Foreign Policy nato Vijay Prashad

The World Does Not Want a Global NATO

Most of the world rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs, writes Vijay Prashad.
Fuyuko Matsui, Japan, “Becoming Friends with All the Children of the World,” 2004.

By Vijay Prashad / Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

The fragility of Europe’s energy supply has once again been on display in recent months. Gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany, were reduced to 40 percent of capacity in June, a cut that Moscow said was due to delays in the servicing of a turbine by the German firm Siemens.

Shortly thereafter, on July 11, the pipeline was taken offline for 10 days for annual routine maintenance. Despite receiving assurances from Moscow that the supply would resume as scheduled, European leaders expressed fear that the shutdown would continue indefinitely in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

On July 21, the flow of Russian gas into Europe resumed. Klaus Müller, the head Germany’s energy regulator, said that gas flows through Nord Stream 1 were below pre-maintenance levels during the first few hours of resumption, though they have now returned to 40 percent capacity.

European anxieties related to energy supply are linked to fears amongst the region’s governments of further instability in the Eurozone.

On the same day that Nord Stream 1 resumed operations, Italy’s Mario Draghi resigned as prime minister, the latest in a dramatic series of resignations by heads of government in Bulgaria, Estonia and the United Kingdom. Resistance from Europe to a peace agreement with Russia comes alongside recognition that trade with Russia is inevitable.

At No Cold War, an international platform seeking to bring sanity to international relations, we have been closely observing the shifting tenor of the war in Ukraine and the U.S.-driven pressure campaign against China.

We have published three previous briefings from this platform in our newsletters; below, you will find briefing No. 4The World Does Not Want a Global NATO, which details the emerging clarity in the Global South regarding the U.S.-European attempt to drive a belligerent agenda around the world.

This new clarity relates not only to the militarisation of the planet, but also to the deepening conflicts in trade and development, as evidenced by the G7’s new initiative, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Development, which clearly targets China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In June, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) gathered in Madrid for their annual summit. At the meeting, NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. In it, NATO names Russia as its “most significant and direct threat” and singles out China as a “challenge [to] our interests.” In the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this guiding document represents a “fundamental shift” for the military alliance, its “biggest overhaul… since the Cold War.”

Monroe Doctrine for the 21st Century?

Although NATO purports to be a “defensive” alliance, this claim is contradicted by its destructive legacy – such as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Libya (2011) – and its ever-expanding global footprint.

At the summit, NATO made it clear that it intends to continue its global expansion to confront Russia and China. Seemingly oblivious to the immense human suffering produced by the war in Ukraine, NATO declared that its “enlargement has been a historic success… and contributed to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” and extended official membership invitations to Finland and Sweden.

However, NATO’s sights extend far beyond the “Euro-Atlantic” to the Global South. Seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, NATO welcomed Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as summit participants for the first time and stated that “the Indo-Pacific is important for NATO.”

On top of this, echoing the Monroe Doctrine (1823) of two hundred years ago, the Strategic Concept named “Africa and the Middle East” as “NATO’s southern neighbourhood,” and Stoltenberg made an ominous reference to “Russia and China’s increasing influence in [the Alliance’s] southern neighbourhood” as presenting a “challenge.”

Pavel Pepperstein, Russia, “Grandfather and Grandmother Are Long Gone,” 2013.

Most of World Seeks Peace

Although NATO’s member states may believe that they possess global authority, the overwhelming majority of the world does not. The international response to the war in Ukraine indicates that a stark divide exists between the United States and its closest allies on the one hand and the Global South on the other.

Governments representing 6.7 billion people – 85 percent of the world’s population – have refused to follow sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies against Russia, while countries representing only 15 percent of the world’s population have followed these measures. According to Reuters, the only non-Western governments to have enacted sanctions on Russia are Japan, South Korea, the Bahamas and Taiwan – all of which host U.S. military bases or personnel.

There is even less support for the push to close airspace to Russian planes spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union. Governments representing only 12 percent of the world’s population have adopted this policy, while 88 percent have not.

