Summit Shows Dangers Posed by National Interests of the Imperialist Powers
Brussels, Belgium, July 7, 2018. Banner reads “Yes to Peace! No to NATO!”
While NATO countries fight with the U.S. and amongst themselves over who will control Europe and dominate Asia, the movement of the peoples against imperialism and war saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to oppose NATO’s 2018 summit in Brussels and U.S. President Donald Trump’s subsequent visit to England and Scotland. The people’s actions put their demands for peace and an end to aggression, war and occupation firmly on the agenda, including the dismantling of the aggressive U.S.-led NATO bloc.
We salute all those gathered in Brussels, England and Scotland to uphold the demands of the worldwide movement for peace and against imperialist reaction and war. Such interventions make clear the necessity for the people to build strong country-wide and international anti-war fronts which uphold peaceful relations between countries based on mutual benefit and recognition of the sovereignty of all nations, not the imperialist dictum that “might makes right.”
Mass demonstration against U.S. President Trump’s visit to London, July 13, 2018. Trump was kept away from London because of the massive opposition to his visit, reflecting the broad opposition to his reactionary stands and U.S. warmongering, as well as to the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May for inviting him.
Demonstration in Glasgow, July 13, 2018.
Ten thousand demonstrate in Edinburgh July 14, 2018 against U.S. President Trump’s visit.
Trump went to Scotland to visit one of his golf resorts.
NATO leaders claim that the NATO Summit held in Brussels, Belgium, July 11-12, met all its goals to increase war spending manifold and strengthen NATO’s stranglehold over eastern Europe and encirclement of Russia, stabilize NATO’s grip over Afghanistan and Iraq, and “protect Europe” from incursion of migrants from North Africa and West Asia. The U.S. exploited the contradictions between itself and the European big powers, as well as among the European powers, to favour its interests to “Make America Great Again.” This is to no avail since these contradictions will only deepen in the immediate future. In fact, the developments brought to the fore the famous dictum “Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” So long as this is the case, the interests of the peoples of the world and their sovereignty will be trampled in the mud.
In this vein, on July 11, the first day of the NATO Summit, Trump began by reiterating the demand that all NATO members reach the two per cent of GDP target for military spending, but shortened the deadline to January 2019, six years ahead of schedule. By the end of the day, he declared that this figure should be four per cent. The next day, Trump threatened that if other countries do not meet the two per cent mark by the January deadline, he would “do his own thing.” The result was an emergency meeting called by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. After that meeting Trump stated, “The commitment was at two per cent. Ultimately that’ll be going up much higher,” and he said Stoltenberg would provide the figures. NATO members besides the U.S. are reportedly planning to increase military spending by a combined total of U.S.$11 billion this year.
In this way, the hooligan methods of the U.S. president once again succeeded in setting the agenda for a major summit with U.S. demands for increased war spending the reference point for the discussion, with all others responding to it and other U.S. demands.
For Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that Canada will not increase military spending at this time because in 2017 military spending was already increased by 70 per cent over the next decade. “The president has been consistent that he wants to see people spending more on defence in their countries and we are very pleased we are doing that,” Trudeau told reporters. “We’ll always step up, with cash yes but also with commitments and capacity. That’s what NATO is looking for.” He said that Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to work toward contributing two per cent of its GDP to military spending and to reverse any cuts. A similar response was given by other leaders.
Even before the Summit began, the U.S. policy to control Europe by driving the agenda was clear when Germany was targeted by Trump and accused of being “a captive to Russia” because of the Nord Stream offshore natural gas pipeline that brings Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing a land route through Ukraine. The U.S. State Department warned European firms involved in the deal for the pipeline that the project could divide Europe and they were at risk of sanctions. This was met with hostility by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German businesses who rejected U.S. dictate of European energy policies.
It Is Up to the Peoples of the World to Hold In Check the Imperialists’ War Drive
Protest in Athens, Greece, July 11, 2018, against the NATO Summit. (S. Kamaniolis)
The NATO Summit and related events provided occasions to once again spread lies about NATO, calling it an alliance for peace when in fact it is an alliance for aggression and war and always has been. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Summit on July 10, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “NATO embodies the bond between Europe and North America, which has kept our people safe for almost 70 years.” Far from it, it was part of the drive for war instigated by the Anglo-American imperialists after World War II initiated by Winston Churchill’s racist and anti-communist “Iron Curtain” speech delivered in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946 and President Truman’s “containment of communism” policy.
