Global NATO: A 70-Year Alliance of Oppressors in Crisis

Image Source: Donarreiskoffer – CC BY SA 3.0

On the Limits of  Military Management of the International System


The celebration of NATO’s 70 years of existence provides another opportunity to unearth the real history of the ideas, practices and destruction wrought by this military alliance. Even with the clear exposure of the cooperation between NATO, the CIA and the British MI6 to spread terror and psychological warfare in Europe immediately after the formation of this military alliance, the mainstream media, academics and policy makers remain silent on activities of the ‘stay behind armies’ and ‘false flag’ operations that distorted the real causes of insecurity in the world after 1945. The evidence of the manipulations of the peoples of the world to ensure the continued survival of NATO has been well documented in the fraudulent interventions and bombings in the Balkans right up the present multiple wars against the peoples of Iran.

Vijay Prashad had identified NATO as the prime defender of the Atlantic project. This Atlantic project, he noted was, “a fairly straightforward campaign by the propertied classes to maintain or restore their position of dominance.” This Atlantic Project was anchored in the military alliance called NATO with its principal work, that of reversing the South Project; the struggles for peace bread and justice by the poorer citizens of the planet, especially those who had emerged on the world stage after the decolonization of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

The ostensive reason for the founding of NATO was to ‘thwart’ Soviet aggression, but in practice the organization was a prop for western capital and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, became the core prop for Wall Street. In this year, there will be many commentaries on the fact that the existence of NATO reflects a Cold War relic, that NATO is obsolete and lost its mandate, but very few will link the expansion of NATO to the military management of the international system. Prior to 1991, the planners of NATO could justify the existence of NATO on ideological and political grounds, but with the threat of a multi polar world and the diminution of the dollar, NATO expanded to the point where this author joined with others in labelling this organization Global NATO to reflect its current imperial mandate. The Global thrust of NATO now comprises 29 members from Europe and North America along with 41 ‘partners’ that had started off  under the banner of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) in 1991. Since that time, NATO has launched a lengthy war without end in Afghanistan, colluded in the destruction of Iraq and conspired with militarists to forge ‘Partnership for Peace’ (with most members of the former Warsaw Pact states). The core 29 members are now enmeshed with treaties and undertakings from states involved in the Mediterranean Dialog and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. There are also the ‘partners’ from across the globe: Afghanistan, Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan. This enlargement served the military purposes of encircling China and Russia who military planners in the West targeted.

There is no shortage of literature on NATO and its milestones, but very few have documented the real crimes of this global network of anticommunist operatives who precipitated real terror and psychological warfare against the citizens of Europe and North America while supporting mass atrocities from Algeria to Indonesia, and South Africa. Books such as that of NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe by Danielle Ganser and The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, by Stephen Kinzer used rigorous research techniques to uncover the dark history of NATO. These two books can be distinguished from the bland international relations texts that discusses NATO inside the old calculations of ‘strategy,’ ‘concert of democracies’, ‘security cooperation’ and the balance of power,’ and spheres of influence. Most recently, this IR rendering of the history of NATO has been served up in a document entitled, NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis. Published by Harvard University with one of the coauthors being a former US ambassador to NATO. This document spelt out ten challenges.[1] However, in a testimony before Congress, Nicolas Burns boiled down the challenge of NATO to one objective; that the current role of NATO must be to contain Russia and China.[2]  On the day before the actual 70thanniversary, on April 3, the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered an address to a joint session of the US Congress advocating an expansion of the alliance while promoting a military buildup against Russia. [3] European progressives will have to reflect deeply on whether the current sanctions regime and the special propose vehicle called the  Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), is ushering in another round of inter imperialist rivalry reminiscent of the currency wars of 1929-1939. Then, the shifting alliances yielded confusion among working peoples who ultimately went to fight against each other in Europe, spreading barbarism throughout the world, from Auschwitz to Hiroshima.

The continued struggles for bread, peace and justice ensure that it is only the authoritarian leaders from the Global South who are compromised on the real meaning of the existenceof NATO. In the present era, there is a new capitalist competition while North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) serves as an integral part of the Pentagon’s world command structure. Recent experiences have demonstrated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya that the moguls of Wall Street are willing to wage as many wars, to destroy as many countries and to kill as many people as necessary to achieve the dominance of US capitalism. The destruction of Libya was a classic example of the convergence of finance as warfare, the weaponization of information and incessant bombing to destroy a society. Where at the start of NATO the war scare was the propaganda method, In the current digital age, brain hacking and  the engineering of smart phones have placed the giant technology firms of Apple , Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook at the forefront of the new weapons platform of NATO and Wall Street.   This analysis is in three parts spelling out the rationale for the call for all progressive forces to join together to concentrate their energies in the dismantling of NATO.

NATO at Birth: Stay behind armies, directed terrorist organizations and psychological warfare against Europeans.

In the period after the fall of the Berlin Wall there were major press reports on the role of NATO’s stay behind armies that had been operating inside Western Europe since 1949.Ten years earlier, when the kidnapping and killing of the former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro rocked western Europe, it emerged that his demise had been authored byclandestine paramilitary network code-named “Operation Gladio” that was a false flag operation of NATO.  Danielle Ganser’s book, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe had meticulously documented how NATO funded and often even directed terrorist organizations throughout Europe in what was termed a “strategy of tension” with the aim of preventing a rise of the left in Western European politics. NATO’s “secret armies” engaged in subversive and criminal activities in several countries.

