By Tom Mayer
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was founded in April 1949 as a military alliance to protect Western European countries against aggression by the Soviet Union.Â Â NATO originally had 12 members including Canada and the United States.Â Â The first Secretary-General of NATO said that its goal was â€œto keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans downâ€.Â Â However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, NATO did not close shop.Â Â On the contrary, it expanded and became even more contentious.Â Â NATO now has 29 members, 12 of whom were formerly associated with the Soviet Bloc.Â Â Â The expanded NATO alliance apparently wants to surround nuclear armed Russia with military bases and anti-ballistic missile sites.
The failure of NATO to disband after the collapse of the Soviet Union is not surprising.Â Â The United States has always been the dominant member of NATO, which has consistently functioned as a military agent of U.S. world domination.Â Â This outcome was manifest in the very formation of the NATO alliance.Â Â In 1949 (and for many years thereafter) the Soviet Union was still recuperating from the devastating effects of World War Two in which it lost 13% of its population and most of its industrial plant.Â Â Moscow had neither the intention nor the capacity to invade Western Europe.
But NATO provided enduring legal sanction for de-facto U.S. military control of Western Europe and beyond.Â Â Â It was also a military shield for European capitalism.Â Â After World War Two, strong leftist movements existed in several Western European countries.Â Â NATO enabled U.S. armed forces to intimidate and/or suppress any anti-capitalist revolutionary movements in the region.Â Â It also allowed the United States to circumvent (and hence weaken) the United Nations, over which Washington never exercised complete control.
NATO is a dangerous, harmful, and thoroughly unnecessary force in the contemporary world.Â Â It creates fear and insecurity rather than well-being and political stability.Â Â Instead of preserving peace, it increases the likelihood of war.Â Â NATO divides our world into hostile military alliances reminiscent of the antagonistic coalitions that fostered World War One.Â Â Moreover, the NATO alliance constitutes a lucrative subsidy to weapons producing industries and hence a huge theft from billions of needy human beings.
A passionate denunciation of NATO is given by Dennis J. Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (1994-98): â€œNATO as it expands today is absolutely not what the world of struggling economies and deprived populations require. It is nothing, but a negative force. It is undermining an already fragile United Nations. NATO has not been appointed policeman for the globe. It is self-serving, lacks integrity, has demonstrated its leadership cannot be trusted and creates nothing positive. It only yields destruction and human poverty, insecurity and misery.Â NATO must be abolished!â€Î¦
Tom Mayer writes a column titled “Peace Train” for the ColoradoDaily.com.