Has NATO Met Its Match?

Despite claims by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to have defeated its own troops using Facebook (and, really, what plot to take over a high school hasn’t done that?), the biggest challenge NATO will face this year will probably not be nefarious Russian social media posts.

Nor will it be the dreaded Russian military, now sucking down 6 percent as many dollars each year as the war machines of the NATO nations.

Nor is NATO terribly threatened by a U.S. president who demands that its members spend more, that more nations join, that the North Atlantic nation of Colombia partner up, and that the war games and weapons deals and expansion eastward press ahead, but who once blurted out obvious stuff his handlers would never allow him to act on, such as that NATO serves no good purpose. (Which of his projects does serve any good purpose?)

NATO is extremely popular among militarists, warmongers, weapons dealers, Republicans, and Democrats, some of them proud of its various aggressive and catastrophic wars, some of them willfully ignorant of them or eager to excuse them. It’s that last group that presents a danger for NATO, a weak link. People think that NATO somehow makes wars legal or acceptable, which actually makes wars easier to start. People think NATO is defensive, so that distant aggressive wars are OK. People think putting nuclear weapons into more countries is safe and legal if they’re NATO countries. People think adding Russia’s neighbors to NATO makes them safer, but that adding Russia would endanger them. But will people resist learning the truth when NATO celebrates itself on a date that belongs to peace and Martin Luther King Jr?

This is where the unexpected and possibly significant challenge to NATO comes in. It’s a challenge from the Peace Movement, the demise of which has been seriously exaggerated. Check out this list of events:

Thursday, March 7, Free webinar: No to NATO — Yes to Peace

In Washington, D.C.:

Saturday, March 16 Hands Off Venezuela

Saturday, March 30 Rally at Lafayette Park

Sunday, March 31 Concert for Peace and to End War

Sunday, March 31 Anti-NATO Conference

Tuesday, April 2 No to NATO — Yes to Peace and Disarmament Counter-Summit

Wednesday, April 3 No to NATO — Yes to Peace FESTIVAL

Thursday, April 4 No to NATO — Yes to Peace Rally

Thursday, April 4 Black Alliance for Peace program at Plymouth Congregational Church

All this because NATO plans to bring the foreign ministers of its vassal states to Washington, D.C., on and about April 4th to celebrate its 70th birthday . . . on a day that ought to belong to peace. April 4th is the date of MLK’s biggest speech against war, and of his assassination exactly one year later.

Events in solidarity are popping up in other places too:

March 30: Conference and Rally in Saskatchewan

April 4: No to NATO action, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

April 7: Conference in Florence, Italy

Monthly: NATO protests in Toronto

This burst of activity comes out of faith in activism and in education. If we did not believe that people who’ve been saturated with militarism can see their way out of it, none of this would be planned.

While claiming to “preserve peace,” NATO has violated international law and bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. NATO has exacerbated tensions with Russia and increased the risk of nuclear apocalypse. The notion that supporting NATO is a way to cooperate with the world ignores superior non-deadly ways to cooperate with the world.

War is a leading contributor to the growing global refugee and climate crises, the basis for the militarization of the police, a top cause of the erosion of civil liberties, and a catalyst for racism and bigotry. We’re calling for the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, and the demilitarization of our cultures. Instead of celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary, we’re celebrating peace on April 4th.

While Donald Trump once blurted out the obvious: that NATO is obsolete, he subsequently professed his commitment to NATO and began pressuring NATO members to buy more weapons. So, the notion that somehow NATO is anti-Trump and therefore good would not only be silly and practically amoral on its own terms, it is also at odds with the facts of Trump’s behavior. We are planning an anti-NATO / pro-peace action at which opposition to the militarism of NATO’s dominant member is welcome and necessary. Here are the Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO no matter what Trump does.

NATO has pushed the weaponry and the hostility and the massive so-called war games right up to the border of Russia. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. NATO has added a partnership with Colombia, abandoning all pretense of its purpose being in the North Atlantic. NATO is used to free the U.S. Congress from the responsibility and the right to oversee the atrocities of U.S. wars. NATO is used as cover by NATO member governments to join U.S. wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. NATO is used as cover to illegally and recklessly share nuclear weapons with supposedly non-nuclear nations. NATO is used to assign nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war, and therefore to be prepared for war. NATO’s militarism threatens the earth’s environment. NATO’s wars fuel racism and bigotry and erode our civil liberties while draining our wealth.

A whole lot of people support peace. Now we just need to take that extra little step to reach the point of recognizing that being for peace requires being against war. If we’re against war, we have to be against its biggest proponent. NATO nations and peoples would be better off without NATO, exactly as the rest of the world would be. Let’s begin a public and global conversation about how to leave NATO behind us.

2 Replies to “Has NATO Met Its Match?”

  1. https://spectator.us/how-nato-became-the-most-sacred-cow-in-the-barn/

    Sanders was on the right track in 2015.

    “Although Bernie is generally anti-war, he begrudgingly supported NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999. He voiced concerns, but did not vigorously oppose NATO’s 2011 military intervention in Libya.
    Bernie is against the expansion of NATO because it provokes unnecessary aggression from Russia. Moreover, he believes European nations should fund more of the costs of an alliance primarily intended to protect their continent.

    Q: What is Bernie’s opinion on NATO expansion?

    A: He’s against it, claiming it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and not geo-politically sound. In 1997, Bernie said: “After four decades of the cold war and trillions of taxpayer dollars allocated to compete in the arms race, it is not the time to continue wasting billions helping to defend Europe, let alone assuming any costs associated with expanding NATO eastward.” Bernie opposes eastward expansion because he’s not interested in revisiting the Cold War era when Russia and the US were constantly pitted against each other.”

    Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, “Issues” , Sep 5, 2015

    Then changed in 2016.

    “Russia’s aggressive actions in the Crimea and Ukraine have brought about a situation where President Obama and NATO–correctly, I believe–are saying we’re going to beef up our troop level in that part of the world to tell Putin that his aggressiveness is not going to go unmatched. We have to work with NATO to protect Eastern Europe against any kind of Russian aggression.”

    Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin , Feb 11, 2016

    Against Latin America intervention in 2016.

    “The US was wrong to try to invade Cuba; the US was wrong trying to support people to overthrow the Nicaraguan government; the US was wrong trying to overthrow, in 1954, the democratically elected government of Guatemala. Throughout the history of our relationship with Latin America we’ve operated under the so-called Monroe Doctrine, and that said the US had the right do anything that they wanted to do in Latin America. So I actually went to Nicaragua and I very shortly opposed the Reagan administration’s efforts to overthrow that government. And I strongly opposed Henry Kissinger and the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende in Chile. I think the US should be working with governments around the world, not get involved in regime change. And all of these actions in Latin America brought forth a lot of very strong anti-American sentiments.”

    Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

    Now?

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/roger-waters-slams-bernie-sanders-for-calling-for-aid-to-be-allowed-into-venezuela-1.6961873

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