No Need For Nato 499

A NATO summit approaches that brings Donald Trump to Europe and then on to these shores, and brings the usual clamour for more of the taxpayers’ money to be given to arms manufacturers.

Yet NATO is a demonstrably useless institution. It’s largest ever active military deployment, for 12 years in Afghanistan, resulted in military defeat throughout 80% of the country, the installation of a pocket regime whose scrip does not run further than you can throw the scrip, and a vast outflow of heroin to finance the criminal underworld throughout NATO countries.

Look at this chart closely, and marvel at the fact that the NATO occupation began in early 2002.

In invading Afghanistan and boosting the heroin warlords, NATO countries destabilised themselves

NATO’s second biggest military operation ever was the attack on Libya, where NATO carried out an incredible 14,200 bombing sorties using high explosive munitions and devastated Libya’s infrastructure and entire cities. Here is Sirte after NATO “liberation”.

The direct result of the devastation of Libya and destruction of its government infrastructure has been the massive untrammelled exodus of migrants, especially from West Africa, through Libya and across the Mediterranean on boats. This has not only led to the appalling exploitation and tragic death of many migrants, it has fundamentally weakened the governments and indeed governing public ethos of European NATO member states and led to a right wing populist surge throughout much of the EU.

In short, in destroying Libya, NATO members destabilised themselves.

The direct result of NATO’s destruction of Libya.

Now NATO is focusing once more on the original “threat” it was supposed to combat, a Russian invasion of Western Europe.

Russia has absolutely no intention of invading Western Europe. The very notion is ludicrous. It does not require NATO to deter a threat that does not exist.

Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia alone have a combined GNP as big as Russia. On a purchasing power parity basis, if you add in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania those Eastern states still match Russia economically. On a PPP basis, the combined GDP of all NATO states is 12 times that of Russia.

Russia does have disproportionate military power for its size – but not that much. Russia’s defence spending is one sixth that of NATO defence spending, though it is slightly more efficient because, despite corruption, less of Russia’s defence spending goes into the pockets of arms company shareholders, lobbyists, politicians and other fatcats than happens in the West. But that cannot outweigh Russia’s massive economic disadvantage. Nothing can. Russia is very well placed to defend itself, but in no position to attack major powers.

Russia’s foreign policy successes – in Crimea, Syria and Georgia – have been based not on massive military strength – the NATO powers far outweigh Russia there – but simply on much better statecraft. And NATO, for all the trillions western taxpayers spend on it, has been unable to do anything about it, despite the fact that Russian actions in Crimea and Georgia have been illegal in international law.

In fact if anybody has not worked out by now that our famed nuclear arsenal is a chocolate teapot, then they have not been paying attention. In none of the recent foreign policy crises – including the North Korean nuclearisation issue – nobody, anywhere, ever has mentioned Trident missiles as part of the solution. They are utterly worthless.

The threat of a Russian attack on NATO itself is non-existent. The EU is not officially a military alliance but the idea that any part of EU territory could be subject to invasion without the rest of the EU reacting is a political impossibility. It is very plain that Vladimir Putin’s policy is to reincorporate into Russia those bordering pockets of ethnic Russians in former Soviet states. But this has been approached piecemeal and avoiding major confrontation. There is no practical threat to the Baltic states whose security is already de facto guaranteed by EU membership.

So NATO’s role of defence against Russia is otiose, and its wider military adventures have been a total disaster.

Finally, a thought about China. I cannot think of a parallel to China these last two decades, where any country in history has obtained so much economic pre-eminence in the World and shown so very little interest in military expansion. The invasion of Tibet occurred before China’s economic flowering, and the South China Sea dispute is hardly the invasion of Iraq. I do not claim any expertise in Chinese culture or thought, but they appear to realise that dominance can be achieved by more subtle means than the sword. It is going to be a fascinating few decades as China rapidly overtakes the USA in the superpower stakes.

499 thoughts on “No Need For Nato

1 2 3 4
  • laguerre

    I entirely agree with this. NATO seems to me outmoded. The USA is now a greater threat to Europe than Russia is, but it is not a military threat. The US mainly threatens others these days through economic sanctions, which can be very successful – Trade War here we come. So the immense military structures now have no use.

  • Xavi

    Russia has been disgracefully relentless in its expansion towards NATO’s military bases, taking advantage of NATO’s preoccupation with bringing peace and order to Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan.

    • laguerre

      Indeed Russia has been disgracefully manoeuvring its troops within its own frontiers, menacing the NATO bases peacefully located 4,000 miles from their own frontiers, within small arms firing range of those disgraceful Russian troops.

      • laguerre

        I should have added (to make it better): within small arms firing range of those disgraceful Russian troops who are so bellicosely walking about on their home bases.

    • TonyT12

      “NATO’s preoccupation with bringing peace and order to Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan.”

      More a preoccupation with bringing regime-change, carnage, ruin, chaos and massive population movements to Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan – not forgetting Syria and next Iran. The link to refugees in Europe is indisputable, and warmongers are tasting some of the effects of their participation in the USA’s predilection for chaos in the Middle East..

      It is no ‘preoccupation’, it is brutal obsessive inhuman behaviour – showing indifference on an industrial scale towards the populations of all these countries. The only beneficiaries are shareholders in arms manufacturers. The prospect of fools like Gavin Williamson let alone D. Trump anywhere near any nuclear buttons appals.

      • Jo Dominich

        TonyT12, all so that the USA can assist Israel in their desire to conquer the Middle East and to support that terrorist also known as Netanyahu.

    • MightyDrunken

      Not to mention Russia’s aggressive posture towards NATO’s borders, continuing moving Russia closer and closer towards NATO countries.

      • Michael McNulty

        With NATO moving assets into former Soviet-bloc countries under US insistence the west has put up the new Iron Curtain.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    You really overlook NATO’s existence is to get rid of Russia, and promote the Mediterranean Dialogue for Israel’s benefit.

  • John O'Dowd

    The CIA and its partners, including NATO, have always been involved in the Heroin trade.

    See for example the writings of Professor Alfred McCoy

    “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade ”

    “The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.”

