UPDATE 13. June 2021: Biden’s message to NATO summit: U.S. has sacred obligation to Article 5 war clause
"The United States generates most of the wars and does most of the fighting, but Europe gets the majority of the terrorist blowback. What kind of a deal is that for Europe? War endangers us all; it does not protect us."
|No to NATO - Yes to Peace|
Remarks Delivered by Pat Elder for World BEYOND War at the No to War, No to NATO Summit, Brussels, July 8, 2018
By Pat Elder (*) - World Beyond War - 08. July 2018
Aren’t there any American flags flying here? Are we going to salute the troops? Pledge allegiance to the flag? No? What kind of empire is this?
A largely ignorant American public is the propane that fires the stove of Trump’s brand of fascism.
An overwhelming majority of the American public is convinced that Trump is a liar who does not “share their values” or “care about people like them.” At the same time, many believe that he can “get thingsdone.”
The neo-liberal order we loathe involves dumbing down the American public to accept 18th century notions of unbridled capitalism. The high school textbooks glorify war and empire. God and the flag and the church and the military and Jesus and America and mom and apple pie are mixed in a kind of patriotic pablum that is fed daily to the masses.
And they’re buying it. Trump’s support is up to 42.5%, a remarkable achievement. His support is split between the most ignorant on the one hand and the wealthiest segments of the electorate whose politics are reduced simply to what is best for quarterly shareholder statements, on the other hand. The American capitalists look forward to the continued prospect for lower tax rates and the elimination of regulations that have been in place since Roosevelt that aim to provide a measure of protection to human beings and the environment from the ravages of unbridled capitalism.
Now, all of this is important in helping to understand the newest American monster. It was Lenin who said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” I would say a multitude of lies mixed with statements of truth and sincerity create a cocktail of confusion. People don’t know what to believe. It is too much for them to consume so they turn it off and it is in that vacuum where Trump operates best. And it’s easy to turn off, just as it is easy to turn on the television for latter-day mind control and programming. Buy this and buy that. Don’t worry about the rest. We’ll tell you what to think.
Trump brilliantly manipulates deeply-held and emotionally powerful beliefs of the American people, especially the notion that Europeans owe the Americans tons of money for all the times the US government bails them out financially.
Here’s Trump regarding the US relationship with European NATO states, “Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.” This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” End quote.
Here’s Trump again, “Germany pays far less than they should on NATO and military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.” As Trump put it, “America would support its allies if they fulfill their obligations to us.”
Trump says America pays 90% of NATO’s budget. “We’d like to help out,” he said. “But it helps them — they’re in Europe! It helps them a lot more than it helps us. We’re very far away!” End quote.
And, gosh! That’s just not fair. You Europeans are freeloading on us freedom-loving, hard-working Americans. You have socialist economies and you rely on us to defend you and we lend you money when your pathetic systems collapse. Why should Americans have to work so hard to protect you from yourselves and the Russians? You Europeans have always fought amongst yourselves. We sacrifice so much while our President does what he can to help you.
Trump says he sympathizes with European NATO states. He said, “I understand the domestic political pressures against greater government expenditures as I also expended considerable political capital to increase America’s defense spending.” End quote.
Nonsense. The military is America’s most trusted institution with three-quarters of the people expressing great confidence.
Trump has said he feels the NATO alliance is “obsolete.” Oh, and he also says he strongly supports Article 5.
It’s predictable how all of this plays out in the minds of the American public. Why should all of those American soldiers fight and die for you ungrateful Europeans? It seems the Europeans don’t appreciate the American sacrifice for their freedom and quality of life. The Americans just aren’t appreciated for what they do for Europe.
At least Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appreciates the Americans. “Trump is really having an impact because … allies are now spending more on defense.” Trump is happy to report that Money is “starting to pour into NATO.”
But it is not. And that is a good thing.
When Trump says: buy more weapons and fund more NATO or NATO will be scaled back or disbanded, the correct answer from NATO members should be: yes please, don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass on your way out.
Think of the sociopathy involved in proposing to fund more war based on a percentage on an economy, so that if you have more money you should fund more war. Think of the decades of propaganda it takes to prevent such a thing sounding crazy.
Back in 2003, when U.S. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld threatened to move NATO out of Belgium if Belgium proceeded with legislation that would allow the prosecution of U.S. war criminals, the correct answer from Belgium would have been: Goodbye, Donald, take your death machine with you and the blowback it produces.
When another Donald, the current king of the United States — a country that doesn’t have fancy pretend kings but does give super-royal powers to one lunatic at a time — said NATO’s days might be ended, liberals in the US jumped to NATO’s defense.
The left in the United States is big on promoting hostility toward Russia because they have swallowed a fantasy about Trump and Putin rigging a U.S. election. The proper response should have been fine, shut down NATO.
