Why We Must Leave NATO 155

The Guardian had a major feature last week on the 20th anniversary of the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. Contrary to the intention of the coup leaders, it was the catalyst for the end of the Soviet Union and, in a sense, the ultimate victory of NATO.

As NATO bombing this week achieves the loss of power of Gadaffi in Tripoli, a look back at that 1991 Soviet coup highlights the stunning hypocrisy of NATO and the danger to world peace which it has become.

One of the leaders of the coup against Gorbachev was a dedicated Stalinist Politburo member named Islam Karimov, who was President of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. After the failure of the coup, he embraced the idea of Uzbek independence in order both to escape retribution for his part in the coup and to maintain Stalinism in his little part of the Soviet Empire.

(A digression, but one of Karimov’s first acts in independent Uzbekistan was to order the Uzbek Supreme Court to pardon Alisher Usmanov, a notorious gangster jailed by the Soviet Union. He is now the third richest man in Britain).

Karimov has to this day maintained the Soviet institutions in Uzbekistan and even increased the levels of repression, with absolutely no civil or political liberty, and commercial freedoms restricted to his immediate family and friends.

So Karimov, the world’s most notorious torturer, must be NATO’s number 1 remaining enemy, right?

No, actually. He is NATO’s best friend.

Karimov is the major conduit for land supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, is host to Germany’s forward airbase, is a most valued member of NATO’s “Partnership for Peace”, is a recipient of NATO military training and equipment.

Because NATO does not care in the least about dictators. It likes them if they forward NATO’s interest in Central Asian or Middle Eastern oil and gas, and if they host NATO military logistics. Karimov can murder hundreds, keep 10,000 political prisoners in desert gulags. Bahrain can become a torture camp. NATO really does not care. Every time you hear a NATO spokesman telling lies about their mission to protect civilians, remember the tortured of Uzbekistan.

I used to be neutral about whether or not an independent Scotland should remain in NATO. I now view leaving NATO as the number one foregin policy priority.

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155 thoughts on “Why We Must Leave NATO

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  • Scouse Billy

    Correction – I should have said the “opening” ceremony in Beijing.
    Anyhow, just google/search: beijing firework display cgi

  • Suhayl Saadi

    So, in one, somewhat depressing, analysis, the question might be: Which specific set of gangsters will rule us/you/them? The local hood, or the empire?
    That’s not the whole truth, though. The world is complex, untidy, difficult wholly to control – and in relation to this matter, that is a good thing.

  • Donny Darko

    I agree with you Craig. I used to think in my naivety that NATO was the last line of defence and without it we would all go down. I’ve watched NATO perform now through the years as a belligerent tool of the US and a method of going to war without actually declaring it. Humanitarian mission,my sweet bippy it is…
    They don’t even count the civilians they kill because its an embarrassment !! The propaganda that their spokesmen spout would make wee Goebbels jump for joy and rub his hands… Success at last. We have a NAZI Europe !! And lucky us didn’t even have to vote for it.

  • danj

    yeah I enjoyed that one too. This one is good, in an article from Gadaffi’s friend Chavez from your refernce..

    ‘Libyan citizens enjoyed perks which are the dream of those in the west: free unlimited health and dental care, free unlimited funding for education anywhere in the world, rent-free house, $60,000 to couples upon getting married. This was carried out in line with the “Third Universal Theory” as explained in The Green Book which Colonel Muammar Qaddafi authored after leaving government in 1979.’

    I love that, ‘after leaving govt. in 1979.’ Sorry you will have to do better than that with your ‘alternative’ sources of information. This is just the mirror image of what you say you hate. And as for Pravda, that is a joke. It is insane to bleat about propaganda and then cite what for years and years has been a by-word for propaganda of the worst sort. Oh, I still don’t think you little Hitler photo is cute.

  • OldMark

    Donny- I don’t know how old you are but support for UK membership of NATO until around 1990 was a perfectly reasonable stance, given the alternatives.

    The collapse of the USSR & Warsaw Pact changed the game massively. Thereafter NATO essentially became another meal ticket for those at the top of the political/ military hierarchy, and a meal ticket for the MIC to ‘open new markets’ in Eastern Europe, as the countries there queued up to join, and thus had to re-equip their forces onto NATO compatible kit.

