What’s So Great About NATO? Not a Goddamn Thing!

(Unless You’re Fighting to Preserve a World of Exploitation, Domination, and Horrors)

July 8, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



Donald Trump is getting near universal praise in the U.S. establishment, including from some vociferous critics, for uttering some more forthright words of support for NATO. In his speech in Poland, Trump praised this U.S.-European military alliance, reaffirmed NATO's Article 5 committing all members to go to war if any are attacked, and criticized Russia’s “destabilizing” activities in Ukraine and support for the governments of Iran and Syria.

Why all these kudos? Trump’s criticisms of and lukewarm support for NATO, while hesitating to criticize Russia, have been a big flashpoint of struggle within the ruling class between the Trump/Pence fascists who are bent on radically reshaping America, including in some ways its relationship to the rest of the world, and those imperialists who want to preserve the existing structures and world order, including NATO, because it has been a key U.S. tool for dominating the post-World War 2 global order.

Expressing this latter perspective, former CBS anchor Dan Rather, who has written stinging criticisms of Trump for attacking the press and trampling on the rule of law, tweeted: “President Trump pro-NATO speech in Poland is the best of his Presidency” and “Trump Poland speech reverses previous statements questioning value of NATO. And first time he has been so critical of Russia.” As if Trump may have finally “come to his senses” and would become a more “normal” imperialist marauder. Fat chance, Dan.

What’s So Good About NATO for Humanity?

Praise NATO? This 29-country, U.S.-dominated military alliance was formed after World War 2 to surround and threaten the socialist camp, that existed at the time, headed by the Soviet Union and China.1 From the start, NATO has always reserved for itself the “right” to use nuclear weapons first to advance its imperialist interests! NATO’s formation was part of the forging of the American-led “European alliance” by the U.S. rulers and the CIA working with a cabal of former Nazis, fascists, and other reactionaries, many of whom became prominent officials in post-war Europe. One of this alliance’s first moves was launching vicious and very heavy reactionary attacks against communist parties in Europe which, while already heavily weighed down with non-revolutionary, revisionist lines, were nonetheless seen as obstacles to the U.S. domination of the continent.

Today, NATO countries, with the U.S. leading the way, together spend nearly $1 trillion a year—more than half the world’s military spending—on instruments of death and destruction in service of Western imperialism.

Led by the U.S., NATO talks about “keeping the peace” and “humanitarian work” but what does it actually do?

For decades, the U.S. bloc faced off with the former Soviet Union (by the mid-1950s an imperialist state) and its Warsaw Pact bloc of countries—nose-to-nose, nuke-to-nuke in Europe. Both sides were armed to the teeth, threatening humanity with a nuclear holocaust. NATO was right in the thick of it and nukes are still its “core component” and “supreme” guarantor.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, did NATO turn its swords into plowshares? No, it aggressively recruited former Warsaw Pact countries into its ranks and moved its weapons right to Russia’s border, heightening the tensions and rivalry between U.S.-NATO and Russian imperialism. Now NATO is flying “air policing missions” and installing U.S. Patriot “defense” missiles in Eastern Europe, again threatening the world.

NATO’s crimes haven’t been limited to Europe by any stretch of the imagination. NATO deployed aircraft to Turkey in 1990 and 1991 in support of the U.S.’s massive Persian Gulf War invasion of Iraq, an imperialist slaughter which left 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis dead. In the 1990s, as the former Yugoslavia was splitting apart, the U.S. and NATO forces, deployed in the name of humanitarianism, indiscriminately bombed farmers, suburbanites, city dwellers, factory workers, reporters, diplomats, people in cars, buses and trains, hospital patients, the elderly, and children, to extend Western imperialist control. NATO forces remain in Kosovo to this day.

When the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001, NATO was right with them, and remains there nearly 16 years and hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect deaths later, its bombs having obliterated wedding parties, farming villages, people walking to visit neighbors or relatives.

In 2011, NATO’s seven-month bombing campaign to topple the government of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi led to a reactionary bloodbath that left between 10,000 and 50,000 dead, and turned Libya into a nightmarish battlefield between jihadist, warlord, and imperialist forces, making life hell for millions of Libyans.


In 2016, as thousands of migrants were fleeing across the Mediterranean to escape famine, war, poverty, and persecution, NATO sent warships to the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey—not to rescue them, but to discourage further migration and perhaps position military forces nearer Russia and the Middle East.

All of NATO’s war making—and “peacekeeping”—has been aimed at maintaining a world of Western imperialist, especially U.S. imperialist, global exploitation and domination that confines billions to lives of degradation, brutality, and endless poverty, defending a system which is now shredding Earth’s thin life-supporting membranes.

Why are these crimes and war crimes any less criminal, or these horrors any less horrible, because the U.S. teams up with allies rather than “going it alone”? Since when is a gang of criminals less threatening than an individual thug? Isn’t ganging up called racketeering?

What’s so good about NATO? Not a goddamn thing! It’s a bloody nightmare for humanity!

People should hate Trump because he’s a fascist—not because he doesn’t support the blood-soaked NATO alliance enough! And we need to drive the whole Trump/Pence fascist regime from power—but not to return to the “normal” world of imperialist pillage and mass slaughter! Praising Trump for supporting NATO and confronting the rival imperialists in Russia is fighting to maintain a predatory world order that was NEVER GREAT and that’s now fracturing at the seams. We need to go forward to fight for a world without capitalism-imperialism, and the nightmares its “normal” workings visit on billions and the planet.

No one with any heart for the people should want to preserve that. Stop thinking like Americans, people, and start thinking about humanity!

1. For more on this, see the interview with Raymond Lotta: You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future” [back]



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