 32-member medical team, and India has sent 50 army doctors and paramedics, along with medical supplies. But it was unclear whether they would be permitted into the delta.

At the same time, France and the United States were standing by with supplies on ships off the southwestern shore. France said that a navy ship was waiting Saturday about 25 kilometers, or 15 miles, outside Myanmar’s territorial waters with 1,000 tons of food – enough to feed 100,000 people for 15 days. The aid also includes shelters for 15,000 people, the French government said.

A number of U.S. Navy warships are also in the waters off Myanmar. The U.S. ships carry amphibious landing craft that can carry personnel and supplies to remote locations inaccessible by road.

U.S. military officials insist that this assistance comes with no strings attached and that American forces will leave as soon as the aid mission is over.

Over the past week, the junta has allowed a modest American airlift via Thailand with supplies like water, blankets, hygiene kits, insecticide-treated bed nets to protect against malaria, plastic sheeting for shelter, food and medical supplies.

“There is absolutely more we could do, if only the Burmese government would permit us to do it,” Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said in Washington.

The absence of UN approval for ferrying food, medicine and shelter into Myanmar has left the Bush administration in a bind. To avert a humanitarian catastrophe, the administration is having to tiptoe, so as not to offend the junta that Washington has condemned in the past, lest the junta put an end to the anemic flow of aid it has allowed so far.

Even discussions about whether to pursue sanctions against Myanmar in the United Nations have been put on hold, a senior administration official said, because “we have to balance the need for further political pressure against what little progress were making on the ground.”

President George W. Bush and the first lady, Laura Bush, have both been personally engaged in the Myanmar issue, administration officials said, but one official said that there was no single high-ranking official who had taken charge of U.S. response to the cyclone.

In an attempt to show that it has the situation under control, the Myanmar government flew 60 diplomats on a guided tour of the disaster area on Saturday. The diplomats said that they were shown pristine campsites that seemed to have been put in order especially for them.

“These guys are xenophobic,” Shari Villarosa, a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, said in a recent interview, referring to the military leadership. “They don’t like foreigners.”

Warren Hoge contributed reporting from New York, and an International Herald Tribune staff member contributed reporting from Yangon.

World Anger Mounts at Burmese Delays in Cyclone Disaster


Offers of aid and expertise for Burma have poured in from around the worldWorld frustration with the Burmese regime’s slow response to the cyclone disaster boiled over Saturday with France accusing it of being on the verge of committing a crime against humanity by not accepting foreign aid.

Offers of aid and expertise for Burma have poured in from around the world

Jean-Maurice Ripert told a meeting of all members of the United Nations on Saturday that the situation in Burma, also known as Myanmar, was turning “slowly from a situation of not helping people in danger to a real risk of crimes against humanity.””Hundreds of thousands of lives are in jeopardy and we think that the primary responsibility of the government of Myanmar (Burma) is to help and open the borders so that the international aid could come into the place,” Ripert said.

There are fears of famine and starvation among the cyclone survivors

There are fears of famine and starvation among the cyclone survivorsThe French UN ambassador was reacting to comments by Burma’s UN ambassador, accusing France of sending a warship to region.

France says the ship is carrying 1,500 tonnes of food and medicine for survivors of Cyclone Nargis. The French vessel — which is equipped with three helicopters — is carrying enough food to sustain 100,000 people for two weeks and tents and tarpaulin sheets to provide shelter to 60,000 homeless people.

“Inhuman treatment”

French frustration at the Burmese military regime’s slow-moving response to the cyclone catastrophe which has claimed 78,000 lives, according to Burmese state TV, was echoed by leaders and governments across the world on Saturday.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown denounced the junta’s “inhuman” treatment of around two million survivors battling to stay alive two weeks after the storm hit.

“We have an intolerable situation created by a natural disaster,” Brown, whose country was the colonial power when Myanmar was known as Burma, told the BBC.

“It is being made into a man-made catastrophe by the negligence, the neglect and the inhuman treatment of the Burmese people by a regime that is failing to act and to allow the international community to do what it wants to do.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote to Brown, Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, calling on the UN Security Council to authorize aid drops over the objections of the generals.

He said the regime had “effectively declared war on its own population and is committing crimes against humanity.”

Fears of famine

The international community has been turning up the pressure on the country’s military rulers, who have been criticized for holding up visas for foreign disaster experts and insisting on managing the relief effort alone.

The EU’s humanitarian aid chief Louis Michel has warned there is a risk of famine because of the scope of the destruction in the rice-growing Irrawady Delta which was the worst hit by the cyclone and where entire villages have been wiped away.

Wary of any foreign influence that could weaken its 46 years of iron rule in Myanmar, Burma’s military junta has insisted on managing the operation itself and kept most international disaster experts away.

But aid groups say the government cannot possibly handle the tragedy by itself, with hundreds of tons of supplies and high-tech equipment piling up in warehouses, bottle-necked by logistics and other problems.

Incomplete picture

Faced with mounting criticism, the junta flew some diplomats and aid workers Saturday into the heart of the disaster zone — which has been all but sealed off to the outside world.

“What they showed us looked very good,” said Chris Kaye, Myanmar director for the UN’s World Food Programme. “But they are not showing us the whole picture.”

One diplomat told AFP: “It was like a steam-roller had gone through the entire delta region.”

The junta has blocked journalists from getting to the southern Irrawaddy Delta and there are reports of patchy relief efforts by the Burmese military to get relief supplies to survivors.

US President George W Bush has extended sanctions on Myanmar by another year because of its “large-scale repression of the democratic opposition.” 

DW staff / wire reports (sp)


Save us the rescuers

Save us the rescuers

Calls for military action to force aid on Myanmar

march us down a dangerous road, that we are willing to accept

By David Rieff May 18, 2008

Sorry, Mr David Rieff we disagree with you and I erased ‘From’ your heading. And I added the pharase, ‘that we are willing to accept’, at the end of your subheading.

The decision by the government of Myanmar not to admit foreign humanitarian relief workers to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis has been met with fury, consternation and disbelief in much of the world.

  • With tens of thousands of people dead,
  • up to 100,000 missing
  • and more than a million displaced
  • and without shelter, livelihood or possibly even sufficient food,
  • the refusal of the military rulers of the country to let in foreign aid organizations or to open airports and waterways in more than a token way to shipments of aid supplies
  • seems to be an act of sheer barbarism.

In response, Gareth Evans, the former Australian foreign minister who heads the International Crisis Group, made the case last week that_

  1. the decision by Myanmar’s authorities to default on their responsibilities to their own citizens might well constitute “a crime against humanity,”
  2. and suggested that the United Nations might need to consider bringing aid to Myanmar non-consensually,
  3. justified on the basis of the “Responsibility to Protect Resolution”
  4. adopted at the 2005 U.N. World Summit by 150 member states.

To be sure, R2P (as the resolution is colloquially known) was not envisaged by the commission that framed it (and that Evans co-chaired) as a response to natural disasters, but rather as a way of confronting “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

To extend its jurisdiction to natural disasters is as unprecedented as it is radical. But as Evans put it last week, “when a government default is as grave as the course on which [Myanmar’s] generals now seem to be set, there is at least a prima facie case to answer for their intransigence being a crime against humanity — of a kind that would attract the responsibility-to-protect principle.”

  • Evans’ warning was clear. Myanmar’s generals should not delude themselves into thinking that the international community would allow them to act in any way they wished
  • not if it meant turning a blind eye to the dangers the cyclone’s survivors faced.
  • These dangers, according to the British charity Oxfam, threatened an additional 1.5 million lives.

And a number of European governments took the same line.

  1. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband stated that military action to ensure that the aid got to where it needed to go might be legal and necessary.
  2. And French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner echoed this argument, saying that France was considering bringing a resolution to the U.N. Security Council allowing for such steps to be taken.

For Kouchner, a co-founder of the French relief group Doctors Without Borders, this was familiar ground. He was a leading, and controversial, figure in the relief world long before joining Nicolas Sarkozy’s government last year,

  • and he is one of the originators of the so-called right of interference
  • a hawkish interpretation of humanitarianism’s moral imperative
  • and an operational license that basically held that outside aid groups and governments had a presumptive right to intervene when governments abused their own people.

At first glance, the arguments of Evans, Miliband, Kouchner and the leaders of many mainstream relief organizations may seem like common-sense humanism.

  1. How could it be morally acceptable to subordinate the rights of people in need to the prerogatives of national sovereignty?
  2. In a globalized world in which people, goods and money all move increasingly freely,
  3. why should a national borderthat relic of the increasingly unimportant state system — stand in the way of people dedicated to doing good for their fellow human beings?
  4. Why should the world stand by and allow an abusive government to continue to be derelict in its duties toward its own people?

Surely, to oppose this sort of humanitarian entitlement is a failure of empathy and perhaps even an act of moral cowardice.

This has been the master narrative of the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.

It has dominated the speeches of officials and most of the media coverage,

which has been imbued with an almost pornographic catastrophism in which aid agencies and journalists seem to be trying to outdo each other in the apocalyptic quality of their predictions.

I hope that the author ended here. But we sadly see the communist/socialistic views of the author, who do not know the sufferings of Burmese citizens. We know about the SPDC than you!

(Comment: unfair counter accusation: First, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, without having left the city, told reporters that though only 22,000 people had been confirmed dead, she thought the toll could rise as high as 100,000. A few days later, Oxfam was out with its estimate of 1.5 million people being at risk from water-borne diseases — without ever explaining how it arrived at such an extraordinarily alarming estimate.In reality, no one yet knows what the death toll from the cyclone is, let alone how resilient the survivors will be. One thing is known, however, and that is that in crisis after crisis, from the refugee emergency in eastern Zaire after the Rwandan genocide, through the Kosovo crisis, to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the 2004 South Asian tsunami, many of the leading aid agencies, Oxfam prominent among them, have predicted far more casualties than there would later turn out to have been. In part, this is because relief work is, in a sense, a business, and humanitarian charities are competing with every other sort of philanthropic cause for the charitable dollar and euro, and thus have to exaggerate to be noticed. It is also because coping with disasters for a living simply makes the worst-case scenario always seem the most credible one, and, honorably enough, relief workers feel they must always be prepared for the worst. But whatever the motivations, it is really no longer possible to take the relief community’s apocalyptic claims seriously. It has wrongly cried wolf too many times.We should be skeptical of the aid agencies’ claims that, without their intervention, an earthquake or cyclone will be followed by an additional disaster of equal scope because of disease and hunger. The fact is that populations in disaster zones tend to be much more resilient than foreign aid groups often make them out to be. And though the claim that only they can prevent a second catastrophe is unprovable, it serves the agencies’ institutional interests — such interventions are, after all, the reason they exist in the first place.)