The United States generates most of the wars and does most of the fighting, but Europe gets the majority of the terrorist blowback. What kind of a deal is that for Europe? War endangers us all; it does not protect us. It is the top drain on our finances, the top destroyer of our natural environment, the top eroder of our liberties, the top corroder of our cultures and teacher of hatred and violence. We need to replace it with useful spending on human and environmental needs, nonviolent global relations, and the rule of law — yes, including prosecutions of war makers even when they are not from Africa.
Many in the United States are doing everything they can to oppose the war machine. And many would love for the war machine to lose the cover that NATO gives it. The only reason that the United States is not universally recognized as a rogue criminal enterprise is its junior partners in crime, its coalitions, its so-called international community consisting of a handful of unrepresentative rulers and NATO. And the junior partners join in the wars because of NATO. Canadians are so against U.S. wars that if they had to send soldiers to Afghanistan simply to accompany the United States they might never have done it, but NATO is a different story.
Humanitarian warriors in the United States are completely dependent on NATO as well. Most Americans think that the United Nations authorized a war on Afghanistan in 2001, because NATO in their minds is very muddled with the idea of international legal legitimacy. Just adding NATO to a war, even after the fact, is thought of as more or less the same thing as having had the United Nations on board from the start. A U.S. crime remains a crime when it is perpetrated under NATO. Destroying Libya is no more or less evil or illegal because NATO does it.
The U.S. Congress adores NATO as well, because when a war is labeled a NATO war, the Congress doesn’t have to oversee it or hold anyone accountable for any of the endless atrocities that comprise each war.
But I don’t think anyone loves NATO more than the weapons dealers. We have Pentagon officials openly telling reporters that the new Cold War with Russia is driven by the need for a NATO mission and the need to sell more weapons. But how do you move U.S. troops to Russia’s border through numerous neutral countries? You end their neutrality, that’s how. You use NATO to edge the world toward apocalypse.
If NATO were a European creation, why would Colombia be made part of it? NATO is a tool of U.S. global domination, and it deserves zero support from anyone anywhere in the world. We need boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against the U.S. military and we must begin by ending all cooperation and assistance.
If Trump is shocked to learn that there are lots of U.S. troops in Germany, let’s take that opportunity to get them out, and not to move them to Poland. When U.S. activists lobby the U.S. Congress against new U.S. military bases, the Congress members want to know, “If we don’t put it in your town, where should we put it?” The answer must always be the same: Don’t put it anywhere. Bring the troops home. Give them decent educations and training and peaceful jobs improving the world.
If the United States is intent on hostility with Iran or Russia or North Korea, the rest of the world needs to advance peaceful relations with those nations, not run barking after them like a pack of Tony Blair-like poodles.
How was a massive bombing of Syria prevented in 2013? By public opposition in the United States and in Europe, including in the British Parliament. Now, after more recent attacks on Syria, some in Britain want what the United States has and consistently ignores, namely a legal requirement that only the legislature make war.
Be careful what you ask for.
Our next annual World BEYOND War conference will be on the International Day of Peace, September 21st and 22nd in Toronto, Canada, and you’re all invited.
Then comes November 10th when Trump plans a weapons parade war celebration through the streets of Washington. That’s my town. We’re gonna mess it up.
The next day, November 11th is Armistice Day 100. That holiday was for years said by the U.S. government to be a holiday for peace. It was transformed into a holiday for war in the 1950s. Renamed Veterans Day it became a pro-war celebration in which groups of veterans favoring peace are banned from Veterans Day parades in various cities. This year a large coalition is asking people to come out to resist the weapons parade.
We would also respectfully ask the French not to have any more weapons parades in Paris, at least not when Trump is there.
November 16th to 18th there will be a conference in Dublin, Ireland, with people from all over the world opposing U.S. and NATO military bases and strategizing on how to close them.
This week, by the way, the Irish Parliament took steps to create a Peace, Neutrality and Disarmament Group. Every parliament should have one!
Next April, NATO will turn 50, if we allow it. World BEYOND War is eager to work with anyone on using that occasion to say 50 years is more than enough. No 51st birthday for NATO. No NATO. No collaboration with crime.
It’s time to create a better world together non-violently. Thank you.
(*) David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
By Rick Rozoff - 13. June 2021
Biden’s message to NATO summit: U.S. has sacred obligation to Article 5 war clause
Voice of America today ran a story about the tenor and theme of President Joe Biden’s presentation at tomorrow’s NATO summit in Brussels with the headline Biden to Reassure Allies of US Commitment to NATO Mutual Defense Clause. In the report it cites a pledge Biden made in an address to American Air Force service members at the Royal Air Force Mildenhall base on June 9: “In Brussels, I will make it clear that the United States’ commitment to our NATO Alliance and Article 5 is rock solid. It’s a sacred obligation that we have under Article 5.” Today the White House posted an online fact sheet on the summit which contained in its opening paragraph this stark statement: “During the Summit, the President will reaffirm the enduring Transatlantic bond through NATO and underscore the United States’ ironclad commitment to Article 5 – an attack on one is an attack on all and will be met with a collective response.”