In the specific case of Italy, Aldo Moro had committed the unforgivable crime of contemplating a government that included Italians who belonged to the Italian Communist Party Right from the start of the Cold war, the CIA and MI6 had worked closely with former fascists to oppose citizens and organizations in Western Europe that were anti-capitalists. Under the leadership of US planners such as Allen Dulles, William Colby, Frank Wisner and later James Angleton, these operatives weaned and nursed a network of agents and secret arms dumps across Europe, a network that would remain secret but active throughout the Cold War. [4] Ganser elaborated on the extensive operations of Operation Gladio all across Europe with the explicit aim of subverting the democratic wishes of European citizens who were opposed to oppression. It is worth quoting at length the role of the secret armies.

“NATO’s “secret armies” engaged in subversive and criminal activities in several countries. In Turkey in 1960, the stay behind army, working with the army, staged a coup d’état and killed Prime Minister Adnan Menderes; in Algeria in 1961, the French stay-behind army staged a coup with the CIA against the French government of Algiers, which ultimately failed; in 1967, the Greek stay-behind army staged a coup and imposed a military dictatorship; in 1971 in Turkey, after a military coup, the stay-behind army engaged in “domestic terror” and killed hundreds; in 1977 in Spain, the stay behind army carried out a massacre in Madrid; in 1980 in Turkey, the head of the stay behind army staged a coup and took power; in 1985 in Belgium, the stay behind attacked and shot shoppers randomly in supermarkets, killing 28; in Switzerland in 1990, the former head of the Swiss stay behind wrote the US Defense Department he would reveal “the whole truth,” and was found the next day stabbed to death with his own bayonet; and in 1995, England revealed that the MI6 and SAS helped set up stay behind armies across Western Europe.”[5]

The mainstream media and University commentaries have not been able to confront this history in so far as the manipulation and deception that gave rise to the birth of NATO is still at work against the citizens of Europe and the United States.

War Scare, NATO and psychological warfare against the citizens of Europe and North America.

At the end of World War II, the defense Industries in the USA had been faced with the choice of conversion and retooling the factories that made weapons or continue the massive subsidies for the industries vested in military and armaments production. The choice was eventually made to embark on a propaganda war scare to justify the need for an expanded army and it was in this context when NATO was conceived. To sustain the WW II armaments enterprise, there needed to be a cycle of war scare and the fabrication and inflation of threats and enemies. It was in this context that Lawrence D. Bell, President of Bell Aircraft Corporation, in a statement to the U.S. Air Policy Commission Finletter Commission) on September 29, 1947, stated that “as soon as there is a war scare, there is a lot of money available.” [6]  According to Andrew Cockburn,

“The aircraft corporations that had garnered enormous profits during the war on the back of government contracts had discovered by 1947 that peace was ruinous. Despite initial high hopes, the commercial marketplace was proving a far harsher and less accommodating environment than that of wartime, especially as there were far more companies than required by the peacetime economy. Orders from the civilian airline industry never lived up to expectations, while efforts to diversify into other products, including dishwashers and stainless steel coffins, proved disappointing and costly.” [7]

In the spring of 1948, the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal and top officials of the Harry Truman administration began to sound alarm about a looming Soviet attack against Western Europe. It is now known, from declassified documents, that the officials were aware that there was no credible evidence to back up their war scare. Some analysts have argued that the war scare of 1948 was devised to save the aircraft manufacturing industry from plunging into bankruptcy. And this goal was achieved. In the book Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948, Frank Kofsky states thatwithin 2 months of the emergence of the scare, the Trumanadministration revamped the aircraft industry by embarking on a 57% increase in purchase of military aircraft, and the total budget of the Pentagon was increased by 30%.

NATO was born on April 4, 1949 out of this propaganda war to deceive the US citizens about a pending attack of the Soviet Union on Western Europe. The task of organizing the deception of the citizens of the West was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency. There are now so many books and articles on the role of the CIA in deception, propaganda and psychological warfare that we will not spend a great deal of time on the role of the Covert agencies in giving legitimacy to the idea of a Soviet threat. Stephen Kinzer and David Talbot are two writers who have documented extensively how the Dulles brothers ensnared every major profession in the USA in this deception. [8] It was especially chilling how Universities were suborned to be surrogates for this psychological warfare. Noam Chomsky has dealt with this aspect of the period of the birth of NATO in the work on the Universities and the Cold War.[9]

Racists and anticommunists in the propaganda war

It was not by accident that the thinkers and planners of these secret operations were known racists and Nazi sympathizers. Frank Wisner who hailed from Mississippi in the USA was a good example of the upright US citizen who was an architect of the false flag operations and the deception associated with NATO and western intelligence agencies. After the War, in 1948 Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects. Soon afterwards under the direction of Allen Dulles, this Office of Special Projects was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Later James Jesus Angleton was to take this brand of counter intelligence work to the highest levels of state assassinations. Wisner had been mandated  told to create an organization that concentrated on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.” It was from this opaque sounding name of Office of Policy Coordination where the brainwashing and virulent anti-communism of the Cold War era was refined. Evan Thomas reported in The Very Best Men: the Daring Early Days of the CIA, the OPC’s charter gave it responsibility for “propaganda, economic warfare; preventative direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”

NATO as the principal prop for international capitalism today.

In the celebratory events to memorialize the founding of NATO in 1949, it is usually forgotten that when the North American Treaty was signed in April 1949 most of the founding members were colonial overlords. Colonialism and imperialism took a new form under the leadership of US capitalists defending the dollar and Wall Street. At that historical moment in 1949, the justification for starting this organization was that it constituted a system of collective defense whereby its member states agreed to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. The external party in question at that time was the USSR; insofar as NATO had been formed as an alliance ostensibly to defend Western Europe against ‘communist expansion’. In the Treaty’s renowned Article 5, the new Allies agreed “an armed attack against one or more of them… shall be considered an attack against them all.”

