CND today condemned a new Parliamentary report for ratcheting up tensions between NATO and Russia – just weeks ahead of the NATO Summit in the UK – and urged an end to Cold War thinking.
The House of Commons Defence Committee report endorses a significant ramping-up of NATO’s military presence in eastern Europe, including stationing military equipment in the Baltic states, establishing command structures, and the consideration of a standing reserve force. This comes at the same time as NATO increases the number of provocative military exercises in the region. UK forces are due to take part in NATO exercises in Poland in August and October.
CND however welcomed the fact that the report recognises that there is little support in NATO member states for military conflict between NATO and Russia. The report highlights calls from Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway to remove US/NATO tactical nuclear weapons from their territory, while a poll from 2008 showed populations in a number of NATO countries would be unwilling to engage in military action in eastern Europe.
Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said:
‘NATO’s expansion in eastern Europe and its provocative military exercises are a hugely destabilising force in the region. The Defence Committee’s knee-jerk call for ratcheting up NATO’s presence there would only further exacerbate tensions. In October, the UK is set to send 1,350 troops and 350 armoured vehicles to Poland: is this supposed to promote peace and diplomacy?
‘There is little appetite for a heightened NATO presence in eastern Europe – just as there is little appetite for maintaining US/NATO nuclear weapons on European soil.
‘It is outrageous that in the 21st century we are left with not only the infrastructure of the Cold War: but the mentality.
‘From 30 August – 5 September, a week of debate and action will take place ahead of the NATO Summit in Newport. It will be a challenge to the militarism and expansionism of this aggressive nuclear alliance: and a call for real peace and security through diplomacy and disarmament.’