Why NATO is Bad for the World
The upcoming NATO summit in Chicago will see a lot of protests, as it should.
Once constrained to the defense of Europe, NATO has now put itself forward as the world’s policeman. It has fought wars in North Africa and Central Asia, and it has placed weapon systems or troops in areas that threaten Russia and China.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, there has been no check on NATO’s expansion. The organization serves as the military arm of the Western powers (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States). They called themselves the G7, until they welcomed Russia into what became the G8 in 1997, when under a pliant Boris Yeltsin it seemed to have been subordinated to the U.S. agenda. (Russia has since been a less reliable member of the group.)
NATO and the G8 have used their political and military power to impose their social and economic vision on the planet. Their economic agenda (neoliberalism) has tilted the social wealth of the planet toward the global 1 percent and put the interests of finance above that of social needs. This is the reason why the Global Hunger Index of 2011 finds that every year 2 million children die of chronic malnutrition (that’s four children every minute). It is the reason why one-fourth of the world’s children do not get enough nutrients to grow properly, including to develop their intellectual capabilities.
This combination of ideological and military power has helped deliver social wealth into the hands of the global 1 percent, which now owns 40 percent of global assets. NATO’s guns and the G8’s political power has allowed the 1 percent to push for privatization of social resources and a general austerity for the world’s peoples.
It is thanks to the G8 and NATO that bankers are first in line for bailouts while the people are held at bay.
Genuine peace and justice cannot come to the world through the agenda put forward by the G8 and NATO. We demand an alternative world, a world founded on the principles of social justice and the social good.
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and director of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. His most recent book, “The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World,” won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize for 2009.