The US military and industrial leaders studied the terror and propaganda tactics of the Nazis in order to learn the lessons of how to develop an efficient military machine. James Whitman in the book, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Lawoutlined what the fascists had learnt from the eugenics movement in the United States.[10]  Although many anti-fascist scientists from Germany had found a place in the US academy, the top planners of the Cold War linked the US primacy to the global history of racism to the efficient, bureaucratic and professionalism of conservative Germany.

One of the unspoken aspects of the first years of NATO was the question of containing the possible revolutionary impulses of the German working peoples. To forestall such a possibility, the thinkers and planners of NATO collaborated with the former fascists to learn their skills. The details of this alliance have been spelt out in the book on the CIA by David Talbot in the book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. The merging of fascist ideas with the ideas of Jim Crow in the United States were refined in the secret operation called, Operation PaperclipAnne Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America, [11] elaborated in great detail the secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) largely carried out by Special Agents of Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were taken from Germany to America for U.S. government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Many were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party. These elements were the foundation of a military program that has brought us the weaponization of space.

The creators of NATO simultaneously mobilized the colonial and fascist elements in Belgium, Spain, Italy and France. Of the twelve founding members, six were outright colonial powers and at that moment, countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain and Portugal looked to the USA to support their plunder of colonial societies.  In the specific case of France, in order to assist French colonialism, Algeria was named as a territory of NATO. Sixty years later when the President of France, Macron, apologized for the crimes of killing more than one million Algerians, there is no reflection inside western academic institutions on this role of NATO in Africa. Currently, the French have been the most aggressive in promoting the fiction that the defense radius of Europe stretches 4000 kilometers out from Brussels, up to the arctic, well across the Russian frontier and down into central Africa.

It is not widely known that, initially, the Portuguese fascists were some of the principal beneficiaries of the membership of NATO, with major deployment of nuclear weapons in the Azores as reward for the NATO support for colonialism in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea and other Portuguese outposts of colonial domination. Prior to the formation of NATO in 1949, the 1947 document of the State Department on Cooperative Development of Africa had stipulated that colonialism would assist the recovery of European capitalism. [12]The State Department had been explicit in outlining how cheap foodstuffs and raw materials from Africa would assist Europe’s recovery and create the basis for unity and economic regeneration.

The USA set about creating a number of international institutions to guarantee the survival of Europe and of capitalism, the IMF, IBRD (World Bank), the NATO, GATT, to guarantee the strength of the USA in international trade and finance.

By the time NATO was formed in 1949, the US planners had already made their plans with Britain and France to extend their military control over Africa. France was bequeathed the task of maintaining order in western Africa while the British sought to maintain naval power incorporating the British facilities from the Suez Canal down through Aden (Yemen), to Mombasa (Kenya), Simons town South Africa across to Malaysia. [13] The racist apartheid regime had persuaded NATO that it was necessary to integrate the South African military into the western defense planning in order to protect the ‘Cape route.’ After the Suez crises of 1956 and the 1967 war this alliance with the racist regime deepened. Throughout its existence NATO assisted in the refinement of the racial status hierarchy in which whites are dominant and people of color are subordinate. [14]

This incorporation of racist ideas into western defense continued a long tradition that shaped the outlook of NATO and reinforced the outlook of Frantz Fanon: “Colonialism is violence in its natural state.” France and Britain excelled in this violence with the Belgians cementing their communications and logistics coordination to kill Patrice Lumumba and later support the killing of the Secretary General of the United Nation, Dag Hammarskjold. [15]

Britain, France, Belgium and Portugal deepened their links to NATO but in 1956, Dwight Eisenhower halted the planned offensive of the British and the French in the Suez war. After this war, both the currencies of Britain and France suffered sharp declines with France seeking cover inside the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), while the British pound accepted its place as a prop to the US dollar in the global economy. Within a year after the Suez debacle, France had pushed for the Treaty of Rome that paved the way for the European Economic Community to be a competitive force with US capitalists.

Within the context of the competition between European capitalists and US capitalists, Charles De Gaulle exhibited pique at the organization of NATO that supported the armaments culture of US capital.  Charles De Gaulle partially pulled France out of this alliance in 1966 after it became clear that this military organization was dominated by the United States and Britain (supporting their military industries). De Gaulle argued for an independent nuclear arsenal while remaining a signatory to North Atlantic Treaty and participating in the North Atlantic Council. Nicholas Sarkozy ended the farce when France returned to the fold of the NATO military structures in 2009.

The duplicitous actions on the part of the French leadership were always based on calculations meant to preserve the dominance of French capital in Africa. When the US devalued the dollar in 1971 and broke the agreements of the Bretton Woods Treaty, it was the French who complained about the Exorbitant Privilege of the Dollar. For a short period, both the President of France and the Chancellor of West Germany had chafed under the privilege and had worked hard to bring into being the Maastricht Treaty and the Europe Union to end the dominance of the dollar in the international capitalist system. It was known than the one necessary aspect of this emerging common currency in Europe would be the dismantling of the military occupation of Europe by US military personnel. Hence, both Giscard de Estaing and Helmut Schmidt had linked the common currency, the European Central Bank and common foreign and security policy (CFSP), with the expectation that ultimately Europe will break from the traditions of NATO. It was in the face of this threat and the fall of the centrally planned economy that the forward planners expanded NATO.

