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As Increasingly Unpopular NATO Turns 70, Has the Organization Reached its Retirement Age?

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Written by Alan MacLeod; Originally appeared at MintPress

Like a snake shedding its skin, NATO is attempting to rebrand itself in an effort to remain of service to empire, greatly expanding its remit as it did after the fall of the Soviet Union.

As Increasingly Unpopular NATO Turns 70, Has the Organization Reached its Retirement Age?

Protestors march next to giant puppet of U.S. President Donald Trump during a demonstration in Brussels, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Europeans were protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s appearance at a NATO summit, marching through Brussels to plead for less military spending and more public money for schools and clean energy. Geert Vanden Wijngaert | AP

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is currently meeting in Washington to celebrate the military alliance’s 70th birthday. But the occasion is far from festive. This week NATO officials identified China, not Russia, as their number one adversary, signaling a new military buildup against the world’s most populous nation. “China is set to become the subject of the 21st century on both sides of the Atlantic,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated.

The shift in attention to China is a continuation of established U.S. foreign policy. In 2011 President Barack Obama announced an American “pivot to Asia,” entailing the deployment of nearly two-thirds of U.S. naval forces to the region by 2020 and a military buildup that now sees over 400 American military bases — from the Middle East and Afghanistan, to Australia, Guam and Japan — encircling China.

Late last year Vice-President Mike Pence condemned China for its “empire and aggression” in the South China Sea, a comment those familiar with decoding Orwellian political-speak will be alarmed by. More ominously, President Donald Trump has demanded that European NATO members “pull their own weight” inside the organization, a phrase that implies a new arms buildup. It had been reported that Trump was considering withdrawing from NATO. However, it appears from this week’s summit that the possibility has receded as the mercurial president has turned his attention to other matters.

NATO: a history

NATO was officially founded on April 4, 1949, and was originally a collective of 12 North American and Western European states. By 1989 it had expanded somewhat to include Greece, Turkey, West Germany and Spain. Its stated purpose was to counter the possibility of a Soviet invasion of Europe.

The USSR dissolved in 1991, meaning there was no longer any Soviet threat. However, far from disbanding, NATO began to expand drastically, both in its size and scope. This was in complete contrast to what Western officials had promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Secretary of State James Baker had told him that, if the USSR permitted German reunification, NATO would not expand even “one inch to the east.”

Ignoring American promises, NATO has ballooned in size to 29 official member states today, including former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The combined military spending of the organization’s members constitutes around 70 percent of the global total, according to the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research Initiative. However, it is the United States that is by far the dominant partner, spending around as much on war as every other country in the world combined. Trump has also recently floated the possibility of inviting Colombia and Brazil to become member state s as well, officially moving the organization into the global south.

From guard dog to attack dog

In 1999, NATO bombed Russian ally Yugoslavia and carved out a piece of it to form a new country, Kosovo — a state Russia, China, and around half of the world’s nations do not recognize. Since then, the organization has been at the forefront of destabilizing the world through military interventions. In 2001 it attacked and occupied Afghanistan, leading to the country’s devastation and a war ongoing to this day.

The most bellicose NATO members — the U.S. and U.K. — led an invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 based on phony evidence, which resulted in around one million killed and millions more displaced. NATO was formally involved in the occupation by 2004. In 2011 it began bombing Libya, greatly exacerbating a violent civil war that led to the overthrow and extra-judicial execution of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the fall of the most advanced African nation into the hands of jihadists, who now preside over a failed state replete with slave markets.

As Increasingly Unpopular NATO Turns 70, Has the Organization Reached its Retirement Age?

A photo from 2011 shows buildings ravaged in Sirte, Libya where NATO carried out extensive airstrikes. Photo | AP

NATO members like the U.S., U.K., France and the Netherlands have also played key roles in supporting various armed groups in the Syrian Civil War, extending and aggravating the bitter conflict by supporting groups euphemistically described as “moderate rebels” in our press. Any pretense of the organization being a purely defensive one is well and truly over.

