NATO – An Idea Whose Time Has Gone 169


In the past dozen years, the armed forces of NATO countries, whether operating under the NATO banner or in related ad-hoc coalitions, have killed many hundreds of thousands of people. Of those hundreds of thousands of people, only a few hundred at most ever had any connection to any attack on a NATO country.

Whatever modern NATO has become, a defensive alliance it is not; that fact is beyond rational dispute.

It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has deteriorated. It has deteriorated politically, economically, militarily and socially. The notion that NATO member states could bomb the world into good was only ever believed by crazed and fanatical people like Tony Blair and Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society. It really should not have needed empirical investigation to prove it was wrong, but it has been tried, and has been proved wrong.

The NATO states as a group have also embarked on remarkably similar reductions in the civil liberties of their own populations during this period. NATO to me is symbolised by the fact that its Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as Danish Prime Minister blatantly lied to the Danish parliament about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. When Major Frank Grevil released material that proved Rasmussen was lying, it was Grevil who was jailed for three years. In the United States, no CIA operative has been prosecuted for their widespread campaign of torture, but John Kiriakou is in jail for revealing it.

NATO’s attempt to be global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels. Its plan to redeem itself by bombing the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a further sign of madness. Except of course that it will guarantee some blowback against Western targets, and that will “justify” further bombings, and yet more profit for the arms manufacturers. On that level, it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.

But what of Putin’s Russia, I hear you say? I am no fan of Putin – I think he is a nasty, dangerous little dictator. But little is the operative word.

Russia is not a great power. Its GDP is 10% of the GDP of the EU. Its economy is the same size as Italy’s. The capabilities of Russia’s armed forces are massively exaggerated by the security industry, including the security services, and by arms manufacturers. The entire area of Eastern Ukraine which Russia is disputing has a GDP smaller than the city of Dundee.

Russia is only any kind of “military threat” because of its nuclear arsenal. The way forward to peace is active international nuclear disarmament – and the existence of NATO is the greatest obstacle to that. The idea that almost the entire developed world needs to encircle and contain Russia with massive military threat, is as sensible as the idea that it needs to encircle the UK or France – both of which have substantially larger and more diversified economies than Russia and much larger and more technologically advanced arms industries.

NATO is by far the largest danger to world peace. It should be dissolved as a matter of urgency.


169 thoughts on “NATO – An Idea Whose Time Has Gone

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  • TonhF12

    This article should be compulsory reading for all students of history and politics.

    NATO has become a supper club with a very costly subscription for its members. Its sole function now is to stir up trouble, to appease Washington neocons, and to drum up business for weapons manufacturers.

  • markgb

    Off topic but keep fighting the good fight Craig and best of luck on the 18th. Here’s hoping that one day us English will also achieve independence from the forces of murder and war

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Agree.It was born to defend,it has turned into a schizophrenic killer.Pointing to the destruction it causes as a reason to exist is far from healthy.

  • JimmyGiro

    It should come as no surprise, that when you create an organisation to thwart a problem, the problem becomes that organisations reason of existence; therefore its mutual promoter.

    Examples:
    – Social Services that create the ‘abusive houshold’ narrative.

    – The Police Forces, that extort patronage by controlling the criminal narratives.

    – Various charities, that spend huge amounts of donated money towards propaganda, rather than towards solutions.

  • John Goss

    Nearly all of this post I agree with, especially “The way forward to peace is active international nuclear disarmament – and the existence of NATO is the greatest obstacle to that.”

    It has not had purpose since the Soviet Union was dismantled. Yet instead of its influence diminishing since then it has increased and it has moved into former Soviet-bloc countries to establish new bases there. This is, to say the least, provocative. But knowing that NATO needs dismantling is different from having a solution as to how to dismantle it! Perhaps when Scotland gets its independence it can lead the way by getting rid of trident!

    The major tragedy of NATO wars has been the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and ISIS (or ISIL) plus extremist Muslims who wish to impose Sharia law, not just in the middle east but all over the world. In that respect their ambitions are no different from the organisation that created them. This morning on Russia Today a London lawyer and Imam, Anjem Choudary, was articulately espousing his belief that Islam will take over the world and spread Sharia law. I for one would not want to live in his bigoted world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anjem_Choudary

    But he is a product of NATO expansionist killing machines, and a lot of what he says is true, about Guantanamo Bay, about NATO mass murder and western change in support for Assad. People like Choudary are dangerous. NATO has made enemies of them and created a monster, like the ‘centaur’ in Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, like NATO itself, and it is up to everybody to attempt to curb the power of such man-constructed monsters.