Emergence of Global NATO and the myth of ‘humanitarian intervention’

Usually, when an alliance is formed for a specific purpose such as halting the spread of communism, that alliance is folded when the mission is complete. Hence, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was expected by those seeking the ‘peace dividend’ that the mission of NATO would be scaled down. Instead, NATO expanded, seeking to encircle Russia by extending its membership to include former members of the Warsaw Pact countries. Progressive scholars have documented the cynicism of the US military planners who orchestrated the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the Balkans in order to advance the hegemony of US capitalism after the fall of the Soviet Union. The scholarship on this manipulation of the European working peoples to entrench NATO is rich and needs to be revisited at this moment of the celebration of the 70thanniversary of the founding of NATO.  Richard Aldrich in the book, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence’ brought out evidence to expose how the massacres in the Balkans, helped give a new impetus to US hegemony.’ [16] David Gibbs had argued, “How the Srebrenica Massacre Redefined US Foreign Policy.” It is worth quoting at length how the Balkans war was used to manipulate public opinion in Europe,

“Perhaps most importantly, the massacre helped give a new impetus to US hegemony, contributing to its post-Cold War legitimacy. In bolstering America’s hegemonic position, the significance of the Srebrenica massacre cannot be overstated: The massacre helped trigger a NATO bombing campaign that is widely credited with ending the Bosnian war, along with the associated atrocities, and this campaign gave NATO a new purpose for the post-Soviet era. Since that time, the Srebrenica precedent has been continuously invoked as a justification for military force. The perceived need to prevent massacres and oppression helped justify later interventions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as the ongoing fight against ISIS. The recent UN doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, which contains a strongly interventionist tone, was inspired in part by the memory of Srebrenica.” [17]

The more nefarious aspect of this manipulation of humanitarianism was the ways in which elements such as Bernard Kouchner used their credentials as former members of the left and progressive forces to give cover to US imperialism. Since the war in the Balkans it is now accepted by the military planners that humanitarian intervention acts as a force multiplier. [18] This position was explicitly stated by General Colin Powell who noted, “Just as surely as our diplomats and military, American NGOs are out there serving and sacrificing on the front lines of freedom NGOs are such a force multiplier for us, such an important part of our combat team.” These observations can shed light on the relationship between NGOs such as Doctors without Borders and the International Rescue Committee in global militarism.

The fiction of collective western security was effectively broken while after the Asian economic crisis, US capital mobilized NATO to defend Wall Street. In this defense of Wall Street, NATO incessantly bombed Kosovo for 79 days in 1999 as it gave itself a new mission to enlarge US military power right up to the doorstep of Moscow. Gingerly, NATO expanded under US President Bill Clinton from 12 members to 16, then to 19, then to 26 by 2004 and by 2009 to 28 members. Despite vocal opposition from Russia, the discussion of expanding NATO now proceeded to develop the idea of Global NATO. In 2019 there were 29 members of NATO. In his presentation before the US Congress Stoltenberg advocated for a further expansion of NATO and boasted of the high state of readiness of the NATO Response Force (NRF) which had been created in 2002.

NATO and the Weaponization of finance

Global NATO was the preeminent force to orchestrate the weaponization of everything. Michael Hudson has outlined finance as warfare and the weaponization of finance in the current phase of imperialism. It will be important to grasp the present sanctions regime of the USA as a form of warfare. In the current literature on imperialism, the term weaponization of finance refers to the foreign policy strategy of using incentives (access to capital markets) and penalties (varied types of sanctions) as tools of coercive diplomacy.

The multiple wars agains Iran represent a model example of the weaponization of finance, the weaponization of information and the weaponization of trade.Under the Presidency of Barack Obama,Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, noted that the weaponization of finance offers to the US “a new battlefield…one that enables [the US] to go after those who wish [the US] harm without putting [US] troops in harm’s way or using lethal force.” Instead of fighting countries militarily, the US can now “cripple them financially.

The Obama administration had retreated from a full scale weaponization of finance with Iran by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ) with Iran in 2015. Under the terms of this agreement in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union, it was agreed that Iran would accept the P5+1 would ensure that Iran did not develop nuclear weapons. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel had opposed this agreement. When Donald Tromp became President of the United States, his administration renounced the JCPOA in 2018 and then signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on any foreign company that continues to do business with Iran. The order gave companies 90-day or 180-day grace periods to extract themselves from existing Iranian contacts or face punitive US measures.

Those NATO partners of the USA who signed the JCPOA refused to accept the sanctions imposed on Iran and in 2019 agreed to create a special purpose vehicle to manage their trade with Iran. Britain, Germany and France rolled out INSTEX in February 2019 as one way to break the weaponization of Finance by the USA but in the cat and mouse game of economic warfare, the Foreign Ministers of Europe have not yet been transparent on the full mandate of the special purpose vehicle. These developments mirror the weaponization of trade [19] and finance within NATO and the problems of inter imperialist rivalry in West Asia. The threats against the countries that created a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to help facilitate trade with Iran must be taken very seriously, especially in the context of the political insecurity generated by BREXIT. This period reminds the world that of the depression when trade wars and currency wars eventually fueled open fighting in World War II.

Finance as warfare

Since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, there have been efforts by countries holding US debt to limit their exposure to the dollar. In 2009, the Russians and the Chinese worked to establish an alternative international institution involving Brazil, Russia, India and China, later including South Africa and called BRICS.  Within the context of BRICS, the Chinese set about a slow process to internationalize its currency, the RMB and undertook currency swaps to avoid the US dollar. After failing to negotiate successfully within the Bretton Woods institution for an increase of its drawing rights commensurate with its volume of international trade, the Chinese embarked on major economic and financial ventures under the banner of One Belt One Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. When the AIIB was launched in 2015 with 57 countries, the former Treasury Secretary of the US, Lawrence Summers noted that the launch of the AIIB was a turning point and ‘the creation of the AIIB will undermine the leadership role the U.S. has long enjoyed in global finance.’

Both Russia and China intensified their swap trading efforts and Russia settled its crude sales to China. “In March 2018 news broke that Beijing is planning a pilot project for the second half of the year to pay for imported crude oil with renminbi instead of dollars. The two countries allegedly selected for the pilot are Russia and Angola, with rumors that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates may become involved. If this venture is successful, it will act as a spur to similar schemes for other imports and primary products.”