    Herion production is useful on a number of fronts: It provides client war lords with a substantial income; it provides ‘black funds’ for CIA and other covert activity, avoiding Congressional oversight, and political cover; and since it is a major cash-based economic activity which must eventually be cleared through ‘legitimate’ banks, it provides the global banking cartel with a massive source of liquidity.

    At a domestic level, since its processing and distribution is deliberately left in the hands criminals, it gives a pretext for such as ‘the war against drugs’ – which helpfully provides cover for domestic surveillance and state repression. Arms manufacturers also benefit

    It also removes large numbers of people from the workforce, which can’t employ them and helpfully fills the jails, which are a nice little earner for jail/security companies – and the health industry, which picks up the social wreckage.

    All in all – a very good investment for the people who own our governments

    • Kiza

      Great write up John. My long-term examination of your topic seconds every word you wrote.

      It all really boils down to TPTB (elites, deep states etc) really needing the current quasi-prohibition, which favours their own trade and increases the cost to the most-inelastic consumer, to produce extreme profits.

      It is the only truthful explanation why we are still in Afghanistan: for the MIC and for the bankers, which are the same masters of all Western Governments.

      • John O'Dowd

        Thanks Tony,

        Very familiar with the remarkable and erudite Peter Dale Scott and his Deep Politics analyses. Indispensable reading.

        Thanks for providing the links – I wish everyone would read these remarkable authors.

  • Ewan

    “It is very plain that Vladimir Putin’s policy is to reincorporate into Russia those bordering pockets of ethnic Russians in former Soviet states.” I would like to see the evidence that makes this so very plain. Does it include any of the Stans? Mr. Dugin et al. may talk of such things, but Mr. Putin? Some references would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      I would say look into the attempt to get rid of the USSR at Olof Palme;s expense, the sinking of the sub Kursk,expansion of NATO in Poland , Czechkoslavakia and Hungary despite assurances to the contrary, the overthrow of the Ukrainian pro-Russian President, the attempted assassination of Putin which shot down MH17 by mistake, the Georgian-Russian war, taking over unsuccessfully Russian security during the Sochi Winter Games, the attempt to stop the takeover of Crimea in the claims of international law rather than in support of popular will, etc.

      • Kiza

        You are well meaning but you repeat the propaganda memes. The Ukrainian President desposed in a coup was never pro-Russian then he was an Ukrainian of Russian ethnicity (Eastern Ukrainian of Orthodox Christian religion). He was neither much liked nor respected in Russia and thus received almost no help at all from Russia to prevent the US&EU organised coup against him. He did run to Russia after the coup and Putin probably regretted that he did not do more to save Ukraine from the tender mercies of the US&EU societal enhancement of the Libyan kind. Putin saved the Russian naval base in Crimea but he got an ever festering sore right on the border. By NATO standards, Ukraine was a success.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Yanakocvych was overthrown because he favored a Russian bailout rather than an association with the EU and closer ties with Moscow, and he is there now while wanted for treason in Kiev.

          How can you lie about it?

          And what about the other anti-Putin moves

          • Kiza

            Ah, the magic of overthrowing elected presidents and governments on policy issues. Consider if any Western government would remain in power if it could be overthrown on a policy issue. It never happens without external “help”.

            Also, Ukraine did need Russia as Russia was by far its biggest customer and supplier before the coup.

            Finally, it was EU which said: either-or, cannot be both Russia and EU, whilst Russia wanted to trade and was tolerant of EU. Obviously, either-or ultimatum to Ukraine was part of the destabilisation plan. After the coup was done, EU did not do much to repay Ukraine and embrace it. Even the billions for the regime change ceased. They just needed a coup and a festering sore, that is all.

        • Jo Dominich

          Kiza, you seem to be knowledgeable on some of these issues. But I do not agree with you on this necessarily. From my reading of the Ukranian Coup the deposed President was more favourable to establishing closer links with Russia than with NATO, the USA and Europe. The resultant USA backed president and Govt is despotic, extremely fascist, willing to invade and kill Russians in the Donbas region and turn arms and munitions on citizens who protest against them. They would be in economic hell if it were not for USA money and military support. So, I don’t think it was a success for NATO – Russia might have a festering sore right on its border but internally, Ukraine is a mess and the Govt does not enjoy majority support (except through rigged elections supported by the USA of course). I see a revolution in the near future and Russia will support it I hope.

    • Ewan

      … So is there evidence that Mr. Putin seeks to incorporate Russians in other former Soviet Republics into the Russian Federation? Or not?

      • Radar O'Reilly

        isn’t Putin’s game in running the minority enclaves in some ‘NATO’ frontline states, simply that the NATO charter prohibits non-unified nations from joining. Hence Georgia & Ukraine are out of the alliance, but can have training & supplies, and yanks in sunglasses.

        How could that ‘Russki invasion’ model be applied to the Baltics?, for a start – they’re already in NATO, and I dont think Saaremaa seeks any colorful independence.

        is the Russian threat, from an admittedly authoritarian and corrupt regime, not simply an excuse for moving the old rusty NATO tanks out of Germany, to somewhere more eastern.

  • Sharp Ears

    All of this blood sank into the dust. As if anyone knows the exact numbers.

    Casualties and losses
    Afghan security forces: 38,266 killed
    Northern Alliance: 200 killed
    Coalition Dead: 3,405
    (United States: 2,271, United Kingdom: 456, Canada: 158, France: 89, Germany: 57, Italy: 53, Others: 321)
    Wounded: 22,773
    (United States: 19,950, United Kingdom: 2,188, Canada: 635)
    Dead: 2,000
    Wounded: 15,000+
    Total killed: 43,362

    Civilians killed: 31,000 (2001–2016)

    That is the list for the ‘belligerents’ side. Number of Afghani people slaughtered in the process not available.

      • Clark

        Hmm. Maybe NATO shouldn’t have facilitated the infiltration of jihadis into Syria through NATO country Turkey in the first place, nor supplied training, logistics and intelligence to them. Civil protest is one thing, but when hordes of gunmen suddenly leap out of the shadows and many of them turn out to be from the Western allied Gulf Monarchies, or islamist fighters previously infiltrated into Libya, I can’t help but suspect covert action to support the long-standing Western agenda of regime change in Syria.