  • Laguerre

    NATO always reminds me of the Confederation of Delos. Started off as a defensive alliance against the Persians, and then slowly transformed into an empire by (democratic!) Athens, when the Persian threat disappeared. Nobody had the right to leave. The Treasury was transferred to Athens, but the allies still had to pay.

  • Pete

    For sure the Russian threat is exaggerated, which benefits both Putin and the Western military/industrial/security complex. And for sure Russia is no real threat to the UK or Germany for instance, and probably not even to Poland. But what about Estonia and other places that actually border on Russia? Why shouldf Putin feel entitled to dictate to them? I lost much of my previous respect for George Galloway recently when I heard him saying that Estonia was a small and faraway country and not worth a single British soldier’s life- echoing Neville Chamberlain almost word for word. If Scotland regains her independence- as I hope she will- she too will be a small country. THat’s worth thinking about.

    However, I agree that on balance NATO has done more harm than good since 1989. An alliance of European states, without the USA, would be much better. Sad to say, it would also need to exclude the UK, which is hopelessly subservient to America at all levels- ie all three mainstream parties, the Armed Forces, the media and finance “industry.”

  • craig Post author

    Pete

    I certainly think Estonia should be defended in the event of an attack by Russia, and it should be clear that is the case. But the truth is it would be practically impossible for EU member states not to respond to a military attack on the EU. That is well understood.

  • Phil

    Pete
    “An alliance of European states, without the USA, would be much better.”

    What on earth makes you think that? The European states were empire building when the US was but a pup. Still at it.

    An EU military force would be just as aggressive as NATO.

  • ESLO

    “Russia is only any kind of “military threat” because of its nuclear arsenal.”

    Tell that to its neighbours or the Chechens

  • mark golding

    NATO morphed from Cold War defence alliance to pan-European security organization to retain the Western alliance gravy killing machine. That much I agree with Craig.

    Nontheless Greater Russia is a myth. Russia is a great power in terms of strength, heart and spirit. Craig must remember is was Vladimer Putin that rescued Syria from NATO destruction. Certainly protecting Russian interests I agree as in Ukraine and Crimea yet vanquishing Western deception and lies to boot; red lines, chemical attacks, dodgy plots to overthrow belligerent leaders, WMD – lies, lies AND MORE LIES.

    No Craig – Putin may be a mobster, a gorilla with a clarion duty, believe.

  • craig Post author

    Mark Golding

    No, it was the unwillingness of the British public to be hauled into another stupid war that stopped it. If the British parliament had voted Yes to intervention instead of finding some guts and voting No, there is bugger all Putin could have done to stop it.

  • JimmyGiro

    “No, it was the unwillingness of the British public to be hauled into another stupid war that stopped it.”

    Gosh, who would have thought that the UK would be so useful… I know, lets dismantle it!

  • nevermind, Scotland will be free

    Great post, I ate it, well argued Craig and my point since the wall fell in 1989, but now NATO is the bitch for all causes, flogging arms by trying them out, NATO is the shop window for arms manufacturers and backroom dealers. It has lost its way and their spokesperson is becoming as run of the mill as Sepp Blatter is unmovable.

    @John Goss, re Anjem Choudary’s case, soft spoken he ususually is trying to assure us that Islam is a peacefull religion, now this worl occupying twaddle achieved by what? peacefull cohersion with Kalashnikovs and the Koran, for all to learn by rota at school?

    Sharia law all over the world, good they must have a lot of time on their hands, I recommend taking up an allotment to Anjem, it will keep his mind focussed on sustainable issues.

    war is the biggest man made environmental impact and to trumpet up more of it means that Anjem is as inarticulated as his USUKIS counterparts, not a clue about sustainable living. Everyone is all out for resources.