China was joining the leaders of Europe and the countries in Asia and West Asia who were calling for a multi-currency financial system. Many progressive economists noted that it was not a matter if more countries would flee the dollar, but when. One economist writing from Singapore wrote,

“the emergence of a multicurrency or multi-asset international payments system will take time. It doesn’t portend a collapse of the global payments system, but does point to a redistribution of global wealth. The seigniorage harvested by the US as the world’s banker will gradually fall, narrowing the room for maneuver in US economic policy, which for the last 70 years has had the greatest influence on markets globally. As the power of the dollar wanes, the US will be pressured to adjust to a world economy vastly changed since 1945.” [20]

The German financial leaders along with France were maneuvering to speed this change with the establishment of the special purpose vehicle to continue trading with Iran. At this time of writing the specific details of the specific purpose vehicle called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is still being worked out,  but the statements of former Ambassador Nicholas Burns before Congress on March 26  made it clear that the Foreign Policy establishment in the USA will not retreat from the weaponization of Finance, especially since INSTEX allows members of NATO to continue trading and financial arrangements with Iran, China and Russia. In so far as Global NATO is serving the task of defending the dollar, the extent to which China has created an alternative clearing system in the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) will be seen as another blow to US financial hegemony. Although in its first rollout of the CIPS system, the Chinese went to great length that it would cooperate with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system, the current US intelligence war against the Chinese telecom firm Huawei point to the integration between Finance, information warfare and cyberwarfare. [21]  In the book, The Perfect Weapon, David Sanger discussed the debates within this highest levels of US intelligence and the Federal Reserve of whether the USA should use its Federal Reserve and cyber warfare to backdoor into the Russian Central Bank to make money disappear. It is in this context where one can note in the planning of NATO strengthening the cyber capabilities is at the top of the Agenda. The Harvard study emphasized the importance of winning the Technology Battle in the Digital Age.

The convergence of cyberwarfare, economic warfare and information warfare is being taken to new levels under the current administration with its wide ranging sanctions against countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Traditional books on NATO had surveyed the integration of diplomacy, sanctions and weapons procurement, but the new push of the USA in formulating its position of unrivalled dominance is turning out to be another front for defending the dollar. In a world where the USA had imposed sanctions on Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, North Korea, Syria, Sudan along with individual sanctions against individuals in Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, the logic of these sanctions enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury has now clarified to the allies of the USA in NATO the importance finance was warfare. It was the former Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, who had warned that the over use of sanctions could dull their effectiveness. His logic was simple: Sanctions work because they cut targets off from dealing with U.S. citizens and American financial institutions—a complete severance from the world’s largest economy and its most important financial center. If Washington used this power idly, Lew suggested, it could encourage countries to find partners outside of the United States, and undermine sanctions’ deterrent effect.

What Lew did not acknowledge was the relationship between the Treasury, Global NATO and the financial wars.

Much of the scholarship on the printing of dollars miss the way in  which the infusion of capital in emerging economies further enmesh these societies into the instability of the system. Ultimately, the export of the oscillation of the US economy deepens social and political challenges on the world and reinforces the militarization of the international political economy. Michael Hudson outlined three ways in which flooding of dollars through debt leverage and QE supported the military:  (1) the surplus dollars pouring into the rest of the world for yet further financial speculation and corporate takeovers; (2) the fact that central banks are obliged to recycle these dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the federal U.S. budget deficit; and most important (but most suppressed in the U.S. media, (3) the military character of the U.S. payments deficit and the domestic federal budget deficit. He continued, “Strange as it may seem and irrational as it would be in a more logical system of world diplomacy the “dollar glut” is what finances America’s global military build-up. It forces foreign central banks to bear the costs of America’s expanding military empire effective “taxation without representation.” Keeping international reserves in “dollars” means recycling their dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bills U.S. government debt issued largely to finance the military.

After the financial crisis in Europe, Quantitative Easing was extended to the Eurozone and Japan, but in the continuing re alignment, of global capitalism, US capital is working hard to decapitate Russia and China as opponents of Global NATO.

The currency wars and weaponization of finance is now accompanied by the weaponization of trade and the weaponization of information. Sanger’s The Perfect Weapon War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Agehas opened one window into how full spectrum dominance and the militarization of space is now linked to the weaponization of information and cognitive hacking. We now have new terms of warfare, terms such as “fake news”, “disinformation,” “weaponized information,” “post-truth” and “alternative facts.” Weaponized information (WI) defines a new method messaging and dissemination of content that contains falsehoods, facts taken out of context and pieces of truth strategically released, in an attempt to manipulate knowledge and beliefs.

The NATO destruction of Libya was one clear example of how falsehoods were refined to lull workers in Europe to support the destruction of Libya

The weaponization of Finance and the Destruction of Libya

Not enough is being done to expose the real role of Global NATO and the role of so called humanitarian operatives in ensuring that humanitarian interventions become a force multiplier. Currently, many countries of the EU collaborate with France in the North African region in the fabrication of terror to ensure the deployment of the US Africa Command and French forces in Africa. In Western Europe, NATO has been very successful in ensuring confusion, demoralization, paralysis, and apathy in relation to western imperialism in Africa. African scholars and progressives are very clear that while calling for the dismantling of NATO there must be a call for the EURO to break from the CFA franc zone. Nicolas Sarkozy was very clear that the intervention in Libya was to save the Euro. Africans cannot have a Newtonian view of the struggle against imperialism to assure those from the European left who want solidarity with Africans while supporting French imperialism in Africa. Global NATO and French machinations are involved in a delicate dance and there is silence from the left in the EU when it comes to Europe’s 4000 km strategic radius that covers the entire area of West Africa, North Africa and down through East Africa to Somalia. It is beyond this commentary to delineate the ways in which German scholars, religious organizations, German foundations and non-governmental organizations are now implicated in the criminal acts of France in Africa, especially the war on terror. It is the task of the progressive movement to penetrate the areas of cooperation and conflict between European capitalists and Wall Street so that European workers do not continue to complicity support ‘humanitarian interventions.’