Unwelcome as the thought may be, reasonable-sounding suggestions made in the name of global solidarity and humanitarian compassion can sometimes be nothing of the sort. Aid is one thing. But aid at the point of a gun is taking the humanitarian enterprise to a place it should never go. And the fact that the calls for humanitarian war were ringing out within days of Cyclone Nargis is emblematic of how the interventionist impulse, no matter how well-intended, is extremely dangerous.

The ease with which the rhetoric of rescue slips into the rhetoric of war is why invoking R2P should never be accepted simply as an effort to inject some humanity into an inhumane situation (the possibility of getting the facts wrong is another reason; that too has happened in the past).

Yes, the impulse of the interveners may be entirely based on humanitarian and human rights concerns. But lest we forget, the motivations of 19th century European colonialism were also presented by supporters as being grounded in humanitarian concern. And this was not just hypocrisy. We must not be so politically correct as to deny the humanitarian dimension of imperialism. But we must also not be so historically deaf, dumb and blind as to convince ourselves that it was its principal dimension.

Lastly, it is critically important to pay attention to just who is talking about military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Well, among others, it’s the foreign ministers of the two great 19th century colonial empires. And where exactly do they want to intervene — sorry, where do they want to live up to their responsibility to protect? Mostly in the very countries they used to rule.

When a British or French minister proposes a U.N. resolution calling for a military intervention to make sure aid is properly delivered in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, then, and only then, can we be sure we have put the specter of imperialism dressed up as humanitarianism behind us. In the meantime, buyer beware.

David Rieff is the author of many books, including “At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention” and “A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis.”

See also

Now or Never! NCGUB should invite NATO to invade Irrawaddy delta


Diplomats get tour of cyclone zone

The Press Association

Diplomats get tour of cyclone zone

Burma’s military government tried to show the world that all was under control after the cyclone despite signs everywhere to the contrary.

Officials led diplomats on their first tour through the Irrawaddy delta where more than 130,000 people were killed or are missing.

The junta flew 60 diplomats and United Nations officials in helicopters to three places in the delta where camps, aid and survivors were put on display.

In one town, tired and hungry refugees stood in the baking sun beside flooded rice paddies, demolished monasteries and thatched huts. With the arrival of each vehicle carrying precious food and water, they jumped with excitement and surged ahead to get a share.

“The further you go, the worse the situation,” said an overwhelmed doctor in the town of Twante, just south west of Rangoon, Burma’s main city.

“Near Rangoon, people are getting a lot of help and it’s still bad. In the remote delta villages, we don’t even want to imagine.”

Authorities said they had almost finished carrying out relief work and were moving towards reconstruction and rebuilding. The underlying message was that they welcomed international assistance, but there was no need for foreign personnel.

The diplomats were not all swayed. “It was a show,” Shari Villarosa, the top US diplomat in Burma, said after returning to Rangoon. “That’s what they wanted us to see.”

State-run radio denied that aid was being refused, saying: “The people of Burma warmly welcome foreign assistance for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.” It said the government has so far spent £1 million on relief work and had received millions worth of relief supplies from local and international donors.

But a French navy ship that arrived off Burma’s shores on Saturday loaded with food, medication and fresh water was stopped from distributing aid, a response which France’s UN ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, called “nonsense”.

NATO should not practice: No Action Talk Only in Burma

NATO should not practice:

No Action Talk Only in Burma


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°52′34.16″N, 4°25′19.24″E

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organization du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
Flag of NATO
Flag of NATO
NATO countries shown in blue
NATO countries shown in blue
Formation 4 April 1949
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Membership 26 member states and 14 major allies
Official languages English, French
Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Chairman of the Military Committee General Raymond Henault
NATO Portal

NATO 2002 Summit in Prague. NATO 2002 Summit in Prague.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); French: Organization du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN); (also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

For its first few years, NATO was not much more than a political association. However the Korean War galvanised the member states, and an integrated military structure was build up under the direction of two U.S. supreme commanders. Thoughout the Cold War doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organisation became drawn into the Balkans while building better links with former potential enemies to the east, which culminated with three former Warsaw Pact states joining the alliance in 1999. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks NATO has attempted to refocus itself to new challenges and has deployed troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.


  • 1 History of NATO
    • 1.1 Beginnings
    • 1.2 Détente
    • 1.3 KAL 007 and NATO deployment of missiles in W. Europe
    • 1.4 Post Cold War
    • 1.5 After the September 11 attacks
    • 1.6 Expansion and restructuring
    • 1.7 Involvement in Afghanistan: Taking over ISAF
    • 1.8 NATO missile defence talks controversy
  • 2 Membership
    • 2.1 Future enlargement of NATO
  • 3 Cooperation with non-member states
    • 3.1 Euro-Atlantic Partnership
    • 3.2 Individual Partnership Action Plans
  • 4 Structures
    • 4.1 Political structure
      • 4.1.1 List of officials
    • 4.2 Military structure
    • 4.3 Organisations and Agencies
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links


History of NATO



The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organisation in September 1948.However, participation of the United States was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.

These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, as well as the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Support for the Treaty was not unanimous; Iceland suffered an anti-NATO riot in March 1949 which may have been Communist-inspired. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined.

The Parties of NATO agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense will assist the Party or Parties being attacked, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force” does not necessarily mean that other member states will respond with military action against the aggressor(s). Rather they are obliged to respond, but maintain the freedom to choose how they will respond. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels (which founded the Western European Union) which clearly states that the response must include military action. It is however often assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. Further, the article limits the organization’s scope to Europe and North America, which explains why the invasion of the British Falkland Islands did not result in NATO involvement.

The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat level greatly (all Communist countries were suspected of working together) and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans. The 1952 Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to 96 divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly 35 divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organisation’s chief civilian was also created, and Baron Hastings Ismay eventually appointed to the post. Later, in September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Operation Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway. Meanwhile, while this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion (‘Operation Gladio’), initially made by the Western European Union, were being transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe. The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time. Indeed, one of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

The unity of NATO was breached early on in its history, with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle’s presidency of France from 1958 onward. De Gaulle protested the United States’ strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the United States and the United Kingdom, and also for the expansion of NATO’s coverage to include geographical areas of interest to France, most notably Algeria, where France was waging a counter-insurgency and sought NATO assistance.

Considering the response given to be unsatisfactory, and in order to give France, in the event of a East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a NATO-Warsaw Pact global war, de Gaulle began to build an independent defence for his country. On 11 March 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean fleet from NATO command; three months later, in June 1959, de Gaulle banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the ten major air force bases that had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

In the meantime, France had initiated an independent nuclear deterrence programme, spearheaded by the “Force de frappe” (“Striking force”). France tested its first nuclear weapon, Gerboise Bleue, on 13 February 1960, in (what was then) French Algeria.

Map of Major USAF bases in France before Charles de Gaulle's 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command. Map of Major USAF bases in France before Charles de Gaulle’s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command. In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. This withdrawal forced the relocation of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from Paris to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967. France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Communist attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout this period. France rejoined NATO’s Military Committee in 1995, and has since intensified working relations with the military structure. France has not, however, rejoined the integrated military command and no non-French NATO troops are allowed to be based on its soil. The policies of current French President Nicolas Sarkozy appear to be aimed at eventual re-integration.

The creation of NATO brought about some standardisation of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting U.S. practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) codifies the standardisation that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51 NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries. Fabrique Nationale’s FAL became the most popular 7.62 NATO rifle in Europe and served into the early 1990s. Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.


During most of the duration of the Cold War, NATO maintained a holding pattern with no actual military engagement as an organization. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear weapons sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as U.S. forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged.

On 30 May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of U.S. GLCM cruise missiles and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position in regard to nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 1983-84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war. This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe.

KAL 007 and NATO deployment of missiles in W. Europe

With the background of the build-up of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, NATO decided, under the impetus of the Reagan presidency, to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe, primarily West Germany. These missiles were theatre nuclear weapons intended to strike targets on the battlefield if the Soviets invaded West Germany. Yet support for the deployment was wavering and many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained. But on Sept. 1, 1983, the Soviet Union shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 people aboard, in international waters just past the west coast of Sakhalin Island – an act which Reagan characterized as a “massacre”. The barbarity of this act, as the U.S. and indeed the world understood it, galvanized support for the deployment – which stood in place until the later accords between Reagan and Mikhael Gorbachev.

The membership of the organization in this time period likewise remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure, but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance.

In November 1983, NATO manoeuvres simulating a nuclear launch caused panic in the Kremlin. The Soviet leadership, led by ailing General Secretary Yuri Andropov, became concerned that the manoeuvres, codenamed Able Archer 83, were the beginnings of a genuine first strike. In response, Soviet nuclear forces were readied and air units in East Germany and Poland were placed on alert. Though at the time written off by U.S. intelligence as a propaganda effort, many historians now believe that the Soviet fear of a NATO first strike was genuine.


Post Cold War

The NATO Secretary General, the U.S. President, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia after a ceremony welcoming them into NATO on 29 March 2004 at the Istanbul Summit. The NATO Secretary General, the U.S. President, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia after a ceremony welcoming them into NATO on 29 March 2004 at the Istanbul Summit.

The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO. This caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature and tasks. In practice this ended up entailing a gradual (and still ongoing) expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas that had not formerly been NATO concerns. The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east. The scholar Stephen F. Cohen has argued that a commitment was given that NATO would never expand further east, but this appears to be a misperception; no formal commitment of the sort was made.

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe agreed between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and signed in Paris in 1990, mandated specific reductions. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, signed some years later.

The first NATO military operation caused by the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was Operation Sharp Guard, which ran from June 1993-October 1996. It provided maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Operation Deny Flight, the no-fly-zone enforcement mission, had begun a year before, on 12 April 1993, and was to continue until 20 December 1995. NATO air strikes that year helped bring the war in Bosnia to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement, which in turn meant that NATO deployed a peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, first named IFOR and then SFOR, which ran from December 1996 to December 2004. Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbours were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which finally happened in 1999.

A NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August, 1995, against the Army of Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre. On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign, which NATO called Operation Allied Force, against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in an effort to stop Serbian-led ethnic cleansing. A formal declaration of war never took place (in common with all wars since World War II). The conflict ended on 11 June 1999, when Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milošević agreed to NATO’s demands by accepting UN resolution 1244. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[11] NATO then helped establish the KFOR, a NATO-led force under a United Nations mandate that operated the military mission in Kosovo. In August-September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the ongoing action against Yugoslavia, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed U.N. approval. The U.S./U.K. side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization.