        • Martinned

          Yes, I know, it’s shocking that some countries might want to help the people of Syria rebel against their brutal dictator. How unreasonable! Don’t they know that they are supposed to sit nice and accept their torture?

          • SA

            Martin Ed
            Your allegations would be commendable if they were based on facts. Who are these ’Syrian people’ that we have tried to help by arming terrorists? Was there a poll? Is there any evidence that most Syrians were going to benefit from this help? If you can provide answers to these questions I will be the first to join the ranks of those supporting the rights of the Syrian people that you obviously so well know.

          • Clark

            That’s a misrepresentation. The Syrian government had considerable public support; it has even more now. The Syrian people indeed protested peacefully, and the government response was brutal by Western standards, though it also made promises of reform. The government won the subsequent elections by a convincing margin, and huge crowds continue to demonstrate their support for the existing government.

            But shortly after the Syrian government response hordes of brutal gunmen emerged from the shadows. Some were Syrian, encouraged by Western promises of military support. Many were islamist extremists which the Western alliance / Gulf monarchies had been supporting in situ or helping to infiltrate.

            Now many people in the UK such as myself object to the democratic deficit in the UK and the corporate propaganda which supports it. We object to the frequent UK/US/Israeli military ‘interventions’ overseas, rendition, support for torture abroad, mass surveillance, persecution of whistleblowers and publishers, infiltration of secret police into peaceful activists personal lives, protection of powerful paedophiles etc. etc. But if a foreign alliance facilitated violence by domestic and foreign militias in the UK to attempt to overthrow the government I would object to and oppose that. If they behaved like the ‘rebels’ in Syria I would be appalled and disgusted.

          • Clark

            Sometimes it takes me a little while to work out just how audacious a response really is. Martinned:

            “Yes, I know, it’s shocking that some countries might want to help the people of Syria rebel against their brutal dictator”

            This is Saudi Arabia you’re referring to, a religious monarchy glorying in public amputations and executions, stoning of women for alleged infidelity, religious police; an altogether appealing human rights record. You are actually trying to suggest that Saudi Arabia is acting out of altruism for the people of Syria! I’d have to be as thick as two short planks to take this seriously!

          • Clark

            Martinned, you really need to look at the 2012 document analysed here:


            Noting that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the document states that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime…

            – “… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

            Establishing a “Salafist [ie. Wahhabist] Principality” is most definitely not, as you put it, an attempt to “help the people of Syria”.

          • rod1


            Martin the scot thinks the white helmets are aid workers. Best just to laugh at the nonsense he is trying to hook folk with. In none white countries, every elected official is a ‘dictator’ to people like Martin (Supremacists). You will never catch his type asking for intervention in the USA on behalf of the people being murdered, kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned by the government. Fraud.

          • Clark

            Rod1, I would like to change Martinned’s mind, but that is a minor issue about just one person. What matters far more is to refute the arguments that Martinned posts, to inform the hundreds or thousands of others who will read them.

          • SA

            Martinned is not really interested in facts where the Syria war is concerned. He is merely repeating propaganda. This is so blatant and rediculously so, that it really doesn’t require refutation. Why Martinned and other contrary contributors who regularly and frequently comment on this site, despite thier basic dissociation from any realities to do with these topics can only mean that they are deliberate agents provocateurs.

          • certa certi

            ‘Martin the scot thinks the white helmets are aid workers’

            So do I, and so do other Aid organisitions/NGOs. The White Helmets are certainly not neutral but they do legit SAR.

          • Jo Dominich

            Martinned, Assad is NOT a brutal dictator. He does, in fact, enjoy the support of most of the Syrian population.

      • Jo Dominich

        Martinned, no need to be sarcastic – it’s better than if Russia were not in support. At least the Govt have won back control of most of the country.

  • david

    NATO has over expanded itself, underfunded itself and been too heavily reliant on US money to defend Europe. The US is waking up to the fact that they spend Millions ( trillions) on defending Europe, but the European powers refuse to defend themselves. Its inevitable that the US will question that seriously and ultimately it will be the downfall of NATO.

    NATO is no longer fit for purpose, the US doesn’t need NATO assistance to wage war and is generally derisory towards the help it does receive. The old enemy is Russia and so its convenient to point at Russia as the threat. It isn’t, at least not in a straight forward fight. The threat from China is different, they are rapidly building a blue water navy including aircraft carriers, they are investing heavily in hypersonic anti ship missiles as well as stealth aircraft and whilst China would lose a war today with the USA in ten years time that wont be the case. Whilst China has no real history of starting wars it doesn’t mean to say that as there military might grows, so will their confidence. The South China sea is a very real potential global flash point, war spreads fast if weakness is exploited and the European mainland ( with the exception of France) could not stop a Russian attack. Its not hard to see the possibilities of an incident in the South China sea exploding across the globe.

    Its a sad indictment of the human race that after all this time and after so much death we still work on methods of killing each other more and more efficiently.

    • laguerre

      The US has not defended Europe for a long time. All the US wants is for Europe to pay for American military policy, which has been failing ever since the cock-up in Iraq – Iraq was the high point of American military power. Now it’s in decline. It would be very unwise to pay for US antics now – they can’t even escape from the Middle East, as US presidents indicate they want to. Israel’s orders prevent them.

      • David Avi

        So you believe that Israel is running US foreign policy in the Middle East? If you do, you seem remarkably ignorant of what drives US foreign policy.

        • laguerre

          Not my main point, but it’s true that if Israel were not demanding, the US would have been able to switch its attention to the Far East, as it constantly says it wants to do. Near East concentration is of no interest to the US, so who’s insisting on it, if not Israel?

          • certa certi

            US interests remain the same from Obama to Trump, though strategy has changed. Asian markets are where the US future prosperity lies, not the ME but the ME gives the US potential leverage over the PRC’s future energy supply. Israel can only lobby successfully where US community values and national interest are already engaged. Obama’s selling of the TPP was weak reflecting domestic political priorities and cultural values and had nothing to do with Israel.

