NATO’s Declaration of War

Photograph Source: Vlada Republike Slovenije – CC BY-SA 4.0

The recent NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania was not a reinvention of NATO. Instead, it was a belligerent and confrontational restatement of the military alliance’s role in Washington’s drive for world domination. The tone of the text is one familiar to those who follow Washington’s rationale for the numerous wars and other aggressive military actions it is involved in around the world. Behind that tone is a deceptive rationale that claims self-defense, as if nations and other actors were attacking the United States for reasons completely unconnected to the presence of US troops and equipment along the borders of Washington’s chosen enemies. It was that rationale which was used to justify Washington’s wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (to name just a few), despite the fact that none of those wars were fought anywhere near US soil. It was also the rationale used to justify Washington’s attack on Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, to name a few more. In addition, it is Washington’s ultimate rationale for a never-ending increase in military and intelligence spending.

After the meeting was over, NATO released a communiqué to the media. The statement discussed the conflict in Ukraine, pledging NATO’s never-ending support for Kyiv’s military and its associated collection of mercenaries, fascists, and so-called volunteers in the fight against Moscow. Of course, NATO and the governments in the alliance rejected any connection between their involvement in the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014 and the machinations that followed; machinations that rejected Ukrainian neutrality, essentially invited ultra-right militias into the Ukrainian military, and began a process of the privatization of public lands and services in Ukraine. The mark of the neoliberal capitalist world order is all over these events. Yet, NATO’s communiqué rejects any such connection.

The document contains several paragraphs calling out Russia for what NATO says is a “posture of strategic intimidation” which includes “provocative activities… near NATO borders.”. Left unmentioned of course is the actual reality that it is Washington and NATO that has moved its borders up to Russia’s—an action that Russia finds quite provocative, with good reason I might add.
The current situation is not the situation NATO was formed in. Although the alliance was always meant to serve as US capitalism’s military wing in Europe, one can almost argue its presence served as a balance of power in Europe while the Soviet Union existed. However, since that nation dissolved in 1991, the mission of NATO became one whose primary role was not to maintain a balance of power, but to project US power into eastern Europe and Asia while simultaneously working to break Russia and its confederation apart. The conflict in Ukraine is the bloodiest evidence of this agenda. The NATO attack on Serbia and Kosovo in 1999 was the first such operation. History tells us these two military actions were both preceded by deceptive diplomatic endeavors with the apparent purpose of humiliating NATO’s foes and challenging them to respond militarily. Unfortunately, both Belgrade and Moscow responded to the challenge.

Of course, the mainstream media in the US and Europe focused primarily on the situation in Ukraine and how far the NATO governments would go toward inviting Kyiv to join their alliance. This curiosity was enhanced after Joe Biden’s announcement that his government would be sending cluster bombs to the Ukrainian forces soon. This escalation of the conflict was announced relatively soon after announcements from Washington and a few other NATO governments that Kyiv’s forces would also be receiving F-16 fighter jets. To add to the powder keg erupting in Europe, French president Macron told the media that his military was sending long-range missiles to Kyiv. One assumes that those missiles will be the first of many such armaments heading into the fray. In other words, NATO is not really interested in negotiating a truce or any other type of end to the killing in Ukraine. This fact is further emphasized by the communiqué’s repetition of earlier statements that no negotiations would begin until Russian troops were gone from any territory Kyiv and NATO say is Ukrainian. Perhaps this should be the goal of any negotiations between the governments involved in the conflict, but to make it a prerequisite is nothing but an insistence on more bloodshed and destruction—a fact underlined by the continued increase in shipments of weapons ever more lethal.

Now, if you grew up believing that NATO was a defensive alliance interested in preserving the peace, its continued aggressiveness might surprise you. Without discussing its historical role as a military threat to those who would disrupt Washington’s desire to dominate Europe’s economy, the essential reason for this aggressive posture is found in section thirty of the communiqué being discussed. Let me quote the first two sentences of that section: “To have the necessary capabilities, the Alliance requires a strong and capable defense industry, with resilient supply chains. A strong defense industry across the Alliance, including a stronger defense industry in Europe and greater defense industrial cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic, remains essential for delivering the required capabilities. “ (Vilnius Summit Communiqué issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council; 7/11/2023) In other words, the war industry in the US and European nations requires NATO to step up its aggressive stance towards Russia, China and other nations opposed to Washington’s project for a new American century. This is directly related to the US economy’s excessive dependence on that industry. That dependence has helped define Washington’s foreign policy since at least World War Two. In the current crisis of capitalism, where Beijing and Moscow threaten Washington’s hegemony, Washington’s dependence on its military prowess and the industry that spawned it is essential to maintaining that hegemony. Peace is not profitable in an economy addicted to war and the preparation for war.

If Washington were truly interested in a peaceful world, it would be looking for ways to achieve it, not for reasons to build more weapons and fight more wars, by proxy or otherwise

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com