After the September 11 attacks

NATO Defence Ministers' Summit in Poiana Braşov, 13-14 October 2004 NATO Defence Ministers’ Summit in Poiana Braşov, 13-14 October 2004

The expansion of the activities and geographical reach of NATO grew even further as an outcome of the September 11 attacks. These caused as a response the provisional invocation (on September 12) of the collective security of NATO’s charter-Article 5 which states that any attack on a member state will be considered an attack against the entire group of members. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty. The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included the first two examples of military action taken in response to an invocation of Article 5: Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour. Operation Active Endeavour is a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea and is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general. It began on October 4, 2001.

Despite this early show of solidarity, NATO faced a crisis little more than a year later, when on 10 February 2003, France and Belgium vetoed the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.

On the issue of Afghanistan on the other hand, the alliance showed greater unity: On 16 April 2003 NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all 19 NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. Canada had originally been slated to take over ISAF by itself on that date.

In January 2004, NATO appointed Minister Hikmet Çetin, of Turkey, as the Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) in Afghanistan. Minister Cetin is primarily responsible for advancing the political-military aspects of the Alliance in Afghanistan. In August 2004, following U.S. pressure, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the U.S. led MNF-I.

On 31 July 2006, a NATO-led force, made up mostly of troops from Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and the Netherlands, took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.

Expansion and restructuring

Map of NATO countries chronological membership. Map of NATO countries chronological membership.

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished: The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit on 21 November. On 19 June 2003, a major restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.

Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Northern European and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul Summit. The same month, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Four fighters are based in Lithuania, provided in rotation by virtually all the NATO states. Operation Peaceful Summit temporarily enhanced this patrolling during the 2006 Riga Summit.

A number of other countries have also expressed a wish to join the alliance, including Albania, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Montenegro and Ukraine. From the Russian point of view, NATO’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War has been inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President George H. W. Bush which allowed for a peaceful unification of Germany. NATO’s expansion policy is seen as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia.[15]

The 2006 NATO summit was held in Riga, Latvia, which had joined the Atlantic Alliance two years earlier. It is the first NATO summit to be held in a country that was part of the Soviet Union, and the second one in a former COMECON country (after the 2002 Prague Summit). Energy Security was one of the main themes of the Riga Summit.

At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and invited them to join. The membership of Macedonia was vetoed by Greece, while Ukraine and Georgia were told that they will eventually become members.

Involvement in Afghanistan: Taking over ISAF

Current membership of NATO in Europe. Current membership of NATO in Europe.

Main article: International Security Assistance Force

In August 2003, NATO commenced its first mission ever outside Europe when it assumed control over International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. However, some critics feel that national caveats or other restrictions undermine the efficiency of ISAF. For instance, political scientist Joseph Nye stated in a 2006 article that “many NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan have ‘national caveats’ that restrict how their troops may be used. While the Riga summit relaxed some of these caveats to allow assistance to allies in dire circumstances, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.S. are doing most of the fighting in southern Afghanistan, while French, German, and Italian troops are deployed in the quieter north. Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, France has recently allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Khandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[18] It is difficult to see how NATO can succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan unless it is willing to commit more troops and give commanders more flexibility.” If these caveats were to be eliminated, it is argued that this could help NATO to succeed.


NATO missile defence talks controversy

For some years, the United States negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic for the deployment of interceptor missiles and a radar tracking system in the two countries. Both countries’ governments indicated that they would allow the deployment. The proposed American missile defence site in Central Europe is believed to be fully operational in 2015 and would be capable of covering most of Europe except part of Romania plus Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

In April 2007, NATO’s European allies called for a NATO missile defence system which would complement the American National Missile Defense system to protect Europe from missile attacks and NATO’s decision-making North Atlantic Council held consultations on missile defence in the first meeting on the topic at such a senior level.[20]

In response, Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed that such a deployment could lead to a new arms race and could enhance the likelihood of mutual destruction. He also suggested that his country should freeze its compliance with the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)-which limits military deployments across the continent-until all NATO countries had ratified the adapted CFE treaty.

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the system would not affect strategic balance or threaten Russia, as the plan is to base only 10 interceptor missiles in Poland with an associated radar in the Czech Republic.

On July 14, Russia notified its intention to suspend the CFE treaty, effective 150 days later.

Separately, NATO has decided to establish the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) at Tallinn, Estonia, to assist its member states,[23] in addition to the already-existing internal computer network defence team.



There are currently 26 members within NATO.

Date Country Expansion Notes
April 4, 1949 Flag of Belgium Belgium Founders  
Flag of Canada Canada  
Flag of Denmark Denmark  
Flag of France France France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966 to pursue an independent defence system. However, there are now plans for it to rejoin sometime in 2008.[24]
Flag of Iceland Iceland Iceland, the sole member that does not have its own standing army, joined on the condition that it would not be expected to establish one. However, it has a Coast Guard and has recently provided troops trained in Norway for NATO peacekeeping.
Flag of Italy Italy  
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg  
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands  
Flag of Norway Norway  
Flag of Portugal Portugal  
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom  
Flag of the United States United States  
18 February 1952 Flag of Greece Greece First Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Flag of Turkey Turkey  
9 May 1955 Flag of Germany Germany Second Joined as West Germany; Saarland reunited with it in 1957 and the territories of Berlin and the former German Democratic Republic reunited with it on 3 October 1990.
30 May 1982 Flag of Spain Spain Third  
12 March 1999 Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Fourth  
Flag of Hungary Hungary  
Flag of Poland Poland  
29 March 2004 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria Fifth  
Flag of Estonia Estonia  
Flag of Latvia Latvia  
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania  
Flag of Romania Romania  
Flag of Slovakia Slovakia  
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia  
TBD April 2009 [25] Flag of Albania Albania Sixth  
Flag of Croatia Croatia  

At the NATO summit in Bucharest (April 2008) Albania and Croatia were officially invited to start accession talks with the alliance.

Future enlargement of NATO

       Current members     Invited members     Promised invitation      Intensified Dialogue     Membership not goal     Undeclared intent

     Current members     Invited members     Promised invitation      Intensified Dialogue     Membership not goal     Undeclared intent

In addition to the above listed members, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (or FYROM) was under consideration to enter NATO in 2009 but was not agreed upon. FYROM is likely to enter the alliance at some point, with Jane’s Defence Weekly commenting on 16 April 2008 that resolution to the naming issue that is holding up entry is ‘likely by the end of this year [2008] and no later than the 2009 summit.’ At the same 2008 summit in Bucharest, the communique explicitly said that Georgia and Ukraine ‘will become members of NATO.’

Other potential candidate countries include, in South-eastern Europe, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montengro. Other possible, long neutral countries that might become members are Finland and Sweden.


Cooperation with non-member states

     NATO member states      Partnership for Peace countries      Mediterranean Dialogue countries      NATO member states      Partnership for Peace countries      Mediterranean Dialogue countries


Euro-Atlantic Partnership

A double framework has been established to help further co-operation between the 26 NATO members and 23 “partner countries”.

  • The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation. The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.
  • The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) on the other hand was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all 49 participants.

The 23 partner countries are the following:

  • Former Soviet republics:
  1. Flag of Armenia Armenia
  2. Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
  3. Flag of Belarus Belarus
  4. Flag of Georgia (country) Georgia
  5. Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
  6. Flag of Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
  7. Flag of Moldova Moldova
  8. Flag of Russia Russia
  9. Flag of Tajikistan Tajikistan
  10. Flag of Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
  11. Flag of Ukraine Ukraine
  12. Flag of Uzbekistan Uzbekistan
  • Countries that (though militarily neutral) possessed capitalist economies during the Cold War:
  1. Flag of Austria Austria
  2. Flag of Finland Finland
  3. Flag of Ireland Ireland
  4. Flag of Sweden Sweden
  5. Flag of Switzerland Switzerland
  • Nations that (though militarily neutral) possessed socialist economies during the Cold War:
  1. Flag of Albania Albania
  2. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina (as part of Yugoslavia)
  3. Flag of Croatia Croatia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  4. Flag of Montenegro Montenegro (as part of Yugoslavia)
  5. Flag of Serbia Serbia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  6. Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  • Flag of Malta Malta joined PfP on April 26, 1995, but its new government withdrew on October 27, 1996 Malta’s Membership in PfP was reactivated on April 3, 2008.
  • Flag of Cyprus Cyprus’s admission to PfP is resisted by Turkey, because of the Northern Cyprus issue. Because of this Cyprus is not participating in ESDP activities that use NATO assets and information.

Individual Partnership Action Plans

Launched at the November 2002 Prague Summit, Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.

Currently IPAPs are in implementation with the following countries:

  • Flag of Georgia (country) Georgia (29 October 2004)
  • Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (27 May 2005)
  • Flag of Armenia Armenia (16 December 2005)
  • Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan (31 January 2006)
  • Flag of Moldova Moldova (19 May 2006)
  • Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina (10 January 2008)


The NATO website divides the internal NATO organisation into political structures, military structures, and agencies & organisations immediately subordinate to NATO headquarters.


Political structure

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer meeting George W. Bush on March 20, 2006. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer meeting George W. Bush on March 20, 2006.

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 26 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty, and other agreements, outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 26 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank).

Together the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective political authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers or Heads of State or Government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

The second pivotal member of each country’s delegation is the Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee (MC), a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council. Like the council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. The Defence Planning Committee excludes France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from NATO’s integrated military structure.On a practical level, this means that issues that are acceptable to most NATO members but unacceptable to France may be directed to the Defence Planning Committee for more expedient resolution. Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Ray Henault of Canada (since 2005).

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, presided by José Lello, is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as 13 associate members. It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies.

Subordinate to the political structure are the International Staff and International Military Staff, which administer NATO programmes and carry out high-level political, military, and also civil emergency planning.[39]

Over the years, non-governmental citizens’ groups have grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

List of officials

Secretaries General
1 General Lord Ismay Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 4 April 1952-16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak Flag of Belgium Belgium 16 May 1957-21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 21 April 1961-1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio Flag of Italy Italy 1 August 1964-1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 1 October 1971-25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 25 June 1984-1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner Flag of West Germany West Germany/Germany 1 July 1988-13 August 1994
8 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 13 August 1994-17 October 1994
9 Willy Claes Flag of Belgium Belgium 17 October 1994-20 October 1995
10 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 20 October 1995-5 December 1995
11 Javier Solana Flag of Spain Spain 5 December 1995-6 October 1999
12 Lord Robertson of Port Ellen Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 14 October 1999-1 January 2004
13 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 1 January 2004-present
Deputy Secretary General of NATO
# Name Country Duration
1 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 1994-2001
2 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo Flag of Italy Italy 2001-present

Military structure

NATO E-3A flying with US F-16s in a NATO exercise. NATO E-3A flying with US F-16s in a NATO exercise.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands both commanded by a senior US officer assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.

Before 2003 the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) but the current arrangement is to separate command responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations, responsible for NATO operations world wide.