  • mary

    Sarko is quicker off the mark than the others. I also read that the UK is joint funding £2.8 billion. The mugs as usual picking up the bill.
    Libya crisis: Doha meeting seeks to raise $2.5bn aid Libya’s oil exports have been badly hit by the fighting Continue reading the main story
    A donors’ meeting is being held in Doha, capital of Qatar, to raise funds for Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).
    The target is to raise $2.5bn (£1.5bn) to pay the salaries of government workers as well as funding treatment for people injured in the fighting.
    Countries represented are expected to include the US, the UK, Turkey, France, Italy and Qatar.
    The meeting is due to start at about 1900 local time (1700 BST).

    BBC live blog
    1756: Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the executive committee of Libya’s National Transitional Council is in Paris with Mr Sarkozy. The biggest battle, he says, is for reconstruction, while the battle on the ground continues.
    1752: A conference to discuss the future of Libya will be held on 1 September, says Mr Sarkozy. “We will invite all our allies and will go beyond that to show that the period of the Contact Group and the military coalition is coming to an end and we are embarking on a period of free Libya.”
    1751: Mr Sarkozy says the time has come to look to the future in Libya. “We are coming out of the period of military co-operation and into civilian co-operation, to establish the Libya of tomorrow which has many needs, especially reconstruction.”
    1749: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is speaking in Paris about Libya. He says France will continue its Nato involvement “as long as our Libyan friends need us”.

  • Vronsky

    “The world is complex, untidy, difficult wholly to control – and in relation to this matter, that is a good thing.”
    An emerging theory seems to be that anything complex will disappear quickly – social complexity of any sort is unsustainable. I’ve seen plenty of argument in this direction in books and around the web. I recollect you mentioning (perhaps a related heresy) that the idea of ecological stability was a fallacy. Here’s a system dynamics attempt to explain the fall of the Roman Empire – perhaps it’s informative even if you don’t believe it.

  • mark_golding

    Strategically the role of NATO has morphed into an instrument that can be used implement the hegemony of the West in the covert intention of regime change and using preemptive strikes.
    Russia of course is a key player in this game. The plan now is to appease Russia by temporary halting the zero-sum game of posing our principal goals in opposition to Russia’s and seek more creative ways to partner with Moscow. In that way UNSC resolutions without veto will allow NATO to strike Syria and then Iran. That means of course a partnership on missile defence will be sought by America and its allies with Russia while continuing to create unrest in Syria and terrorist attacks within Iran’s borders so that tighter security controls within Iran irritate the population and stir discord and agitation amongst the Iranian population.
    Russia is key and the proposed Russian responsibility for missile defence systems in Ukraine will allow it to bolster its relative influence in part of the post-Soviet space while Western states won’t have to fully sacrifice their interests in the same region as they will continue to hold sway in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia. In essence, this strategy will allow for Western states to advance their missile defense interests while working with Russia on issues relevant to the Kremlin.
    In addition by increasing Russia’s clout in the post-Soviet space with the consent of Western states might be an effective way of containing China militarily. China’s strategic military options can very well be limited if it has to deal with a more powerful Russia to its north that is more inclined to cooperate with the West on issues of international security following the NATO-Russia cooperation outlined above.
    Iran is fully aware of this plan and hopefully the Bushehr cooperation with Russia and serious energy deals. Iran must work with Moscow to promote itself as a force for checking the influence of both Turkey and the United States in the Middle East and in the Black Sea/Caspian region while acting as a counterbalance to Sunni extremists in Central Asia and the North Caucasus that threaten to further destabilize former Soviet republics.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Donny, we do not have a Nazi Europe. If we had a Nazi Europe, then millions of us would be dying in death camps. I realise you were referring to the propaganda tactics and general mendacity of the MSM and that you were using the emotive word, ‘Nazi’ in rhetorical fashion. But just to point it out. The tactics of control nowadays in liberal capitalist countries are far more subtle than those of mid-C20th totalitarian regimes and it is partly for this reason that liberal capitalist entities have survived far longer than most totalitarian regimes (whether of Left or Right).
    Look, everyone, Qaddafi was a totalitarian despot who for decades tortured and murdered people with impunity; this is not propaganda, this is simple fact. His regime, esp. early on, did do some important beneficial things – healthcare, education, public services, all crucial to a functioning modern state. But such regimes, regardless of the good they may have done in some managerial aspects of life, are centred around one man, one family, the Cult of Personality, and are unsustainable in the long term – whether or not they are supported by a major power (think of “our bastard”, Nicaragua’s Somoza, for example). Now, it’s clear that NATO are in it for the oil and the dosh and for military geostrategic reasons. That is how imperial military alliances function, one should be udner no illusions. But there should be no need for us to try to paint Qaddafi (or Assad, or King Abdullah, or the Sultan of Bahrain) in a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ light (and they are all ‘bad’, I would argue) just because NATO’s motives are pecuniary and imperialist. Qaddafi’s regime had already bought into the regime of transnational capital. The struggle for the Libyan people henceforth will be to ensure that the resources of their country are not plundered, that no US/NATO military bases are allowed inside their country and that they remain independent. One fears that this will be a difficult struggle.