        • Jo Dominich

          David, there can be no doubt about it can there? The USA walked out of the UN Council for Human Rights in order to support Israel’s murder of Palestinians and their right to do so. All the evidence points to Trump really and truly executing Netanyahu’s wishes and feelings with regard to Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. The USA has not issued one condemnation of the relentless murder, torture, imprisonment and the lack of rule of law for Palestinians in respect of Israel. You cannot seriously think Israel isn’t driving USA policy in the Middle East can you?

    • TonyT12

      How does Washington’s defence of Europe square with the political and social turmoil caused in Europe by the arrival of so many distressed and dispossessed refugees escaping what Washington has done and is still doing in the Middle East?

      Baghdad, Kabul, Tripoli, Damascus, Tehran are nowhere near the North Atlantic.

      I don’t accept the premise that Washington’s wars in the Middle East serve other NATO members’ best interests. That Trump believes we should fund these destructive expeditions requires more scrutiny than simply getting out the cheque book to fund more havoc.

    • SA

      “The US is waking up to the fact that they spend Millions ( trillions) on defending Europe, but the European powers refuse to defend themselves.”
      There has to be an an enemy that you are trying to defend yourself from. Maybe most of Europe does not see Russia as a threat worth spending billions on, and are happy to let the US pay for what to the US is a Russia containment policy. In the case of a war between NATO and Russia, the battlefield will be Europe and not The US , and maybe Europe has had enough of being a battleground for others and paying for it.

  • mdroy

    Mostly agree but:
    “Russia’s foreign policy successes – in Crimea, Syria and Georgia –”
    Crimea wasn’t a success, it was effectively an increase of control in Crimea, a slight increase in Donbass and a complete loss of control in the rest of Ukraine coupled with a major trading partner turning into a basket case.
    Georgia was a local battle with no significant effect. The whole event was a press fiction.
    Syria is 90% a US defeat, 10% a Russia success, and the history books will write it up as a US/Saudi made abomination not a Russian success.

    Russian statecraft is v good, despite losing big time in Ukraine.

    • laguerre

      You don’t know much about Syria. As Sharp Ears says, Russia kept Asad in the game, and is guiding Syria to victory. The policy is very well thought out, which is more than can be said about US policy.

      • Kempe

        Assad has been kept in the game purely by superior Russian firepower, especially air cover. Statecraft has nothing to do with it.

        • SA

          General Kempe
          You must be fully aware that although Russian att power was vital, without the support of the Syrian people Assad would have fallen a long time ago. If you can admit to this you will be well on the way to seeing the light on the road to Damascus

          • laguerre

            Just to add in: the Syrians want peace. Asad is supported by the urban population anyway. The balance is provided by those who’ve had enough of jihadi chaos, who offers no future.

  • MJ

    “I do not claim any expertise in Chinese culture or thought, but they appear to realise that dominance can be achieved by more subtle means than the sword”

    That’s because they still follow Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” when it comes to statecraft. If you want a quick snapshot of Chinese culture or thought this is as good a place to start as any. It’s a great book and quite short. Helps our understanding of Putin too I think.

      • MJ

        Yes. When the enemy thinks you are close, be far away. When the enemy thinks you are far away, be close. On the other hand Sun Zsu insists that war should be avoided at all costs. As soon as you go to war you’ve lost.

    • Martinned

      Or maybe because neither Ukraine nor Georgia are members of NATO, and therefore were not subject to the art. 5 security guarantee and did not have NATO forces on their territory? I mean, I guess it could be anything, take your pick.

    • Jerome Fryer

      The initial response was to Georgian attacks that killed Russian peacekeepers. Once that first shot gets fired, the ‘legality’ of military actions is just opinion. The US invaded Afghanistan because some of the leadership of a terrorist organisation was based there — then they continued an occupation long after that group had re-based in Pakistan.

      Russian actions in Georgia were clearly aimed at breaking all of the war toys that Uncle Sam had so generously given to Georgia. The hostility therein was really directed at that beneficent overlord, and their toady Saakashvilli, who stupidly started the brief war.

      Crimea was still an overwhelmingly Russian region, and vital to Russian security. It isn’t at all surprising that they went through with seizing the territory back from Ukraine. What was surprising (particularly to the US and allies) was the degree of success and lack of bloodshed.

      Syria was a disastrous situation that Russia eventually decided to directly intervene in. It does not appear that the alternatives to Assad’s regime — in reality, rather than the fictional narrative in the Western media — was in any way better.

      A common thread in all of these situations: Russia reacted to events. None of this is evidence of ‘Russian aggression’. Now, see if you can figure out the principal aggressor…

  • Sharp Ears

    Deaths from heroin use in the US.

    Congress’s Take on the Heroin Epidemic
    by William Edstrom / October 17th, 2016

    [..]A heroin epidemic is on fire all across America. Heroin deaths shot up from 1,779 in 2001 to 10,574 in 2014 as Afghan opium poppy fields metastasized from 7,600 hectares in 2001 (when the War in Afghanistan began) to 224,000 hectares currently.

    The Taliban outlawed opium in Afghanistan in 2000 and within a year it was all but gone, demonstrating that Afghan opium can be eradicated quickly for any administration that chooses to do so. Afghanistan is, by far, the number one source globally of both opium and heroin.’

    In the UK, most of the deaths occur in seaside resorts. The ONS report.