The commander of Allied Command Operations retained the title “Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)”, and is based in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. This is about 80 km (50 miles) south of NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels. ACO is headed by SACEUR, a US four star general with the dual-hatted role of heading US European Command, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. SHAPE was in Paris until 1966, when French president Charles de Gaulle withdrew French forces from the Atlantic Alliance. NATO’s headquarters were then forced to move to Belgium, while many military units had to move.

ACO includes Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands, Joint Force Command Naples in Italy, and Joint Command Lisbon, all multinational headquarters with many nations represented. JFC Brunssum has its land component, Allied Land Component Command Headquarters Heidelberg at Heidelberg, Germany, its air component at Ramstein in Germany, and its naval component at the Northwood Headquarters in the northwest suburbs of London. JFC Naples has its land component in Madrid, air component at Izmir, Turkey, and naval component in Naples, Italy. It also directs KFOR in Kosovo. JC Lisbon is a smaller HQ with no subordinate commands. Lajes Field, in the Portuguese Azores, is an important transatlantic staging post. Directly responsible to SACEUR is the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany where a jointly funded fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS airborne radar aircraft is located. The C-17s of the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability, to be made operational in the next few years, will be based at Pápa airfield in Hungary, and probably come under SACEUR’s control.

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is based in the former Allied Command Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Allied Command Atlantic, usually known as SACLANT (Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic), after its commander, became ACT in 2003. It is headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), a US four-star general or admiral with the dual-hatted role as commander US Joint Forces Command (COMUSJFCOM). There is also an ACT command element located at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium.

Subordinate ACT organisations include the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) located in Stavanger, Norway (in the same site as the Norwegian NJHQ); the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland; the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) in Monsanto, Portugal; and the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC),La Spezia, Italy.

Organisations and Agencies

The NATO website lists forty-three different agencies and organisation and five project committees/offices as of 15 May 2008. They include:

  • nine logistics bodies (including five pipeline and one medical), which include the:
    • NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency
    • Central European Pipeline System
    • NATO Pipeline System
  • five production logistics bodies, including the:
    • NATO Eurofighter and Typhoon Management Agency
  • four standardisation bodies, including the NATO Standardization Agency
  • three civil emergency planning bodies
  • five Air Defence & Air Traffic Control bodies, including the:
    • NATO ACCS Management Agency (NACMA), based in Brussels, manages around a hundred persons in charge of the Air Control and Command System (ACCS) due for 2009.
    • NATO Programming Centre
  • one AEW body, the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Programme Management Organisation
  • eight communications & information systems bodies, including the:
    • NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A),[43] reporting to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Organisation (NC3O). The SHAPE Technical Centre (STC) in The Hague (Netherlands) merged in 1996 with the NATO Communications and Information Systems Operating and Support Agency (NACOSA) based in Brussels (Belgium), forming the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A). The agency comprises around 650 staff, of which around 400 are located in The Hague and 250 in Brussels. It reports to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Board (NC3B).
    • NATO Communications and Information Systems Agency (NCSA),[44] based in Mons (BEL), was established in August 2004 from the former NATO Communications and Information Systems Operating and Support Agency (NACOSA).
  • one electronic warfare agency
  • one meteorological body, the Military Committee Meteorological Group (MCMG)
  • one oceanography body, the Military Oceanography (MILOC) Group
  • the Research and Technology Agency (RTA),[45] reporting to the NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO);
  • four education & training bodies, including the NATO School and NATO Defence College
  • five project committees and offices:
    • Alliance Ground Surveillance Capability Provisional Project Office (AGS/PPO)
    • Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System (BICES)
    • NATO Continuous Acquisition and Life Cycle Support Office (CALS)
    • NATO FORACS Office
    • Munitions Safety Information Analysis Center (MSIAC)

Marshall Plan, For Irrawaddy delta?

Marshall Plan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid per nation. Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid per nation.

The Marshall Plan (from its enactment, officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the primary plan of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger foundation for the allied countries of Europe, and repelling communism after World War II. The initiative was named for Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan.

The reconstruction plan developed at a meeting of the participating European states was established on July 12, 1947. The Marshall Plan offered the same aid to the USSR and its allies, but they did not accept it, fearing that capitalistic goverments might “ask” them to change to capitalism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in July 1947. During that period some USD 13 billion in economic and technical assistance were given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation.

By the time the plan had come to completion, the economy of every participant state, with the exception of Germany, had grown well past pre-war levels. Over the next two decades, many regions of Western Europe would enjoy unprecedented growth and prosperity. The Marshall Plan has also long been seen as one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased tariff trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level. An intended consequence was the systematic adoption of American managerial techniques.

In recent years historians have questioned both the underlying motivation and the overall effectiveness of the Marshall Plan. Some historians contend that the benefits of the Marshall Plan actually resulted from new laissez-faire policies that allowed markets to stabilize through economic growth. It is now acknowledged that the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which helped millions of refugees from 1944 to 1947, also laid the foundation for European postwar recovery.


  • 1 Rejection by the Soviets
  • 2 Negotiations
  • 3 Implementation
  • 4 Expenditures
  • 5 Effects
  • 6 Repayment
  • 7 Areas without the Marshall Plan
  • 8 Criticism
  • 9 The E.R.P. in numismatics
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 Bibliography
  • 13 Further reading
  • 14 External links


 Rejection by the Soviets

British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin heard Marshall’s radio broadcast speech and immediately contacted French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault to begin preparing a quick European response to (and acceptance of) the offer. The two agreed that it would be necessary to invite the Soviets as the other major allied power. Marshall’s speech had explicitly included an invitation to the Soviets, feeling that excluding them would have been too clear a sign of distrust. State Department officials, however, knew that Stalin would almost certainly not participate, and that any plan that did send large amounts of aid to the Soviets was unlikely to be approved by Congress.

Stalin was at first cautiously interested in the plan. He felt that the Soviet Union stood in a good position after the war and would be able to dictate the terms of the aid. He thus dispatched foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to Paris to meet with Bevin and Bidault. The British and French leadership shared the American lack of genuine interest in Soviet participation, and they presented Molotov with conditions that the Soviets could never accept. The most important condition was that every country to join the plan would need to have its economic situation independently assessed, scrutiny to which the Soviets could not agree. Bevin and Bidault also insisted that any aid be accompanied by the creation of a unified European economy, something incompatible with the strict Soviet command economy. Molotov left Paris, rejecting the plan.

On July 12, a larger meeting was convened in Paris. Every country of Europe was invited, with the exceptions of Spain (which had stayed out of World War II but had sympathized with the Axis powers) and the small states of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, and Liechtenstein. The Soviet Union was invited with the understanding that it would refuse. The states of the future Eastern Bloc were also approached, and Czechoslovakia and Poland agreed to attend. In one of the clearest signs of Soviet control over the region, the Czechoslovakian foreign minister, Jan Masaryk, was summoned to Moscow and berated by Stalin for thinking of joining the Marshall Plan. Polish Prime minister Josef Cyrankiewicz was rewarded by Stalin for the Polish rejection of the Plan. Russia rewarded Poland with a huge 5 year trade agreement, 450 million in credit, 200,000 tons of grain, heavy machinery and factories.Stalin saw the Plan as a significant threat to Soviet control of Eastern Europe and believed that economic integration with the West would allow these countries to escape Soviet guidance. The Americans shared this view and hoped that economic aid could counter the growing Soviet influence. They were not too surprised, therefore, when the Czechoslovakian and Polish delegations were prevented from attending the Paris meeting. The other Eastern European states immediately rejected the offer.Finland also declined in order to avoid antagonizing the Soviets. The Soviet Union’s “alternative” to the Marshall plan, which was purported to involve Soviet subsidies and trade with western Europe, became known as the Molotov Plan, and later, the COMECON.

The Soviet representative to the United Nations said that the Marshall Plan violated the principles of the United Nations. He accused the United States of attempting to impose its will on other independent states, while at the same time using economic resources distributed as relief to needy nations as an instrument of political pressure. The United States was said to have attempted to split Europe into two camps to complete the formation of a bloc of several European countries hostile toward the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe.



Turning the plan into reality required negotiations both among the participating nations, and also to get the plan through the United States Congress. Thus sixteen nations met in Paris to determine what form the American aid would take, and how it would be divided. The negotiations were long and complex, with each nation having its own interests. France’s major concern was that Germany not be rebuilt to its previous threatening power. The Benelux countries, despite also suffering under the Nazis, had long been closely linked to the German economy and felt their prosperity depended on its revival. The Scandinavian nations, especially Sweden, insisted that their long-standing trading relationships with the Eastern Bloc nations not be disrupted and that their neutrality not be infringed. Britain insisted on special status, concerned that if it were treated equally with the devastated continental powers it would receive virtually no aid. The Americans were pushing the importance of free trade and European unity to form a bulwark against communism. The Truman administration, represented by William Clayton, promised the Europeans that they would be free to structure the plan themselves, but the administration also reminded the Europeans that for the plan to be implemented, it would have to pass Congress. The majority of Congress was committed to free trade and European integration, and also were hesitant to spend too much of the money on Germany.

Agreement was eventually reached and the Europeans sent a reconstruction plan to Washington. In this document the Europeans asked for $22 billion in aid. Truman cut this to $17 billion in the bill he put to Congress. The plan met sharp opposition in Congress, mostly from the portion of the Republican Party that advocated a more isolationist policy and was weary of massive government spending. This group’s most prominent representative was Robert A. Taft. The plan also had opponents on the left, with Henry A. Wallace a strong opponent. Wallace saw the plan as a subsidy for American exporters and sure to polarize the world between East and West. This opposition was greatly reduced by the shock of the overthrow of the democratic government of Czechoslovakia in February 1948. Soon after a bill granting an initial $5 billion passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. The Congress would eventually donate $12.4 billion in aid over the four years of the plan.

Truman signed the Marshall Plan into law on April 3, 1948, establishing the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) to administer the program. ECA was headed by economic cooperation administrator Paul G. Hoffman. In the same year, the participating countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States) signed an accord establishing a master financial-aid-coordinating agency, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (later called the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD), which was headed by Frenchman Robert Marjolin.



The first substantial aid went to Greece and Turkey in January 1947, which were seen as being on the front lines of the battle against communist expansion and were already being aided under the Truman Doctrine. Initially the UK had supported the anti-communist factions in those countries, but due to its dire economic condition it requested the U.S. to continue its efforts. The ECA formally began operation in July 1948.

First page of the Marshall Plan First page of the Marshall Plan

The official mission statement of ECA was to give a boost to the European economy: to promote European production, to bolster European currency, and to facilitate international trade, especially with the United States, whose economic interest required Europe to become wealthy enough to import U.S. goods. Another unofficial goal of ECA (and of the Marshall Plan) was the containment of growing Soviet influence in Europe, evident especially in the growing strength of communist parties in Czechoslovakia, France, and Italy.