  • banquo21

    The only place the “aid money” is coming from is the “frozen” assets belonging to the Libyan people.

    The “aid” will be going to the Libyan Contact Group, whose membership is yet to be disclosed, for all the “humanitarian aid” dispensed from the aircraft, submarines, naval warships and Qatar’s mercenaries.

    The “government employees are, and have been for some years, based in Italy under a US established/paid proxy government.

    The US has already asked the UN committee responsible for controlling the Libyan “frozen” assets held in US banks for $2.5 billion which I believe has been refused.

    Now that we have a “legitimate” Libyan Government beholden to the Libyan Contact group for their survival they of course will hand out the monies as they desire.

    Who is liable for scrutiny, what are the repercussions if the money is not spent on the Libyan people but pays for the “aid” already “delivered” from the NATO etc forces?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Ruth, since, as you said on an earlier thread, you have Libyan family, might you share with us any pertinent information from the ground (as it were) – bypassing all the news outlets, etc.?
    How do people in Libya, in your perception, feel about these last six months? Do you/ they have any concerns for the future? What is their view of NATO’s actions, of the Transitional Council and so on? I’m sure many of us would very much like to hear this sort of almost first-hand account.

    Many of us have grave concerns about NATO’s actions in general, globally, and also have concerns when various warmongers in the USA and UK, France, etc. are singing (as though from the same hymn-sheet) the praises of the Transitional Council, the uprising, etc. People know that Qaddafi was a murderous shit and that his family rule was a typical form of cronyism. What they are concerned about, I think, is that the imperialists simply want to recolonise and/or neocolonise Libya and there is the concern that the blood of the Libyan people may have been shed simply to facilitate this process of neoliberal capitalism ‘by other means’, rather than to liberate the people from an oppressor. The concern, one senses, is that the imperium has hijacked some of the Arab revolts, and cooperated with the suppression of others, all predictably to their own ends; as we know, Arab blood, to the bastards who run imperium, is dirt-cheap.
    Please do feel free to share your views with us. Hope all is okay. Thanks.

  • Chris2

    “But there should be no need for us to try to paint Qaddafi (or Assad, or King Abdullah, or the Sultan of Bahrain) in a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ light (and they are all ‘bad’, I would argue) just because NATO’s motives are pecuniary and imperialist.”

    There is no need. And not much point either.
    The real question is whether Qaddafi was attempting to overturn the governments of other countries. Or, rather, whether he had the capacity to do so. Clearly he did not. So he was not a threat to international peace. Nor is Assad.

    NATO, on the other hand, is either directly or through the offices of its leading members, involved now ,or has been recently, in attempts to overturn governments in Asia, Africa, America and Europe. It has attacked several countries, killed millions of people and underwrites terrorist campaigns in several countries as well as assisting governments, such as Colombia’s, Honduras’s and Haiti’s, in terror campaigns against political opponents (generally unarmed).

    NATO in other words is not a beast worthy of our support or taxes, both of which it, in effect, enjoys.

    Qaddafi, in sharp contradistinction, never has had our support and certainly not our material support.

    The point is that there is no justification for our supporting NATO’s actions which were illegal, as well as being dishonest and immoral. As to their motivation: clearly the Organisation is aimed at world domination, which is to say the substitution of a single dictatorship over the whole world.

    Qaddafi’s sins, which are best considered in the Libyan context, are, by comparison unimportant. And to citizens of the NATO countries they are not simply unimportant but beyond our capacity to review: the great bulk of information that we receive from or about Libya is filtered through media which grinds axes for pay.

    Given that most people have no direct experience of and no reasonably reliable way of discovering the situation in Libya or Syria, for that matter, their judgments and the judgments of their governments are unlikely to be wise. And very likely to be guided by amoral considerations: Sarkozy’s electoral calculations, the cardinal principle of modern British Foreign Policy which is to do what Washington wants, and other similarly sordid reasoning.