When 200 African scholars wrote the open letter on the impending crime against the peoples of Libya, there has been and continue to be silence on the part of the left in Europe and the United States. Barack Obama had described the intervention in Libya as a mistake and the British Parliamentary Committee outlined how the Libyan intervention had been based on lies. Obama may have considered the intervention a mistake, but his understanding of the process did not reveal how Goldman Sachs was thoroughly implicated the destruction of Libya. The case in the London High Court of the Libyan Investment Authority vs Goldman Sachs brought out revealing evidence of how firms such as Goldman Sachs and others involved in the financialization of the energy markets sought to mobilize the resources of oil rich states with Sovereign Wealth Funds to keep alive the private equity, hedge funds and structured derivatives markets of the global capitalist economy.

Most societies and peoples in the world want these banks to be brought under control. But Goldman Sachs benefitted in the ruling because in 2014, two and a half years after the case was brought before the High Court, there was a war in Libya and there was no government therefore one could not represent the Libyan Investment Authority in this arena. We see therefore that the financial institutions are direct beneficiaries of the warfare that is going on in Libya.

When the United Nations passed Resolution 1970 and resolution 1973 in 2011, those who had signed these resolutions did not understand then that the resolution was for regime in Libya.[22]   The current fighting in Libya remains one of the most inglorious aspects of the 70 year history of NATO but there is silence among those celebrating 70 years of NATO. [23]

Since the writings on Finance capital over a century ago by Rudolph Hilferding, Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Nikolai Bukharin the role of finance in the international system has grown beyond the parameters outlined by those who linked finance capital to modern imperialism.[24] After the collapse of the dollar/gold system of 1944 the financial industry of the West has become the axis on which international capitalism spins.

Does NATO Have a future?

Indeed, in the context of contemporary capitalist crisis, there are some forward planners who believe that the constant crisis strengthened the US military and the military management of the system. For these planners the existence US Treasury securities as the world’s premier safe or “risk-free” asset ensures the pre -eminence of US finance capital and the dollar in the global system. Efforts to create the BRICS development Bank and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are measures by China to end the exorbitant privilege. The Chinese actions along with the existence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has elicited greater appeals for cooperation between Europe and the United States. The differences within Europe over the Italian acceptance of the One Belt One road exposed the deepening divisions within NATO over the future of relations with Russia and China.

These divisions within NATO are exacerbated by the new relations between Turkey (a key NATO member) and Russia.Turkey is slated to receive the Russian-made S-400 missile system in 2019 after brokering a deal reportedly worth $2.5 billion with Russia in 2017. The tensions between Turkey and the US was on display in Washington where the Turks were threatened by US policy makers to break their deal with Russia. Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon (two of the biggest suppliers of weapons to NATO) have a lot to lose if Turkey as a member of NATO seek to use Russian weapon systems. Turkey has helped finance Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, America’s most expensive weapons system and the world’s most advanced fighter jet. Turkey also manufactures components for the planes.

This dispute between the USA and Turkey is compounded by the swap arrangements between China and Turkey in order to conduct trade outside of the dollar. Turkey has not acted as a totally cooperative partner of the USA in enforcing sanctions against Iran. At the moment of the 70thanniversary, the Vice President of the United States warned Turkey that,

“Turkey must choose, Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history, or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?”

Space and time will not permit a deeper examination of the long criminal actions of the Turkish state and the destructive actions against the Kurdish citizens of Turkey while the West turned a blind eye.

While NATO is being celebrated in Washington, both the French and the Germans are working hard for the realization of the EU army under the banner of the EU launched Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which pools the defense efforts of 25 of the EU’s 28 member states.  As far back as 1966 France had left the NATO alliance because of the dominance of the US weapons manufacturers. Under the banner of PESCO, both France and Germany are working towards ‘ strategic autonomy’  France and Germany, which initiated PESCO were working to preserve the autonomy of Europe’s defense industries. Most members of the European Union oppose this PESCO initiative, but the Germans are looking ahead to the tensions that will arise from the future contradictions between the dollar and the Euro in the international trading system.

France, who has always opposed the partnership between the British and US aerospace industries is working hard to give meaning to PESCO. This planning is also consistent with the contingency arrangements for the European Union after BREXIT.

As ever duplicitous, the French capitalist class had moved to build a military alliance within Europe after the Unification of Germany.  Britain and France had  established the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) to contain Germany in 1998. The CSDP had been set up by the UK and France following the St Malo Summit of 1998 in response to the establishment of the AFRICA CRISIS Response Initiative. Both states felt threatened by the US military footprints in Africa. However, France wants the German state to be more aggressive in terms of military expenditure. In this enterprise, The French capitalists want to play the United States against Germany while seeking to maintain its neocolonial place in Africa to be able to compete with Germany inside the European Union.

These fissures within the NATO alliance are hidden behind the bellicose talk of confronting Russia and China, but the future of NATO will be severely tested in a future extended financial crisis of capitalism.

