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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  • Uzbek in the UK

    Mr Murray,

    As former diplomat and educated historian you know probably better than me that policy and foreign policy in particular is based on set of priorities which is in its order based on set of long term and short term interests. It is unfortunate that Uzbekistan is if I may say on the ‘wrong’ side of priorities as it is just serving to one of the main Western priority in that region is to serve NATOs interests in Afghanistan which in order is based in long term interests to maintain Western military presence in geopolitically very important region.
    As well as yours my desire is to see Uzbeks free from Karimov’s tyranny but this is not what NATO, Russia, China or any other players want. In their hands Karimov is just an instrument of diplomatic trade and his long term tenure in office is partially possible due to his ability to manipulate with contradictory interests of major powers who are interested in their military stance in the region. I am afraid that after Karimov is taken by God (or nature) Karimov number 2 will quietly replace him and the same policy will continue to happen. Until one of the major powers will finally win the battle and will take patronage over Uzbekistan. This is a reality of the nation that is based in Central Asia as it has always been.

  • mary

    Israel in NATO Ingo. Aren’t they really there already Ingo?
    This letter in the Independent on Tuesday about the Prom concert by the IPO
    Perspectives on the Middle East conflict
    Proms exploited for arts propaganda campaign

    As musicians we are dismayed that the BBC has invited the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to play at the Proms on 1 September. The IPO has a deep involvement with the Israeli state – not least its self-proclaimed “partnership” with the Israeli Defence Forces. This is the same state and army that impedes in every way it can the development of Palestinian culture, including the prevention of Palestinian musicians from travelling abroad to perform.
    Our main concern is that Israel deliberately uses the arts as propaganda to promote a misleading image of Israel. Through this campaign, officially called “Brand Israel”, denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen. The IPO is perhaps Israel’s prime asset in this campaign.
    The Director of the Proms, Roger Wright, was asked to cancel the concert in accordance with the call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (PACBI). He rejected this call, saying that the invitation is “purely musical”.
    Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians fits the UN definition of apartheid. We call on the BBC to cancel this concert.
    Derek Ball (composer)

    Frances Bernstein (community choir leader)

    Steve Bingham (violinist)

    John Claydon (saxophonist)

    Malcolm Crowthers (music photographer)

    Raymond Deane (composer)

    Tom Eisner (violinist LPO)

    Nancy Elan (violinist LPO)

    Deborah Fink (soprano)

    Catherine Ford (violinist, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment)

    Reem Kelani (Palestinian singer, musician and broadcaster)

    Les Levidow (violinist)

    Susie Meszaros (violinist, Chilingirian Quartet)

    Roy Mowatt (violinist, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment)

    Ian Pace (pianist)

    Leon Rosselson (singer-songwriter)

    Dominic Saunders (pianist)

    Chris Somes-Charlton (artist manager)

    Leni Solinger (violinist)

    Sarah Streatfeild (violinist LPO)

    Sue Sutherley (cellist, LPO)

    Tom Suarez (violinist, New York)

    Kareem Taylor (Oud Player/Guitarist and Composer)

    Miriam Walton (pianist, organist and French horn player)
    The same newspaper carried this very Israel friendly interview with Zubin Mehta. Note the phrases ‘tiny country’ and ‘little war’.
    During the 1967 Six Day War, Mehta was flown in on an El Al plane loaded with cargo – after the scheduled conductor fled out of fear. Six nations were surrounding the tiny country of Israel at the time, but the only crisis that Mehta was concerned about was that the concert might be aborted. “Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline du Pre were flying in to perform at the same concert – they had no idea what was going on. When the little war was over we were very happy, all together, to do the victory concert in Jerusalem.
    Sick making.

  • ingo

    Whats sick is that musicians allow themselves to be used for political goals, whether its the IPO or Bono.

    Israel is prickling up on many fronts, they are arming settlers with more than just guns and only a few days ago we raised the possibility of Turkey breaking ties with Israel and maybe leaving NATO, we seem to be writing this scenario.

    Israeli ambassador sent home for repeatedly refusing to apologise for killing eight Turkish peace activists. I also would take this decision to the courts, because the UN’s arms were twisted.

    What does it mean Craig, when they reiterate that ‘relations have been downgraded to second secretray level’?


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