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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance among 28 European countries and 2 North American countries. Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty (1949), established in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. The alliance has remained in place since the end of the Cold War, and has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The combined military spending of all NATO members in 2020 constituted over 57 per cent of the global nominal total. Members agreed that their aim is to reach or maintain the target defence spending of at least 2 per cent of their GDP by 2024.
Excerpt from NATO's home pageEdit
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is one of the world’s major international institutions. It is a political and military alliance that brings together 29 member countries from Europe and North America. These countries meet to cooperate in the field of security and defence. In this respect, NATO provides a unique link between these two continents for political and security cooperation.
As the nature of threats changes, so must the methods of preserving peace. NATO is reorienting its defence capabilities towards today’s threats. It is adapting forces and developing multinational approaches to deal with terrorism, failed states and other security threats such as weapons of mass destruction.
- NATO, What is NATO?
- Each member country has a permanent delegation at NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. It is headed by an ambassador, who represents his/her government in the Alliance’s consultation and decision-making process. The North Atlantic Council is the most important political decision-making body within the Organization. It meets at different levels and is chaired by the Secretary General of NATO, who helps members reach agreement on key issues.
- All decisions within each of NATO’s committees are reached by consensus. A “NATO decision” is therefore the expression of the collective will of all member countries. NATO has very few permanent forces of its own. When an operation is agreed by the North Atlantic Council, members contribute forces on a voluntary basis. These forces return to their countries once the mission is completed.
It is the role of the military command structure to coordinate and conduct these operations. This structure consists of headquarters and bases located in different member countries. NATO’s day-to-day activities, civil and military structures and security investment programmes are funded through common budgets to which member governments contribute in accordance with an agreed cost-sharing formula.
- NATO, How does NATO work?
Statement by NATO Heads of State and Government (24 March 2022)Edit
- We, the Heads of State and Government of the 30 NATO Allies, have met today to address Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades. Russia’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and is causing enormous human suffering and destruction.
- We condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We call on President Putin to immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine, and call on Belarus to end its complicity, in line with the Aggression Against Ukraine Resolution adopted at the UN General Assembly of 2 March 2022. Russia should comply with the 16 March ruling by the UN International Court of Justice and immediately suspend military operations. Russia’s attack on Ukraine threatens global security. Its assault on international norms makes the world less safe. President Putin’s escalatory rhetoric is irresponsible and destabilizing.
- Ukrainians have inspired the world with heroic resistance to Russia’s brutal war of conquest. We strongly condemn Russia’s devastating attacks on civilians, including women, children, and persons in vulnerable situations. We will work with the rest of the international community to hold accountable those responsible for violations of humanitarian and international law, including war crimes. We are deeply concerned about the increased risk of sexual violence and human trafficking. We urge Russia to allow rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access and safe passage for civilians, and to allow for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Mariupol and other besieged cities. We also condemn attacks against civilian infrastructure, including those endangering nuclear power plants. We will continue to counter Russia’s lies about its attack on Ukraine and expose fabricated narratives or manufactured “false flag” operations to prepare the ground for further escalation, including against the civilian population of Ukraine. Any use by Russia of a chemical or biological weapon would be unacceptable and result in severe consequences.
- Russia needs to show it is serious about negotiations by immediately implementing a ceasefire. We call on Russia to engage constructively in credible negotiations with Ukraine to achieve concrete results, starting with a sustainable ceasefire and moving towards a complete withdrawal of its troops from Ukrainian territory. Russia’s continuing aggression while discussions are taking place is deplorable. We support Ukraine’s efforts to achieve peace, and those undertaken diplomatically by Allies to weigh in on Russia to end the war and relieve human suffering.
- We stand in full solidarity with President Zelenskyy, the government of Ukraine, and with the brave Ukrainian citizens who are defending their homeland. We honour all those killed, injured, and displaced by Russia’s aggression, as well as their families. We reaffirm our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters.
- Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-defence under the United Nations Charter. Since 2014, we have provided extensive support to Ukraine’s ability to exercise that right.
- We are united in our resolve to counter Russia’s attempts to destroy the foundations of international security and stability. We are holding Russia and Belarus to account. Massive sanctions and heavy political costs have been imposed on Russia in order to bring an end to this war. We remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia. We will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders and other international organizations, including the European Union. Transatlantic coordination remains crucial for an effective response to the current crisis.
- We remain committed to the foundational principles underpinning European and global security, including that each nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements free from outside interference. We reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s Open Door Policy under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty.
- We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect and defend the security of our Allied populations and every inch of Allied territory. Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is iron-clad.
In response to Russia’s actions, we have activated NATO’s defence plans, deployed elements of the NATO Response Force, and placed 40,000 troops on our eastern flank, along with significant air and naval assets, under direct NATO command supported by Allies’ national deployments.
- We are increasing the resilience of our societies and our infrastructure to counter Russia’s malign influence. We are enhancing our cyber capabilities and defences, providing support to each other in the event of cyber-attacks. We are ready to impose costs on those who harm us in cyberspace, and are increasing information exchange and situational awareness, enhancing civil preparedness, and strengthening our ability to respond to disinformation. We will also enhance our preparedness and readiness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
- Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine represents a fundamental challenge to the values and norms that have brought security and prosperity to all on the European continent. President Putin’s choice to attack Ukraine is a strategic mistake, with grave consequences also for Russia and the Russian people. We remain united and resolute in our determination to oppose Russia’s aggression, aid the government and the people of Ukraine, and defend the security of all Allies.
Madrid Summit Declaration (29 June 2022)Edit
- Madrid Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Madrid (29 June 2022)
- We, the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance, have gathered in Madrid as war has returned to the European continent. We face a critical time for our security and international peace and stability. We stand together in unity and solidarity and reaffirm the enduring transatlantic bond between our nations. NATO is a defensive Alliance and poses no threat to any country. NATO remains the foundation of our collective defence and the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among Allies. Our commitment to the Washington Treaty, including Article 5, is iron-clad. In this radically changed security environment, this Summit marks a milestone in strengthening our Alliance and accelerating its adaptation.
- We are united in our commitment to democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law. We adhere to international law and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. We are committed to upholding the rules-based international order.
- We condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. It gravely undermines international security and stability. It is a blatant violation of international law. Russia’s appalling cruelty has caused immense human suffering and massive displacements, disproportionately affecting women and children. Russia bears full responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe. Russia must enable safe, unhindered, and sustained humanitarian access. Allies are working with relevant stakeholders in the international community to hold accountable all those responsible for war crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence. Russia has also intentionally exacerbated a food and energy crisis, affecting billions of people around the world, including through its military actions. Allies are working closely to support international efforts to enable exports of Ukrainian grain and to alleviate the global food crisis. We will continue to counter Russia’s lies and reject its irresponsible rhetoric. Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine. Belarus must end its complicity in this war.
- We warmly welcome President Zelenskyy’s participation in this Summit. We stand in full solidarity with the government and the people of Ukraine in the heroic defence of their country. We reiterate our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders extending to its territorial waters. We fully support Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence and to choose its own security arrangements. We welcome efforts of all Allies engaged in providing support to Ukraine. We will assist them adequately, recognising their specific situation.
- We will continue and further step up political and practical support to our close partner Ukraine as it continues to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression. Jointly with Ukraine, we have decided on a strengthened package of support. This will accelerate the delivery of non-lethal defence equipment, improve Ukraine’s cyber defences and resilience, and support modernising its defence sector in its transition to strengthen long-term interoperability. In the longer term, we will assist Ukraine, and support efforts on its path of post-war reconstruction and reforms.
- Resilience is a national responsibility and a collective commitment. We are enhancing our resilience, including through nationally-developed goals and implementation plans, guided by objectives developed by Allies together. We are also strengthening our energy security. We will ensure reliable energy supplies to our military forces. We will accelerate our adaptation in all domains, boosting our resilience to cyber and hybrid threats, and strengthening our interoperability. We will employ our political and military instruments in an integrated manner. We have endorsed a new chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence policy. We will significantly strengthen our cyber defences through enhanced civil-military cooperation.
- Climate change is a defining challenge of our time with a profound impact on Allied security. It is a threat multiplier. We have decided on a goal to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by the NATO political and military structures and facilities, while maintaining operational, military and cost effectiveness. We will integrate climate change considerations across all of NATO’s core tasks.