  • John Goss

    It is quite clear that the aggressor and threat to world peace is not Russia but the US and its puppets. Rich twats like John Bolton know that the dollar is all but dead and these are people who live by it. All America has left in its political and diplomatic arsenal therefore are weapons. And with madmen like Bolton calling the shots anything can happen. Bearing in mind that Chatham House was one of the original dollar sponsors of Yatsenyuk’s coup d’etat in Ukraine it is frightening to hear him addressing delegates there with creepy messages like “I don’t ever want to see America in a fair fight again” and “I believe in full-spectrum dominance”.

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10101635926347289&set=vb.202798122688&type=2&theater

  • DoNNyDarKo

    UK said no to the war with Iraq but Blair ignored the will of the people and the UN.
    Lets dismantle it.

  • republicofscotland

    Good article Craig, when I think of neighbour’s who have a border with Russia, Finland springs to mind,if memory serves me,Finland isn’t a member of NATO, yet Finland doesn’t seem to be at odds with Russia.

    On Hardtalk BBC, the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, hinted at his desire to be part of NATO, when told that NATO is primarily a military organisation, and it would be seen as a threat to Russia,Mr Margvelashvili, tried to play the significance down.

  • YouKnowMyName

    Estonia tho’, remember, currently has an unelected president (chosen by parliamentary deputies) – who is basically an American (Toomas Hendrik Ilves born in Sweden, educated in US & worked for the CIA led Radio Free Europe!) (as per the brilliant first Clinton-era strategy of Russian containment by surrounding the RU border with US puppets, Sakshvili, Vīķe-Freiberga, Adamkus for Georgia, Lithuania & Latvia respectively)

    Toomas Ilves currently might have some personal problems as the Estonian tabloids keep mentioning that his gorgeous pouting wife Evelin has been deliberately photographed romantically kissing the French IT entrepreneur Vincent Aranega in public, several times. Why we don’t know, but I presume it’s Putin’s Fault!

    Any NATO flags that are first waved in beautiful Estonia, for whatever reason, “Cyber” “Invasion” “ISIS” should be first very carefully checked for falseness!

  • republicofscotland

    Following a working visit to Mongolia, he answered journalists’ questions. In response to one, he explained his seven-point peace plan, saying:

    “On the way here from Blagoveshchensk to Ulan Bator, I jotted down a few thoughts that could constitute an action plan of sorts.”

    It challenges Washington’s regional hegemonic ambitions. It depends on war and conquest. Peace defeats its agenda.

    Putin’s peace plan.
    —————–
    “First, end active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.”

    “Second, withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.”

    “Third, allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.”

    “Fourth, exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.”

    “Fifth, organise the exchange of individuals detained by force on an all for all basis without any preconditions.”

    “Sixth, open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass ­ Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.”

    “Seventh, make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.”
    ——————–
    Putin’s peace plan will not doubt fall on deaf ears, war is the order of the day for NATO.
    ——————-
    http://www.rense.com/general96/putinsukraine.html

  • nevermind, Scotland will be free

    Whilst NATO is supporting Iraq and making pledges to train their soldiers, Ukraine is becoming the Cinderella not to be touched. Proshenko’s visit with lots of handshaking and covert actions to help him stay in power, is a smokescreen for inaction.

    Estonias population is half Russian and who am I to determine the course of their countries development, all I know is that there are quiet a few working here, will they be persuaded by a Russian invasion to go back and fight for Estonia?
    or will this be young boys and girls who after being beaten into submission durimng basic training then get dispatched to fight Putin for Estonia’s king and country?
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/rosneft-head-igor-sechin-speaks-about-sanctions-and-ukraine-a-989267.html
    .

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Seumas Milne agrees with you.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/03/nato-peace-threat-ukraine-military-conflict

    Private Eye printed the first few lines of this, apparently approvingly:

    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/31-08-2014/128411-ukraine_existential_crisis-0/

    Like an aging drag queen who can no longer make a living from dressing up in skirts and parading onstage in disguise, today, no amount of make-up can hide what NATO is, and has always been: a wolf in sheep’s clothing, living a pack mentality, eternally looking for a new lamb to slaughter. Ukraine is its raison d’être, the chance for survival in an existential crisis.