    More than half of heroin/morphine misuse death hotspots in England and Wales are seaside locations
    Some of England and Wales’s favourite seaside resort areas are now among the towns with the highest rates of deaths from the misuse of heroin/morphine.
    4 April 2018

    ‘In 2016, the number of drug-related deaths where heroin and/or morphine were mentioned on the death certificate has increased by almost eight times since 1993. There has been only a slight increase from 2015, where 1,201 deaths were registered, but there has been an increase of almost two-thirds since 2012, following the “heroin drought” of 2010 to 2011.’
    155 deaths in 1993 rising to 1,209 in 2016

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears July 2, 2018 at 14:14
      ‘…Afghanistan is, by far, the number one source globally of both opium and heroin.’…

      And they do a good trade in hash, to. When I was there in 1967 one could buy 100gms of top-quality Afghan hash for £1!
      ‘Afghanistan leads in hashish production’:

      The CIA caused the huge crack cocaine use through the Iran/Contra/Cocaine triangle, getting planeloads and boatloads into the US and getting it distributed by (mainly) bikers around the country, but mainly into the Black Ghettoes. Bill Clinton, as governor of Arkansas, had a big part in it as Mena airport was in Arkansas, and was one of the major import airports for it; arms for the Contras in turn were exported from the airport in exchange. ‘A neat trick’, as Olliver North might say, or a ‘cunning plan’, as Baldrick might have said.
      Just like their ‘War on Terror’, the US ‘War on Drugs’ is precisely the opposite of what it claims, just like their ‘Wars for Democracy’.

      And NATO bases and equipment were and doubtless still are used to transport the heroin and other drugs and contraband around the world, neatly bypassing Customs. In the Vietnam war the CIA even transported heroin to the US in body bags.
      Shows their respect for even their own dead.

  • Nevermind

    Well timed article and he will meet Putin after all his talks/shouts at with NATO partners.
    NATO was obsolete when the wall came down in Berlin, imho,Craig, all that followed was designed to keep it alive and expanding as the arms showcase/window to show off and brag about new weapons and actions.

    The large terror event in New York further added a time frame to this hiatus to come whilst the red line of evil countries was drawn in the sand and Afghanistan was attacked. On followed Iraq,Libya, Syria and now their hollow eyes are peeled at Iran.

    NATO is not controlled by the sum of its charges anymore and the main obstinate protagonists who keep it alive are in disagreement. If NATO is to fold tomorrow, nobody would weep for it or remember its ancient aims and objectives.
    It has been a pumped up obsolete organisation for a while.

  • N_

    British authorities are now blaming saboteurs arsonists for the collapse of the country starting fires on Lancashire moorland

    Police helicopter ‘spots arsonists starting new fires on Saddleworth Moor’ as firefighters battle huge blaze“.

    I’m not sure whether any pictures or film have been published yet, but that’s bound to be coming.

    At times like this, a) be scared, and b) do whatever you’re told. Or, in Brit terms, I think it’s called “carrying on”.

    Meanwhile in the cities the “moped muggers” have usually worn black helmets and clothes. Yes, black.

    Rumours have yet to be confirmed that a couple of figures in local Lancashire crime families recently had MI6 create bank accounts for them in Jersey into which payments were received having been laundered through a Gibraltar-based lawyer named in the Panama papers.

    The British national story continues!

  • Tomas

    Great article. For further reading regarding China, read ‘China’s Global Strategy: Towards a Multipolar World’.

      • david

        The EU is pushing for its own defence force, its not a brexit rag issue, its a fact. It is also one of the most dangerous initiatives that the EU has ever tried to push through, mainly in response to US grief about NATO spending, its also about enlarging the EU military Industrial Complex with the stated aim of reducing the number of equipment types used across NATO by buying only EU manufactured and designed weapons systems.

        I cannot think of anything more dangerous than an unelected body having access to advanced weapons systems to deploy at their leisure, if they get everything they want they will also incorporate Frances Nuclear forces. If it goes through I can see EU forces involved in even more interventionist wars.

        • laguerre

          Classic Brexiter rant, wildly over exaggerating a limited initiative, pretending that the EU is undemocratic, pulling out all the old saws again, and finally projecting onto the EU Anglo-American practices, which have been repeatedly put into action in the last two decades (but which the EU has not actually itself done – indeed the US accused the EU of being insufficiently interventionist).

        • N_

          What is the essential difference that you believe distinguishes NATO from the EU? Is it something to do with “sovereignty”, or “democracy”, or perhaps both? If so, how do you work that one out?

          French nukes going under EU command or control seems extremely unlikely.

      • Manda

        So, there is no such thing as PESCO? UK Column News is not a “rag”, The Sun is a rag. I don’t agree with much in the Guardian for eg. these days but I wouldn’t call it a rag. You can search to your hearts content to find out about PESCO and come to your own conclusions without resorting to slurs surely?

    • Martinned

      Well yes, if you’re going to advocate the abolition of NATO, PESCO is what you’re going to end up with instead. Unless you prefer just bending over and separating your cheeks…

  • mickc

    Yes, entirely right. In fact, NATO should have been dissolved shortly after the end of the Cold War. And yes, Trident is utterly useless.

  • Clark

    Airbus use Rolls Royce engines. I wonder how much of the push for more UK military spending is driven by the wish to secure the future of Rolls Royce, since Airbus seem set to pull out of post-Brexit UK.

    • Martinned

      Wait, so your claim is that sovereign states are not allowed to join international organisations because it might upset their bigger neighbours? That’s an unusual definition of sovereignty…

      • zoot

        an international organization whose entire raison d’etre is to intimidate and upset russia.

          • Martinned

            To put that in terms you might understand: Cuba was entitled to agree to host those rockets, and Estonia was entitled to join NATO.

        • zoot

          when cuba hosted those rockets the world came within a fraction of armageddon. clearly you did not understand the point made by tony.

          • Martinned

            I understand the point just fine. I’m just saying that the US violated international law in reacting in this way. (And putting in place a blockade on the high seas.)

            I reason from consistent principles. Do you?

          • zoot

            international law is whatever the us says it is. that’s consistent principle you should reason from.

  • quasi_verbatim

    NATO’s first military aggression was against the European country of Serbia and was undertaken with weapons of mass and near-perpetual environmental and human destruction, namely uranium encased high explosive munitions.

    It has not been forgotten that the three home-grown virulent enthusiasts for and leading instigators of this aggressive war and crime against humanity were all Scots.

    Poor Robin Cook, who strove for an “ethical” foreign policy — well, we know what happened to him.

    • Martinned

      Yes, those poor innocent little lambs in Serbia were just minding their own business when they suddenly got attacked by evil NATO. Cry me a river…

  • Martinned

    I agree that we should replace NATO with something that doesn’t involve the US. But that doesn’t mean we can stop spending money on defence. I know that you all think Vladimir Putin is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I don’t think we should quite take him at his word when he says that he would never invade the Baltics.