    All things for which in Lloyd George’s phrase, “You wouldn’t hang a dog” in good conscience. And yet NATO, in our name has killed hundreds in Libya, probably thousands and the bloodshed, I suspect, is only beginning, and will not get under properly weigh again until the cameras have departed and the notebooks have been snapped shut and the world is as complacent against the new tyranny as it was about the old, when Sheikh al Libi was being cut to pieces on orders from…NATO’s leading member.

    For months it has been very clear that a peaceful alternative, not only to the killing but to the use of violence to solve political problems, was very likely to have proved successful in getting any changes anyone in Libya desired. NATO’s role has been to make sure that no such peaceful process was embarked upon.

    It not only makes war for fun, but, sadistically, insists on preferring war to civilised compromise. It is a force in the world for barbarism, an evil much greater and more dangerous, because less challenged and less controllable, than any that there has previously been. And it is ours. It acts in our name and with our pretended “interests” on its lips.

    Britain should have left it in the 1950s when it became clear to all disinterested observers that the USSR had not the tiniest intention of using military force against any of the NATO members. And that, to the contrary, NATO existed to threaten the USSR and to enforce a crippling arms race upon the people’s of eastern Europe and the USSR.

  • colin buchanan

    Leaving NATO isn’t good enough- we have to stop them. If there was any real will to live, any real belief in the possibility of a future for human civilization we’d be out in the streets because we would know that ultimately the bell tolls for us. Of course, the left and the intelligentsia in general, have shown once again their treacherous little souls, finding a slave’s consolation in the overthrow of someone who was bugging their masters. What can I say but that it’s your future as well as mine which is going up in smoke as we stand ourselves down in the face of monstrous criminality. Stand and fight now or forever hold your peace!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Now, for example, wrt an earlier discussion about Al Jazeera, these two articles on their site are stunning in their avoidance of even questioning whether, in the long-run, the role of NATO in north Africa will prove a barrier to, rather than a facilitator of, freedom. There is no questioning of why, all of a sudden, Westren powers who, for 150+ years, have oppressed the peoples of the Middle East, in the cases of only Syria and Libya now, have backed the uprisings – actively, militarily, both covertly and overtly in the case of Libya. The humanitarian threat to Benghazi from Qaddafi’s forces, back in the Spring, was very real (we see what the Assad regime currently is doing in Syria and what the Bahrain regime and Saudi Arabia did in Bahrain), but everyone knows, surely, that this was not the real reason for NATO intervention in Libya. Why are these two respected, intelligent and informed Arab journalists not asking these and other, very obvious and necessary questions right now wrt Libya?
    I mean, here, in the second piece, above, Bishara is going on about “smug smiles” and so on – this is not political analysis. Why is he avoiding the obvious subjects of resources, colonialism, neocolonialism, etc.?

  • Scouse Billy

    Chris2 (and all),
    Ellen Brown wrote a very well informed piece on the reasons behind the Libyan “adventure” back in April:
    Libya: All About Oil, or All About Central Banking?
    “Another provocative bit of data circulating on the Net is a 2007 “Democracy Now” interview of U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.). In it he says that about 10 days after September 11, 2001, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. Clark was surprised and asked why. “I don’t know!” was the response. “I guess they don’t know what else to do!” Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.”
    “What do these seven countries have in common? In the context of banking, one that sticks out is that none of them is listed among the 56 member banks of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That evidently puts them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland.”

  • Scouse Billy

    Suhayl, here’s Al-Jazeera using a film set that looks almost but not quite like Tripoli – note from my earlier link that the real main arch has detailing above it. Also as comments note at 1’30” the street through the leftmost arch is faked:

  • Donny Darko

    Nazi-ism is when Govt and Business become one !!! I think that the conflict in Libya says it all. Death camps ?… who needs them when you are killing people from the air ? Have you seen NATO’s symbol in Brussels ? Democracy is missing as is humanitarian help. I actually felt sorry for these so called rebels on tv coverage. They don’t know how to attach magazines to their machine guns.They are seriously terrified and seriously getting wounded and its looting I see on TV, not real fighting.Now they are saying they must send NATO troops in to secure the WMD that Ghadafi has, so Al Quaeda dont get them !! The rebels are rabble… and I’ve got a feeling the toerags might just win the day.