NATO and the peace Movement in the USA

The US military has been degraded by the humiliations in the war on terror and the fact that many of the youths do not support the global military campaign. The revolt of the youth in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, #Black Lives matter,  #MeTooMovement, along with new movements such as the environmental justice movement and the other progressive forces dictate that drone warfare, brain hacking and cyber warfare become the choice tactics for contemporary militarism.  The reversals for the US military did not come about by accident and although the US boasts the strongest military force in the world, the military has suffered massive morale problems compounded by the fact that in many communities where veterans come from now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the rise in mental illness from veterans, young US citizens have no appetite for war. It is for these reasons why the peace and justice forces are not simply going to discussions on the anniversary of NATO, but thoughtful commentators are exposing the massive corruption of the military and Wall Street. The revelations of the ‘bottomless pit of the Pentagon’s budget’ do not fully grasp the centrality of the US military in the maintenance of the dollar.  [25] Matt Taibbi has done excellent journalistic work on the massive corruption of Wall Street, but the connection was not made to NATO, the weaponization of Finance and global racism. One hundred years ago W.E.B Dubois warned of the racist motives behind imperial wars when he noted, “What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa? How can love of humanity appeal as a motive to nations whose love of luxury is built on the inhuman exploitation of human beings, and who, especially in recent years, have been taught to regard these human beings as inhuman.” [26]

Global NATO is now the front for chauvinism, the ideals of white supremacy, islamophobia and hegemonic masculinity. It is among the peoples of African descent where NATO has been weakest over the past 70 years. The Black Liberation Movement understood the linkages between the false flag operations internationally and the war against those fighting against racism in the USA. This movement had been at the forefront of breaking the legitimacy of the war scare and the apartheid ideas of the US ruling class. In the present period, there are efforts to mobilize a small section of the black bourgeoisie to be in the room for the planning for the weaponization of everything, but Jim Crow habits and ideas die hard, hence the political leadership remains in the hands of the anti-imperialist and ant racist factions within the USA. It is this force that is still calling for the dismantling of NATO just as it continues to oppose the African arm of NATO called AFRICOM.

The progressive forces in all parts of the world must oppose the sanctions and militarism against Iran because this war has all of the hallmarks of escalating and cascading far beyond Iran. The exposure of the impact of Stuxnet (Code named Operation Olympic Games) has not been fully discussed by the progressives who are calling for the dismantling of NATO. The interconnections between the militarists of Saudi Arabia along with the Israeli lobby and those who are setting the belligerent tone of the US against China in the South China Sea can be seen from the output of some of the Washington think tanks, from the Islamophobia forces, and from the branches of the armaments culture that thrive on war.

During the wars against the people of Vietnam, the peace and justice forces matured and developed tactics to educate all sections of the society. These tactics survived to educate the population on the lies that were being peddled to embark on the occupation of Iraq. Despite the humiliation of wasting thousands of lives and expending trillions of dollars in useless war, the impetus for war is so ingrained that United States is being pushed on to another war. The difference for the war planners at this moment is that the combined forces of peace and social justice forces are much stronger than the pessimists make out.

The African dimensions of the anti-militarist campaign

Many on the left in the United States and Europe are holding discussions on the 70th anniversary of NATO but few if any of the Left commentaries have implicated NATO in Africa and the global expansion of racism and Islamophobia are now writing to oppose the war plans by the Israeli- lobby in the USA. However, because the commentaries excluded Africa there is no appreciation of how the revolutionary upsurges in all parts of Africa have sharpened the alternatives in Africa and the constant struggles of the youth for a new social system. The current struggles of the workers and youths of Algeria is only the recent manifestation of the turbulence in Africa which had been called the ‘Arab Spring.’ NATO has collaborated with dictators such as the Field Marshall in Egypt to derail the revolutionary upsurge in Egypt.

During the 20th century in every revolutionary situation, capital fomented war to weaken the revolutionary forces. The pace of change in Africa has created nervousness in the West and the deployment of French troops and AFRICOM is meant to contain the mobilization and organization of the oppressed in Africa. Workers of European descent are being lulled by white supremacy, the terrorist scare and humanitarian interventions to support the new military policies of global capitalism. The objective conditions of real exploitation in Africa intensify social struggles for better conditions so that the contours of revolutionary change will expand. Thus, while the media insists on delinking the Algerian, Egyptian and Tunisian revolts from the wider African struggles by writing on the ‘Arab spring,’ worker protests enveloped numerous African states with those such as the struggles in Swaziland, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Mali, South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia percolating, awaiting the right moment for the maturation of the global anti-imperialist and anti-racist forces.

It is from Africa where there is clarity on the tasks ahead. Reflecting on the challenges and opportunities, the late Samir Amin had called for ‘Audacity and more audacity.’ In calling for the socialization of the ‘ownership of the monopolies,’ Amin spelt out how ‘the historical circumstances created by the implosion of contemporary capitalism requires the radical left, in the North as well as the South, to be bold in formulating its political alternative to the existing system.’ While economists in North America continuously complain that the barons of Wall Street socialize losses while privatizing profits, Samir Amin spelt out in great details for citizens of all continents,

‘the alternative social project should be to reverse the direction of the current social order (social disorder) produced by the strategies of monopolies, in order to ensure maximum and stabilized employment, and to ensure decent wages growing in parallel with the productivity of social labor. This objective is simply impossible without the expropriation of the power of monopolies.’