    • laguerre

      ” but I don’t think we should quite take him at his word when he says that he would never invade the Baltics.”

      You mean, you actually believe the constant screaming fits of the Baltic nations? Putin isn’t particularly nice – he just works in Russia’s interest – but why would he want to re-invade territories they voluntarily gave up in 1991? It’s not logical, except in the howls of propaganda coming from the war mongers who want a new cold war, or indeed a hot one – which is fine in the eyes of Yanks like Bolton, who think they won’t be affected, only Europe will be suffer – and that would be real fine and dandy, as Trump has just shown this week in his anti-EU tirade.

      • Martinned

        Given that Putin already invaded various other places that Russia apparently “voluntarily” gave up, I can see why the Baltics would be worried.

        • laguerre

          Oh which ones were those then? Crimea was a vital national interest, as I’m sure even you are capable of understanding. Georgia they didn’t invade – it was a Georgian attack. Ukraine they didn’t invade, only in US imagination. What other ones then – Chechnya? Russian territory.

          Frankly the only result of your Russophobia will be that Trump succeeds in his attack on the EU – which you, as living in Holland, will suffer from yourself – you will have opened the door wide. You should look to your own interests, rather than those of the USA.

          • Martinned

            There is literally not a single correct fact in that entire comment. (Up to and including the claim that I live in Holland.)

          • laguerre

            If I’m incorrect about you living in Holland, I’m only going by what you have said in the past. If you’ve suddenly turned into a Russia-hater located somewhere else, it’s not my problem.

            Russia-hating, on behalf of the US, is going to be your problem in the future. Putin is not particularly nice, but he works in Russia’s interests, not worse than US aggression. If you find the one aggressive, and the other not, you obviously have a problem which cannot be resolved. As I said before, Russia-hating is basically serving the interests of the US, who want a new cold war, not those of Britain, for whom the interests are much more in the sense of agreement.

      • Charles Bostock

        “the constant screaming fits of the Baltic nations?”

        Perhaps they remember being invaded and annexed twice in the space of 5 years and the deportations to Soviet labour camps on both occasions? Or do you have a Baltic father-in-law to say different?

        • SA

          You seem to operate by selectively extrapolating the past into the future. Why then are all those countries subjected to two world wars by Germany, happy to be in partnership with Germany?

      • Kempe

        ” why would he want to re-invade territories they voluntarily gave up in 1991? ”

        Well to begin with they weren’t voluntarily given up and Putin wasn’t president then.

        • laguerre

          of course they were voluntarily given up. They could have decided to keep them.

        • Jo Dominich

          Kempe, do not invest Putin with traits that are purely western propaganda. He is an excellent President who has dragged Russia out of poverty and made it a world player, slowly but surely. He has done this intelligently. It’s Russia phobia that is rampant here and in the USA MSM. I am fairly certain that there are Govts and their Leaders who could be criticised on any number of things. Certainly right now that is oh so true of Trump, May, Macron, Poland, Hungary amongst others. This Putin bashing must stop – he seems to me to be the only world leader to be talking any sense, to be talking working partnerships, to be creating strong ties with China and economic alliances with other ex-soviet bloc countries. Just because the West demonise him it doesn’t make him untrustworthy or dishonest no, that honour would go to Trump and May. There are times when the truth needs to be stared at and acknowledged. It is too easy to demonise Putin, which is, after all, NATO’s raison d’etre as someone said earlier. If you want to identify an ‘enemy’ at the moment, that would be Trump and May – two idiots whose sole interest lies in staying in power and throwing their weight around to stay in..

    • Republicofscotland

      Good comment Martinned out of NATO yes a EU defence force, is a good idea in my opinion, it may stop us from being dragged into future US and its minion Britain unjust wars.

      On Putin I agree, he’s no angel, as some suggest. Tell me Martinned, but, what’s your opinion, on Dutch Queen Wilhemina’s refusal to hand over Kaiser Wilhelm II, to the allies for war crimes.

      • Martinned

        That’s an interesting story. At the time, there was no obligation to hand him over. (As far as I’m aware.) There wasn’t really a war crimes regime, much less any kind of international obligation to promote the prosecution of war criminals. If the Dutch had handed him over, he would have gotten victor’s justice. That may be as much as he deserved, but it does mean that I don’t mind very much that the Dutch protected him.

        (And now at least we got the pleasure of his widow telling Hitler to f*ck off when Hitler wanted to give the Kaiser a state funeral in 1942.)

        • Republicofscotland

          Thank you Martinned, however I rather think that Queen Wilhelmina refused to hand over the Kaiser, whose extended stay at Doorn, became a permanent one, because they were related. I think she was a distant cousin of his, he was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria.

          In my opinion WWI was, to a certain extent, a grand war of the vanities of Queen Victoria’s offspring.

          As for Wilhelm’s funeral, alas although he fobade it, swastikas, and the Nazi’s attended.

          • rod1

            Do you think the Saxo Gotha Coburg clan would still exist in the UK or continental Europe if the ‘Great War’ had been more accurately titled ‘A Family Feud’?

            ‘My countrymen, join my army, die for your king, I fucking hate my cousins’. I have doubts.

            And it continues today.

    • Jon


      I know that you all think Vladimir Putin is the greatest thing since sliced bread,

      I like reading you, and you seem to know your history. But, it is my observation that occasionally you interleave your interesting material with spite, presumably for the purpose of discouraging people from interacting with you further. My judgment is that you are normally better than this, and you’d do well to assume better faith.

  • Loony

    Whilst it is true that Russia is not about to attack anyone, it remains asinine to equate the Russian economy with Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Russia contains 40% of global gas reserves, has the worlds second largest coal reserves and the worlds 8th largest oil reserves. In addition it has the worlds highest potential for the discovery of further reserves. It has vast reserves of water, forestry and precious metals.

    Most importantly of all the Russian Energy cost of energy is among the lowest in the world, and is not expected to rise anytime soon. This compares with a global average energy cost of energy that has risen from 3.9% in 2000 to about 8% today and which is expected to rise to 9.6% by 2025.