- We have met here in Madrid with many of NATO’s partners. We had valuable exchanges with the Heads of State and Government of Australia, Finland, Georgia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, and Ukraine, as well as the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. We welcomed the engagements with the Foreign Ministers of Jordan and Mauritania, as well as the Defence Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Taking into account our unprecedented level of cooperation with the European Union, we will continue to further strengthen our strategic partnership in a spirit of full mutual openness, transparency, complementarity, and respect for the organisations’ different mandates, decision-making autonomy and institutional integrity, and as agreed by the two organisations. Our common resolve in responding to Russia’s war against Ukraine highlights the strength of this unique and essential partnership. The participation of our partners from the Asia-Pacific region, alongside other partners, demonstrated the value of our cooperation in tackling shared security challenges.
- We will further enhance our partnerships so that they continue to meet the interests of both Allies and partners. We will discuss common approaches to global security challenges where NATO’s interests are affected, share perspectives through deeper political engagement, and seek concrete areas for cooperation to address shared security concerns. We will now move ahead with strengthening our engagement with existing and potential new interlocutors beyond the Euro-Atlantic area.
- Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO, and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols. In any accession to the Alliance, it is of vital importance that the legitimate security concerns of all Allies are properly addressed. We welcome the conclusion of the trilateral memorandum between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden to that effect. The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure. The security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the Alliance, including during the accession process.
- With our decisions today, we have firmly set the direction for the Alliance’s continued adaptation. NATO remains the strongest Alliance in history. Through our bond and our mutual commitment, we will continue to safeguard the freedom and security of all Allies, as well as our shared democratic values, now and for future generations.
Quotes about NATOEdit
- [I]f the Kaiser in World War I and the Fuehrer in World War II had been on notice that an armed attack against any of the friendly nations with whom we associate ourselves would be considered a cause even for us to consider and study and determine whether or not we would enter into the common defense, it would have stopped both those wars before they occurred, and in my opinion that one single designation of a commanlty of interest in the North Atlantic pact...is the best assurance against world war III.
- Arthur Vandenberg, speech in the United States Senate (14 February 1949), quoted in Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 81st Congress. First Session. Volume 95—Part 1. January 3, 1949, to February 17, 1949 (1949), p. 1164
- [T]his Pact is a purely defensive arrangement for the common security of the countries who join it, and it is not directed against anyone. If we are accused of ganging up against any country or group of countries I should say simply: "Examine the text. There is no secrecy about it, and there are no secret clauses. You will not find in the text any provision which threatens the security or the well-being of any nation." No nation innocent of aggressive intentions need have the slightest fear or apprehension about it.
- [T]he Pact must be regarded as a concrete expression of the identity of view long held among the Western nations. It recognises the common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law between nations. It is not elaborate; its simplicity is apparent, but I can assure the House that it is based on an understanding and determination to preserve our way of life.
- The paramount purposes of the pact are peace and security... It is clear that the North Atlantic Pact is not an improvisation. It is the statement of the facts and lessons from two world wars in less than half a century. That experience has taught us that the control of Europe by a single aggressive, unfriendly Power would constitute an intolerable threat to the national security of the United States... We must make it clear that armed attack will be met by collective defence, prompt and effective. That is the meaning of the North Atlantic Pact.
- Dean Acheson, radio broadcast (18 March 1949), quoted in The Times (19 March 1949), p. 4
- [The North Atlantic Pact is] an instrument of tremendous moral power. It lays before the world the desires of great nations to live in peace and to be free from molestation and hostile pressures by aggressive States. It mobilizes the forces of peace against the forces of exploitation and war. It is a shining monument to the highest and finest international ethics. It is a symbol of national integrity and good faith between nations.
- Tom Connally, statement quoted in The Times (19 March 1949), p. 4
- The Atlantic Treaty is not aggressive. It is purely defensive. Those who attack it as offensive do so from a bad conscience. They take just the same line as the Nazis did when every attempt by the nations to get together was denounced as the encirclement of Germany. We seek by the pact to gain for the nations a sense of security which they so ardently desire. We seek by the organization of security to make the world safe against aggression and by pooling of strength to reduce the burden of armaments.
- Clement Attlee, speech in Glasgow (10 April 1949), quoted in The Times (11 April 1949), p. 4
- Yes, today we have genuine Russian weather. Yesterday we had Swedish weather. I can't understand why your weather is so terrible. Maybe it is because you are immediate neighbours of NATO.
- Nikita Khrushchev, at a Swedish-Soviet summit which began on March 30, 1956, in Moscow. The stenographed discussion was later published by the Swedish Government, as quoted in Raoul Wallenberg (1985) by Eric Sjöquist, p. 119.
- With the creation of a separate West German state, with the conclusion of the Paris Agreements and with the inclusion of West Germany in NATO, the Western powers finally unilaterally broke the Potsdam Agreement, this sole valid document in international law for Germany in the postwar period. It is not coincidental that in connection with this a special occupation status of the three powers was established in West Berlin. By this three-sided occupation status, the Western powers themselves confirmed that they violated the international-legal basis of their occupation regime in West Berlin and that this regime was based only on undisguised military force.
- Walter Ulbricht, "Speech at the Moscow Conference, 3-5 August 1961" (3 August 1961).
- Washington and its NATO partners more and more often resort in international relations to the policy of blackmail and crude pressure. They try to impudently force their will on other countries and nations. Imperialist bigwigs put forward adventurist doctrines of either a "limited" nuclear war or a war with the use of only conventional, non-nuclear weapons.
- We are convinced that it is high time talks on tactical nuclear systems were initiated among all interested countries. The ultimate objective is to completely eliminate those weapons. Only Europeans who have no intention of waging war against one another are threatened by those weapons. What are they for then and who needs them? Are nuclear arsenals to be eliminated or retained at all costs? Does the strategy of nuclear deterrence enhance or undermine stability? On all these questions the positions of NATO and the Warsaw Pact appear to be diametrically opposed. We, however, are not dramatising our differences. We are looking for solutions and invite our partners to join us in this quest.
- Mikhail Gorbachev, Speech to the Council of Europe (6 July 1989)
- [P]erhaps it is not too late to advance a view that, I believe, is not only mine alone but is shared by a number of others with extensive and in most instances more recent experience in Russian matters. The view, bluntly stated, is that expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.
- George F. Kennan, "A Fateful Error", New York Times (5 February 1997)
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its member States, on the one hand, and the Russian Federation, on the other hand, hereinafter referred to as NATO and Russia, based on an enduring political commitment undertaken at the highest political level, will build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area on the principles of democracy and cooperative security.
- NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries. They share the goal of overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition and of strengthening mutual trust and cooperation. The present Act reaffirms the determination of NATO and Russia to give concrete substance to their shared commitment to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe, whole and free, to the benefit of all its peoples. Making this commitment at the highest political level marks the beginning of a fundamentally new relationship between NATO and Russia. They intend to develop, on the basis of common interest, reciprocity and transparency a strong, stable and enduring partnership.
- NATO should dispose of large fragments of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition remaining in Kosovo 18 months after the conflict ended, because they represent an unnecessary risk to health, a UN study says. Further details of the preliminary results of the UN Environment Programme investigation emerged yesterday as the EU began an inquiry into whether there is a link between radioactive military debris and the death from cancer of soldiers who served in the Balkans.
- NATO urged to clean up its uranium debris in Kosovo, Call for ban on radioactive shells as EU investigates link with soldiers' cancer deaths, The Guardian, Peter Capella in Geneva and Owen Bowcott (4 Jan 2001)
- Concern has been mounting rapidly throughout Europe over the effects of depleted uranium (DU) munitions used by NATO in Bosnia and Yugoslavia during the 1994-95 and 1999 wars. At least 12 soldiers... who served in the Balkans have died of leukemia or other forms of cancer; several... are being treated for cancer... Other soldiers and aid workers have experienced symptoms including “chronic fatigue, hair loss and various types of cancer” (New York Times, 1/7/01)...