In the Mildenhall speech Biden also celebrated the fact that the U.S. and his host country, the United Kingdom, were founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He failed to add they’re both nuclear powers and have fought together in NATO’s wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. NATO was characterized by the American commander-in-chief as “the strongest military and political alliance in the history of the world,” adding, “that’s not hyperbole.” Both points rare instances of veracity from him. NATO in fact is unique in a manner that cannot be exaggerated. It is unique in the following ways:
- it is the only military alliance in the world
- it is the longest-lasting military bloc in the modern history of the world, this year marking its 72nd anniversary
- it is the largest military bloc ever, with 30 members and 40 partners on all six inhabited continents (up from 16 members and no partners 30 years ago)
- it maintains military relations with as many more nations, including the 55-nation African Union and Troop Contributing Countries from the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America that served under its command in Afghanistan
- it has waged war in three continents (Yugoslavia in Europe, Afghanistan in Asia and Libya in Africa)
- it is the only military alliance to have ever included more than one nuclear power (the U.S., Britain and France) and to openly proclaim itself a nuclear alliance
- it is the only military alliance that has defined outer space as an operational domain as well as air, land, sea and cyberspace, and that has just opened a Space Centre (in Germany)
There are several other aspects of NATO and its activities that are unprecedented in scope and nature. Not the least important of which is its Article 5 mutual military assistance provision, the essence of which is:
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them…will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
There is no greater threat to peace, to world peace in the nuclear age, than for a military alliance of 30 nations (and growing) to be prepared to go to war (including against nuclear powers) at the request of any of its member states.
It is that collective defense obligation that Biden has focused on since taking office in January and that he will highlight at tomorrow’s thirty-nation summit. It is in fact a central theme, arguably the main one, of his foreign policy.
“We continue to support the goal of a Europe whole and free and at peace. The United States is fully committed to our NATO Alliance, and I welcome Europe’s growing investment in the military capabilities that enable our shared defense.
“You know, to me and to the United States, and to us, we’ll keep article – we’ll keep faith with Article 5. It’s a guarantee. An attack on one is an attack on all. That is our unshakable vow….”
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on June 5, Biden wrote (or had attributed to him):
“As new technologies reshape our world in fundamental ways, exposing vulnerabilities like ransomware attacks and creating threats such as invasive AI-driven surveillance, the democracies of the world must together ensure that our values govern the use and development of these innovations – not the interests of autocrats.
“Those shared democratic values are the foundation of the most successful alliance in world history. In Brussels, at the NATO summit, I will affirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Article 5 and to ensuring our alliance is strong in the face of every challenge, including threats like cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure.”
Dividing the world into NATO allies, partners and affiliates against the four nations that Washington and Brussels have branded autocrats, authoritarians and threats to the rules-based international order – Russia, China, Iran and North Korea (now five with diminutive Belarus) – is being done in the name of a global Manichean struggle between democracy (us) and autocracies (them). At the Mildenhall air base Biden also said:
“I believe we’re at an inflection point in world history – the moment where it falls to us to prove that democracies will not just endure, but they will excel as we rise to seize the enormous opportunities of a new age.
“We have to discredit those who believe that the age of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe. We have to expose as false the narrative that decrees of dictators can match the speed and scale of the 21st [century] challenges.”
And after offering obligatory diplomatic platitudes about preferring to get along with Russia (if it would only change its ways; all its ways), he canceled out that message with these assurances:
“But I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities. We’ve already demonstrated that. I’m going to communicate that there are consequences [for violating] the sovereignty of democracies in the United States and Europe and elsewhere.
“I’m going to be clear that the Transatlantic Alliance will remain vital – a vital source of strength for the UK, Europe, and the United States. And I’m going to make sure there’s no doubt as to whether the United States will rise in defense of our most deeply held values and our fundamental interest.”
A European and ultimately a global crusade by history’s most formidable military bloc to make the world safe for democracy in the face of tyrants, despots, autocrats, dictators and authoritarians – most bearing Russian surnames.
The U.S. chargé d’affaires at NATO headquarters (Biden is yet to name an ambassador), Douglas Jones, further clarified U.S. international military priorities in recently stating that while NATO needs to confront challenges presented by China, Russia remains the “most immediate threat to the common security of the allies.”
Speaking to Euronews, Jones confirmed that Biden’s main message to his 29 allies at the NATO summit will concentrate on “recommitting the United States to NATO and expressing the iron-clad commitment of the United States to Article 5.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking recently in the U.S. at an Atlantic Council event, asserted this concerning alleged cyberattacks of the sort regularly attributed to Russia:
“In a way it doesn’t matter whether it’s a kinetic attack or a cyberattack, we will assess as allies whether it meets the thresholds for triggering Article 5. It sends a message that we regard cyberattacks as seriously as any other attack.”
For all its assertions that it is a political-military alliance, NATO is a military bloc with Article 5 as its bedrock.