    Understand these numbers and you might understand why interest rates are at zero and are being used to fuel ever more wealth inequality. Understand these numbers and you might understand that the only way you are going to keep your much vaunted NHS, public services and entitlements culture is to destroy Russia and expropriate its vast natural resources.

    The bad news for obese, idle and deluded western populations is that Russia has no intention of funding your vacuous empty lives. If you really do think that Russia is equatable to Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia then you are going to get your heads kicked in like they have never been kicked in before.

    No-one cares about Libya, Syria ,Afghanistan or migrants – they are just clearing the way for your kleptocratic assault on Russia. If you do not think attacking Russia is a good idea then you had better start dismantling your health service and social security system because it all has to go. If you think attacking Russia is a good idea then at least you can save your energy as Russia will dismantle your civic society for you.

    • Ian

      Hysterical, unhinged, fantastical claptrap. Yes we must destroy the NHS so we don’t go to war with Russia. The drugs must be high grade today. Awesome.

      • Loony

        An ad hominem a day will not reduce the Energy cost of energy. All you have to do is look at the numbers. They are just numbers. They are not “hysterical” “unhinged” or “fantastical claptrap” They are numbers and they will not change just because you become angry at them.

        Maybe you also have a problem with gravity. Perhaps we could all vote to ban gravity – just think how many lives would be saved – no-one would ever again die by falling off mountains or tall buildings.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Understand these numbers and you might understand that the only way you are going to keep your much vaunted NHS, public services and entitlements culture is to destroy Russia and expropriate its vast natural resources.”


      Your comments become more bizarre by the day. The NHS, needs investment, consecutive British governments have not given the NHS proper investments, ergo it’s not currently functioning to the best of its abilities.

      • Martinned

        To be fair, this story (and the same in other previously nationalised sectors) does show the flaw with nationalisation. Underinvestment is an inherent problem with doing things in the public sector, because for any chancellor cutting the budget of the NHS/British Rail/the Water Company/etc. is a short term gain and a long-term problem. It may be the lesser evil, but you can’t act as if it’s some accidental consequence of state ownership, and ignore it when arguing for the nationalisation of other sectors.

        • Republicofscotland

          I take your point, however it’s a two-way street privatisation is not a panacea to cure the ails of the NHS.

          Labour introduced private health companies to the NHS. Crippling them with (PFI) Private Finance Initiatives. It was infact the coalition governments Health and Social Care act, that forced healthcare contracts to be put out to tender, between the NHS and private companies.

          Of course, politicians and party donors, have their fare share of going concerns with regards to the private firms. It didn’t take much for them to see the personal financial benefits of involving the private sector.

          Virgin Care, Circle and Capita, drain billions each year from the NHS, and provide a mediocre service in return.

          In my opinion a properly funded NHS, even if tax rises are required is the best way forward. Lets try and keep the privateers out of the NHS.

        • Clark

          “Underinvestment is an inherent problem with doing things in the public sector…”

          Hmm, interesting argument. How come fighting wars and building nukes (ie. “defence”) is immune?

      • Loony

        The industrial revolution and all subsequent prosperity that flowed from it has been underpinned by access to cheap energy. The era of cheap energy is drawing to a close.

        Because the quantity of money can be manipulated it is not useful to measure the cost of energy in monetary terms. The most important, and relevant, metric is the energy cost of energy (ECoE)- i.e. the amount of energy required to access energy.

        Since around 2000 the ECoE has been on an upward trend rising from 3.9% to around 8% today. It is expected that the ECoE will continue to increase over all time horizons that can be sensibly forecast.

        For Italy the ECoE is already above 9%. If you look at a “Prosperity per Capita” index for Italy it has declined from 100.25 in 2001 to 88.06 in 2017.

        Conversely Russia, which has a low and stable ECoE has seen its prosperity per capita rise from 100.00 in 2000 to 175.21 in 2017.

        The UK is one of the most vulnerable economies in the world to rising ECoE and since 2007 it has seen a decline in prosperity per capita of 7.9%.

        Further and accelerating declines in prosperity per capita are baked into the cake. The only possible way of avoiding this is to essentially sequestrate the assets of someone else. The only someone else that is remotely large enough to offset this problem that effects all major western economies is Russia.

        Ask yourself why it is that homeless people do not solve their problem of homelessness by simply investing in homes. The most likely answer is that they do not have any investment capital. Neither does the UK – so it cannot invest in the NHS. Sure it can print money and invest that, but it cannot print energy – and energy is the crucial determinant.

        Of course it is possible that I am error – but I find it hard to understand how it can be described as bizarre. Or maybe you would also be in favor of legislating for the abolition of gravity.

        • SA

          But maybe loony has a point. The underlying aim of the west since the fall of communism has been to destroy Russia and expropriate its resources. This has failed due to the rise of Putin who slowed down this process and working towards putting an end to this process. This would also explain why UKG is so Russophobic and at the same time so closely involved with the oligarchs.
          Please ignore the other ideas that loony puts forward but he has a point here.

        • Republicofscotland

          “The industrial revolution and all subsequent prosperity that flowed from it has been underpinned by access to cheap energy. The era of cheap energy is drawing to a close.”


          Who gets cheap energy, or who has gotten cheap energy in the past?

          As far as I know, only the American public has/had it cheap, as they call it gas (petrol) and that is due to a number of factors including the Petrodollar and invading or regime changing oil producing nations, to benefit America. Currently Venezuela’s oil assets are in the crosshairs of the CIA, as they attempt a regime change there through civil unrest.

          Brits pay a fortune for their energy, due to the British government selling them out to the oil companies. Unless of course youre Norwegian, where foresight and responible management of a finite resource by the government has led to an embarrassment of wealth for the nation.

          The British government, can spend billions of pounds on renewing Trident, two aircraft carriers, and as yet unknown billions on aircraft for those carriers, not to mention billions more on new nuclear subs, and lets not forget a billion for the DUP to prop them up.

