Despite claims by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to have defeated its own troops using Facebook (and, really, what plot to take over a high school hasn't done that?), the biggest challenge NATO will face this year will probably not be nefarious Russian social media posts.
Nor will it be the dreaded Russian military, now sucking down 6 percent as many dollars each year as the war machines of the NATO nations.
Nor is NATO terribly threatened by a U.S. president who demands that its members spend more, that more nations join, that the North Atlantic nation of Colombia partner up, and that the war games and weapons deals and expansion eastward press ahead, but who once blurted out obvious stuff his handlers would never allow him to act on, such as that NATO serves no good purpose. (Which of his projects does serve any good purpose?)
NATO is extremely popular among militarists, warmongers, weapons dealers, Republicans, and Democrats, some of them proud of its various aggressive and catastrophic wars, some of them willfully ignorant of them or eager to excuse them. It's that last group that presents a danger for NATO, a weak link. People think that NATO somehow makes wars legal or acceptable, which actually makes wars easier to start. People think NATO is defensive, so that distant aggressive wars are OK. People think putting nuclear weapons into more countries is safe and legal if they're NATO countries. People think adding Russia's neighbors to NATO makes them safer, but that adding Russia would endanger them. But will people resist learning the truth when NATO celebrates itself on a date that belongs to peace and Martin Luther King Jr?
This is where the unexpected and possibly significant challenge to NATO comes in. It's a challenge from the Peace Movement, the demise of which has been seriously exaggerated. Check out this list of events:
Thursday, March 7, Free webinar: No to NATO Yes to Peace
In Washington, D.C.:
Saturday, March 16 Hands Off Venezuela
Saturday, March 30 Rally at Lafayette Park
Sunday, March 31 Concert for Peace and to End War
Sunday, March 31 Anti-NATO Conference
Tuesday, April 2 No to NATO Yes to Peace and Disarmament Counter-Summit
Wednesday, April 3 No to NATO Yes to Peace FESTIVAL
Thursday, April 4 No to NATO Yes to Peace Rally
Thursday, April 4 Black Alliance for Peace program at Plymouth Congregational Church