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NATO was formed in 1949 on the basis of a pack of lies.
The people of Britain were told that this military alliance was simply a mutual self-defence pact. It was not aimed at any other country and so did not contravene the UN Charter.
But it soon became clear that Nato was at the core of a string of US-led military alliances to encircle the Soviet Union, alongside Seato and Cento. US, British and Nato forward military bases stretched from Alaska, Canada and Iceland across to Scandinavia, Britain and western Europe — including fascist Portugal — the Mediterranean, Turkey, the Indian Ocean, south-east Asia, South Korea, Japan and the Pacific. This ensured that Soviet cities could be hit by short and medium-range as well as inter-continental nuclear missiles.
When the Soviet Union attempted to site its own short-range missiles within striking distance of the US to defend Cuba in 1962, the White House threatened all-out nuclear war to have them removed.
Nato was set up when the British government was also lying about US bomber planes arriving here for temporary “training and goodwill purposes.” Sixty-six years later, they are still here at US-controlled sites originally designated as “RAF” bases to fool the public.
The late 1940s was also the period when the post-war Labour government was developing Britain’s own atomic bomb, an operation initially kept secret from most Cabinet ministers.
From the 1950s, it was claimed that Nato had been formed in order to counter the threat to Western freedoms posed by the Soviet Union and its allies, who had supposedly launched an arms race against the West.
Yet the Warsaw Pact was not established until 1955, six years after Nato, and then only because the latter had rearmed and enrolled West Germany in its ranks. Meanwhile, in the arms race, both the atom and hydrogen bombs were developed first by the US, as were nuclear bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Soviet attack on western Europe never remotely looked like materialising before the Warsaw Pact was wound up in 1993. But instead of this being the signal for Nato to dissolve itself, new enemies were invented such as the “rogue states” led by Gadaffi, Saddam Hussein, Milosevic and the Iranian ayatollahs to justify Nato’s continuation.
Nato forces have since bombed or invaded Bosnia (1992-95), Serbia and Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (from 2002) and Libya (2011).
Breaking pledges given to ex-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachov, Nato has driven eastwards to the borders of Russia and with new capabilities to hit China. Twelve member states from the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union have so far been enrolled with new US bases also established in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
What began as an alliance of 12 member states is now 28, including latest entrants Albania and Croatia and with other former Yugoslav republics in the waiting room.
Plans to incorporate Georgia and Ukraine into Nato and the EU have led to civil wars and to military confrontations with Russia. Nato plans for a European missile “defence shield” in eastern Europe would ensure that it could attack Russia without fear of effective retaliation.
In fact, since the Berlin Plus agreement in 2002, the European Union has become increasingly enmeshed in Nato, reflected in the militarisation programme outlined in the 2007 EU Lisbon Treaty.
Moving into policy areas such as international piracy and cyber crime is designed to enhance the case for Nato’s existence and extend its reach across the globe. Likewise, this ambition has led to the conclusion of strategic agreements with dozens of other countries including Colombia, whose right-wing governments act as a Trojan horse for US disruption of anti-imperialist unity in Latin America.
Nato’s aggressive and expansionist role is embodied by its current secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. A rabid anti-communist, his Danish government was based on an alliance with the far right and openly racist People’s Party.
Rasmussen enthusiastically took his country into the Iraq war, peddling the same WMD lies as his British counterpart Tony Blair. At the moment, he rarely misses an opportunity to hint at the possibility of war with Russia.
As Communist MP Phil Piratin warned in 1949, far from upholding the authority of the UN, Nato undermines it. Always in line with US foreign policy, Nato picks and chooses which UN decisions to enforce and which to ignore, such the US trade embargo of Cuba or Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories. When the UN fails to fall in line, Nato goes ahead to take military action anyway.
Led by the US, Britain and France, the Nato powers now account for more than 70 per cent of global military spending.
Nato has no democratic structures, nor is it accountable to any. It undermines the UN, promotes militarism and is the world’s single biggest menace to peace and stability.
Britain should withdraw from Nato and the EU. This would challenge the role and credibility of both bodies in upholding Western big business interests around the world.
It would also enable us to pursue a genuinely independent foreign and defence policy for Britain, based on social justice and solidarity rather than military aggression and weapons of mass destruction.
Rob Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.
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