Italy, Belgium, France, Portugal and Germany have all demanded that NATO conduct a thorough investigation into the health and environmental impacts of DU, and have expressed distrust of Pentagon and NATO reassurances (Agence France Presse, 1/8/01). Reports in the European press suggest that the situation is causing serious divisions within the alliance, with the conservative London Times asserting that the soldiers’ “Deaths Threaten the Unity of NATO” (1/6/01)... Germany has called on NATO to ban the toxic and radioactive metal (The Independent, 1/9/01), while the United Nations’ war crimes tribunal has offered to make available all relevant records on the Kosovo war, raising the question of the legality of NATO’s use of DU (Agence France Presse, 1/8/01). Since the new year, stories about the DU controversy have been running almost daily in every major British newspaper, with the Guardian (1/8/01) and Independent (1/6/01) each running editorials calling for a NATO investigation into DU’s health effects...
- Meanwhile, in the U.S.—the country most responsible by far for DU contamination—newspapers have relegated most of their coverage to news briefs and short wire stories. The only U.S. newspaper in the Nexis media database to have run an editorial on the current controversy is the Seattle Times (1/6/01). Big picture questions about the extensive use of DU since the Gulf War, its lasting impact on civilian populations and the record of official deception around DU have been largely ignored in both print and broadcast reports... According to a search of the Nexis database, no major U.S. newspaper, magazine, television show or wire service has reported on the COE’s suggestion that NATO countries deliberately violated international law. Despite questions raised by veterans, health researchers and international organizations like the UN, NATO’s use of DU in Kosovo has received almost no sustained media attention, either during or after the war. One war time report on ABC‘s Nightline (4/1/99) criticized Serbian state media’s coverage of the conflict, highlighting what it described as “this astonishing claim” from a Belgrade news report: “They [NATO forces] even use radioactive weapons… which are forbidden by the Geneva Convention.” Astonishing, perhaps, but true; at the time, the Pentagon had already admitted using DU in Kosovo. As for the possibility that NATO violated the Geneva Conventions, ABC has never returned to it.
- Our recommitment to Afghanistan must include increasing NATO forces, suspending the debilitating restrictions on when and how those forces can fight, expanding the training and equipping of the Afghan National Army through a long-term partnership with NATO to make it more professional and multiethnic, and deploying significantly more foreign police trainers.
- NATO this morning detained a tanker in Malta that was due to ship fuel from Italy to a port in western Libya, a senior Libyan source told Petroleum Economist. The Jupiter was destined for a port within the Qadhafi-held east and the well-placed sourced said it was carrying 12,750 tonnes of gasoline for use by the regime's military forces. A Nato official told Petroleum Economist that the ship was boarded "and told it cannot deliver its gasoline because fuel is being diverted to regime forces". He added that the ship was now at anchor off Tripoli awaiting instruction from its owner. Nato added: "It is the Qadhafi regime which is depriving its own citizens of vehicle fuel by diverting reserves for military use. Nato naval forces can deny access to vessels entering or leaving Libyan ports if there is reliable intelligence to suggest that the vessel or its cargo will be used to support attacks or threats on civilians, either directly or indirectly."
Stopping a ship in international waters or within Libyan maritime territory “could be considered an act of war”, according to Martijn Feldbrugge, a sanctions expert at Business Sanctions and Consulting Nieuwediep...Preventing fuel supplies to the regime rests on assumptions that gasoline shortages could hamper Qadhafi’s military, or trigger an uprising in Tripoli by locals. Such a strategy could yet backfire, Shashank Joshi, a military expert and associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said. “Fuel shortages will hurt the civilians in Tripoli first, not the military. The anger that causes may not be directed at the regime but at NATO.”
- Frighteningly, today, there are senior officials in Washington and Moscow who are actually considering a head on clash in Ukraine between Russian forces and NATO – which is an extension of US military power. Intensifying attacks by Ukrainian government forces (quietly armed and financed by the US) against pro-Russian separatists and civilian targets in eastern Ukraine are increasing the danger that Moscow may intervene militarily to protect Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority.
- Eric Margolis, What if There's a Real War in Ukraine? Common Dreams, August 9, 2014
- The footage of President Obama strolling through the ancient ruins at Stonehenge was an apt bookend to the meeting of NATO, a Cold War relic that should have been abolished after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. But while hundreds of protesters marched through the streets calling for NATO to be dissolved — “From Iraq to Ukraine, NATO only causes pain,” they chanted — NATO leaders saw the crisis in Ukraine as an opportunity to breathe new life into the moribund military alliance.
- Medea Benjamin, Ukraine Conflict: Red Meat For Anemic NATO Alliance, September 9, 2014
- A creature of the Cold War created in 1949 to defend Europe from Soviet expansion, NATO did not dissolve when the Soviet Union collapsed peacefully. But it did assure Russia that it would not expand eastwards beyond the reunified Germany, and it would not station significant numbers of troops in Eastern Europe. NATO broke the pledge. In 1999, it admitted three former Warsaw Pact countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. In 2004, it admitted the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Today the NATO security alliance covers 28 member states. It does not include Ukraine, but Ukraine is pushing for NATO membership. One does not have to sympathize with Putin’s oligarchic authoritarianism or its annexation of Crimea to recognize the West’s intimidation.
- Medea Benjamin, Ukraine Conflict: Red Meat For Anemic NATO Alliance, September 9, 2014
- ...one Western policy stands out as a phenomenal success, particularly when measured against the low expectations with which it began: the integration of Central Europe and the Baltic States into the European Union and NATO. Thanks to this double project, more than 90 million people have enjoyed relative safety and relative prosperity for more than two decades in a region whose historic instability helped launch two world wars.
- Anne Applebaum in "The myth of Russian humiliation" Washington Post (October 17, 2014)
- Before joining NATO, each country had to establish civilian control of its army. Before joining the European Union, each adopted laws on trade, judiciary, human rights. As a result, they became democracies. This was “democracy promotion” working as it never has before or since.
- Anne Applebaum in "The myth of Russian humiliation" Washington Post (October 17, 2014)
- For the record: No treaties prohibiting NATO expansion were ever signed with Russia. No promises were broken. Nor did the impetus for NATO expansion come from a “triumphalist” Washington. On the contrary, Poland’s first efforts to apply in 1992 were rebuffed...But Poland and others persisted, precisely because they were already seeing signs of the Russian revanchism to come.
- Anne Applebaum in "The myth of Russian humiliation" Washington Post (October 17, 2014)
- ... constant efforts were made to reassure Russia. No NATO bases were placed in the new member states, and until 2013 no exercises were conducted there. A Russia-NATO agreement in 1997 promised no movement of nuclear installations. A NATO-Russia Council was set up in 2002. In response to Russian objections, Ukraine and Georgia were, in fact, denied NATO membership plans in 2008.
- Anne Applebaum in "The myth of Russian humiliation" Washington Post (October 17, 2014)
- The  crisis in Ukraine, and the prospect of a further crisis in NATO itself, is not the result of our triumphalism but of our failure to react to Russia’s aggressive rhetoric and its military spending. Why didn’t we move NATO bases eastward a decade ago? Our failure to do so has now led to a terrifying plunge of confidence in Central Europe...Our mistake was not to humiliate Russia but to underrate Russia’s revanchist, revisionist, disruptive potential.
- Anne Applebaum in "The myth of Russian humiliation" Washington Post (October 17, 2014)
- There is a crisis brewing at the NATO-Russian border. It is no small matter. In his illuminating and judicious scholarly study of the region, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, Richard Sakwa writes — all too plausibly — that the “Russo-Georgian war of August 2008 was in effect the first of the ‘wars to stop NATO enlargement;’ the Ukraine crisis of 2014 is the second. It is not clear whether humanity would survive a third.” The West sees NATO enlargement as benign. Not surprisingly, Russia, along with much of the Global South, has a different opinion, as do some prominent Western voices. George Kennan warned early on that NATO enlargement is a “tragic mistake,” and he was joined by senior American statesmen in an open letter to the White House describing it as a “policy error of historic proportions.”
- Noam Chomsky, in Chomsky: Who Rules the World? BillMoyers.com (9 May 2016)
- NATO should have disbanded after the Cold War, just as the Warsaw Pact did. Instead of disbanding, NATO proceeded to gobble up Eastern European countries that were formerly a part of the Warsaw Pact. The "regime change" and absorption of Ukraine into NATO would put them right on Russia's border. NATO is not a friend of peace. We don't need it.