U.S.-led efforts to politically isolate Russia on the international stage have been unsuccessful. In March, the U.N. General Assembly voted on a nonbinding resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 141 countries voted in favour, five countries voted against, 35 countries abstained and 12 countries were absent. However, this tally does not tell the full story. The countries which either voted against the resolution, abstained, or were absent represent 59 percent of the world’s population. Following this, the Biden administration’s call for Russia to be excluded from the G20 summit in Indonesia was ignored.

Tadesse Mesfin, Ethiopia, “Pillars of Life: Harmony,” 2018.

Meanwhile, despite intense backing from NATO, efforts to win support for Ukraine in the Global South have been a complete failure. On June 20, after several requests, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the African Union; only two heads of state of the continental organisation’s 55 members attended the meeting. Shortly thereafter, Zelensky’s request to address the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur, was rejected.

It is clear that NATO’s claim to be “a bulwark of the rules-based international order” is not a view which is shared by most of the world. Support for the military alliance’s policies is almost entirely confined to its member countries and a handful of allies which together constitute a small minority of the world’s population. Most of the world’s population rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs.

BahadIr Gokay, Turkey, “Evvel” or “Before,” 2013.

In 1955, 10 years after the U.S. dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima (Japan), the Turkish poet Nâzim Hikmet wrote a poem in the voice of a 7-year-old girl who died in that terrible act. The poem was later translated into Japanese by Nobuyuki Nakamoto as “Shinda Onnanoko” (“Dead Girl”) and frequently sung in commemorations of that atrocity. Given the harshness of war and the escalation of conflict, it is worthwhile to reflect once more on Hikmet’s beautiful, haunting lyrics:

I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread.
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven, although I died
In Hiroshima long ago.
I’m seven now as I was then.
When children die, they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by swirling flame.
My eyes grew dim; my eyes grew blind.
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice.
I need no sweets, nor even bread.
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of the world
May live and grow and laugh and play.

Vijay Prashad
Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power.

8 comments

  1. Thank you Vijay, you are right on the mark! NATO needs to be disbanded in the interest of not just peace but human survival. The lies it and western governments have engaged in are criminal as is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, NATO is responsible for this mess as is western contempt for Russia and its people.

  2. EVIL RUSSIA, CHINA REVEAL U.S. SHINING GOODNESS

    Okay, Russia and China are “bad.” How would this assumption change anything for people in the US or anywhere else?

    –Would corporations experience sudden moral awakening? Would they go green and revive local industry with fair wages? Would the MIC see the error of its ways and commit to the peace dividend?

    –Would western Europe decline petroleum with evil origins? Would the US? Or does that label only apply to whomever is the enemy bad guy flavor of the month, never to allies?

    –Would the US become an example of responsible goodness by acknowledging its own shady origins, foregoing the use of torture, and supporting on its own Bill of Rights? Will it enforce a true free press, quit spying on its own citizens, and reward heroic whistleblowers?

    Proof? If I can get past the airborne swine, I’ll enter that nearby fundamentalist portal to hell in S.F.’s Castro district to check for icicles.

  3. while the current senile fascist installed by emperor gates possesses a low approval rating, poll published 10 days ago finds that 65% Americans, mostly liberals admire NATO…devoid US funding NATO could not exist

    1. Giligan, and USA’s funding depends on the continuous strength of US$$.
      It will not last forever, much like the British Empire, the Yankee Empire will fade as all Empires will eventually collapse.
      The Roman Empire’s most devastating whammy was the volcanic eruptions, likely Mount Karkato, and Okmok.
      Our present crisis is mega droughts and the most precious resource—- water.
      Also, not only deadly heat but it is warming up many old and new viruses previously frozen.
      If we cannot even tolerate a simple vaccine for covid, we have no chance for a multitude of varieties of viruses.
      Constant lock downs (China) are not the solution and makes it worse eventually.
      Nato is irrelevant to Nature and viruses but takes away funding necessary for health and clean water.

