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NATO is ‘brain death’? The sooner the better!
Foto: L. De Brabander

NATO is ‘brain death’? The sooner the better!

Speech at the peace movement's NATO counter-summit, 'The New World (dis)order', London 30 november.

Every year, Oxfam publishes a report on the increasing global inequality of income. In 2018 the fortune of only 26 billionaires grew by 12% -900 billion dollars or 2.5 billion dollars a day. They own as much as 3.8 billion people, the poorest half of the world population. That’s shocking. Their wealth decreased by 11%. In other words, the fortune of the one is at the expense of the standard of living of the other.

Growing social resistance

A year ago a movement started in France to resist the imposition of more fuel taxes and the rising cost of living. These "yellow vests”" are an expression of growing dissatisfaction directed against the European political and economic elite in power. Elsewhere in the world, dissatisfaction over a decreasing purchasing power grew into a large-scale protest movements. People find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and do not longer accept a corrupt and authoritarian olichargy serving each others intrests. They fight social injustice and economic exploitation. We could see that before in the Arab world. Today the protest is worldwide from Ecuador, Chile, Haiti, Colombia, Bolivia, Iraq, Iran and many other countries.

The olichargy responds with brutal state violence. Governments pursuing a social policy have to be driven out of power, often with support of the US and their European allies. Goverments have to be replaced by regimes that embrace wild capitalism, ensure that multinationals have unbridled access to natural resources and make working conditions as cheap as possible.

That is, in essence, the main reason of existence of NATO and related militarized organizations. It must garantee dominant geostrategic positions, ensure so-called ‘energy security’ and repel competitors such as Russia and China as much as possible. In stead of serving security, NATO is an economic playfield for the intrests of military corporations with huge prospects of profit making at the expense of social and environmental budgets. NATO is no more than a military arm on an economic bloc.

Nothing to celebrate

This year, NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary. But for the people there is little reason to celebrate. Just a few reasons out of many, why NATO is against common public intrests.

First, successive enlargements of NATO and the military build up of troops at NATO's eastern borders have created unnecessary political tensions with Russia.

Secondly, NATO has transformed itself into a powerful military intervention organization, marking its 50th anniversary in 1999 with a devastating war on Serbia, which was the alliance's first major so called "out-of-area" military intervention. Ever since, NATO wars in Afghanistan and Libya have immersed these countries in years of chaos and violence.

Thirdly, NATO member states also refuse to accede to the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and is on an unprecedented scale planning and working on the expansion of nuclear arsenals as well as on a missile shield.

Fourth, NATO member states are responsible for two thirds of the global arms trade that contributes to wars and destabilization, around the world.

And then there is Donald Trump, who is constantly pushing his allies to make more military efforts and subjugates other nations to his aggressive 'America first' policy.

He tore up the nuclear deal with Iran, terminated the INF treaty on medium and short-range missiles, enabled the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria, and intensified tensions with Russia and China. His contempt for international law is central to his approach.

Nevertheless, during his presentation of the NATO annual report in mid-March, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg claims that "NATO remains a pillar of stability for future generations".

Champaign for the Military Industrial Complex

Today, the Military Industrial Complex is drinking champaign. According to the last annual report, military spending by European members and Canada has increased by almost 4% in the past year. Since 2016, they have spent $ 41 billion more together. According to Stoltenberg, that will go up to 100 billion dollars by the end of next year. With $ 919 billion, NATO now accounts for more than half or global military spending.

But there are signs of hope. There is not only global social resistance. Internal contradictions are endangering NATO cohesion. One could say that NATO is even in crisis. It is unseen that a president of an important NATO country says that NATO is brain dead. I wish it was. But still. Macron spoke openly but he is surely not the only one who complains about the lack of coordination on strategic decision-making between the United States and its Nato allies. Or who is upset by the uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey and I quote: “in an area where our interests are at stake.”

NATO is equal to war, profitmaking, armament and human suffering. May be, the peace movement is currently not strong enough to counter NATO. But once we succeed in showing NATO’s real face, most people will see that’s not in their intrest to have a continuation of a new arms race and a policy of violence. What is needed is diplomacy and confidence-building measures, not an expensive and dangerous nuclear war machine. There is a need to tackle economic, social and environmental root causes of violent conflicts. In short, what people need is human security and governments that defend the needs of people not those of corporations.

The peace movement must give its support to the social resistance. We must more than ever join forces with the climate movement, trade unions, artists,…Together we are better able to defend public interests and the dignity of people in aspiration for a decent life on a livable planet were human rights are respeced. Together, we can counter dangerous militarism and it's propaganda machine.

Our message should be clear: war and militarization are not the answers, but the problems.

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