By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, join all freedom-loving and anti-imperialist forces all over the world in condemning the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the main US-led military alliance serving the interests of the imperialists, especially US imperialism, willfully and wantonly committing war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in its wars of aggression and military occupation against sovereign states and peoples.
Today, 19 November, the Heads of State or Government of the NATO member-states shall meet in Lisbon, Portugal for the NATO summit. High on the agenda is the launching of the NATO New Strategic Concept, which is expected to redefine NATO’s thrusts mainly along the lines of the US imperialist interests and geopolitical designs.
From its establishment in 1949, NATO has worn the thin pretense of being a regional alliance with the noble mission of preserving the liberty of the people of its member states and protecting democracy against the threat and inroads of totalitarianism. In truth, it has always been an awkward grouping of western imperialist powers — allied in their goal of containing socialism, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc but wary of each other and competing among themselves for dominance and getting the most benefit from the alliance.
The end of the Cold War in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and East European regimes would have dissolved the reason for NATO’s existence and brought about its demise. Instead, NATO has redefined itself and expanded to its present 28 member countries with the addition of most East European states and former Soviet Republics, formerly members of the rival Warsaw Pact. With the ascension of the US as the world’s lone superpower and its unabashed self-proclamation as the “policeman of the world”, US imperialism invoked the NATO charter to harness the alliance’s support for its wars of aggression and intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s.
In concert with the British, Bush the senior launched the first US war of aggression against Iraq in 1991 and proclaimed a new world order. The US-led “war on terror” launched by Bush the junior after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 further involved the NATO in imperialist wars of aggression and occupation outside Europe. While Bush the junior and his fellow neoconservatives arrogantly invoked a unilateralist approach in waging war, financial and political constraints due to the crisis-ridden US economy and the widespread exposure and condemnation of the “war on terror” as an unjust and illegal war of aggression have compelled the US to rely increasingly on its NATO allies to pursue and sustain its drive for global hegemony and dominance.
NATO undertook a military mission outside Europe for the first time in 2003 and became a willing partner-in-crime with the US in Afghanistan when it took command of the International Security Assistance Force, as mandated by the UN Security Council. Since then, the ISAF has been increasingly involved in combat operations throughout Afghanistan, backing up the 95,000 US troops with 55,000 troops from 26 NATO member states, 10 partner and 2 non-NATO/non-partner countries. NATO troops and warplanes operate from military bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Every month, 50,000 of these US and other NATO troops pass by the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan on their way to and from Afghanistan. Russia and China, apparently threatened by these, have been pushing Kyrgyzstan to close the Manas Transit Center.
Last Sept 2008, the United Nations Organization (UNO) and NATO signed an agreement to establish “a framework for consultation and dialogue and cooperation”. The two agreed to “further develop the cooperation between our organizations on issues of common interest, in, but not limited to, communication and information-sharing, including on issues pertaining to the protection of civilian populations; capacity-building, training and exercises; lessons learned, planning and support for contingencies; and operational coordination and support.” This agreement, which the UN tried to keep secret, has drawn criticism and condemnation for bringing the UNO, whose mandate is to preserve peace, into a framework of patently military cooperation with NATO. In fact it betrays the true nature of the UNO and NATO as machineries for imperialist aggression and plunder masquerading as instruments of peace, security and progress.
The New Strategic Concept which will be launched in the NATO Lisbon Summit which starts today is certain to extol the NATO’s purported achievements in preserving the peace not only in Europe and North America but globally as well. It will describe the “new environment” of missile defense, conventional defense needs and unconventional wars vs terrorist threats, cyber attacks, threatened energy sources, climate change, and so on. Predictably, it will push for increasing and upgrading its deployable forces such as the NATO Response Force, ensuring the member countries’ contributions, increasing military actions and interventions in order to secure energy sources, communications and transport lines, protect their citizens, anticipate, deter and defeat enemy attacks, etc.
While the NATO and particularly the US will certainly brandish and flaunt and their military strength and superiority, the NATO Summit is bound to reveal the increasing difficulties of the US and other imperialists in pursuing their collective and individual interests. Their inter-imperialist contradictions will surely come to the fore as a result of continuing global economic depression and growing protests and resistance from peoples all over the world.
We the ILPS join the anti-imperialist and peace-loving formations such as the World Peace Council in strongly condemning NATO’s existence as an illegal and criminal regional military alliance that has further degenerated into a willing accomplice, lackey and back-up force for US imperialism. We likewise denounce the European Union (EU) for subordinating itself to the US-dictated NATO political and military line, and the UNO for its inability to enforce its Charter with respect to the US and NATO’s willful and blatant violations.
In the final analysis, it is the growing concerted actions of the world’s people that will weaken the US and other imperialist powers and bring about the emancipation of humanity from oppression and exploitation.