The Marshall Plan money was transferred to the governments of the European nations. The funds were jointly administered by the local governments and the ECA. Each European capital had an ECA envoy, generally a prominent American businessman, who would advise on the process. The cooperative allocation of funds was encouraged, and panels of government, business, and labor leaders were convened to examine the economy and see where aid was needed.

The Marshall Plan aid was mostly used for the purchase of goods from the United States. The European nations had all but exhausted their foreign exchange reserves during the war, and the Marshall Plan aid represented almost their sole means of importing goods from abroad. At the start of the plan these imports were mainly much-needed staples such as food and fuel, but later the purchases turned towards reconstruction needs as was originally intended. In the latter years, under pressure from the United States Congress and with the outbreak of the Korean War, an increasing amount of the aid was spent on rebuilding the militaries of Western Europe. Of the some $13 billion allotted by mid-1951, $3.4 billion had been spent on imports of raw materials and semi-manufactured products; $3.2 billion on food, feed, and fertilizer; $1.9 billion on machines, vehicles, and equipment; and $1.6 billion on fuel.

Also established were counterpart funds, which used Marshall Plan aid to establish funds in the local currency. According to ECA rules 60% of these funds had to be invested in industry. This was prominent in Germany, where these government-administered funds played a crucial role lending money to private enterprises which would spend the money rebuilding. These funds played a central role in the reindustrialization of Germany. In 1949 – 50, for instance, 40% of the investment in the German coal industry was by these funds. The companies were obligated to repay the loans to the government, and the money would then be lent out to another group of businesses. This process has continued to this day in the guise of the state owned KfW bank. The Special Fund, then supervised by the Federal Economics Ministry, was worth over DM 10 billion in 1971. In 1997 it was worth DM 23 billion. Through the revolving loan system, the Fund had by the end of 1995 made low-interest loans to German citizens amounting to around DM 140 billion. The other 40% of the counterpart funds were used to pay down the debt, stabilize the currency, or invest in non-industrial projects. France made the most extensive use of counterpart funds, using them to reduce the budget deficit. In France, and most other countries, the counterpart fund money was absorbed into general government revenues, and not recycled as in Germany.

A far less expensive, but also quite effective, ECA initiative was the Technical Assistance Program. This program funded groups of European engineers and industrialists to visit the United States and tour mines, factories, and smelters so that they could then copy the American advances at home. At the same time several hundred American technical advisors were sent to Europe.



 The Marshall Plan aid was divided amongst the participant states on a roughly per capita basis. A larger amount was given to the major industrial powers, as the prevailing opinion was that their resuscitation was essential for general European revival. Somewhat more aid per capita was also directed towards the Allied nations, with less for those that had been part of the Axis or remained neutral. The table below shows Marshall Plan aid by country and year (in millions of dollars) from The Marshall Plan Fifty Years Later. There is no clear consensus on exact amounts, as different scholars differ on exactly what elements of American aid during this period was part of the Marshall Plan.

Labeling used on aid packages

Labeling used on aid packages

Country 1948/49
($ millions)  ↓
($ millions)  ↓
($ millions)  ↓
($ millions)  ↓
Flag of Austria Austria 232 166 70 468
Flag of Belgium Belgium and Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg 195 222 360 777
Flag of Denmark Denmark 103 87 195 385
Flag of France France 1085 691 520 2296
Flag of West Germany West Germany 510 438 500 1448
Flag of Greece Greece 175 156 45 366
Flag of Iceland Iceland 6 22 15 43
Flag of Ireland Ireland 88 45 0 133
Flag of Italy Italy and Flag of Free Territory of Trieste Trieste 594 405 205 1204
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 471 302 355 1128
Flag of Norway Norway 82 90 200 372
Flag of Portugal Portugal 0 0 70 70
Flag of Sweden Sweden 39 48 260 347
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 0 0 250 250
Flag of Turkey Turkey 28 59 50 137
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 1316 921 1060 3297
Totals 4,924 3,652 4,155 12,721



One of a number of posters created to promote the Marshall Plan in Europe. The blue and white flag between those of Germany and Italy is a version of the Trieste flag. One of a number of posters created to promote the Marshall Plan in Europe. The blue and white flag between those of Germany and Italy is a version of the Trieste flag.

The Marshall Plan ended in 1951, as originally scheduled. Any effort to extend it was halted by the growing cost of the Korean War and rearmament. U.S. Republicans hostile to the plan had also gained seats in the 1950 Congressional elections, and conservative opposition to the plan was revived. Thus the plan ended in 1951, though various other forms of American aid to Europe continued afterwards.

The years 1948 to 1952 saw the fastest period of growth in European history. Industrial production increased by 35%. Agricultural production substantially surpassed pre-war levels.The poverty and starvation of the immediate postwar years disappeared, and Western Europe embarked upon an unprecedented two decades of growth that saw standards of living increase dramatically. There is some debate among historians over how much this should be credited to the Marshall Plan. Most reject the idea that it alone miraculously revived Europe, as evidence shows that a general recovery was already underway. Most believe that the Marshall Plan sped this recovery, but did not initiate it.

The political effects of the Marshall Plan may have been just as important as the economic ones. Marshall Plan aid allowed the nations of Western Europe to relax austerity measures and rationing, reducing discontent and bringing political stability. The communist influence on Western Europe was greatly reduced, and throughout the region communist parties faded in popularity in the years after the Marshall Plan. The trade relations fostered by the Marshall Plan helped forge the North Atlantic alliance that would persist throughout the Cold War. At the same time the nonparticipation of the states of Eastern Europe was one of the first clear signs that the continent was now divided.

The Marshall Plan also played an important role in European integration. Both the Americans and many of the European leaders felt that European integration was necessary to secure the peace and prosperity of Europe, and thus used Marshall Plan guidelines to foster integration. In some ways this effort failed, as the OEEC never grew to be more than an agent of economic cooperation. Rather it was the separate European Coal and Steel Community, which notably excluded Britain, that would eventually grow into the European Union. However, the OEEC served as both a testing and training ground for the structures and bureaucrats that would later be used by the European Economic Community. The Marshall Plan, linked into the Bretton Woods system, also mandated free trade throughout the region.

While some modern historians today feel some of the praise for the Marshall Plan is exaggerated, it is still viewed favorably and many thus feel that a similar project would help other areas of the world. After the fall of communism several proposed a “Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe” that would help revive that region. Others have proposed a Marshall Plan for Africa to help that continent, and U.S. vice president Al Gore suggested a Global Marshall Plan. “Marshall Plan” has become a metaphor for any very large scale government program that is designed to solve a specific social problem. It is usually used when calling for federal spending to correct a perceived failure of the private sector.

The West German economic recovery was partly due to the economic aid provided by the Marshall Plan, but mainly it was due to the currency reform of 1948 which replaced the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark as legal tender, halting rampant inflation. This act to strengthen the German economy had been explicitly forbidden during the two years that the occupation directive JCS 1067 was in effect. The Allied dismantling of the West German coal and steel industry finally ended in 1951 (The industrial plans for Germany). The Marshall Plan was only one of several forces behind the German recovery.[13][14] Even so, in Germany the myth of the Marshall Plan is still alive. According to Marshall Plan 1947-1997 A German View by Susan Stern, many Germans still believe that Germany was the exclusive beneficiary of the plan, that it consisted of a free gift of vast sums of money, and that it was solely responsible for the German economic recovery in the 1950s.



The Organization for European Economic Cooperation took the leading role in allocating funds, and the ECA arranged for the transfer of the goods. The American supplier was paid in dollars, which were credited against the appropriate European Recovery Program funds. The European recipient, however, was not given the goods as a gift, but had to pay for them (though not necessarily at once, on credit etc.) in local currency, which was then deposited by the government in a counterpart fund. This money, in turn, could be used by the ERP countries for further investment projects.

Most of the participating ERP governments were aware from the beginning that they would never have to return the counterpart fund money to the U.S.; it was eventually absorbed into their national budgets and “disappeared.” Originally the total American aid to Germany (in contrast to grants given to other countries in Europe) had to be repaid. But under the London debts agreement of 1953, the repayable amount was reduced to about $1 billion. Aid granted after 1 July 1951 amounted to around $270 million, of which Germany had to repay $16.9 million to the Washington Export-Import Bank. In reality, Germany did not know until 1953 exactly how much money it would have to pay back to the U.S., and insisted that money was given out only in the form of interest-bearing loans – a revolving system ensuring the funds would grow rather than shrink. A lending bank was charged with overseeing the program. European Recovery Program loans were mostly used to support small- and medium-sized businesses. Germany paid the U.S. back in installments (the last check was handed over in June 1971). However, the money was not paid from the ERP fund, but from the central government budget.


Areas without the Marshall Plan

Large parts of the world devastated by World War II did not benefit from the Marshall Plan. The only major Western European nation excluded was Francisco Franco’s Spain. After the war, it pursued a policy of self-sufficiency, currency controls, and quotas, with little success. With the escalation of the Cold War, the United States reconsidered its position, and in 1951 embraced Spain as an ally, encouraged by Franco’s aggressive anti-communist policies. Over the next decade, a considerable amount of American aid would go to Spain, but less than its neighbors had received under the Marshall Plan.

While the western portion of the Soviet Union had been as badly affected as any part of the world by the war, the eastern portion of the country was largely untouched and had seen a rapid industrialization during the war. The Soviets also imposed large reparations payments on the Axis allies that were in its sphere of influence. Finland, Hungary, Romania, and especially East Germany were forced to pay vast sums and ship large amounts of supplies to the USSR. These reparation payments meant that the Soviet Union received almost as much as any of the countries receiving Marshall Plan aid.

It should be noted for the historical point of view that Finland is the only country so far ( 2008 ) which has paid all the reparation payments.

Eastern Europe saw no Marshall Plan money, as their governments rejected joining the program, and moreover received little help from the Soviets. The Soviets did establish COMECON as a rebuttal to the Marshall Plan. The members of Comecon looked to the Soviet Union for oil; in turn, they provided machinery, equipment, agricultural goods, industrial goods, and consumer goods to the Soviet Union. Some claim economic recovery in the east was much slower than in the west, and some feel the economies never fully recovered in the communist period, resulting in the formation of the shortage economies and a gap in wealth between East and West. However, the Soviet economy returned to pre-war levels in 1949 — at the same time as West Germany. Finland, which did not join the Marshall Plan and which was required to give large reparations to the USSR, saw its economy recover to pre-war levels in 1947. France, which received billions of dollars through the Marshall Plan, similarly saw its economy return to pre-war levels in 1947.By mid-1948 industrial production in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia had recovered to a level somewhat above pre-war level.