- Ron Paul in NATO Is Not A Friend of Peace (5 July 2016)
- Many of us have spent decades studying Moscow’s foreign policy. We shake our heads in disbelief when we see Western leaders seemingly oblivious to what it means to the Russians to witness exercises on a scale not seen since Hitler’s armies launched “Unternehmen Barbarossa” 75 years ago, leaving 25 million Soviet citizens dead. In our view, it is irresponsibly foolish to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not take countermeasures... Putin does not have the option of trying to reassure his generals that what they hear and see from NATO is mere rhetoric and posturing... In sum, Russia is bound to react strongly to what it regards as the unwarranted provocation of large military exercises along its western borders, including in Ukraine.
- But by 1949 fear seemed to rule out all other considerations. Truman managed to get a coalition together in Congress for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an integrated alliance that included a mutual defense obligation. Though much time was spent in Washington on discussing who in Europe could join, what was most remarkable was how European governments lined up to get inside quick. In Italy and France, their Christian Democrat and liberal governments delivered their countries for NATO. In Britain and the Low Countries both labor parties and conservatives were in favor. Even in Scandinavia, with its long tradition of neutrality, Danish and Norwegian Social Democrats steamrolled applications for membership through their parliaments. The Norwegian ambassador to the United States explained that “Norway learned her lesson in 1940.… Today [it] does not believe that neutrality has any relation to the facts of life.” The most curious addition was Portugal, which was neither a democracy nor a World War II ally. But both Britain and the United States viewed the Portuguese Atlantic islands as essential bases in case of a war against the Soviets. In April 1949 the treaty was signed in Washington.
- Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
- The initial effects of NATO in Europe were neither military nor political. They were substantially psychological. Non-Communist western Europeans started to believe that the United States would not withdraw from the continent anytime soon. This meant that Europe would remain divided. But it also meant security against a Soviet attack. The setting up of NATO was not about a civilizational definition of a European core (“from Plato to NATO,” as some put it—even though Greece would not join until 1952). It was about stability on a continent that had been going through hell for more than a generation. If the purpose of NATO—as its first general secretary, Lord Ismay, is said to have quipped—was to “keep the Americans in, the Soviets out, and the Germans down,” then this was a purpose with which the majority of western Europeans agreed around 1950. The exception, of course, were the Communists, who protested everywhere.
- Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
- Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page (15 July 2018) stayed the same: Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead. ... The Washington Post...editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.” ...Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought... Often the biggest lies involve what remains unsaid. For instance, U.S. media rarely mention such key matters as the promise-breaking huge expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall... or the more than 800 U.S. military bases overseas -- in contrast to Russia’s nine.
- There are very extreme tensions, that could blow up anytime and lead to what would in fact be a terminal nuclear war, terminal for the species and life on Earth. We’re very close to that. Now, we could ask why. First of all, we should do things to ameliorate it. Secondly, we should ask why. Well, it’s because NATO expanded after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in violation of verbal promises to Mikhail Gorbachev, mostly under Clinton, partly under first Bush, then Clinton expanded right to the Russian border, expanded further under Obama. The U.S. has offered to bring Ukraine into NATO. That’s the kind of a heartland of Russian geostrategic concerns.... The fate of... organized human society, even of the survival of the species, depends on this. How much attention is given to these things as compared with, you know, whether Trump lied about something?
- The crucial question...what is NATO for? ...From the beginning.. we had drilled into our heads that the purpose of NATO was to defend us from the Russian hordes... OK, 1991, no more Russian hordes...So, what’s NATO doing altogether? Well, actually, its mission was changed. The official mission of NATO was changed to become to be—to control and safeguard the global energy system, sea lanes, pipelines and so on. And, of course, on the side, it’s acting as a intervention force for the United States. Is that a legitimate reason for us to maintain NATO, to be an instrument for U.S. global domination? I think that’s a rather serious question. That’s not the question that’s asked.
- President Trump says he knows more about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. "Frankly, I like Gen. Mattis. I think I know more about it than he does," Trump said during an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday. "And I know more about it from the standpoint of fairness, that I can tell you." Trump made the comments when asked whether Mattis, a former four-star Marine general, explained to the commander in chief that NATO was crucial to preventing World War III. "The answer is this," Trump said. "I will always be there with NATO, but they have to pay their way. I'm fully in favor of NATO, but I don't wanna be taken advantage of." Trump has repeatedly bashed the country's NATO partners for their slow progress in achieving the alliance's defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP by 2024.
- Naomi Lim https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/trump-i-know-more-about-nato-than-defense-secretary-jim-mattis Trump: 'I know more' about NATO than Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Washington Examiner, (14 October 2018)
- Non-US members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will invest a further $100bn in defence spending, according to secretary general Jens Stoltenberg. A NATO official told Army Technology: “At the Wales Summit in 2014, all NATO allies agreed to stop cutting defence budgets, increase defence expenditures as GDP grows, and aim to move towards spending 2% of their GDP on defence within a decade."
- President Trump’s nationalistic foreign policy has rattled U.S. allies and NATO members — and as he has pushed them to pay more for having U.S. troops stationed on their territory and framed the alliance in transactional terms.
- Washington Post As Europe worries about Trump, congressional leaders invite NATO head for joint address, Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade and Robert Costa (11 March 2019)
- The transatlantic alliance deserves a resounding “happy birthday”. It kept the peace for 40 years of cold war, protected western Europe from communism, helped stabilise central Europe after the Soviet Union’s collapse and enabled unprecedented prosperity. “We’re incredibly complacent about the continuous delivery of peace and stability in our lives, and a hell of a lot of that depends on NATO,” says Sir Adam Thomson, a former British ambassador to nato, now with the European Leadership Network, a London-based think-tank. “We tend to take it for granted.”
- Since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Poland, the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as well as other Eastern European states have expressed concerns about their security. The United States has deployed and rotated troops in the region since the Ukraine crisis began in an effort to deter Russia. NATO has also increased its presence near Russia’s borders.
- Poland has been lobbying hard for a greater US military presence in the country ... as part of NATO operations, with the suggestion that a permanent base be created – for which Poland has offered to pay – dubbed "Fort Trump”, doubtless as a way of appealing to the current US president’s ego.
- NATO’s creators hoped the Alliance would never have to go to war. For 40 years, that was the case. When, in the 1990s, NATO did go into combat, the enemy wasn’t Russia. Moreover, that catastrophic war finally came to an end in large measure because of Russian diplomacy.
- Strobe Talbott in A brief history of NATO, from Truman to Trump, Brookings Institution (27 March 2019)
- When NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg gives his speech to the assembled members of Congress next Wednesday, you can count on the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader to be right behind him. The bipartisan enthusiasm will be obvious -- in tribute to a militarized political culture that is vastly profitable for a few, while vastly destructive in countless ways. Only public education, activism, protests and a wide range of political organizing have the potential to disrupt and end the reflexive support for NATO in Washington.
- President Donald Trump: By 2020 I think we’ll have at least another hundred billion dollars spent by the Allies, the other countries, the 27 countries outside of ourselves...
- What is NATO Good For?, The Real News Network, (8 April 2019)
- The world is arming itself to the teeth. That is the conclusion of a new report published on April 29th by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a think-tank. Global military spending last year rose to $1.8trn, says SIPRI—the highest level in real terms since reliable records began in 1988, during the cold war, and 76% higher than in 1998, when the world was enjoying its “peace dividend”.
- Military spending around the world is booming, The Economist,] (28 April 2019)
- Many observers in Russia believe that the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act was a mistake and the Russia-NATO Council established in 2002 never worked as a conflict settlement arrangement. Rather, it was meant to symbolize an upcoming unity between Russia and NATO, something that never materialized.
- Andrey Sushentsov in A Phony Cold War, Valdai Club, (12 May 2019)
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised the United Kingdom for maintaining a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent for 50 years in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. At least one Royal Navy submarine carrying nuclear missiles has been on undersea patrol at all times since April 1969. This mission, called Operation Relentless, is the longest sustained military operation ever undertaken by the UK. Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO Allies face a highly complex international security environment. “Our goal is to maintain peace and security for all our nations and people”, he wrote. “The commitment the UK has made, and continues to make, is a vital contribution to NATO's overall deterrence effort, including against the most extreme potential threats. This helps protect all NATO Allies.”