  • Ruth

    Libyans now feel they have a future. Without Gaddafi’s oppression there’s a sense of absolute relief. In Benghazi people have a sense of purpose working together to keep the city functioning. They’re very grateful indeed to France, UK and the US. Over many years they’ve asked for help to remove Gaddafi but instead Western countries just sold him more and more weapons making a successful rebellion alone impossible. People are very aware of what they want and if they don’t get it they’ll fight for it again. Commentators have mentioned the US setting up a base. If the US does that then they’ll run the risk of producing a new Gaddafi. The Libyan people won’t tolerate foreigners on their soil.

    Under Gaddafi the UK had huge interests and were I believe encouraging the Gaddafi regime to bring in reforms to stabilise the country to protect their investments. Saif Gaddafi had brought in some changes such as the freeing of some political prisoners and was about to bring in more to stem corruption but the Old Guard wanted to maintain the status quo. In November last year Nouri Masmari, head of protocol,left Libya for France and I believe with the help of French intelligence and Sarkozy set in motion plans for the rebellion with the help of anti-Gaddafi organisations in the US. The east of Libya was at boiling point and ripe for revolution. I think the British thought the protests in Benghazi would be put down quickly but when they weren’t and Saif threatened to crush Benghazi they changed sides. Obviously France jumped at the opportunity to increase its investments to improve its ailing economy.

    The next stage will be extremely difficult but if the NTC can make the improvements it’s promised then there’s hope.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “Under Gaddafi the UK had huge interests and were I believe encouraging the Gaddafi regime to bring in reforms to stabilise the country to protect their investments.”

  • Jon

    Craig, as someone who watched the events unfold, in some considerable detail, in Uzbekistan during 1990-91, I beg to differ about the coup. There was no coup nor any initiation of the idea of independence on his part. There was a separate political party, which post 1991 announced itself as the opposition, which vouched for independence and therefore was very popular amongst the majority of politically active population in Uzbekistan. The current president, much like a proven politician, watched quietly, and secretly, i.e. this was unknown to many in Tashkent, sent letters of support to Moscow only days before Gorbachev left.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Donny, yes, I know what you mean. There is most certainly an argument that a sort of creeping Fascism – the unity of what Ayesha Siddiqa has termed, ‘Milbus’ (Military Business) – is encroaching on the world. When exactly does ‘authoritarian capitalism’ turn into ‘fascism’? Think, say, of Singapore (a great success story in many ways, yet the politics of the regime has been termed, ‘benevolent fascism’). I think possibly when the facades of ‘democracy’ and individual freedom are stripped away and social modes of control give way to overtly militaristic modes within the domestic sphere. It’s a very different beast, though, from the strutting, totalitarian Fascism of the mid-C20th. More difficult to recognise, more adaptable. This is, arguably, capitalism’s natural evolution, increasing monopolisation and concentration of wealth and the systemic and rapacious acquisition of ever more wealth through war and ‘war-by-other-means’.

    Looking at it from another point-of-view, the world – including also now the mass of the populace in the ‘1st World’ – is being subjected to a process of ongoing and expanding necolonialism. Yet of course, the imperialist powers have been imperialist for several hundred years. They were imperialist right through their own bourgeois revolutions – indeed, these revolutions often became the catalyst for the rise of the capitalist classes who needed to maximise profits by expanding into empires. So, in some ways, this is nothing new. We are witnessing Lord Palmerston, C21st-style.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Ruth, much appreciated. As I said earlier, I wish the Libyan people success, peace, prosperity, freedom, independence. I think it likely that if their new leaders do seem to be selling them down the river, the Libyan people will rise up again. In Egypt, since the beginning of the protests that brought the Mubarak regime down, there have been continuous protests and ongoing pressure on the new authorities – the military – to not sell out the Egyptian people. This process will take years, as these things always do. Let us see where it leads.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “If the US does that then they’ll run the risk of producing a new Gaddafi. The Libyan people won’t tolerate foreigners on their soil.” Ruth

    “The next stage will be extremely difficult but if the NTC can make the improvements it’s promised then there’s hope.” Ruth.
    Key phrases.

  • YugoStiglitz

    I have to say it hasn’t been a good week for you, Murray. First, your silly conspiracy theory about DSK (to which you attached conspiracy claims about your own treatment) fell apart through the withdrawal of charges against DSK. Second, NATO successfully contributed to the downfall of a dictator.

    I do hope that the week gets rounded off nicely through the capture by real prosecutors of that terrorist Megrahi.

    This must be humiliating!

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