Since we marched in Strasbourg at the NATO Summit last year, a group of ‘experts’ has been busily preparing recommendations to shape NATO’s ‘new strategic concept’ due to be unveiled later this year. Chaired by Madeleine Albright, famed for leading the NATO charge to illegally bomb Yugoslavia in 1999, the group has now reported.
Reading the document is another ‘parallel universe’ experience. You will be interested to know that NATO is ‘an essential source of stability in an uncertain and unpredictable world’. Well maybe NATO is at least predictable. But killing is not the kind of predictability that I like. It seems that NATO needs a new strategic concept because the world has changed since the last one in 1999, not least because of the ‘deadly connection between technology and terror’ demonstrated by 9/11. This has led to the euphemistically described ‘response that has drawn NATO troops far from home’, for which read ‘Afghanistan’.
Rather alarmingly, the document states that ‘the development of a new Strategic Concept provides an opportunity to introduce NATO to populations who know little about it’. A regrettable formulation – I suspect the people of Afghanistan knew little about NATO before they started being killed by its forces.
And whilst trumpeting NATO’s democratic principles, the document also asserts that ‘the geographic distribution of NATO nuclear deployments in Europe’ will be made by the Alliance as a whole. What this means is that countries who want US nuclear weapons off their territory – the most recent to vote to get rid of them is Germany – will have to keep them as long as the US want them there. That doesn’t sound very democratic to me.
Last Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the new strategic concept will be adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon on 18 and 19 November this year. You can be sure that CND will be part of the protest taking place there from across Europe. After all, it seems much the same old NATO to me: overwhelming military might, pseudo-democratic window dressing.