Japan too, had been badly damaged by the war. However, the American people and Congress were far less sympathetic towards the Japanese than they were to the Europeans. Japan was also not considered to have as great a strategic or economic importance to the United States. Thus no grand reconstruction plan was ever created, and the Japanese economic recovery before 1950 was slow. However, by 1952 growth had picked up, such that Japan continued, from 1952 to 1971 to grow in real GNP at an average annual rate of 9.6 percent. The US by contrast, grew at a rate of 2.9 percent from 1952 to 1991. The Korean War may have played a role in the early economic growth in Japan. It began in 1950 and Japan became the main staging ground for the United Nations war effort, and a crucial supplier of materiel. One well known example is that of the Toyota company. In June 1950, the company produced 300 trucks, and was on the verge of going out of business. The first months of the war saw the military order over 5,000 vehicles, and the company was revived.During the four years of the Korean War, the Japanese economy saw a substantially larger infusion of cash than had any of the Marshall Plan nations.

Canada, like the United States, was little damaged by the war and in 1945 was one of the world’s largest economies. The Canadian economy had long been more dependent than the American one on trade with Europe, and after the war there were signs that the Canadian economy was struggling. In April 1948, the U.S. Congress passed the provision in the plan that allowed the aid to be used in purchasing goods from Canada. The new provision ensured the health of that nation’s economy as Canada made over a billion dollars in the first two years of operation. This contrasted heavily with the treatment Argentina, another major economy dependent on its agricultural exports with Europe, received from the ECA, as the country was deliberately excluded from participation in the Plan due to political differences between the U.S. and then-president Perón. This would damage the Argentine agricultural sector and help to precipitate an economic crisis in the country.



Early criticism of the Marshall Plan came from a number of liberal economists. Wilhelm Röpke, who influenced German chancellor Ludwig Erhard in his economic recovery program, believed recovery would be found in eliminating central planning and restoring a market economy in Europe, especially in those countries which had adopted more fascist and corporatist economic policies. Röpke criticized the Marshall plan for forestalling the transition to the free market by subsidizing the current, failing systems. Erhard put Röpke’s theory into practice and would later credit Röpke’s influence for the West Germany’s preeminent success. Henry Hazlitt criticized the Marshall Plan in his 1947 book Will Dollars Save the World?, arguing that economic recovery comes through savings, capital accumulation and private enterprise, and not through large cash subsidies. Ludwig von Mises also criticized the Marshall Plan in 1951, believing that “The American subsidies make it possible for [Europe’s] governments to conceal partially the disastrous effects of the various socialist measures they have adopted.” He also made a general critique of foreign aid, believing it creates ideological enemies rather than economic partners by stifling the free market.

Criticism of the Marshall Plan became prominent among historians of the revisionist school, such as Walter LaFeber, during the 1960s and 1970s. They argued that the plan was American economic imperialism, and that it was an attempt to gain control over Western Europe just as the Soviets controlled Eastern Europe.

The economist Tyler Cowen stated that nations receiving the most aid from the Marshall Plan (Britain, Sweden, Greece) saw the least returns and grew the least between 1947 and 1955. Those nations who received little (Austria, Germany & Italy) grew the most.

In a review of West Germany’s economy from 1945 to 1951, German analyst Werner Abelshauser concluded that “foreign aid was not crucial in starting the recovery or in keeping it going.” The economic recoveries of France, Italy, and Belgium, Cowen found, also predated the flow of U.S. aid. Belgium, the country that relied earliest and most heavily on free market economic policies after its liberation in 1944, experienced the fastest recovery and avoided the severe housing and food shortages seen in the rest of continental Europe.

Former U.S. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan gives most credit to Ludwig Erhard for Europe’s economic recovery. Greenspan writes in his memoir The Age of Turbulence that Erhard’s economic policies were the most important aspect of postwar Western Europe recovery, far outweighing the contributions of the Marshall Plan. He states that it was Erhard’s reductions in economic regulations that permitted Germany’s miraculous recovery, and that these policies also contributed to the recoveries of many other European countries.

Japan’s recovery is also used as a counter-example, since it experienced rapid growth without any aid whatsoever. Its recovery is attributed to traditional economic stimuli, such as increases in investment, fueled by a high savings rate and low taxes. Japan saw a large infusion of cash during the Korean war, but because this came in the form of investment and not subsidies, it proved far more beneficial

Criticism of the Marshall Plan also aims at showing that it has begun a legacy of disastrous foreign aid. Since the 1990s, economic scholarship has been more hostile to the idea of foreign aid. For example, Alberto Alesina and Beatrice Weder, summing up economic literature on foreign aid and corruption, find that aid is primarily used wastefully and self-servingly by government officials, and ends up increasing governmental corruption.This policy of promoting corrupt government is then attributed back to the initial impetus of the Marshall Plan.

Noam Chomsky wrote that the amount of American dollars given to France and the Netherlands equaled the funds these countries used to finance their military forces in southeast Asia. The Marshall Plan was said to have “set the stage for large amounts of private U.S. investment in Europe, establishing the basis for the modern Transnational Corporations.”

The Post War Period coin The Post War Period coin

Use for colonialism and aggression The Netherlands used a significant portion of the aid it received to try to re-conquer Indonesia in the Indonesian War of Independence.[12],[13]


The E.R.P. in numismatics

The E.R.P. has left such a legacy behind that has been the main motive of many collectors and bullion coins. One of the most recent is the 20 euro Post War Period coin, minted in September 17, 2003. The reverse side of the coin is based on the design of two famous posters of the era: the “Four in a Jeep” and the E.R.P. The German inscription “Wiederaufbau in Österreich” translates as “Reconstruction in Austria”, one of the countries aided by this program.

Now or Never! NCGUB should invite NATO to invade Irrawaddy delta


Prime Minister Dr Sein Win

NCGUB, Prime Minister Office 

77 South Washington Street, Suite 308
Rockville, Maryland 20850 U.S.A.
Tel: 301-424-4810 Fax: 301-424-4812                                                                                                                May 18, 2008

Re: Request to consider authorizing NATO Forces to enter cyclone disaster Irrawaddy delta for humanitarian help and rehabilitation.

Dear Prime Minister,

                                Please may Your Honor kindly consider the followings:

1.       As the UN action in Burma is handicapped by the veto votes in UNSC, this is the right time to request direct help from NATO. NATO had intervened and help unilaterally in Bosnia and Iraq and this is the right time to intervene Burma to help the millions of cyclone victims.

2.       NCGUB need to consider authorizing NATO Forces to enter cyclone disaster Irrawaddy delta for humanitarian help and rehabilitation.

3.       To offer the Haing-gyi Island and or Co Co Island to NATO for use as Military base for 99 years with the appropriate rental, which should be used solely for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the disaster Irrawaddy delta.

4.       We need to base on the post World War II, Marshall plan for Europe.

5.       Priority should be not only rebuilding but modernizing all the infrastructure structure_

·         To feed, medical care, rebuild their houses, schools, clinics, hospitals, reestablish their business e.t.c.

·         Roads

·         Bridges

·         Electricity

·         Water supply

·         Air and sea Ports

·         Dams, irrigation

·         Scientific, mechanized big firms for agriculture and fishery

·         Offshore gas

·         To modernize the International trade facilities.

It is now or never. We cannot get another chance or excuse in few decades. NATO should and could invade Burma for humanitarian grounds.

Thanking Your Honour

Yours Humbly


Dr San Oo Aung and friends

Maintenant ou jamais ! NCGUB devrait inviter l’OTAN à envahir le delta d’Irrawaddy

ÀVictoire du premier ministre DR Sein

NCGUB, Office de premier ministre

Rue de Washington de 77 sud, suite 308
Rockville, le Maryland les 20850 Etats-Unis
Téléphone : 301-424-4810 fax : 301-424-4812 Mai 18, 2008

Re : Demandez de considérer autoriser les forces de l’OTAN Pour écrire le delta d’Irrawaddy de désastre de cyclone pour l’aide et la réadaptation humanitaires.

Cher premier ministre,

Peut votre honneur avec bonté veuillez considérer la suite :

1. Comme l’action de l’ONU en Birmanie est handicapée par le mettre un veto vote dans UNSC, ceci est la bonne heure de demander l’aide directe d’OTAN. L’OTAN était intervenu et l’aide unilatéralement en Bosnie et l’Irak et ceci est la bonne heure d’intervenir la Birmanie pour aider les millions de victimes de cyclone.

2. Le besoin de NCGUB de considérer autoriser les forces de l’OTAN Pour écrire le delta d’Irrawaddy de désastre de cyclone pour l’aide et la réadaptation humanitaires.

3. Pour offrir l’île de Haing-gyi et ou l’île de Co Co en OTAN pour l’usage en tant que base militaire pendant 99 années avec la location appropriée, qui devrait être employée seulement pour la réadaptation et la reconstruction du delta d’Irrawaddy de désastre.

4. Nous devons baser sur la deuxième guerre mondiale de poteau, plan de maréchal pour l’Europe.

5. La priorité devrait non seulement reconstruire mais moderniser tout structure_ d’infrastructure

· Pour alimenter, le soin médical, reconstruisent leurs maisons, écoles, cliniques, hôpitaux, rétablissent leurs affaires e.t.c.

· Routes

· Ponts

· L’électricité

· Approvisionnement en eau

· Ports d’air et de mer

· Barrages, irrigation

· Grandes sociétés scientifiques et mécanisées pour l’agriculture et pêche

· Gaz en mer

· Pour moderniser les équipements de commerce international.

Il n’est maintenant ou jamais. Nous ne pouvons pas obtenir une chance ou une excuse différente en peu de décennies. L’OTAN devrait et pourrait envahir la Birmanie pour les raisons humanitaires.

Remerciement de votre honneur

Vôtre humblement


DR San Oo Aung et amis


Jetzt oder nie! NCGUB sollte NATO einladen, Irrawaddy Dreieck einzudringen


Gewinn des Premierminister-Dr Sein

NCGUB, Premierminister-Büro

77 Süd washington Straße, Suite 308
Rockville, Maryland 20850 USA
Telefon: 301-424-4810 Telefax: 301-424-4812 Mai 18, 2008

Betr.: Antrag NATO, Kräfte zu autorisieren zu erwägen , um Wirbelsturmunfall Irrawaddy Dreieck für humanitäre Hilfe und Rehabilitation einzutragen.

Lieber Premierminister,

Kann Ihre Ehre die Followings bitte freundlich betrachten:

1. Wie die UNO Tätigkeit in Birma durch das Veto wählt in UNSC, dieses ist die rechte Zeit , um direkte Hilfe von NATO zu bitten behindert wird. NATO hatte eingegriffen und Hilfe einseitig im Bosnien und der Irak und dieser ist die rechte Zeit, einzugreifen Birma , zum der Millionen der Wirbelsturmopfer zu helfen.