“We are an Alliance that exists to prevent conflict and preserve peace. We are an Alliance that constantly adapts to a changing world. Above all, we are an Alliance that delivers,” he said.
To say that NATO has supported an international rules-based order for more than 70 or 75 years is self-serving and hypocritical. NATO was founded as part of the Cold War launched by the Anglo-American imperialists to oppose the Soviet Union and communism in order to make sure that, following World War II, the movement of the peoples of the world for lasting peace, freedom and democracy would not take hold.
It was created, amongst other things, to make sure the denazification of Germany did not take place and, on the contrary, the Nazi machine was incorporated into the Anglo-American state agencies. Politically, countries such as Italy and France took up electoral systems aimed at blocking the establishment of a people’s power. So too Anglo-American imperialism enforced the division of Germany for the next several decades, blaming it on communism and refusing to reunify the country. The U.S. imperialists had previously used this method in Korea and Vietnam, while the British imperialists divided India, organised the fascist regime in Greece, atrocities in Indonesia and so on.
Together the Anglo-American imperialists organised criminal covert activities to undermine the movement of the peoples for peace, democracy and freedom at a time peace was the greatest need of the peoples of the world and it could not be assured without the establishment of international democracy and the recognition of the rights of all nations, big or small, to determine their own affairs. The demand for national independence and democracy arose as the most important demand along with the demand for peace.
The first aim of the peace movement was to fight against the split between the war-time allies and to push for their political unity in spite of ideological differences, that is for peaceful co-existence between countries with differing and opposite social systems. The peace movement was also directed against U.S. militarisation of the economy and warmongering and the militarisation of the world through military bases and military alliances.
The peace movement put political considerations in first place, and peace emerged as the most urgent political question in the post-war period for everyone, irrespective of their ideological positions.
Several days after Churchill delivered his infamous Iron Curtain speech, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, in an interview with Pravda, stated that Churchill’s speech had unquestionably prejudiced the cause of peace and security. Churchill had taken the stand of the warmongers, and was not alone. He was calling for war on the Soviet Union. Stalin likened Churchill to Hitler and his friends, in setting out to unleash a war with a race theory, in Churchill’s case calling on the English-speaking peoples to decide and rule over the destiny of the world.
Today the Soviet Union no longer exists but the role of bulwark against reaction and war continues to be the united action of the peoples of the world in defence of peace, freedom and democracy. It is up to the peoples of the world to hold in check the imperialists’ war drive.
World Peace Council International Conference Against NATO
Just a few days ahead of the NATO Summit, on July 7 and 8 the World Peace Council (WPC) organized a conference in Brussels within the framework of its “Yes to Peace — No to NATO” campaign. The conference addressed how to strengthen the anti-imperialist-peace movements under the present condition. The participants came from anti-imperialist peace movements in: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Turkey and the USA.
The opening speech was given by Thanassis Pafilis, General Secretary of the WPC. He stated in part:
“There is no doubt that, as we have proclaimed, NATO was and is the enemy of the peoples and peace, the armed wing of imperialism, the dangerous murderous organization protecting the interests of capital at a global level; that it staggers its aggression against the peoples; that its contradictions and competitions lead to new wars and their possible generalization. From this point of view, the peoples’ struggle as a whole for its dissolution is an immediate priority. The peoples’ struggle in the NATO member countries for disengagement from it, as well as the denunciation of all the governments of the member states that participate and unanimously sign its decisions, is of special importance. There can be no doubt about this as well as about the character of the EU which, as an imperialist union, is working closely with NATO towards the same aim.
“The creation of a genuine peaceful world with peoples’ prosperity comes about through the overthrow of the imperialist domination and barbarity as a whole.”
Pafilis pointed out, “In the region of the Mediterranean Sea we witness fierce competition for the control of resources, energy and the transport of products, for geostrategic control. Such antagonisms occur across the globe. From the Arctic to Southeast Asia, from the Caucasus to the Balkans and Africa. The economic war between the U.S., the EU, China and other great powers is further intensifying. The whole planet looks like a volcano, which is now showing small explosions, but seems to be preparing bigger and bigger ones, as history has shown. This situation also underlines the duty of the people’s struggle against the interventions and imperialist wars and their causes.”