- NATO News NATO Secretary General marks 50 years of UK submarine nuclear deterrent (21 May 2019)
- Former vice president Joe Biden... warned during a private Coral Gables fundraiser that the greatest threat to the future of America — world peace, even — is currently occupying the White House....“Eight years of this and I think we’ll have a phenomenal dislocation occur around the world. I think you’ll see the end of NATO and a whole range of other things that really are the things that maintain peace.”
- The NATO ‘alliance’ of 29 member states (with Israel also a de facto member), most with US military bases, US military (and sometimes nuclear) weapons and significant or substantial deployments of US troops on their territory, was designed to sustain ‘the de facto “military occupation” of Western Europe’ and to confront the Soviet Union as the US administration orchestrated the Cold War to justify its imperial agenda – global domination guaranteed by massive US military expansion – in service of elite interests (including the profit maximization of the military industrial complex, its fossil fuel and banking corporations, and its media and information technology giants)...
- Robert J. Burrowes in Understanding NATO, Ending War, CounterPunch (23 May 2019)
- A relative latecomer to the cyber game, NATO is beginning to “operationalize” cyber capabilities into its overall structure by integrating those tools of member nations, said the alliance’s secretary general. “We are tackling increasingly complex cyberthreats faster and more efficiently. And we are more aware of the threats, more resilient to incidents,” Jens Stoltenberg said May 23 at the Cyber Defense Pledge Conference in London. “We also need to consider how we can deter attacks in cyberspace.”
- Mark Pomerleau NATO to integrate offensive cyber capabilities of individual members, Fifth Domain (28 May 2019)
- NATO was created in 1949 to prevent possible Soviet attacks on the United States, Canada and a number of Western European nations. In case of an attack on one member, all NATO countries are required to rush to its defense. Even though the Soviet threat is long gone and the United States spends more on defense than any other NATO member, the military alliance’s supporters argue that the benefits outweigh the costs.
In a letter, former NATO secretaries... wrote, “We believe that the transatlantic alliance is the cornerstone of a stable, peaceful and free world. Few things symbolise this alliance, and the enduring benefits of American global leadership, more vividly than the life and work of John McCain... We urge NATO to repay this lifetime of service to its mission by naming its new Brussels headquarters after Senator McCain."
- "What Nord Stream 2 does is salami slice NATO by cutting some of the Eastern European countries away from the Western ones and particularly Germany...” The company behind Nord Stream 2 argues the pipeline adds much needed supply capacity at a time when European gas reserves are diminishing... They reject the suggestion the pipeline furthers the Kremlin's geopolitical interests in Europe.
- ''SkyNews: Nord Stream 2: The Russian oil pipeline 'salami slicing' through NATO ', Diana Magnay (31 May 2019)
- Bathed in late afternoon sun, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, boarded a steamboat on Lake Geneva. He was there for drinks and nibbles with the King of Holland and the head of NATO, a glamorous end to a busy day at the Bilderberg summit. Representing the White House, Jared Kushner wore a beatific smile... Security at the wharf was drum tight. Amid a sea of secret service personnel, Pompeo was accompanied by the US ambassador to Switzerland... The pair looked keen to continue the geopolitical strategizing over canapés. The secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, was flanked by heavily armed bodyguards... He has attended the last three Bilderberg meetings, turning up for “informal discussions”... Up on deck, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands chatted to James O Ellis, a former head of US Strategic Command, now a director of Lockheed Martin. In all, it was a bit eerie watching such a relaxed, twinkly drinks party in the context of a conference featuring so many Pentagon officials and advisers and NATO strategy chiefs. A large chunk of the agenda had a military flavour: “The weaponisation of social media”, “cyber threats”, even “the importance of space”. A couple of weeks ago, Stoltenberg announced that NATO is about to announce a new “space policy”.
- ...the new Cold War with Moscow shows little sign of abating. It is used to justify the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders, a move that has made billions in profits for U.S. arms manufacturers... This new Cold War predates the Trump presidential campaign. It was manufactured over a decade ago by a war industry and intelligence community that understood that, by fueling a conflict with Russia, they could consolidate their power and increase their profits.
- Chris Hedges in Manufacturing War With Russia, TruthDig ] (3 June 2019)
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a Western military alliance long viewed as a foe by Russia, is ready to open its doors to North Macedonia, a country considered a key battleground between Russia and the West, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
- The leading members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday unveiled legislation that would allow the U.S. to provide loans for members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to upgrade their weapons stockpile and reduce their dependency on Russia and China for acquiring arms. The bill, co-sponsored by committee Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, and ranking member Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, would give Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the power to authorize direct loans to the 29-member alliance to modernize their armed forces.
- Who is our common enemy? This question deserves to be clarified. Is our enemy today, as I hear sometimes, Russia? Is it China? Is it the Atlantic alliance’s purpose to designate them as enemies? I don’t think so... Our common enemy at the alliance is, it seems, terrorism, which has hit all of our countries.
- French President Emmanuel Macron in France's Macron: I'm not sorry I called NATO brain dead,Reuters, (28 November 2019)
- NATO’s fundamental problem is that the military alliance no longer reflects a common strategic reality. Created to counter a threat that no longer exists, the alliance’s widening fissures are becoming impossible to ignore... Neither Trump nor Macron is the real threat to NATO. Reality is.
- NATO was set up to fight the Cold War and push back against Soviet power in Europe, but the USSR is long gone, and whatever threat is posed by Russia today cannot compare.
- In the years gone by, NATO summits were important events in the life of the alliance. Over the past two decades, however, the gatherings became almost annual, and therefore less than exciting. Until the 2017 NATO summit in Brussels, that is. Trump livened things up by not referring to the North Atlantic Treaty's iconic article 5, which stated that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." This provision is actually less binding than its reputation, since each alliance member will merely take "such action as it deems necessary." It had been invoked only once, after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Nonetheless, NATO had been a successful deterrence structure, for decades blocking the Red Army from knifing through Germany's Fulda Gap and deep into the heart of Western Europe. Of course, the United States was always the overwhelmingly greatest force contributing to our alliance, and it was primarily for our benefit, not because we were renting ourselves out to defend Europe, but because defending "the West" was in America's strategic interest. As a Cold War bulwark against Soviet expansionism, NATO represented history's most successful politico-military coalition.
- John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (2020), p. 133
- Did NATO have problems? Of course. Not for nothing was Henry Kissinger's famous 1965 work entitled The Troubled Partnership: A Reappraisal of the Atlantic Alliance. The list of NATO's deficiencies was long, including, after the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse, the feckless abandonment by several European members of their responsibility to provide for their own self-defense. Under President Clinton, America suffered its own military declines, as he and others saw the collapse of Communism as "the end of history," slashing defense budgets to spend on politically beneficial domestic welfare programs. This "peace dividend" illusion never ended in much of Europe, but it ended in America with the September 11 mass murders in New York and Washington by Islamicist terrorists. NATO's future has been intensely debated among national-security experts for decades, with many urging a broader post-Cold War agenda. Barack Obama criticized NATO members for being "free riders," not spending adequately on their own defense budgets, but, typically, he had simply graced the world with his views, doing nothing to see them carried out.
- John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (2020), p. 133-134
- Trump, at his first NATO summit in 2017, complained that too many allies were not meeting their 2014 commitment, collectively made at Cardiff, Wales, to spend 2 percent of their GDP for defense in the European theater. Germany was one of the worst offenders, spending about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense, and always under pressure from Social Democrats and other leftists to spend less. Trump, despite, or perhaps because, of his father's German ancestry, was relentlessly critical. During consultations on the strike against Syria in April, Trump asked Macron why Germany would not join in the military retaliation against the Assad regime. It was a good question, without an answer other than domestic German politics, but Trump rolled on, criticizing Germany as a terrible NATO partner and again attacking the Nord Stream II pipeline, which would see Germany paying Russia, NATO's adversary, substantial revenues. Trump called NATO "obsolete" during the 2016 campaign but argued in April 2017 that the problem had been "fixed" in his presidency. His noteworthy failure in 2017 to mention article 5 allegedly surprised even his top advisors because he personally deleted any reference to it from a draft speech. True or not, the 2017 summit set the stage for the potential crisis we faced in 2018.