2. NCGUB Notwendigkeit NATO, Kräfte zu autorisieren zu erwägen, um Wirbelsturmunfall Irrawaddy Dreieck für humanitäre Hilfe und Rehabilitation einzutragen.

3. Die Haing-gyi Insel und oder Co Co Insel NATO für Gebrauch als militärische Unterseite für 99 Jahre mit der passenden Miete anbieten, die für die Rehabilitation und die Rekonstruktion des Unfall Irrawaddy Dreiecks nur benutzt werden sollte.

4. Wir müssen auf dem Pfosten Zweiten Weltkrieg, Marschallplan gründen für Europa.

5. Priorität sollte alles Infrastruktur structure_ nicht nur umbauen aber zu modernisieren

· Um einzuziehen, bauen medizinische Behandlung, ihre Häuser, Schulen, Kliniken, Krankenhäuser, wieder.herstellen ihr Geschäft e.t.c. um.

· Straßen

· Brücken

· Elektrizität

· Wasserversorgung

· Luft und Seehäfen

· Verdammungen, Bewässerung

· Wissenschaftliche, mechanisierte grosse Unternehmen für Landwirtschaft und Fischerei

· Vom Land entferntes Gas

· Den Handel-Service modernisieren.

Es ist jetzt oder nie. Wir können nicht eine andere Wahrscheinlichkeit oder Entschuldigung in wenigen Dekaden erhalten. NATO sollte und könnte Birma für humanitären Boden eindringen.

Danken Ihrer Ehre

Ihr bescheiden


Dr San Oo Aung und Freunde

1. Joe Fernandez’s comments in Malaysiakini:

The UN Security Council should authorise a Coalition of the Willing to force the military junta in Rangoon to surrender to the United Nations authority in wake of Cyclone Nargis which have now left 2.5 million people in dire need and thousands of dead and dying.The refusal of the military junta to let in aid workers and the confiscation of incoming aid for
itself is totally unacceptable. Since the military junta won’t allow the international community to help save the people of Burma, it’s time for the UN Security Council to act and act immediately.


2. jdw2000, on May 18th, 2008 at 11:16P05 Said: Edit Comment

I wrote a related blog entry on this several days ago but directed toward the UN. I wrote:

  • Ban Ki-moon’s statement on the tragedy in Rwanda is applicable to this situation:“As we attempt to learn the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda, two messages should be paramount. First, never forget. Second, never stop working to prevent another genocide.Our thoughts go to the victims — the more than 800,000 innocent people who lost their lives with terrifying speed. Our thoughts go to the survivors. Their resilience continues to inspire us. It is the responsibility of us all to support them in rebuilding their lives. How different it would have been, had we, the international community, acted properly at the proper time.”

    Please take a look and tell me what you think:


    1. The case for invading Myanmar
    2. World Anger Mounts at Burmese Delays in Cyclone Disaster
    3. Save us from the rescuers
    4. Gordon Brown:Burma is guilty of inhuman action
    5. U.N. can and should use force to step into Myanmar
    6. The Failed States Index 2007
    7. NATO should not practice: No Action Talk Only in Burma
    8. Marshall Plan, For Irrawaddy delta?
    9. NLD rejects Burma referendum result
    10. Myanmar cyclone: Forced labour camp fears
    11. Myanmar’s military rulers blocking aid workers, foreign diplomats and journalists from reaching cyclone-battered regions
    12. Pentagon planning for long-term Myanmar aid
    13. Winds of Change
    14. France criticizes Myanmar for refusing to allow navy ship to deliver aid to cyclone victims
    15. Cartoons: SPDC’s ‘helping’ hand robbing the Myanmar Cyclone Nargis victims
    16. Had Cyclones Nargis struck the final nail in the SPDC’s coffin? 
    17. When politicking takes precedence, the poor suffer
    18. After Nargis, security dilemma
    19. Canada involved in plans for controversial Myanmar summit
    20. U.S. admiral: Myanmar junta unconcerned of the cyclone victims’ plight
    21. Oxfam has warned that the death toll could multiply 15-fold and estimated 100,000 people have died

      TQ for this.

      Politics in America

      Election 2008 and Politics


      Now or Never! NCGUB should invite NATO to invade Irrawaddy delta

      May 18th, 2008

      DSOA wrote an interesting post today on NATO and Burma
      Here’s a quick excerpt

      Prime Minister Dr Sein Win
      NCGUB, Prime Minister Office 
      77 South Washington Street, Suite 308
      Rockville, Maryland 20850 U.S.A.
      Tel: 301-424-4810 Fax: 301-424-4812                                                                                                                May 18, 2008
      Re: Request to consider authorizing NATO Forces to enter cyclone disaster Irrawaddy delta for humanitarian help and rehabilitation.
      Dear Prime Minister,
                                      Please may Your Honor kindly consider the followings:
      1.       As the UN action in Burma is handicapped by the veto votes in UNSC, this is the right time to request direct help from NATO. NATO had intervened and help unilaterally in Bosnia and Iraq and this is the right time to intervene Burma to help the millions of cyclone victims.
      2.       NCGUB need to consider authorizing NATO Forces to enter cyclone disaster Irrawaddy delta for humanitarian help and rehabilitation.
      3.       To offer the Haing-gyi Island and or Co Co Island to NATO for use as Military base for 99 years with the appropriate rental, which should be used solely for […]

      Read the rest of this great post here

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        Extracted from_ Snap Shots Options

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    Autogenocide in Myanmar:

    Will the UN fail to protect again?

    On May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis clobbered Myanmar (Burma). Every day the estimated death toll seems to reach new levels. The Australian reports that 80,000 people may have perished in a single province while the government of Burma claims a total of 23,000 deaths.

    Cyclone Nargis


    Governments and NGO’s around the world are lining up to provide aid – if only they can get permission from the government. US Navy warships are remaining in the area awaiting orders to render assistance. See the USAID website for more on the US’s plans for aid.

    On Friday May 9th, UN Secratary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the military junta there to ease humanitarian efforts. “If early action is not taken and relief measures put in place, the medium-term effect of this tragedy could be truly catastrophic… The sheer survival of the affected people is at stake.”

    Now the ruling military junta is greatly hindering any foreign aid.

    What are they afraid of: propaganda being brought in by foreign governments to poison the minds of their citizens? arms shipments to support any militant support groups? that foreigners will see the oppression being heaped upon these people by their rulers?

    At the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda held on April 7, 2004, then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reflected on the world’s failure to act for the benefit of the 800,000 souls who perished in that country’s genocide. He stated:

    “We must never forget our collective failure to protect at least eight hundred thousand defenceless (sic) men, women and children who perished in Rwanda ten years ago. Such crimes cannot be reversed. Such failures cannot be repaired. The dead cannot be brought back to life. So what can we do?””When we recall such events and ask ‘why did no one intervene?’, we should address the question not only to the United Nations, or even to its Member States. No one can claim ignorance. All who were playing any part in world affairs at that time should ask, ‘what more could I have done? How would I react next time – and what am I doing now to make it less likely there will be a next time?’

    In this case, the government of Burma doesn’t have to carry out any of the killings. If they do nothing, hundreds of thousands more people will die. Diseases such as cholera will set in from the lack of sanitation. People will suffer starvation and dehydration and other complications. This is autogenocide by omission.

    Kofi Annan further said, “We have little hope of preventing genocide, or reassuring those who live in fear of its recurrence, if people who have committed this most heinous of crimes are left at large, and not held to account.” Will these ruling generals be held to account for their lack of action?

    When speaking of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Kofi Annan stated,

    “It is vital that international humanitarian workers and human rights experts be given full access to the region, and to the victims, without further delay. If that is denied, the international community must be prepared to take swift and appropriate action. By “action” in such situations I mean a continuum of steps, which may include military action. But the latter should always be seen as an extreme measure, to be used only in extreme cases.”

    Though there is the question of a nation’s sovereignty, how many more people have to die before we can step in to help them?

    Ban Ki-moon’s statement on the tragedy in Rwanda is applicable to this situation:

    “As we attempt to learn the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda, two messages should be paramount. First, never forget. Second, never stop working to prevent another genocide.

    Our thoughts go to the victims – the more than 800,000 innocent people who lost their lives with terrifying speed. Our thoughts go to the survivors. Their resilience continues to inspire us. It is the responsibility of us all to support them in rebuilding their lives. How different it would have been, had we, the international community, acted properly at the proper time.”

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    on 10 May 2008 at 9:00 pm
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    Please read this news, “Burma needs humanitarian intervention: NCGUB”




    NLD rejects Burma referendum result

    ABC News

    NLD rejects Burma referendum result

    Posted Sat May 17

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party has rejected the Burma junta’s claim that more than 92 per cent of voters approved a military-backed constitution in the first round of a referendum last week.

    “This result is completely incorrect,” said Nyan Win, spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

    “They forced the people to vote Yes – and did not allow ballots to be cast in secret,” he said.

    Burma held the referendum across most of the country on May 10, even though huge swathes of land were still underwater from a cyclone that has left 133,000 people dead or missing.

    The junta, which says the new constitution will pave the way to democratic elections in two years, announced on Thursday that 92.4 per cent of voters had approved the charter, with a 99 per cent turnout.

    Nyan Win also said that the Government should not have announced the results until the second round of voting on May 24, when the regime plans to hold the balloting in areas devastated by the cyclone.

    “This referendum result is not in accordance with the law. They should only announce the results after everyone finishes voting,” he said.

    The NLD has denounced the regime for holding the referendum while 2.5 million people still need food, shelter and medicine.

    The party says the constitution will enshrine the power of the generals, who have ruled the country for nearly half a century.

    The last time there was a national ballot, in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi won in a landslide. She was never allowed to rule, and instead has been under house arrest for much of the time since.

    Among its provisions, the constitution would make it illegal for her to ever hold office.


    Doctors allowed in


    Meanwhile, dozens of Asian doctors have headed into Burma to treat survivors of the cyclone.

    They are the biggest group of foreigners so far allowed in to help cyclone victims but international aid agencies say that, with 2.5 million needy survivors, a greater and faster relief effort is desperately needed.

    Burma officials also took a group of foreign diplomats to tour the Irrawaddy delta, the hardest-hit region in the impoverished country’s rice-growing south, where the junta has blocked outsiders from entering.

    But diplomats held little hope they would see the most devastated regions, where reporters say corpses still lie in rice fields, while thousands of people huddle in schools and Buddhist temples, still waiting for help.

    France’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Maurice Ripert, warned that the tragedy was turning “slowly from a situation of not helping people in danger to a real risk of crimes against humanity, and we cannot accept that.”

