Statement by the Workers Party on 70 years of NATO
Today is theseventieth anniversary of the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). On 3rdand 4th April foreign ministers from NATO countries are meeting inWashington D.C.
Thisis no cause for celebration. NATO is an aggressive imperialist war machine thatexpresses and serves the interests and profitability of capital and themonopolies. NATO is the enemy of peace and social progress. It exists in theinterests of preserving the current social system.
NATO wasestablished seventy years ago, in 1949, in order to block the growing ideologicaland political influence of socialism and the Soviet Union. During the existence ofthe socialist states in Europe, NATO was a military instrument of imperialismamounting to a permanent threat to the peoples of the world who were buildingsocialism. It was hostile to the national liberationstruggles taking place across the globe. Bythe early 1960s the US had 2,230 overseas military bases. The US and NATOprovided support to reactionary colonial regimes. Racist South Africa,Rhodesia, south Korea, Chile and Paraguay, for example, received NATO militaryaid and assistance and NATO established a long record of direct and covertaggression against genuine national liberation movements and progressive forcescommitted to the struggle for peace, independence, freedom and equality.
NATOactively assisted the French colonialists in Indochina, Tunisia, Morocco andAlgeria, Dutch colonialists in Indonesia and Portuguese colonialists in Angolaand Mozambique. By the 1970s NATO was extending its field of operations to theSouth Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
The concept of eastwardexpansion into the territories of the former socialist countries was formallyproposed in December 1994. In 1999 Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republicbecame full members of NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania,Latvia and Slovenia became full members in 2004 followed by Albania and Croatiain 2009. At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 consideration was givento admitting Georgia and Ukraine to membership. In2011, NATO officially recognised four aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Since 1989 all newmembers of the EU have become members of NATO.
In 1994 NATO also launched the so-called “Partnership for Peace” (PfP), a US initiative lauded by NATO as undertaking “an important role in enlargement of NATO”. Ireland, despite its constitutional commitment to neutrality, joined PfP.
In 2002the EU and NATO signed a formal declaration on European Security and Defence Policy.In 2003,Javier Solana, (who had been Secretary-General of NATO, including at the timeof NATO’s murderous attacks on Yugoslavia, before being appointedSecretary-General of the Council of the European Union) presented a document onstrategy to the European Council, diminishing the role of the United Nations,and emphasising the importance of NATO, the World Trade Organisation, theInternational Financial Institutions and European and non-European regionalorganisations in “strengthening the international order” and advocating “theneed to develop a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid … and robust intervention”.
In 2017 the EuropeanCouncil of Ministers established Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) under Articles 42and 46 of the Treaty on the European Union. These commit the participatingMember States to theprinciple of a “singleset of forces”,to increasing their military spending to reach specific monitoredtarget levels, and to providing troops for EU combat missions.
NATO’s 2018 SummitDeclaration characterised the EU as a “uniqueand essential partner for NATO” anddescribed a “strategic partnership” between the two organisations whileagreeing that capabilities developed under PESCO be available to NATO and be “complementary and interoperable”. These are dangerous developments forworld peace.
Imperialism has promotedthe barbarism of war and genocide; exploitation and social discrimination; theabuse of science and technology; threats to national sovereignty and theterritorial integrity of states; the repression of progressive politicaldevelopment and the perpetuation of the capitalist system. Intervention inAfghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia and the destruction of the state ofLibya are demonstrative of actions which had no legitimacy, no humanitarianobjective, and were solely related to an overarching desire of the imperialistpowers to create instability and to establish control, either directly or byproxy, opening the way for the monopolies. NATO has been instrumental in thoseevents.
NATO hasenlarged rapidly and significantly and designed a global remit for itsoperations. It constantly strives to expand its influence both in terms of thebreadth of its agenda and its global reach.
Peace is a precondition for social progress. The peoples ofEurope and the world must be free to determine their own course, withoutcapitalist exploitation and wars.The Workers Party of Ireland applauds thelong-standing commitment of the World Peace Council to peace and socialprogress. The WPI sends a message of solidarity to the anti-war movement, includingthe CoalitionAgainst US Foreign Military Bases and others participating today in the massmobilization against the NATO meeting in Washington, DC.
Today,is not a cause for celebration but a reason for resistance.
No toPESCO and a European Army!
Yes to Peaceand Socialism!
WorkersParty of Ireland