If one reads an economist such as Samir Amin and others who are progressive (in the US context) one can see that Amin is drawing from the depth of the oppression on the world scale to elaborate alternatives. The challenge of the left is to understand the outline of the alternative social project and translate this into practical day to day programs so that wherever one lives and works one should not succumb to despair and pessimism. It is in the midst of this suffering where the discussions on the future of NATO is taking place. The power of US imperialism dictates that in all corners of the world humans are paying attention to the twists and turns of the political leadership of the USA  in the midst of the extended capitalist recession since 2008. Our intervention stressed the importance of the weaponization of finance that thrust NATO to the forefront of the military management of the international system. Sections of the progressive forces in Europe are tinkering at the edges of this management seeking to carve out a space for the EU in Africa but this author will argue that that the calls for reform miss the essential militaristic nature of capitalism and that only a break with the system will avoid all-out war. Samir Amin in his input on “Financial Collapse, Systemic crisis? Illusory answers and necessary answers,” warned humanity,

If the USA has formulated an objective of military control of the planet, it is because, without it, they cannot secure the exclusive access to these resources. As we know: China, India and the South as a whole need them as well for their development. For the USA, they must limit the access and ultimately, there is only one means: war.[27]

Progressives must brace for intensified struggles

In the final analysis we must go back to the Middle East where an alliance between women in Bahrain, Israel, Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia holds promise for a new platform. The women of Egypt gave us that notice when they mobilized to come out in forces across religious and class lines. These women are opposed to fundamentalist who want women to cover up but will disrobe them and beat them if they fight for their rights. This new mobilization of progressive women can now be seen in the politics of the USA where a new generation is maturing with new skills to fully mobilize against the NATO and the Pentagon. What remains to be seen is whether these forces will oppose the massive expenditures of the Pentagon and return to the call of Seymour Melman for demilitarization and the conversion of the military, financial, information complex.

While the energies of many are focused on the issues of electoral politics, progressives must remain alert to new false flag operations of NATO. We are in a revolutionary moment and revolutionaries cannot be pessimistic. There are three important tasks: dismantle NATO, fight imperialism, racism, and white supremacy globally and be at the forefront for social justice and solidarity in all parts of the world.


[1] ISDAFIX was developed in 1998 as a cooperative effort of ISDA with Reuters (now Thomson Reuters) and InterCapital Brokers (now ICAP). It is supposed to be based on voluntary quotations by certain banks that indicate the rate at which they would buy or sell a reference swap with a nominal value of 50 million dollars. ISDAFIX fixes are determined for four currencies (Euros, British pounds, Swiss francs, U.S. dollars) each in different maturities

[1] Belfer Center of Harvard University, NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis

[2] Belfer Center of Harvard University, “Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship ,” Se their analysis of the Urgent need for the US Defense of Europe in Harvard Gazette, “A spirited defense of NATO as bulwark,” February 14, 2019

[3] Address to the United States Congress by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, April 3, 2019,

[4] Clare Pedrick,“CIA ORGANIZED SECRET ARMY IN WESTERN EUROPE,” Washington Post, November 14, 1990. See also Bruce W. Nelan,Europe Nato’s Secret Armies. Time Magazine: November 26, 1990:,9171,971772,00.html

[5] See Daniele  Ganser, “NATO’s Stay behind Army, “  The  Whitehead  Journal of  Diplomacy  and International  Relations,, 2005

[6] Kofsky, Frank,HarryS. Truman and the War Scare of 1948, page 1

[7] Cockburn, Andrew. “Follow the Money: Why the US Defense Budget Soars, Even As Military Shrinks.” Counterpunch, March 16-31, 2011

[8] Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, and David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

[9] Noam Chomsky. “The Cold War and the University.” In The Cold War and the University: Toward an intellectual History of the Cold War Years N. Chomsky, (ed.) et al. (New York, NY: The New Press, 1997) pp. 171-19

[10] James Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, Princeton University Press, 2017

[11] Anne Jacobsen, “Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America,”

[12] Walter Isaacson, Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made, Simon and Schuster, New York, See also Stephen Kinzer, THE BROTHERS: JOHN FOSTER DULLES, ALLEN DULLES, AND THEIR SECRET WORLD WAR, Times Books, 2014


[14] For an analysis of the universality of racism, see, Robin DiAngelo , White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Beacon Press, 2019

[15] Ludo De Witte, The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Verso books, 2003 ,  Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick, Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba, Harvard University Press, 2015 and Susan Williams, Who Killed Hammarskjold?: The Un, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, Oxford University Press 2014

[16] Richard Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence’

[17] David Gibbs, Class, “How the Srebrenica Massacre Redefined US Foreign Policy,”Race, and Corporate Power, Volume 3, Issue 2 2015,

[18] Sarah Kenyon Lischer, Military Intervention and the Humanitarian “Force Multiplier,” Global Governance, Vol. 13, No. 1 (January–March 2007), pp. 99-118. See also Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss, Humanitarianism Contested, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Cornell University Press, 2011

[19] Yash Tandon, Trade Is War: THE WEST’S WAR AGAINST THE WORLD,OR Books, 2015

[20] Joergen Oerstroem Moelle, “Dollar Crisis on the Horizon, “ See the arguments elaborated in an earlier text, Global Economy In Transition, The: Debt And Resource Scarcities, World Scientific Publishing 2013

[21] David Sanger, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, And Fear in The Cyber Age.”

[22] Resolution 1970 was passed in February 26, 2011. This was however replaced with the more controversial Resolution 1973. This latter Resolution was not ready to make the mode of intervention and its analysis clear. It was the 5 abstentions that brought out the lack of clarity in the hurriedly passed resolution which aimed at killing and destroying the Libyan society to facilitate the interests of France. The full resolution which has been included in Appendix 3 page 281 of the book “Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the forging of African Unity” could also be read on


[24] John Bellamy Foster, The New Imperialism of Globalized Monopoly-Finance Capital, Monthly Review, Volume 67, Issue 03 (July-August) 2015

[25] Matt Taibbi, “The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit,” Rolling Stone, March 17, 2019.

[26] W.E.B Dubois, African Roots of the War, Monthly Review,    Vol. 24, No. 11: April 1973

[27] Samir Amin, “Financial Collapse, Systemic crisis? Illusory answers and necessary answers,

Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya, Monthly Review Press, 2013.  Notes.