- John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (2020), p. 134
- The storm had been brewing well before I arrived in the West Wing, but now it was directly ahead. Trump was correct on the burden-sharing point, as Obama had been, a convergence of views that might have shaken Trump's confidence in his own had he paid attention to it. The problem, from the perspective of US credibility, steadfastness, and alliance management, was the vitriol with which Trump so often expressed his displeasure with allies' not achieving the objective, or in some cases not even seeming to be interested in trying. In fact, earlier Presidents had not succeeded in keeping the alliance up to the mark in burden-sharing in the post-Cold War era. I certainly believed that, under Clinton and Obama in particular, the US had not spent enough on its own behalf for defense, regardless of what any of the allies were doing or not doing. If any of this were merely a critique of Trump's style, which it seemed to be for many critics, it would be a triviality. Personally, I've never shied away from being direct, even with our closest friends internationally, and I can tell you they are never shy about telling us what they think, especially about America's deficiencies. In fact, it was not Trump's directness but the veiled hostility to the alliance itself that unnerved other NATO members and his own advisors.
- John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (2020), p. 134-135
- When reports come out that certain countries don’t really like me too much, that’s not because of my personality, although it could be that also, frankly. It’s because of the fact that I’ve been very tough on countries that have been ripping us off for so many years. If you look at NATO, with the exception of eight countries—we’re one of them—every country is way behind. They’re delinquent, especially Germany, in paying their NATO bills. That means we end up paying it, and we’re not doing it. I told them; we’re not doing it. And they’ve increased their spending now $130 billion, going up to $400 billion a year. It’s all because of me. Then you hear the country doesn’t like me. I mean, I can understand that, because President Obama and other presidents, in all fairness, would go in there and they’d make a speech and they’d leave. I went in there, I looked, and I said, “This is unfair. We’re paying for NATO.” We’re paying for NATO. Almost all of it. So they rip us off on the military and then they rip us off, with the European Union, on trade. And Biden doesn’t have a clue. You know he doesn’t have a clue. Everybody knows he doesn’t have a clue. In primetime, he wasn’t good. And now it’s not primetime.
- Donald Trump, Labor Day Speech, (2020)
- The mutual trust that emerged with the end of the Cold War was severely shaken a few years later by NATO's decision to expand to the east. Russia had no option but to draw its own conclusions from that.
- Mikhail Gorbachev, What Is at Stake Now (2020)
- During the transition to the new Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright famously asked Gen. Colin Powell, then chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" In 1999, as secretary of state under Bill Clinton, Albright got her wish, running roughshod over the UN Charter with an illegal war to carve out an independent Kosovo from the ruins of Yugoslavia. The UN Charter clearly prohibits the threat or use of military force except in cases of self-defense or when the UN Security Council takes military action "to maintain or restore international peace and security." This was neither. When U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Albright his government was "having trouble with our lawyers" over NATO's illegal war plan, Albright crassly told him to "get new lawyers."
- Twenty-two years later, Kosovo is the third-poorest country in Europe (after Moldova and post-coup Ukraine) and its independence is still not recognized by 96 countries. Hashim Thaçi, Albright's hand-picked main ally in Kosovo and later its president, is awaiting trial in an international court at the Hague, charged with murdering at least 300 civilians under cover of NATO bombing in 1999 to extract and sell their internal organs on the international transplant market. Clinton and Albright's gruesome and illegal war set the precedent for more illegal U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, with equally devastating and horrific results.
- The February meeting of NATO...defense ministers... revealed an antiquated, 75-year-old alliance that, despite its military failures in Afghanistan and Libya, is now turning its military madness toward two more formidable, nuclear-armed enemies: Russia and China... NATO seems oblivious to the changing dynamics of today's world, as if it were living on a different planet. Its one-sided Reflection Group report cites Russia's violation of international law in Crimea as a principal cause of deteriorating relations with the West, and insists that Russia must "return to full compliance with international law." But it ignores the U.S. and NATO's far more numerous violations of international law and leading role in the tensions fueling the renewed Cold War: Illegal invasions of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq...The broken agreement over NATO expansion into Eastern Europe... U.S. withdrawals from important arms control treaties... More than 300,000 bombs and missiles dropped on other countries by the U.S. and its allies since 2001... U.S. proxy wars in Libya and Syria, which plunged both countries into chaos, revived Al Qaeda and spawned the Islamic State... U.S. management of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which led to economic collapse, Russian annexation of Crimea and civil war in Eastern Ukraine...
The stark reality of the U.S. record as a serial aggressor whose offensive war machine dwarfs Russia's defense spending by 11 to 1 and China's by 2.8 to 1, even without counting other NATO countries' military spending.
- Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, What Planet Is NATO Living On? It's No Longer Useful to This One, Salon, (24 February 2021)
- NATO's failure to seriously examine its own role in what it euphemistically calls "uncertain times" should be more alarming to Americans and Europeans than its one-sided criticisms of Russia and China, whose contributions to the uncertainty of our times pale by comparison.
- Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, What Planet Is NATO Living On? It's No Longer Useful to This One Salon, (24 February 2021)
- Well, I was myself recently also in Afghanistan, and I sat down with the mothers in these displacement camps around Kabul. And I asked them, “What about the future? What do you think of the future?” And they told me very clearly, “We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter, unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through and unless there is a public sector again that is able to provide services.” It is as acute as that. Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August.
- The key issue is the status of NATO and the role of NATO in general and particularly with regard to the Ukraine. First, let me just begin with the more general issue of NATO. I think the Soviet Union to the very end expected that NATO would simply disappear because the Soviet counterpart to NATO, the Warsaw Pact effectively went out of business in 1989. And, you know, NATO didn’t seem to have any purpose anymore since the Cold War — by everybody’s agreement — was effectively over by the end of 1989. Yet NATO’s not only continued, but it really began expanding to an extraordinary degree... a direct violation of a U.S. agreement that they made with the Soviet Union in 1990, which was a solemn promise that was made not once, but repeatedly — never to expand NATO to the East. The phrase that was used by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker was “not one inch eastward.” That was a promise made by the United States so that the Soviet Union, later Russia, would not feel threatened. Specifically, there was a U.S. objective that Germany was reunifying and the Soviet Union had the ability to block the reunification of the U.N. Security Council. And as agreed, as part of the comprehensive agreement, the Soviets agreed not to block Germany’s reunification and the U.S. agreed not to expand NATO.
- There have been a number of recent studies that have looked at the declassified documents and the public statements, and they firmly assert that there was an agreement, a U.S. promise not to expand NATO . And almost immediately, the U.S. began violating that agreement and began doing so quite brazenly, and the Soviets and then the Russians have always been furious about this and see this as a threat to their security. In terms of the Ukraine, in 2008, there were repeated statements by both U.S. and NATO officials that the Ukraine would be welcomed into NATO, and the Russians insisted that that was simply a bridge too far and they would not allow it.... I think there’s a tendency not to realize how provocative this is to the Russians in light of A, the fact that this is a violation of a U.S. agreement and B, that this is directly on the southern border of Russia. It’s a little bit like how the United States would feel if, let’s say, Russia established an alliance with Mexico and began building bases in Mexico. I see this as reckless provocation against Russia...
There was a big lobbying campaign to help sell the idea of expanding NATO to the American public... funded very heavily by weapons manufacturers because they benefited from these things. So in terms of winners and losers, I would say a very small elite group would benefit and frankly, everyone else is going to lose from this.
- While Civil Society and a global movement work steadfastly across dozens of fields for the abolition of nuclear weapons, planning, preparations, and rehearsals for attacks using deployed H-bombs and nuclear missiles are routine in the US military and NATO.
US nuclear war practice takes place routinely with allied European militaries. “Steadfast Noon” is NATO’s code name for its annual nuclear attack practice, and Hans Kristensen reports for the Federation of American Scientists that, “This is the exercise that practices NATO’s nuclear strike mission with the B61 … nuclear bombs the US deploys in Europe.” Jan Merička wrote in European Security Journal News Oct. 19, 2017, that Steadfast Noon is designed “to simulate nuclear strikes… and was conducted from the Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium and Büchel Air Base in Germany, where US B61 thermonuclear bombs with the force of up to 340 kilotons of TNT are stored.” (FYI: Hiroshima was incinerated with a 15 kiloton US bomb.)
