The 2024 NATO Summit, RIMPAC 2024, and the Filipino people’s Struggle for Peace

Photograph Source: PH2 Gabriel Wilson – Public Domain

During the summer of 2024, the peace and justice community will need to resist U.S. imperial overreach around the world. The 2024 annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit will be held in Washington, DC from July 9 to 22. The Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) wargames will be held on and around Hawaiʻi from June 29 to August 4.

The 2024 NATO summit

At the NATO summit, officials of member countries will meet to determine programming, policies, membership, and initiatives. The summit is an anti-people convention of warmongers. NATO coordinates violence across the globe, funded by financial exploitation of the people.

NATO is an international military alliance (an attack on one is an attack on all) of 31 member states based in Europe and North America. The purpose of NATO is to support its members’ militaries by supporting sanctions, joint exercises, cyberwarfare, and counterinsurgency efforts. It acts as a lobbyist for member nations to allocate funds for warfare. The U.S. is the de facto leader of NATO, employs NATO forces in its own actions, and takes a leading role in NATO missions.

Founded in 1949 as a military alliance in the post-WWII period standing against the Soviet Union, one might think that the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 would have made it obsolete. However, since then, NATO has expanded eastward to encompass 16 new member states to bring it to a total of 32. Alarmed by the alliance arrayed against it, Russia warned that Ukraine must remain neutral. Continual U.S. attempts to bring Ukraine into NATO, however, finally led to Russia invading Ukraine in March 2022.

While NATO is not formally involved in the Russia-Ukraine war, NATO member states supply, support, and advise Ukraine. The U.S. had sent more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine before the April 24 bipartisan approval of $60 billion more. Ukraine has already lost a generation of military age men to the war, and they are losing on the battlefield.

As stated explicitly by Raytheon’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the U.S. seeks to “weaken” Russia by arming Ukraine to fight Russia. In pitching more aid to Ukraine, Biden explicitly touted how the “aid” will go to arms manufacturers in various U.S. states, leading to jobs for Americans. The unstated message is that the U.S. is willing to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.

NATO members support for Israel

Though Israel is not a member of NATO, it carries out the U.S.’s policies in the Middle East, and therefore receives the support of NATO member countries. On April 24 Biden signed to send $15 billion more in military aid for Israel in addition to the $3.8 billion that it sends annually. The U.S. taxpayer can now claim complete responsibility for the U.S.-backed apartheid regime’s continued genocide of the Palestinian people. Israel exports arms to the government of the Philippines, and it will participate in RIMPAC 2024.

NATO members and the Philippines

The Philippines’ location and relationship to the U.S. makes it a target of NATO’s member states’ military build-ups in the Asia-Pacific. The aim of the U.S. is to use the Philippines as a strategic asset within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which covers more than half the globe.

Under Marcos, Jr. the Philippines is increasingly being dragged into the vortex of the military conflict between the U.S. and China. In addition to conducting the yearly and ever-growing Balikatan exercises in April 2024, the Philippines has been hosting multilateral military exercises with other NATO member countries. In October 2023, Canada, France, the U.K., Australia, Japan, and Malaysia joined the U.S. and the Philippines in the Sama Sama 2023 maritime exercises. In November 2023, the U.S. and the Philippines hosted the Kamadag 7 military exercises, including the U.K., Japan, and Korean militaries to build so-called “interoperability.” In 2024, the U.S. is conducting more than 500 wargames and military exercises in the Philippines.

Note that the states participating in Exercise Balikatan (April 22-May 10, 2024) included the NATO nations U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K. – as well as Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

On April 24, Biden also signed for $8 billion more for “Indo-Pacific Security” to “continue efforts to counter communist China and ensure a strong deterrence in the region.”


The largest naval war games in the world is RIMPAC, which takes place on and around Hawai‘i every two years. From June 29 through August 4, 2024 we are expecting yet another onslaught on and destruction of Hawaii’s land, reefs, water and wildlife by 42 warships, 4 submarines, accompanying aircraft, and tens of thousands of personnel from26 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the U.K., and the U.S.). Note the presence of Israel. Under the U.S.-led international “rules-based order,” Israel is not a pariah state. It remains a trusted enforcer.

In a manner similar to how the U.S. has sought to contain and isolate Russia through NATO, the U.S. seeks to strengthen its military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region to contain and isolate China. AUKUS, a war-fighting partnership among Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., was announced in 2021. In April, Marcos Jr. met with Biden and Japan’s prime minister Kishida in Washington, D.C. for discussions on how to counter China.

The struggle of the Native Hawaiian people against occupation and militarism

For the Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians), the use of the land, the seas, and the air by the U.S. military represents occupation and encroachment of their sovereign rights to determine the future of Ka Pae ‘Aina (as sovereignty activist Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell taught us to call Hawai‘i).  Ka Pae ‘Aina needs to reduce its dependence on the U.S. military and tourism. The people of Ka Pae ‘Aina demand the return of the lands occupied by the military to their natural state. Starting now, the U.S. military must clean up its jet fuel in our waters, its waste and unexploded ordnance from occupied lands.

From Palestine and Hawai‘i to the Philippines, stop the U.S. war machine!

Militarism leads to the oppression of women and children, distorts the economy, and directly contributes to the climate catastrophe. In war games such as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the U.S. gathers together the militaries of its ever-shrinking number of allies to rehearse war, death, and destruction. The U.S. prepares for all-out war with China, Russia, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or whomever is the enemy of the week – raising the threat of nuclear war and the extinction of the human species.

While the list of nations that are NATO members or participants in U.S.-led military exercises in the Asia-Pacific might appear to be extensive – the U.S.-supported war in Ukraine and the U.S.-supported genocide of Palestinians have torn the veil of illusion of a “rules-based order.” The U.S. empire has been shown to be based on domination, subjugation, and white supremacy. The “peace” promoted by the U.S. empire is the peace of the mass grave. As the U.S. seeks to exclude China, Russia, or Iran from the dollar-dominated world economy, an increasing number of states join the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates) economic cooperative.

Marcos Jr. seeks to make the Philippines an even more subservient vassal state of the U.S., but the people of the Philippines continue to resist. Indigenous people oppose the ruinous extraction of natural resources. Farmers struggle for land reform, and fisherfolk struggle against exploitation. The people are supported by a political movement as well as armed struggle. The Philippine military and police attempt to quell resistance through a counterinsurgency campaign of red-tagging of legal activists, extrajudicial killings, hamletting, crop-burning, and aerial bombings. International human rights laws, which govern the conduct of war, are routinely violated by the government of the Philippines – with funding from the U.S.

The Filipino people and their human rights advocates and allies know the violence and injustices and subjugation of peoples brought about by the U.S. military only too well. The U.S. war machine has global reach. NATO is simply just one face of the U.S. war machine. The U.S. war machine must be stopped globally! We must mobilize to take down NATO and RIMPAC!

Jack Maloy is a member of the Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines at the University of Maryland.

Seiji Yamada is a member of the Hawai‘i Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.