Does NATO contribute to peace? – Latest News – The Nation

In my article today, I will present a brief history of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as the North Atlantic Alliance. We talk a lot about it these days, especially in relation to the Russian war in Ukraine, and in our region, also in relation to Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the largest military alliance in the world with 30 member countries and an annual budget more than ten times greater than Russia’s military budget. In Europe, most people believe that NATO is a guarantor of peace, although a minority opposes the alliance and sees it as part of military rearmament, or even warmongering, as would also do a lot in our area.
On May 8, 2022, 77 years have passed since the end of World War II and Nazi Germany was conquered. Every year, the “Never Again” event is marked by Allied Forces nations across Europe, America and Oceania, while Russia always marks victory on May 9. At the time of World War II, Russia was the leader of the Soviet Union, which lost up to 27 million people in the war, including 8 million from Ukraine, as well as other bloc states of the East, including Central Asia. About a third died in battle; a third died of starvation or cold; and a third were civilians. Kazakhstan has lost a tenth of its population, where the marking of the day this year was low-key, as was also the case in Ukraine, to ensure it would not be seen as a pro-war celebration at a time where the Russian war in Ukraine is raging. Russia on its side, however, presented a mighty demonstration of its military machines and a main military parade in Moscow. Ordinary people have told foreign news reports that they want the marking of the end of World War II to be separated from the current “special military operation” in Ukraine, as Russia calls it.
During World War II, the Soviet Union was a key part of the Allied forces. However, soon after the war ended, the Cold War began and the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc expanded. The United States became the leader of the “free world”, contributing to the construction of Europe after the war, in particular through “Marshall Help”. Unlike the Soviet Union’s more direct interventions on its vassal states, the United States bound the countries within its sphere of influence to it through industry and trade. Both superpowers used the ideology behind their concrete policies, communism or socialism for the Soviet Union and private capitalism for the United States. The United States emphasized democracy while the Soviet Union had a centralized economy with little democracy. However, he had Marxist goals of equality and social services for all. US “safety nets” for the poorest have never reached everyone.
Following further discussions and temporary treaties by the West in the aftermath of World War II, on April 4, 1949, NATO was established by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Benelux countries, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. It was a fairly dormant organization until the end of the Korean War (1950-53). In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members, and in 1955, West Germany (BRD). The latter led to the establishment of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, which became the military organization opposing NATO until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. When the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, it is often said that NATO should also have been dissolved, or at least its objectives, goals and territory should have been reassessed and reoriented. It could even have led to the inclusion of Russia – and then the world would have been completely different today, and military spending would have been much lower, with more funds available for social and economic development in the wealthy North and in poor countries. in the south. Whether the United States would then have been a member of such an alliance is obviously debatable, and presumably their opposition to it was the reason this did not happen; we will never know.
The height of the Cold War came in 1961, at a time when the Berlin Wall was being built and the United States had up to 400,000 troops stationed in Europe. NATO’s role has been questioned by some, and, among others, France established its own nuclear force and in 1966 withdrew from joint military command, but has now returned.
Over the years, NATO has grown considerably, particularly in the decade following the fall of the Soviet Union, and today the alliance has 30 members, as well as several partners in different categories, including including countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Colombia. , the latter being the only one in Latin America. As we all know, Ukraine aspires to become a full member of NATO, against Russia’s wishes; Neighboring Georgia is also interested in becoming a member.
Currently, Finland and Sweden have political processes discussing their possible NATO membership; both countries are neutral or non-aligned, Sweden for no less than 200 years. It is likely that they will become members this year, against Russia’s wishes. The countries already have close cooperation with NATO and are certainly considered Western-oriented and members of the EU.
If, or rather when, they become members, it gives them and the three other Nordic countries of Norway, Denmark and Iceland the opportunity to form a sub-bloc within NATO, opposing the stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons on their territories, and also working for the reduction and abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide. Sweden in particular has a long history as a peace activist and many Swedes would certainly like to continue this work even as a member of NATO, well, as members of a military alliance that has nuclear weapons as a means major deterrent.
Like many Swedes, I believe the world would be safer if peace work continued and expanded, including by challenging NATO’s traditional military rearmament program, which currently calls on all member states to devote at least 2% of their GDP to defence. NATO has become old-fashioned in many ways, influenced by the United States’ need to sell arms to maintain its economic development. Going forward, all countries should reevaluate their understanding of defense and find alternatives to war and the use of arms in the 21st century and beyond.
In this short article on NATO, I have not covered all the important aspects, positive and negative. At least I should draw attention to the military operations in which the alliance has been involved, some quite questionable: the intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992; the intervention in Kosovo in 1999; the war in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021; the training mission in Iraq from 2004 to 2011; the Gulf and Aden anti-piracy operation in 2009; and the intervention in Libya from 2011 to 2013. Most of these operations took place outside NATO territory, raising questions that the alliance was intended for defense purposes only. and not aggression.
It should be noted that NATO is not involved in the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. However, he clearly supports the cause of Ukraine and most NATO member countries provide military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. More than five million Ukrainians have become refugees in other European countries, mainly in NATO member countries, and no less than seven million are internally displaced. Whether NATO helped reduce or fueled the tensions leading to this war will be discussed in the future. Researchers, politicians and all citizens must contribute more to peace in the world, as well as to NATO, so that there will never be wars again and that the term “Never again” really becomes true.

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