The cause of the refugee crisis starts at home

The Mediterranean and Middle East region is beset by a full-blown refugee crisis. This crisis has become a major political issue in Europe and across the world. However, politicians and the media rarely discuss the link between large numbers of displaced people and the West’s wars in precisely those countries. The top three countries of origin of asylum seekers in the EU since 2014 are Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, between 2014 and 2017 nearlyone million Syrians alone applied for asylum in EU member states. In contrast, there is no mass exodus from states such as Iran or Lebanon that NATO has not invaded. In fact Iran hosts around 1 million refugees and Lebanon, a state smaller than Connecticut, holds 1.4 million.

NATO members, particularly the U.S. and U.K., bear prime responsibility for the destruction of the entire region, leading to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. But instead of taking on the responsibility of housing the victims of their wars, political capital has been made of presenting refugees and migrants as a threat that must be stopped. One columnist in Britain’s best-selling newspaper described them as “cockroaches.” Meanwhile, President Trump is continually planting the idea that refugees from Central America are rapists, terrorists or other criminals.

From conventional to cyber warfare

Talk at NATO’s 70th-anniversary meeting is centering on new theaters of confrontation, particularly information warfare. Secretary of State Mike Pompeocalled on the organization to “adapt” to a new digital era and move into cyber warfare. Likewise, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, James Stavridis, declared that in 10 years NATO would be “far more engaged in… cyber security” and would have far greater “offensive cyber capability.”

This is a worrying omen for those concerned with freedom of speech and of the media online. NATO’s offshoot, the Atlantic Council, is already partneringwith Facebook to help the social media giant differentiate between what is “trustworthy” and what is “fake news,” promoting the former while deleting the latter. Forty-five percent of Americans get their news from Facebook, with similar numbers in other countries as well. When an organization headed by Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and ex-CIA directors like Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden is deciding what Americans (and the world) sees and does not see on their feeds, it is tantamount to state censorship.

Changes to Facebook’s algorithm have greatly reduced traffic to progressive and alternative media outlets, such as Common Dreams and MintPress News. This is one reason why, more than ever, alternative media must be supported. The social-media giant has also deleted pages owned by NATO enemies, such as media connected with the Iranian and Venezuelan governments. In contrast, it works closely with the Israeli government to agree on what Palestinian voices it should censor. An Intercept report found that Facebook complied with 95 percent of Israeli requests.

Growing public disenchantment

There appears, however, to be increasing public disillusionment with the organization. A YouGov survey of six key NATO member states (including the U.S.) published this week found that support for the organization was falling, leading to a rising public ambivalence towards it.

As Increasingly Unpopular NATO Turns 70, Has the Organization Reached its Retirement Age?

Fewer than 50 percent of Americans responded that they supported their country’s membership in NATO, as did fewer than 40 percent of French respondents. This ambivalence, however, has not transformed into active opposition, and it is not known whether this is simply part of a trend of growing popular mistrust of public organizations, such as the government or the media.

As NATO reaches its 70th birthday, a growing number of commentators have pondered its uncertain future. “If NATO didn’t exist, would we invent it? I suspect not,” asked MIT political scientist Barry Posen, who called for a re-evaluation of the US role in the organization last month in the New York Times. Perhaps the organization has finally reached its retirement age, given its less-than-exemplary track record of destruction around the world. However, like a snake shedding its skin, NATO is attempting to rebrand itself in an effort to remain of service to empire, greatly expanding its remit as it did after the fall of the Soviet Union. If NATO is to depart the stage, it will likely be because of public pushback against war rather than as a result of the unpredictable decisions of Donald Trump. When all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. The longer it continues the more wars and destruction NATO will cause.

Alan MacLeod is an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

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Pave Way IV

“…A YouGov survey of six key NATO member states (including the U.S.) published this week found that support for the organization was falling, leading to a rising public ambivalence towards it…”

OK, this is a shady but profitable UK-based data pimp that loads its ‘surveys’ with unbiased, non-suggestive questions like “If war broke out tomorrow between NATO countries and Russia, who do you think would be most likely to win?” and “Should [COUNTRY] be willing to use military force if Russia attacks any of the countries listed below?”

