by Robert Griffiths
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949 on the basis of a pack of lies.
The people of Britain were told at the time that this military alliance was simply a mutual self-defence pact. It was not aimed at any other country in particular and so did not contravene the Charter of the United Nations.
But it soon became clear that NATO was at the core of a string of US-led military alliances to encircle the Soviet Union, alongside SEATO and CENTO. US, British and NATO forward military bases stretched from Alaska, Canada and Iceland across to Scandinavia, Britain and Western Europe (including fascist Portugal), the Mediterranean, Turkey, the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia, South Korea, Japan and the Pacific. This ensured that Soviet cities could be hit by short and medium range as well as inter-continental nuclear missiles.
When the Soviet Union attempted to site its own short range missiles within striking distance of the US, to defend Cuba in 1962, the White House threatened all-out nuclear war to have them removed.
NATO was set up when the British government was lying about US bombers visiting here on temporary ‘training’ and goodwill purposes’. Some 66 years later, they are still here at US controlled sites originally designated as ‘RAF’ bases to fool the public.
The late 1940s was also the period when the post-war Labour government was developing Britain’s own atomic bomb, an operation initially kept secret from most Cabinet ministers.
From the 1950s, it was claimed that NATO had been formed in order to counter the threat to Western freedoms posed by the Soviet Union and its allies, who had launched an arms race against the West.
Yet the Warsaw Pact was not established until 1955, six years after NATO, and then only because the latter had rearmed and enrolled West Germany in its ranks. Meanwhile, in the arms race, both the atom and hydrogen bombs were developed first by the US, as were nuclear bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Soviet attack on Western Europe never remotely looked like materialising before the Warsaw Pact was would up in 1993. But instead of this being the signal for NATO to dissolve itself, new enemies were invented such as the ‘rogue states’ led by Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Milosevic and the Iranian ayatollahs to justify NATO’s continuation.
NATO forces have since bombed or invaded Bosnia (1992-95), Serbia and Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (from 2002) and Libya (2011).
Breaking pledges given to ex-President Gorbachev, NATO has driven eastwards to the borders of Russia and with new capabilities to hit China. Twelve Soviet and Warsaw Pact states have been enrolled with new US bases also established in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Plans to incorporate Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and the EU have led to civil wars and to military confrontations with Russia. NATO proposals for a European ‘missile defence shield’ in eastern Europe would ensure that it could attack Russia without fear of effective retaliation.
Since the Berlin Plus agreement in 2002, the European Union has become increasingly enmeshed in NATO, reflected in the militarisation programme outlined in the 2007 EU Lisbon Treaty.
Moving into such policy areas as international piracy and cyber crime is designed to extend NATO’s reach across the globe. This same ambition has led to the conclusion of a strategic pact with Colombia, whose right-wing governments act as a Trojan horse for US disruption of anti-imperialist unity in Latin America.
As Communist MP Phil Piratin warned in 1949, far from upholding the authority of the UN, NATO undermines it. Always in line with US foreign policy, NATO picks and chooses which UN decisions to enforce and which to ignore (such the US trade embargo of Cuba or Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories). When the UN fails to fall into line, NATO goes ahead to take military action anyway.
The NATO powers now account for more than 70 per cent of global military spending.
NATO has no democratic structures, nor is it accountable to any. It undermines the UN, promotes militarism and is the world’s single biggest menace to peace and stability.
Britain should withdraw from NATO and the EU to pursue an independent foreign and defence policy which rejects military aggression and nuclear weapons.
Robert Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party and a contributor to 21centurymanifesto
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