- US and NATO Nuclear Lunacy Still Raving by John Laforge, CounterPunch, December 24, 2021
- To illustrate the Pentagon’s ho-hum acceptance of mass destruction, it recently opened in Omaha its new, $1.3 billion Strategic Command headquarters for supervising and targeting the nuclear arsenal, and it named the building after General Curtis LeMay, who, the Omaha World Herald reported, designed and conducted the incendiary bombing of 60 Japanese cities at the end of WWII, bombing that “incinerated entire cities” killing as many as 900,000 civilians. General LeMay’s motto and that of Strategic Command used to be “Death from Above,” but after the war it was changed to “Peace is Our Profession.”
In Germany, readiness for attacks with nuclear weapons is maintained by the USAF 702nd Munitions Support Squadron, which tends to Germany’s 33rd Fighter-Bomber Wing at Büchel Air Force Base. Headlines from last October’s bombing “theater” included, and “NATO Holds Secret Nuclear War Exercises in Germany,” “German Air Force training for nuclear war as part of NATO;” from 2017, “NATO nuclear weapons exercise unusually open”; and in 2015, “NATO nuclear weapons exercise Steadfast Noon in Büchel.”
While the uninitiated might be aghast, the US military plans and prepares all year round for nuclear attacks at its far-flung “Defense Nuclear Weapons School” of the Air Force Nuclear College. According to the school’s website, one branch (of “Armageddon Academy”) is at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, the largest US military base outside the country.
- US and NATO Nuclear Lunacy Still Raving by John Laforge, CounterPunch, December 24, 2021
- How likely is doomsday? Well back to Ukraine, regarding which, on December 1, Russian President Putin asked the west for legal guarantees that it would cease eastward expansion. This request, made because Washington’s word is worthless (vide just for starters, the Iran nuclear pact, and President George H.W. Bush’s promise that NATO would never, ho, ho, expand to Russia’s borders) and met with scoffs by the white house, comes amid complicated tensions. The Kiev military recently claimed it used Turkish attack drones “in combat against ethnic Russian rebels,” Finian Cunningham reported October 28 in Information Clearing House. This is not good. Turkey is in NATO. If Turkey gets tangled up in the Ukraine imbroglio, that substantially escalates things. According to Anatol Lieven in Responsible Statecraft on November 24, “Moscow is especially alarmed by Ukraine’s acquisition of Turkish Bayraktar combat drones,” used to such deadly effect by Azerbaijan in its 2020 conquest of Armenian territory. Unlike the F-35, these things actually work. Worse, Cunningham reports that “American, British and Canadian military advisors… have carried out training missions with UAF combat units.” Now the Kremlin has warned that “NATO’s support to the Kiev regime was posing a direct threat to Russia’s national security.” That’s called drawing a red line. In fact, on December 2, Putin called NATO deployment of troops to Ukraine exactly that, a red line. Will the U.S. and NATO be stupid enough to cross it? If so, now would be a good time to invest in a bomb shelter.
- Dangerous Games: Western Militaries on the Doorsteps of Russia and China, by Eve Ottenberg, CounterPunch, December 10, 2021
- What I think is happening as a result of NATO expansion, of Biden being a tremendously hawkish figure on Ukraine and basically daring Vladimir Putin to stand up to NATO expansion, is that you run the risk of what is ultimately the elite business class of the world having their battles spilling over into overt military conflict. I think China in particular is very concerned about the aggressive U.S. stance because I think China would be very happy to find a way to just sort of divvy up the world for domination in various regions. The United States is not going to accept that. The U.S. posture is pushing China and Russia into an even closer alliance akin to the relationship during the Cold War.
- Listen, there's been a campaign, a war against Russia going on for a long time. It started again in the United States around 2006, '07, when he made that speech in Munich, but I think there's no evidence really of the aggressiveness of Russia. The aggressiveness is truly coming from the NATO forces that have encircled Russia and that are also, by the way, encircling China. You know, this is a big policy point, huge, of huge importance... If you look at the reporting from all of our major networks, it's very hostile when it comes to people who we deem to be enemies... It's not necessary to be their enemy.
- Oliver Stone, Transcript: A Conversation with Oliver Stone, (streamed live on youtube) The Washington Post (12 May 2021)
- With regard to nuclear weapons, the situation is far more dangerous than the last Doomsday Clock report. New weapons systems under development are much more effectively dangerous. The Biden administration, expanding upon Trump’s confrontational approach, has Chomsky at a loss for words to describe the danger at hand. Only recently, Biden met with NATO leaders and instructed them to plan on two wars, China and Russia. According to Chomsky: “This is beyond insanity.” Not only that, the group is carrying out provocative acts when diplomacy is really needed. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation.
According to Chomsky, the Doomsday Clock setting at 100 seconds to midnight is based upon: (1) global warming (2) nuclear war and (3) disinformation, or the collapse of any kind of rational discourse. As such, number three makes it impossible to deal with the first two major problems... As a result, Chomsky says: “We’re living in a world of total illusion and fantasy.” Accordingly, “Unless this is dealt with soon, it’ll be impossible to deal with the two major issues within the time span that we have available, which is not very long.”
- Russia is right: The West promised not to enlarge NATO, and these promises were broken.
- Tarik Cyril Amar, Russia is right: The West promised not to enlarge NATO & these promises were broken, RT, 15 January 2022
- I have pursued a lone heresy of wondering why NATO even survived the end of its enemies, the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Do we still maintain alliances against Austria-Hungary or the Ottomans? I can find no trace of them. Perhaps, overlooked in some elegant Paris street and living off ancient funds, elderly, learned men still occupy these joyous sinecures, hoping that they will not be found out.
- Peter Hitchens, "How NATO Lost Its Way", Compact, March 22, 2022
- Is the proxy war in Ukraine turning out to be only a lead-up to something larger, involving world famine and a foreign-exchange crisis for food- and oil-deficit countries? Many more people are likely to die of famine and economic disruption than on the Ukrainian battlefield. It thus is appropriate to ask whether what appeared to be the Ukraine proxy war is part of a larger strategy to lock in U.S. control over international trade and payments. We are seeing a financially weaponized power grab by the U.S. Dollar Area over the Global South as well as over Western Europe. Without dollar credit from the United States and its IMF subsidiary, how can countries stay afloat? How hard will the U.S. act to block them from de-dollarizing, opting out of the U.S. economic orbit? U.S. Cold War strategy is not alone in thinking how to benefit from provoking a famine, oil and balance-of-payments crisis. Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum worries that the world is overpopulated – at least with the “wrong kind” of people. As Microsoft philanthropist (the customary euphemism for rentier monopolist) Bill Gates has explained: “Population growth in Africa is a challenge.”
- Unfortunately, it’s US “diplomacy” which brought the US, Russia, Ukraine, and NATO to the current standoff. As the Warsaw Pact disintegrated and the Soviet Union collapsed, US encouragement for those events included pledges that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wouldn’t take advantage of the situation to expand eastward. Since then, NATO has inexorably pushed in that direction, nearly doubling the number of member states. Thanks, US “diplomacy.”... Things began coming to a head with the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine that replaced its “Russia-friendly” regime with a “US/Europe-friendly” regime in 2014, courtesy of Barack Obama. Thanks, US “diplomacy.”
Then in 2019, the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which forbade the US to place missiles within surprise strike distance of Russia, and Russia to place similar missiles within surprise strike distance of NATO. The US followed up by placing exactly such missiles in Poland, courtesy of Donald Trump. Some “diplomacy.”... Then the US went into overdrive (courtesy of Trump and Biden) against the opening of a pipeline (Nord Stream 2) which would have supplied Russian natural gas to Germany. The pipeline would have been a force for peace insofar as Russia likes to sell natural gas (at a fraction of prices the US can offer), and Germans like to not freeze to death.
- Ukraine: US “Diplomacy” is the Problem. Can it Become the Solution? Thomas Knapp, CounterPunch, February 23, 2022
- As in a Greek tragedy whose protagonist brings about precisely the fate that he has sought to avoid, the US/NATO confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is achieving just the opposite of America’s aim of preventing China, Russia and their allies from acting independently of U.S. control over their trade and investment policy... The basic U.S. policy has been to threaten to destabilize countries and perhaps bomb them until they agree to adopt neoliberal policies and privatize their public domain. But taking on Russia, China and Iran is a much higher order of magnitude. NATO has disarmed itself of the ability to wage conventional warfare by handing over its supply of weaponry – admittedly largely outdated – to be devoured in Ukraine... All that NATO can do is bomb from a distance. It can destroy, but not occupy. The United States found that out in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. And just as the assassination Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) triggered World War I in 1914, NATO’s bombing of adjoining Serbia may be viewed as throwing down the gauntlet to turn Cold War 2 into a veritable World War III. That marked the point at which NATO became an offensive alliance, not a defensive one.... Russia is no more in a position to invade Western Europe than NATO countries are to send conscripts to fight Russia.