This is a sophomoric attempt by YouGov.co.uk to peddle fear porn (disguised as survey data) to conservative UK or neocon US media. And thereon to the MSM’s gullible public audiences – or at least to the MSM’s increasingly small share of those audiences. Except even by the conservative, right-leaning, pro-Israel, pro-NATO, pro-FUKUS YouGov’s biased surveys, NATO is being recognized as a long-useless relic of the Cold War. Russia simply isn’t evil enough to threaten ‘the West’. Damn you, Putin!

Jens Holm

Your reflexions is correct. Debates can be very biased, but we dont have to take that one rapport as wisdom, because we can add others and put them side by side.

That the main thing in free speech. Next is more diffucult : We have to make the best decission. Best for who, what. What do we want for us, others, the world.

But Nato never has been in agreements about all things. Its a hat which by its beginning was made for united own protection against Stalin USSR.

I see Putin in this like a still smaller dwarf. He have no idea about improving even the own living standards. They are only good in ineffective farming, oil, gas and very good missiles.

By that it becomes relevant to better contacts to China, India and smaller but strong ones.

Xoli Xoli

Seventy years of human depopulation.

Jens Holm

It came from doubling in 150 years and we have delivered many millions to emmigration. You might add that.

You also might add we in the same period has 10 times more in GDP.

I dont see why we should be 10 times more skinny ones like in other countries even we have skinny ones here and there too.

Much more like we know are able to decide how many children and dont need 12 each to be alive as oil.

Sinbad2

NATO is the USA and its mini me the UK, the rest are press ganged into serving.
Nnobody likes being press ganged.

Jens Holm

If You look at the military strength, its not like that. Its more like You know nothing better.

You only see the troops OUTSIDE Europe and not even that.

You can find us at Youtubes and other sites telling You, Your level of knowledge is very, very low.

verner

scrap the terror organisation in the pay of moronistan (aka usa)? yeah and yeah should have been done 27 years ago and all this needless killing on behalf of the criminally insane and corrupt junta of washington dc would have been avoided.

Jens Holm

You are a very good reason for, we have Nato.

verner

so idiot – you would view the 50 dead danish soldiers in afghanistan a fair sacrifice – for what? after 18 years of war and no positive outcome, moronistan is trying to disengage from afghanistan and nothing nothing has been accomplished – so 50 dead danish idiots dead for absolutely nothing – fair sacrifice.

Jens Holm

It was made as a defence union against USSR. Thats changed. But we still has to be safe.

The many European countries could not defend them against Germans and later on USSR.

Locally in Western Europe we have to unite and have at least some for that. We also need good communications among each other to keep in peace among each other.

The world has changed too. By that we have at least som representation for us as well against others around the world.

So Nato has to transform.

I amfor the peacefull way as EU does. Here we try to use economics as tool – some might name it as weapons for good reasons.

So we has to renew Nato as forces and keep in line, but i prefare Nato troops for EU troops.

I also are for we with troops should protect Eastern Europe. The Russians syill not allove themselves to see, they are not masters in very much and certainly not are ginns, poles, estnians a.s.o. That includes Ukrainians even things there is not improved.

Thats what I think as some John Wayne.

We cant pinpoint new targets, but have to be strong to stay united as well as having some reserve for the rest of the world. Some might forget, many of us already are out in the rest of the world.

Many ignore us and only mention USA, France and GB. But we actually are there and are “many” small.

Jens Holm

NATO should NEVER listen to enemies like You. NEVER.

Zionism = EVIL

NATO is a collection of occupied faggots. Enough said, it is irrelevant!

paul ( original )

I think it is quite possible that over time NATO will become ‘semi-detached’ from the Western European powers and simultaneously become more embedded with the Eastern European powers. In effect NATO will move east. This process will only be accelerated if the EU develops its own army ( God help us if it does).The USA is unlikely to give up on its determination to encircle Russia. This it will do with or without NATO.

Sinbad2
verner

going back in time (in my mind) I can’t think of one single incident that nato has been involved in that has been to the good for mankind — the only beneficiaries of nato’s existence is lockheed-martin and such arms manufacturers and the corrupt politicians being dripfed the profits from their political activites – not really a bribe when it’s paid after the politician has retired from his political career but as a result of the political decisions having been taken. shameful.

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