          The simple fact is, the Tory government doesn’t want to invest long term in the NHS, they want to underfund it and complain it’s a cash guzzling ogre, and continue to stealthly privatise it.

          Like they’ve done with just about everything else. If the people of the UK, especially England, Wales and NI want to keep their NHS, then they’ll need to fight for it.

          • Loony

            How many times?

            It does not matter what monetary price is paid. The only thing that matters is the Energy Cost of Energy as that is the only metric that cannot be manipulated.

    • Nick

      Wrong and wrong again Loony.

      I’m not obese and my life isn’t empty. Portly and pointless perhaps, with extra marks for alliteration.

  • Sharp Ears

    Another one of those polls. Saw it in the i but no link. This is from Gideon’s rag.

    These cities/towns are rated the least stressful.
    1. Derby
    2. Aberdeen
    3. Coventry
    4. Edinburgh
    5. Cardiff
    6. Sheffield
    7. Milton Keynes
    8. Southampton
    9. Norwich
    10. Leeds

    Brighton has been named as the most stressful place to live in Britain, according to a new study. The seaside city has the most stressed out residents, according to new research carried out by the LABC Warranty.

    Researchers used the Office for National Statistics’ Measuring National Well-being index as a benchmark for the study and then factored in local pay levels, house prices and average commuting times. The ONS report rates places for anxiety levels and life satisfaction.’

    Q. Are Brighton and Milton Keynes cities?

    • Charles Bostock

      Does Gideon’s rag say anything about Guildford (sorry to ask but I never read it)?

    • craig Post author

      Sharp Ears
      I see Eddie Mair is leaving the BBC. I seem to recall he was their only high profile politics/current affairs bod who was state school and not Oxbridge. If you get a chance could you run through them and do a list of their schools universities.

    • Nick

      No. At least not officially. I believe Brighton and Hove is though? I still thought MK was a wannabe, but perhaps that’s changed.

    • laguerre

      Derby may be the least stressful, because it is dead, says someone of Derby descent. However it won’t be soon, now that Rolls-Royce is losing its aero-engine contracts.

  • Rick Fearn

    Thanks so much for putting NATO into the perspective that it deserves. So well said. Rick

  • Sharp Ears

    Calling Martinned. Calling Martinned. Come in Martinned. Can you hear me?

      • Charles Bostock

        Martinned v. Sharp Ears would be a re-run of England v. Panama !

        May I blow the starting whistle?

        • Republicofscotland

          Charles, in Panama/Sharp Ears defence, they (Panama) did score their first ever World Cup goal, against England, a consolation, I might add.

  • weegie42

    Often asked the question, why would Russia attack the west? What have we got that they would want? Oil? Russia is a large petrol station. Gas? It supplies a large part of EU and could seriously harm a countries economy by simply turning off the tap.
    Why don’t we go for accepting part if not all into EU thereby opening up a market for EU goods and makning all economies intertwined, viz mutual antagonism unnecessary/undesirable?

    • laguerre

      of course they won’t. There’s no interest. It’s just that maniacs like Martinned want to provoke a war.

  • Charles Bostock

    This is what Henri-Frederic Amiel (1821 – 1881), a professor of philosophy at Geneva University, wrote about Russia – NB, not the USSR, before NATO, before the Cold War, etc, etc, etc – in his “Journal intime” on 1st July 1856 :

    “What terrible masters the Russians would be if ever they should spread the might of their rule over the countries of the South! They would bring us a Polar despotism – tyranny such as the world has never known , silent as darkness, rigid as ice, insensible as bronze, decked with an outer amiability and glittering with the cold brilliance of snow, slavery without compensation or relief; this is what they would bring us.”.

    A very percipient man, I’d say…..

    • Republicofscotland

      I suppose Charles, similar must surely have been written, with regards to the Mongol hordes, who sacked the city of Baghdad, destroying the many libraries, including the House of Wisdom.

      Or of the Moors attempt to conquer Europe via Spain, but Charles Martels victory at the Battle of Tours saw that invasion fail.

      I’d imagine, even the Roman’s decried the Parthian’s for the defeat, and the slaying of Crassus and his son. Your singling out of Russia is not really that interesting or unusual.

    • laguerre

      Amiel surely had it right. He put a conditional, which was never fulfilled.

      • Charles Bostock

        Well, he used a conditional because he wrote what I quoted before the Russian (become Soviet) occupation of Eastern Europe. His conditional became fact almost 100 years later, surely.

        But I know I speak in vain; for some, the West can do no right and the Soviet Union (now Russia again) can do no wrong. Hey hum……

    • Jo Dominich

      Charles, can’t see any evidence for this at all. Do you think he could see into the future and is talking about Trump per chance?

  • Nevermind

    “They said the UK had, as of Monday, still objected to describing it in language that made it sound as though it was a military command structure or the nucleus of a future EU army, but that compromise wording, which will be published shortly, had now been agreed.”

    Yet, on the 6th.March this year, when PESCO adopted some 17 goals /projects they will want to get involved in, the UK is not cited as a supporting member

    “[1] The participating Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

    Note the absence of Estonia, Norway,Poland and Denmark, and the participation of Cyprus, as a nation entity Malta seems not to take part in this Eurovision contest

    • laguerre

      So what’s your point? Some EU countries may want a unified command structure.

  • James

    Peter Hitchens is right; NATO should have closed down in 1991 when the Warsaw Pact finished.

    And by its eastward expansion it threatens to draw us into needless conflicts.

    If a journalist can see this, why do the politicians struggle so much?

    • Martinned

      Depends on what you think is a “needless conflict”. The only thing NATO can draw us into is the defence of a NATO state, which has happened exactly never. (Art. 5 was invoked after 9/11, but b*tch please, cry me a river.)

      Everything else that people do through NATO, i.e. using NATO infrastructure, is the voluntary choice of each country. All recent NATO actions have had non-participation from a substantial share of NATO member states, so there is no evidence that NATO membership has caused anyone to end up in Iraq/Libya/Syria/wherever when they otherwise wouldn’t have been there.

      • Nick

        If you want to ignore political and diplomatic aspects of the treaty, fine. Your post contains no positive arguments for NATO.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.