  4. A “Global NATO” would be a “Global EMPIRE”, as William Robinson first diagnosed in his 2014 “Global Capitalist and the Crisis of Humanity”

    STRATEGY!!!!! NOT MONEY —— wins elections — and the most important thing is that you won’t have to LIE, by not saying anything about this effin EMPIRE being the SEMINAL CAUSE OF ALL ‘ISSUES’

    Since the current dual-party system has imploded into a virtual ‘fixed’ Empire, we should shift to a new two-party system — with the current right of center, corporate Democratic Party, being replaced by a new and true, left of center Social Democratic Party — which raises the question of what to do with the BOP Republican Party?

    As all our founders understood from their ‘deep reading’ of Roman history, “The disease of Republics is Empire”, so the current non-functional Empire-diseased Party should be removed — as should be done with any cancer, and the political system should be cured into a truly modern and healthy Social Democratic Party, as should have been done 78 years ago, in 1944, near the certain end of the Second World War of Empires, when FDR’s brilliant VP, socially responsible Democrat, Henry Wallace, was the first-round 60%+ winner at the Democratic Party Convention.

    While history was retarded for those past 78 years, it doesn’t mean that ‘we the American people’ should have to wait another 78 years, until the year 2100 — to get out from under the oppression and lies of living under a virtual Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal and ‘War-Starting’ EMPIRE.

    Hey, BARACK, can I just ask you one quick question? — and don’t spare my feelings.

    What’s the only difference between our dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy and the Taliban?

    Superior Propaganda and the ability to consistently PING PONG back and forth between these two effin crooked corrupt and “Quiet American” EMPIRE Parties.

    Christopher, Ralph, Bernie, AOC, et. al.— I can tell that you are really and justifiably raging that $50B, $100B, and even over $800B of ‘give away’ money to this damned socio-political and economic ’System’ is being squandered. When monies are so desperately needed for our people and our world.

    But, HEY,, —— you just gotta WAKE-UP to the FACT and understand that this SYSTEM is an EMPIRE. OPEN your eyes and nose and SEE and SMELL the stinckin’ EMPIRE:

    Please Wake-Up to the EMPIRE.

    PLEASE READ BELOW RALPH & BERNIE
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Only Mass Peaceful Protest Against EMPIRE can win in destroying the fascist ‘Pro-Empire’ Republican Party in 2022 — which could lead easily to destroying this faux-Democratic corporate Party in 2024.

    Then, instead of having TWO ‘Pro-Empire’ Parties we can progress to a seriously progressive and one United ‘Anti-Empire’ democratic socialist party — which was within sight, nearing a century ago, in 1944, with FDR’s brilliant socialist VP, Henry Wallace, who was torpedoed in America’s first coup, orchestrated by the OSS & DNC, and which even Albert Einstein’s 1949 letter, “Why Socialism?” sent to the little gutless haberdasher and captive un-Truman corporate faux-President — in the fabulously revealing book “Double Government” [Michael Glennon] which he exposed in his book of the same name.

    Today, we’re way beyond the 1960’s era/error of just ‘Anti-War’ actions to have any chance of saving ‘our world’ — only a visionary ‘Anti-Empire’ movement powered by: “bend the long arc of history toward” survival.

    LOVE
    Over
    Violent
    Empire

    This tightened little message can be read both ways, Horizontally or Vertically, cute, eh?

    With the recent ‘passing on’ of any nuclear “Bomb Power” [Gary Wills 2010] , the current power of ‘superior propaganda’ has become the most powerful destructive weapon on earth in this our worldly Empire:

    Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal Child-Killing & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses" [Kurt Andersen] — which hides Empire behind their totally corrupted dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy.

  5. NATO is the American Empire`s way of getting other Nations to Fight their Wars, No American Body Bags, No Voter Backlash. The Empire can supply the “Tools of Death” and Not get Shot at.

    1. . hall,
      They deserves their pain for being so stupid.
      And they will never learn even when war refugees are crashing their borders.
      Maybe Victor O should be complaining about USA’s numerous unnecessary Mid east wars that created Muslim refugees, instead of Mixed races in Europe.
      Putin could use these refugees as a weapon to force a compromise. For people like Victor, it is a fate worse than death…. Example the French votes for anti immigrants.

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