The “Norway for Peace” movement referred to NATO’s aspirations to dominate the North Atlantic and the Arctic. In Norway, there are U.S. naval bases, and a civil aviation airport is being refurbished to join NATO’s military force. Also, a NATO monitoring system (Globus 3) has been installed near the border with Russia. The November 2017 Radar Information Agreement between the U.S. and Norway allows information from Finland and Sweden to be available to NATO. A huge NATO military exercise — the largest since the end of the Second World War — will take place at the end of October in the Scandinavian region. There will be 35,000 troops from 30 countries, 150 fighter jets and 70 warships. Exercises will include Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries and the scenario is that Norway is being attacked by Russia.
The Bulgarian National Peace Council addressed the growing tension between NATO and Russia in the Black Sea, the growing NATO military presence in the region, and the strategic integration of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other Western Balkan countries into NATO.
The intensification of NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic States, and the propaganda in the United States, was analyzed by the representative of the United National Antiwar Coalition from the U.S.
The Milan Anti-War Committee’s representative underlined that Italy is a strategic point for NATO with military, naval, airborne and nuclear weapons across the country. NATO’s command is stationed in Naples; Sicily is the centre of NATO satellite telecommunications and drones that can operate around the world; in Sardinia there is a crucial base for military exercises and nuclear weapons tests, causing high cancer rates in the region. He denounced the Italian government for its military spending of 70 million euros per day, and for taking part in and implementing all NATO decisions. He referred to the Italian government’s role in the invasion of Libya, putting the country’s airbases at the disposal of this NATO aggression.
Paula Polanco, President of the Belgian INTAL movement, underscored that the duty of the peace movement is to create strong movements in each country against NATO, the U.S. and the EU, and to link the anti-imperialist struggle to the struggle for social justice. She also demanded the withdrawal of Belgium from NATO.
Serbia’s “Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals” chaired by the last Yugoslav Foreign Minister, Zivadin Jovanovic, underlined the opposition of the people and the peace movement of Serbia to membership in NATO or any military alliance. He cited a survey last March that showed 90 per cent of the people of Serbia are opposed to its membership in NATO. However, he added that “NATO intensifies its propaganda in the country. The ‘Commission 100’ has recently been announced to promote propaganda about the benefits Serbia will have if it joins NATO, an ‘alliance of developed, rich and humanitarian states.'”
The Portuguese Council for Peace and Co-operation condemned NATO’s deadly imperialist activities, as well as the Permanent European Structured Co-operation (PESCO), demanding that the Portuguese Armed Forces not participate in NATO and EU missions. The WPC Campaign “Yes to Peace — No to NATO,” in which dozens of Portuguese organizations participate with events and the sharing of materials are spreading word of the need for a fight against NATO, the Portuguese delegate also reported.
The representative of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) stressed that since the first years of its establishment, WFDY has fought NATO’s actions and crimes, and that NATO’s history is full of interventions, coups and violent overthrows that have led millions of people to misery, death and displacement. “NATO’s plans, this imperialist war machine, is being condemned by many millions of people and youth in dozens of countries. We coordinate our action with our fraternal organization, the WPC, against the common enemy, imperialism, its mechanisms and plans. We express our militant solidarity with the just struggles of the peoples under occupation, imperialist threat and intervention,” he said.
The representative of the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace (EEDYE) called on the representatives of the other anti-imperialist peace movements to strengthen the struggle, “to close the Euro-Atlantic bases and headquarters, to leave our countries out of imperialist organizations and alliances, to express our solidarity to the peoples threatened by imperialism, military threats and interventions.” Only the organized struggle of the peoples to become the only sovereigns in their own countries and the owners of the wealth they produce, can guarantee real peace and social justice, the EEDYE representative concluded.
The representative of the Peace Committee of Turkey stressed that it is important to emphasize the imperialist system and its instruments, such as NATO, instead of turning attention to individual leaders, giving the U.S. and its president as the example. It was also emphasized that imperialism is continuing to concentrate on Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East and that the struggle for peace in these regions is especially important.
The delegate of the Nepalese Peace and Solidarity Council noted that “we support as a member of the WPC Secretariat (WPC Asia/Pacific Coordinator) its actions and initiatives, which will continue for as long as NATO exists. We struggle to uncover its criminal and imperialist character, as documented in all cases such as Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. NATO is also active in our area, either through U.S.-NATO military bases, or through the bilateral military cooperation agreements that exist with most of our countries with the U.S.,” he added. Lastly, he mentioned, “the Asia-Pacific Regional meeting in Kathmandu will be held at the end of July, where we will discuss burning issues such as the situation around the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and the imperialist plans in the region.”
Following the conference, participants took part in the anti-NATO rally in Brussels. At least 3,000 people took part in the action.