By Ben Chacko
LONDON: The peace movement must break the new ‘taboo’ around criticism of NATO, activists heard at the launch of the Stop the War Nato coalition’s updated brochure: A War Alliance on Tuesday evening in London.
“NATO is at the heart of much of what is happening in the world today,” stressed Andrew Murray of the coalition, “but we are in a situation where, in conventional and parliamentary politics, it was removed as a topic.
“Questioning NATO and its role is forbidden not only in the Conservative Party, which has more or less always been the case, but now in the Labor Party under Keir Starmer. Where Labor MPs could have spoken at a meeting like this in the past, they can no longer criticize NATO for fear of losing the whip.
A stop-war statement issued as Russia invaded Ukraine in February, condemning the invasion but also the NATO expansion on Russia’s borders that had helped provoke it, was originally signed by 11 Labor MPs but all withdrew their signatures after being threatened with losing the whip. “So by publishing this, Stop the War is putting a spotlight on what NATO is all about. Murray shredded claims that NATO is a defensive alliance.
“The illegal war against Yugoslavia in 1999, the occupation of Afghanistan for 20 years – and we have just seen the revelations about SAS soldiers who allegedly murdered people in Afghanistan in cold blood – were military operations. NATO.
“The war on Libya in 2011 was also fought under the auspices of NATO – it destroyed Libya, leading to immense suffering and a refugee crisis that we live with today.” Stop the War remained clear that the Russian invasion of Ukraine cannot be justified and that it should immediately withdraw its troops, he continued, but that does not mean it cannot be explained.
“In the litany of Russian grievances, the fear of NATO enlargement is not irrational. If you look at the record, the promises that were made to the Soviet government at the end of the Cold War were broken, NATO pushed relentlessly towards Eastern Europe.
The idea that NATO was an alliance of democracies was also a myth, he argued, with Portugal’s Salazar dictatorship being a founding member and currently including the authoritarian Polish and Hungarian governments as well as Erdogan’s Turkey. , “hardly a democracy at all now”. .”
Even its status as a “North Atlantic” organization seemed dubious given its role in the Afghan war in Central Asia and the expanding US, British and French military presence in the China Seas. “What NATO is is an instrument, ultimately, of American power. It is designed to anchor that power globally at a time when, by many other parameters, the United States is losing ground , economically and diplomatically.
“Britain has been there from the start and we are trying to forcefully support a unipolar world where only the voice of the United States really matters.” The dangers of going in this direction are obvious, we are witnessing the normalization of the idea of nuclear war, which is now being talked about casually as a way to escalate the war in Ukraine. “And we will definitely pay for it. Candidates for the next Prime Minister are talking about spending ranging from 2-3% of GDP – a £35-40billion increase in military spending, all of which will no doubt come from much more useful areas of state.
In recent months, NATO and the main economic and technological rival of the United States, China, have abandoned their official neutrality towards each other. China has explicitly condemned NATO expansion as a factor in triggering the war in Ukraine and declared its opposition to Swedish and Finnish membership.
At its recent Madrid summit, NATO identified China as a ‘strategic challenge’ – Britain and the US reportedly backed the even more divisive ‘threat’ status, but apparently did not. been able to convince mainland European members that it was wise – while China issued a diplomatic advisory last week, accusing NATO of “creating conflict…arbitrarily starting wars and killing civilians,” adding for good measure that when Western powers talked about the “rules-based international order” they were talking about their own right to dictate to others but themselves ignored international law whenever they wanted it.
China expert Jenny Clegg told the meeting that the Madrid summit saw a “major escalation against China” and that while the war in Ukraine raged, NATO was not just “elevating militarization of Europe to an entirely new level” but “without any idea of the end game, turning the sights of its blunderbuss on China.
The day after the summit, she noted, the United States held the largest-ever military exercises in the Pacific off Hawaii, with Britain participating. NATO members represented almost half of the 26 countries involved. “What does an Atlantic alliance, designed as we are told for the defense of Europe, do in the Pacific? she challenged.
“China is America’s priority and Joe Biden’s supporters have realized that the United States is not strong enough now to take on China alone, it needs its allies. The opportunity of the Russian invasion to bring together American allies around the world was too good to be true.
Clegg said we are rapidly descending into a new Cold War with “those 300,000 forces on high alert across Europe are not just to keep Russia out, they are separating Europe from Asia , lest, as [US strategist Zbigniew] Brzezinski warned that the two parts of Eurasia would become the center of world power.
“Why? Because the United States is in decline, and now China is rising. China is expected to overtake the United States in economic size by 2030, but not only India and Brazil are also on the rise, in coordination with Russia and South Africa. The BRICS could well eclipse the G7 [in economic clout] by the end of the decade. “So the United States is fighting for dominance by using the war in Ukraine to leverage its restoration as number one.”
The situation was extremely volatile, she argued, as there were many conflict hotspots in Asia, from the Sino-Indian border dispute to the island disputes between Japan, Russia and China and the status of Taiwan. All were manageable through dialogue and negotiation, but all had the potential to ignite conflict in an atmosphere of tight-rope military politics and mutual distrust. (IPA)
Courtesy of the Morning Star