- Michael Hudson, American Diplomacy as a Tragic Drama, (28 July 2022)
- In the case of Ukraine, NATO membership for that country implied the expulsion of Russia from the naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea (a city of immense importance to Russia, both strategic and emotional), and the creation of a hard international frontier between Russia and the Russian and Russian-speaking minorities in Ukraine, making up more than a third of the Ukrainian population....while the terms of any compromise with Russia over Ukraine would involve some tough negotiation, we can seek such a compromise without fearing that this will open the way for further Russian moves to destroy NATO and subjugate eastern Europe—a ridiculous idea for anyone who knows either the goals of the Russian establishment or the character of Poles and Estonians.
- Anatol Lieven,Russia Has Been Warning About Ukraine for Decades. The West Should Have Listened Time, January 25, 2022
- Failing at least initial moves towards such a compromise, it does indeed look likely that there will be some form of new Russian attack on Ukraine, though by no means necessarily a large-scale invasion. In the event of war, however far the Russian army marches will be followed by a new Russian proposal for a deal in return for Russian withdrawal. The only difference between then and now will be that NATO will have been humiliated by its inability to fight, the West and Ukraine will be in a much weaker position to negotiate a favorable deal—and that in the meantime, thousands of people will have died.
- Anatol Lieven,Russia Has Been Warning About Ukraine for Decades. The West Should Have Listened Time, January 25, 2022
- The reason I testified against expanding NATO expansion — against expanding NATO, in the beginning, in the late ’90s, was because we had — at the end of the Cold War, we had removed the Iron Curtain. We had created what we had aimed for: a Europe whole and free. And it was obvious, if you start piecemeal expanding NATO, you are going to — without including Russia — you are going to once again precipitate a buildup of arms and a competition, an armed competition, then. But there was no reason to do it at that time. Russia was not threatening any East European country. Actually, the Soviet Union in its last years was not, because Gorbachev had accepted the democratization of the East European countries. And actually, one of the last acts of the Soviet parliament was to recognize the freedom and independence of the three Baltic countries, so that we had a Europe whole and free. The task was to build a security architecture that would include them all. And the reason I testified against it was that I saw that a process that we started then, if continued, and if continued up to the borders of the Soviet Union — I mean, to the borders of Russia and included former parts of the Soviet Union that were recognized as part of the Soviet Union at that time, such as, most importantly, Ukraine and Georgia, that this would bring about a confrontation.
- The problems with Russia are not just NATO expansion. There were also a process that began with the second Bush administration of withdrawing from all of the arms control — almost all of the arms control agreements that we had concluded with the Soviet Union, the very agreements that had brought the first Cold War to an end.... In effect, what the United States did after the end of the Cold War was they reversed the diplomacy that we had used to end the Cold War, and started sort of doing anything, everything the opposite way. We started, in effect, trying to control other countries, to bring them into what we called the “new world order,” but it was not very orderly. And we also sort of asserted the right to use military whenever we wished. We bombed Serbia in the ’90s without the approval of the U.N. Later, we invaded Iraq, citing false evidence and without any U.N. approval and against the advice not only of Russia but of Germany and France, our allies. So, the United States — I could name a number of others — itself was not careful in abiding by the international laws that we had supported.
- That NATO advance makes no sense. It is going to lead us again to a division of the world.
- José Mujica, referring to 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Quoted in José Mujica habla así de Putin y augura qué va a pasar: alucinan hasta los periodistas, huffingtonpost (19 July 2021)
- We had a moment in history, between 1988 and 1991, where we could have worked with Mikhail Gorbachev to make his vision of perestroika succeed. Instead, we allowed him to fail, without any real plan on how we would live with what emerged from the ruins of the Soviet Union. Save for a short period of time during the Second World War where we needed the Soviet Union to defeat Germany and Japan, we have been in a continual state of political conflict with the Soviet Union. Even after the Soviet Union collapsed, we viewed the Russian Federation more as a defeated enemy that we needed to keep down, than a friend in need of a helping hand up. Yeltsin’s Russia was useful to the US and NATO only to the extent that we could exploit it economically while controlling its domestic politics in a manner that kept Russia in a perpetual state of weakness. The Obama “reset” was simply a ploy to remove Vladimir Putin, who rejected the vision of Russia projected by the west, and replace him with Dmitri Medvedev, whom Obama believed could be remade in the figure of Yeltsin. The fact that Putin believes in a strong Russia has upset the plans of the US, NATO, and Europe for post-Cold War hegemony, predicated as they were on a weak, compliant Russian state.
- Scott Ritter as quoted in What Are The Prospects For Peace? by John Rachel, Dissident Voice / February 24th, 2022
- There’s a lot of talk about nuclear weapons. Why? Russia respects Article five of the NATO treaty, which is an attack against one is an attack against all. Russia is fully cognizant of the fact that if it attacks Poland or the Baltic states, it’s at war with NATO, and they know what that means.
But NATO doesn’t respect anything about Russia... NATO’s been expanding nonstop. They lied about it, about not wanting to do it back in 1990 to Gorbachev, they’ve lied about it ever since... But one of the whole reasons we’re at war in Ukraine right now is because of NATO wanting to expand and bring Ukraine into its umbrella. So when Russia moved into Ukraine, it also had to mollify Belarus, which is very nervous saying, well, okay, while you guys are down here doing the Ukraine thing, what’s to protect us? What if NATO decides to come into us? So Russia... said, if NATO decides to get involved in this, intervene, we will use all the means at our disposal to protect ourselves. And everybody went nuclear... There are other weapons that Russia has called hypersonics... I think what Russia was saying is we will take out NATO cities, NATO decision making centers, with non-nuclear means, all the means at our disposal. And Putin talked about weapons that are deployed such as the Kinzhal or the dagger, the hypersonic missile that’s been used, NATO can’t shoot it down... If Russia launches it against NATO, it will hit the target...
- Scott Ritter: Don't Believe the Hype. Ukraine Can't Win This War; The Real News Network; (15 November 2022)
- Despite assurances to the contrary, NATO is not a ‘defensive organization’. Even though American memories are short, people elsewhere remember the bombing campaign against Serbia, and the removal of Gaddafi from power in Libya. What NATO is in fact is the military arm of US hegemony, a hegemony that has seen it expand eastwards through Europe, right up to Russia’s very own borders.
- Niccolo Soldo, "Fuck it!" Russia's Final Break With the West, Substack, 24 February 2022
- NATO, originally set up to counter the USSR’s expansion into Europe, was left without a raison d’etre after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. Nevertheless, it pressed on eastwards, and thanks to the CIA and MI6, effected Colour Revolutions to put into power friendly regimes that sought NATO membership in places like Tbilisi and Kiev. Where Colour Revolutions weren’t necessary due to historical grievances against Russia, NATO missile systems pointed at Russia have been set up (Romania and Poland).
- Niccolo Soldo, "Fuck it!" Russia's Final Break With the West, Substack, 24 February 2022
- Bush promised no expansion of NATO. Clinton & Bush II decided expanding NATO was a good idea.
- Fred Watson Jr., Weeks & Decades, American Sun, 1 March 2022
- The alliance’s expansion coincided with the creeping spread of neoliberalism, helping secure the dominance of U.S. financial capital and sustain the rapacious military-industrial complex that underpins much of its economy and society. The umbilical bond between NATO membership and neoliberalism was expressed clearly by leading Atlanticists throughout the alliance’s eastward march. On March 25, 1997, at a conference of the Euro-Atlantic Association held at Warsaw University, Joe Biden, then a senator, outlined the conditions for Poland’s accession to NATO. “All NATO member states have free-market economies with the private sector playing a leading role,” he said.
- Pawel Warden, "NATO and the Long War on the Third World." Monthly Review. January 1, 2023.