    He told reporters he made the warning during a closed-door session of the UN General Assembly.

    “I said that what is going on is unacceptable, that the aid was not getting there, and that people were dying today not just because of the cyclone anymore, but also because Burma authorities refuse to authorise international aid,” Ripert said.

    State television on Friday put the latest toll at 77,738 dead and 55,917 missing from cyclone Nargis, which barrelled into the country on May 2-3, wiping away entire villages and submerging swathes of land under flood waters.

    The figures were nearly double those of the previous day. The announcement said the scale of the devastation and heavy rains since the storm hit had slowed down confirmation of the tally.

    The United States, a fierce critic of alleged human rights abuses in Burma, said the Government had shown signs it was willing to allow non-governmental organisations (NGOs) handle some aid for storm victims.

    Two shipments of US aid were for the first time given directly to relief groups rather than handled by the military regime, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, adding that nine more flights were set for this weekend.


    Myanmar Cyclone photo album from Reuters Part 5

    Myanmar Cyclone photo album from Reuters Part 5



    A boy watches as a man builds a shelter in a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.



    People take shelter in a pagoda in an area affected by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.




    A marine walks past boxes of packaged potable water on the USS Essex about 80 nautical miles south of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta May 16, 2008.

    REUTERS/Vivek Prakash



    A boy carries water at a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, outside Yangon, May 16, 2008.




    The USS Essex is seen from a helicopter about 80 nautical miles south of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta May 16, 2008. The USS Essex is currently stationed in international waters to the south of the delta pending permission to carry out the delivery of humanitarian relief goods to people hit by Cyclone Nargis.

    REUTERS/Vivek Prakash



    Buddhist monks from the Sitagu Missionary Association travel on a boat carrying donated rice for cyclone victims as they move out from Kyaiklat to Bogalay, one of the worst-hit areas by Cyclone Nargis, May 14, 2008.

    REUTERS/Aung Hla Tun



    People take shelter in a pagoda in an area affected by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.




    A young monk adjusts his robe next to a pagoda in an area affected by Cyclone Nargis, near the Myanmar capital Yangon, May 16, 2008.






    A woman and her children stay in their home at a village hit by Cyclone Nargis, outside Yangon, May 16, 2008.


    Rain pushes Myanmar death toll higher


    Rain pushes Myanmar death toll higher

    Fri May 16, 2008

    By Aung Hla Tun

    YANGON (Reuters) – Torrential rain lashed survivors of Cyclone Nargis on Friday as Myanmar’s junta raised its toll sharply to more than 133,000 people dead or missing, putting the disaster on a par with a 1991 cyclone that killed 143,000 in neighboring Bangladesh.

    In a shocking update to a count that had consistently lagged international aid agency estimates, state television said 77,738 people were dead and 55,917 missing after the May 2 storm in the military-ruled country formerly known as Burma.

    Up to 2.5 million survivors are clinging to life in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta, with thousands of people lining roadsides to beg for help in the absence of large-scale government or foreign relief operations.

    In the town of Kunyangon, 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Yangon, men, women and children stood in the mud and rain, their hands clasped together in supplication to the occasional passing aid vehicle.

    “The situation has worsened in just two days,” one aid volunteer said as children mobbed his vehicle, reaching through the window for scraps of bread or clothing.

    The generals insist their relief operations are running smoothly, justifying their refusal to allow major aid distribution by outside agencies and workers to victims of the cyclone, which flooded an area the size of Austria.

    The junta issued an edict in state-run media saying legal action would be taken against anybody found hoarding or selling relief supplies, amid rumors of military units expropriating trucks of food, blankets and water.

    Aid groups, including U.N. agencies, say only a fraction of the required relief is getting through and, unless the situation improves, thousands more lives are at risk.

    Given the junta’s ban on foreign journalists and restrictions on the movement of most international aid workers, independent assessment of the situation is difficult.


    The United Nations said its top humanitarian official, John Holmes, would arrive in Myanmar on Sunday to try to establish contact with its reclusive generals, the latest face of 46 years of unbroken military rule.

    “I understand that he’s now scheduled to meet with the prime minister of Myanmar (Thein Sein) on Sunday,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an interview on U.S. television.

    U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said Holmes was carrying a third letter from Ban to the junta’s senior general, Than Shwe, who has repeatedly ignored Ban’s requests for a conversation.

    Four U.S. C-130 planes landed in Yangon on Friday and “two of the shipments were handed directly” to non-governmental organizations, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

    He did not name the NGOs but said there was progress because this was the first time Myanmar’s government had not taken possession of some of the U.S. aid.

    “We’re planning four to five flights for both Saturday and Sunday and it is our hope that some of those shipments, again, will be handed over directly to international NGOs,” he said.

    Myanmar’s government was organizing a trip for diplomats to the affected areas this weekend, McCormack added.

    In a sign of the tensions between the generals and the international community, Myanmar’s U.N. envoy accused France of sending a warship to his country. France’s U.N. ambassador said the junta was on the verge of a “crime against humanity.”

    French envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert said the ship is operated by the French navy but is not a warship. It is carrying 1,500 metric tons of food and medicine as well as small boats, helicopters and field hospital platforms.

    “We are still trying to convince the authority of Burma to authorize us to go there,” Ripert said. “The ship will be off the coast of the delta, but in international waters, tomorrow. We still hope they will not refuse that.”

    Two weeks after the storm, ordinary people in Myanmar were taking matters into their own hands, sending trucks into the delta with clothes, biscuits, dried noodles and rice provided by private companies and individuals.


    With international pressure and outrage at the generals’ intransigence growing, the European Union’s top aid official flew to Yangon to push for more access for foreign aid workers and relief operations.

    Like so many envoys before him, the EU’s Louis Michel came away empty-handed but continued to urge the junta to shelve its pride and paranoia about the outside world.

    “Time is life,” he told reporters at Bangkok airport. “No government in the world can tackle such a problem alone. This is a major catastrophe.”

    Many refugees, crammed into monasteries, schools and other temporary shelters after the devastating storm, have already contracted diarrhea, dysentery and skin infections.

    Officials said one international health agency had confirmed cholera in the delta, although the number of cases was in line with normal levels at this time of year in a region where the disease is endemic.

    “We don’t have an explosion of cholera,” World Health Organisation official Maureen Birmingham said in Bangkok.

    Earlier, the generals signaled they would not budge on their position of limiting foreign access to the delta, fearful that doing so might loosen their grip on power.

    “We have already finished our first phase of emergency relief. We are going onto the second phase, the rebuilding stage,” state television quoted Prime Minister Thein Sein as telling his Thai counterpart this week.

    (Additional reporting by Ed Cropley and Darren Schuettler in Bangkok, Susan Cornwell in Washington and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; writing by Ed Cropley and John O’Callaghan; editing by Chris Wilson and Mohammad Zargham)

    (For more stories on Myanmar cyclone follow the link to Reuters AlertNet http:/ )

    Suu Kyi ‘in darkness’ after Myanmar cyclone

    May 8, 2008

    BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is living in virtual darkness after the devastating cyclone that struck the country blew the roof off her house, a neighbor said Thursday.

    It was not clear if Suu Kyi was injured or whether she had enough food and water.

    The neighbor said the electricity connection to Suu Kyi’s dilapidated lakeside bungalow was snapped in Saturday’s cyclone. He said he sees candles being lit at night in the house.

    “She has no generator in her house. I felt pity for her. It seems no one cares for her,” said the neighbor, who was contacted by telephone from Bangkok. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

    Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has lived under house arrest for about 12 of the last 18 years for leading an internationally hailed movement for democracy in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military with an iron fist since 1962.

    The neighbor said a tree in the compound of her house was uprooted, while part of the roof was ripped off.

    Soldiers posted around house have not yet cleared the trees that were toppled in the area during the cyclone.

    “This area is of less priority, so they seemed to have ignored us for the time being,” he said.

    A march to help disaster victims


    The Star Online

    Sunday May 18, 2008   

    KUALA LUMPUR: Come and show you care for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the earthquake in China tomorrow by joining in a fundraising march at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

    Organised by Pavilion KL, participants of the event will be bound at the wrist with a ribbon to symbolise “the power of unity” in rallying together for the cause.

    The event kick-starts the shopping centre’s weeklong “Let’s Band Together” fundraising campaign

    The march will be flagged off at 3pm from the Bukit Bintang entrance of Pavilion KL and will be held along the streets of the city before returning to the Bintang Circle area.

    Pavilion KL and associates have so far raised RM200,000 in aid of the victims.

    UN to press Burma on aid access


    British Broadcasting Corporation

     18 May 2008      

    A UN humanitarian envoy is due in Burma to try to persuade the ruling junta to grant more access to UN workers to help with the cyclone relief efforts.

    17 May 2008

    John Holmes will carry a letter from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Burma’s leader, Than Shwe, who has refused to answer Mr Ban’s calls.

    Burma says some 78,000 people have died and 56,000 are missing since Cyclone Nargis hit the country on 2 May.


                                                           photo:    Aid agencies are warning supplies
                                                                      are not getting to the areas worst hit

    Burma has so far been refusing most offers of international aid. However, a team of 50 Indian medical personnel has been given permission to fly into Burma, equipped with medical supplies.

    Meanwhile, a UK-based charity says young children may already be dying of starvation.

    Save the Children estimates that 30,000 children under the age of five in the worst-hit Irrawaddy Delta were already “acutely malnourished” before the cyclone struck.

    It says that thousands of children will die within several weeks unless food reaches them soon.

    ‘Show’ visit

    On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned Burma’s government for not allowing international aid to reach the cyclone victims.

    Mr Brown told the BBC that a natural disaster had been turned into a “man-made catastrophe” because of the negligence of the ruling generals. He said their actions since the cyclone amounted to inhuman treatment.

    France has said Burma is on the verge of committing a crime against humanity.

    Burma has refused to allow in French and US aid ships which are waiting off the coast.

    On Saturday, Burma took foreign diplomats on a helicopter tour of the Irrawaddy Delta.

    But Shari Villarosa, the top US diplomat in Burma, dismissed the visit as a “show”.

    However, Bernard Delpuech, head of the European Commission Humanitarian Office in Rangoon, said the trip had at least shown “the magnitude of the devastation”.

    Asian role

    Meanwhile, UK Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown told the BBC that the international community was trying to organise a team of Asian and UN aid workers in the hope this will be more acceptable to Burma’s rulers.

    He said the idea of a mixed relief team was a “last best effort to try and meet the anxieties and paranoia… of the regime”.

    Lord Malloch-Brown travelled to Burma on Saturday and met aid workers and UN officials, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

    The Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) is due to meet on Monday, with plans for an aid donors’ conference likely to be discussed.