    For many years, NATO has been looking for something to do, like an odd-job man living in a deserted ghost town, like a skilled factory worker in a robotized plant, like an aging and unemployable drag queen who has gone to seed and whose pot belly turns her into the subject of ridicule when she tries to stuff it into a skirt, these days playing to bawling audiences of drunks.

    When the Warsaw Pact voluntarily dissolved in 1991, NATO gave assurances that it would not encroach eastwards.

    And here was its quandary: while the Soviet Armed Forces were essentially defensive, NATO’s have always been offensive. So unless it broke its promise, lied and moved eastwards, where was NATO’s future, and how to guarantee the livelihoods of the thousands of administrative staff in its ranks, making a comfy living as the cutting edge of the arms lobby, controlled by the Pentagon?

    Like an aging drag queen who can no longer make a living from dressing up in skirts and parading onstage in disguise, today, no amount of make-up can hide what NATO is, and has always been: a wolf in sheep’s clothing, living a pack mentality, eternally looking for a new lamb to slaughter. Ukraine is its raison d’être, the chance for survival in an existential crisis.

    For many years, NATO has been looking for something to do, like an odd-job man living in a deserted ghost town, like a skilled factory worker in a robotized plant, like an aging and unemployable drag queen who has gone to seed and whose pot belly turns her into the subject of ridicule when she tries to stuff it into a skirt, these days playing to bawling audiences of drunks.

    When the Warsaw Pact voluntarily dissolved in 1991, NATO gave assurances that it would not encroach eastwards.

    And here was its quandary: while the Soviet Armed Forces were essentially defensive, NATO’s have always been offensive. So unless it broke its promise, lied and moved eastwards, where was NATO’s future, and how to guarantee the livelihoods of the thousands of administrative staff in its ranks, making a comfy living as the cutting edge of the arms lobby, controlled by the Pentagon?

    The fact that this is by the insane and possibly pseudonymous Tim Bancroft-Hinchey need not detract from the resonance of the epithets. It’s even partially true. It might, however, remind us that one aim of each side’s propaganda is to make the other lose faith in its own institutions.

    Personally, I’d be very cautious about abandoning the NATO concept without some alternative and viable means of putting out European brushfires and deterring Moscow from leaking through vulnerable borders; this would require far more coordination and agreement among the European states than they have shown lately.

  • ESLO

    “The major tragedy of NATO wars has been the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and ISIS (or ISIL) plus extremist Muslims who wish to impose Sharia law, not just in the middle east but all over the world. In that respect their ambitions are no different from the organisation that created them.”

    And you don’t think that the involvement of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan or Russia in Chechenya had any impact on Islamic fundamentalism. And of course the main trigger in Osama Bin Laden turning against the US and the West was because of their involvement, at the behest of Saudi Arabia, in dealing with your friend’s invasion of Kuwait.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Sorry- seem to have pasted the Pravda.ru piece twice. Only one copy required!

  • Evgueni

    As ESLO points out, the perspective of those directly threatened by Putin is very different. Ukrainians look with increasing envy on their western neighbors receiving NATO support – Poland, Estonia etc. As for Putin’s peace plan, it is really an annexation plan. Peace – at a price. Who pays – Ukrainians. Makes sense doesn’t it, so long as you aren’t one yourself.

    This is still relevant:
    http://www.willzuzak.ca/lp/lawton01.html

  • John Goss

    “And you don’t think that the involvement of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan or Russia in Chechenya had any impact on Islamic fundamentalism.”

    Regarding Afghanistan if you had studied the history of when Kabul called in the Soviet Union to defend attacks from Muslim fundamentalists in 1979 you would not have made such a stupid statement. At the time girls were being educated with boys in Afghan schools and it was the west that armed the Mujahadin in its ideological effort to contain the spread of Russian influence. After that fundamentalism ruled thanks to your lot.

  • YouKnowMyName

    @ESLO “that the involvement of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan or Russia in Chechenya had any impact on Islamic fundamentalism”

    there have long been claims that both the wars mentioned above followed skilful US ‘agent provocateur’ work; which I considered unreasonable & unthinkable until (as part of the planned run-up to the Ukrainian Nuland Coup d’état) Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia mentioned this to Putin

    “As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us”

    Why is it only NATO member Turkey that seems to arrest its parallel/Deep-State/Dark-Forces?

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